Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A blogoversary; the Good, the Bad, and the Hypocrisy

In the midst of my after-Christmas lethargy, I came to realize that I’ve had this little blog for a year now. So much has happened, some good, some bad.

For example; my son is beginning to understand that he can use a toilet to urinate. This is a fascinating endeavor for him, made more-so by his mother’s gleeful reactions and the handful of treats he receives as a reward. The bad, though, is that we cannot seem to break him of the habit of playing with his feces and smearing it everywhere. And I honestly have no clue how to correct this behavior.

More good; we recently got a very nice house, much larger than our previous one with an enormous yard. The bad; other than having to mow this enormous yard, we had to move, change our number, and various other things in order to hide from a very loathsome and creepy internet stalker. The fact that I completely ignore this worm and he continues to try to harass me speaks volumes about his lack of maturity and intelligence. Really, I think he has some weird obsession/vendetta. Perhaps he’s a closet homosexual who has fixated on me. While I have no problems with homosexuals (under normal circumstances I would think that such attention is flattering if misguided), coming from this guy, it is extremely nauseating and disgusting. Not to mention how badly his fixation disturbs my family. My wife has had to purchase a gun, and she’s taking shooting lessons (which she greatly enjoys), and our new house has an alarm installed in case his strange obsession crosses the line more than it already has. Sadly, there is very little I can do to retaliate other than ignore him and do what I’ve already done. But, if I find him on my doorstep, then he has a very nasty surprise waiting for him.

Good; the Nate man loves his new house! He has a nice bed (a racecar…and he actually SLEEPS in it…will wonders never cease?), a nice front porch that runs the length of the house that he uses as a runway. The bad: We have a pond in the back that he decided to try to jump into. Scared the shit out of both myself and my wife, because this is one of the greatest fears she and I have concerning his safety. However, it is my hope that his realization of how freakin’ cold the water was will curb his enthusiasm to jump in again.

But, I digress. Reflecting on things from the past year has made me remember why I started blogging in the first place. It was at the suggestion of Kim Wombles that I start this blog, and it is one thing that she offered that I truly am thankful for. Sadly, Kim has descended into hypocrisy and rhetoric, so she and I no longer have correspondence. Occasionally, though, I take the opportunity to check out her blog and see what she’s been up to. And also, continuing with the topic of false skepticism and pseudo-skeptics, I thought I would write a little about what I read there.

Recently, she wrote a piece about Christmas cheer. While I found it quite interesting, I felt I should point out the good and the bad in her article (you’re noticing a theme here, I suspect).

On the subject of where the Christmas cheer is in our little community, she begins with the following:

“I think we know it's not in the angry places. I wish it were. I wish sincerely, fervently, that each person over at AoA would have a merry Christmas, one in which they are surrounded by their loved ones and able to celebrate that they have each other.”

This is a lovely sentiment, and coming from almost any other person, I would take it as sincere and heartfelt and express the same sentiments in return. However, coming from Kim, it seems to ring hollow. Let’s continue with her article and you’ll see why.

“I was commenting at Laura's this morning that it's depressing as hell to read them, and it is. It's also interesting, though, that on the blog AoA put up to illustrate that the anti-vaccine label is misapplied (quoting from Harold's post refuting Kev Leitch's post), that so many of them are proudly anti-vaccine. 

Can't we move past this? Can't we, for gods' sakes, stop beating the hell out of each other? No? Okay then. Right.”

The anti-vaccine label IS misapplied. You see, the pseudo-skeptics apply this label to anyone who questions in any way the safety of vaccines, even if they have vaccinated their family.

And yes, it is depressing to read AoA. I have a lot of respect for many of the people there, but I’ve noticed recently that they are just descending into personal attacks and vengeful rhetoric. I can’t take that anymore. It saddens me greatly that they have had 3 strikes with me, and now they’ve lost someone who willingly defended them.

But, on the other hand, can we not see why they do so? I certainly can. But looking at Kim’s above comments, we can see that she doesn’t understand. More on that in a moment.

“There's real rancor here between some of these folks who've been on the interwebz slinging this shit out for years. There's swagger and bluster and whipping it out to see whose is the biggest of all. Are they fighting for king of the interwebz?  Is there a medal, a trophy? No? If I felt like photoshopping one, I could make one, but I don't.

No, instead, I am frustrated.

Frustrated that people can write things like
this: "PharmaKorp Nazi Drug Troopers has a nice ring to it. Hey? Has anyone explored the connection of the Pharmaceutical industry with Nazi Germany? Seriously."

Seriously disturbed that AoA's unabashedly anti-vaccine poster person can write
this: "Autism will come raping or should I saw wrapping at their door, and they will soon find themselves in the oh shit position." Bless her, she's more than drank from "the bitter cup"; she's bathed in it, steeped in it. And her rhetoric hurts to read.”

See, she thinks it is ok to call someone a dumbass or mock and ridicule someone because they feel that their child’s condition is caused by vaccines, but it isn’t ok for these people to defend themselves or retaliate in a similar vein. That, boys and girls, is called a double standard.

Yes, the comments were bad. But, are they any worse than someone comparing members of the AoA team to the Nazi leaders? Or saying that they hope that all of our children die of vaccine preventable diseases? Or having someone spit in your face because you were passing out flyers about vaccine ingredients? Or having some creep continually harass and stalk you after you explicitly told them to stop contacting you? Oh, right…I forget. Such tactics are ok only if you follow the dogma of those who claim to be science and evidence based.

No, I don’t think that this should be happening, and that’s one of the reasons why I spoke up against AoA, especially after the threatening post they did on their facebook page about Skepchick. But, if you’re going to attack AoA for their rhetoric, you should acknowledge and attack those whom you agree with about theirs. But, we don’t see that here, do we? It’s terrible when AoA makes what I perceive as threatening posts, but it’s perfectly ok when people she agrees with do the same. Yes, the hypocrisy is thick.

“Are all the commenters at AoA anti-vaccine or off the deep end? No. And the reality is that we can not assess how well these comments reflect the day-to-day lives of these people, either. Is their behavior situational and egged on by the close-knit community they have built there? Are they victims of group polarization? I suspect, based on the science regarding both personality and group polarization, that this is accurate. We see only one dimension of these people; we may not see them at their best. They may be venting, and the group they find themselves in reinforces a shift to the more extreme end of things. Certainly these two commenters I've singled out are the extreme end there, although there are several more who are close seconds.”

Here, she and I are in agreement. I truly believe that some of what goes on over at AoA is just venting. Hell, I used AoA quite a bit to vent some of my anger and frustration out. It was cathartic and in many ways comforting to know that I had people going through many of the same things I was going through. Now, I mostly use my blog.

“Should we hate these people? No.”

But she does. It shows every time she writes about AoA. It shows every time she calls someone a dumbass or bat-shit crazy. Or calls them anti-vaccine, an epithet that is synonymous with someone who is despised. Whether she believes it or not, those insults are hateful.

“Feel disgust? Yeah, those two comments are worthy of disgust, but if that's where we stop, we won't understand them, and for me, understanding these individuals is important.”

But she doesn’t understand them. And that’s the important distinction here. She doesn’t understand that these people are angry and frustrated because they feel as if no one is listening to them. They try and try to make people understand that their children may have had serious adverse reactions to a vaccine, and they are immediately called insulting names and labeled as fringe elements or compared to tea-baggers and birthers. Ever watch a non-verbal autistic child grow angry and frustrated because they can’t tell you what is wrong? It’s very similar.

“Can we change them, move them back from the brink? Oh, no I don't think so, but maybe if we understand how they got there, we'll be able to help others not go there. 
And that's where it is for me: understanding them so that we can create a community that stands in front of that abyss and lets no more go over.”

As long as you do not (or refuse to) understand them, you won’t be able to reach them. As long as you continue to treat them as inferior or as someone less than human, you won’t understand them. That is a simple fact of life.

“Mocking them is easy. Deriding them even more so. Compassion is harder, but if you look at them and realize that they have been broken by what they perceive as their burdens, then you must feel compassion.”

But that’s what she does. She mocks and derides them, which as we all know, is very compassionate. And she should also understand why they return the favor. I mean, we all know it is so very compassionate to call someone a dumbass or bat-shit crazy, right?

She goes on to discuss some of the blogs she visits, about the trials and struggles of these parents. And that is all fine and good. But, then she follows it up with this:

“We must look to those who do this so that we can help others do this, too. We must provide a community built on compassion and respect. We must continue to allow ourselves to feel just as keenly for those who dwell in the angry places as we do for those who get up and reject the angry places.”

Compassion and respect? She keeps using those words, but I do not think they mean what she thinks they mean. Compassion is the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. Is that what we see from her? Take a moment to read some of what she’s written here and decide for yourselves. Is what she does respectful? Is she showing deferential regard or esteem to those she writes about? Is she trying to relate to them or show them concern? Again, consider some of the names she calls those she disagrees with and then decide for yourselves.

“So, today, I ask that if you read this blog, you spend a moment in contemplation for what it would take to lead you to the angry places, to dwell there. I ask that you picture yourself in the midst of that bitterness that has pervaded all and how you would ever see a flicker of light from down there in the abyss. And I ask you to have compassion. Yes, they're wrong. Oh my. Yes, they're damaging, but they do far greater damage to their own psyches than they can ever do to us. After all, we can still walk away from the edge of the abyss.

If you cannot feel compassion for those who have lost all hope (and so many there have), I think you lose an essential part of yourself and step just a little bit closer to that abyss.”

Wrong how? In their spiteful rhetoric? Yes, I agree. But so are the people she is so chummy with, those whom she idolizes. They are just as guilty of the same hateful rhetoric. Or is she alluding that they are wrong in their beliefs about how their child(ren) developed autism. How does she know this? Has she seen their medical records? She’s making some pretty definitive claims in the absence of evidence. That isn’t very science and evidence based, is it? They are damaging to whom? The pharmaceutical companies? By the fact that they are trying to change a corrupt industry’s out-of-control vaccination policies, then these people are somehow evil in her mind. At least, that is what I am gathering from her little diatribe here.

Oh, I know what some people are going to say. They are going to say I’m being a hypocrite because I use insults and belittling language with those I disagree with. Yes, I do. I freely and openly admit that. But, I don’t preach about being compassionate and pretend that I’m that way on one hand and then spew hateful insults and rhetoric on the other. I make no secret of the fact that I don’t like these people, and that they have done nothing to earn or receive my respect. The best way for me to respond to these hypocrites is with as much contempt and derision as I can muster.

She doesn’t feel compassion. She feels that because she is “science and evidence based,” then those she disagrees with are inferior to her and therefore should be pitied. In fact, if you look at her hateful rhetoric and the way she treats those she disagrees with, you can see that she is falling into the very trap that she warns you of in the previous passage. And this, my friends, is yet more hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do.


  1. This bit: "If you cannot feel compassion for those who have lost all hope (and so many there have), I think you lose an essential part of yourself and step just a little bit closer to that abyss.”

    seems to me to be the most absurd piece in her entire diatribe. I've spent a lot of time hanging with parents who are convinced that vaccines damaged their children and they are, generally, not hopeless and not in an abyss. They are treating their children with varying degrees of success, many have children who have totally or partially recovered AND they have a supportive community to turn to for advice and friendship.

    True, some are angry when they consider the vaccine program and the lies around it. But being angry isn't the same as hopeless or in an abyss.

    The pro-vaccine parents with autistic children can be pretty angry and frustrated, too. It isn't that easy raising a child with a disability...

  2. First of all, I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO!!!!! proud of that boy. The leaps and bounds of improvements that have been made over the last year never fails to bring tears of joy to my eyes. Even as I'm writing this, there are tears. Please pass along the biggest hug and kiss ever from the "favorite" and know that you guys are in my prayers. I hope these improvements continue!

    I agree with what you said in regards to AoA. I followed them for awhile, but ended up leaving because of pretty much the exact same reason as you. I don't like to see that stuff, I think it does nothing to help things move forward, and everything to cause damage.

    Why is it necessary for those of us who have already been affected by autism to tear each other apart for their varying theories/beliefs/what have you? We should be coming together and supporting each other, not talking shit about this person or that person because they don't believe or think the same way that we do.

    Those of us who have autistic kids or kids on the autism spectrum need support from our fellows, not this..childish..petty..bullshit. It's really disgusting, as you said yourself. It's disgusting, and frustrating, and heartbreaking.

    This is why I left AoA and tend to avoid most any open forum discussion about autism anymore. This is all I ever see from these so-called adults, and it's not productive. Hurting someone else in any way just because you're hurting is wrong, and I can't support any person or group that would act that way, or condone others acting that way.

  3. If anything, parents like us use hope on a daily basis. We hope that the diet helps their tummies. We hope that they will learn self control. We hope!

    It seems to me that those like Orac and his mindless sycophants want to remove that hope. It's a sad state of affairs, and it saddens me that these idiots want to take away what little hope we have. Some of the treatments, yes, I agree, they are dangerous. But, attacking a parent for using a diet? Especially when the child is allergic to things like wheat and milk?

    And as to your final statement...Amen!!

  4. Rudegirl,
    I somewhat agree with you. However, I don't think that we should just take the insults and rhetoric that these pseudo-scientists and false skeptics spew at us. Should we take it to the length that AoA does? No, I don't think so. But, I don't think that we should just let them continue to insult and belittle us, marginalize us, because then we let them beat us. I will fight back, and I will go in swinging. THat's just how I am.

  5. Rudegirl,
    It's intermittent. He knows he can do it, but he has to be in the "mood" for it. So, some days, he uses the toilet all day, others, he won't do it at all.

  6. Your assessment of Ms. Wombles is spot on. She preaches compassion towards persons with disabilities, yet she refers to persons she does not like as "asshat" or codescendingly refers to a young blogger as "the puppy". She has laughed at me when one of her friends mocked and ridiculed my disability and she posted his ridicule of me on one of her facebook pages. She is a nasty person and certainly a hypocrite.

    There is the old saying Shallow brooks are noisy. It describes Ms. Wombles to a tea. She is superficial with nothing meaningful to say so she just attacks people personally to compensate for her grief at having a disabled son.

  7. I've been thinking about the "anti-vaccine" label and feel that it represents extreme laziness on the part of the vaccine defenders. Is there any other medical intervention which is considered completely above criticism? Perhaps sanitary practices...which fail badly in many modern medical institutions...but I can't think of anything else which cannot be questioned without this silly label.

    What made me think of this is that someone on the insidevaccines facebook page is claiming that all of the insidevaccines articles are "anti-vaccine" and implying that, therefore...

    But, if you look at the actual articles, insidevaccines is quite specific. We criticize false statistics, or problems with particular vaccines, or history that leaves out important pieces (like the reclassification of polio after the vaccine came into use). We aren't anti-vaccine in general, we are, consistently, critical in particular. But it is too much work for these people to actually read our articles, think about the science and figure out where we went wrong, so instead, out comes the label. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

  8. I see plenty of anti-vaccine activist who openly call themselves anti-vaccine. They are the honest ones.

    Of course it's possible to criticize vaccines without being anti-vaccine, in the same way it is possible to criticize some Muslims without being anti-Islam. The secret is sticking to the facts. If I say too many radical Islamic leaders are ignoring the core teaching of the Koran and inciting their followers to violence, that is something that can be supported with facts. But if I say Islam is an inherently violent religion and that the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim, then I've stepped over the line from advocacy to hatred, i.e., I would be anti-Islam.

    We see this same reckless disregard for the facts in the anti-vaccine movement when we read that vaccines contain anti-freeze and ether, or that the minute amount of formaldehyde found in some vaccines is somehow dangerous. Even the familiar old "mercury" trope is disingenuous, as it ignores basic laws of chemistry. Just because an element by itself is toxic (and let's fact it, most are), doesn't mean the element is dangerous when combined with other atoms in a molecule. Chlorine is a toxic gas that killed tens of thousands in WWI. It's also comprises 47% of table salt by weight. Horrors!

  9. First off, welcome Don. I will allow you to post here as long as you are polite. This post you just made borders on the impolite, but I'll let it slide this time. I am curious how you came upon my little blog.

    First off, I think you are missing the point of what Minority and I are saying. In theory, your comment should work. However, that is not what we are seeing with the false skeptics. To them, ANYONE who questions vaccine safety is anti-vaccine. Whether it is concern over these so called "coincidences" over the Gardasil injuries, or if they question why there are so many vaccines given now as opposed to 20 years ago, the false skeptics label them as anti-vaccine and then sweep them under the marginalization rug.

    What I talk about when I discuss vaccines is informed consent. When someone asks me about vaccines, I encourage them to vaccinate. I explain to them the dangers and the benefits. I explain to them that if they are concerned about too many vaccines at once, then they should get the most important ones (MMR, Polio, Pertussis), but spread out the rest a bit instead of getting 8 in one sitting. It won't hurt their child if they wait a few weeks between vaccinations. I tell them that if they are concerned about Thimerosal in the vaccines, there are Thimerosal free alternatives. I tell them that it is perfectly OK to refuse to vaccinate their 6th grader for a sexually transmitted disease if they are concerned about the safety of a vaccine that the benefit is questionable. No where do I discuss anti-freeze.

    But, in the eyes of the false skeptics, that makes me teh eebil and I should be called a nutjob.

    It's also disingenuous for the false skeptics to say that vaccines cannot cause injury to children that can be perceived as autism. They haven't seen the medical records of these children. They cannot make such definitive claims in absence of all the evidence. And, as we can see with a few of the NVICP payouts, it is possible to have a vaccine injury that looks quite similar to autism.

    So, I politely ask you to watch who you are calling anti-vaccine here. I also ask you politely (once) to refrain from insinuating that anyone talking here is being dishonest. Because we will be awfully quick to point you to those who are really being dishonest.

  10. It sounds like we both agree that some people are genuinely anti-vaccine. I've defined anti-vaccine. How would you define it?

  11. Yes, some people are genuinely anti-vaccine, and you won't see me saying otherwise. My definition of anti-vaccine tends to be the English definition of the word. That is someone who is completely against vaccination.

    If you want to label me, I tend to think of my self as vaccine-cautious.

  12. I would add that I don't think there is anything wrong with someone being anti-vaccine as long as they stick to the facts. For your reading pleasure, Don, I'll share this article from a blog that I work with: http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2008/03/13/common-anti-vaccination-myths-and-misconceptions/

    Nevertheless, insidevaccines is regularly called anti-vaccine.

    Once again, I think calling insidevaccines anti-vaccine is the result of laziness and a lack of interest in discussing (or even admitting) the actual issues around vaccines.

  13. Don, this is a prime example of a dishonest argument: Even the familiar old "mercury" trope is disingenuous, as it ignores basic laws of chemistry. Just because an element by itself is toxic (and let's fact it, most are), doesn't mean the element is dangerous when combined with other atoms in a molecule.

    If you want to talk about thimerosal in vaccines, then address the chemical compound. Provide us with good, peer-reviewed information about the amount which is demonstrated as safe to inject into a one hour old baby. Not done any longer in the U.S.? True, and all those babies in developing countries who are still receiving thimerosal containing vaccines shortly after birth?

  14. We know that the half-life of thimerosal is about seven days, and that it clears an infant's body in about a month. We also see no clear evidence of harm to those children, now 10 years and older, who received Hep B with thimerosal. If thimerosal causes autism (and that is the standard anti-vaccine claim), then why haven't we seen a major league drop in autism diagnoses in today's 3-5 year olds? Yeah, I know - it's still in some flu vaccines. But the fact is that most of today's 3-5 year olds have never received a TCV. Kids born in the 90s didn't have much choice, unless their parents withheld vaccines altogether. Don't forget that the original concern with thimerosal related to dosage - that the 180 mics in the pediatric schedule exceeded the established safe level for methyl mercury. But as thimerosal dosage fell, there was no corresponding decline in autism rates. If repeating that inconvenient truth makes me anti-safe vaccine, that's not my problem.

    The anti-vaccine movement, in all its shades of gray, suffers from lack of coherence. Nobody speaks for the movement because it's not really a movement in the traditional sense. It kind of resembles the Tea Party, that loose coalition of disgruntled voters with a fact-challenged understanding of US History and a vague sense of unease that the country is heading in the wrong direction. So some Teabaggers look to Saint Sarah for their marching orders, while others are more comfortable with lawmakers who actually completed their first term in a national office. Some are social conservatives who mistake Jesus for a founding father, while others are Edmund Burke groupies. Some are blatantly racist, while some are remarkably at ease with social diversity. Some have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. Some are bat shit crazy.

    Vaccine defenders, on the other hand, are united by best available science, which currently tells us there is no known association between vaccines and autism, and no reliable data for an epidemic of autism. It's convenient for your movement to demonize Paul Offit, but the fact is your beef is really with the science. Offit is just the messenger. Blaming Offit for two decades of vaccine science is like blaming Al Gore for the 2,000 climate scientists who tell us that global warming is real.

    Yes Minor, let's talk about the compound. Even if mercury was the most deadly substance in the universe (which it isn't), saying so contributes nothing to understanding the compound, just as understanding that fluorine as a dangerous corrosive gas is irrelevant to deciding which toothpaste to buy.

    The whole pro v. anti-vaccine argument comes down to a respect for evidence, and the willingness to change how we think about something as new evidence is available. Scientists change their mind all the time, and they challenge each other's findings. I don't see a lot of disagreement among the anti-vaxers. That's OK for a support group or a business. But it's the opposite of science.

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  16. Don, ethyl mercury does not actually clear the body in a month, it only clears the blood. In monkey trials it leaves deposits of organic and inorganic mercury in the brain and renal systems in monkeys. Scientific evidence tells us that if it happens in monkey's it probably happens in humans too. Of course, you're more than welcome to present what you consider to be safe levels of mercury in the brain and renal systems of infants. I look forward to reading the evidence.

    Your slight misrepresentation of the science is a classic tactic all too often used by the pro-thimerosal groupies. It sure sounds like science but the details are wrong.

    "Nobody speaks for the movement because it's not really a movement in the traditional sense. "

    BINGO! Amazing how useless (and lazy) it is to apply illogical stereotypes to a scientific discussion.

    "Vaccine defenders, on the other hand, are united by best available science, which currently tells us there is no known association between vaccines and autism, and no reliable data for an epidemic of autism."

    Now we have another example of scientific sounding rhetoric. First, the best available science is very poor, and therefore far from definitive. Second, the best available science most certainly tells us that there are cases of an association between vaccines and autism. Case study is considered evidence in EBM. There is a very public case study outlining how a vaccine reaction resulted in brain damage and subsequent Autism. That alone refutes your definitive statement. Once again, the devil is in the details.

    As for "reliable data for an epidemic of autism", your use of that fact is most amusing. You wave evidence of ignorance around like it's a sword in an argument. There is evidence of an epidemic, it's just not definitive. Ignorance is nothing to be proud of in science, especially when it amounts to incompetence or willful ignorance.

  17. "It's convenient for your movement to demonize Paul Offit, but the fact is your beef is really with the science."

    No, you've got it slightly wrong again. The first beef is with the LACK of SCIENCE. There is little credible safety data on vaccines, that is well established. There is no solid prevalence data on rates of Autism over time, that is also well established. What we have is a plethora of ignorance, and yet we have scientists (and others like yourself) making definitive statements based on ignorance. That's the beef with Offit. Ignorance does not support definitive statements. His propensity to publish erroneous facts kills any credibility he has.

    "Yes Minor, let's talk about the compound. Even if mercury was the most deadly substance in the universe (which it isn't), saying so contributes nothing to understanding the compound,"

    LOL. Except we know that organic and inorganic mercury in the brain are both harmful. Or do you wish to contend that point? Your analogy about flourine is false because after all, we're talking about ethyl mercury which is toxic to most life forms and does leave organic and inorganic deposits in the body after it is cleared from the bloodstream.

    "The whole pro v. anti-vaccine argument comes down to a respect for evidence, and the willingness to change how we think about something as new evidence is available."

    Again, you're so close and you even got this first sentence right.

    "Scientists change their mind all the time, and they challenge each other's findings. "

    Here is where you get the details wrong again. Your broad based generalization/stereotype is not true. Each individual behaves differently whether they are a scientist or not. In fact, the institution of science has a long history of NOT changing it's collective mind until the evidence is overwhelmingly obvious. Even with obvious evidence, science is often slow to change. That behaviour is well established with historical evidence.

    "I don't see a lot of disagreement among the anti-vaxers."

    That's because you're invoking a stereotype. There are many parents with vaccine injured children that debate both the causes of the damage, the mechanisms, and the ways to heal their children. Clearly you aren't observing the evidence in front of you.

    "That's OK for a support group or a business. But it's the opposite of science."
    Yes, that's exacly why the BUSINESS OF MEDICINE is fighting the evidence so consistently. That is supported by the evidence as well. The parents of vaccine injured parents are NOT a business, and they are guided by the clear evidence they have witnessed themselves.

  18. Ah, Schwartz, you caught this too:

    "Yes Minor, let's talk about the compound. Even if mercury was the most deadly substance in the universe (which it isn't), saying so contributes nothing to understanding the compound, just as understanding that fluorine as a dangerous corrosive gas is irrelevant to deciding which toothpaste to buy."

    The false skeptics come off all high and mighty, talking down to those they ignorantly label anti-vaccine/anti-science because they believe these people lack respect for science and evidence. And then we see the above hypocritical gem. And I'm not just talking about Don here; I see that party line being preached by Orac's drooling lickspittles all the time. They try to say that Thimerosal, since it is a mercury compound, is safer than mercury. They use similar analogies about chlorine and salt, as if to say that because it is a compound, it isn't toxic. There is no calling this disingenuous; this is downright dishonest!

    First off, yes...this is a major analogy fail. Flourine is very toxic. Flouride, not nearly as toxic.

    Mercury is toxic. Thimerosal? As toxic, if not more toxic, than mercury. Don't believe me? Look up the MSDS. Thimerosal is a known neuro-toxin that has been shown to destroy neurons in even miniscule doses.

    It's laughable that these people claim that those they falsely label anti-vaccine/anti-science don't know what they are talking about, but then they make statements like the above.

    Here's another one:

    "But the fact is that most of today's 3-5 year olds have never received a TCV."

    This isn't a "fact" because there are no reliable data to verify this claim. So, this is merely an assertion. The Autism rates may not have fallen, but we certainly are seeing a leveling off of rates. And this is those children who received fewer TCVs.

    Another one? Why not!

    "Vaccine defenders, on the other hand, are united by best available science, which currently tells us there is no known association between vaccines and autism, and no reliable data for an epidemic of autism."

    The best available science says nothing of the kind about the autism epidemic. In fact, there is much disagreement about the epidemic. The real fact of the matter is that those claiming that there is no epidemic are merely speculating and are not going off of any real science.

  19. "But the fact is that most of today's 3-5 year olds have never received a TCV."

    LOL, MSN, I missed that one. Here is what the basis for such an arbitrary statement is: "Yeah, I know - it's still in some flu vaccines."

    SOME flu vaccines. Some could mean 99% or it could mean 1%. I'll bet Don was one of those people up in arms about the suggestion that pregnant women and children use TCV free flu vaccines. Which way is it? I'm with you MSN, show me the data.

    Another double standard which I just noticed was that he states that there is no evidence of an epidemic (implying that prevalence numbers are unreliable) and yet in the same breath uses that same unreliable evidence to argue that TCV's have no effect -- Don, in case you were wondering you're referring to the continuing rise of published rates post 2002. Which is it? Reliable data or not. Is there an epidemic or not? Which one is the convenient fact of the day?

    Of course, this all derives from the same myth started by paracelcus (and propagated all over the internet by your sick admirer) many centuries ago that only dose makes the poison. Perhaps Don is not aware of modern biology where timing of environmental exposure in developing infants and children is critical. Remove TCV's except HepB, and apply it at birth so change the exposure to a larger one at 2 months for a small one at birth. Or later remove Thimerosal from hep B and subsitute it with a flu vaccine in utero and at birth changing the timing of exposure yet again. Or perhaps Don forgets that even minute amounts of better studied heavy metals has subtle measureable neurological effects are levels far below levels expected to have any effect.

    Again, another argument from Ignorance. Don also forgets that they have indeed found epidemiological problems associated with Thimerosal. Both Verstraeten AND the recent 2009 study of TCV's found a significant association with facial tics, which of course is considered a negative neurological outcome. Canary in a coal mine?

  20. I think we should have a link to this wonderfully positive and hopeful post from A of A http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/12/age-of-autism-awards-2010-local-heroes.html

    Poor Kwombles...who is it who wallows in negativity all the time?