Today I glanced at Orac’s cesspool of lies and misinformation and saw something interesting. Apparently, Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study was found to be fraudulent. The RID (Ridicule/Ignore/Deny) movement is up in arms, celebrating the downfall of their most despised foe. This is new and breaking News…wait a second. Why do I get such a strong feeling of Déjà vu?
Out of the blue, Brian Deer yells “Wakefield is a Fraud!”
The same thing he yelled in 2004…and 2005…and on up to 2010. Why is this news again?
Orac and his mindless mob of mumbling meatheads think that this is huge. They think that because Brian Deer, a journalist who is not scientifically trained, says that his analysis of the medical records of the Lancet children is true, then it must be true!
Now, before I begin, I must make a confession. I don’t know as much as I’d like about the Lancet study and the resulting scandal. Honestly, it has been something I’ve been meaning to get around to looking at, but just haven’t had the time. I also haven’t read Wakefield’s book, though I would like to. Again, it all falls down to lack of time. So, I will refrain from certain specifics about the study and the children within the study and stick with what I know about this case.
MSNBC headlines are emblazed upon the interwebz with the cry of “First Study to link Vaccines and Autism Declared a Fraud!”
Orac croons over at his Sewer that Wakefield’s fraud was “worse than previously thought.” Josephius at Huffington Post crows that he told us so. To them, this is not about children or health or protecting the herd; it’s about being right.
This all stems from a report by the journalist who originally brought charges against Dr. Wakefield and who went to the GMC council in England concerning this.
Is Wakefield guilty of fraud? Maybe. I don’t know, to be honest, because I haven’t read everything concerning this. When I do get the opportunity to read through the details, I’ll make my own judgment instead of letting someone else tell me what I should think…you know, like Orac tells his lickspittles to do?
What I do know is this. Going from Deer’s article, apparently he approached one of the parents of the Lancet 12 and found some pretty damning “evidence.” But, no one has verified this evidence. They are going off of Brian Deer’s word, and as we all know, he is perfectly unbiased and without conflict of interest considering he is being paid by a member of the board of directors for Glaxo Smith Kline, the company who made the MMR vaccine that Wakefield’s report questioned. You see, anecdotes like this are ok as long as it defends their paradigm.
Another thing. Looking at the MSNBC article, I notice a couple of glaring errors. This wasn’t a study; it was a case report. And, apparently both MSNBC and Orac failed to actually READ the report. Why do I say this, you ask?
Let’s look at what’s being said here:
From MSNBC, “First Study to link Vaccines and Autism Declared a Fraud!”
King Idiot also parrots this by-line, claiming that the report, not study, linked vaccines and autism.
What does the study say, though?
From the conclusion: “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described (p.164)”
Wait a second! The media is attacking Wakefield for fabricating a report, not study, about a link between vaccines and autism that didn’t actually link vaccines and autism?
Are we confused yet?
Brian Deer carefully analyzed the medical reports of the Lancet 12 and, with his extensive medical training, determined that the data was a fraud.
Now, my dear readers (no pun intended), take the time to consider what is wrong with my previous statement. Both the obvious and not-so-obvious.
Right…Deer is a journalist, not a scientist. And secondly…how was he able to get access to and report on confidential medical records belonging to children below the age of consent, i.e. minors?
Isn’t that illegal? Isn’t that a breach of journalistic integrity and a glaring example of professional misconduct?
So, Deer, the journalist (not scientist) declares that his expert analysis of the medical records of children that he somehow had access to (despite laws that prevent such things) contradicts the findings of Wakefield’s report (not study) that linked a vaccine (made by a company that his boss is on the board of directors of) with the childhood condition known as autism (but actually didn’t link the vaccine to said autism).
I know…hard to follow, huh? It gets better.
You see, none, not one, of the parents of the Lancet children has come forth to corroborate Deer’s claims. In fact, almost all of them defend Dr. Wakefield!
But, we should take Brian Deer’s word for it. Yes we should! The same Brian Deer who stood on national TV, looking at the picture a mother was holding up of her son, who was wearing a colostomy bag after having part of his bowel removed due to bowel disease, and arrogantly declaring with his expert opinion, “That’s not Bowel Disease; that’s diarrhea!”
Seems reliable, yes?
You know, this reminds me of the trial and media blitz about the Doctor who, by signing off on ghost written articles, killed tens of thousands of people by faking the data on the safety of Merck’s Vioxx. Anyone know his name? Can anyone find any articles about this?
Continuing the theme of accepting anecdote as evidence when it defends paradigms (you know, what Orac and his doltish clowns laugh at people like me about), I thought I would bring up an interesting exchange I saw recently at Orac’s Brothel.
In his article discussing Dr. Offit’s new book, a discussion took place about the alleged death threats against Dr. Offit. In it, a series of searches and links were provided, and then someone anonymously chimes in;
“I hate to side with STY and Say What here, but the google search you provided are all links to anecdotes. All we have to go on Dr. Offit's word, and that is just hear-say.”
Now, the two he/she mentioned were essentially trolls, and from the tone of his/her comment, he/she was only agreeing that the claims from Offit were anecdotal. But, then, he/she is vehemently attacked for saying that without proof, these claims weren’t evidence.
Ah, the irony is rich!
I love it when they turn on one of their own.