Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Reivew

On December 11, 2008 Dan Olmsted posted an article: Olmsted on Autism: The Decline and Fall of (Almost) Everything

Dan, what you do mean by "(Almost) Everything"??? The past year has not gone well for you and the other anti-vaccinators at AoA, and their lemmings. let us review the year.

Probably the biggest failure, as you see it, is the total and utter refutation of Wakefield's bogus claim that the MMR causes Autism. We started the years knowing that he was highly conflicted, and a hired gun for the attorneys in the now defunct British litigation.

Later, we learned, through testimony of the leading experts in their fields, that Wakefield was told that the laboratory tests were tainted, and showed false positives. However, that did not stop him, and he published the paper anyway.

This led to the current Measles epidemic in Great Britain where children are being needlessly hospitalized. Then, the epidemic popped up in the US. All among unvaccinated children whose parents were terrorized by Wakefield into not vaccinating their kids. How many have had permanent damage?

Now, Prof. Stephen Bustin, relying on his unique expertise, and the recent Hornig study, has called on two of the other investigators who used Wakefield's tainted samples to repudiate his findings. What has the anti-vaccinators done? They are trying to twist the study to say that its supports Wakefield. Hogwash, and anyone with a reading comprehension level above elementary, knows it.

By the way, the Hornig study lists numerous articles, case control studies, etc. that show that Wakefield has not been replicated. Period.

So, Wakefield and the MMR scare declined, and is about to fall, assuming that the last few anti-vaccinators will find a shred of intellectual honest.

And, this entire affair resurrects Mady Hornig, of Columbia University, and brings her back into the realm of science.

With the new President coming into office, AoA was hoping that they would score a big appointment with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. being appointed to head the EPA. RFK, Jr. wrote a rather poorly researched and science devoid article supporting the mercury causes autism mantra.

With the extensive proof that there is no link, Forbes Magazine, which is not one of my favorite periodicals, skewered that nicely. In an article entitled, Dangerous Kook At The EPA? Kennedy's deficiencies to run a cabinet level agency were clearly outlined.

Kennedy did not get that appointment. It seems that President Elect Obama has high standards, and a Kook does not fit in. AoA's hopes surely did decline and fall.

Another problem for the anti-vaccinators was the fact that the California autism numbers just would not fall as they had hoped. Dr. Robert Schechter reported:

"The DDS data do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines. The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism. "

Yes, those pesky numbers just would not go down like they were supposed to. Time to move the goal posts again...

Things did not go well in Congress, either. Congressman Henry Waxman, chair of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent out an excellent letter to his colleagues in Congress which lays out the issues quite clearly. You can read about it here.

The sweetest part of this event was the fact that he repudiated his colleague, Dan Burton, who "investigated" Autism and vaccines a few years ago with hearings that provided a stage for modern day snake oil sales creeps. That was a waste of taxpayer money.

And, of course, it cause major conniptions.

All of this would make a great year for evidence based autism and vaccination studies. It would be nice to just quit here. But, there is more.

Dr. Paul Offit, who appears to be the one single most scary person to the AoAers and their lemmings, had his book, Autism's False Prophets published. The AoAers were apoplectic! They whinneyed and whined about what was written (without actually reading it), and bleated and brayed about Dr. Offit's supposed conflicts of interests (all of which were fully disclosed, and well explained.)

The AoAers and their lemmings posted some of the most disgusting and hate filled comments about Dr. Offit. They were particularly upset that RotaTEQ, the vaccine he developed, was shown to saving thousands of lives. I guess that the AoAers and their lemmings prefer dead children.

It got better. Amanda Peet, an actor, made a statement where she called parents who do not vaccinate Parasites. Ms. Peet caused some howling and hollering on the part of the lemmings, and she apologized for saying they were lemmings.

She said that after she had heard of the evils of vaccination, she conferred with Dr. Offit and went ahead and vaccinated her children. They AoAers were apoplectic! They posted the email address of her agent, etc. and encouraged emailing them. They proposed that her movies be boycotted.

This was rather humorous. The AoAers love Jenny McCarthy whose career started, and apparently reached its high point, when she exposed her all for Playboy (sorry, no link). Ms. Peet's career is still growing. She is a spokesperson for Every Child By Two, founded by former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter.

Ms. Peet kicks Jenny's butt when she tells people not to listen to celebrities, but to go to the scientists for their advice.

My only complaint about Ms. Peet is that she wimped out and apologized for calling non-vaccinating parents parasites. They ARE parasites and freeloaders. Why apologize for telling the truth?

And, then Barack Obama was elected President. It has now turned out that this one single event may very well beckon the end of pseudo-science. His appointments have all been well grounded in science. Even his Attorney General designee, Eric Holder, got his start in a high school known for teaching science and mathematics.

All-in-all the AoAers and their lemmings have had a very bad year. They lost as much as the Dow Jones.

And the Dow is expected to recover.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Agony of The Feet

During the last few days, the fearless leader of the Vaccine Vanguard, formerly known as the Mercury Militia, had several hissy fits just because a veteran New York Times reporter named Donald McNeil insisted that J.B. get his story straight.

It all started with Mr. McNeil contacting Fearless Leader to discuss his upcoming article reviewing Dr. Paul Offit's new book, Autism's False Prophets. Mr. McNeil, you see, is a real journalist, with credentials and experience far beyond that of J.B.'s paid mouthpiece, David Kirby. J.B. actually cites some of Mr. McNeil's experience. However, he strangely leaves out this from the official biography:

He has won several awards: For a series on patent monopolies on AIDS drugs in Africa, for a series on AIDS in one South African town, for a series on six diseases on the brink of eradication and for a series on third world cancer victims dying without morphine.
Oh, so Mr. McNeil is an award winning journalist who just happens to be very knowledgeable on the subject of vaccination? J.B. cannot handle that. So he leaves it out. Intellectual chicken.

Speaking of chickens, J.B. has been eviscerated by Orac, over at Respectful Insolence, and at Autism News Beat. I suspect that other bloggers will pile on, since J.B. leaves so much to discuss wherever he goes.

And, let us not underestimate J.B. He never, ever, passes up an opportunity to shoot himself in his foot. His first article concerning Mr. McNeil was on December 15, 2008, and, true to form, J.B could not resist providing his other foot with another wound on December 17, 2008.

J.B. must hate his feet. No sooner than Orac posting his excellent article, J.B. posts more of his bleatings and brayings in a comment to Orac's article. Once again, J.B. attacks his feet and is promptly disemboweled by Orac and his commenters.

That is three times J.B. has shot himself in his foot (The Handley Hat-trick) over just one teensy-weensy article THAT HAS YET TO BE PUBLISHED in the New York Times. But is it a teensy-weensy article?

I submit that it is not. It gives Dr. Offit's book continuing coverage in THE publication that is synonymous with book reviews and BEST SELLERS. Make no mistake, J.B. is deeply concerned that AFP will get a good review and become more generally available. He even mentions the sales ranking on

J.B. is, of course, using a logical fallacy to prove that AFP is not worth reading. If AoA ever uses logic, it is fallacious logic. I doubt J.B. has read it. If so, he did not understand it. He has never demonstrated an ability to understand science.

I just checked our library system on line catalog. All of the editions of EOH are on the shelves, and none of editions of AFP are available. Some libraries have waiting list, or restrict access to community members.

And now we know why J.B. has such a rotten disposition. He is suffering from the Agony of The Feet.

Special note: Recently, I was told that I was being too hard on Mr. Kirby and I should respect his "experience", etc. I do. However, his background pales in the light of Mr. McNeil's. I trust that this blogger will have an article posted forthwith criticizing J.B. for his attack on Mr. McNeil.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

David, check your sources....

The old saying, engage brain before shooting from the lip is excellent advise. David did not bother to, as Kevin points out here David Kirby didn’t look before he leapt.

Lisa chastised me for being hard on Kirby because he has a good resume. The problem is, that he has abandoned his resume for AoA and HuffPoop, where being anti-vaccination is more important than keeping up with the facts.

When Kirby returns to acting like a true journalist and bids AoA farewell, I will soften. Until then, in my opinion, he is no better than the anti-vac liars who operate and infest the sewer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another ALTERNATIVE Contest

On Monday, December 1, 2008, Dan Olmsted posted:

"Calling all Readers! Nominations for the AOA AWARDS '08
Editor's Note: Again this year, Age of Autism will name the year's winners and warriors (and a few sinners) -- and we want your nominations. Please send them by Dec. 10 to me at [his email address]. There are several obvious categories involving people, events, publications and media moments. But true to our reader-inspired spirit here at AOA, we'll let you decide. Past winners -- who are thus ineligible though much appreciated -- include Jenny McCarthy as Person of the Year, Michelle Cedillo as Child of the Year, Ashley Reynolds as Media Person of the Year. But think creatively -- what mattered most in '08 and who or what deserves to be honored? Tell us why, too, and we'll run many of your comments, along with winners and runners-up, over the year-end holidays. (Worst moments, lousiest books, dumbest quotes also are welcome! We wouldn't want to leave anyone off-it) -- Dan Olmsted"

No, I do not expect to be nominated, except maybe for Rookie of The Year. That would be fun.

However, there are many deserving people that this blog would like to promote. Feel free to suggest.

NOTE: I would never suggest visiting AoA and nominating anyone, like EoH for lousiest book, or anything posted there for worst quote.

Do they teach logic in Journalism School?

On November 30, 2008 Mr. Kirby posted an article on AoA entitled "The List Keeps Growing: David Kirby on the Autism Vaccine Connection" where he is chortling over Dr. Peter Fletcher, former Chief Scientific Officer at the UK Department of Health comment thus adding him to the list Mr. Kirby maintains of people who have expressed opinions about Autism and whether there should be more research.

If they do teach logic in journalism school. Mr. Kirby must have snoozed through the class on the Appeal to Authority, and/or (most likely and) the Appeal to Popularity.

In the former, "Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true." (Emphasis added).

In the latter, "...popular opinion can be, and quite often is, mistaken. Hindsight makes this clear: there were times when the majority of the population believed that the Earth is the still centre of the universe, and that diseases are caused by evil spirits; neither of these ideas was true, despite its popularity. ..."

Do not be confused by this. I do want more research, especially into the genetic areas. If, during the course of genetic research it is shown that there is some likelihood that environmental factors do play a role in causation, then that finding should be followed-up. I consider it a waste of money to focus on environmental causation simply because there is no evidence to sugges that this exists. Spend the limited research money on areas which are likely to produce results.

AoA is replete with numerous instances of the use of logical fallacies. In fact, if they did not use logical fallacies, they would use no logic at all.