Anne Dachel okay with everyone else’s kids dying so long as her’s make it out

November 19, 2011
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It was inevitable that as soon as the NY Times released its short but devastating review of the latest anti-vaccine propaganda flick, The Greater Good, the folks at Age of Autism wouldn’t take it lying down and mount an assault on the critic.

And sure enough, Anne Dachel delivered in spades with this amusingly hyperbolic screed against a film critic for not liking their shitty movie. Not since The Brown Bunny has there been such a petty, childish response to a bad review.

Just how absurd, fundamentally dishonest, and hyperbolic is Dachel’s response? Look at the title of her piece:

New York Times Reviews The Greater Good Movie Tells Vaccine-Injured Children to Drop Dead

Um, did I miss that part? I read the review and it said nothing…NOTHING of the kind. What film critic Jeannette Catsoulis DID say was that the film was an “…emotionally manipulative, heavily partial look at the purported link between autism and childhood immunization” that “…would much rather wallow in the distress of specific families than engage with the needs of the population at large.”

Catsoulis continues by pointing out that the whole thesis and line of inquiry of the film is entirely “fundamentally flawed”, since “it fails to point out that even were such a link proved definitively, all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent.” In other words, the film sets up a total straw man argument by focusing on the wrong questions.

Catsoulis argues the film isn’t as balanced as it pretends to be as it didn’t show the suffering of children who contract the very diseases the vaccines prevent:

“A cost-benefit analysis is completely ignored. Also elided are the mostly forgotten horrors of measles, mumps, chickenpox and polio: instead of lingering at a graveside with grieving parents who believe vaccines killed their baby girl, perhaps the filmmakers could have unearthed some footage of children encased in iron lungs.”

Though a correction has been made to the review because apparently the film does show children in iron lungs, it’s quite clear from Catsoulis’ mistake that this is clearly not emphasized and certainly not given equal attention to the very few individual cases of alleged vaccine injuries the film is much more interested in feeding to the public.

But that’s where Anne Dachel’s whiny response takes an odd turn as she leaps many dimensions of logic to argue that it’s not reasonable for health practitioners to place greater importance on protecting the most lives because they should apparently only care about protecting Anne Dachel’s kids:

Phrases like, “needs of the population at large,” “cost-benefits analysis,” and “all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent” are really frightening to me. It makes me think of things like “peripheral damage” and “acceptable loss.”

That’s because you’re insane, Anne. The terms you describe come from military strategy, not medical practice. In fact, such behavior is considered highly unethical in medicine and could lead to losing one’s license to practice (ya know, like Dachel’s buddy Wakefield lost his license for his callous disregard for child welfare). Perhaps the single best example demonstrating that medicine doesn’t work that way is with organ donation. Doctors can’t just harvest organs from a terminal patient to save numerous other patients. Hell, if a person drops dead this very minute, doctors can’t just take the organs. The person would have to have volunteered to be an organ donor. So even if the fate of five other terminal patients rests on the organs of one dude who’s already dead, they still must respect that person’s wishes as best as they can. This is not something that is taken lightly. But yes, generally doctors have to play a numbers game and do the best they can to protect the most people. It’s almost like that’s their job or something.

But what this all comes down to is, exactly as the review says, a cost-benefit analysis. Doctors often have to make major life and death decisions, sometimes very quickly. This often means going with what has the best odds of a positive outcome paired with the lowest odds of making things worse. It’s not perfect. Sometimes medical procedures can fail or even make things worse. Nobody knows for sure how it will all turn out in the end. But keep in mind that even seat belts have been responsible for some deaths. So does that mean we should all stop wearing seat belts? No. That’s absurd because when you look at a cost-benefit analysis, it’s clear that seat belts save far more lives than they hurt.

Like seat belts, vaccines aren’t 100% safe. And everyone acknowledges this fact openly. That’s the whole point of Catsoulis’ criticism. Everyone already agrees vaccines CAN cause injuries. The only real point of contention if a legitimate one existed (it doesn’t) would be whether vaccines do more harm than good. And the answer to that question is absolutely not.

Lastly, Dachel exploits a common argument among anti-vaxxers, implying that vaccine requires some sort of child sacrifice. It does not, at least no more than saying automobiles require child sacrifice. The fact is that as long as we drive cars, some people will get killed in car accidents. But that’s not a requirement of society’s continued use of cars. To suggest otherwise is absurd. Same with vaccines though even more so. Cars kill thousands of Americans every year. Vaccines haven’t killed even one for at least the last two. Incidentally, 27 Americans died of lightning strikes in 2010 alone. So consider that while Dachel condemns them damned vaccines.

Meanwhile, millions of lives have been protected from deadly diseases. If looking at those statistics, Anne Dachel wants to side with the viruses at the expense of the human species, she’s welcome to do it but the rest of us sane people are going to mock her mercilessly for her pathologically terrible decision-making skills. Her child is much, much more likely to suffer at the hands of the diseases vaccines can prevent than the vaccines themselves. And if she wants to take her chances by not wearing a seat belt because seat belts too have caused injury or even death, she can do that too.

And how does Dachel defend this idiotic view?

Catsoulis isn’t troubled by the fact that there’s no way to tell WHOSE CHILD IS VULNERABLE. It’s just the chance we all have to take—for the good of the herd I guess.

It makes me afraid that in the end, when “a link [is] proved definitively,” to use the author’s words, we’ll be told that what happened to our kids is justified by the claim that vaccines prevented lots of other kids from getting sick.

Dachel isn’t troubled by the fact that there’s no way to tell WHOSE SEAT BELT WILL FAIL. It’s just the chance we all have to take–for the good of the people who might be hurt if our bodies get thrown from our vehicles during a car crash. Dachel would have people believe it’s a choice between protecting your kid or protecting other people; it’s not. Vaccines protect BOTH the vaccinated and those around them. There’s no need to pick and choose priorities. It’s a fuckin’ win-win situation for everyone. But if she wants to risk everyone’s lives on this appeal to hypothetical future evidence that will confirm her presently unjustifiable speculations–if that’s what she wants to hang her hat on–then I’m going to have to cite my own hypothetical future evidence that she’s certifiably insane. So just remember my warnings when future Anne Dachel is up in the bell tower massacring dozens of people with a shotgun while eating babies, stealing Christmas, and using magic to resurrect Hitler.

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Do we suspect Age of Autism doesn’t care for Dr. Paul Offit?

October 27, 2011
September 12, 2009-66-NECSS

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Dr. Paul Offit has just been appointed to the Institute of Medicine. It’s a great honor and a validation of all his work both as a medical researcher and communicator over the last several years.

And seemingly in honor of this announcement, that wretched hive of scum and villainy known as “Age of Autism” has reposted a bunch of their old screeds against Offit himself that spend little time addressing the actual science and no time pointing out that Offit is not saying anything remotely out of sync with the rest of the international medical community.

For instance, here’s an old piece from January from J.B. “fuck facts” Handley that includes a note saying it’s being reposted because of the Offit announcement.

Handley’s begins with on a very subtle and ambiguous note:

OK, let me be clear: I think Paul Offit is a blowhard liar, a vaccine profiteer and apologist, and every time he opens his mouth he disrespects my son. When the final chapter is finally written on this man-made autism epidemic, I will do everything within my power to ensure that Offit is remembered by history as one of the most sinister, dishonest, well-funded talking heads pharma ever produced, and that his efforts served to afflict so many children with autism who may otherwise have avoided it.

I feel like Handley here is falling into the classic journalist trap of being too objective and balanced, leaving me with no idea what I’m supposed to think of Offit. Okay, enough irony. Right out of the gate, Handley has played his entire hand. He has a deep-seeded hatred for Paul Offit and has no interest whatsoever in any facts that would change his mind. He makes bold accusations against Offit he has no interest in substantiating (and indeed, he never does in this article). Handley calls him a liar but never proves or even comes remotely close to proving Offit has lied about anything (let alone the rest of the international medical community who share Offit’s stance). Handley calls Offit a “vaccine profiteer” because as one of several inventors of a vital, life-saving vaccine, Offit was paid for his work (as he explains himself here. It’s also discussed here)…not unlike anyone else who receives payment for performing a job. Handley calls Offit an apologist because Offit shares the exact same position as every single reputable health organization on Earth and says so publicly. Handley asserts that autism is “man-made” even though there is no legitimate evidence that anyone has ever presented to demonstrate this is true. And finally, Handley declares his intentions to destroy utterly Offit’s reputation and brand him a villain for all time despite the indisputable fact that Offit has easily saved thousands of lives. Of course, I don’t know him personally so for all I know, Paul Offit could be a wife-beating rapist who runs with scissors and steals candy from babies. But if Offit does have any dark secrets, they’d have to be pretty huge to outweigh the enormous good we know for a fact that he’s done.

So Handley has singled Offit out as one of the great villains of history…even though, again, he’s not saying anything different from every reputable health organization on planet Earth. So does that mean that every one of the millions of health officials who agree with Offit are also being paid off by pharma? Just how much money does pharma have? And just how much money is in their bribing experts fund? And after bribing every doctor on Earth, how much money would pharma have to then make in order to break even on this investment, let alone actually profit? Wouldn’t a better business model be to just sell a product that is both safe and effective? Then they wouldn’t have to waste time, money, and energy bribing anyone.  Nah! Too complicated. Must bribe everyone.

There’s not much more to Handley’s “article” beyond the content of that first paragraph. Like a stupid monkey, he just throws feces in random directions hoping something will hit Offit and stick. For instance:

…Offit, a doctor who has never seen a patient with autism, never treated autism, and never published a study about autism, is somehow considered to be an expert on autism.

These are all such stale and silly arguments, especially given that Handley doesn’t have a millionth of the medical training and experience Offit has…or, you know, any at all. And Offit doesn’t treat patients because he’s a medical researcher. That’s like condemning a police officer because he doesn’t pick up your garbage in the morning. It’s simply not his fuckin’ job. Moreover, Offit is not considered an expert in autism and he doesn’t even present himself as a vaccine expert (review of his qualifications here). But his resume clearly includes lots of published research on rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety, which seems quite relevant to the conversation Handley seems to want to have about vaccine safety. Still, Offit doesn’t profess to be an expert in autism or vaccines in general. Handley, on the other hand, claims expertise in BOTH, despite no formal education on either, nor any experience.

Handley then goes onto accuse Offit of being a multi-millionaire as if that is some sort of indictment of his character. And this of course comes after years of Handley and his fellow members of the “I hate Paul Offit” club greatly inflating Offit’s earnings from his Rototeq patent by several hundred percent. Further, one gets the impression from Handley that Offit lives in a mansion, is driven around by in a limo, wears a monocle and top hat, and wipes his ass with hundred dollar bills while Offit’s actual lifestyle is rather unremarkable. He lives in an ordinary, reasonably-sized house and drives his own affordable car to his regular, daily job. Additionally, it’s not as though Offit’s wealth came from inheritance or any sorted means; it came from hard work and dedication to co-creating a product that has actually saved many lives. Handley’s claims that Offit’s career was “supported by Merck” (whatever that means) is bogus and has been publicly debunked ages ago.

The piece doesn’t make a single statement about the science; it’s literally just a long hit piece against a man who is simply the most public face of a position held by every reputable health organization on the planet that attempts to dodge that fact to give the false impression that criticism of Handley’s idiotic beliefs begin and end with Offit and the evil pharmaceutical companies. Nonsense. If Handley wants to be taken seriously, he’s got to address the science, not just fling mud at his critics. And if he is just going to mud-sling, he’s got to back up his potentially libelous (and possibly dangerous) accusations with compelling evidence.

Handley isn’t the only one at Age of Autism taking aim at Offit this week with a rerun. Young Jake “everyone who disagrees with me is a shill” Crosby reposted one of his older Offit hit pieces too. It might as well have been written by Handley though since it’s just a retread of the same silly accusations. The only discernible difference is that young Jake has more of a flair with language. For instance, he calls Offit “millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit.” See! Totally different. Now Offit’s really Mr. Burns toiling in his nuclear power plant, trying to figure out how to block out the sun. Of course, Offit doesn’t own a factory and doesn’t even still receive any money off his patented Rototeq vaccine. All he did was design a vaccine with several other researchers and they applied for a patent. That’s it! The man still has a regular job at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. If that’s your idea of a “millionaire industrialist,” then your idea of what that means differs greatly from mine…and that of Merriam Webster. Offit neither owns nor is engaged in the management of an industry. He just fuckin’ patented a vaccine!

Jake also invokes Robert Kennedy’s now thoroughly debunked Simpsonwood lies (see here, here, and here), which Salon later retracted after printing many corrections. To his credit, Jake at least attempts to make scientific points…though they’re all demonstrably wrong and have been shown to be wrong on countless occasions.

But then Jake goes and does the silliest of things. He actually attempts to cite a long list of reputable health organizations that completely disagree with him 100% for support:

These concerns about vaccines causing autism and similar conditions – which do not necessarily point to thimerosal or the MMR specifically as the prime culprits – are clearly serious concerns of leaders in the CDC, FDA, NIH, IOM, AAP, WHO and the vaccine industry. But to Paul Offit, “this is classic for pseudoscience.”

Ouch. Jake, you’ve gone and done the dumbest thing in your whole life. Ya can either rail against this organizations or take their side but you can’t have it both ways, buddy.

“From time to time, rumors circulate that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative once used in several vaccines (and still used in some flu vaccine), could contribute to ASDs. However, valid scientific studies have shown there is no link. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the CDC, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) agree that science does not support a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism.” –American Academy of Pediatrics

“The author concludes that recent studies have found no association between MMR vaccination and autism. The frequent embryologic neuroanatomic abnormalities found in children with autism lessen the likelihood that MMR immunization is a major risk factor. The Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine and a special American Academy of Pediatrics panel have concluded that evidence does not support MMR immunization as a risk factor for autism.”

RICHARD SADOVSKY, M.D., American Academy of Family Physicians 

“On May 18th, 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its eighth and final report from its Immunization Safety Review Committee.  Based on a thorough review of clinical and epidemiological studies, neither the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal nor the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine are associated with autism, says the new report. Furthermore, the hypotheses regarding how the MMR vaccine and thimerosal could trigger autism lack supporting evidence and are theoretical only. Further research to find the cause of autism should be directed toward other lines of inquiry that are supported by current knowledge and evidence and offer more promise for providing an answer, said the committee that wrote the report.  The American Medical Association (AMA) lauds the process that went into the creation of this scientific report and applauds the IOM and the CDC for their strong efforts in continuing to ensure the safety of the vaccines that are administered in the United States through post-market surveillance and studies such as this.”

American Medical Association

“Prior to its introduction in the 1930’s, data were available in several animal species and humans providing evidence for its safety and effectiveness as a preservative (Powell and Jamieson 1931). Since then, thimerosal has been the subject of several studies (see Bibliography) and has a long record of safe and effective use preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines, with no ill effects established other than minor local reactions at the site of injection.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
“Some people believe increased exposure to thimerosal (from the addition of important new vaccines recommended for children) explains the higher prevalence in recent years. However, evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association. Furthermore, a scientific review* by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that “the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.” CDC supports the IOM conclusion.” –Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“There is much debate regarding the correlation of childhood vaccines and the occurrence of autism in children. The weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. We recognize there is considerable public interest in this issue.”

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Resources

“The committee concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The committee also concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. The committee further finds that potential biological mechanisms for vaccine-induced autism that have been generated to date are theoretical only.” –http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/4705/20155.aspx”>Institute of Medicine (2004)

Finally, he ironically calls Offit “Nick Nailer,” the tobacco lobbyist in the film Thank You For Smoking. What amuses me about this is not only the fact that a lobbyist is an actual profession, so Offit can be definitively shown to not be a lobbyist, but that I constantly point out the fact that anti-vaxxers constantly work out of Nick Nailer’s playbook such as when they try to change the discussion to one about so-called “vaccine choice.” It’s as if it were directly lifted from the ice cream gambit scene in that film:

It’s a shame. So many words from J.B. and Jake, and nothing to show for it either than what can be summed up completely with, “Oh yeah!”

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J.B. Handley drinking game

May 18, 2011

The latest blog by Generation Rescue’s J.B. Handley posted over at that wretched hive of scum and villainy known as Age of Autism has inspired me to create a drinking game. The piece is a long rant against David Gorski titled, Dr. David Gorski’s Unique Brand of Moronism.

Here are the rules of the drinking game, which while designed for this particular article, should probably fit any Handley article:

1. Drink every time Handley uses an ad hominem argument

2. Drink every time Handley acknowledges he’s using an ad hominem but then still treats it as if it’s a legitimate argument anyway.

3. Drink every time Handley suggests the mere use of a pen name invalidates a critic’s position.

4. Drink every time Handley pulls a Donald Trump by asserting his critic’s respectable medical credentials aren’t respectable at all even though he himself as no medical credentials at all.

5. Drink every time Handley uses scare quotes.

6. Drink twice every time Handley uses scare quotes more than once in a single sentence.

7. Drink every time Handley tries to paint his critic as just a big meanie while implying he would never sink so low (ignoring that he himself reluctantly was pressured to give up the domain pauloffit.com, where the site’s sole purpose was to flame one of his leading critics).

8. Drink every time Handley references either his own parental status or his critic’s not being a parent, or uses that status  as a rationale for his knowledge (scare quotes could not be used around the word knowledge because scare quotes are now an official trademark of J.B. Handley) and/or behavior.

9. Drink twice every time Handley explicitly mentions he’s a parent of a kid with autism or special needs.

10. Drink every time Handley applies circular reasoning by just asserting vaccines cause autism or neurological injury as if it were a fact.

11. Drink every time Handley embeds or links to a video where we’re supposed to see a demonstration of some irrelevant point he’s making and the clip doesn’t actually even demonstrate that point.

12. Drink if Handley just trash talks for at least eight paragraphs and then treats it as if it were some brief diversion from some larger and more legitimate point.

13. Drink twice if that larger and more legitimate point turns out to be just more trash talking.

14. Drink every time Handley (who once endorsed a photoshopped image of his critics sitting at a Thanksgiving table preparing to eat a baby) charges his critic with un-professional conduct and immaturity while never addressing the actual criticisms themselves.

15. Drink every time Handley compares or contrasts his critics with fictional doctors on TV or in films.

16. Drink every time Handley chooses to pretend a significant scientific distinction is nothing more than a game of semantics even though it’s already been thoroughly explained why it isn’t.

17. Drink every time Handley refers to, “feeding the hungry lie,” applying the same circular reasoning of asserting vaccines cause autism or neurological injury even when all the evidence is squarely against that hypothesis.

18. Drink every time Handley applies the long debunked “too much, too soon” gambit or poses an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

19. Drink every time Handley asserts that the ingredients in the vaccines are dangerous despite all the evidence to the contrary.

20. Drink twice if mentions an ingredient that is either naturally produced in the body or that the body is regularly exposed to in larger quantity than is found in any vaccine such as formaldehyde or aluminum.

21. Drink if Handley just copy and pastes the ingredient list, counting on scary names like 2-phenoxyethanol or polydimethylsilozone to create fear, even though you suspect he has no idea what the ingredients are.

22. Drink every time Handley references mercury or thimerosal as if that isn’t the single most debunked anti-vaccine claim of them all.

23. Drink every time Handley plugs one of his other shitty websites.

24. Drink every time Handley disingenuously suggests he’s not really anti-vaccine but is completely open to the possibility that vaccines don’t cause autism.

25. Drink twice if this comes at some point after he’d already asserted vaccines cause autism as if it were a fact.

26. Drink every time Handley claims to know what a real doctor would do or say despite not being one.

27. Drink every time Handley suggests anecdotes make an adequate substitute for epidemiological data.

28. If you’re still alive, donate your body to science.

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J.B. Handley surprisingly adheres to letter of promise, though not really the spirit of it

April 29, 2011

As I reported two days ago, the blogger previously known only as Sullivan has revealed himself to be none other than Matt Carey, an industrial researcher in computer hardware who himself has an autistic child. And this bit of news was very unfortunate for professional reality denier J.B. Handley, who vowed several months ago that if Sullivan was revealed to be someone other than Bonnie Offit, he would–well, here’s how he put it [emphasis mine]:

Bonnie Offit, or Sullivan for that matter, I have a simple offer: If you can produce a dad with a child with autism with a remarkable grasp of the medical and scientific literature who blogs under the name Sullivan, a man who has an inordinate grasp of the details of your husband’s patents, lawsuits, published studies, and web habits, I will make sure that the pauloffit.com website is given to you and your husband for good.

In fact, if you can produce this father, I promise to never, ever publicly write about or utter the name “Paul Offit” again.

I’m waiting, Bonnie, and I have a funny feeling I will be waiting a very long time.

That very long time was five months and indeed, now that father has been produced. Now two days ago, I joined my fellow skeptical bloggers in speculating that Handley would backpedal and make excuses why he would not carry out his end of his “offer.” But to our collective surprise, Handley actually seems willing to follow through. . .to a point:

In a previous post, I speculated that Sullivan was actually Bonnie Offit, wife of a not-to-be-mentioned vaccine millionaire. Mr. Carey’s personal outing of himself renders my speculation incorrect. As many ravenous members of the dark side I’m sure have mentioned, I also made a simple promise that if Sullivan was NOT Bonnie Offit, I would not utter said name of said leader of the Dark Side. I also offered to give up the website http://www.pauloffit.com Apparently, Mr. Carey is a parent of a child with autism. Matt, if you’re reading this, note that I really have no interest in writing about or attacking other parents, and you can expect similar treatment. My enemies are the AAP, CDC, and the vaccine makers themselves, as well as their well-paid minions. Since you don’t appear to be in any of those camps and have a kid just like me, I don’t have the heart.

So he has agreed to give up the domain http://www.pauloffit.com and is no longer referring to Offit by name. But that wasn’t really the deal now was it. Handley said:  “I promise to never, ever publicly write about or utter the name “Paul Offit” again.” Not using his name was only the second condition; the first was to no longer write about him. Now it remains to be seen whether he’ll carry out that first condition from here on out, but if his childish concession is just going to be referring to Offit by thinly veiled hateful epithets to further vilify him, then I’d say that not only is he not carrying out his promise but he’s behaving even more despicably than before.

Now Handley is perfectly free to go on living in his delusional, black and white fantasy world where every reputable health organization on planet Earth is an agent of the “Dark Side” that’s out to get us but this sort of dehumanizing rhetoric has serious consequences.

I always like to put to conspiracy theorists the challenge to actually kill or capture the specific people they claim to be absolutely certain are really secretly ruling the world and destroying lives because I’m confident that they lack the courage of their convictions. But all it takes is just one crazed fanatic Age of Autism reader to take Handley’s hyperbolic rhetoric deadly seriously, and we could potentially have another Timothy McVeigh or Jared Lee Loughner on our hands. Now I’m not trying to suggest that a hyperbolic rhetoric can turn a perfectly sane individual into a psychotic killer or that the person who unintentionally sets off such a maniac is to blame for their actions. But nevertheless there are people out there who are already wound up and just need a trigger to set them off like a powder keg, and because we know those people are out there, it’s prudent to show a little integrity and self restraint by easing back on the dehumanizing rhetoric.

I’ll even admit to going too far in my own rhetoric from time to time, but I try to avoid it. Listen, whatever Handley thinks about me and the rest of his critics, I don’t believe he or any other anti-vaccinationists are agents of the “Dark Side” or are deliberately endangering the lives of children. I do, however, think that they’ve been misled into embracing an ideology and have formed an unhealthy emotional attachment to certain belief that runs contrary to the scientific facts and which has led them down a path that is unintentionally killing kids. I do not think Handley is Darth Vader or Voldemort or any other name associated with the epitome of evil.

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Jake Crosby once again unintentionally convicts himself of having a conflict of interest

April 28, 2011

Jake Crosby is at it again with more 6000-degrees of separation conspiracies – If I were as childish as the folks over at Age of Autism, I might dub this kid Joke Crosby…but I’m classy and stuff. Crosby reiterates his last alleged conflict of interest:

The saga of Seth Mnookin and his uncle, Robert Mnookin just gets weirder and weirder. First it has been revealed that Robert Mnookin is close colleagues with Linda Singer – the mother-in-law of pharma-funded wife, Alison Singer – and Michael Lewis, who sits on the board of her fake autism charity/pharma front group, “Autism Science Foundation.”

Got that straight? Seth Mnookin’s uncle works with the mother-in-law of Alison Singer (who I get a funny feeling young Jake is not a fan off – what he has against warrior moms with autistic children, I have no idea). This to him constitutes a conflict of interest. On what grounds? Beats the fuck out of me!

I recently learned that I’m distantly related on my uncle’s side to Jonathan Ames, the writer and producer of the HBO series Bored To Death. And while I met his parents once now, I’ve never so much as been in the same room as Mr. Ames. And yet young Jake, who apparently isn’t aware that everyone in the world is connected by a few degrees, is convinced such a tenuous connection is “weird” and “bizarre”, as well as significant enough to completely ignore Mnookin’s actual facts and arguments.

His latest amazingly “bizarre” connection is that the author of the recent NY Times article that positively quoted Mnookin also “gushed” about his uncle in a news story from a whopping six years ago.  Come to think of it, I’ve noticed a lot of writers consistently write negatively of Charles Manson. Weird! Bizarre! It must be an evil plot. What other possibility could there be? Also Jake Crosby has in dozens of articles “gushed” over Andrew Wakefield. Bizarre. I think Jake would agree that that proves overwhelmingly that he is part of a conspiracy. Seriously though, this level of deluded McCarthyism is getting truly pathetic. Here is an article that lays out the grounds for what is considered an unhealthy relationship in the real world.

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Jake Crosby is a shill for Big Kevin Bacon

March 21, 2011

Yup, that’s right. It’s another piece on Jake Crosby, the Senator McCarthy of the 21st century. As you probably know, a person can’t be approved for official membership in the anti-vax crank club until they accuse someone who disagrees with them of being an agent of the grand conspiracy to get us all. And no one has earned more patches in that category than young Jake Crosby at Age of Autism. It isn’t hard to find examples of Crosby’s comically tortured logic and pathological need to fling the nastiest vitriol at anyone who dares tell him he’s wrong (here, here, here, here, here, here, here).

Sadly, no matter how far he crosses the line into libel and deliberate distortion of facts, remarkable he and the Age of Autism fan club continue to view him as a legitimate investigative reporter…even when he posts something as despicable and repulsive as this. In this article, Crosby not only accuses real investigative journalist Seth Mnookin of a conflict of interest through a maze of loose associations that would make even Kevin Bacon scratch his head but also has the audacity to say this:

Seth Mnookin – a former drug dealer and burglar who bit a police officer…

Geez oh Peet! Offit picks the lousiest spokespeople, doesn’t he? First Amanda “don’t listen to me” Peet and now this former heroin addict.

What the psychotic Crosby is referring to in Mnookin’s history with battling a psychiatric disorder, which drove him to heroin addiction. Of course Mnookin has been clean for twelve years (about half of Crosby’s entire life), has rebuilt his life, has an exemplary journalist record, and has proven he has the courage to talk about this dark period of his life candidly and very publicly.

As for what any of Mnookin’s or anyone else’s past indiscretions have to do with the overwhelming science that proves Crosby completely wrong about everything he believes about vaccines is a mystery. These anti-vaxxers are deeply disturbed individuals who wouldn’t hesitate to try and even cite an old parking ticket to try to poison the well. Anything to try and discredit their critics and distract the public from the science. They have no shame.

And as for the amazing conflict of interest Crosby states Mnookin has, one commenter on the Left Brain Right Brain blog summed it up perfectly:

Wow. Jake revealed that Seth Mnookin -> is the son of Seth Mnookin’s father -> who is the brother of Seth Mnookin’s uncle -> who is a colleague of Alison Singer’s mother-in-law -> who is the mother of Alison Singer’s husband->who is married to Alison Singer (a founder of the Autism Science Foundation) -> who is therefore a colleague of a Paul Offit, who makes his millions by directing the world-wide, pharma-backed conspiracy to promote the idea that Jake and his AoA colleagues are ignorant, wacky, anti-science conspiracy theorists who clearly can’t understand that the great weight of the scientific evidence is against them and so have to rely on ad hominem attacks.

Unusually strong work for Jake.

Jake Crosby, you are a coward and a fraud. I challenge you to address the science and nothing but the science that you feel supports your position. I double dog dare you.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 3.4.11

March 5, 2011

1. John Connor, it is time.

Whenever the military rolls out a new robot program, folks like to joke about SkyNet or the Rise of the Machines. But this time, the military really is starting to venture into robot-apocalypse territory: swarms of little semi-autonomous machines that can team up to manufacture complex objects (including, presumably, more robots).

That’s right, the only thing scarier than a swarm of intelligent military mini robots is a swarm of intelligent military mini robots in control of the means of production. And your Navy is hard at work on making it a reality.

2. Supreme Court rules in favor of Westboro Baptist Church – As detestable as the WBC is, I think the Supreme Court made the right call, which I’ve argued previously over at the Gotham Skeptic. Alito was the only Justice who sided with the Snyder family against the WBC. Between this decision and the vaccine court decision last week, the Supreme Court has been batting a 1000 lately.

3. Anti-abortion billboard goes down in NYC – The billboard tried playing the race card, a gambit anti-abortionists have been using for some time now. And while I don’t condone censorship, this wasn’t government censorship:

Councilwoman Letitia James and her legislative aide Aja Worthy-Davis that yesterday they launched a Change.org petition targeting Life Always and billboard owner Lamar Advertising, asking them to remove it. Later in the day, Lamar Advertising announced that it would take the billboard down.

Of course this notion that Margaret Sanger was a racist eugenicist, and that Planned Parenthood’s true agenda is to exterminate black people is complete bullshit.

4. Third-grader allegedly heals friends with magic – Okay, let’s settle this once and for all by seeing him heal Christopher Hitchens.I understand why a kid could buy into this fantasy but adults who report the news have no excuse.

5. Age of Autism cries misogyny – The same blog that suggested journalist Amy Wallace was blowing Dr. Paul Offit is accusing Doonesbury of misogyny over a cartoon that suggested Jenny McCarthy makes Playboy bunnies look bad. That is too funny. If anyone can explain to me why, feminist crusader that she is, Katie Wright had no objection to her own blog’s attack on Wallace, let me know. Also, if you can explain how the content of the cartoon is criticizing all women instead of just criticizing Jenny McCarthy alone for speaking out of school, I’d love to know that too. Oh, and one more thing. If you can explain to me how a website that accuses its critics of being a “loyal Pharma-funded wife” without even the slightest bit of evidence of any conflict of interest can maintain any moral high gound, let me know that too. Sullivan writes about it here.

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As so-called ‘Vaccine Danger Awareness Week’ ends, Bill Gates declares vaccine-autism link an ‘absolute lie’

February 5, 2011

Last year, the anti-vaccine community introduced what they called “Vaccine Danger Awareness Week,” (VDAW) where they devoted a whole week to doing what they do all the time anyway, churn out loads of propaganda for their minions to spread around. Well the good news is that this year VDAW passed almost without notice. In fact, I only heard about it a few days ago and I follow this issue much more closely than most. Age of Autism doesn’t even seem to be involved. As far as I know, this event is only being represented on Facebook.

But that being said, I found it very fitting that this week saw Bill Gates popping up on The Daily Show and now CNN discussing the importance of vaccination. And in the latter, he directly called out the vaccine-autism hypothesis as an “absolute lie.”

Of course Age of Autism responded in their usual way, by making outrageous libelous accusations against Gates, as Orac discusses here, but here’s the full CNN clip in all it’s glory:


Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Have you no sense of decency, Ginger Taylor, at long last?

January 26, 2011

I have to wonder at this point if the anti-vaccine community ever gets sick of using the same McCarthyist tactics over and over again. I’ve been debating them for years now and I don’t think there has been a single occasion where they didn’t either  accuse me of being paid off by the pharmaceutical companies without any justification or accused other critics of theirs of being paid by pharma. And I’m not being hyperbolic here. This accusation has been made on every single occasion. That alone should speak volumes about the intellectual honesty of their movement.

Now another drone from Age of Autism, Ginger Taylor, has written a piece where she explains how incredibly reasonable she and her cohorts have been to their critics…despite their critics being corrupt monsters who willing sacrifice the safety of children for their own profit.

That’s her version anyway:

I published an extensive piece detailing the problems I saw in the Skeptic movement (which I really now see as just the Contrarian movement, as they don’t seem to be skeptical of some assertions that someone from Missouri would demand proof of, but merely oppose anything our community says no matter how reasonable) and in “science writers” who act as mere functionaries of Pharma and their friends/sometime employees in public health. It was entitled:

Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Lori Kozlowski, Rosie Mestel, Thomas Maugh, David Gorski, Virginia Hughes, Science Journalists, The Dying of the LA Times and an Angry Autism Mom*

It details my earnest attempts to get through to these skeptics/science journalists, and an effort to point out that they are shooting themselves in the foot with their actions, and that our children are collateral damage in their efforts.  Long story short… they are some pretty myopic people and not open to self-evaluation, so their tactics continue to loose them the vaccine/autism wars.

See,  she made earnest attempts to get through to these maniacs who have the repugnance to disagree with her, despite their evil and willful corruption. Of course she, like her cohorts and her predecessor Senator McCarthy, failed to present evidence of foul play by her critics at all.

The critics she mentions share the same position as every reputable health organization on Earth and their criticisms are quite substantive. But since Ms. Taylor doesn’t actually understand enough of the science to challenge their scientific criticisms, it’s much easier to just write off every criticism as mere contrarianism…a claim that she also doesn’t seem interested in backing up with evidence.

She does give one example of alleged conflict of interest though:

(*After I posted the piece, Dr. David “Orac” Gorski sent me a flattering email saying he had actually always respected me and asked me to remove the piece. When I declined, he let the insults fly again. So… not the most honest and straightforward guy.

A few months later, we learned that Gorski has spent the last several years developing a drug for vaccine maker Sanofi, which he had some how forgotten to mention in his hundreds of posts about these issues, so I do feel a bit the sucker for approaching him as if he was actually a somewhat disinterested party in this debate. Had I known I would not have wasted so many hours trying to have a real discussion with him, but live and learn I guess.)

I guess we’re just going to have to take her word about that first incident as she doesn’t seem to link to any evidence that it took place. I don’t know what happened and I certainly don’t see how that in any way refutes the conclusions currently held by every reputable health organization on Earth. And then just just repeats the “hungry lie” (to steal Handley’s stupid phrase) of Jake Crosby, citing his piece in the same blog she writes for. This is like if one of my fellow Gotham Skeptics wrote a piece accusing Ginger Taylor of being a drug dealer, a claim made by no other person, and then I wrote a piece in the Gotham Skeptic where I repeated the claim and cited by fellow Gotham Skeptic blogger’s unsubstantiated rumor as my source.

Of course, Gorski has already told his side of the story and called young Jake out on his libelous bullshit. But his refutation of the accusation wasn’t convenient to Honest Ginger Taylor here so she didn’t find it necessary to even mention it. Cause she’s such a fair and honest journalist. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Crosby and the rest of the anti-vaccine movement deliberate choose to not distinguish tenuous relationships with industry from real conflicts of interest. They also choose not to pay attention to regulatory compliance policies and how those policies discourage unhealthy relationships by making making it very costly to all parties involved while providing huge incentives to whistle blowers, as I discussed when addressing Jake Crosby’s hilarious accusation that John Stossel had a conflict of interest because he wasn’t an only child.

But back to Ginger:

…so I do feel a bit the sucker for approaching him as if he was actually a somewhat disinterested party in this debate.

No, anyone who thinks Ginger Taylor genuinely approached David Gorski or any critic of her warped ideology without actively searching for ammunition to launch a character attack as a cheap attempt to justify dismissing their position out of hand would be the sucker.

As Gorski began his rebuttal to Jake Crosby’s libelous blog entry:

One of the very favorite and most commonly used tactics to attack criticism in the armamentarium of pseudoscientists, cranks, and quacks (not to mention politicians) is the ad hominem fallacy. In this fallacy, rather than addressing the actual evidence and science that demonstrate their favorite brand of woo to be nothing more than fairy dust, the idea is to preemptively attack and discredit the person.

And indeed, Ginger Taylor has said not one thing in her entire polemic to even address the actual evidence and science. She doesn’t understand it and she’s praying you don’t ask her about it. Instead, she’d rather fling feces at her critics, crying that they’re all out to get her while pretending she’s fair, impartial, and genuinely open to engaging in civil discourse with her critics. Bullshit!

She says it all right here:

I hope you will take the time to read it, especially if you are someone who believes the media on this issue and  super especially if you are Matt Lauer, Anderson Coooper, George Stephanopolous or any other major news personality who has been handed a press release labeled “News” that was likely drafted in a Pharma conference room and told to get really angry at some guy named Andrew Wakefield.

That’s right. They’re ALL out to get her. Everyone in the position to disagree with her is in on the big conspiracy. I have not had one interaction with any members of the anti-vaccine movement that didn’t involve them accusing critics of being big pharma shills. Not one. And clearly Ginger Taylor has not broken that pattern.

There isn’t enough money in the entire world to pay off all the people Ginger believes are being paid off by Big Pharma to make people think vaccines are safe, let alone enough money for pharmaceutical companies to pay all those people off AND still actually produce the vaccines. Who made up this plan, Dr. Evil? This would have to be the most incompetent evil plot ever. How would pharmaceutical companies even hope to profit off the vaccines if they’re throwing so much money away just to convince people get the vaccines? And even if they could manage to at the end of the day make some profit, wouldn’t there have to be a much easier way to make a profit? Like couldn’t they must sell products that work and are safe that don’t require spending quadrillions of dollars sweeping public relations disasters under the rug?

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J.B. Handley is a libelous douchebag

January 26, 2011

Lord of the Douchebags

The question regarding the vaccine-autism hypothesis has been asked and answered; vaccines don’t cause autism.

I start my post by reiterating this fact not because it bares repeating (because again, it’s a fact), but because that walking advertisement for abortion named J.B. Handley insists that that sentence drives him nuts (funny because it implies he isn’t already nuts, but I probably shouldn’t say that as it might hurt a future libel case against him). And people as despicable as J.B. Handley ought to be unhappy as often as possible.

Well, Handley has just posted another piece of propagandist garbage over at the official home of propagandist garbage, Age of Autism. He begins by announcing that he’s going to teach his readers a little “Science 101”, ironic as he’s not a professional scientist, is by all measurable standards scientifically illiterate, and because every single reputable health organization on Earth completely disagrees with his now utterly discredited scientific beliefs, based largely on research that has proven both erroneous and fraudulent.

Handley’s attempt to get around this fact is to make an argument from authority, cherry-picking the small number of fringe individuals who agree with him, who happen to have the title of “doctor”, and who don’t have any professional background in a related field or relevant research published in a reputable journal. For instance, in this article, he cites Bernadine Healey, a cardiologist. Last I checked, neither vaccines nor autism were related to matters of the heart. But of course anti-vaxxers will point out that she was the former head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of course she also has a history of going against the scientific process and being wrong. She’s demonstrated a willingness to put politics ahead of her scientific credibility.  After being appointed head of the NIH, scientists started leaving in record numbers because of the politicization of scientific agendas such as the ban on fetal-tissue research because the Republican administration believed it encouraged abortion. She even lobbied against overturning the Bush Administration’s ban on fetal tissue research, despite her previous support of it. There were charges of her mishandling a scientific misconduct case. And of course she was also a member of The Advancement of Sound Science Center (TASSC):

The Advancement of Sound Science Center (TASSC), formerly the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, is an industry-funded lobby group which promotes the idea that environmental science on issues including smoking, pesticides and global warming is “junk science”, which should be replaced by “sound science”.

Initially, the primary focus of TASSC was an attempt to discredit research on Environmental Tobacco Smoke [passive smoking] as a long-term cause of increased cancer and heart problem rates in the community—especially among office workers and children living with smoking parents. It subsequently advanced industry-friendly positions on a wide range of topics, including global warming, smoking, phthalates, and pesticides. Later still, they extended the role of TASSC to Europe using Dr George Carlo. TASSC used the label of ‘junk science’ to criticise work that was unfavorable to the interests of its backers.

So it’s quite ironic then that the anti-vaccine movement so frequently accuses their scientific critics of being like the scientists who were infamously in the employ of Big Tobacco in order to promote the tobacco industry’s propaganda while they happily cite the claims of so-called doctors who were in fact lobbyists paid to deny the environmental impact…of smoking!

Just let that one sink in for a minute.

This is the great doctor who J.B. Handley has decided knows better about vaccines and autism than every reputable health organization on Earth, a doctor who lobbied for the tobacco industry. And though I shouldn’t even have to point this out, what medical education does Handley have that equips him with the skills necessary to distinguish good science from bad? The answer of course is none. He’s got no greater expertise to make that call than I do. But whereas I recognize how the scientific process is designed to weed out false conclusions and I am humble enough to stand behind the conclusions of people with decades of professional experience who have earned great reputations for their work, Handley arrogantly believes he knows better than everyone and simply endorses anybody who happens to reinforce his bias…even if they were once paid by the tobacco industry to deny the environmental dangers of tobacco.

Moving on.

Next, Handley straight out libels Alison Singer of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) and Dr. Paul Offit, singling them out as “liars” who feed “the hungry lie” as he calls it. Funny how at no point does he reference the fact that every reputable health organization on Earth holds the exact same position as them and so he is implicitly calling them all liars. He calls the ASF, “Alison Singer’s basement-dwelling autism organization” as he always does as if this is claim alone somehow discredits the facts she presents. It doesn’t. It’s just a classic J.B. Handley attempt to poison the well. He also claims Alison Singer was “fired” from Autism Speaks though I can find no record of anyone affiliated with Autism Speaks verifying that claim. And since only Singer’s ideological critics over at Age of Autism seem to be making such a claim, I’m inclined to write it off Handley and Age of Autism’s “hungry lie” that purely comes from their constantly operating propaganda spin machine. But if I’m wrong and this claim can be traced back to a legitimate source, someone please give me the source and I’ll happily make a correction.

Then he finally gets into his Science 101 portion. So he gives an example:

If you are trying to figure out if smoking hurts, helps, or kills people, you need a group of people who didn’t smoke

Or you just ask your friend, Ms. Healey who will probably tell you smoking doesn’t hurt people at all.

He continues:

And, here’s my first giant point:Without a real control group, the conclusions of a study on the potential harm of a drug are 100% useless.

Can we all just agree on that? If you have a study, and everyone either gets a whole pill or a half a pill, do you have a control group to compare the outcome to? Of course you don’t.

Yes, studies generally require a control group of some form but I can tell already that he’s about to use control group and double-blind synonymously as there are no shortage of studies with control groups that disprove Handley’s beliefs while there aren’t any double-blind studies, usually the gold standard, for good reason.

Question #1: Can vaccines harm some people?

You know the answer is “yes” and I’m sure some of you will want to qualify this answer by saying, “but it’s a really small number of people.” Whatever.

Wow, he HAS been listening after all! It’s miracle that it only took the guy ten years to recognize that medical science isn’t black and white. Of course you got to love that extremely articulate dismissal of the importance of this fact:  “Whatever.” What you and I would consider to be a rather important detail that makes the difference between one person in a million being seriously harmed and many orders of magnitude more than that Handley feels he can flippantly brush off as no big deal.

Question #2: If one vaccine can harm some people, do you think six vaccines given at the same time will do more or less harm?

Error. Not enough data. It’s not the number of vaccines that would make the difference but the amount of antigens and other ingredients in those vaccines. And we happen to know for the fact that the amount of antigens in the vaccines is much less now than it used to be. The immunologic load has dropped from 3000 components in the 7 vaccines used in 1980 to less than 200 in the 14 vaccines recommended today. I know, J.B.. I know. “Whatever.” Who needs actual details when you can flippantly brush aside any inconvenient facts.

OK, fine, I stacked the decks a bit on #2, but this is a point lost on many.

Yeah, it’s lost on people who actually care about the truth and child safety more than ill-conceived ideologies.

It’s exceptionally likely that if one vaccine can cause some harm, six vaccines will cause more harm to more people, the question is if that harm is exponentially or geometrically greater, and it’s perhaps the most important question of all.

No, weren’t you paying attention. The question is what is the immunologic load in the vaccines. That’s the most relevant and important question here. The first rule of toxicology is that dosage makes the poison. How many times do we have to explain this to you?

Question #3: Do we know the health outcome of children who receive the US vaccine schedule compared to a group of children who don’t? Said differently, do we have unvaccinated controls anywhere?

Um, actually that’s two questions. Can’t you even count?! But as J.B. would say with the maturity of the characters in Clueless, “whatever.” To answer the first question 3, yes, we do. And to answer the second question 3, yes, we do. From Steven B. Harris, MD:  in Japan—300,000 people simply stopped vaccinating with MMR until by 1993 they’d stopped vaccinating entirely. Not only did the rate of autism in the completely unvaccinated children fail to decline but it actually went up. Further, we compared vaccinated and unvaccinated populations in Denmark and found no distinction in autism rates. We also know autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls despite both receiving the same vaccines on the same schedule. If one identical twin has autism, the other twin has an 90% chance of also being autistic, regardless of vaccination. Fraternal twins or siblings of individuals with autism have a 50% chance of also being autistic, regardless of vaccination. New Jersey has the sixth lowest vaccination in the U.S. but is number one in autism. And ever since we dropped thimerosal from most child vaccines, autism rates have seemed to increase. By every reasonable standard we can think of, we can find no relationship between vaccines and autism. If anything, our studies show vaccines may decrease the autism rate.

Of course, we AoA readers all know the answer here: a blazing NO, which makes those who repeat the hungry lie, like Alison Singer and Paul Offit, blazing liars.

Ha! That’s because Age of Autism readers are being systematically lied to by folks like J.B. here. That’s like basing your ideas of reality on what Fox News viewers think. And the “hungry lie” to borrow Handley’s silly phrase, is that the kind of studies he and his ilk demand are unsafe and unreasonable as they’d literally endanger the lives of thousands of children.

“Feigned exasperation” is the latest strategy from those feeding the hungry lie…

And earlier in his article:

This lie, it really drives me nuts. More, and I can say this and mean it, anyone who repeats this lie is immediately my enemy.

Oh, the irony!

– None of the studies compare anything but vaccinated children to other vaccinated children

False. I refer you again to those 300,000 unvaccinated Japanese and the Danish study as the two most famous examples. You know the Danish study, J.B. That’s the one you dismiss out of hand because one of its minor contributors happened to commit a crime that that is completely unrelated to the study itself. And they say McCarthyism is dead! And again, I refer you to this article by Leart Shaka that directly addresses your pathetic argument as well as your very next argument:

Of the 36 vaccines US children receive, only 2 of those shots (the MMR given twice) have ever been compared for their relationship to autism, and then only with otherwise vaccinated children.

First it was the MMR. So we studied it and found no link. So then you moved on to the thimerosal and we found no link there either. So then you just made up another vaccine-related hypothesis, and another, and another. The one thing that is consistent here is that it’s always about the vaccines even though no credible evidence suggests they have anything to do with autism.This is just a constant game of move the goalpost. We can never exhaust every possible combination of vaccines and vaccine schedules to satisfy the anti-vaccine movement. It’s just perpetual wack-a-mole when our resources would be better spent exploring real leads.

To quote Shaka in the article I just linked to:

This sort of tactic is similar to going up to a detective investigating a murder case and saying “I think you should conduct a search of that vehicle there” and if he agrees and nothing is found, you go back to him and say “OK, but did you search….that vehicle over there” and so on and so on, pointing to vehicles just because you think there may be something there. How seriously do you think you’d be taken by the detective?

But back to Captain Crankypants:

It’s absurd, really, how little work has actually been done, despite the feigned exasperation that’s oft-repeated.

Actually, autism research is arguably the health issue being studied the most right now. Handley, I should point out, isn’t doing any of that research. He’s just sitting on the sidelines complaining that it isn’t moving fast enough for him. Well sorry J.B. but science is a lot of hard work. It isn’t like dusting crops. It’s a trial and error process where scientists are mostly flying blind. We’ve been researching cancer a lot longer than autism and we still haven’t unlocked all the mysteries behind what causes all cancers.

But, really, please, do not take my word for it.

No really, don’t take his word for it. That’s the only thing Handley has said so far that I completely 100% agree with.

I’m going to now waste my time, and plenty of yours…

But that’s what you’ve been doing all along, wasting other people’s time.

nd go through every single study, in the order presented, that sits on the Autism Science Foundation’s site, and let you be the judge. Please, if you are a doctor or a scientist, please comment, feel free to argue and prove me wrong. Please, I mean it.

No, he doesn’t. What he means is that he’s going to editorialize as he pretends to objectively go through the studies that disprove his ideology and that every reputable health organization on Earth finds persuasive, and then he’ll demand that you reach the conclusions he’s attempting to impose on you while offering empty platitudes about not wanting you to just take his word for it, but if you then do disagree with him, he’ll do what he does with all his critics, accuse you of being a pharma shill, a liar, a baby-eating cannibal, and/or a whore who delivers oral sex to Dr. Paul Offit –all of these accusations have in fact been made or at least implicitly endorsed by Handley himself against various critics in the recent past.

Much as it pains me, I’m going to comment on each of the 20 studies

Actually, despite his claim that he’s going to waste his time (and apparently thinks educating others with his version of reality is wasting your–another thing I agree with though it’s odd for him to suggest that educating the public, what he claims to be doing, would be a waste of their time)–despite his claim that he’s going to waste his time commenting on every study, he’s really just recycling the already debunked pseudo-refutations he’s had up for years at his fourteenstudies website, a website so old that it was named fourteen when now the studies directly refuting the anti-vaccine claims is twenty.

Now if Handley isn’t really going to waste any of his time copy and pasting his old, debunked pseudo-refutations, I’m not going to waste my time refuting them when various science bloggers have already done so for most of those studies here, here, here, here, and here. And you can find responses to JB Handley’s response to one of those refutations here and here. But again, one thing Handley suggests that I agree with is don’t take his word for it. If you find any of his claims really compelling, contact Handley’s critics among the scientific community and ask them for a rebuttal to his claims. I’m sure Paul Offit would be happy to take a few minutes of his time educating an inquiring mind. And Steven Novella and David Gorski would definitely not mind taking the time to answer the criticisms. Someone makes a claim? Check the response from the other side. Then go back to the first party and get the rebuttal to that. Then go back to second party and get a rebuttal to that. Back and forth. That’s REAL research. Don’t take people on one side of an alleged controversy at their word.

Of course, Handley don’t really expect you to read everything he wrote critically. He apparently thinks no more highly of the intellect of his readers as I do:

I’d like to thank the AoA readers who made it this far, all three of you.

So yeah, he’s just drowning his mostly scientifically illiterate readers in what superficially seems like in depth scientific criticism but doesn’t actually either expect them to understand any of it or expert them to show the commitment to even read it all. But hey, it’s long and he says he’s debunking all these twenty studies that every reputable health organization on Earth finds compelling…so that’s good enough, right.

Oh, and then he lists his key points from the article, saying these points are things his readers “know for sure.” What happened to, “don’t take my word for it”?

Then he invites his critics to respond:

Haters, feel free to chime in.

…which is hilarious because Age of Autism is notorious for censoring all comments critical to their claims. And in fact, not a single critical comment can be found in that article, which is rather extraordinary when you consider the fact that every article addressing this issue on independent sites have no shortage of debating on both sides.

But what can you expect from a guy who posts as his actual scientific credentials:

J.B. Handley is the father of a child with autism, the co-founder of Generation Rescue, and a contributing writer for AoA.

Even I have a better bio line on my Examiner page.

So despite the dishonest  invite,  since I can’t comment on Handley’s piece on his page, I’d appreciate if someone could pass a message along for me. You tell that slimy piece of worm-ridden filth to go fuck himself!

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