Age of Autism seeking more attention by criticizing Chris Mooney

August 29, 2009

The other day, I blogged about Age of Autism anti-vaccinationist Ginger Taylor’s pathetic attack on Chris Mooney for his brief mention of the unscientific nature of the anti-vaccinationist movement in an article he wrote for the LA Times. Well Mooney & Kirshenbaum’s only response to this, as far as I know, was to link to Orac’s excellent response to them here.

Well now Age of Autism’s J. Bradley Borden is trying to get some attention by attacking Mooney too. It’s really kind of sad too because Borden doesn’t seem to say anything about the science at all. Instead, because presumably he doesn’t understand the science, he harps on a cherry-picked and probably quote-mined few words that Mooney allegedly said (though Borden doesn’t provide the source of the quote and I couldn’t find it in the original LA Times article). The line that Borden devotes his criticism is Mooney’s alleged quote, “Scientists are super smart.” To be fair (though Borden isn’t), here’s the entire alleged quote by Mooney, which Borden doesn’t source:

“Scientists are super smart. And they end up in communities of people like them. Their education level is extremely high and that’s what lets them do the great stuff that they do. Over a lifetime, they can sort of forget where everyone else is starting from”.

Now Borden calls this “The gist of his argument,” which is a flat-out lie. Even if I accept that this statement did indeed come from Mooney, it most definitely is not the gist of his argument. Not even close. I’ve heard Mooney argue his position (as well as the position of the entire medical community) and that isn’t it. Mooney is not making an argument from authority, as Borden would have people believe. This is just a platform for him to delve into one of the favorite tactics of all cranks, the “science has been wrong before” gambit, which has been discussed many, many times such as here and here.

And that’s Borden’s ENTIRE ARGUMENT! That’s the whole dog and pony show. And he illustrates his ignorance even further with this little gem:

Ginger wrote one of the most thoughtful, to the point and on target rebuttals that this non-scientist has ever read.

Ginger’s little blog was anything but thoughtful, and while Borden proclaims Ginger the winner (Big Surprise!), she’s such an intellectual amoeba that Mooney didn’t even bother to write his own response to her. And yet, despite the fact that Mooney didn’t personally bother with her, Borden titled his own blog, “Autism Wars: Chris Mooney vs. Ginger Taylor.” Won the battle? Borden, Borden, Borden. Mooney hardly even noticed she exists. Get real.

But at least Borden did finally manage to work in one whole true statement in his blog:  he’s not a scientist. That we can agree on.

The following is an accurate portrayal of the battle between Chris Mooney and Ginger Taylor, with Wallace Shawn playing the part of Taylor: