Genes, not vaccination determines autism

June 15, 2009

A recent news story highlighted a family with 2 autistic sons, only 1 of which was vaccinated. Of course, according to the rhetoric of Jenny McCarthy, Generation Rescue, Jay Gordon, Age of Autism, etc. this would be impossible. Afterall, according to them, it’s the vaccines. Will this story change their mind? Of course it won’t. They’ll move their goalpost back to the more unfalsifiable “toxins gambit” and just insist that while not being vaccinated, the other kid must have been exposed in some other way to lots of “toxins.”Apparently, this family just won the toxins lottery. Of course, what’s the most obvious conclusion to this case? That while an environmental trigger may very well exist, vaccines or no vaccines, autism is genetic in nature


Apparently even I qualify as an autism expert . . . who knew?

December 23, 2008

‘The Doctors’: apparently the only show left on TV without a medical consultant – Vaccines DON’T cause autism. The debate is over. There’s no more debate to be had. And yet the illusion of a debate and a controversy is being played out on this insipid talk show, a debate that includes antivaccinationist Jay Gordon (pediatrician to the stars and Jenny McCarthy’s son’s pediatrician) being introduced as a “leading expert” (apparently the only leading expert who knows less about vaccines and autism than me), who has the audacity to tell parents point blank not to vaccine their kids and yet freely admits that he had no proof that vaccines have anything to do with autism. Jay Gordon wants you to risk your kids’ lives on a hunch, a hunch that is not brought out by the evidence and which has already been thoroughly falsified. And the really sick part is that one of the “doctors” who hosts the freakin’ show, despite even Jay Gordon’s admission that there was no proof, went on to make the statement that there was no longer any doubt that vaccines contribute to autism. I beg to differ.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.3.08

December 4, 2008

jesus-crackerHere is the true story of how the flesh of Christ is made – And here’s a hint. It isn’t the Keebler Elves as I originally thought. Don’t worry. Christ’s flesh also comes in whole wheat and various other varieties.

CNN shutting down its science/space/tech division – That pretty much means there will be less science news or at least less well reported science news being covered on CNN. This also means that science journalist Miles O’Brien will be leaving CNN. But one piece of good news to balance out the bad is that CNN’s answer to Bill O’Reilly aka Glenn Beck is also no longer going to be on CNN. Unfortunately however, he won’t be joining Miles O’Brian on the unemployment line as Beck’s been hired by Faux News. . .where he’ll fit right in with the other intellectually impaired anchors.

And apparently any movie that every self-respecting movie critic including Roger Ebert considered idiotic trash is right up Beck’s alley.

    Antivaccinationist Jay Gordon’s claims utterly demolished – This is Jenny McCarthy’s pediatrician. And apparently doesn’t know very much about medical or, you know, thinking in general. . .or he just doesn’t care. This is the kind of nonsense this guy is spouting:

    Now, when you discuss this topic with your pediatrician, he or she will clobber my ideas and me. So be it. I have watched children getting or not getting vaccines for thirty years. I won’t publish my data because I have none suitable for “peer review.” I can tell you that my very strong impression is that children with the fewest vaccines, or no vaccines at all, get sick less frequently and are healthier in general. I truly believe they also develop less autism and other “persistent developmental delays.”

    Yeah, because apparently no other doctors but him have monitored their patients after vaccination treatments. Riiiight! Yeah, and my personal opinion based on nothing at all is that more people without gunshot wounds die these days than those with gunshot wounds. . .ergo, we should shoot people. Ugh!

    christian-condomChristian Right Opposes Pap Smears and Breast Exams – But the best part about this story is that Planned Parenthood of Indiana is now selling gift certificates in $25 increments. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m doing my Chrisromadonikkah shopping early!

    Way to go Michael Nugent for launching Atheist Ireland – If ever there was a country in more need of an atheist organization it’s Ireland.


    Here‘s an awesome story of one life who’s been positively effected by the latest atheist advertising or “athvertising” if you will.

    Terms of Service – You might remember the recent Myspace suicide case where a teenage girl took her own life after a repulsive woman posing as a boy romantically interested in the teen using a bogus Myspace account insulted and cut communications with her. Well now she’s being prosecuted under anti-hacking laws for violating Myspace’s terms of service. While the woman is indeed repulsive and deserving of terrible things, this is an unprecedented use of anti-hacking laws as people constantly violate websites’ terms of service policies. Technically you have to be 18 to use Google. So once again I got to agree with Amateur Scientist:

    But under the precedent set by the conviction of Lori Drew, any minor who uses Google or Gmail is committing a criminal act subject to up to a year in jail or $100,000 in fines. This is absurd and a clear case of twisting the law to punish someone for being a complete douchebag. And it’s another instance where defending freedom unfortunately means sometimes defending the rights of said douchebags.


    scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyMice Made To Regrow Damaged Retina Nerve Cells – “Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have reported for the first time that mammals can be stimulated to regrow inner nerve cells in their damaged retinas. Located in the back of the eye, the retina’s role in vision is to convert light into nerve impulses to the brain.”

    Flexibility May Trump Fitness In Reproduction – “The utility of sex, according to an intriguing new theory of evolutionary biology, may be its ability to promote genes that play well with many other partners rather than those that shine with just one specific set of genes.”

    News From Around The Blogosphere 10.20.08

    October 21, 2008


    Something rotten in the state of Kentucky? – Northern Kentucky University is going to have a mock trial on the creation/evolution debate. But is this just an exercise to study the issue or just another misguided attempt to suggest science and faith are on equal footing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: any debate where one side is expected to provide evidence for its ever claim while the other side simply gets to use the faith card is a farce.

    And here’s 1 creationist’s response to the creationist debate in Kentucky, led by Dr. Ben Scripture – It’s your standard argument from authority combined with a straw man.

    And here’s a great video that summarizes the creationist clusterfuck in the Texas Board of Education along with detailed information about who these Evolution deniers are:

    Either Abbie Smith’s psychic or Expelled is guilty of a fraudulent poll – Further proof that Ben Stein is not using Clear Eyes.


    Poor turn out at atheist rally in Colorado – The rally was meant to protest an upcoming amendment that would legally define life as beginning at conception and effectively define abortion as murder. Over 100,000 Conservative Christians had signed off to get the amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot and yet only dozens of opponents of this insane amendment bothered to show up to protest it. I am deeply disappointed.

    The 40 Days for Life campaign against abortion

    The 40 Days for Life campaign, a period of fasting and prayer to save babies from abortion, is in its final two weeks.

    Unfortunately, they’re also harassing and intimidating women who visit health clinics as well as protesting and proselytizing. Aurora Jewell had a wonderful line about what Planned Parenthood does on a regular basis:

    “We’re doing more in one day to prevent unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion than these people are doing in 40 days.”


    Joe Lastinger interviewed about the tragic loss of his 3 and-a-half year-old daughter to influenza – You can listen to the interview here. Yeah, we have tragic stories and emotional appeals on our side too.

    Evan Bernstein explains what’s the harm in believing that space aliens are visiting our planet in UFOs – Just one example is you accept that something unreal is real, and before you know it, you wind up believing in all sorts of things that are untrue. In some cases, people have lost their entire fortunes sinking them in to irrational beliefs. And in some cases, like with the Heaven’s Gate cultists, it has cost people their lives.


    Dr. Phil Plait

    Dr. Phil Plait

    Dr. Phil Plait has plugged the site – Thanks Phil. You remain on my awesome list.

    Also, we have been contacted by a MAJOR organization in the popular news media who is interested in interviewing us. I don’t want to mention the name yet but if anything comes of this, I’ll certainly keep you all updated.

    Dr. Jay Gordon

    Dr. Jay Gordon

    An excellent overview of antivaccinationist Dr. Jay Gordon’s logical fallacies – It’s all here. And here’s more debunking of Gordon’s claims. For those who don’t know, Dr. Jay Gordon wrote the forward for Jenny McCarthy’s book.

    Carbon nanotubes: the material of the future!

    These little cylinders of carbon molecules can be used to make materials that are lighter, stronger, and sexier than just about anything else we have.

    Summary of studies showing sex is good for you – Take that abstinence-only sex education!

    Yes, these kinds of people still exist in the United States in the 21st Century:


    Scientists Create ‘World’s Most Relaxing Room’ – “Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman has designed and constructed a large-scale multi-media space that aims to calm even the most stressed out of minds.” Gotta love Wiseman. His book Quirkology is included on my booklist on the right side of the screen.

    Bird Flu Vaccine Protects People And Pets – “A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and mammals against different flu strains and can even be given to birds while they are still in their eggs, allowing the mass vaccination of wild birds.”

    Dinosaur Dance Floor: Tracks At Jurassic Oasis – “University of Utah geologists identified an amazing concentration of dinosaur footprints that they call “a dinosaur dance floor,” located in a wilderness on the Arizona-Utah border where there was a sandy desert oasis 190 million years ago.”

    Finding Hidden Tomb Of Genghis Khan – “According to legend, Genghis Khan lies buried somewhere beneath the dusty steppe of Northeastern Mongolia, entombed in a spot so secretive that anyone who made the mistake of encountering his funeral procession was executed on the spot.

    Once he was below ground, his men brought in horses to trample evidence of his grave, and just to be absolutely sure he would never be found, they diverted a river to flow over their leader’s final resting place.

    What Khan and his followers couldn’t have envisioned was that nearly 800 years after his death, scientists at UC San Diego’s Center for Interdisciplinary Science in Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) would be able to locate his tomb using advanced visualization technologies whose origins can be traced back to the time of the Mongolian emperor himself.”