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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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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News From Around The Blogosphere 4.21.11

April 22, 2011
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1. Andrew Wakefield, the new Jesus? – I’ve often argued that the anti-vaccine movement worships Andrew Wakefield like a religious prophet, but now J.B. Handley has said as much to the NY Times:

“To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one,” says J. B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, a group that disputes vaccine safety. “He’s a symbol of how all of us feel.”

2. Studies suggest atheist OUT Campaign works

Although prejudice is typically positively related to relative outgroup size, four studies found converging evidence that perceived atheist prevalence reduces anti-atheist prejudice. Study 1 demonstrated that anti-atheist prejudice among religious believers is reduced in countries in which atheists are especially prevalent. Study 2 demonstrated that perceived atheist prevalence is negatively associated with anti-atheist prejudice. Study 3 demonstrated a causal relationship: Reminders of atheist prevalence reduced explicit distrust of atheists. These results appeared distinct from intergroup contact effects. Study 4 demonstrated that prevalence information decreased implicit atheist distrust. The latter two experiments provide the first evidence that mere prevalence information can reduce prejudice against any outgroup. These findings offer insights about anti-atheist prejudice, a poorly understood phenomenon. Furthermore, they suggest both novel directions for future prejudice research and potential interventions that could reduce a variety of prejudices.

3. GM mosquitoes to fight malaria – Scientists believe they’re getting close to being able to modify wild mosquito DNA as a weapon against malaria…using evolution:

In the laboratory, they made a gene spread from a handful of mosquitoes to most of the population in just a few generations, according to a report in Nature.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 4.2.10

April 2, 2010

1. Researchers find aging gene in worm

Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the University of Birmingham have discovered that a gene called DAF-16 is strongly involved in determining the rate of ageing and average lifespan of the laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and its close evolutionary cousins. DAF-16 is found in many other animals, including humans. It is possible that this knowledge could open up new avenues for altering ageing, immunity and resistance to stresses in humans.

Of course it will be years before any practical application to humans comes out of this, if ever, but it’s cool none the less.

2. Exorcist discovers Satan behind media’s accurate coverage of Catholic sex scandal – We’ve already gotten one exorcist to claim that Satan was possessing the Church leaders into performing the rapes in the first place. Now another exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, has publicly stated that the media’s desire to inform the public of these crimes, particularly at the New York Times, was “prompted by the devil.” I could have told you that. I mean, really, when was the last time the media was sincerely interested in honest journalism?

And speaking of demonic journalists. . .

3. Simon Singh reports once more in The Guardian – After winning his appeal, Singh wants to remind people that the battle for libel reform in the UK is only just beginning.

4. Filipinos celebrate this Zombie Weekend by crucifying themselves – This is an annual tradition in the Philippines on Zombie Weekend where many Filipinos choose to re-enact Jesus’ zombie-fication by actually nailing themselves to wooden crosses.

The Catholic Church disapproves of the annual ritual of devotion but says it cannot stop people in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic country from being voluntarily nailed to a cross or flagellating themselves, only educate them that it isn’t necessary.

Yes, the Catholic Church would much rather they celebrate in a more traditional fashion, by raping young boys and covering it up.

5. Scientists discover gene and part of the brain controlling gullibility, the WTF1 gene – And if you believed that then you have the WTF1 gene. April Fools!

Now speaking of April Fools. . .

6. Shroud of Turin is back in the news – Despite the fact that the face merely looks like the male model who happened to pose as Jesus in Renaissance paintings and despite its total debunking as a several hundred year old forgery, somehow someone has resurrected (hehe, see what I did there) the debate. And it couldn’t come at a more perfect time as it perfectly coincides with my April Fools piece in the Gotham Skeptic about the discovery of Jesus’ face in a Rorschach Test. Check it out.

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.6.09

October 6, 2009

1. Scientists out-miracle Jesus – Scientists in Mexico have figured out how to turn tequilla into diamonds. Suck on that, Jesus!

2. University of Florida removes response plans for zombie apocalypse from their website – Now how are we going to know what to do in case of zombie apocalypse?!

Spokesman Steve Orlando said late last week that the university removed a link to a disaster recovery exercise, which detailed how the school could respond to an outbreak of the undead.

Orlando said officials felt the joke “didn’t really belong” on the site, which also included plans for dealing with hurricanes and pandemics.

Am I the only one who thinks this is some sort of government coverup to leave the public vulnerable to zombie attack in an elaborate plot to reduce the population of the Earth? Wake up, people! The zombie apocalypse is an inside job!!!!

Sure, you may laugh, but mathematicians have done a study on the mathematics of a hypothetical zombie attack, and published it in a book on infectious disease. The study is discussed in Episode 214 of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast about 6 minutes into the show.

3. How nonsense sharpens the intellect – This is an interesting article in the NY Times that defies summarization.

Anti-vaccinationists quote-mine the NY Times

September 28, 2009

One of my reality-deprived Myspace friends just sent out a bulletin they’d reposted that already had several degrees of separation from the original poster. That bulletin was concerning the most recent news concerning flu shots:

—————– Bulletin Message —————–

From: byronsabird (94750170)

Date: 9/28/2009 10:30:45 PM

Subject: NY Times Says Some People Who Take The Vax WILL DROP DEAD!

-..-..-..————– Bulletin Message -..-..-..————–
From: Margaret (294247991)
To: (94750170)
Date: 9/28/2009 9:00:02 PM
Subject: NY Times Says Some People Who Take The Vax WILL DROP DEAD!

-……..-……..-……..————– Bulletin Message -……..-……..—————

From: Guy (160998170)

To: (294247991)

Date: 9/28/2009 7:45:16 PM

Subject: NY Times Says Some People Who Take The Vax WILL DROP DEAD!


Oh no! That sounds scary!!

Cue the dramatic prairie dog:

Apparently though, none of the posters of this bulletin or the originator of it bothered to actually read the article. . .or you know, the very next sentence:

As soon as swine flu vaccinations start next month, some people getting them will drop dead of heart attacks or strokes, some children will have seizures and some pregnant women will miscarry.

But those events will not necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine. (NY Times – “Don’t Blame Flu Shots for All Ills, Officials Say”)


Ben Stein cranky over being fired by NY Times

August 11, 2009

Last week, I blogged about Ben Stein’s being fired from his position as a financial columnist for the New York Times because of his moonlighting as a shill for a scam “free” credit report operation, which caused a conflict of interest and violated the NY Times’ code of conduct.

Well now Stein’s bitching about how he did nothing wrong and flinging feces at anything he can think of (and he says he’s not related to monkeys?). Of course first he tries to blame the persecution he’s endured since his mockumentary, Expelled, which he claims to have co-wrote in addition to narrating. I find this odd considering that from what I’ve heard from the interviewees on that film, Stein was a late addition to the project who wasn’t even hired yet when the first round of on-camera interviews were conducted. Later, Stein was hired and they re-shot some interviews with Stein sitting across from some of the interviewees  for wide shots and over-the-shoulder shots to give the false impression that Stein was always there and to invent the entirely made-up narrative of the film, which is Ben Stein’s unbiased investigation to find out whether Evolution was legit.

So Stein criticizes the New York Times’ own film critic who like every film critic, panned his film as hard as Roger Ebert panned The Brown Bunny. Actually, compared to Ebert’s review of Expelled, I think he let Vincent Gallo’s pretentious crap off easy. Stein even laughably inserts an absurd line about a completely different, unnamed critic from The NY Times who many moons ago, he says, panned Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Wow! That’s like twenty years ago. The NY Times must really hate Ben Stein. Way to hold onto a grudge there. That must be why they hired him to work for them.


Then Stein goes on talking about how his little mockumentary was all about being merely a plea for open discussion, blah, blah, blah. Was that before or after he blamed scientists for the Holocaust, compared scientists to Nazis, and went on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and while promoting the film, stated:

“When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.”  -Ben Stein

So of course it’s partially the atheists fault he violated the terms of his employment with the NY Times. But it’s not just the atheists he blames but also the alleged antagonists he made when he criticized the “investment bank” Goldman Sachs (his use of quotation marks, not mine).

Then he takes another shot at the evil atheists:

Meanwhile, the haters connected with atheism and neo-Darwinism continued to attack me.

Yeah, after you compared them to Nazis–go figure, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t like you.

Then he blames the bad economy and Barack Obama. No, really. He blames Barack Obama for his losing his job because he criticized him in print. I guess we should then expect to see every Republican journalist criticizing Obama to lose their jobs any day now, right Stein? You must be quite the important writer there to have such powerful enemies. Funny how I didn’t even know you were writing for the NY Times until a few weeks ago when I found out that you’d violated the terms of your employment with them. That’s power, baby! Next, I’m sure Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong Il will order their special assassins to take you out by any means necessary. . .cause you’re so important.

Oh, and never mind the fact that the NY Times did apparently let him publish at least one anti-Obama article. Stein just wants to focus on the one article they apparently nixed for. . .well, who cares what the real reason was? I’m sure Stein is 100% accurate in his assessment that it was because of the NY Times’ bias. . .even though, again, they did publish one of his anti-Obama articles.

Diabolical fiends!

Then FINALLY Stein gets to the actual reason he was fired, his advertising for the scammers at Of course Stein claims there was no conflict of interest when in fact there was.

Of course, there was no conflict of interest. I had never written one word in the Times or anywhere else about getting credit scores on line. Not a word.

As the “Everybody’s Business” columnist, he was working as a financial advice columnist while simultaneously deceiving the public by advertising a product people have to pay $29.95 for when the same  service is available for free by law. Way to protect the public’s wallets during these tough times, Stein. Yup, no conflict of interest there.

Of course, there was not one word of complaint when I did commercials for immense public companies.

Yeah, because there was no conflict of interest in your promotion of Clear Eyes, which as far as I’m aware, is a legitimate product. Though maybe not. I have no idea.

By a total coincidence, I was tossed overboard immediately after my column attacking Obama. (You can attack Obama from the left at the Times but not from the right.)

Oh, there goes the Obama blame again. It’s also a funny coincidence how, as you yourself said, they did publish at least one of your anti-Obama articles and a total coincidence that this also happened right after, as you yourself stated four paragraphs earlier, your evil “Darwinist” adversaries informed the NY Times of your conflict of interest:

This commercial was red meat for the Ben Stein haters left over from the Expelled days. They bombarded the Times with letters. They confused (or some of them seemingly confused ) FreeScore with other companies that did not have FreeScore’s unblemished record with consumer protection agencies. (FreeScore has a perfect record.) They demanded of the high pooh-bahs at the Times that they fire me because of what they called a conflict of interest.

So which is it, Stein? Is it not a coincidence because you just wrote a piece criticizing the president or was it not a coincidence because your intellectual superiors in the science world exposed your hypocrasy?

And, I really mean this, I will pray for those who use me despitefully, even if the neo-Darwinists think that’s a waste of time. It’s not.

Maybe instead you should pray for the NY Times to give you your job back and see how effective prayer really is, huh? That truly would be compelling evidence that prayer really worked.

But you know, I guess Stein’s not all bad though. It’s not like he compared his persecution to that of the greatest songwriter of all time, right?

The whole subject reminds me of a conversation Bob Dylan had long ago with a reporter who asked him what he thought about how much criticism he was getting for going from acoustic to electric guitar. “There are a lot of people who have knives and forks,” he said, “and they have nothing on their plates, so they have to cut something.”

Son of a bitch!