Obama's anti-science EPA head?

By Phil Plait | November 14, 2008 8:00 am

People are speculating wildly that Robert Kennedy Jr. may be on President-elect Obama’s list of people to head the Environmental Protection Agency. If this is true, it’s a big deal. Why? Because RFK Jr. is a major antiscientist with some pretty severe dissociations from reality.

He’s an antivaxxer, which is very, very bad, and he’s the worst kind: he still thinks thimerosal in vaccines causes autism, and studies have shown conclusively — I mean 100% rock-solid literally-bet-your-kid’s-life-on-it conclusively — that thimerosal has nothing to do with autism.

Skeptico has details, but he’s also not worried: he finds no evidence that RFK is even on Obama’s radar. I certainly hope Skeptico is right. Orac has a lot of info, a lot, about why RFK Jr. would be as dangerous an EPA head as any completely unqualified anti-environmental hack Bush has appointed. Skeptic Dad chimes in too, as well as Steve Novella. Look around the blogosphere, you’ll find more.

Let’s hope Obama has more sense than that. He’s shown quite a bit over the past few months. I hope it’ll extend into the foreseeable future.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Politics

Comments (66)

  1. undercover

    It could have been much worse if McCain would have been elected! Right now the global financial crisis is on everyones mind!

  2. Pretty much what you said, Phil. Despite his royal pedigree, RFK Jr. has come off as a real flake in all the interviews with him that I’ve seen and read. Pres.-Elect Obama can find plenty of far better-qualified candidates for EPA director.

  3. Cheyenne

    If Obama goes with that androidian voice bot it would be pretty bad. Aside from his weird anti-vax views he also helped to kill off the proposed wind farm at the Cape (the Daily Show did a hysterical bit on that).

    I’d vote for Tony Knowles myself. He’s right about drilling, a good Dem, and it would be slightly cool to get an Alaskan up there after Palin landed flat (but he won’t get the nod, too risky).

    But the last scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that Lisa Jackson is getted vetted. And he’ll probably appoint her a bit late, after some other positions are filled. We’ll see though.

  4. This may be a case of Politics getting in the way of “Smart Decisions”… I hate that…

  5. Chris A.

    The sad thing is that RFK, jr. has done a good job of voicing concern in other areas, like the environment and global climate change. But his illogical antivax stand could be used to discredit him in such a role.

  6. Chris A.

    What concerns me is the following (from salon.com):

    “At a rally in April in Pennsylvania, Obama said: ‘We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines…The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.’”

    I’m hoping that since April, President-elect Obama has had a chance to learn that the science is far from inconclusive, and reject this red herring.

  7. carlos S.

    I did not know about his anti-vax stance; I find it surprising. I met RFK jr. 4 years ago when he gave a lecture on his book “Crimes Against Nature”. He seemed of very sound mind and principles; at least when it came to the environment. I wonder if appointed to office which way he would go now. But I have to say when I met him, I would have blindly put him in the position, maybe i should not trust lawyers that much.

  8. Ralph

    anti-science is when you don’t accept all “rock solid” conclusions from the scientific community? isn’t science an industry as much as any other in this day and age? I wouldn’t premise that science is apolitical, that would be a foolish supposition to make. there is no golden truth that only the science industry has access to, science is properly the embrace of doubt applied to the analysis of the entire world. no exceptions. drop the arrogance, please, people. this is why dumb people don’t like us.

  9. Greg

    Chris A. Says:
    November 14th, 2008 at 8:30 am

    The sad thing is that RFK, jr. has done a good job of voicing concern in other areas, like the environment and global climate change. But his illogical antivax stand could be used to discredit him in such a role.

    As well it should. If he is as around the bend on this topic as he appears, then I’d mistrust his judgment on anything related to science. The guy lacks the tools to effectively evaluate the strength of scientific arguments.

  10. Tom Woolf

    I think Phil is blowing this way out of proportion. After all, we came close (5%) to putting a person 1 heartbeat away from the presidency who’s international relations experience is “and I can see Russia from my house!”.

    Oh, that’s right – we rejected her and hers decidedly.

    Phil – keep on harping! Obviously we need it… After all, it *was* only 5%.

  11. Greg

    I hope this is all just a goofy rumor.

  12. Charles Boyer

    Frankly, I wish Al Gore would take the EPA job.

  13. Grinspoon

    Quick question, why wouldn’t you put someone with a formal scientific background in such a position?

    While this does provide discredit to the rational thinking and understanding of science to someone who needs that for the role, at least it’s a role which to the best of my understanding has F**k all to do with vaccinations.

  14. « Marian Call in LA!
    Obama’s anti-science EPA head?

    People are speculating wildly

    Ohh, what a givaway!

    When Obama appoints someone…then let’s have ‘im!

    .

  15. Greg

    While this does provide discredit to the rational thinking and understanding of science to someone who needs that for the role, at least it’s a role which to the best of my understanding has F**k all to do with vaccinations.

    It is indicative of his state of mind and still no reason to excuse the damage he’s done on the vaccine front.

    Would you be more comfortable with an HIV-denier in the role? A phlogiston theorist? A proponent of colloidal silver? A UFO abductee? None of those things have to do with the environment, either.

    In fact, I’d rather have a UFO nut, since their nonsense rarely harms people. (Other than themselves, of course, I’m looking at you Heaven’s Gate!)

  16. Todd W.

    @Grinspoon

    The EPA sets exposure guidelines for various chemicals, which may tie into FDA’s business and the pharmaceutical industry. Just one area in which the EPA head may have an impact on medicine.

  17. Don’t worry. I already sent the O-man an email. It’s totally over.

    *Throws feet up on table and picks up a soda*

    No need to thank me.

    *Remembers Phil’s rule about not being a jerk, takes feet off table, uses coaster.*

  18. Cheyenne

    This really is a test to see if Obama will go with somebody that is scientifically qualified to lead a major governmental agency- or whether he’ll go with a political hack that is designed to make Caroline and Teddy happy.

    Caroline led his VP search, so she does have his ear in these matters.

    Check out Lisa’s CV-
    http://www.state.nj.us/dep/commissioner/bio.html

    Now compare that to “Mr. Not in My Backyard” blowhard.

  19. JoeSmithCA

    Worrying isn’t going to help, but it is human nature isn’t it? Our silly emotions keep getting in the way don’t they. Maybe we should leave it up to the improbable probability generator.

    Either way, we all know Phil is actually a TimeLord, so I’m not worried. He’ll set things straight.

  20. Mus

    I highly doubt Obama would appoint him, but I sent them a message just in case anyway.

  21. Richard Wolford

    Ralph said:

    anti-science is when you don’t accept all “rock solid” conclusions from the scientific community?

    In a nutshell, yes. When people begin to provide evidence which contradicts scientific conclusions, they will be listened to. Until then, there is no reason to believe that the scientific community is completely wrong. When antivaxxers, antievolutionists, etc, demonstrate evidence to support their assertions, and this evidence withstands scientific scrutiny, they will be listened to. To date, they have presented no evidence which can withstand even the slightest cursory glance by science; some of their nonsense has been thoroughly refuted, yet they keep on keepin’ on.

    The rest of your argument about science as an industry is nothing more than a strawman, a very weak one at that. The argument is about the appointment of a known anti-vaxxer to a position where science will be crucial for setting policy; someone who accepts an anti-vaccination position based upon pseudoscience has not demonstrated an ability to understand the scientific method.

  22. SLC

    Re Chris A

    There was a post on Dr. Oracs’ blog some months ago indicating that Senator Obama had rethought his position on the issue of autism and vaccines and had come around to the position of mainstream science. This is one of the reasons that conservative Rethuglican Orac decided to vote for the senator.

  23. Rob

    “1 heartbeat away from the presidency who’s international relations experience is “and I can see Russia from my house!”.”

    Hmm, yeah good thing we out in the guy who “lived in a different country when I was 6″ as HIS FP “”"Experience”"”
    Please.

  24. Heather

    I like what you say, Richard. My position exactly.

    It amazes me when supposedly educated people have limited critical thinking skills. I just read yesterday about a whooping cough outbreak in my former town of Evanston, IL. This happens from time to time because a crazy number of people there refuse to vaccinate their kids. A fellow antivaxer in charge of the EPA would embolden this selectively informed population. Their kids could probably do without that kind of “help.”

  25. I think this is just a political payoff if he does appoint him. However, I’m assuming you’ve seen this, Phil? What do you think about it?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7703072.stm

  26. It’s already been seen with measles and I believe mumps as well, Heather (reported here on the BA’s site already). RFK may be an avid environmentalist, but one could further argue that he may be so environmental that he would ignore evidence in favor of doing what simply sounds to be environmentally correct. Science is all about following the evidence, regardless of where it leads or what the implications may be. I want someone who can understand this to be in charge, and from what I’m hearing on this blog post RFK Jr. may not be that someone.

  27. Chris A.

    @Rob:
    President-elect Obama’s undergraduate degree from Columbia was in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations, and he finished well enough to get into Harvard Law.

    I’d stack that against Gov. Palin’s journalism degree (her highest level of education) that she got only after changing colleges at least four (maybe five) times, or Sen. McCain’s fifth-from-the-bottom spot in his graduating class at the Naval Academy, where he was a third-generation legacy.

  28. Kirkburn

    Rob, yes, I’d rather have someone who lived outside the country until he was 10, and who has travelled around the world and actually met people from foreign lands.

  29. RL

    In my opinion, the head of the EPA needs to be a strong manager, not necessarily a scientist. This person needs to make sure the organization has the tools and people that it needs and let them do their jobs. Lastly, that person needs to keep undue political influence out of the process (in the end their may have to be decisions made for many reasons including but sometimes against a scientists recommendation – nothing is truly free of politics). So, this person needs to be experienced at infighting, like the kind that happends in large corporations or politics. A scientifically trained person is a big bonus but one of the most important traits needed is the ability to lead a large organization.

    I would also like to see this person NOT be a jerk or a devisive individual. RFK Jr is such a person and would make the EPAs job harder. Calling people “traitors” for not agreeing with your views on global warming or on what to do about it is not the smart way to go. I feel the same way about AL Gore, too. I doubt he would want the job either. I hear he is being thought of for an “energy czar” on a energy security council anyway.

    By the way, news reports of RFK Jrs consideration have been reported from many news outlets. (Attributed to “Democratic Party Officials”). Apparently, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy are pushing for him as well as the National Resources Defense Council.

  30. BGC

    Is it at all telling that I misread the trackback link as: “obamas-anti-science-pea-head”?

  31. I hate to say it, but I’m noticing a rather huge “poisoning the well”
    logical fallacy here.

    1) The EPA has nothing to do with vaccinations
    2) Yes, RFK Jr. has demonstrated gross anti-scientific thinking when it comes to vaccinations, but just because of that does not automatically mean that he’s anti-scientific in other arenas, and it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that he knows a thing or two about environmentalism.

    Now, I think that it’s okay to oppose him getting the job on the grounds of not rewarding him because of his anti-vax proclivities, however. He is directly/indirectly responsible for many children getting otherwise preventable diseases. In fact, I think he (and his antivax ilk) should be called to task for it, and be barred from executive office even to send a message that the federal gov’t won’t reward that kind of harmful activism.

    But I think I have to split with my beloved skeptical community here. We can’t fall into the same logical fallacies that we berate the forces of woo about.

    Should RFK Jr. be prevented from heading up the EPA? Probably. But not because his being an anti-vaxer means he’s anti-science right out of the gates. I, for one (and I hope someone provides examples if they have any knowledge) have no reason to assume that he’ll be bad for the environment.

    So with respect, I disagree with the reasoning of many in this, and Orac’s thread.

  32. *sigh* I spoke too soon. I looked a LITTLE more into RFK Jr’s relevant stances on environmentalism, and it looks like he’s be dangerous.

    But I stand by what I said that he should be barred for the merits (or lack thereof)in the relevant field, not because of his anti-vax…well..stupidity.

  33. Cheyenne

    He would be bad for the environment because he would be a weak EPA head. If he was given the job over people that are obviously more qualified and deserving of the post than him it would be a sign of Obama caving to political expediency.

    Plus, the guy is against wind farms unless they are located in North Dakota (renewable energy is hugely important). He’s up for the this job simply due to the fact that he’s a trust fund Kennedy boy (with an arrest record for heroin possession I might add). And everybody would know it.

    Sorry to keep harping on Lisa Jackson’s name but how could anybody honestly look at her career and see that she isn’t the best pick out there? Or, if it’s not her, the other ten people in the running that actually have experience running important government agencies?

  34. Freelance Minion

    I’m very disappointed to learn the about Kennedy’s anti-vaccination stance. HOWEVER, He is a very important voice for social justice and even environmental concerns on many other issues. I heard these stupid ideas about vaccinations, then took my kids to be vaccinated. But I still like listening to Kennedy occasionally (even with that grating voice). I’d also prefer his take on health insurance reform rather than anything that came from the McCain/Palin side.

    I think Kennedy would be a wonderful voice within government, provided Obama listened to somebody else on basic health matters.

  35. “When Obama appoints someone…then let’s have ‘im!”

    wouldn’t that be a bit too late for effective protest…?

    anyway, it seems there’s been a storm of e-mails to change.gov about this, since the issue showed up on a bunch of sites like DailyKos and Pharyngula (I wonder if it’s possible to pharyngulate the government…?), so hopefully if they ever really considered him, they’ll see that it’s a bad idea.

  36. Trimegistus

    Wait, I thought Democrats were all enlightened scientist-philosophers, and only moronic Republicans were ever anti-science?

  37. Reed

    Some Canadian Skeptic:
    I’d say that demonstrating such a failure critical thinking should count pretty strongly against any candidate for a high level government position. Especially so for one that depends on science as much as the EPA.

    Sure, vaccines are pretty much outside of the EPAs control, but what happens if he gets similarly suckered by on a topic that is (the people who claim all kinds of wacky effects from cell phones, for example) ? If he looked at the evidence, and concluded the anti-vax position is compellingly supported by evidence, he clearly isn’t equipped to understand any basic science. It’s that simple.

    It’s certainly possible that someone who doesn’t understand science could be a great manager or very effective at dealing with bureaucracy, but my first pick for an agency like the EPA would be someone who had demonstrated abilities in both areas.

  38. SLC

    Re Trimegistus

    There is plenty of anti-science rubbish on the left also, much of it medical woo. However, hopefully, the Democrats can resist the pressure from the left-wingnuts to appoint people like Mr. Kennedy. The Rethuglicans were unable to resist the pressure from their right-wingnuts and initiated any number of anti-science policies as documented by Chris Mooney in his book, “The Rethuglican War on Science.”

  39. Murff

    Obama has a laundry list of positive things going for him, but the list of people he has associated with is not one of them!

  40. MoB

    if thimerisol doesn’t cause any neurological problems, why did they spend all that time and money to remove it from vaccines? the gob-ment wouldn’t have taken out a perfectly good vaccine preservative if it were OK

  41. David D.

    It is interesting to see how some here are attempting to justify RFK Jr’s possible choice as a member of Obama’s administration. If he was a creationist, would anyone be engaging in such mental gymnastics?

    Anti-science is anti-science, whether it comes from Palin or Kennedy. Don’t be hypocritical here.

  42. Phil, What do we need to do to get YOU on the Obama cabinet?

  43. MoB: People were getting scared over this nonsense, so the gov’t removed it. That happens; pseudoscience can drive policy, which stinks.

  44. Luke

    Also remember that Bill Ayers dedicated a book he wrote to Sirhan Sirhan the man who shot his father and will most likely be part of this administration.

  45. Murff

    Wouldn’t that be odd, an actual real life terrorist Bill Ayers actually being part of the administration…scary the way things might turn out. Stray to far to the left or the right, and I don’t think the public will appreciate it much. I think (and hope) that Obama is not stupid enough to affiliate his administration with Bill Ayers.

  46. Murff

    @ Ron Harris

    I agree! I just did the online poll over at Astronomy.com, it asked something like who we thought had popularized astronomy. I selected other, then sent a letter to the editor explaining that Phil should have been on the list of choices, and that he was my “other” vote. I think with the Bad Astronomy web site, this blog, plus 2 books and all the appearances he makes on behalf of astronomy, critical thinking, and just good science in general are all worthy of recognition. Maybe Phil could run NASA.

    Go Phil!!

  47. David D.

    @Murff and Ron Harris–

    One of the things this blog has ranted about for quite some time is the politicization of science. BA’s political views have been quite visibly expressed here. Do you really think that BA would do LESS to politicize science, or are you okay with it because perhaps his politics are more popular?

    I don’t think the way to reverse the last 8 years of scientific politics is to swing the pendulum the other way; the solution is to simply not politicize science at all.

    BA has done stellar :) work in popularizing astronomy and science issues in general, but his politics are rather sharp and partisan; I think this kind of partisanship is what we are trying to get away from.

    To echo what I said in a previous comment:
    Politicizing science is bad, whether it comes from James Watt or James Hansen.

  48. José

    @Luke
    Also remember that Bill Ayers dedicated a book he wrote to Sirhan Sirhan the man who shot his father and will most likely be part of this administration.

    They’re acquaintances. That’s it. They don’t hang out together. They don’t talk on the phone together. They haven’t exchanged BFF bracelets. Ayers is not going to have anything to do with Obama’s administration. If I’m wrong I’ll change my screen name to either Luke is a God” or “Bed Wetter”. You can pick.

  49. José

    @David D.
    I don’t think the way to reverse the last 8 years of scientific politics is to swing the pendulum the other way; the solution is to simply not politicize science at all.

    For the most part, I think what happens is that science does chug along doing its own thing without a political agenda, and it’s non-scientists that politicize it. Science just defends itself. I think most scientists would be thrilled to get the politics out of science.

  50. stopgap

    This is why voting is useless. You end up with the same results no matter who gets in. Sure you might have some slight deviations, but the main heading stays the same.

  51. TruthSpeaker

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    The savior gets elected and one of the first things he does is appoint some unqualified nut job to an important position. I love it.

    To quote several characters, “Where’s your messiah now?”

  52. SLC

    Re TruthSpeaker

    I would remind Mr. TruthSpeaker that so far the prresident elect hasn’t appointed Mr. Kennedy to anything. Hopefully, if he or some of his advisers had such a notion, the noise arising from the blogosphere will cause them to rethink the notion.

  53. TruthSpeaker, you might want to actually read what I wrote before stating something that makes you look foolish. RFK Jr. for the EPA is a rumor, and nothing more.

  54. David D, my views are not partisan, they are anti-conservative. The Republican party was hijacked years ago by uber-partisans who want to inject religion and theology into science as well as public policy. To fight that is not partisan, any more than fighting against the Taliban or Nazis (to risk Godwin) is partisan. That’s a false analogy on your part.

  55. As a journalist, I had nothing against any of the Kennedy family. Then I started covering the Cape Wind story and was shocked at what I found behind the veneer.

    It was like watching Dorothy pull back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.

    It wasn’t that RFK Jr. didn’t want a wind farm in Nantucket Sound that bothered me. That’s certainly his right.

    It was finding out what he was willing to do and say in order to get his way.

    At one point, I heard him say: “Nantucket Sound is the economic engine of New England.”
    This wasn’t just a “mis-speak,” as I later heard him make similar statements on many other occasions.

  56. Bruce Lipka

    You are scaring me. How does one warn Barack?

  57. Gary Ansorge

    You might mention Phil, that there is a world of difference between politicizing science and scienticizing politics. Anything we can do/say to moderate political woo-wooness is a gain for the world.

    GAry 7

  58. Joel

    Phil, i agree with you on RFK and also on Bush anti-Enviormental hacks, but honestly “Let’s hope Obama has more sense than that. He’s shown quite a bit over the past few months.”

    Give some examples of the sense Obama allegedly has shown, and on what? cabinent appointments? A pro interventionist warmongerer as Chief of Staff, essentially a position equal/more powerful than VP? (he ran as the “peace” canidate). And talk of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who’s record on foreign policy is about as wise as George Bush’s.

  59. Anthony Henry Smith

    Keep RFK out of EPA

    The job at the EPA calls for someone with a keen sense of both ethics and science. Kennedy is not that person.

    The following letter was written in support of Robert H. Boyle (founder of Riverkeeper and author of “The Hudson River, A natural and unnatural history”) and others who resigned from Riverkeeper rather than support R. F. Kennedy, Jr.’s compromise of the principle that ethics must never be separate from science.

    This letter was first published in the Putnam County News and Recorder, Cold Spring, New York, on August 30, 2000 and they have carried it on their website ever since for which they have my thanks. (AHS, 2008)

    Letters:

    Supports Former Riverkeeper Board Members’ Action
    Editor,

    The Fishkill Ridge Caretakers, Inc. supports Robert H. Boyle, former president of the Riverkeeper, Inc. and former Riverkeeper, Inc. board members John Fry, treasurer, Nancy Abraham, Kathryn Belous Boyle, Pat Crow, Theresa Hanczor, Robert Hodes, Ann Tonetti and Alexander Zagoreas in the action they have taken in resigning from Riverkeeper in opposition to the hiring of a convicted environmental felon to serve in the position of staff scientist on the staff of Riverkeeper.

    In issuing this statement of support, The Fishkill Ridge Caretakers wishes to emphasize that ethics cannot be separated from science and that the environmental movement will prosper best in an atmosphere of demonstrated personal responsibility and earned mutual respect.

    We encourage individuals as well as environmental organizations to join us in similar expressions of support for the principled stand taken by Boyle and fellow board members in their defense of the ethical integrity of the environmental movement here in the Hudson River Valley.

    Boyle and 8 of the 22 Riverkeeper board members resigned from Riverkeeper, Inc. in protest of the hiring of William Wegner. For eight years Wegner operated a ring of smugglers who stole bird eggs directly from the nests of protected cockatoo species in Australia. Wegner and his ring then smuggled the eggs by air to the United States. Birds that hatched and survived were then sold for as much as $12,500.00 each. A federal judge accepted Wegner’s plea of guilty to charges of conspiracy and tax fraud and sentenced him to five years in prison. The judge also found that Wegner had attempted to obstruct justice by committing perjury at the trial of a co-defendant Wegner paid a $10,000.00 fine.

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has stated that everyone deserves a second chance and notes that he himself had been given a second chance in that he had once been convicted of a drug offense.

    We note, however, that Kennedy’s offense was essentially a victimless crime while Wegner’s offense was a crime against the environment, the people of Australia, the people of the United States and against the birds. In order to avoid detection during the flight, smugglers flushed newly hatched chicks down the plane’s toilet

    Although Wegner has been convicted and served his sentence, nothing he or anyone else can do will correct the damage he has done or make his victims whole again.

    Wegner’s prison sentence seems to have done little to improve his ethical sense. The resume Wegner submitted to Riverkeeper accounts for his period of incarceration without referring to the fact of the incarceration itself Wegner describes work he performed and omits the significant information that he performed this work while he was serving time as a prison inmate.

    Kennedy overstepped his position as attorney for Riverkeeper when, in November of 1999, he hired Wegner. Boyle terminated Wegner after learning of the hiring and upon review of Wegner’s resume, court records and media accounts. The matter came to a climax at a board meeting on June 20th when Kennedy insisted that Wegner be rehired over Boyle’s objection.

    While we hope Riverkeeper continues to work to produce changed human beings who think and act differently in regard to the Hudson River and all that pertains to it, we also recognize the primary mission of Riverkeeper is not the rehabilitation of Wegner or of those like him.

    Sincerely,

    Anthony Henry Smith
    Fishkill

    (for The Fishkill Ridge Caretakers)
    (Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage, a separate organization, has also supported this letter from their beginning.)

  60. Bigfoot

    Good point, Gary Ansorge!

    I’m not anti-Republican; I’m not even anti-convervative (I like the fiscal personal responsibilty message they used to espouse, though I could certainly do without their outdated social customs views which seem to be mostly how they define themselves now).

    But one thing I am staunchly against: anti-reality! How many centuries must this self- and mentor- imposed ignorance, and the actions taken as a result, continue to taint our society?

    It seems reality is making slow progress, and I am hopeful we’ll blossom into a true reality-based society within a couple of generations — and I hope I am alive to experience the day when nearly all people have critical thinking skills and the will to use them.

  61. David D.

    @BA

    I agree: fighting against Nazis or the Taliban or Stalinists is not partisan; it is simply the humane thing to do, dare I say the right thing to do.

    But to disagree with McCain, or Palin, or someone who questions some of the assertions of global warming alarmists is NOT the same thing; it IS partisan and political, no matter how much you protest your innocence. It is disturbing to think that you equate your political stances to be on the same moral level as battling against genocidal murderers.

    But hey–it’s your blog, and if you want to say that you are not partisan, go right ahead. :)

  62. Maggy

    Once and for all, vaccines do not cause autism. Autism is simply a term from the psychiatric DSM-IV manual. It’s nothing but a smokescreen. It provides an alibi for the drug companies who added mercury to vaccines at levels 250 times higher than hazardous waste levels (based on toxicity characteristics). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the other drug company cronies who are responsible for the safety of our children. It provides an alibi for the people who administered this poison. It provides an alibi for health insurance companies so they don’t have to pay for treatment for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for psychiatrists so they can force powerfull anti-psychotic drugs on these kids who are already terribly confused.

    There will never be an identifiable cause for autism. There are though 11 published papers which identify the underlying medical condition of autism as neuroinflammatory disease. My favorite is ‘ Neuroglial activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism’. This was published by John Hopkins University. Now, do you want to debate whether mercury, a known neurotoxin, added to childhood vaccines at levels 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste, causes neuroinflammatory disease? Do you want to debate whether brain damaged kids behave in a way so that some psychiatrist can label them as somewhere on the ‘spectrum’?

  63. ndt

    Canadian Skeptic wrote:

    Yes, RFK Jr. has demonstrated gross anti-scientific thinking when it comes to vaccinations, but just because of that does not automatically mean that he’s anti-scientific in other arenas

    Actually it does.

  64. Thomas

    For those of you who think there is no scientifically credible link between autism and vaccines, I’d say you need to look more at the evidence. As a psychologist trained in the scientific method myself, and also as someone who knows that the FDA and pharmaceuticals have fooled us before, I ask you to think again. You will be in good company, as this list offered by David Kirby makes clear:

    Also, my autism reporting for the Huffington Post is at http://www.hufffingtonpost.com/david-kirby

    In my talk, I mention the fact that, during 2008, the following groups and individuals expressed the possibility of a link between vaccines or mercury and autism, and/or advocated more research into the matter:

    Director of the CDC

    Chair of the U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Investigations

    HHS Vaccine Safety Working Group

    CDC Vaccine Safety Research Agenda Authors

    Medical personnel at HHS Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

    Strategic Planning Workgroup of the IAC Committee

    Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network – CISA

    Autism researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical School

    The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation

    America’s health insurance companies

    Autism Speaks

    The former head of the NIH and American Red Cross

    Both Presidential Candidates

    Thank you very much for at least considering a look at some of the opposing arguments and evidence in this matter.

    I truly hope that intelligent people will open the door to some serious debate on the causes of autism.

    David Kirby
    http://www.evidenceofharm.com

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