Antivaxxers are *all about* the open dialogue

By Phil Plait | January 13, 2010 11:00 am

This seems to be the decade of "I don’t like what you say, so instead of refuting it with evidence I’ll sue you to shut you up!" for the alt-medders.

First, it was Simon Singh being sued by the British Chiropractic Association, and now it’s Barbara Loe Fischer from the ironically named National Vaccine Information Center, who is suing writer Amy Wallace and vaccine researcher Paul Offit about an article Wallace wrote in Wired magazine. The article is one of those rare ones that actually uses facts and evidence rather than anecdotes and hearsay, so of course shines a very ill-received spotlight on the antivaxxers, showing them for what they are: a public health menace.

As usual, Orac has the details. One thing that Orac notes is that Fischer chose to file her suit in Virginia which does not have SLAPP laws, designed to prevent lawsuits intended to silence critics. So it really really looks like she is suing simply to silence critics. Others think so too.

That is enough for an interesting story all by itself, of course. But the thing about people who deny reality, though, is that eventually they find themselves having to believe seven different things before breakfast, and at some point the irony meter can get pegged as they twist and spin. In this case, Ms. Fischer blows the gauge because she is asking for a "fearless" discussion about vaccines in 2010.

Yes, you read that correctly. She wants this because open and fearless conversation is so well-supported by libel lawsuits tossed around specifically to silence your opponents.

And people wonder why I think the mouthpieces for the antivax movement are so awful.

Skeptic Rebecca Watson agrees. Here’s what she has to say about this:

You can read Ms. Fischer’s complete statements on the NVIC website, but I’d make sure you clean your computer with bleach afterwards; who knows what you might catch from going there. You might want to protect your brain, too, since she somehow manages to link vaccines with terrorism and 9/11. When it comes to terrorism, I think the antivax movement fits better than vaccines, since fear is something they use all-too-well to scare parents into not vaccinating their kids.

Of course, if they used such things as evidence and scientific research, they’d have no movement at all.

The best thing we can do is keep shining this light on the hypocrisy and distortions of the antivax movement. They will continue to push garbage like this, and we have to make sure that the public sees it. The only alternative is to wait for kids to start dying from measles, pertussis, HiB, and other preventable illnesses in greater numbers than they already are… an event which, tragically, is already underway due in part to the antivaxxers.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Skepticism

Comments (98)

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  1. Troythulu’s Fluxus Quo « The Call of Troythulu | February 4, 2010
  1. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Phil Plait:

    You can read Ms. Fischer’s complete statements on the NVIC website, but I’d make sure you clean your computer with bleach afterwards; who knows what you might catch from going there.

    Not recommended; it’s best to use isopropyl alcohol.

  2. Lawrence

    I posted something over there – it will be interesting to see if they approve the post.

    I saw this in their disclaimer:

    “In no event will the National Vaccine Information Center, or any participant, contributor, endorser, or other associate of any kind thereof, be liable for any loss or damage, including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever from any activities arising out of or in connection with the use of this website.”

    So if I take their advice & not get the Swine Flu vaccine, get sick & die from it – my family can’t sue. Fun, fun, fun.

  3. One thing that came up in the comments on Orac’s post was that VA is Fisher’s home state and where NVIC is headquartered, so while the lack of anti-SLAPP laws may have been a bonus, she probably would have filed there, anyway.

    And anyone who has an interest in trying to defend Fisher or the anti-vax mindset, please pay a visit to antiantivax.flurf.net before commenting. Some of your comments/questions may already have been answered there. While you’re at it, reading some of the articles on Science-Based Medicine wouldn’t hurt, either.

  4. 1. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE Says: “Phil Plait: ‘…make sure you clean your computer with bleach afterwards’
    Not recommended; it’s best to use isopropyl alcohol.”

    And remember that 70% IPA is a better anti viral (and anti bacterial) than 100%.

    – Jack

  5. ND

    How is 70% better? What’s the difference between the two?

  6. Dan I.

    I’m currently in law school in Virginia and prepping for the VA Bar. I think I’m going to run this case by my Virginia Civil Procedure professor and see what his says.

    Va. procedure is totally messed up so there might in fact be a SLAPP law, its just not an obvious one.

    Phil, do you have any idea WHERE in Virginia she chose to the file lawsuit? If I knew the jurisdiction (County or City) I might be able to gauge her odds of any kind of success.

  7. ndt

    To them, “free and open debate” means they get to say whatever they want without being contradicted.

  8. mike burkhart

    BIG BROTHER IS WACTHING YOU You have commited a thought crime . I say lets move to another country before we are all locked up in the ministry of love (AKA thought police headquarters)

  9. John

    Everyone knows, if you deny reality long and hard enough, it will
    cease to be!

  10. Bahdum (aka Richard)

    Well, I just subbed to Ms. Watson’s channel. Thanks for the vid, Phil.

    Would this be considered one of those frivolous lawsuits that demand “tort reform”? Or is it simply a lawsuit from a frivolous person?

  11. Phil, do you have any idea WHERE in Virginia she chose to the file lawsuit? If I knew the jurisdiction (County or City) I might be able to gauge her odds of any kind of success.

    Eastern District of Virginia. One commenter on my blog (who is a lawyer) had this to say:

    “The Eastern District of Virginia is known as the “rocket docket”, because its judges adhere quite strictly to discovery time limits and move cases along substantially more quickly than other District Courts across the nation. This is another very plausible reason why a plaintiff might try to establish jurisdiction there.”

  12. Trebuchet

    “Frivolous lawsuit” is a term coined by the insurance industry. Their idea of “frivolous” lawsuits is all of them.

  13. I’m currently in law school in Virginia and prepping for the VA Bar. I think I’m going to run this case by my Virginia Civil Procedure professor and see what his says.

    I forgot to mention, there’s a link to a PDF of the actual complaint contained in my post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/01/suppression_of_speech_anti-vaccine_editi.php

  14. Ad Hominid

    In a not-unrelated development, various crazies are slated to testify at the Texas BoE’s hearings on social studies textbooks.
    There might be some legitimate issues with the history curriculum, but you’d never know it from the collection of backwoods theocrats, dog-whistle racists, and neo-McCarthyites who have turned these hearings into a spectacle to match the creationist madness that manifests itself whenever the science curriculum is up for comment.
    It should come as no surprise that the two circuses resemble each other, since both feature largely the same cast of clowns.

  15. the bug guy

    How is 70% better? What’s the difference between the two?

    As I remember from many years ago, the 70% has enough water that there is a strong enough osmotic gradient between the organism and the solution to quickly dehydrate it. High concentration alcohol doesn’t have a sufficient volume of water for the gradient to work and thus is less efficient.

  16. Peter B

    Mike Burkhart

    What do you mean?

  17. To Dan I: Ask your law school professors if that disclaimer of liability is binding. Many are not.

  18. Man, I would love to have an “open and fearless conversation” with these people. Really really love it.

  19. Idiotjr

    15. the bug guy Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    How is 70% better? What’s the difference between the two?

    As I remember from many years ago, the 70% has enough water that there is a strong enough osmotic gradient between the organism and the solution to quickly dehydrate it. High concentration alcohol doesn’t have a sufficient volume of water for the gradient to work and thus is less efficient.

    —-

    Alcohol disrupts the membrane of the virion/bacterium and denatures proteins. If osmotic pressure could play a role, distilled water (ie almost no solutes) would be an excellent sterilization agent.

    70% is done for 2 reasons: its cheaper and it evaporates faster.

  20. 5. ND Says: “How is 70% better? What’s the difference between the two?”

    The other 30% is water. I’m not sure of the actual mechanism, but it was pointed out during a hazmat class at a microbial test lab I was working with at the time.

    – Jack

    Edited to add: I see that “the bug guy” has proposed one. Thanks!

  21. C. Wood

    I know nothing about the woman this article/video talks about. Then again, there are a number of people whose health have been completely ruined by mandatory vaccines. Students at my alma matter are mandated to take the measles vaccine and lost every hope of persuing their education/dreams. These may be small numbers, but I don’t believe the BS about their being a need to do that to everyone or that being “worth it.” Paraphrasing the FDR quote, truth is found when all are free to pursue or not pursue other people’s version of the truth. I think this article is a biased as it accused antivaxx as being. Not everyone benefits from “advances” in science, and those advances often can’t be verified until after the fact. I’m sorry I wasted my time reading this article.

  22. Kevin Mosedale

    Somewhat ironically, when I read this post in Google Reader, the advert at the bottom was for brain training, for which a lot of claims are made without (to the best of my knowledge) any meaningful evidence to support them.

  23. Duh, 70% is better because it’s homeopathic. 0% alcohol kills EVERYTHING.

  24. @C. Wood

    Everyone here will readily acknowledge that there are risks to the vaccines. However, they will also point out that those risks are significantly less than the risk for serious injury from the disease prevented.

    If you are still reading the comments, please visit antiantivax.flurf.net, Science-Based Medicine blog and Respectful Insolence. If you have specific questions or concerns about vaccines, the folks at any of those, as well as the commenters here, would be happy to address them if you ask nicely.

  25. Daniel J. Andrews

    C. Wood (21) said

    Then again, there are a number of people whose health have been completely ruined by mandatory vaccines. Students at my alma matter are mandated to take the measles vaccine and lost every hope of persuing their education/dreams.

    Do you have any evidence for this? If you’re sorry that you wasted time reading the article, then you should be even sorrier that you wasted time discrediting yourself by using anecdotes as evidence.

  26. Doug

    RE: 21

    [/me snorts in laughter]

    ‘Not everyone benefits from “advances” in science, and those advances often can’t be verified until after the fact.’

    Oh, that’s a good one! Vaccinations are quite possibly the easiest advance in science to verify. Look at smallpox for an example … that is if you can find anyone that has it. Everyone has benefited from this advance!

    Yes, there are some people who have side effects from vaccinations — these are well documented. Those with certain medical conditions should not be vaccinated, too — and I believe they are generally exempt from these mandatory vaccinations.

    But what you don’t seem to understand is that more lives are saved and improved than are harmed.

  27. Steve in Dublin

    C. Wood @ 21

    Anecdotes are not evidence. Everyone ‘knows’ a friend of a friend of a friend who was injured by ‘something’. Let me ask you this: do you honestly believe that the number of people seriously injured by, for instance, the MMR vaccine is a significant number, compared to the number of people that were contracting and dying of encephalitis, going deaf, etc. before the vaccine was developed?

    I bet you have *zero* actual facts to back up what you are implying. Why don’t you do yourself a favour and read a few science-based articles on the subject, rather than falling for the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) being sown by the likes of Barbara Loe Fischer?

  28. isles

    I surely hope that Barbara Loe Fisher has to cough up for Rule 11 sanctions. Her obvious intent is to bully Dr. Offit into silence, and it’s not fair to the rest of us to have her taking up a federal court’s time in this attempt.

    Really, she should be thanking him. Doesn’t she rather seem to enjoy painting herself as a the renegade, the maverick, the martyr who is tirelessly persecuted by the Medical Establishment? Seems to me that Dr. Offit’s comments fit right in with that.

  29. Cory

    C. Wood @ 21.
    Fisher, is that you?

  30. anon

    You can rightfully disagree with her “science” and opinion on vaccines. You can rightfully decry SLAPP suits.

    But to move as you and ORAC do straight into reading her mind is as illogical as anything she does.

  31. Dan I.

    Yeah I can certainly see wanting to get this on the rocket docket as a reason for filing there. Things do tend to move quickly. Interesting, I’m actually working in the EDVA this semester. Obviously, I won’t be able to divulge anything I might here about the case that is confidential, but I’ll keep an ear out.

    And let me just say I’ve seen a couple of the judges in the EDVA in action…there’s a very good reason the court has the “rocket docket” nickname.

    “Ok, what’s this case about…ok…I see…huh? You aren’t serious right? This doesn’t seem to make…WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP!? Case dismissed!”

  32. Dan I.

    @ 32. anon

    “I suspect you will never be able to understand this, because you’re too much of a hack, but not all vaccines are created equal. Some vaccines have done wonderful things for humanity, and others have in fact spread disease, and viruses, and paralysis and death.”

    (How the heck do I put italics, quotes, bold etc. into a comment? Anyone please HELP!)

    But as to substantive stuff; to paraphrase a common internet saying:

    Evidence or GTFO.

  33. Calli Arcale

    anon: it is indeed illogical and idiotic to say those things. Which is why you will have a very long wait if you are expecting to see Phil say any of those things. I suspect those are merely the things you think he must believe, since they are the opposite of what you believe. You should instead take the time to actually read what he says, rather than what you imagine he would say. He is not your enemy.

    I have never heard of a vaccine which spread disease, viruses, paralysis, or death. I would appreciate very much if you could tell me about this terrible vaccine, because it is not one of the ones I’m familiar with. I do know that many people *claim* that these sorts of adverse effects are associated with vaccines in anything but extremely unusual circumstances (other than allergies), but I’ve also heard people claim President Obama is actually a shape-shifting lizard. I’d like to know why you claim this, and for which vaccine(s). Specifics really do help a discussion get somewhere useful.

  34. DanMingo

    I have never heard of a vaccine which spread disease, viruses, paralysis, or death. I would appreciate very much if you could tell me about this terrible vaccine, because it is not one of the ones I’m familiar with
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/recalls/default.htm

    http://stanford.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/yellow-fever-vaccine-recalls-in-south-nbsp-america/717268
    I hadn’t heard of them either so I searched for vaccine recalls and boom!

  35. Dan I.

    I don’t know whether to hope this case goes to trial or it dies in discovery.

    The discovery rules are so open though, you can request anything “relevant to a claim or defense” so long as it isn’t unduly burdensome. So a case like this could really get a lot of the information on how just messed up the anti-vax movement is out into the open. Which could be a good thing.

    At the same time, I really don’t want the anti-vaxxers getting the kind of recognition or legitimacy actually getting to trial gives you. It would be really nice if Wallet and Offit could get this dismissed on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

    12(b)(6) is a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure which basically says you have to have a valid claim (it’s more specific than that, but the basic idea is you need to actually allege some kind of valid claim). Getting your case tossed on Rule 12(b)(6) grounds is the judicial equivalent of being told “You’re an idiot…stop wasting my time.” So it would be pretty nice if a judge just went “Yeah…ummm…no…” and kicked this one.

  36. @Calli Arcale

    I have never heard of a vaccine which spread disease, viruses, paralysis, or death.

    There are actually concerns at the WHO regarding the live virus polio vaccine being used in India and similar regions, in that the weakened virus has been able to mutate to become virulent again. It’s a bit of a problem that they need to address (probably by switching to multiple monovalent inactivated polio vaccines).

    That said, that vaccine is only used in a small portion of the world and, for the reasons mentioned above, is on its way out. The risks/benefit ratio has tilted so that it is no longer a good vaccine. This is similar to how the OPV used to be the #1 polio vaccine in the U.S., until wild type infections decreased to the point that the risks from OPV were no longer justified; so we switched to IPV. Less effective, but significantly safer.

    That’s the only vaccine I can think of off-hand that has had a real potential for causing serious injury (e.g., VAPP) and spreading the virus.

    This is one of those vaccine issues that anti-vaxers like to point to as a way to condemn all vaccines.

  37. o2bzen

    anon is right!
    There are serious issues with our vaccine suppliers! As much as 70% of vaccines are contaminated with Mycoplasma. These slow growing bacteria are suspect in the rising rates of ASD in American Children and are directly responsible for Gulf War Syndrome. (toxic reverend on you tube, check it out)

    I will add an anecdote, you seem to like them…

    I suffered from odd health problems my whole life, tinnitus, sleep issues, heart issues, sometimes the symptoms came in spurts, noone could ever pin down a cause or link the symptoms. I felt well and functioned just fine for much of the time. Then I wed and had a baby…as people do…while I was pregnant I again had some odd health issues, but overall myself and the baby were ok.
    When asked about vaccinations I said I wanted to wait until he was a little older. The truth is the thought of giving them to my baby made me sick with fear. That is quite unlike me, so I had to respect my intuition. By 15 months my baby was beginning to regress (this is WITHOUT ANY VACCINES) and have night sweats, fevers, rashes, and many other strange issues. He never slept for much more than 6 hours often more like 4. I was already pregnant with my youngest child and struggled with both of them for almost 2 more years. Then I found a specialist in MD and he ran a Western Blot on my kids…They Both HAD LYME and BABESIA! So do I and my husband!
    We are normal people living about 50 miles West of Washington DC. We love to hike, boat, bike, & camp and we are aware of checking for ticks and using permethrin on your clothing. I spoke to two CDC representatives and our local Health Departments head nurse. Our area is infested with Lyme! Entire families, just like mine, “are on antibiotics year round to suppress their symptoms”. (quotes are exactly what the HD nurse said to me)
    So my point is if my kids were born sick, how many others are too? If you vaccinate someone who is already sick you can cause overactive immune response and cause brain and organ damage or possibly KILL them. Then add the risk that a contaminated vaccine holds and you shouldn’t have to think too hard about why people question our use of vaccines.
    I have a couple other points…
    Someone mentioned that you can’t sue if you get swine flu and die because you read something from an anti vaccine site…
    You can’t sue the vaccine manufacturer if there is something wrong with your vaccine and it kills you or turns you into a vegetable either. Big Pharma says CYA!

    Oh snorting Doug, look at the real data, small pox and measles were on their way out before, yes BEFORE the vaccines.
    It is clean water, sanitation, and advanced microbiology that lead to the decline in Infectious Diseases. Lets get those vaccines to kids in South America, Africa, or Asia… better yet lets get them some clean water to drink while I go piddle and flush some down the toilet!
    All or nothing isn’t the only choice!
    Some great science to look into is Royal Rife! ;)

  38. @anon

    Please point to where in the post Dr. Plait said that

    all vaccines are good, all anti-vaxxers are nutjobs, all astronomers are heroes with [censored – this is a family blog, after all], all global warming skeptics are deniers, all global warming proponents are filled with humanities best interests and never make mistakes.

    I’m having difficulty finding any such absolute claims. In fact, if memory serves, Dr. Plait tends to not use such language, instead using language that leaves it open that he might be wrong.

  39. locke

    @Calli Arcale
    The other obvious case of a “bad” vaccine is that for the 1976 swine flu pandemic that never spread beyond Fort Dix. It seems to be incontrovertible that that vaccine did much more harm than good. So, even though the anon you posted against is mostly wrong on a lot of things, you’re wrong on some particular details. This is one of the reasons why it’s not ALWAYS better to be a knee-jerk skeptic than it is to be a nutter anti-vaxxer.

  40. Steve in Dublin

    Like Dan I., I would love for the anti-vaxxers to take this all the way to court and then have their collective arses handed to them on a plate. But I realise it could go Ms. Fisher’s way too (especially if Dr. Offit can’t specifically prove what Fisher is “telling lies” about).

    OTOH, imagine what a great vindication for science it would be if, in the same year, Fisher and the British Chiropractic Association both lost their libel cases? It would set astoundingly good precedents in two different countries. Science FTW!

  41. reasonablehank

    “The best thing we can do is keep shining this light on the hypocrisy and distortions of the antivax movement. They will continue to push garbage like this, and we have to make sure that the public sees it.”

    Precisely.

    We need to be loud and concise, everywhere, at all times; wherever and whenever they raise their callous heads.

    Being polite and amiable to these ghouls has not worked. It has served to give them legitimacy in a false debate. They need to be pariahs for the harm they cause.

    Recent events attest to this. Great post, Phil.

  42. @32 Dan I. — not to get into too much legal mumbo-jumbo, but I’d go after this on on jurisdictional grounds before 12(b)(6). She’s probably stated a prima facie claim of defamation (doesn’t mean she’s proved it), but I’m not sure she’s got enough there to drag Dr. Offit into VA court.

    A trial might be a good thing, because truth is an absolute defense to defamation. Put anti-vax claims on trial, and let’s see who the evidence supports.

    /law geek

  43. Tom A

    “Oh snorting Doug, look at the real data, small pox and measles were on their way out before, yes BEFORE the vaccines.”

    This is a lie by the way (or at best a (wilful?) misunderstanding of the data), in case anyone was unsure

  44. Lawrence

    38. o2bzen – You are aware that data has already been posted on this very site refuting the argument that Measles was on its way out before the vaccine (and why do you think there is a resurgence of measles today? Well, people aren’t taking the vaccine like they used to!).

    Also, the Smallpox vaccine (and its pregenator – using CowPox) has been around for a couple of hundred years at least, well before modern medicine, clean water, etc – so that’s an untruth as well.

    Sure, doctors could treat patients with these diseases better – so less of them died, but plenty of measles kids went blind, mumps kids were sterilized, and polio crippled. Is that really what you want to go back to?

  45. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    @ #33. Dan I.:

    How the heck do I put italics, quotes, bold etc. into a comment? Anyone please HELP!

    This is how it’s done…

    Bold text: <b>TEXT HERE</b>

    Italic text: <i>TEXT HERE</i>

    Underline text: <u>TEXT HERE</u>

    BLOCKQUOTE:

    <blockquote>TEXT HERE</blockquote>

    BLOCKQUOTE & Italics:

    <blockquote><i>TEXT HERE&li;i></blockquote>


    :cool:

  46. I'd rather be fishin'

    70% IPA? WTH?? That’s impossible!

    Oh you mean isopropyl alcohol…IPA around my place means India Pale Ale. That’s really good for what ales me.

    Perhaps Anon could use a pint. (The only decent Imperial, I mean non-metric unit worth using.)

  47. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    ERRATUM: Because I ran out of bloody editing time at the last minute, that last one should be…

    BLOCKQUOTE & Italics:

    <blockquote><i>TEXT HERE</i></blockquote>


    :cool:

  48. Mark Hansen

    anon, one more point, unrelated to vaccines. If you consider Phil to be a hack and prone to bouts of illogical and idiotic writing, why do you persist in reading it “many times a week”? It would seem to me that someone who would do that was even more idiotic and illogical.

  49. Calli Arcale

    locke

    The other obvious case of a “bad” vaccine is that for the 1976 swine flu pandemic that never spread beyond Fort Dix.

    I was typing in a hurry; I meant of the vaccines on the recommended schedule in the US. Todd referred to the oral polio vaccine; there is av ery real reason why this one is not used in the US any longer. Regions which have extirpated or nearly extirpated polio ought to switch to inactivated poliovirus vaccine if they can afford to do so. IPV is more expensive, but cannot become pathogenic under any circumstances.

    The OPV strain has been seen spreading occasionally, but is by no means a common event, which I thought was what anon was implying.

    But as for the swine flu vaccine in 1976, it’s actually not so clear that the vaccine was so bad. There were a few deaths, but it was never actually proven that the vaccine had anything to do with them. The deaths were due to Guillaine-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a condition which can occur after any fever (whether post-vaccine or during a normal viral or bacterial infection) and which has even been seen to occur spontaneously. (Obviously something causes it, but in those cases doctors don’t know what it was.) It is believed to be a result of the immune system going out of control, but the progression of the syndrome is not understood, and the actual trigger remains a mystery. It is frequently associated with fever; therefore anything which causes a fever could theoretically cause it. Vaccines sometimes cause fevers. (This is why many doctors have recommended taking acetominophen prophylactically to prevent fever, but it’s not clear that actually helps.) Complicating the situation with GBS is that it can emerge quite some time after the fever, making it virtually impossible to pin down the culprit. Most people get several fevers a year, naturally; which one was responsible? No way to know, at present, and it’s too rare for epidemiologists to have worked out a clearer pattern yet.

    So what we know is that there were some deaths after the vaccine. We know they were caused by a condition which theoretically can be related to vaccines, but which is not exclusively caused by vaccines. We know that even the unvaccinated can succumb to GBS, and that the rate of GBS during the 1976 swine flu vaccination was not that unusual. What do we make of that? Hard to say. But the vaccine was obviously not terribly dangerous. Perhaps it was associated with some rare fatalities, but there were not enough of them to know if it was more than other vaccines, or if the deaths were even due to the vaccine at all or just bad luck.

    It is of course also true that vaccines can be contaminated, like anything else, and our system is very good at detecting this and issuing recalls. It is rare that any harm comes of that, and the last few recalls were purely precautionary because of defects in the manufacturing processes that could have introduced contamination (but may not have, for all we know). But complaining about this is a bit like saying that many salads spread contagion and disease because a few have been contaminated with salmonella. Because somebody screwed up does not indict the entire concept, nor justify fearmongering.

    OPV, by the way, I would not consider a bad vaccine. Side effects are rare, even for that one, and the good it does vastly outweighs the negative.

  50. Mark Hansen

    o2bzen, perhaps you’d care to examine http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol8no1/01-0091.htm for some info about the possible cause you mentioned for GWS. Long story short, no mycoplasma in the vaccine.

  51. Mark Hansen

    o2bzen, perhaps you’d like to have a look at this page from the CDC about GWS – http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol8no1/01-0091.htm. Long story short, no mycoplasma in the vaccine.

  52. Richie

    I am pleased to present the Gold Medal in Oral Gymnastics to Barbra Loe Fisher. I also congratulate her in her outstanding efforts in Quote-Mining, her stellar performance in Obfuscation, and her overall excellent showing in the Woo-Woo Olympics.

    Awards can be picked up from your Local GP clinic, along with a coupon for a free vaccination

  53. Folks- I deleted anon’s second comment. I don’t know why people have such a hard time adhering to my one simple rule while posting here – it’s linked in the sidebar – but break it they do.

  54. Travelling Willow

    Here in the EU an investigation on swine flue vaccination is likely. An EU health care official declared that the swine flue was not a pandemic and that pharmaceutic companies made billions.

    Antivaxx is of course dangerous nonsense, but it is things like this that really undermines trust in governments as well as health care. Personally I am not amused and I hope it’s all a honest mistake. I can remember debates on how dangerous the virus was or wasn’t and what risks there were for development of even more contagious strains. It’s a bit like climate science maybe. There is an issue, there are probabilities on the one hand, nay-sayers on the other, opportunistic people in the middle.

    I see the WHO picked it up as well.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0114/1224262291929.html

  55. Sticks

    Phil is it wise commenting on cases that are subjudicie?

    Do you not run the risk of litigation against you and the lawyers for this site curbing what you say or throwing you off altogether?

  56. Causing autism by shooting mercury and aluminum into babies and fetuses is the worst crime in history. Idiotic bloggers who support the lies concerning this are the scum of the Earth.

  57. So I read her blog and at first I was worried, but then I remembered I had my computer vaccinated against stupidity.

  58. @John Best

    Hey, hey! It’s John Best! So, you have some valid evidence that shows that “shooting mercury and aluminum into babies and fetuses” causes autism, yes? We’ll wait for the citations, though holding our breath might result in a few fatalities.

  59. Kevin

    Phil, you said “When it comes to terrorism, I think the antivax movement fits better than vaccines”

    That is PERFECT! Let’s get Homeland Security and the rest of the fed agencies (especially the TSA) to hound these antivax people, throw them into jail, waterboard them, etc. Or better yet, give them a disease and say “well, you could have this vaccine to heal you, but since you don’t believe in vaccines…” :D

    “AntiVaxx = Terrorism” “AntiVaxxers sponsored the Christmas Day airplane bomber.”

    (See, it works great. Everyone spread it around)

    Because we have more to fear from these antivaxx idiots than we do radical islamic folks.

  60. Todd, I’m not a cop or I’d give you a citation for stupidity and dishonesty. Do you have any pregnant females in your family?
    I suggest doing a blood test on them to determine if their fetuses have the APO-E4 protein. If so, and it’s a male, we’ll shoot a couple hundred micrograms of thimerosal into the kid, spaced out over a few months so we don’t kill him right away and we’ll observe him for a few years to see if the thimerosal mangles his brain into autism.
    I think that would be the best way for you to prove that you’re not a dishonest piece of garbage.
    I already proved that thimerosal caused my son’s autism by removing some of the mercury from his brain. Guess what? He got better!!! Isn’t that great, Todd? Aren’t you happy for my son that I’ve been able to partially repair the damage caused by the medical industry’s malpractice.
    As usual, I offer you and all lying scumbags who support poisoning babies with thimerosal the chance to come visit my son, read reports from his teachers and doctors to see how useless his brain used to be and judge for yourself how much better it works with that mercury gone. Will you come see the evidence for yourself or will you write back some bogus bit of sophistry about double-blind placebo controlled studies orchestrated by the same corrupt mental cases who poisoned my son to begin with?
    Let’s have an honest answer for a change, Todd.

  61. @John Best

    I’m glad your son has made improvements. Most people with autism actually make progress, even without undergoing chelation (which I’m assuming you used), since autism is a disorder of delay, not stasis.

    Now, as to the rest of your post, apart from being oh so classy, you failed to provide any evidence to support your claim. I’m sorry if you feel that I’m unfairly dismissing your anecdote, but anecdotes just are not reliable bases for scientific questions; good places to start investigation, but they don’t establish fact. Even if your case is accurate fact, it is very possible that it is a unique or exceedingly rare event and, again, cannot be the basis for making scientific decisions. That is why I asked for citations. Please provide links (or author/title/journal name) to studies showing what you claim.

    Without some valid evidence to support your claims, all you have left are insults and anger, which don’t help anyone and certainly won’t convince anyone that you are right. So, let’s put the vitriol aside and have an honest discussion examining the totality of evidence available. I’ll continue waiting for your supporting evidence.

  62. Diego Bustamante

    @ 58, John Best
    Mr Best, is there any way we can verify what you talk about? Obviously posting private information from yourself isn’t encouraged online (you would be subject to worlwide scrutiny), but there is sincerely no other way that we can actually know that you’re speaking the truth, because if you are, then it’s a study really worth making, as I’ve seen no such before.

    I say this because the only two studies I’ve ever found that link authism to mercury either said that: a. “While not willing to either rule out or to corroborate a relationship between mercury and autism, the IOM soft-pedaled its findings and decided no more studies were needed”, meaning that basically they couldn’t conclude ANYTHING and just threw an opinion there for good measure, and b. “Subjects closer to a ‘source’ of [mercury] pollution had a higher incidence of authism”, which is to say nothing, since the relation is to the source, NOT the mercury itself.

    In the end, what I’m trying to say is that there’s no way to verify that your anecdote is applicable to all cases, or if it’s even true. Hell, I could tell you that my son had autism until he got his shots, and who could verify that?

  63. Todd,
    I’m not the least bit angry. I’m laughing at you.

    Let’s look at one reason you gave me a chuckle. In response to my suggestion about using one of your family members to prove your point, you said : ” “. This tells us that you don’t have the brains or the honor to address what I said, probably both. I think you know that we would have a percentage of well over 50% who would have their brains mangled into autism in the scenario I suggested and you don’t have a stock reply in your propaganda manual. So, you took the only option available to you and tried to turn it around by claiming that I failed to provide evidence. The fact here, Todd, is that you have refused to offer up your kin as sacrifices to Pharma to prove your point because you know what will happen to those babies.

    Second reason to laugh at you is your dishonest claim that autism is not stasis. We see autistic adults who are commonly the intellectual equal of infants because they never progressed. We have been advised by doctors that our children will never progress and that we should institutionalize them but you claim to know better than all of those doctors who gave us that advice. Perhaps you can back up your claim by finding us some 79 year old autistics who progressed from feces smearing imbeciles into useful citizens. Good luck with your search!!!

    Thirdly, you responded to my invitation to observe my son by saying: ” “. Seeing the evidence with your own eyes would be much better than any anecdotal report by some scientist but you act as though the evidence is not there for you to see. If you were honest, you’d be asking for directions to my house and arranging a time when you could observe the evidence. If I offered you a ride in the Space Shuttle so you could see that Earth was round, I expect you’d ask me for links to journals to prove that too rather than looking at it for yourself.

    I always enjoy laughing at the way you try to wriggle out of addressing the truth, Todd. You better ask someone to update Pharma’s Propaganda Manual so you have better replies than: ” “.

  64. Hey Todd,
    Aren’t there any other propaganda wizards at work today to help you craft an answer? I suggest to call for reinforcements so I can read some slightly different stupid responses.

  65. @John Best

    1) You came in here claiming that “shooting mercury and aluminum into babies and fetuses” causes autism. The onus is on you to provide evidence to support that claim. You have not done so.

    2) I would encourage everyone in my family to be vaccinated according to the indications in the labeling and following the recommended schedule.

    3) Interesting thing about thimerosal. It was removed from nearly all of the childhood vaccines (flu vaccine being the exception, but even that is available thimerosal-free), so that total thimerosal exposure is lower than at any other time in the history of vaccines. Now, if you were correct, then autism rates should have started declining around 2002 and been noticeably in decline by 2005 and later. But, the rates haven’t dropped. Interesting, no?

    4) It doesn’t matter if I read your account here or visit in person. It is still an anecdote. You apparently missed the part where I said why anecdotes are not reliable. Further, your tendency to abusive language (“lying scumbags”, “dishonest piece of garbage”, “scum of the Earth”, etc.) inclines me to avoid you; you may have tendencies to violent action, as well.

    5) If I recall correctly from your previous appearances here, you refuse to accept any evidence that contradicts your viewpoint, refuse to change your viewpoint for any reason and are apparently incapable of posting a comment without some manner of insult in it. As such, I’m done with you until you can demonstrate you are capable of civil conversation, can provide some manner of scientific evidence to support your very broad claims and let us know what it would take for you to change your mind.

  66. [NOTE BY THE BAD ASTRONOMER: John Best has broken my commenting policy rules and so I will mark all further of his comments as spam.]

    Todd,
    It took you longer than usual to look up those responses in the Pharma Propaganda Manual. I thought you’d have had them memorized by now.

    For me to change my mind, you’d have to agree to shoot mercury into your relatives who have the APO-E4 protein and show me that none of them become autistic. You may substitute relatives of members of Congress if you wish but I’d want this study done on liars who refuse to admit the truth about how mercury mangled our childrens’ brains.

    All of the studies you try to use to present your dishonest opinions about thimerosal are also anecdotes, Todd. In fact, every bit of information that we don’t see with our own eyes is an anecdote of some sort now, isn’t it, Todd? So, you trying to demonize the word “anecdote” doesn’t work very well for you when I throw it back in your face, does it?

    So, let’s take your attempt at sophistry in another direction. If you observe my son with your own eyes, that can hardly be called an anecdote, can it? Would it be an anecdote if I shoot thimerosal into one of your pregnant relatives and they miscarry ten minutes later?

    You keep calling for proof but you don’t want to accept my offer to let you see that proof live and in person. I’ll show you the proof that I watched with my relative but I want to use one of your relatives to prove it to you. Since you’re so sure that thimerosal can’t harm anyone, I’m certain you want to back up that claim by using a blood relative of your own to show us how honest you are. So, quit with the Pharma jive and let’s see some action.

  67. Lawrence

    John – your tone doesn’t exactly encourage debate now, does it? As Todd has already stated, you’ve been here before & been presented with plenty of fact-based evidence that vaccinces are not the cause of Autism – while you have responded in only the most derogatory & demeaning manner, without providing any evidence (scientific & fact-checked) to the contrary.

    John, can you answer Todd’s third question? If Thermisol was removed from the vast majority of vaccines (with the exception of flu), why haven’t we seen a corresponding decrease in autism?

    You also obviously don’t understand the difference between fact-checked science & just your personal observation (or anecdote). You have one particular situation, which cannot be used as a broad argument for what ever it is that you want.

    While I feel for your son, I will not allow the anti-vaccination campaign to put my own son at risk at contracting harmful & potentially fatal illnesses because of fear-mongering.

  68. Diego Bustamante

    John, where can we see proof of this son of yours and the procedures followed? I would really like to see this case.

  69. Lawrence

    Yeah John – real helpful there. It is amazing that people think civil discourse is a thing of the past.

    I would like to see all of the peer-reviewed science that shows this “cure” for autism.

    I’m sorry that you feel the need to express yourself with such vitriolic hate, against anyone that may have a different opinion than yours. It doesn’t encourage any type of reasonable dialogue or even sympathy for your cause.

  70. John Best’s posts have gotten increasingly rude, breaking my only commenting rule: don’t be a jerk. I have marked his comments as spam, and will continue to do so.

  71. Greg in Austin

    @John Best,

    You’re bad attitude will not win you any sympathy here. Do you teach your children that if someone asks you for evidence, you simply call them names?

    If mercury was removed from vaccines in 2002, why do we still get cases of autism today?

    How do you know removing mercury from the brain is what helped your child improve, and that he would not have improved without chelating? How do you know it wasn’t normal development? How do you know it wasn’t another variable, like changing your fabric softner? How do you know your child’s autism was caused by mercury, and not caused by the paint on your walls, or the carpet in your house? How do you know it wasn’t simply caused by a genetic error that was passed down from you and your parents? What are your controls in your study? What are the variables? What about the actual studies of children that get better WITHOUT chelation, or those that DON’T get better?

    Your anecdote, while important to you, is actually quite useless in a scientific sense. Yes, I know its very personal to you, but you literally cannot help your child or anyone else by calling people names and ignoring real science.

    8)

  72. Lawrence

    Yeah, that wasn’t heading anywhere useful. Sorry you had to do it Phil, but I understand that some reasonable standard of discourse must be maintained – regardless of the opinion expressed (because there are nuts on all sides).

  73. Diego Bustamante

    Mr Best,
    I wasn’t actually talking about meeting your son in person, but rather would like to know hard facts about the procedures followed and results in paper. As I told you before, I’ve never seen a study of said procedures (and never heard about them either), so the case interests me.

  74. Charlie Young

    Wow…I wonder how long John Best has been stewing on this thread to work up that much anger. There was not even an inkling of open-mindedness there. He’s distilled it all down to his one-and-only cause and effect and refuses to let any other opinion color his view.

    Phil, we all understand why you shut him down. His comments do make some exciting reading, however.

    P.S. Went to his link from the comments above, and the anger he shows is just plain blinding. He called everyone here out to come to his site and argue further.

  75. @Charlie Young

    I wondered how quickly he would put a post up about his banning. A while back he posted on one of the BA’s vaccine posts with the same vitriol and insulting manner. As I said, I’m done with him. Would’ve been nice to have a calm, rational, civil conversation with him, but he’s so full of anger and self-righteousness that even the slightest disagreement with him makes one either a Pharma shill or tool of Pharma (though he puts it oh, so much more eloquently). He’s demonstrated that he has no interest in a truly honest conversation.

  76. Calli Arcale

    Ah, John Best! In fine form as usual. He’s one of only three people ever banned from Respectful Insolence. Now he’s managed to get banned from Bad Astronomy too. Quite a feat, given their liberal* commenting policies.

    So, let’s take your attempt at sophistry in another direction. If you observe my son with your own eyes, that can hardly be called an anecdote, can it? Would it be an anecdote if I shoot thimerosal into one of your pregnant relatives and they miscarry ten minutes later?

    I’m not Todd, but I’ll answer anyway: yes, and yes. You need to do more than just say “a then b”. You need to show an actual connection between the two. One way to do that is by experimentation, and you have proposed such an experiment. But science isn’t about solitary experiments. A crucial element is that it has to be repeatable. Women miscarry anyway (1 in 5 pregnancies spontaneously miscarry); how do you know that the thimerosal was responsible in any way? (Incidentally, this is the first time I’ve seen you make that claim, which is rather more dramatic than your usual autism claim. But perhaps I simply haven’t read enough of your posts.) In order to be certain, you would need to perform the same trial on many pregnant women — or, determine the mechanism by which thimerosal could do such a thing, or perform a similar study using pregnant rats or another animal.

    Otherwise, yes, it is still just an anecdote that a happened, then b happened.

    *I don’t mean politically liberal. I mean they give a lot of latitude.

  77. captain swoop

    How do you remove Mercury from a brain?

  78. Lawrence

    Wow…all I can say is wow. The WOO is strong with that one – probably one of the most delusional and sociopathic individuals I’ve run across – made the mistake of checking out his site(s).

  79. Mike

    “70% is done for 2 reasons: its cheaper and it evaporates faster.”

    Close. It evaporates SLOWER which increases contact time.

  80. ND

    “The WOO is strong with that one”

    T-shirt idea!

  81. Judy

    I suggest reading “The Vaccine Book” from Dr. Sears, it actually discusses the pros/cons, sideeffects and risks, for all the childhood vaccines. Strange concept to actually read real information and not take the word of some celebrity/webpage/anecdote.

    After reading the book, I have chosen to have my child fully vaccinated and am very comfortable, just am choosing a modified schedule to get it done and minimize risk of complications. But I’m also an engineer and I tend to like facts and data to support my choices

  82. kieran

    As someone with Asperger’s syndrome, I was baffled at John’s claim that people with autism are “feces smearing imbeciles”. I think he has “autism” confused with “Being a monkey”.

  83. I would just like to say, at this juncture, that “ORAC” was also Wilhelm Reich’s abbreviation for his ORgone ACcumulator, a.k.a. the “orgone box.”

  84. 59. Kevin Says:

    … Or better yet, give them a disease and say “well, you could have this vaccine to heal you, but since you don’t believe in vaccines…”

    He’s coming around, folks! He’s going to be OK, and ready to play Symptom Six of “Beat The Reaper”!

    Last week, our Patient successfully survived the common cold, measles, pneumonia, dengue fever, and the yaws.
    And now, the Big Question! Are you ready to Go On?

    J/P=?

  85. why is it that so many in the FDA used to work in pharma or food?
    then mysteriously these people end up with 6+ figure jobs back at the very industries they were supposedly regulating to keep citizens Safe! Revolving door corruption.

    also one should youtube, googlevideo Kennedy on vaccines he says things like ‘tobacco science’ ‘they know’. one could also look up the amish in relation to this subject, they have next to no autism in their populace.

    jenn mcarthy – paraphrase ‘in 80’s it was 10 vac’s. then in 90(?) for no reason, kids weren’t dying of some outbreak, we went to 25+ vac’s. WHY? greed!’

  86. Peter B

    G’day someguy. You said: “why is it that so many in the FDA used to work in pharma or food? then mysteriously these people end up with 6+ figure jobs back at the very industries they were supposedly regulating to keep citizens Safe! Revolving door corruption.”

    What are the names of these people? Do you have any evidence of corruption?

    “also one should youtube, googlevideo Kennedy on vaccines he says things like ‘tobacco science’ ‘they know’. one could also look up the amish in relation to this subject, they have next to no autism in their populace.”

    Can you provide evidence of this? Is it simply because they don’t go to doctors who could diagnose such conditions?

    “jenn mcarthy – paraphrase ‘in 80’s it was 10 vac’s. then in 90(?) for no reason, kids weren’t dying of some outbreak, we went to 25+ vac’s. WHY? greed!’”

    Why? Because it saves lives. Have a look at how much the infant mortality rate has fallen, even since the 1980s. Have a read of this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615523/pdf/amjph00445-0063.pdf

  87. @someguy

    Thought experiment time: suppose you have a lot of experience working on the development of drugs. You learn how the process works from pre-clinical animal studies, through testing in humans all the way to market and post-market. You gain an understanding of the manufacturing process, how data is collected, etc. Then suppose you either lose your job because of layoffs or you just simply want to change how things work in the industry…to have an impact. FDA wants people with backgrounds in science, medicine and drug/medical device development. Amazingly, you have just such a background. What’s more, it gives you an opportunity to make that difference you want to make, since you know how industry operates and how they might try to skirt around the regulations. Not to mention, you need a job, since you now find yourself searching the wanted ads. So, FDA picks you up. You gain a further understanding of how FDA operates, what they expect to see, and the headaches they have to deal with when it comes to industry people that are relatively new to the field and don’t quite know what they should be doing to ensure regulatory compliance. You make that difference you want to make, at least in part, but you think you could do more. Plus, the workload at FDA is huge, so you think you might want to go back to industry, since it pays better and has a slightly lighter load with potentially less traveling and time away from family. With the knowledge you gained at FDA, you can make a bigger impact within the company to ensure that everything is in compliance and that products that really are good, useful and needed, that would otherwise be held up by some incompetent lackwit, actually makes it to market in a timely manner. You are able to ensure that the products that make it to market deserve to be there, and that they get there without undue delays.

    No corruption involved. Believe it or not, but there actually are people like that out there who want to make sure that the products that make it to market are safe and effective and that crucial new products aren’t delayed. I, myself, am studying so I can change careers and do just that.

    Regarding Kennedy, one thing he seems to miss is the fact that with tobacco, the science community was overwhelmingly pointing out its health risks. With vaccines, the science community is overwhelmingly pointing out its benefits and minimal health risks, along with the risks of not vaccinating.

    Regarding the Amish communities, do a bit more digging into that topic. You’ll find that the whole thing was basically manufactured by Dan Olmstead. Good places to start your search would be antiantivax.flurf.net, Science-Based Medicine blog and perhaps Respectful Insolence.

    As to the increase in the schedule and the “kids weren’t dying” comment, death is not the only thing to consider when dealing with communicable diseases. Many of these diseases have non-fatal, but nonetheless serious, consequences. Let’s look at measles, as an example. Measles can cause ear infections, bronchitis, deafness, blindness, pneumonia, encephalitis (which can cause permanent brain damage), miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women and decreased platelet count (i.e., your blood won’t clot as easily, so if you bleed, you are more likely to bleed for a longer time and lose more blood). Then there’s chicken pox. A harmless disease, right? Well, it can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis as well, not to mention that the patient is then at risk of shingles later in life. Shingles can cause permanent nerve damage and pain, blindness, encephalitis, hearing/balance problems, facial paralysis and, for both chicken pox and shingles, if the blisters aren’t treated, secondary skin infections are rather likely.

    That’s just two diseases, each with a lot of rather serious complications possible. The risks of those may be somewhat rare (e.g., measles encephalitis is about 1 per 1,000 people infected), but they are significantly more likely to occur than an injury from a vaccine (e.g., encephalitis or serious allergic reaction from measles vaccine: 1 per 1,000,000).

    Lots of reasons, therefore, why more vaccines were added without greed ever playing a role. These diseases are not benign. Furthermore, the profit margin for vaccines is pretty low. Before the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established, vaccine manufacturers were leaving the field because it just wasn’t worth it.

  88. Dawn

    @someguy: Yeah, it was 10 vaccines in the 80’s and early 90’s. No chicken pox vaccine, so my kids had that. It’s so much fun to give narcotics to your child because they are screaming in pain from chicken pox all over their body so that they can’t sit, can’t lie down, can’t stand 24/7 for 3 days; bathing, using a toilet, hell, even putting on ANY clothing causes severe pain. Eating/drinking causes pain because of pox in the mouth and throat. If they’d had a vaccine at that time, darn sure my kids would have gotten it rather than deal with chicken pox and the lifetime risk now of shingles. No Hib, no Prevnar, no Rotavirus. Every severe sore throat was a fear of epiglottitis. Severe diarrhea…dealing with a baby who doesn’t like pedialyte, won’t eat, won’t nurse…Please. I’d rather have had the vaccines.

  89. I took a look at John Best’s post about being banned and the attendant comments. Apparently he made a fool out of me by not answering my questions, not providing any evidence to support his claims and using abusive language, and that he was banned for supposedly making a fool of me, rather than for violating Phil’s commenting rules.

    Jake Crosby’s also showed up there, supporting John. He says that a post of his that had a long list of references never got posted. It’s a pity he didn’t provide the title of the post he commented on so readers can verify his claim.

    It’s really rather interesting how emotional people like John and Jake can get, and how their anger shades their perspective.

  90. Joman

    As a biologist none of those explanations about 70% ethanol seemed to ring correct with me so I started googling for a better answer. After tweaking the search terms a little (turns out most people out there don’t have a very clear idea either) here is the best answer I could find courtesy of wikianswers:

    “As an antiseptic, 70 percent of alcohol is prefered to a stonger solution. Pure alcohol coagulates protein on contact. Suppose the pure alcohol is poured over a single celled organism. The alcohol will penetrate the cell wall of the organism in all direction, coagulating the protein just inside the cell wall. The shell of the coagulated protein would then prevent the alcohol from penetrating farther into the cell, and no more coagulation would take place. At this time the cell would become dormant but not dead. Under the proper condition the cell could then begin to function again. If 70 percent of alcohol were poured on to a single-cell organism, the diluted alcohol also coagulates the protein, but at a slower rate, so that it penetrates all the way through the cell before coagulation can block it. then all the cell is coagulated and the organism dies. “

  91. Worried Bird

    What advice can members of the forum provide for a skeptic whose loved one is sliding into the woowoo? A member of my family is not very far from John Best’s level of vitriol, and I am currently skirting around conversations which may veer into this topic. My fear is that the vitriol will spill on me, and I don’t want to risk that sort of damage to our relationship.

    Still, I hate to just let it go – this sort of talk actually convinces some people, and I feel I have a duty to at least help my family member tone down the stridency. I care deeply about this person; any advice you have would be appreciated.

  92. Chris

    Young master Jake has written a hit piece on a blogger. Apparently he thinks it is a bad thing that the blogger changed his mind on what caused his child’s autism. He originally thought it was a vaccine, but with more information has changed his mind. See:
    leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/01/response-to-jake-at-age-of-autism/

  93. Peter B

    G’day Worried Bird @ #91

    It’s a tricky situation you’re in. Unfortunately it’s also hard to give advice in this situation, because we don’t know the exact circumstances. It’s up to you to decide whether their attitude or your relationship to be the more important. Please note I’m not being frivolous about this choice – if your relative has no children, then their attitude may be less likely to adversely affect others, so you can afford to concentrate on the relationship.

    However, can I recommend you scan back a few pages for Phil’s article about “Branding Skepticism”, both for the link he provides (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/814-brand-skeptic.html) and for the comments on the article.

    Good luck.

    Cheers

    Peter

  94. gaiainc

    Something quick about oral polio virus versus inactivated-my understanding is that OPV is shelf-stable at room temperature. It doesn’t require a needle nor syringe to give and it can improve herd immunity. IPV requires needle and syringe (or some other injection) as well as refridgeration to remain stable. It only works on the person who receives the immunization. In many ways OPV is a good choice were needles, syringes, and refridgeration are in short supply.

  95. @gaiainc

    The best aspects of OPV are that a) it is about as close to 100% effective as you can get and b) immunity is passed on to others in the household. Those two things are great when you’re looking at regions with high rates of infection and low rates of vaccination. The other aspects you mentioned may also play a not insignificant role in its use, but I think those two are the biggies. Downside is that there is a risk of VAPP from OPV.

    IPV is not as effective, only benefits the vaccinee, as you mentioned, but does not carry the risk of VAPP.

  96. Adele

    Actually,, breastfeeding is better than the rotovirus vaccine:

    A. Gutland, “Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%,” BMJ 2010 Jan 28, doi:10.1136/bmj.c511.

    H.S. Maranhão, et al., “The epidemiological and clinical characteristics and nutritional development of infants with acute diarrhoea, in north-eastern Brazil,” Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 2008 Jun;102(4):357-65.

  97. Kingfillins

    Polio…. are you so sure?
    How about a poliomyelitis from DDT?
    No polio pre DDT?
    Is it just a coincidence?
    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/west5a.html
    DDT was used like toothpaste back in the day.
    Remember it was your Government that allowed the release of DDT
    and you still trust them?
    How quickly we forget.

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