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Responding to Chris Mooney in the LAT

Letter to the editpr By Ginger Taylor
 
My letter in response to the LA Times article:  Bringing science back into America's sphere on Chris Mooney's book "Unscientific America"

Lori, Chris and Sheril,

I am an autism parent with an MS is Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University and a contributor to Age of Autism.  I maintain my own blog at Adventures in Autism.

I saw Lori's piece today and would like to point out a few things that seem incredibly obvious from where I am sitting, but you genuinely don't seem to have on your radar (from what I could tell from the article), in regards to why America is not embracing "science" as you think they should.  I hope you will be open to hearing from me for a moment, because there is a problem, but the problem may not be the public.

I feel like you may have confused actual hard "Science" with "things that most scientists think", as there seems to be a denial of the fact that scientific consensus has quite often been, and most assuredly still is in many places, wrong.

Chris and Sheril wrote:  "...today this country is also home to a populace that, to an alarming extent, ignores scientific advances or outright rejects scientific principles."

I would put it to you that it may not be the "scientific principles" that are being rejected, but the principles of the scientists.

When my son regressed into autism following his 18 month shots and I spent a year trying to reconcile all of the contradictory positions of my own pediatrician, the AAP, the CDC, HHS, the "science" you say exonerates vaccines from autism causation, the whole of the research out there and the facts of my own son's case.  What I found was a ridiculous mess. 

What you keep referring to as "science" is making contradictory statements all over the place.  It resembles nothing like the thing that "Science" is actually supposed to be, the methodical study of phenomena to figure out what is ACTUALLY, TRULY happening. 

Yet the statements that scientists make claim that all the vaccine/autism questions have been answered, purport that all the possibilities have been explored and suggest that people should just kill what intellectual curiosity and concern for child safety that they have left and move on?  How is that "Science"?  How is that not laughable?

Case in point from Lori's article: "science has come in and we can't detect the correlation between a rise in autism diagnoses and use of childhood vaccines. And study after study has been done."

Yet "science" has never done a simple study that took a large group of vaccinated children and a large group of children whose parents chose not to vaccinate them, and compared them for autism incidence!  Yet you suggest that it is time to let the vaccine/autism question go?  The FIRST study that "science" should have done, still has never been done!  And it may take an act of congress to actually make "science" do something it apparently really does not want to do.  And that is only the beginning of the studies that have not been done.

Not to mention the fact that "study after study" is picked apart by other researchers, and even by lay parents, but those critiques are ignored by people like you who don't want to follow the actual scientific method.  This same bizarre conversation is carried out over and over:

Mainstream science:  "Here is a study... look no vaccine/autism connection".

Autism community:  "Hey... look here... you guys forgot to carry the 3.  Wait... half of our kids' medical histories are in the exclusion criteria!".

Mainstream science (now with their back to the autism community and facing the microphones):  "Awww.... poor desperate, scientifically illiterate parents looking for someone to blame.  At some point they really have to let go."

There are about a thousand questions on the vaccine/autism connection that neither scientists nor research has ever addressed, and the medical establishment won't even allow to be asked in their "pulpits" because "science" is the new religion and their dogma cannot be questioned.  Scientists are the priests, and those who diverge from the canon are branded heretics.  Vaccines are inherently "good" and cannot be "bad".  The research that points to vaccines causing autism is treated like the evidence that priests were molesting young boys... ignored, buried and those who dared call attention to it are bullied into silence.  And yet you have a problem with the suppression of discussion of evolution in churches?  Again.... from where I sit, the hypocrisy of your statements are stunning.

The scientific community overstates the benefits of vaccination and understates the risks.  And of course they do, vaccination is their baby.  Yet they don't seem to have the insight to understand that there is a conflict of interest there.  Last year the AAP sent a representative to a Defeat Autism Now! conference to evaluate the state of their science into autism/vaccine causation.  They sent Louis Cooper of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, one of the inventors of the Rubella vaccine.  Seriously?  Lou Cooper is the objective guy that is going to return to the AAP and declare, "You know what guys... I think the vaccine I invented and that is my greatest accomplishment in life may be playing a role in an epidemic of lifelong and deadly neurological disorders that are striking around 1 in 100 kids!  I think we may have caused an epidemic!"????

I don't think that you have fully grasped what has happened in the vaccine/autism wars.  A very large group of parents, physicians and researchers have made the accusation that mainstream medicine, the scientific community and public health authorities have created one of the largest iatrogenic epidemics of all time via an overzealous and under researched vaccine program.  A very serious charge.  Your community has responded to that charge by doing a minimal amount of shoddy research, in most cases paid for and carried out by the pharmaceutical companies that made the products in question and the agencies that made the policies that put these products into almost every tiny body in this country regardless of their risk factors, while simultaneously mocking those making the charge.

You have declared that YOU HAVE INVESTIGATED YOURSELVES AND FOUND THAT YOU ARE NOT GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES!  And the policy makers among you have made sure that no appeal can be filed in an actual court where your accusers can bring evidence against you, compel you to testify under oath, or compel you to turn over internal documents, as you have passed legislation exempting yourselves from any liability or litigation.  You claim innocence and just tell us that we have to take your word for it, as if "smart" also mean "honest", "incorruptible", "omniscient" and "looking out for the best interests of the public and all individuals".

Why in the world do you think that your reputation should be on the rise?!


What is happening is denial on a scale far grander than what transpired during the initial Semmelweiss Reflex.  You want the public to embrace science, even the science that they don't want to face?  You go first!

I started to write more on all of the corruption that is going on in the medical and scientific industries, but who has that much time.

Yes... to solve the problem that you want solved, reportedly that you want mainstream American to embrace "science", "Scientists are going to have to have a culture change."

But the change you suggest is the wrong one.  You don't need more scientists (or more nerds rapping about super colliders), you need the scientists you already have to have a come to Jesus moment.  The scientific community needs to understand that their hubris, arrogance, devaluing of the individual, ethical problems, legal problems, widespread conflicts of interest and constant denials of any evidence that is inconvenient to the advancements of their "scientific" agenda is the problem, and has to come to an end.

The scientific community needs a big dose of humility, and needs to consider the fact that their critics and those ignoring them, might have a few good points.

They need to listen to, and be able to cogently address their critics, instead of marginalizing and maligning them.  And if they don't have an answer, they have to offer informed consent to the public and admit that they don't have an answer. 

People see right through condescending BS.  People have a tendency to treat you with the same dismissal with which you have treated them.  What you are seeing may not be a "deep-seated streak of anti-intellectualism" but a deep-seated distrust of self-proclaimed "intellectuals" who openly disdain the unwashed masses, then wonder why their scientific pronouncements hold no sway with them.

Take minute and go read any autism/vaccine post on Orac's blog, as he is the rock star of the "woo" bashing 'skeptics' in your universe.  Now pretend that you are a parent who has learned that thimerosal at nanomolar amounts causes mitochondrial dysfunction so severe that it can cause the cell to self destruct, and that HHS has conceded that in the Poling case mito dysfunction + vaccination = autism symptoms.  And pretend that one of your questions are that if vaccines are known to cause Guillian-Barre, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system, then why can't they cause autism, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system?  And pretend that you want to understand that if one vaccine contains enough adjuvant to stimulate the immune system sufficiently to put it on a search and destroy mission for viruses, then why do docs give five shots at once and claim it couldn't possibly overstimulate the immune system in some into a search and destroy mission for its own tissues; and why can't it cause the autoimmune state and neuroinflammation found in autism?  And then pretend that you are confused by the stance of "science" that a fetus contracting Rubella is a known cause of autism, but that that a one year old being given a live virus rubella vaccine couldn't possibly cause autism; while remembering that VICP has ruled that Baily Banks would not have had ASD if not for his MMR.

And pretend you saw Julie Gerberding go on CNN and say that vaccines can cause autism and cannot cause autism.

And then pretend that you spend untold hours on pubmed and in chat rooms and on HHS/CDC/AAP web sites and you can't find any cogent answers for the questions you have.  And pretend that your own pediatrician just got annoyed with you for asking questions he couldn't answer and then just stopped returning your calls.

And then go read Orac again (or any 'skeptic' blog or even your own article in the LAT) and ask yourself... 'why would any thinking person want to listen to us when we can't answer their questions and instead treat them with contempt to cover the fact that we can't answer their questions'?

Your 'skeptic' community's message to the public and parents like me?  "You are an idiot and we have nothing but contempt for you.  Now think what we tell you to think and do what we want you to do, even if it doesn't make sense".

Treat your audience like crap, and they will leave.  Claim to be a scientist and spout completely unscientific and illogical statements (mean ones at that), and no one will care what you say.

Chris, when your own suggestion on how to fix the problem that you have defined is to lean more about the people who are resisting your message, not so that you might learn from them as to where you might have gone off the tracks, not even so that you might enter into a mutually respectful relationship with them where you are on the same level (what with you being "super smart", "highly educated" and "doing great stuff" while they are way behind you on some imaginary starting point), but so that you might condescend to where they are in order to manipulate them into believing what you want them to believe... can you see that you can't even see what the real problem is?

It is clear from this article that those you target, you do not consider your equals.

"Smart" is not the only virtue, and it may not even one of the most important virtues.  Look back at the people who have done the most damage to humanity through out history.  You will be hard pressed to find a dummy among them.

Ginger Taylor

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I have been studying the question of "truth" for over 30 years now and find it fascinating how ignorant people can be. I think much of the problem is that people simply don't think or have others do their thinking for them. This is true for many subjects and certainly on the question of vaccine safety.

For a great quotation on what it takes to become a great thinker, go here: http://tompetrie.net/id14.html.

Ms. Taylor did a great job! Congratulations!

Tom, Nutritionist
http://tompetrie.net

The populace ignores science? Of course they do ! and the leaders of the pack are our medical professionals. Before you write any more books try to explain to yourself why , about 5 years ago, Dr. Isaac Pessah published his study showing that ethylmercury at concentrations as low as 20 parts in a billion parts begins to harm the immune system, and the medical community did not hail this as the most stunning news of the new century. Even a high school student could have pointed out to them that a very great many pediatric research studies needed to be re-done, because they had all been done on babies and children whose immune systems had been damaged by the ethylmercury in DPT and other vaccines ,and this was never taken into account at the time of the research. Did it register with the doctors? Not even a blip.
And please tell us why scientists found that eating fish could cause serious problems for pregnant women and the fetus, but this was and is followed by many more articles telling us that we will actually harm our baby by not eating fish?
How on earth are we to have a populace educated in science when the real scientists cannot get their voice heard?

Evidence ignored or falsified -- that's how the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, eluded capture for many years.

An FBI agent felt that this suspect didn't fit the perpetrator profile. And Ridgway somehow passed a lie detector test. In 20 years, 49 victims died and $15 million was spent on investigating.

Eventually biological evidence solved the puzzle. Parallels?

Well said indeed!

I can attest to the frequency in which I encounter scientism arguments - the idea that research should be suppressed, abandoned or never undertaken because "science" says it is impossible.

I am told by a friend who is involved in aircraft design that "science" said it was "impossible" for a bumblebee to fly. But nobody told the bumblebee that!!

We must speak out against the rigid stultification and blind adherence to orthodoxy that seeks to suppress dissenting views. Such an attitude, which claims devotion to "science" in reality is the most dangerous kind of anti-science and involves repression of research, misrepresentation of ideas, ridicule and the worst sort of disrespectful anti-intellecutualistic herd mentality.

Please CONTINUE to speak out in favor of the need for MORE research, rather than heed the cries of those who, apparently fearful of the truth, seem to care only about protecting exorbitant profits, maintaining the status quo and burying their scientism heads so deeply in the sand that the tsunami of truth will wash right over them without the least disturbance to the prejudicial fictions which serve to provide volume inside their empty little group minded heads.

Ginger, this is a tremendous response to that article!! I am grateful for both unselfish and selfish reasons -- for the sake of our children and this cause, and for the sake of my mental health because reading that article made me so angry but reading your letter was so satisfying and heartening.

And thanks Stan.

I indeed hurried on this (and was trying to manage my son at the time) and never actually intended to publish it. Did so as an afterthought. I just shot it of to Lori's email.

Horrified of all the typos I am finding, so please, everyone, pretend you never saw them.

;)

Annonomy;
My jaw don't drop when I hear it, I just clench my teeth and wonder when the meek will inherit the earth! After all it has been 26 years that my eyes have been opened to the truth! Had to clench my teeth just last Sunday Dr. Rosenfield which I always watch every since he recommended vitamin D, said vaccines is not the cause of autism. The old goat don't know everything after all!

Thank you all for your encouragement and thoughtful responses. Unfortunately this was not a week that I could participate in the discussion as I would have liked to.

I have gone back and forth in emails with the author of the article and her editor and the LAT, who claim that they will address autism in the future (pretty much just polite pandering), but unfortunately I get the sense from them that they still do not take their duty to investigate all matters and inform the public seriously, nor do they understand how writing a puff piece on one of the most controversial topics in medicine is screaming evidence of a lack of journalistic integrity.

I don't think they will actually be challenging Mr. Mooney on any of his errant assertions, but they do seem to be enjoying the bees nest that it has stirred up and the traffic that it is driving to the two pages in question (Lori sent out personal invites for people to comment). Pages that were running ads for medical institutions UCLA Health Systems and City of Hope when I visited them.

Unreal.

They remain back to the autism community, face toward the microphones, unfazed.

My jaw dropped today as I sat in my car listening to NPR's midday program and heard
Bauman state unequivocally that "vaccines do NOT cause autism."

Thank you for your excellent rebuttal, Ginger. I admire your work tremendously.


http://www.hereandnow.org/
August 25, 2009
Adult Autism
Listen Link
A program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston will focus on adults with autism. MGH received a $29 million gift that will allow it to open the Lurie Family Autism Center. We’ll speak with Dr. Margaret Bauman, associate professor of neurology at Harvard, and director of the “Ladders” program at the hospital.


"Even so, I would imagine the difference between rates of autism in families who vaccinated their firstborn which developed autism and had other children which they also vaccinated and rates of autism in families whose firstborn was vaccinated and developed autism, but did not vaccinate subsequent children would be telling."

Well said ! Both of my sons are on the spectrum. Once my older son started to exhibit symptoms ALL VACCINATIONS in our houselold stopped. A friend of mine has a first-born who has ASD, and since he was diagnosed, none of her subsequent 3 children have been vaccinated !

I read your excellent posting over at the LA Times thread on this, Ginger. Well put. It deserves to be picked up far and wide.

Besides the merely mercenary in this matter, with the corporatocracy having taken over the country (& much of the world), in such as 'science', government, and the media, you hit on a big part of the problem in observing:

"The scientific community need a big dose of humility..."

Hubris. Which goeth before great falls. I'm reminded of the - true - story (well; can we believe ANYTHING we read in the papers??) of a man who came home in the afternoon and found that his house was just in the finishing stages of being demolished. The wrecking man was in the cab of his wrecker, having a thermos break. The home owner, carefully, asked him what was going on. The wrecker told him he had instructions to take down that house. The homeowner told him that it was his house, and that there was no such instruction. The wrecker, completely sure of himself, insisted that it was the right house, and quoted the address. The homeowner pointed out that that address was for the house across the street. The wrecker looked at his paperwork again, and looked at the address of the house across the street; looked back at the paperwork; then looked at the homeowner, and shaking his head, said that no, it was the right house, all right. And when last seen, in a nearby pub, by the authorities who had come by then, called by the homeowner, to check the matter out, was presumably still telling anybody who was caring to listen by then that, no no; it had been the right house. He was sure of it.

Had been, sure of it.

Would that our current crop of 'scientists' were true scientists, and were following the impulse and dictates of that master. Instead of the mercenary master that they ARE following. With all the attendant goodies involved in doing so.

P.S. I know that your post was a bit hurried, Ginger, and had some spelling errors; but there were two cases of inaccurate usage that it would be well to clean up, before your post gets TOO widespread, and is made fun of by the woo-woo crowd. You said: "...and those who diverge from the cannon are branded heretics." That's 'canon'. And later you said 'tenancy' for 'tendency' ("People have a tenancy to treat you with the same dismissal"...). Don't want to give the 'woo-bashing skeptics' any more ammunition than they already have, when vaccine critics are not careful enough of their facts. Your post was too good to risk being ridiculed by such types as Orac et al; who will seize on anything they can to try to bash the opposition.

Of which you are one heck of an example.

The well-educated, affluent people who question vaccines aren't anti-science, but they are skeptical of some scientists and doctors with good reason.

From http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/38283649.html

"The conclusions were clear: Women who took hormone therapy drugs were at increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots.

The findings were so strong that researchers stopped a clinical trial in 2002, five years early, because it would have been unethical to continue giving the drugs to women.

But that same year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health began a medical education program for doctors that promoted hormone therapy, touted its benefits and downplayed its risks.

For the next six years, thousands of doctors from around the country took the online course that was funded entirely by a $12 million grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which makes the hormone therapy drugs used in the study, Prempro and Premarin.

The university received $1.5 million of that total, and university faculty received money as well."

Keep it up Ginger and thank you!
Also thanks to Adrienne, Garbo, Lin, and John for your responses to my inquiry.

"Advanced parental age and the risk of autism spectrum disorder."
The points in the piece are important to consider John, thanks fo adding it to the mix.
That abstract does give some factors to be considered and it is interesting that neurodevelopment and immunity are seen as possibly connected in the piece as are toxins. The age of the mothers could be figured in as a risk without obscuring the vaccine/subsequent children with autsim analysis. It would also seem that even in families with multiple children in which all are vaccinated only a minority of them would have autism, so the subsequent children approach has limitations. Even so, I would imagine the difference between rates of autism in families who vaccinated their firstborn which developed autism and had other children which they also vaccinated and rates of autism in families whose firstborn was vaccinated and developed autism, but did not vaccinate subsequent children would be telling. That is, if the rates showed a statistically meaningful diffference.

Well done Ginger, well done.

Hi there!

Despite first launched in Lancet with impact factor of some 40 points, this study could not be reproduced. However, there seems to be a correlation between mercury leak and autism incidence near the coal plants in US, indicating a trigger. My autistic son got the shot in the national evening news by accident. So we indeed have the evidence for being shot... Now the mercury is gone also in Finland.

Fact is that many diseases are raising in frequency. Autism included.
http://www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/autismi-asperger.htm

www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Top-50-Terms.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Psychiatry-and-Psychology.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Named-Social-Groups.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Chemicals-and-Drugs.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Anatomy.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Proteins.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Techniques-and-Equipment.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Natural-Sciences.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Technology-Industry-Agriculture.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Organisms.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Biological-Sciences.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Health-Care.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-GO-Cellular_Localization.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-GO-molecular_function.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Geographicals.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Top-50-Cities.htm
www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Quantitative-Autism-Top-50-Journals.htm

Nick

Durkin et al

Advanced parental age and the risk of autism spectrum disorder.

"The observation in this and at least 2 previous studies (2, 4) that the risk of developing ASD was highest for firstborn children and declined with increasing birth order is a pattern also observed for other childhood disorders, including type I diabetes and atopy, and is cited as support for the "hygiene hypothesis." According to this hypothesis, firstborn children are exposed to fewer infections from other children early in childhood and, because of delayed immunologic challenge, may be more likely to develop autoimmune responses including those that may adversely affect neurodevelopment (29). Another possible factor that could lead to the observed birth-order effect is exposure to potentially neurotoxic, fat-soluble chemicals accumulated in maternal tissue that have been passed to offspring transplacentally or through breast milk (30). Because of accumulation over a lifetime, the load of such neurotoxins transmitted might be expected to be highest for firstborn children, particularly when combined with advanced maternal age. Another possible explanation for the observed birth order effect is "stoppage" or a tendency for parents of 1 child with ASD not to have subsequent children because of the demands of parenting a child with a disability or concerns about genetic susceptibility (31), thus increasing the likelihood in the cohort as a whole that a child with ASD will have a low birth order. Information available for the present study did not allow examination of these hypotheses."

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/168/11/1268

And another possibility is that parents are much more careful about vaccinating subsequent children. Funny how they didn't think of that.


If there ever is a battleship launched to fight the pervasive hubris and corruption in science, it should be called the "Ginger Taylor". I too have sent your piece far and wide.

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities [including media] are wrong"......Voltaire

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU GINGER! Beautifully written and sure to be shared far and wide.

"Nick- Thank you for asking that question. Now if only the CDC would ask it."

I hope more will chime in response. I think there must be enough families who have withheld vaccines from the younger siblings after seeing or suspecting vaccine reactions in their first child to get some indication of a pattern. It may be that these types of families will be more common in the next couple of years as more stop vaccinating subsequent children and the picture may become much clearer. This type of evidence would almost certainly catch the attention of a large enough circle of acquaintances of such families to change many families willingness to risk vaccines for their own children until the connections to such vaccine outcomes could be clearly explained. This, I imagine would likely get the CDC's attention.

What an excellent response to such a misinformed and ignorant article. There are so many facets to this entire autism debacle. I have come to believe, from reading at this site and a few others, that all vaccines cause some sort of damage, mostly to the brain and neurological system. In addition to the vaccines that children receive they probably carry a multi-generational vaccine load that they inherit from their parents and grandparents. My generation, born in the 40's, was the first to be mass vaccinated with several vaccines....smallpox, polio and later tetanus. We received the SV-40 contaminated polio vaccines. Suddenly cancer and leukemia, sleeping sickness and autoimmune disorders began to appear in children. Our parents received only the smallpox vaccine as kids, but each generation has had an increase in vaccines. No generation has escaped the damage, which I believe is cumulative. That would explain why children born to parents with autoimmune disorders, seem to have a predisposition to ASD. The vaccine damage is already present and visible in the parents. Why do only some show damage and not others ? Who knows? Genetics? Hot lots of vaccines? Contaminated vaccines? I think, though, that with continued vaccination everybody eventually reaches a saturation point, and visible vaccine damage appears. Some reach that point sooner than othera. How asinine for Paul Offit to think that the body can handle an unlimited amount! I am truly frightened about what will happen with the coming swine flu scare. Most people trust the medical establishment and will not question the proposed vaccination schedule. I am frightened for my family and friends who think I have more than a few screws loose on this issue. How do we convince people to doubt all of the propaganda and refuse swine flu vaccination?

Nick- Thank you for asking that question. Now if only the CDC would ask it. My son is severely affected by autism and was fully vaccinated. My daughter was "alternatively vaccinated" and is a healthy, bright, neurotypical little girl. If I were to have another child, I don't think I would give any vaccines at all.

Very nice.

Reading along, I flashed back to college religion class, which was about half populated with fundamentalists, who were traumatized and enraged by the professor's suggestion that we were going to spend the semester looking at the Bible from an academic, not primarily fundamentalist Christian, perspective. "If your faith can't withstand 15 weeks of scrutiny in a 3-hour 100-level course, it's not very much to stand on, is it," the professor observed. Perhaps the "scientists" know, deep down, how little foundation they're standing on, and thus, they defend themselves much like those who hide behind fundamentalism of all types: neutral curiosity, intensive questioning and true openmindedness are frightful enemies, requiring vicious attack.

Great job Ginger! This is one of those pieces that I wish to print, save and carry with me in the event some nitwit challenges the "scientific evidence" of non causation of autism from vaccines. You nailed it. As the old saying goes. . .follow the money. In this case it's not hard to figure out that science is influenced by money and pharma makes for sure to keep it that way.

Oosbree
I received my masters in biology in the mid-80's,and to obtain my masters I had to wade through those boring hard to read science journals about how the frog's delicate skin, or the transluscent jelly eggs were being damaged by the hole in the ozone!!!! I kept asking the biology professors how come just there and no place else? Some of the biology professors said it was hogwash, but others said, "Well it is out west and closer to the sky!" Oh mine, what a wasted youth.

Ginger -- thank you for your cogent response to this book and to the LA Times... you put it better than I ever could. I blogged about your post at
http://embracingwellness.blogspot.com/2009/08/fallacy-of-scientific-consensus.html.

Ginger, Love this. Love you. Thanks.

Gee, Nick, those are really interesting questions. Maybe the CHARGE study at UC Davis will come up with some answers to those questions soon. Or maybe you could go work for the CDC or NIH and get them to do a study. While you are at it, beg them to do a general study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated age-matched populations. I'm sure all of us would be happy to participate in giving the medical details of our children. Anything we might spitball here would be purely anecdotal and based on a limited data set. Right?

Nick,
My oldest child was diagnosed with autism at 22 months of age. He reacted adversely to all of his vaccinations, most notably the ProQuad, followed by two doses of Fluzone and a bout of Roseola in between. He is recovering and making tremendous progress since biomedical intervention.

My second child was born prior to our fully grasping what happened to our child and we began vaxing him with what our pediatrician (at the time) felt were the 'necessary' vaccines. DTaP, pneumococcal conjugate, and HIB. At seven months he received a second dose of DTaP and had a severe adverse reaction. Shortly after that he began having chronic diarrhea and upper respiratory infections. He has not received another vaccine (had 6 total) and has been gluten and casein free since December 2008. He did not crawl until almost 1 year, and did not walk until 18 months. However, he is completely engaged and verbal and within age limits for all developmental criteria(not qualifying for any early intervention services). He does, however, test positive for the autoimmune antibodies present in Crohn's patients and will need a biopsy next month to determine exactly what autoimmune disease he has. He isn't two years old yet.
I don't have all the pieces to the puzzle, but I do believe that my sons must have a predisposition to autoimmune disease and were not able to handle their vaccines. It is uncanny, though, to have one recovering from autism and another NOT with autism, but with IBD. I wonder if he would have developed the gastrointestinal issues if he had never received any vaccines....and I wonder if I would have two with autism dxs had I vaxed according to 'schedule.'

Dr Brett, be my friend on facebook!? (KATHY BLANCO) I mean that sincerely, because you are really saying what autism is, aka BRAIN DAMAGE (and also no hurt intended...and lets face it, some damage is permanent, and some is not). If you see my posts today on facebook why this is happening, the shocker of the century is, that vaccines are a minutia/one stop picture of the problem, though problematic and literally the universal sign that this child is a non responder to FURTHER immune and metabolic derangements, such as vaccines. Vaccines, may as well be the last straw on the back...but, more telling is, that our kids are canaries in the coal mine, telling us, we are doing something wicked/horribly wrong, and or, hopefully not, purposeful to them, farbeit, that it is motivated by dumb scientist and research...it is more likely these scientists KNOW, but can't tell. Beliegve me when I say, I have talked to a fair number of them, THEY KNOW. Else, careers and jobs with prestige would be on the line, no? Independent research which points to EVERY immune deranger, oxidative stressor should be suspected...and like the perfect storm that gathers, we will likely see more GENOME studies to disway or confront the current TRUE hypothoesis that a gene ENVIRONMENT IAOTRAGENIC interaction/damager/destroyer is the cause of autism, and putting more emphasis on epigenetic interactions, rather than we have screwed up genes...which can be fussed by EMF, toxins, vaccines in the first place...sigh...

As Dr Klinghardt has so eloquently put it, a mother who has a child in the next ten years, if not fully detoxed, is infection free, and knows how damaging vaccines can be, can be rest assured, she WILL NOT have an autistic child. THOSE who don't know about these things, WILL... GRRRRRR....

It seems to me, that a pre pregnancy education must begin, BUT SOON, than LATER...or else, this will be like a broken record...and the THREE autistic children just on my street alone, will be twenty in ten years.

Brilliant article!!

How many of you had your firstborn child regress with autism after vaccines and have a subsequent child or children? If you had a subsequent child or children who here witheld vaccines for them? For those who witheld vaccines from these subsequent children, what was their outcome? Did they develop typically or did some of your non-vaccinated children have or regress into autism?

Go, Ginger!!! You rock those idiots right out of their seats!

(Sorry I couldn't come up with anything more intellectual-sounding than that but even if I could, I'd still be classified as an ignorant spectrum parent looking for someone to blame for my child's autism. ;)

The seven basic elements of the universe according to the
scientific world. These are Time, Space, Matter, Energy, Power, Prestige, and Funding. He wrote a hilarious piece which I reproduce below:

I am an “ex” scientist. I have over 100 publications in the field of materials science and physics. Many of these publications are in peer reviewed journals such as The Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Materials Research Society Journal and Journal of Applied Physics. I have sat on committees that review papers for these journals. I have worked at the following national laboratories: NIST, Oak Ridge (site X) and Brookhaven National Laboratory. I have spent 10 years living off of federally funded research. I have written winning proposals for government funding in the 10’s of millions of dollars. In short, I am very well aware of the process of getting and keeping funding and getting papers published in peer reviewed publications.

I have seen papers (perfectly good, well researched) papers rejected for publication for the following reasons:
1. The paper went against prevailing theory on a topic.
2. The paper was submitted by a company that was a competitor for government funding.
3. The paper was submitted by a government agency that was a competitor of the reviewer’s agency.
4. The author of the paper was disliked by one of the reviewers.

This is how the funding process works:
1. You determine what the latest ‘hot’ topic is (global warming, ceramic superconductivity, stealth technology).
2. You write your proposal to fund the work you’ve been doing for years in your area but you slant it towards the hot topic.
3. You almost “prove” that the above hot topic is effected in a way that is positive toward your research.
4. You write a follow-on proposal where you state that the really big break-through will occur in the next funding cycle.
5. Oh, and you try to partner with entities that always get government funding.

It works like this: You study frogs in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Nobody wants to fund the study of frogs. Why would they? So in the early 80’s you write your proposal to study the effect of the hole in the ozone layer on the frogs. The mid 80’s your try to figure out how to write a proposal on frogs and missile defense but give up. In the 90’s you write proposals on how frog pee can help certain forms of cancer. You partner with NIH on this because they are getting lots of funding, being the ‘hot’ agency. You both know that the results are useless from the get go but you do it anyway. In the late 90’s you write proposals on how frogs from South Dakota can be used to detect nerve gas as part of the Global War on Terrorism. You routinely reject papers to the Journal of Herpetology that claim that five lined skinks can detect nerve gas by their tails falling off. In the 2000’s you are awarded grants to study the decline of frog populations in the Black Hills due to global warming, despite the fact the frogs were there through the last dozen ice ages and that they’ve survived eight periods since the last ice age where the temperature was much warmer than now. You know that the frog population is declining because the government is leasing the land to cattle ranchers and the cows are crapping in the water but you don’t really care because you’re now just a few years away from retirement and you don’t want to work at Burger King.

So it is not a shock to me, now that the economy is the Hot Topic, to find stories like this bubbling up in the Pop Sci press. Gotta ride that bandwagon. It's the next big thing.

Ginger, this is hands-down the BEST REBUTTAL I've ever seen. And I think I've read them all. I'll be sending it EVERYWHERE. Thank you so very much...wish I'd had the wherewithall to say it myself.

Ginger -- right on! John Stone, as an Angeleno I can tell you that no, the LA Times doesn't hire grownups anymore. They're in dire financial straits, part of Tribune's bankruptcy, and the experienced staff has been cut to the bone. There are several "science" reporters there whose work is often suspiciously pro-pharma. Last year they did a big investigational expose about vaccination rates at public schools that manipulated data and was clearly intended to lay the groundwork for doing away with the philosophical exemption from vaccines. Every time I read one of these articles it makes me wonder where the bulk of the writer's income is coming from.

"Wait... half of our kids' medical histories are in the exclusion criteria!".

This is what I find so frustrating.This idiots like how Orac,and Kevin Leitch,who do nothing but spout standard neurodiversity propaganda,can get away with calling everything a "comorbid condition".Even if these conditions directly contribute to regression,or to the severity of the autism itself.Because this is what their fellow travelers (Many of them aspies themselves?)in the mental health and research professions do.

I am sure most of you know who Michelle Dawson is.I once cornered her in the comment section of her blog,to ask her why so many conditions are excluded from research criteria.I was naive,I thought given her cozy relation with so many researchers,she could give me a good answer based on inside information.What she basically told me was "I'm sure they have a good reason for doing this,but I can't tell you why this is."

"Condescending BS",and "open disdain the unwashed masses",is at the very heart of neurodiversity,and every word someone like Orac,or Ari Ne'eman writes drips with it.

I think the problem with science today (aside from massive corruption at the top levels) is that, like a lot of other things, it has become so specialized. Scientists tend to be people with narrow-focus on their interest (after all aren't we all just the undiagnosed kids from the 70s). So, given a problem they look to find a solution, but only to that problem without much regard for any unintended consequences.

So, say I happen to be an expert in protein expression. Given a cell culture product, I can make it produce more of the protein we want. Perhaps an antigen, in the case of vaccine production. I can tweak conditions like agitation rate, oxygen levels, amino acids in solution and generate more product. I'm proud. I've helped the company make more material, so it costs less and more people are spared some disease. Great.

But do I know if I've changed the antigenic profile at all? Of course not. I'm no immunologist. Talk to them about that.

And they might say the changes seem to make it less antigenic. And then it will be their job to figure out how to make it more antigenic. Which they will because they are "super smart." They'll add some aluminum. But do they know if aluminum might be toxic? Of course not. They aren't toxicologist, or even chemist for that matter. Talk to them.

But wait, maybe their company doesn't even have a toxicologist, so they'll pay someone to tell them it's fine.

There is nobody looking at the big picture in science today. And there are few few people capable. In 15 years I've met plenty of super smart people, but I've maybe met two that I think had the true smarts to look at everything at once.

Maybe we should stop calling it "Autism" and start calling it "Brain Damaged," as it more rightly is (no insensitivity intended). Then maybe people will start realizing that something must be CAUSING this damage. The internet is thankfully allowing for a quicker dissemination and sharing of information. You bring up many points that many of us feel. One more, though, that REALLY doesn't get any play is the dangers of RhoGam! Just try and find info on that! Good luck.
But there's hope. Do some 'searching' for "Sara Wickham + Anti-D" and you'll find her articles and BOOK on the subject. Anti-D is what they call RhoGam (brand name) in England. We went RhoGam and vaccination free on my daughter!

GInger, I loved this! Great job and I hope they absorbed every last drop of it. Yeah, and the journalists ought to be ashamed of themselves too (excepting the few that are slugging it out in this neck of the woods!).

Ghostwriting of articles goes on in journalism too. It's not confined to the medical journals.

You're not going to convince Lori, Chris and Sheril--and the LA Times--if they're being paid to espouse certain opinions.

thank you, Ginger - excellent.

and thank you, John G. you wrote: "There doesn’t seem to be a damn journalist out there worth his salt, anymore."

special interests put out 'press releases' written by themselves and for themselves. The AP picks up only the press releases from 'mainstream'and 'acceptable' sources. The 'Reporter' then copies the information from the AP without question and spreads the info to the masses - undiluted and unfiltered from the press release - originating from said special interest group. 'NEWS' today is advertising and nothing more.

Maybe we can brush off one of those old scientific papers the tobbaco companies had that smoking was not harmful but was really good for you. I am sure they are around some where, and mail it to Chris.

Yes- it all boils down to this:

"Mainstream science: "Here is a study... look no vaccine/autism connection".

Autism community: "Hey... look here... you guys forgot to carry the 3. Wait... half of our kids' medical histories are in the exclusion criteria!".

and this:

"Now pretend that you are a parent who has learned that thimerosal at nanomolar amounts causes mitochondrial dysfunction so severe that it can cause the cell to self destruct, and that HHS has conceded that in the Poling case mito dysfunction + vaccination = autism symptoms. And pretend that one of your questions are that if vaccines are known to cause Guillian-Barre, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, they why can't they cause autism, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the central nervous system?....And then pretend that you are confused by the stance of "science" that a fetus contracting Rubella is a known cause of autism, but that that a one year old being given a live virus rubella vaccine couldn't possibly cause autism; while remembering that VICP has ruled that Baily Banks would not have had ASD if not for his MMR."

But Chris Mooney will ignore all of that and instead say something like these comments - from his soap opera article featuring the usual characters, Offit,Arthur Allen, Amanda Peet, and Orac! Notice the theme- hysterical, desperate parents willing to believe and do whatever as autism is so horrible and makes parents "dangerous" to the vaccine program and the safety of pro-vaccine patent holders and pharma paid spokespeople. NO WHERE is there any science showing or describing, what ails our children. No mention of immune issues, bacteria, viruses, GI pain, mitochondria dysfunction, seizures, food allergies, etc. Instead, Chris pulls an As The World Turns script out complete with the dramatic actors who spin opinion and fear mongering. :

http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jun/06-why-does-vaccine-autism-controversy-live-on/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=

-"You can see where the emotion and sentiment come from. Autism can be a terrible condition, devastating to families."

-"The irony is that vaccine skepticism—not the vaccines themselves—is now looking like the true public-health threat."

-"There was no proof of harm, government researchers said, just reason to worry that there might be."

-"Yet even as vaccine hysteria reached a fever pitch in the wake of Kennedy’s and Kirby’s writings, the scientific evidence was leaning strongly in the other direction. In discounting the dangers of both the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, the IOM had multiple large epidemiological studies to rely on."

-"A hardening of antivaccine attitudes, mixed with the despair experienced by families living under the strain of autism, has heightened the debate—sometimes leading to blowback against scientific researchers."

-"Offit cannot go on a book tour to promote Autism’s False Prophets because of the risk involved in making public appearances. He has received too many threats."

-"It is easy to sympathize with parents of autistic children who desperately want to find a cure."

Chris Mooney laments for the "scientific community" yet he rarely shows science at nanomolar levels at the bare minumum. He is all show, all bravado, all drama, and heavily invested in denial.

I have a very famous researcher friend that says ENRON was child's play, when it comes to autism research. It went even into discrimination of being funded by way of race and background and even religious affiliation. These people are that evil, money hungry, and let's face it, if it doens't sell a product/patent in the pharma industry in the end, it's not connected to autism.

Well stated...the science on autism is a "ridiculous mess". This is an excellent piece Ginger and I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

It has to be said that Lori Kozlowski is a somewhat naieve young lady who writes things like:


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

Yes, indeed they forgot to listen when they were told by countless thousands of people that their products were going wrong. They didn't do a reality check, they just got really angry that anyone should doubt them. These scientist don't do real science, they filter out all the compromising evidence - their cynical and fascistic response to anyone doubting them is "prove it"! In this game the lowest levels of evidence are accepted for vaccine effectiveness and safety, while impossible targets are set for anyone trying to prove that they are wrong (and with everything being done to obstruct them). This science is a scientific as "scientific socialism". It is pathetic and deluded label with smug, intellectually corrupt bastards hiding behind it.

Doesn't the LA Times hire grown-ups to write reports anymore?

One of the interesting things about Chris Mooney is his complete refusal to question the ethical and economic interests that determine much of what he calls "science" in the US. I think Ginger nailed Mooney when she observed that he can't tell the difference between science and prevailing opinions among scientists. He also fails to see the important distinct between scientific research and medical research. Ask any physician if medicine is a science.

Mooney resolutely refuses to challenge anything about establishment "science". And I think i know why. Mooney has no formal training or credentials in science. His education consists, as far as I can glean from a few minutes googling, is a BA in English from Yale. I wonder if he has taken any college-level science, math or statistics. He has had an impressive run career-wise, the last few years defending the scientific and medical establishment from a "liberal" perspective.

He is very young, very underqualified and probably quite correctly perceives that his career success is contigent on devising glib defenses of the powers that be.

The Solution

By Berthold Brecht

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Excellent!! I 100% agree with you. Orac and his ilk are the nitwits in all this. It is quite clear that he and his "friends" are incapable of questioning their own assumptions and paradigms--They can't understand why people don't listen to them and their "Science," quite simply because they are blinded by their faith AND they aren't actually smart enough..

Ginger,

Indeed, it’s been my experience that some of the smartest people I’ve known have been some of the most horrible.

I wanted to point out that while I understand your frustration with our current lot of ‘scientists’, it’s not the scientists alone who I think are worthy of our skepticism and distrust. There doesn’t seem to be a damn journalist out there worth his salt, anymore. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to rant ,over the last few weeks, for somebody to PLEASE turn the television off if they’d prefer not to have a brick thrown thru it. It’s because every time I turn on the ‘news’, I’m listening to some politician or to some intellectual ‘journalist’ telling me all I need to know about the current state of my country, my country’s health care, and what legislation needs to be passed in order to improve my health care. Then, of course, as soon as the intellectually elite are finished talking, it all gets paid for. By pharmaceutical commercials, of course and inevitably. Time and time again, all I see by way of sponsorship of my ‘news’ programs is pharma commercials. I remember watching Good Night and Good Luck, and I keep hoping and praying that one day there will be a television journalist out there who will finally do the right thing and say “helloooOOooo, wait a minute, this is WRONG..” But all I get is Brian Williams telling me how safe thimerosal is while his cameraman shows the country a picture of a thimerosal label, the skull and crossbones conveniently cropped out.

Cut to a Boniva commercial.

I seem to be the only person on the planet who finds this disturbing.

Yesterday there were stories about pregnant women and women with newborn babies who are experiencing depression, who perhaps might benefit, Doctors now believe (one should take care never refer to a Health Care Professional in lower case) from an SRRI prescription. Oh sure no good studies have been done on long term effects and it’s unclear whether or not the deformities seen in babies are due to the anti-depressants or to the depression itself. But what do you want to bet that won’t stop Doctors from pulling out Their prescription pads in ever increasing numbers for all of those new mothers who are afraid that in their sad state they might harm their babies? Never mind that having a baby has to be one of the most havoc wreaking things that can happen to a woman’s endocrine system. Oh no, never mind that. You can’t be sad, it’s just not normal and it has to be dealt with!

It will, of course, be determined by the Powers That Be that it would be unethical to leave a depressed new mother unmedicated.

I can’t help but think back to when my own children were babies. There was talk, at that time, about making sure that your newborn was placed face up in the crib so it wouldn’t suffocate on it’s blanket. Then a little while later They changed Their recommendation and said “no put your baby face up in case the baby vomits, then he or she won’t suffocate on the vomit”. It wasn’t too long afterward that the recommendation shifted to “place your baby on it’s side in the crib”, and well when parents couldn’t figure out how to KEEP a baby on his or her side, they were sold little foam baby props to keep the baby propped on his or her side!

No, I couldn’t possibly make this shit up, but wait, it gets better.

It wasn’t too long after that that They began to notice an increase in one particular disorder in babies where the babies’ heads were lopsided. Then They began increasing the numbers of surgeries to correct this problem, and only after They’d begun to increase the numbers of surgeries did They manage to figure something out. Perhaps it was simply that placing a small infant, with an as yet soft skull, the same way on it’s crib mattress night after night , well maybe that could be leading to the deformations.

I could be wrong but I don’t think any recommendations are made regarding this, anymore. I don’t know for sure because I’ve pretty much stopped listening to a word that any of Them has to say.

I’ve also pretty much decided that the cable television is going to go. The rest of the family will hate me for it. But I cannot continue to live in house where we pay, month after month, to help enable this kind of evil to continue. For a little while coverage seemed to be improving, but I can see that now that the new administration is settling in pharma is feeling secure once again that They will not ever be held accountable.


Thank you for writing this Ginger!

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