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Olmsted on Autism: Michael Specter Plagiarizes Paul Offit, Massacres Facts in “Denialism”

Cut and paste By Dan Olmsted
 
In his new book “Denialism – How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” New Yorker Magazine Staff Writer Michael Specter not merely parrots but plagiarizes Dr. Paul Offit, garbles simple science and gets key facts dead wrong – all in an effort to show that the kind of people who read and write Age of Autism don’t know what we’re talking about.
 
Chapter 2, titled Vaccines and the Great Denial, is a full-throttle attack on those concerned about a possible link between vaccines, mercury and autism; he calls it “a war against authority and scientific rigor” and lambastes Jenny McCarthy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and even former NIH and Red Cross Director Bernadine Healy for raising concerns.  “After all the research,” he writes, “thimerosal might be the only substance we might say with some certainty DOESN’T cause autism.” Those who believe otherwise – and that includes “the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism” – are simply “denialists [who] have no interest in scientific decisions.”
 
The book received a prominent and glowing review in The New York Times last week, and the author is making the rounds of media outlets, including Morning Joe and NPR.
 
The plagiarism involves a passage by Paul A. Offit, M.D., a vaccine developer and the most prominent critic of the vaccine-autism theory, to whom Specter writes he is “deeply indebted.”
 
No kidding. Here is what Offit wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008:
 
--
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, American lawyers successfully sued pharmaceutical companies claiming that vaccines caused a variety of illnesses, including unexplained coma, sudden infant death syndrome, Reye's syndrome, transverse myelitis, mental retardation, and epilepsy. By 1986, all but one manufacturer of the diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis vaccine had left the market. The federal government stepped in, passing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which included the creation of the VICP. Funded by a federal excise tax on each dose of vaccine, the VICP compiled a list of compensable injuries. If scientific studies supported the notion that vaccines caused an adverse event — such as thrombocytopenia after receipt of measles-containing vaccine or paralysis after receipt of oral polio vaccine — children and their families were compensated quickly, generously, and fairly. The number of lawsuits against vaccine makers decreased dramatically.
--
 
Here is what Specter wrote in “Denialism”:
--
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, American lawyers successfully sued pharmaceutical companies, claiming that vaccines for pertussis caused a variety of illnesses, including unexplained coma, sudden infant death syndrome, Reye’s syndrome, mental retardation, and epilepsy. As a result, by 1986 all but one manufacturer of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine had abandoned the American market. The risk of lawsuits had become far greater than the potential for profits. The federal government, increasingly concerned that no company would be willing to manufacture essential vaccines, passed the National Vaccine Injury Act, which included the creation of the VICP.
 
Funded by a federal excise tax on each dose of vaccine, the VICP compiled a list of compensable injuries. If scientific studies supported the notion that vaccines caused an adverse event – such as thrombocytopenia (the dangerous depletion of platelets) after receipt of measles vaccine, or paralysis following an oral polio vaccine – children and their families were compensated, and usually quite generously.
--
 
Copying words and ideas of others, without attribution, is called plagiarism whether it is intentional or not. Told that we had found significant copying of writing by Paul Offit, Specter first said he would not have time to talk about it, “but for what its worth I did send the chapter to Dr. Offit. Furthermore, I have not posted footnotes but all such information gleaned from any source will be sourced specifically when I do.” After we sent the specific passages side by side, he responded:
 
“You are totally right - except, I would argue, on terminology. I just checked … I looked at my emails with Dr. Offit.  My fault, egregiously, but plagiarism? I started out quoting him extensively, and then stopped quoting him to insert some of my own stuff. Picked back up on those sentences AND SHOULD HAVE put them back in quotes, writing ..... Offit continued. etc.  I didn’t. I was purely a mistake (stupid) and I will get it fixed as soon as we reprint (they do it on a rolling basis. could be very soon.)
 
“I went through this chapter many times as did others. But this was clear error, carelessness, call it what you want. Nobody to blame but me. But I regard plagiarism is stealing somebody else's idea without giving him credit. I don't think you can read this chapter, or the acknowledgements, or the notes, and come to the conclusion that was my intention. (Had it been, maybe I would have been smart enough not to point the reader to the very NEJM story I was supposedly plagiarizing in that very passage.) Also, might have been kind of dumb to steal outright from the best known writer on this subject, and a person I have interviewed at length.
 
“Anyway, this is wrong and my fault completely. You can of course interpret it in any way you think makes sense. Sorry to have even mistakenly misled you or any other reader.”
 
In fact, an overall reading of the chapter buttresses Specter’s view that “clear error, carelessness, call it what you want” is the heart of the problem. In a follow-up e-mail, we pointed out the following clear errors:
 
-- By 1962, Specter writes, the number of vaccines had grown to five – “diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and the MMR.” In fact, the MMR was licensed in the United States in 1972.
 
-- Specter’s description of the Hannah Poling ruling in Vaccine Court suggests he does not understand the word “encephalopathy,” or brain disease, perhaps the fundamental concept in the debate over how vaccines might trigger autism. “Hannah had a mitochondrial enzyme deficiency, which consisted of a metabolic disorder called encephalopathy,” he writes. “The court was compelled to address a difficult question: could the fever that Hannah developed following those vaccines (one of which was a measles vaccine) worsen her encephalopathy?”
 
No one has claimed that Hannah had encephalopathy – brain disease -- before her vaccinations. And the assertion that a mitochondrial disorder “consisted of a metabolic disorder called encephalopathy” is gibberish. The confusion is especially striking given that Specter has won numerous awards for science reporting and was a reporter for The Washington Post and The New York Times before joining The New Yorker.
 
-- Specter mischaracterizes the government’s decision to ask vaccine manufacturers to phase out mercury from childhood immunizations in 1999, blaming anti-vaccine activism by parents. In fact, the government itself first identified the concern and requested the removal of mercury; parents had nothing to do with it and were unaware of the issue. This is not in dispute. Yet Specter writes:
 
“By July 1999 … the preservative had been ordered removed from childhood vaccines as a precautionary measure. Vaccine manufacturers, under fierce public pressure, had agreed with the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. … In other words, they decided it would be easier to get rid of the controversy than explain it. The decision, an attempt to placate parents, had no basis in scientific research, and set off a cascading wave of misunderstanding that persists to this day.”
 
Specter’s response to these errors: “I will say that, assuming you are right, and I do assume that, the 1962 approval date seems like a clear oversight type that fact checkers didn’t catch. Other things we could maybe disagree on at another time. But when I make mistakes (and I do make them) I fix them. And will.  None of it is too small to matter, honestly.”
 
Honestly, Michael, what can’t be fixed is a drive-by attack on smart, well-informed and decent people whose grasp of the truth is much stronger and harder-won than yours. Fortunately, the only target you managed to hit was your foot.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.
 
 
 
 
 

Comments

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Jake Crosby

Plagiarism aside, Specter also has his fair share of conflicts of interest. He has been awarded as recently as 2002 by the pharma lobby group, AAAS.
http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/sja/2002/specter.shtml

On its council sits Gail Cassell, currently a VP of Eli Lilly which invented, made and continues to profit from mercury-based thimerosal.
http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/organization/council.shtml

Specter also received two awards in 2002 and 2005 respectively from the Global Health Council.
http://www.globalhealth.org/conference/view_top.php3?id=624

GHC is primarily funded by CDC grants.
http://www.abanet.org/irr/hr/winter08/herowinter08.html

Maybe this is what "unvaccinated" refers to?

"Specter writes that the 2004 IOM report found no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated kids. I thought there was no study of unvaccinated kids. Does anyone know to what he is referring?"

I haven't read Specter's book and I've only read quotations from the IOM report, but my understanding is that "vaccinated" is used (in the language of a study report) to refer to the group receiving the vaccine under study and "unvaccinated" is in reference to the "control" group not receiving that vaccine (sometimes the "control" is often given another vaccine or a placebo that contains active vaccine components).

The entire vaccination history of both groups is not considered, i.e. individuals in both groups often have been vaccinated with other vaccines (It seems to me that many health officials are a little too comfortable with not clearing up the misconception this creates).

Some use the phrase "never-vaccinated vs. vaccinated" in referring to the overdue vaccination studies with true control groups.

Jean M Brooks

Specter writes that the 2004 IOM report found no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated kids. I thought there was no study of unvaccinated kids. Does anyone know to what he is referring?

Cindy

julie: Some "backwoods fundamentalist" are college educated and don't believe Jesus had a pet dinosaur. Please don't alienate large segments of society from reading AoA and trying to become educated. Conservatives and fundamentalists are not all ignorant and may have the same amount of tempation to believe the main line media as any young college educated parent. You must admit it would be more comforting for all of us to believe everything we read that assures us vaccinations are safe.

anonymous


If you go to wikepedia under vaccine court, you will see he is getting some of "his" information straight from there as well. The mito encephalopathy appears to be coming also from Paul Offit (at least that is the source listed in Wikepedia.

Angie

Seriously, I can not even believe this guy is a 'professional'....professional what? Liar. Lazy and overpaid...

So, he just plain admits to being careless and clumzy? WHAT?!?! And those who read his book are suppose to just 'know' where/when he is being careless and what is ture FACT?! HUH?!?

I think the first thing I learned about in GRADE SCHOOL was not to plagerise...and I believe that its the first thing you learn about when learning to write papers...book reports/etc, right?

Golly! I just cant even believe how calus (sp?) this guy is...'oh well, I dropped the ball, I slipped up, I am human and make mistakes...blah blah blah blah...this is a PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST and a PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR...WHAT? Kids get kicked out of college, where THEY PAY for an education for this exact thing...yet, someone who is being PAID FOR their writing is allowed to just be so careless? COME ON!

This publisher should also be held accountable. Have you/anyone written to them and recieved a response from them. I would LOVE to hear what they have to say...

I am just plain old furious with this guy and all of the other people who are PROFITTING off of our kids, and our families tragedies. They should be ashamed of themselves...IF they are going to make a profit on us, AT LEAST they should be FACTUAL in their words...

So, 'fact checkers' are to blame for some of his details being incorrect? HUH? Ok, sure, publishers have 'fact checkers' 'editors' what-have-you, but isnt it the JOB of the journalist/author to BE the FACT CHECKER of their own? To present FACTS to 'back-up' their claims?

To use the words: "Those who believe otherwise – and that includes “the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism” – are simply “denialists [who] have no interest in scientific decisions.”" are just terrible..come on, are readers really suppose to believe this guy who cant even present clear FACTS, or any REAL DATA to 'back-up' his claim, again, using consensus 'science' as FACTUAL DATA, and even going as far as to plagerise others..but yet, WE are the DANGER? WE are the PROBLEM?

Heck, if WE all went away, a whole new group of people would be in our spots in a milli-second, because its only natural to question something? Isnt THAT the definition of 'science' anyway?

I wonder what this same publisher would do if one of 'us' wrote a book with so much carelessness and misinformation in it? It wouldnt happen...why? Because all of us have FACTS to back up our claims and understand what is going on here...but yet, we are just simpletons who couldnt possibly know anything about what has happened right in front of our faces, couldnt possibly know anything about our health, our kids health, or what we live and see every second of everyday..could we?

Would this publisher accept writings from an author who actually RELIES on a 'fact checker' to get the ACTUAL facts? I mean, I cant understand this, isnt it the authors JOB to get whatever they are writing correct? Whether fact or fiction, if you are presenting FACTS, shouldnt they actually BE facts, and TRUE? I guess not not,because the 'fact checker' will just check it and put in the correct facts...huhmmm sounds easy peasy...
I am off to write a book about home building, because heck, I know nothing about building a house, but it shouldnt be that hard to copy and paste and throw some ideas together...I know that the 'DIY' thing is 'hot now' so there is a 'want' for this type of book, and since there are fact checkers I can just rely on them to correct whatever I put down, right or wrong...and if I forget to put quotes around something I copy and paste, well doesnt matter, because they should catch it, right, isnt that their JOB right?...and heck, I guess its just going to be considered carelessness, not plagerism because I was just too careless to forget the quotes...gosh, I can make a BUNCH of money being an author then...I have found my pot of gold ! YIPEE!

Lin

Oh goody, a Paul Offit wanna be!
Thanks for being a man of integrity and true grit, Dan. At times, it seems jounalists such as yourself are becoming and endangered species. Thanks for hanging in there!

Ginger Taylor

... but seriously folks.

If I might call our attention to Specters comment on the H1N1 vaccine on Morning Joe.

TEN MILLION DOSES GIVEN AND ZERO SERIOUS EFFECTS REPORTED TO CDC?!

Even at their 'one in a million' talking point ratio for serious adverse reactions, they should have at 10 serious effects reported.

Is this like when Saddam Hussein would win elections with 100% of the vote?

0 in 10,000,000 does not sound like a "good number", it sounds like a fraud number. It sounds like someone had decided that there will be no adverse events.

Apparently the H1N1 is the safest vaccine ever invented! And we miraculously struck on it during a rushed manufacturer and approval process! Dang we are lucky.

We need to make all vaccines exactly like this vaccine, then they will all be so safe that we can truly put this blog to bed!

Sounds like... dare I say it... Denialism.

Ginger Taylor

"He's still right about the important things, like the fact that you are all wrong."

Bob, you make a detailed and compelling argument. I have decided to change my stance. Vaccines are safe.

OK boys... shut 'er down, turn off the lights... blog's over. Bob has exposed our fraud and there is not point trying to keep up the charade.

Ginger Taylor

Guri... you made me giggle.

Anne Dachel

"Denialism"??? LOL!
Specter sounds like he copied his title from my term, "Doctors in Denial."
Actually, "denialism" is the perfect word for the CDC/AAP response to autism.

They deny there's been an increase in the actual number of children who have autism.
They deny that children regress.
They deny that vaccines trigger autism.
They deny that dietary changes can help autistic kids.
They deny that autistic kids have GI problems related to the disorder.
They deny that chelation for heavy metals can recover kids.
They deny that supplements can help.
They deny that hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the condition.

That's a lot of DENIALISM as far as I'm concerned and the CDC/AAP win the competition hands down.

Anne Dachel
Media

MAKE AUTISM STOP

Anyone making money off denial must have ALOT of experience in denial. Specter - you might try turnin' that mirror around.

MAKE AUTISM STOP

JB Handley

So Amy Wallace quotes this guy's book in her Wired Magazine article, an article all about Offit. And, this guy has a whole chapter on Offit where he copies Offfit's words verbatim...

Hmm..

I'm sure it's all just coincidence.

JB

anonymous


On Campbell brown's CNN show, which he links to right from his circuit route, Spector actually claims (quickly) that the kids who were not vaccinated had an increased risk for autism!

Go listen. Shocking really. Who knew that there was a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study? I would insist on knowing where he came up with that one!

Schoolteacher in NYC

"Anti-vaccine." Why such dogmatism against those who question? We'd gladly vaccinate our son with about half of the vaccines on the schedule, but our state makes it an all-or-nothing proposition. We certainly think our reasons for avoiding some are well backed up by research including very recent work in peer-reviewed journals.

I'm even hoping to get the H1N1 shot for myself. As a cluster teacher I in teract with >200 kids a week, and I want to minimize my son's risk of exposure at home. I figure if I was going to worry about toxic metal body burden, I shouldn't have smoked those cigs in college. My little boy though - wouldn't stick him with Big Pharma's latest dubious concoction in a million years.

michael framson

Careful Stagmom, They might just rush "Vaccines R Good: Trust US" to print. It sounds like a potential collaborative book by Amy Wallace Offit, Michael Specter Offit, and Paul Offit Offit.

Autism Grandma

Yeah Dan!!! Take those gloves off and keep them off, if it weren't for journalists like you reporting the actual facts, there would be not much good to say about this profession.

Re: Posted by ashleyclark5@att.net:
"Can we please make a nice little section you can click on on the home page where we can all post our kids mercury lab results."

GREAT IDEA, and now we can add the ALUMINUM levels that according to my grandson's testing is off the charts.

"From the earliest days of food regulation, the use of alum (aluminum sulphate) in foods has been condemned. It is universally acknowledged as a poison in all countries. If the Bureau of Chemistry had been permitted to enforce the law ... no food product in the country would have any trace of any aluminum"

From History of crime against the Food Laws (1929) by Dr. Wiley, the prime mover behind the original Pure Food Law and Director of the FDA. He resigned in disgust in 1912 over exceptions granted to the law and lack of enforcement.

Aluminum has been exempted from testing for safety by the FDA under a convoluted logic wherein it is classified as GRAS. (Generally Regarded As Safe.) It has never been tested by the FDA on its safety and there are NO restrictions whatever on the amount or use of aluminum.
There are over 2000 references in the National Library of Medicine on adverse effects of aluminum.

Toxicity may include: encephalopathy (stuttering, gait disturbance, myoclonic jerks, seizures, coma, abnormal EEG) osteomalacia or aplastic bone disease (associated with painful spontaneous fractures, hypercalcemia, tumorous calcinosis ) proximal myopathy, increased risk of infection, increased left ventricular mass and decreased myocardial function microcytic anemia with very high levels, sudden death.

Serum aluminum correlates with encephalopathy; red cell aluminum correlates with microcytic anemia, and bone aluminum correlates with aluminum bone disease.

Basal PTH when elevated appears to protect bone and thereby favor CNS toxicity.

Other factors favoring one form of toxicity over another are not well understood.

Aluminum toxicity has been reported to impair the formation and release of parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands concentrate aluminum above levels in surrounding tissues. Treatment of aluminum toxicity in renal failure patients often reactivates hyperparathyroidism...

http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/hydro/al.htm [Many studies also listed here]

"Is Aluminum the New Thimerisol?"

[The FDA considers the maximum safe amount of aluminum for an infant at 25 mcg per day, however they have no regulations regarding vaccines. Many vaccines have ten times that amount and even more, with combination vaccines as high as 855mpg, which is 34 times the upper limit recognized as safe.]

Here are the current levels of aluminum per shot of the following vaccines, as listed on each vaccine's packaging:

DTaP (for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis): 170-625 mcg, depending on manufacturer
Hepatitis A: 250 mcg
Hepatitis B: 250 mcg
HIB (for meningitis; PedVaxHib brand only): 225 mcg
HPV: 225 mcg
Pediarix (DTaP-Hepatitis B-Polio combination): 850 mcg
Pentacel (DTaP-HIB-Polio combination): 330 mcg
Pneumococcus: 125 mcg

http://www.mothering.com/articles/growing_child/vaccines/aluminum-new-thimerosal.html


Teresa Conrick

Bob,

You missed the point (or is getting to the truth not your purpose here?)- when someone needs to spin the same old crap information that has been proven to be false (and from a person - Offit- who has ties to vaccine development and BIG vaccine money) AND then plagiarizes by copying/pasting almost verbatim, his ongoing biased opinion laced in with minimal facts ---- any trust in that writer/researcher is erased.

Mr. Specter sure looks to be a plagiarist and a very questionable source of truth.

Lewis B. Sckolnick

This isn't even creative plagiarism.

bensmyson

Yeah Adriana it doesn't surprise me one bit regarding his interest in the introduction and testing of the AIDS vaccine in Africa.

"JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 24 -- South African AIDS researchers have begun warning hundreds of volunteers that a highly touted experimental vaccine they received in recent months might make them more, not less, likely to contract HIV in the midst of one of the world's most rampant epidemics.

The move stems from the discovery last month that an AIDS vaccine developed by Merck & Co. might have led to more infections than it averted among study subjects in the United States and other countries. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/24/AR2007102402514.html?sub=new

Twyla

I don't mind as much that a stupid idiot would write such an idiotic book, as I mind that these prominent news sources would review it so uncritically.

He doesn't even know what mitochondrial disorder and encephalopathy are. What an ignorant @#$%^&**@&#^$%@

OK now I'm censoring myself.

Yeah, Stagmom, I agree!

Buna300

“By July 1999 … the preservative had been ordered removed from childhood vaccines as a precautionary measure."

No one was "ordered" to do anything. The Joint Statement of July 1999 was a recommendation - one that has still not been completely followed to this day. If such an "order" had been issued, individual states would not have had to pass their own thimerosal bans.

Moreover, autism parents freaked out when they read the Joint Statement, they had no idea their kids had been injected with mercury, and they had no hand in its reduction from vaccines.

Did this "science writer" get ANYTHING right in this chapter?

julie

This book and the Wired article are part of a big propaganda push to convince those college-educated young parents (or parents-to-be) that the CDC mandated vaccine schedule is A-OK, nothing to worry about, don't listen to those crazy people, if you question vaccines you put yourself on the level of a backwoods fundamentalist who thinks Jesus had a pet dinosaur. Are they appealing to class snobbery as a last resort?

I have worked in healthcare for 20 years and I have never seen such controversy as over flu shots as this year. "Should I or shouldn't I?" Seasonal flu vaccinations used to be just part of the landscape. You went to employee health and got one if you had time. Now even the people who decide to get one ponder over it. Like all criminals Big Pharma will be undone by greed and stupidity and if they keep pushing more vaccines the population will push back.

Stagmom

You could rub our kids' poop on a blank notebook, and if you wrote, Vaccines R Good. Trust Me." on the cover as the title, the Times would review it - and favorably.

Bob

I will quote one of the posts below (god knows I wouldn't want to be accused of plagiarism): "that's the best you can do?" So Specter's language was similar on a few things. He's still right about the important things, like the fact that you are all wrong.

Kristina

A glowing review from the The New York Times? Outrageous. If I had plagiarized to that extent on any college paper, I would have received a failing grade.

I guess The New York Times is a lot more forgiving than any professor.

Teresa Conrick

Very interesting! Thanks, Dan as I was just talking about plagiarism the other day with the Amy Wallace post:

from me-

"It is maddening reading such drivel that is put out as "science" by the puppets and "the puppeteer". It appears they read off a cheat sheet of talking points even though all of those points have been now dismissed as false. As a teacher, we call that plagiarism, cheating, and kids who do it are usually deficient in brain power and are lacking any resourcefulness.

When will these feeble and lazy reporters do their job? My guess is that (FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-UNEDUCATED-AND-DESPERATE-FOR-WORK-REPORTER-OF-THE-MONTH) has some qualities that Paul Offit knew would work for him - ..... quite possibly lazy, gullible and has a meager 401K. She/he is just another ignorant reporter used by Offit...like he has done with the NYT, Science, Discover et al."

And here we are looking at another hoodwinked (or financially embraced) reporter and we're not even out of November yet! It is just ridiculous for Mr. Specter to act like he did not know...to quote him: "But this was clear error, carelessness, call it what you want....."

Another interesting thing is that it appears that Michael Specter did a big piece on plagiarism back in 1988. I couldn't access the entire article but it looked like a big deal so we know he must have researched the ins and outs of plagiarism... now 20 years ago so.....if I say that this reminds me of the movie with Tyrone Power (Nightmare Alley) where he says he'll never be the Geek (a Geek being a guy who bites off chicken heads) yet that's exactly what he does as he loses his touch with humanity and attempts to do whatever to "make money and be somebody"...you will know what I mean in this analogy-

http://www.combustiblecelluloid.com/nightalley.shtml

"The central question of Nightmare Alley is, "how does one get so low?"

and here is a link to that Specter article-

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-1292581.html

Parroting Paul Offit is bad enough but literally lifting his words is plagiarism...and geekish......ick.

Adriana

Specter extemporizes like a twelve year old about the factual errors-- it's actually painful to read his emails. The dog (fact checkers) ate his homework; the reverence he shows to Offit earlier in the chapter does away with any need to cite several lifted paragraphs...Very interesting for a former national science reporter for the Washington Post.

Thank you for covering this, Dan. I've had Specter in my craw since he wrote in the New Yorker about the "anti-vaccine, anti-government, anti-science crowd". It smacks of the new "binary fallacy" we've been hearing lately on the supposed "Hitler/Stalin anti-vaccine pact" between the "far right and far left".

In his writing, Specter's also been urging to rush the contentious AIDS vaccine for use in African countries, which he believes should be forced to accept genetically modified agriculture before global warming strikes in full.

About the only thing I find semi-sincere in his coverage is his consistent attention to AIDS victims in Africa, not all of which includes plugs for the vaccine. Look, he even even got a deep, dark tan to show his solidarity:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2609/3704240479_ecb3e10e1a.jpg

AnaB

History will shame them for ignoring tens of thousands of eye witness accounts. My son never had Thimerosal but he STILL had two vaccine reactions. These know-it-alls have yet to explain that one to me.

ashleyclark5@att.net

Can we please make a nice little section you can click on on the home page where we can all post our kids mercury lab results. Then all the world can see that we are not making this stuff up...this seriously happened...you seriously poisoned my child...my precious child!! Then no one can argue...I'm tired of hearing people say thimersol has been proven to be safe!!!

Odysseus

The thing i don't get is where are the publishers? Doesn't the publisher have an obligation to fact check these books before they go to press? just like an editor of a newspaper. These writers are allowed carte blanche without any fact checking. Where is the journalistic credibility? did these people miss their ethics class? Thanks to real reporters like Age of Autism and JB Handley--real science and facts are still part of the discussion.

Hands-offit

Are Michael Spector, Amy Wallace, and Amanda Peete happy they met Paul Offit?

chrissie

I watched the interview with Specter, was Scarborough out that day, or did he just skip this interview? Were they afraid that he would question the "data" Specter kept bringing up? When will people realize that they are not watching journalism? These people are talking heads with no idea of what their guest is talking about. One google search will pull up 14studies.com, actually reading the site will explain to you how worthless this data is. Wish I could get a job making 6 figures and only having to sit there and nod.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

This answer is easy: The book goes in dustbin of history and Spector's name engraved on the wall of autism holocaust deniers.

bensmyson

Thanks for the link Patrick, if I wouldnt have seen his lips move I would have sworn he was talking out his ass.

Guri

I'm a foreigner, so can one of you native speakers tell me wether the expression "some certainty" makes sense?

Patrick

Here's the clip:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/#33584781

JB Handley

Hmm...Wired Magazine, this crappy book. The next thing you know, they're going to find a celebrity who loves vaccines to try and counter Jenny...Oh wait, they tried that, too.

Dan, thanks for taking the time to actually read this guy's book and point out the sloppiness and unprofessionalism that happens whenever someone is trying to mangle the truth.

JB

cmo

The typical two minute drug commercial has about one minute telling about all the crap that can happen to you if you take the damn drug described in the first minute....

Could you imagine how long the TV commercial crap list would be for the 36 vaccines of the CDC schedule ??

It is time for a pleasant, objective review of all the baby killer vaccines pulled from the US market.

Mr T

Thimerisol causes mercury poisioning. It's a coincidence that the kid's have autism like symptoms.

MB

It is hard to believe that Specter missed the controversy surrounding Doris Kearns Goodwin's lack of attribution and sloppy use of quotation marks in two of her books. What was she accused of? Oh yes, plagiarism.

Do the publishing companies have NO responsibility to fact-check basic medical terminology in a book like this? A metabolic disorder called encephalopathy? Did Offit give him that definition?

Bob Moffitt

Micheal Spector wrote in "Denialism":

“After all the research,” he writes, “thimerosal might be the only substance we might say with some certainty DOESN’T cause autism.” Those who believe otherwise – and that includes “the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism” – are simply “denialists [who] have no interest in scientific decisions.”

Instead of smearing AOA followers as "denialists"..I would have far greater respect for Mr. Spector had he the courage to include the IOM...who in 2001 found the "link" between thimerosal and neurodevelopment disorders, including autism, ADHD, speech and language delays was "biologically plausible".

Indeed, why didn't Mr. Spector include among the "denialists" the scientific decisions of Russia...that banned thimerosal from children vaccines in 1980..or...Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries that followed Russia's lead?

Are we to believe the scientists of those developed countries are "denialists"?

It gets very frustrating reading this type of illogical gibberish ... masquerading as "science".

Robin Rowlands

A of A
Dont worry love you all - Asta la Vista

Robin Rowlands

nhokkanen

Imagine if these so-called experts had an honest dialogue with Thimerosal researchers, neurologists and DAN! doctors before writing pieces like this.

Some people talk at others without offering reciprocity. Ironically their writings reveal their own pathologies -- where some see authority, I see extreme narcissism.

Robin Rowlands

A of A,

Thought I would put my feet up and have a deserved rest...Ummm
Hang around with Stephen Fry for a while.

Robin Rowlands - Merlins Dad

chrissie

Has the author appeared on "Morning Joe" yet? I don't watch, but have seen the interviews Scarborough did with RFK Jr. I believe his son has Asperger's and Joe believes that vaccination caused it. I would be curious to see the interview when it happens.

Benedetta

I do not understand how you can get a book published if you copy someone else's work???

I thought the publishing companies were the "BOSS" when it came to stuff like that?

Guess not.

Jen who blogged about the Wired Mag a couple of articles back grabbed all the magazines and stuffed them in the back where people would not see them and thus not buy them.

That is so cute!

Wished I had thought of things like that, Hmmmm not a bad idea, Jen!

Angela

Specter is a hack . . . "a metabolic disorder called encephalopathy?" ?????

PrOffit will probably thank him for the free publicity surrounding this scandal.

Tanners Dad

Dan you have so much more patience than me. I have tried to read some of the mainstream Pro Vaccine books in the past & my heart just break s over the ignorance, misinformation, and lack of attention to real world results. Give me Clean Water, Sanitation, & healthy food on a island and let me see how healthy children would be.

bensmyson

The day before Christmas vacation my science teacher called me into the headmaster's office. When I went into the room I saw a stack of books on the desk. Books I had checked out of the library earlier to complete my term paper. My paper was full of incidences of plagiarism. My paper was given an F, and I was expelled from the private New England Prep.

Not that I really learned a lesson from this but what I did learn was that people take plagiarism very seriously. Particularly when someone is making money off of it. It will be interesting to see if Offitt's publisher makes a big deal out of it.

I saw this guy on TV a couple of times this past week. He was a spokesperson for the pro-vaccine push by the government, another face, another "expert."

Thanks Dan for this investigation. Specter seemed as apologetic as I was 30 years ago in the Headmaster's office, "I didn't mean to do it." What a crock!

John Stone

I recall a friend who received a telephone call from an enraged UK health official (and well-known vaccine bloggist) who had never heard of "encephalitis". How you can come to manage the the yellow card scheme for licensing authority with that level of medical ignorance I don't know - but I can guess.

Currently, we are being taken to task on Huffington Post by the organiser of rave events, who assumes his intellectual superiority over Jenny and Jim. It seems that's the best they can do. They can't employ anyone who understands the science to defend it.

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