Like clockwork, a long, crass, meandering post from Dr. David Gorski, known to the dorkosphere as “Orac”, was guaranteed to hit soon after Generation Rescue’s Ad.
Now, let me be fair, Dr. Gorski is actually damn funny as a writer. Consider this post:
“If stupid were a poison, all life on earth would be dead and rotting from the emanations of the two articles contained under the above link. And if stupid really did burn, the surface of the earth would consist of nothing more than charred rock, with the oceans themselves vaporized.”
Of course, funny is a relative term. As writing goes, it’s damn funny. The fact that it’s coming from a research scientist who also interacts with breast cancer patients in his job as the Assistant Program Leader (which I think is one rung up from “piss boy”) at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and considers himself a research scientist makes his writing less funny.
I have some quick advice for potential patients of Dr. Gorski: If you are looking for someone who is crass, arrogant, very black & white in his thinking, suffers from a weird Blogger-God complex, and spends all of his free time blogging, Dr. Gorski is your guy. Consider this gem from Dr. Gorski:
“My recreation of choice most evenings these days is to blog. It truly is my hobby”?
If his bedside manner matches his blogside manner, look out. Don’t believe me? Fine, here’s one more Orac haiku:
“You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Orac”
The reason Mr. Gorski drives us nuts is because he selectively applies his scientific standards to anything that supports his position—a common behavior of the mainstream health establishment. He reminds us of our pediatricians who told us we were crazy.
In Mr. Gorski’s world, highly flawed epidemiology gets a hall pass but anybody or anything that supports a connection between vaccines and autism is quackery written by cranks. Ask him to apply his high standards to the CDC’s “science” and he won’t do it.
Anyway, I actually enjoy posting on Orac’s blog now and again, if only to read the almost incomprehensible level of insults the other side is happy to heap on me, so long as they are anonymous. I know that Orac’s blog is trafficked by many of our worst enemies, so I find it satisfying to read how crazy-making our side’s pursuit of truth is for them. In that spirit, I thought the below, recently posted to Orac’s blog, would be of interest.
It's a distinct pleasure to blog amongst such distinguished, anonymous, crass, insulting "scientists."
That said, I will make several points that demonstrate how much bullshit many (but not all) of you are full of.
Scientists lose their benefit when they lose their connection to the real world, as many of you appear to have done, so I'm going to ground my discourse in a real world example:
A mom has a 2 month old child. Like 90% plus of parents, she takes her child in for a 2 month "well baby visit" with her pediatrician. At this visit, her 2 month old receives the following vaccines: Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV, Polio, and Flu. That's 7 vaccines in approximately 15 minutes. This happens every day in the U.S. In fact, it's probably happened several times just since I wrote that sentence.
After the appointment, the child appears listless, disoriented, nauseated, and can't stop crying for several days. At her pediatrician's recommendation, she gives Tylenol. 3 days after the visit, her child develops eczema. A week later, the crying has stopped, but the child's gaze appears more distant, according to the Mom.
A year goes by, Mom keeps vaccinating, the child hits 14 months, and is diagnosed with autism. (That's about as early as you can get a diagnosis)
Now, the Mom pieces the whole history of her child together and starts to suspect it’s the vaccines, and she keeps going back to that 2 month visit where things really changed.
You, one of you many anonymous, crass, arrogant jerks, is now her new doctor. You need to explain to her that it's not the vaccines. So, which scientific study do you pull out first? And, I'll give you some choices:
- Do you pull out the CDC study that compared fully vaccinated children who had received more and less thimerosal in their vaccines?
- Do you pull out the Danish study that compares Danish children -- all of whom received considerably fewer vaccines than American children-- who got all their vaccines with thimerosal and all their vaccines without thimerosal?
- Do you pull out the studies of children who received all their vaccines except MMR?
Which one of these studies answers definitively to this mom that the 2 month visit and attendant problems was a figment of her imagination? Which one?
So, here are 2 truths that the honest members of this forum will have to agree with, no matter how they may feel about who is writing this:
1. Anyone saying, "It's been asked and answered, vaccines don't cause autism" is categorically lying.
2. The honest questions, to get honest answers, have never been asked. Science can easily be hijacked and abused by asking an unhelpful question, answering it, and then claiming the study actually answers something else. In the community of scientists, some of whom read this blog, that has been done repeatedly. You have no science to answer this Mom's concerns, it doesn't yet exist.
In that way, I think the CDC and others have done an extreme disservice to honest doctors and scientists. By not asking the hard questions, and facing potentially hard answers, they leave themselves open to extreme criticism.
I also need to point something out to all of you that many of you seem to deny: the vaccines program’s rate of adverse events is only acceptable if autism isn’t one of them.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the right science, given the extreme complexity of administering seven vaccines in 15 minutes to a two month old, is very, very hard to create. Moreover, the ethical considerations become insurmountable if you are withholding lifesaving vaccines from children who would have otherwise received them.
But, viewing the problem as extremely complex does not give science an excuse to run away. The parent complaints are not stopping, our community is growing, our resources are growing. We believe the vaccine program IS creating an adverse event rate of 1 in 150 or higher, so we will fight like hell.
The honest scientists will join us in conceding what has not yet been done to answer the concerns of parents and what needs to be done. Some ideas, far from exhaustive, for science that could be done to explore the concerns of parents further:
1. Do appropriate blood work and an MRI on 1,000 children who are 11 weeks old. Give them 7 vaccines at their 2 month well baby visit. Do a follow-up MRI the next day and 3 months later and all the blood work. See what you see.
2. Study unvaccinated kids. Now, I read Prometheus’ post about confounders, and I found a fatal flaw in his argument: the CDC “estimate” that 0.3% of children are completely unvaccinated is complete and utter bullshit. If you just spent time in California or Oregon, you’d realize there is closer to 5-10% of kids completely unvaccinated. We have some counties in Oregon where the number is upwards of 15-20%. So, kids who otherwise live the same lives could be found next door to each other.
3. Study the biology of children who experience regressive autism, as characterized by their parents and doctors, and examine all biological markers to try and establish differences and the origin of the differences.
4. Go to countries where the schedule of vaccines is materially different and study outcomes of a wide variety of things like: autism, asthma, diabetes, etc.
5. Use animals that most closely resemble humans and do a vax/unvax study on them: give one group the first 2 years of our schedule, give the second group absolutely nothing, and see if there is any difference whatsoever in neurology or otherwise. These animals would need to be monitored for a minimum of 3 years.
Are any of these good ideas in the abstract? Probably. Are some better than others? Indeed. Here’s one thing that is true:
They all beat the living shit out of the unbelievably clear lie that “science has already spoken” on this issue. It’s unreasonable to be exasperated that guys like me are still talking about this issue when nothing honest has been done to address it.
Any of you calling yourselves scientists who have ever uttered the words, “the science has shown that vaccines don’t cause autism” or anything near that should immediately step away from your computer, walk into your back yard, and yell, for all your neighbors to hear, “I am a fucking moron!”
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and a contributor to Age of Autism.