Dr. Steven Novella, why is this so hard to understand?
By J.B. Handley
I’d never heard of Dr. Steven Novella until I read his recent blog piece HERE rebutting Generation Rescue’s recently introduced website, FourteenStudies.org.
I don’t know Dr. Novella and I certainly have nothing against him personally, but I was stunned by the utter lack of knowledge and critical thinking that went into his critique of our new site. In general, I think the site so resolutely exposes the dirty underwear of the mainstream’s weak science on the vaccine-autism debate that most critiques of the site seem to center around the idea that “you have no need to go look at the site, and please pay no attention to the dirty underwear behind the curtain…”
Before I explain why Dr. Novella is so wildly ignorant and off base when it comes to the topic of vaccines and autism, let’s look a little more closely at who he is:
Dr. Novella is a clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale’s school of medicine. His areas of specialization are neuromuscular disease and botulinum injections (see appendix below). He appears to have done both his undergrad and med school at Georgetown University. Looking at his biography on wikipedia (which he undoubtedly wrote himself), he became a doctor 11 years ago and turns 45 years old this July. It doesn’t appear that autism, vaccines, immunology, toxicology, nutrition, or gastroenterology are part of his area of focus, expertise, or study.
I have been astonished by the culture of arrogance and elitism that medical schools appear to breed in their doctors and scientists. The culture tends to produce an “us vs. them” mentality, where doctors collectively back each other up on controversial issues, typically without understanding the issue for themselves. Somehow, if you have a medical degree and you practice conventional medicine, you get it, and if you don’t, you don’t.
Stephen Greenspan, a psychologist and expert on gullibility, explains this recurrent experience of smart people falling for the b.s. of others they relate to as due to "the tendency of humans to model their actions—especially when dealing with matters they don't fully understand—on the behavior of other humans."
I’m not intellectually intimidated by any of these jokers. Their degrees mean zippo to me, because I knew plenty of knuckleheads in college who went on to be doctors, and they’re still knuckleheads (I also knew plenty of great, smart guys who went on to be doctors and they’re still great, smart guys).
I chose a different path and went into the business world. In the business world, having a degree from a great college or business school gets you your first job, and not much else. There are plenty of Harvard Business School grads who have bankrupted companies and gone to jail, and plenty of high school drop-outs who are multi-millionaires. Brains and street-smarts win, not degrees, arrogance, or entitlement.
On of the most fascinating aspects of the autism epidemic is how the mainstream health community seems to get away with a stunning paradox: they are so damn smart that they are certain as to what doesn’t cause autism, but they haven’t a clue as to what does. How can that be? Why aren’t the smarts being applied to finding the cause?
For those of you who haven’t read it, FourteenStudies.org is a website that not only deconstructs the myth that “the science has spoken and vaccines do not cause autism” but also is the only place on the web where you can actually find all the scientific studies the other side makes reference to. As I have written about repeatedly, the mainstream medical community, and people like Dr. Novella, continually misrepresent what has and hasn’t been studied, make glaring over-generalizations, and falsely reassure parents that the science has been done to study the possible relationship between vaccines and autism. They seem perfectly willing to set aside any critical thinking of their own, and reference studies that don’t remotely do what they claim they do, because, dammit, they know more than you do.
Consider the following:
Children receive 36 vaccines by the age of 5 in the United States. Of those 36 vaccines, 2 have ever been studied for their possible relationship, the two doses of the MMR. But, children receive 23 vaccine BEFORE THEIR FIRST MMR SHOT, and no work whatsoever has been done to consider these other vaccines and their relationship to autism.
According to the CDC’s website, vaccines contain 53 separate ingredients, but only 1 – thimerosal – has ever been looked at in terms of its relationship to autism.
At my son’s 2-month vaccine appointment, he received the following vaccines simultaneously: Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PVC, and Polio. He developed eczema, was lethargic for weeks, and went on to develop autism. Have any of these vaccines or the co-administration of so many vaccines ever been considered for their relationship to autism? Not remotely.
The science that has been done to date to look at the relationship between vaccines and autism has only been done to quell legitimate concerns raised By SafeMinds (thimerosal) and Dr. Andy Wakefield (MMR), it’s never been done to answer the recurrent testimonials, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands, of parents who lost their kids to autism after vaccine appointments.
Back to Dr. Novella. His critique of FourteenStudies.org seems to be largely based on the naïve idea that his colleagues couldn’t possibly be mistaken on this issue, which means that I must be:
“It is also remarkable that Handley himself quotes many professional, expert, and advisory bodies who also have read the studies and concluded that they overwhelmingly support the conclusion of a lack of correlation between vaccines and autism - including the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the March of Dimes. Handley casually and self-servingly assumes that all of the professionals in these organizations are incompetent or they are lying.”
“And keep in mind what it would mean to lie on this issue - Handley believes that many doctors who have chosen the career path of public health are deliberately condemning millions of children to autism simply to avoid admitting past error, because they cannot face the horrible truth, or to receive their Big Pharma kickbacks. It’s no wonder their rhetoric often become hysterical - they really believe this is going on. For some reason it is easier for them to believe this astounding horrible claim than even consider the possibility that perhaps they have misinterpreted the science and that trained experts who have dedicated their lives to understanding the science may know better. This is what we call the ‘arrogance of ignorance.’”
Arrogance of ignorance? Dr. Novella asserts, “I personally know of many people, including myself and David, who have both read all the studies and are telling the truth about our opinions that they do not support a link between autism and vaccines.”
He’s read the studies. The ones that cover 2 of 36 vaccines, 1 of 53 ingredients, never consider unvaccinated kids, and are almost all funded by conflicted parties and they clearly show ALL VACCINES don’t cause autism? And I’m the ignorant one?
Taking his ignorance to a new level, Dr. Novella then chooses to defend, as one example, one of the Danish studies looking at the relationship between thimerosal and autism. You can read about a critique of that study HERE. He concludes:
“In addition to a lack of correlation between thimerosal and autism, this study supports the conclusion that the rise of autism rates in the 1990s and beyond are due to changes in the definition of autism and efforts to make the diagnosis in the population. That is the common element between Denmark and the US. Exposure to thimerosal and the vaccine schedule differed between these two countries, and yet autism rates were similar.”
And, in making his point, this is the only study Dr. Novella points to. To summarize, Dr. Novella demonstrates an incomprehensible level of ignorance in the following four ways:
1. He argues that I suffer from the “arrogance of ignorance” because many of his self-interested colleagues disagree with me and they must surely be right. Do I really need to cite the thousands of examples in human history where the consensus of the day turned out to be wrong? He calls himself a “skeptic” but I’m wrong because his friends think I’m wrong and surely my brain is not as big as theirs?
2. He cites a study that solely looks at the relationship between thimerosal and autism (1 of 53 ingredients in vaccines) as PROOF that “vaccines do not cause autism.” This is a reckless over-generalization that has no basis in fact.
3. Of all studies, he chooses to defend the Madsen Denmark study (see above) that has without question the most egregious data-trick ever used in a thimerosal-autism study, and a study that has even been discredited by the CDC and NIEHS as “unhelpful.”
4. He states that “autism rates were similar” between the US and Denmark. Yet, a fifth grader could look at the Madsen study he himself cites and read on page 605 of the study that the autism rate in Denmark was under 5 per 10,000, while the U.S. rate is somewhere between 60-100 per 10,000, which means our rate of autism is 12-20 times higher than Denmark’s, which would mean our rates are “similar”, so long as you define similar as the U.S. rate being twenty times the rate of Denmark.
Dr. Novella claims to be a scientist. For all I know, he is great at neuromuscular disease and injecting botox. When it comes to vaccines and autism, his “critique” of FourteenStudies.org demonstrates an unacceptable level of ignorance, non-critical thinking, and parroting of the words of others. My only guess for why Dr. Novella would publish such rubbish is that he knows his friends demonstrating similarly narrow and misguided views will tell him how smart he is.
As an aside, Dr. Novella does appear to have expertise at injecting the botulinum toxin in people’s bodies, as his webpage characterizes this as an area of expertise:
“Yale Neurology provides diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of patients with hyperactive neurological disorders, such as cervical dystonia, hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, limb dystonia and spasticity. Using both botulinum A (BotoxTM) and botulinum B (MyoblocTM) toxin, we will evaluate and design a treatment plan for patients and work with referring physicians to assist in their care.”
Wikipedia tells me many interesting things about botulinum including this winner: “Despite Botulinum toxin being one of the most lethal naturally occurring substances known to science, it is still widely used for cosmetic purposes in a purified and isolated form.”
“In September 2005, a paper published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology reported from the FDA saying that use of Botox has resulted in 28 deaths between 1989 and 2003, though none were attributed to cosmetic use.”
“On February 8, 2008, the FDA announced that Botox has "been linked in some cases to adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death, following treatment of a variety of conditions using a wide range of doses," due to its ability to spread to areas distant to the site of the injection.”
“In January 2009, the Canadian government warned that botox can have the adverse effect of spreading to other parts of the body which could cause muscle weakness, swallowing difficulties, pneumonia, speech disorders and breathing problems.”
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue.
So if a just-vaccinated child runs a high fever, starts screaming and banging his head, develops explosive diarrhea, loses language and becomes autistic, his parent should discount vaccination as the precipitating event because epidemiological studies have failed to find a statistical connection between vaccines and autism? Is that the argument?
Posted by: Carol | May 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Two replies; the "I'm better educated than you", isn't really cutting it here. How many of those fourteen studies for example have you actually read, beyond just looking at the abstract?
Tell me about primary immunodeficiency and what symptoms you would expect a child given a live vaccine with this condition to have.
mitochondrial disorder. How common is it in autistic kids?
You post uses the same argument that tobacco scientists used to dismiss the lung cancer /cigarette smoke link.
To be blunt, just from your comments, and your delightful naivety about how easy it is to get published I'd guess you maybe? have a bachelors in science, and have probably never taken a single post grad course in statistics and research.
Am I right?
If you want to impress us with your academic abilities, talk about the studies and give your own commentary on them.
Posted by: Hera | May 22, 2013 at 04:10 PM
You know, it would be interesting if skeptic blogger "James" and his anonymous, likely IP proxied buddy "Two Replies" would put some money where their mouths are and immunize themselves with the entirety of the childhood vaccine schedule, all at once, and film the evidence of their shotgun-inoculation appointment and upload it to youtube. You "skeptic," Science-fearing martyrs of intellect and critical thinking would do so much more for your cause and argument by standing behind what you believe to be ironclad science. Even better would be get a couple dozen of your skeptic troll comrades to do the same. Come out of the basement, guys, get your shots, show the true skeptics of the US childhood vaccine schedule that there's nothing to be afraid of.
That response would at least be honest and ingenious. Your two comments are arrogant and condescending, based on emotion and group-think, and are nothing more than pathetic trolling and at the end of the day decimates your position.
Posted by: Skeptics up to date? | May 22, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Trying to stir the pot doesn't do anyone any good. It is a waste of time and does nothing to change the minds of people. You might also want to consider that it is Offit and his buddies that are the ones with the power issues and are the ones working to legislate away the rights of people. No one is preventing you from getting any shot you want.
If these shots are so wonderful, open them up to the free market and let the manufacturers assume liability for their products. Do away with the vaccine court and let the normal rules apply. Do a vaccinated vs un-vaccinated study. Then an honest risk/benefit analysis can be completed and the truth will be known.
Posted by: For two replies | May 22, 2013 at 02:46 PM
The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" has nearly become cliche, but it still bears repeating as long as there are idiots out there that insist on drawing direct conclusions about unrelated subjects like vaccinations and autism.
100% of autistic children BREATHE OXYGEN before being diagnosed with the GENETIC infliction while 0% of babies who stopped breathing before being diagnosed with autism were found to have autism.
100% of autistic children HAVE PARENTS and 0% of babies without any genetic parents have autism.
While 100% true, it obviously would be silly to seriously claim a having parents, being alive or breathing cause autism, but the implication parallel between these and the vaccination witch-hunt is THE WHOLE POINT.
Autism is a tragic infliction, but much WORSE would be to DEMONIZE something GOOD and strive to legislate away its protective benefits from others JUST BECAUSE some over-protective parent with power-issues feels the need to impose his/herself into other people's lives and DECISIONS.
Posted by: Two Replies | May 22, 2013 at 01:13 PM
People like this author are prime examples of the disturbing trend of rising anti-intellectualism and declining critical thinking in this country.
You cannot compare people with education in science to business because, quite frankly, science is much, much, much more difficult to be good at. Like you wrote, there are a lot of uneducated people of moderate intelligence who have made millions of dollars in the last few decades. There are exactly zero uneducated people of moderate intelligence who have won a Nobel prize in medicine in the past few decades.
But here is the kicker. Despite the fact that most doctors dedicate decades of their lives to acquiring medical knowledge there is no bar to entry for medical research. If you truly had some semblance of valid evidence to support your position, you could get it published in the very same medical journals that educated, established researchers like Dr. Novella read and contribute to. But, since you have neither the medical knowledge nor the evidence to actually make a meaningful contribution, you just spend your time preaching to other similarly uneducated people on the internet.
Posted by: James | May 07, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I'm not commenting at the moment on the vaccine/autism debate, because I'm still looking at it (I have been cautious and veeeerrry slow with vaccinating my own children--a sort of compromise, I suppose). However, I do have to point out that you have weakened your own otherwise well-written and well-reasoned arguments by referring to Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia is not a reliable resource because it can be written and edited by anyone--as you yourself pointed out. I would love to see more from you, but as a teacher who warns my students to NEVER use Wikipedia as a reference, I can't help but be concerned about some of your own research practices.
Posted by: TeacherMommy | May 08, 2009 at 12:14 PM
I think it is fascinating that Dr. from Yale would actually address JB. I would usually think they would not even substantiate a reply to a "layman" non-medically trained individual.
Makes you think they are actually realizing this all makes sense and trying to hide it. Why else would they give JB the time of day?? Hmmmm.
Like the old Shakespearean quote: "I think thou protest too much."
Posted by: Jacey | May 07, 2009 at 11:41 PM
Novella makes a more convincing argument and has the scientific backing to articulately explain it.
Oh, but good job bringing up his wikipedia page, that has everything to do with the argument at hand.
Posted by: Chris | May 02, 2009 at 03:03 AM
Wow, I'm convinced, there is a risk involved in vaccinations. But EVERYTHING we do in life has risk. Face it, life is hazardous, and everyone is in danger 100% of the time, you don't even have to leave the house to have a fatal accident. I see too often people trying to lay blame on others for their own problems. I notice quite a few posters referring to their children and how it has effected them, and I wonder if they would even voice or have an opinion if it did not effect them personally. Me, I'm sure glad my children will not be getting smallpox, or polio, just as I am glad they weren't part of the percent that have autism. I hope they don't end up with any other serious illness either. I also hate the fact that my mothers medication for migraines is more expensive than crack, or heroin, and I'm amazed at the number of accidental deaths caused by aspirin. So I cant really stick up for drug companies. I say do what you do, and stop all this fighting. I personally like the fact that everyone is not looking for a possible cause and a possible cure in the same place, that would just be silly.
So you got a critique, get over it, learn from it, I have learned that the truth is usually the last thing you want to hear. Now your both arguing like a couple of eggheads about which logical fallacies the other is making, which has nothing to do with autism at all. Logical fallacies are part of human nature. Your followers are going to back whatever you say, his are going to do the same for him, and none of it seems productive. Is it me or wouldn't working together do more good than trying to out intellect each other?
Posted by: Jason | April 28, 2009 at 12:48 AM
The battle has been joined. The Shadowy evil doers, in this case scientists, plotting away in their laboratories. And theyd get away with their awful plans if it werent for the Messiahs, those other wordly types who see straight through the conspiracy because they have special insight. They just know they are right! They already have the results because they already know the answers. The Messiahs protect the rest of us, the great mass of fearful uninformed bozos, by pushing back against the dark side. What we would do, us poor sad little people, without their guidance? For starters we could check the claim that Novella wrote his own Wikipedia entry. Its not that hard. He didnt. Handley not so Messianic, but very human!
Posted by: TOM SAVAGE | April 25, 2009 at 11:51 PM
Moderator: do you understand what "intellectual dishonesty" is? I didn't think so.
From Moderator #5: Yes. Readers can find Dr. Novella if they'd like to easily enough. Do you feel ignored? Wah.
Posted by: Paul | April 25, 2009 at 10:36 AM
"And keep in mind what it would mean to lie on this issue - Handley believes that many doctors who have chosen the career path of public health are deliberately condemning millions of children to autism simply to avoid admitting past error, because they cannot face the horrible truth,..."
Some parents of children with autism who see vaccine damage for what it is go through a period of unnecessary guilt, that they held there child down to recieve the vaccines that sent there perfectly normal child down a path different from the one they were on the day before. This is true for any adverse reaction to vaccines.
Imagine if you were faced with the thought that you did this to thousands of children. How horrible whould that feel?
Some say "seeing is believing", but in reality we only see what we believe, or want to believe. So who is more desparate, who is more likley to avoid evidence or seek evidence that will support their beliefs?
The AAP is crapping their pants and we all know it.
Posted by: Tim Kasemodel | April 24, 2009 at 11:11 AM
You (and Dr. Novella) sound like the perfect candidate for an idea I had on how you could prove once and for all that Thimerosal and vaccines in general are perfectly safe. You obviously are perfectly fine with injecting ethyl mercury into the bloodstream of small babies so you would not mind considering the following idea.
You could follow the same schedule that my son did at the time he was born in
1997. Since we had put him in daycare at 6 weeks, his vaccine schedule was
accelerated to accommodate their rules regarding immunizations. I would only
expect you to get injected with the Thimerosal alone since an avid proponent of
vaccines like yourself has probably been vaccinated for everything anyway.
On the day of his birth my son was given the Hepatitis B vaccine which
contained 12.5 mcg of ethyl mercury, injected into his 7.5 lb body. That would
be 1.6 mcg per pound. The EPA allowed daily limit is 0.1 mcg per kilogram, or 0.045 mcg per pound. That means you will be injecting into your bloodstream an amount 36.74 times the EPA daily limit. I will just assume 200 lbs for your wieght for simplicity, so you would be injected with 320 mcg of ethyl mercury (hg) on that day.
Keep in mind as you read on that the EPA daily limit is based on methyl mercury. There has NEVER been an established safe dose or daily limit of ethyl mercury. Also note that the University of Rochester has published a study (peer reviewed of course) that shows they found that methyl mercury causes damage at levels 90% lower that previously thought safe.
Two weeks later at the clinic my son was again given the Hepatitis B shot
because the hospital failed to record the first dose.
At 8.5 lbs he was given 12.5 mcg hg (1.47 mcg/lb - 32.42 times EPA limit)
You would get 294 mcg ethyl mercury injected that day.
At two months he was given Hepatitis B, HIB IPV, and DTaP. At 12.5 lbs he was
given 62.5 mcg hg (5.00 mcg/lb - 110.23 times the EPA limit)
You would get 1000 mcg ethyl mercury injected for that day
At four months he was given HIB, DTaP, and IPV. At 17.5 lbs he was given
50 mcg hg (2.85 mcg/lb - 62.99 mcg/lb - 62.85 times the EPA limit)
You would get 570 mcg ethyl mercury injected that day.
At six months he was given Hepatitis B, HIB, and DTaP. At 20.5 lbs he was
given 62.5 mcg hg (3.05 mcg/lb - 66.40 times the EPA limit)
You would get 610 mcg ethyl mercury injected that day.
At twelve months he was given MMR, HIB, OPV and Varivax. At 24.5 lbs he was
given 25 mcg hg (1.02 mcg/lb - 22.68 times the EPA limit)
You would get 204 mcg ethyl mercury injected that day.
At eighteen months he was given the DTaP. At 26 lbs he was given 25 mcg hg
(.96 mcg/lb - 21.20 times the EPA limit)
You would get 192 mcg ethyl mercury injected that day.
I hope that you see more clearly why there is concern about Thimerosal when it
is put into you own personal perspective.
Our son was injected with a total ethyl mercury burden of 250 mcg in the first
eighteen months of his life. Yours calculated proportioned to you body size
(assuming 200 lbs for simplicity) would be 3190 mcg. Considering that your
digestive system, brain and all other bodily functions are done growing and his
was not, that your immune system is not run down due to constant illness, that
your digestive system is not ravaged by constant use of antibiotics, and all
the while this is going on you are not being injected with all the stuff in the
vaccines themselves that weaken or otherwise affect the immune system, it seems
fair to assume this is not a truly accurate scientific experiment. However if
the ethyl mercury in Thimerosal is as safe as you, the CDC, FDA, IOM, NIH,
Pharma, and Paul Offit say it is, you would have no problem saying yes.
I would just like to say if you are actually thinking of doing this, I can not
hold myself responsible for your action. A study released by Thomas M. Burbacher and others on the effects of injected Thimerosal versus oral methyl mercury on macaques reported that ethyl mercury clears the bloodstream faster than methyl mercury, so it has been reported this means that it proves Thimerosal "safe". However, Out of the blood does not mean out of the body. Some of the ethyl mercury goes to the brain of the monkeys and is transformed into inorganic mercury and stays there. This is never mentioned in stories done on the report, and I am not sure why. Please read the entire 36 page report for yourself so that you can be properly informed before you write on this subject again.
It can be found at:
There is also the fact that the EPA allowable limit is .01 microgram of
METHYL MERCURY per kilogram of body weight PER DAY. My son was not given these
ETHYL MERCURY containing vaccines a little each day over the course of these
eighteen months, he was given large doses on certain days. Keep in mind also
that ethyl mercury, Thimerosal in general, was never studied on infants. It
was studied on a few people who were dying of meningitis, and since they died
very soon of meningitis, Thimerosal was presumed from that point on to be
unquestionably safe. As I understand it, Thimerosal itself has not been
studied at all since then, and all of the "previous studies" alluded in any
reports are based on epidemiological studies of databases only.
I encourage you to read "Evidence of Harm" by David Kirby. It explains in
detail what the CDC means by the statement "studies have shown" in regards to the safety of Thimerosal. If you are truly being objective, you will not have a problem at least reading it and coming to your own conclusions as opposed to accepting without question the rhetoric given by the agencies and individuals who are out protect themselves from possible
I suggest you do this reading prior to injecting the ethyl mercury, after all,
there are no studies available that prove it is safe to do so, so no one knows
what you will be like when you are done.
Posted by: Tim Kasemodel | April 24, 2009 at 10:29 AM
Sean, let's turn that little statement around, shall we?
What would it take to convince you that vaccines DO cause autism?
If your answer is nothing (and I'm positive it is), then you are just blowing smoke out of your ass, you hypocritical piece of sh&%.
Go tell Orac that you had an epic fail.
Posted by: Craig Willoughby | April 23, 2009 at 11:20 PM
The NNii says on their website that aluminum has been used in vaccines as an adjuvant for over 75 years. So aluminum (a known neurotoxin) has been in vaccines since the 1930s.
According to the FDA, thimerosal (another known neurotoxin) has been in vaccines since the 1930's also.
While the vaccines given to children today are not the same vaccines that were on the 1930's vaccine schedule, the vaccines given today still contain thimerosal (full amount in the flu shot and trace amounts in other vaccines) and aluminum (in amounts that exceed the minimal risk level).
Furthermore, according to Mercury Rising by Dan Olmsted "there is a distinct lack of observed cases before 1930". And as vaccines have been added to the immunization schedule, autism rates have also increased proportionately.
So I really must disagree with your comment. While correlation does not prove causation, this correlation does invalidate your specific argument.
Posted by: CM | April 23, 2009 at 11:09 PM
"What would convince you that vaccines don't cause Autism?"
If your answer is "Nothing", then that means you are as completely unwilling to admit the possibility of error as you claim all the big bad scientists are.
Hypocrisy and blindness.
BTW: One of the first papers on Autism was written in 1943.....well before most vaccines that are used were ever created.
What caused Autism then? It couldn't have been todays vaccines!
[Editor's note: Sean you're demonstrating your command of the most basic facts by placing on "glorious" display your ignorance of the history of vaccine introductions relative to the timing of Leo Kanner's landmark 1943 paper. Nuff said]
Posted by: Sean | April 23, 2009 at 07:19 PM
I had a longer, more irritated post typed up, but thought better of it. I'll admit that Dr. Novella is more careful than Gorski when it comes to alienating the scientific community from the public, and pitting the two sides of the vaccine issue against one another.
I could do without the dissection of debate tactics on both of the above blogs, from both the authors and those that comment on them. Logical fallacies, false dichotomies, gambits, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla... *yawn*
There is more than a fair amount of character assassination on theness, gift-wrapped with a shiny bow of course, but it's still character assassination no matter how articulate you are.
As a person that has tried to understand the motivation and science behind the shift in vaccination age (younger than 24 months) and volume from the late 60s to present (from basically none, to, well, a lot), I'm growing very tired of all of it. The constant claim that rigorous safety measures are in place is not well supported, and it's painfully obvious that "skeptics" haven't a clue about the circle of law that governs the products they continue to purport as being safe. (Or maybe they do, if this is the case then that's even worse) The link he's put up to the CDC while addressing vaccine safety in his response to JB's blog entry is misleading, and if he were being intellectually honest, he'd have directed people here: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=vaccines
So that they may review trial data for themselves, instead of accepting an interpretation from others. This encourages not only a better understanding of trial procedure, inclusion/exclusion criteria, etc... From there you can view the process by which each vaccine has gained licensure, and who has applied for waivers that exempt them from certain filing and reporting requirements. This includes product manufacture, adverse reporting, and shockingly, actual pediatric studies of the product itself... like this gem right here:
So don't sit around gabbing about how rigorous safety regulation is when that is patently false.
The constant blockage of the request of an epidemiological study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations is extremely telling. You would think, that a vaccine defender would welcome, with open arms mind you, a study that shows vaccinated populations are healthier than their unvaccinated peers... wouldn't you? Nope, I've seen painstaking steps taken to outline why it's so impossible, expensive and simply not worthwhile. This behavior in itself, is unscientific and I'm fairly confident that I'm not the only person that is sick of it.
The fact remains, that there is not a single study that addresses the synergistic effects of the CDC-recommended pediatric vaccine schedule, and definitely nothing to address new vaccines that are added to the it at the stroke of a pen. Period.
Posted by: anonymous antivaccinationist | April 23, 2009 at 03:34 PM
Here's what you could do:
1. Formulate a hypothesis about what DOES cause autism
2. Devise a plan of treatment based on that hypothesis
3. Treat affected children
4. Produce cured or substantially improved children for all the world to see and examine
Oh, wait .... that's been done.
I think you know what the hypothesis was.
Posted by: Val from Ohio | April 23, 2009 at 01:13 PM
To Michael- Looking at vaccines in UK versus vaccines in the USA is a limited approach. One would have to look at the specific suspected vaccine ingredient that is causing autism. Just for fun, lets look at mercury: Well, probably more US kids got a lot of mercury in vaccines but in the UK there is more mercury coming out of coal fires and perhaps more moms eating fish and chips. Then you have to look at the mercury in the water, mercury in dentistry, mercury coming out of crematoriums, forest fires and mercury wafting through the air from China to Seattle and San Francisco. Oh, yes, and the mercury in corn syrup- and maybe some other sources that we have not heard of yet. This website is meant to look at scientific reality and there is no point in simplifying to the point of losing the science.
Hey- everybody out there- Has anyone of you actually met a doctor who was putting himself out to figure out a cause of autism? Talking to parents of autistic kids? Up late at night on his computer? Coming up with theories that have some scientific logic behind them ? I cant speak for doctors in the US, but here in India I think they're all sure its genetic- so why waste your time- Send the kid to those eager therapists and special schools.
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | April 23, 2009 at 01:07 PM
Some states are reporting autism rates of 1 in 47 (Minnesota) for some age groups. Point is, autism spectrum disorders are not being properly counted in the U.S., where 1 in 5 children receive special education services.
And: Face it, buddy. You're punctuation is bad.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 23, 2009 at 09:48 AM
Jenni P. thanks for a good laugh!
Posted by: Stagmom | April 23, 2009 at 09:10 AM
can we please, please, please call him Dr. "Short Fiction"???
Posted by: Jenni P. | April 23, 2009 at 08:56 AM
Dr. Novellas response:
Posted by: Truthisbeautiful | April 23, 2009 at 05:52 AM
You're counting the number of vaccines up until the age of 5, so of course it sounds like a lot. Why not count the number of vaccines up until the age of 50 why you're at it. Most autistic children show their first symptoms by the age of two. So let's compare vaccine schedules. As your own website reported yesterday, the UK vaccine schedule for kids has over a dozen fewer vaccines than in the U.S. (24 in the U.S. to 11 in the UK by the age of 2), and yet the rate of autism there is greater than in the U.S. (1 in 150 in the U.S. compared to 1 in 60 in the UK). Face it, buddy. You're hypothesis is sunk.
Posted by: Michael | April 23, 2009 at 12:08 AM
JC, we already considered that possibility.
Garbo, great comment.
Posted by: Twyla | April 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM
Answer to JC,
JC, nothing under the sun would convince me that vaccines do not cause autism. And do you know why? Because I saw it happening with my eyes... My beautiful, perfect little 4 month daughter got a cold and her stupid pediatrician gave me a solution: her 4 month vaccines (4). 2 days later we were at the ER and stayed at the hospital. And that brought her autism. I told her pediatrician 2 weeks later "there is something wrong". His answer: "let's wait". She's almost 8 years old and we are still waiting... (well, not really, since we are fully pursuing biomed)...
But I KNOW that vaccines cause autism. I've seen it happen
Posted by: Anna | April 22, 2009 at 11:01 PM
What would it take?
I would love for it to be something else. I would love for it to be...say...some other reason.
Let's start with non-ariatric...well roughly.
It would be interesting if it were a purely genetic phenom. Then we could test for it. Those who were carriers could chose to not reproduce and pass on the perpetrating genes. Very GATTICCA, but already done in today's age. That isn't it. We've found squat. Less than 8% of cases.
I would love for it to be an previously undetermined infectious agent. A virus, a bacteria, a yeast. For instance, a yeast that is using hepatitis or pertussis proteins. We aren't looking. This could be ariatric or non ariatric, vaccine-related or not. Don't know until we find it.
I would love for it to be an environmental chemical/toxin. That would be perfect. What have we found? Aluminum and thimerisol have been found to what? ah, to cause autism in monkeys. Not in little boys...just in monkeys. Sick monkeys. Hey! I'd love it to be BPA, estrogenoid's from microwaved plastics, or crisped Splenda from the BBQ.
I would love for it to be something, ANYTHING, that is testable and manipulable, and will allow us to save these kids, to save my son. Something that will put a 30 turn in the curve.
That's what it would take.
Until then, if you want to save the public's confidence, you better find what it is. Spread out your wings, cast your net wide, and expose yourself to every possible black swan.
Find it, damn you.
Posted by: Texas Dad | April 22, 2009 at 10:58 PM
Terrific article J. B. (always wanted to say those words together -- where is my cigar?) And again it is proved, I always enjoy Garbo. And Mark as the devil for the best point in the world. What would make us stop believing vaccines are involved? Last but not least I take umbrage with the remark that "a fifth grader could look at the Madsen study..." I'll have you know that I happen to have a fourth-graders knowledge of science and I could have come up with the same conclusion.
Posted by: Gale E. Prol | April 22, 2009 at 09:58 PM
J.B. I loved your logic and I think this is one of the best articles I've read here. One time I wrote to that Novella guy and he responded to my email. Then I gave a more detailed response, though, and he never emailed after that one. I kinda got the feeling that I should have totted off like Cindy Lou Who after the Grinch lied to her about stuffing the tree up the chimney while he patted her head. Oh well, I guess my brain's smaller than his, too...
Posted by: jen | April 22, 2009 at 09:51 PM
OMG, the arrogance of some of these doctors! When we are fighting the battles state by state to get basic insurance mandates so insurance companies not longer can discriminate against insuring our children where is the American Academy of Pediatrics? Are they standing shoulder to should with us? Nope. They are nowhere to be found and their silence speaks volumes. They don't care about our kids....we are an inconvenience to them. Over one million kids medically invisible....shame on you American Medical Community, shame on you!!!!
Posted by: SMD | April 22, 2009 at 09:49 PM
"He’s read the studies. The ones that cover 2 of 36 vaccines, 1 of 53 ingredients, never consider unvaccinated kids, and are almost all funded by conflicted parties and they clearly show ALL VACCINES don’t cause autism? And I’m the ignorant one?"
That's all I need to know in a nutshell. Brilliant points.
Posted by: Kelli Ann Davis | April 22, 2009 at 09:47 PM
I find it incredibly fascinating that doctors and scientists who once doubted me and the story of my son's illness following his infant vaccines, are now asking the same questions. I debated with a staunch vaccine manufacturer researcher as recent as a year ago, and he now has come around.
I am not too worried about those pedigrees such as those flaunted at Monday's IOM meeting, because anyone that smart eventually cannot deny the truth and lack of evidence that vaccines are safe.
The sad part is that 20 years from now, we will still have vaccine injured children, even if/when the truth unfolds.
Posted by: Lisa in Texas | April 22, 2009 at 09:36 PM
JC, I suppose that question would be for me, is, if the parents didn't actually see or hear autism at birth but it was smoldering, and by that I mean, some kind of infectious agent would be in play, IN UTERO. This would have a switch or a trigger mechanism, or delayed damage like affect when immune systems go down. The MMR vaccine is known to damage lymphocytes. So, if you had an infection like LYME in utero on board, what would a damaged lymphocyte system do? Answer to that is, this is part of the problem. I think autism is that. I think that alot of kids had autoantibodies from mother, and this attacked the development of their brains (not to mention whacko thyroid function), so, things weren't quite intact or developed (myelin), such as the cerbellum, T3, such as the brain stem etc. So, a weak organ, would or could be why the brain is best damaged by vaccines, when the entire body has not fully matured/maturated/developed like other children's bodies including the entire HPA Axis/BBB. That may also mean, that they have metabolic predispositions, or immune dysfunctions that go along with that. So, to truly say, that vaccines are all the cause is a misnomer. It may be what you call a perfect storm. When the intersection of infections, damage in utero, etc, come together, and then when the language and play mechanisms are noticed to not develop or regress, then we parents see the damage. Vaccines in my opinion are the last and final straw to the CNS "story".
This is why you cannot predict what vaccines will do in individual biological differences with fully ramped up toxic bodies. Is not the term VACCA, COW, or HERD the problem here? Some in that herd are not going to take what your doing to them. Downer cows...imagry?
I just think you can't promote a one size fits all. Everyone's healing constitutions/capacities are different. To promote vaccines as safe for everyone, is scientifically and ethically immorale. We have become the acceptible losses. Our kids are the canary birds. Unfortunately, the bell curve is starting to widen, as we pollute the world even more. This creates people who can't handle infections that typically may be ok, or even rite of passage. It was already proven that AIDS and CANCERS go up in countries that do not put selenium in the soils (the precursor to glutathione). An intersting note, is that the states with the highest selenium content in their soils, have the lowest rates of autism, cancer, and AIDS. So you tell me? It's like concecular circles of damage, and the central agent to the abyss of autism, seems to be, is, vaccines-which are central agents or initiators of autism.
So, you don't have to take me down the rabbit hole, it's been down quite enough. This is why I have no faith in this giant mass experiment, and there are known mechanisms by which vaccines can damage the brain in a child, for instance that lacks Metallothionein proteins, metabolic control of their cells, low VITamin levels, oxidative stress, had a birth injury or asphyxiation of some sort (ICC or birth drugs), low cholesterol, a poor liver detox system, immature gut lining, an infection already on board (SV-40, Lyme TBD's, HHV6).
This comprehensive understanding is never understood by the shot happy doctor, who doesn't even question basic principles, such as autoimmunity histories in the family, previous reactions, are they sick today, "give them tylenol" (www.rollingdigital.com/autism ), etc. Not one speak of that, and the parents are all rusting, and never knew that their child may be a sitting duck?
I suppose you won't convince me, that this population of children, are going to take this ever growing list of vaccines, when in fact, they are already, gonners.
The vaccine industry itself is full of contamination stories, lack of science, untruthfulness, scaremongering, and last but not least, profit hungry bastards etc.
As for me and my house, NO THANKS...and let's just put it this way....even with all these genetic links, all the infections in our family, my grandchildren have no autism, because the mothers were aware, and treated for those infections, ate well, detoxed, etc. This is the prevention model that should be in place two decades ago (they talk about folic acid for spina bifida, where was our talk?)
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | April 22, 2009 at 07:27 PM
... and another thing that would convince me that vaccines are not related to autism would be the vaccinated versus unvaccinated study, but only of such kind that would compare the SEVERITY OF SYMPTOMS in those two groups in addition to sheer numbers (as just comparing the numbers imo would not give full answers as to role of vaccines in autism)
Posted by: Natasa | April 22, 2009 at 06:54 PM
To JC: a detailed, scientific (and easy to duplicate!) finding on EXACTLY what causes the sharp descent into autism in thousands of children at the exact same time that they are given a vaccine. Including the biological mechanisms through which this happens, that can be proven scientifically as unrelated to vaccine.
If there is something that happens to children at the EXACT same time as their vaccination (that same time that parents report their child stopped speaking), and that little something is not a vaccine, and can be proven and explained scientifically as completely unrelated to the vaccine... then I for once will believe that vaccines are unrelated to autism.
Posted by: Natasa | April 22, 2009 at 06:48 PM
Oh, goody! A devil's advocate. Well let's see, JC, what WOULD it take to make me believe that vaccines don't cause autism? I dunno. It's kind of like the Pope asking Galileo what it would take to make him believe that Copernicus was wrong and the Earth didn't revolve around the Sun. They could lock him up, but it didn't change his mind and the Earth kept spinning, didn't it?
I swear, this is getting so boring, I will be so glad when we can move beyond this question and get to the really important ones: HOW and WHY and WHICH PARTS OF or COMBINATIONS OF vaccines cause autism and other autoimmune disorders? Why are some people affected and not others? Anyone in their right mind who actually cares about science should be asking these questions.
Posted by: Garbo | April 22, 2009 at 03:57 PM
JB-- you're in good company being roasted by an ACSH-hole. Novella is bought and sold-- an absolute industry shill.
Novella, Offit and their pal, pharma-embedded, disgraced racist psychiatrist, Frederick Goodwin (among some awful others), are on the conservative think thank, American Council on Science and Health (ACSH):
Here's a nice summary of ACSH's industry antics:
Pharma front ACSH: "Whiny Whistleblower of the Year Award" Tuesday, 03 January 2006, by Vera Sharav
2005 was a year in which some of Big Pharma's clandestine relationships with an army of bought-and- paid- for minions in academia, government, congress, the media, and front organizations were uncovered--in courtrooms, investigative books, reports and films.
All contributed toward exposing industry front groups that pose as "patient advocacy" groups, and on Dec. 30 The American Council on Science and Health was shown for what it is. 2005 shed light on Pharma's bag of dirty tricks used to silence critics--conscientious whistleblowers--who dared to speak out
against manufacturers' corrupt practices that have led to thousands of preventable deaths. Among these are concealment of hazardous (deadly) effects of marketed drugs / vaccines / medical devices, and the drug industry's pricing policies that fleece the American taxpayers.
Some of the dirty tricks are worthy of vaudeville--as, for example "The Karassik Conspiracy"... or the case of Dr. Peter Rost, the Terminated Pfizer Executive who on December 30, was nominated “Whiny Whistleblower of the Year” by Drug Industry Front Organization--The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
Dr. Rost has been an outspoken advocate for drug re-importation and was fired on December 1, 2005, after his False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer was unsealed; that suit resulted in an ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
In his nomination, Gilbert Ross, M.D., Executive and Medical Director of the ACSH stated that the biggest “Whiny Whistleblower” for 2005 was “the person who most outrageously defied his or her employer, regardless of loyalty, science, or even common sense.” Dr. Ross concluded “I vote for ex-Pfizer V.P. Dr. Peter Rost, an inept exec but a pretty good whistleblower. He provoked a federal investigation of his own company in 2003, alleging that Pfizer was responsible for the improper marketing of the synthetic growth hormone Genotropin.” Dr. Ross failed to mention that under Dr. Rost’s leadership Genotropin became the #1 performing +$100 million Pfizer franchise vs. budget in 2003.http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.680/news_detail.asp
But perhaps Dr. Ross isn’t a good judge of character. According to the magazine Mother Jones, “Ross spent all of 1996 at a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, having being sentenced to 46 months in prison for his participation in a scheme that ultimately defrauded New York's Medicaid program of approximately $8 million.” http://tinyurl.com/c39b6q
The American Council on Science and Health stopped disclosing corporate donors in the early 1990s, according to Integrity in Science. The following drug companies contributed to ACSH, according to ACSH’s 1991 annual report and ACSH Corporate Donors 1997: Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, American Cyanamid, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ciba-Geigy, Eli Lilly, Hoffman-La Roche,
Johnson & Johnson, Rhone-Poulenc, Sandoz, Searle, Syntex, Warner-Lambert, Upjohn, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. http://tinyurl.com/d6rm8n
When asked about the "award" Dr. Rost said:
"I'm grateful to have been officially nominated "Whiny Whistleblower of the Year" by the American Council on Science and Health; a paid front organization for Pfizer and Big Pharma. The Award nicely demonstrates the panic that ensues when an employee speaks the truth. Most recently available data indicates that Pfizer has been one of the biggest donors to the ACSH.
The fact that I won this award in competition against two other PhRMA demons, (or consumer heroes, pick your choice), Dr. David Graham, of the FDA, and Dr. Eric Topol, of the Cleveland Clinic is a humbling experience."
Our wish for the New Year, let a thousand whistleblowers join our battle to shed light on corrupt practices undermining the integrity of medicine- By piercing the walls of silence we can save lives.
Posted by: Adriana | April 22, 2009 at 02:14 PM
What could make me think that vaccines have nothing to do with autism?
1. Finding an unvaccinated population with the same rates of autism as our own (vaccinated) population.
2. An independent, unbiased (meaning not paid for by pharmaceutical industry or the CDC) study of vaccine combinations injected into infants in multiplicity - and then, of course, truthful reporting about the findings. Of course, I'm assuming that would never happen because isn't that "testing" on humans? Oh wait....
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I don't know if anyone on the planet could get me to "un-believe" what I saw happen to my oldest child after his flu shot. And then, of course, since I still wasn't convinced that his vaccines caused his descent into autism, there was that second child of mine that got a second dose of DTaP and had a very strange reaction. His leg swelled from hip to knee, was bright red and hot to the touch for a week, he ran a fever on and off for a week, glazed over in the face, and stopped babbling for two weeks.
Even if I could be brainwashed to think this also "didn't happen," there's those pesky doctor notes documenting it. Well, and then the chronic diarrhea and upper respiratory infections that followed - and the doctor notes documenting that....
Do I think we have an entire generation that seems more predisposed to environmental injury than the generation prior? Yep. Do I think my boys are part of that group? Yep. Do I think the family histories that my husband and I have are VERY COMMON? Yep. Here's the other really scary part. Everywhere I go, almost every single day, I either overhear or am part of conversations about "another kid with ADD, autism, chronic illness, food allergies, strange reaction to a routine vaccination" etc. Sure, that doesn't prove causation, but I when presented with a common problem, one usually looks for a commonality between all those affected. What our community is asking for is a REAL look into this GIANT commonality.
Posted by: Adrienne | April 22, 2009 at 02:10 PM
A simple study comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated kids vs. unvaccinated kids. The outcomes to look for would be not only rates of autism but also asthma, diabetes 2, ADD, food allergies, etc... all of them occuring at substantially higher rates in the present than 10 or 20 years ago. Simple.
Posted by: WE SHALL OVERCOME | April 22, 2009 at 02:06 PM
You'd have to explain why all the animal models involving both thimerosal and MMR (not to mention all the new stuff) show truy frightening developmental impairment. You'd have to find a vialbe alternative explanation for the autism epidemic. You'd have to to construct a valid and indpeendent vaccine safety management function. You'd have to demonstrate that unvaccinated children have the same health outcomes in terms of chronic disease relative to vaccinated chi;ldren. You'd have to explain why country of birth is such a huge risk factor for populations of immigrants in African, Asian and Mexican families.
In short, it's essentially proven that vaccines DO cause harm. And we simply need an irresponsible medical establishment to behave responsibility and take corrective action.
I'm not holding my breath
Posted by: Mark Blaxill | April 22, 2009 at 01:56 PM
Just to play devil's advocate here...
What, if anything, could get you folks to consider the possibility that vaccines don't cause autism?
Posted by: JC | April 22, 2009 at 01:32 PM
Dr. Novella buries his nose in literature, but he fails to recognize the political backstories that skewed the studies. And he hasn't had face time -- or G.I. time -- with any kids on the autism spectrum. His selective ignorance is not only arrogant, it's life-threatening.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 22, 2009 at 01:11 PM
I always found it funny when a doctor/research protects the validity of a doctor/researcher.
The very merit of research is that it holds up under scientific scrutiny.
Conflict of interest or sponsorship by pharmaceuticals lays ground for Vioxx like liability. Therefore casting a dark shadow on any study done by a vaccine industry professional or underwritten by that industry.
When the future of our nation is at stake 1:150, 1:80 in some states, 1:30 something in the UK, it's time to unmask the money trail here and look at the truth.
Medicine is in bed with Pharma and it's birthing a monster epidemic.
So simply solved. Give parents a vaccine insert as crystal clear as a food label and have them willing sign off on it prior to vaccines.
Most parents would be appalled at the revolting ingredients.
It might have spared us giving our child 24 vaccines in one "wellness" visit and his subsequent cascade into Autism.
Posted by: karenatlanta | April 22, 2009 at 12:25 PM
JB, I'm physically applauding (clapping) after having read your post. Nice!
Posted by: Erik Nanstiel | April 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM
Novella is part of the HealthFraud crowd, started by Barrett who was the cover for the AMA when its dirty tricks dept had to go underground.
To see what sort of operation is going on it would help to study the COINTRELPRO operation of the FBI.
His comment "including the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the March of Dimes."
is just the old authority ploy, or 'lying with the truth'. Blair was the master, of course.
"I should say that the recommendations on measles mumps and rubella that the Government are following are supported by the World Health Organisation, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Nursing, and the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association."--Tony Blair
Posted by: john | April 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM
“I personally know of many people, including myself and David, who have both read all the studies and are telling the truth about our opinions that they do not support a link between autism and vaccines.”
Look at this statement. I'm glad he's "telling the truth" about his opinion. Geez. The reason the studies don't support a link between autism and vaccines is because:
1. The studies done to date SUCK- they are riddled with conflict of interest, faulty methodology, and illogical conclusions.
2. Studies that hypothesize a real question have not been done.
Wasn't that the point of your website, fourteenstudies? That's what I got from it.
Posted by: Kristen | April 22, 2009 at 11:21 AM
There were educated medical professionals like this guy way back when who defended bloodletting too. It was scientific, was it not?
Posted by: Amber | April 22, 2009 at 10:58 AM
If vaccines were so safe they would prove it and not spend so much time and money hiring people to troll the internet defending vaccines and paying off the media. No proof only propoganda. Tells me ALOT.
Posted by: Maggie | April 22, 2009 at 10:35 AM
Novella, I believe, is one of the members of the "Quackwatch," along with Gorski (aka Orac, aka Dirtbag, aka whoever knows how many other aliases he hides behind), Probert (aka TheProbe, aka Freespeaker), Kevin Leitch, and numerous others. I find it deliciously ironic that they claim to be a group of people concerned about quackery in all of its forms (and, they even have the cute little "superhero" names to prove it), and they are the biggest quacks of them all!
Definition of Quack:
1. An untrained person who pretends to be a physician and dispenses medical advice and treatment.
2. A charlatan; a mountebank.
They think they are the end-all be-all of medicine, and that only their opinions matter. I think that says it all.
Posted by: Craig Willoughby | April 22, 2009 at 09:28 AM
"For some reason it is easier for them to believe this astounding horrible claim than even consider the possibility that perhaps they have misinterpreted the science and that trained experts who have dedicated their lives to understanding the science may know better."
Okay Dr. Novella. Sorry we did not consider the third option. That all you doctors are really stupid. Hope that makes you happy.
And by the way, trained experts? Dedicated their lives to understanding science? Didn't know you people did comedy as well.
Posted by: For Novella | April 22, 2009 at 09:16 AM
There is an unspoken, overriding thought in the mind of Steven Novella and all the other vaccine defenders:
Who will be held responsible if it's clearly understood that through complete oversight failure, a generation of children has been exposed to unsafe vaccines with devastating results?
That's the unthinkable. Does anyone seriously believe that headlines could ever read, "CDC: New research links vaccines to explosion in autism"?
We pretend it's just about "the science." Officials have looked and looked. They have all the studies. There is no link.
Not only that, there's no reason to even look for an environmental trigger for autism. There's been no real increase. Autism is a genetic condition that randomly happens.
More lies to help the first lie. And the latest lie is that there's no reason to ask where all the adults with autism are. Offit and Wiznitzer have both proclaimed that children with autism outgrow autism. All these lies amount to a huge cover-up of the malfeasance that is responsible for this disaster.
And no matter how many new lies they invent, that can't turn lies into truth. The generation of disabled children that continues to grow in size will, in the end, expose all the lies. The cost of these autistic individuals is one we'll all have to shoulder. I can't imagine that the medical community will have any credibility left when we can no longer deny the obvious.
Posted by: Anne McElroy Dachel | April 22, 2009 at 09:01 AM
Novella seems to be the heir apparent to Stephen Barrett. His position and credentials make him a useful go-to guy when anyone needs something "debunked," but he is clearly a paid debunker. I found several websites where he testified that something or another was "quackery"--a paid witness, in other words. (Anyone using neurotherapy should realize they are being bilked, because Novella says that too has all the hallmarks of quackery--and he's an "authority" on quackery! TIC.)
Once I figured out Novella's connections with Quackwatch and Orac, I decided to ignore him. He knows what side his bread is buttered on and is so full of himself that he fails completely at being a true scientist. It is dismaying that a person who claims to be an expert skeptic, and a scientist, is either so inept, or so corrupt.
Novella has a history of "debunking" the vaccine-autism link, so his latest blog entry is partly motivated by a need to defend his previous position. I never truly understood the "Question Authority" slogan until I looked into this controversy. Now I get it. Sadly the health authorities of our time rely on their authority, instead of on science and common sense.
Novella's claim to being a science "skeptic" would be laughable, if there weren't so many people willing to believe, without question, him and other "voices of authority." Posting the fourteen studies along with your criticisms was a powerful move, JB. Now, if only people will actually read the studies and use their brains. Novella claims to have read the studies and your criticisms, but clearly he hasn't done so with an open mind. He thinks he doesn't need to because he has it on good authority that the autism-vaccine link is wrong--so no need to actually look into the details. Novella and his friends are doing a dis-service to science and all scientists.
The answers on this controversy aren't in yet because real scientists have yet to ask the right questions and do the needed research. Where is that vaccinated versus unvaccinated study?
Posted by: Sue | April 22, 2009 at 08:21 AM
Yesterday I sat in a doctor's office with my husband. The doc (a cardiologist) was a delight. Not only did he listen well, he displayed intense scientific curiosity (my husband has a pretty rare, non- (fingers crossed) -life threatening heart anomaly usually seen in Asians.) Dr. Novella, Dr. Offit, Dr. Witzniter, Dr. Tayloe, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Gorski, they seem to "shut down" on medical hypotheses, theories, evidence and studies that do not conform to their rigid expectations. The irony of it to me is that it's almost like THEY have autism - and an inability to see beyond their small bubble. And the rancor with with they fight progress is startling.
The best doctors are open minded and have a thirst for knowledge - they remember cases from twenty years ago that intrigued them - they don't brush off patients. My waning faith in docs got a nice boost yesterday. He reminded me of my ped in Cleveland - who also was open minded and a Mensa member to boot.
I wouldn't travel the 15 miles from my house to Yale for anything autism related. They are fully tainted and biased. I'll go to Bridgeport where the docs were most interested in my daughter's health.
Posted by: Stagmom | April 22, 2009 at 07:09 AM
Dr. Novella uses the same, lame logic that orac et al use. It is arrogant and narcissistic. It tries to focus on science but always falls short so they then employ personal attacks and "I wear a white coat and you don't" verbage.
Their lack of true understanding is always blocked by their big, fat egos....and maybe more. It is hard to imagine all the time and effort Novella, orac, and the likes of epi wonk, etc. employ to promote vaccines --because that's all they are doing. They do not show vaccines do not cause autism nor do they remotely instill faith in our system of vaccine delivery.
If anything, they reinforce the whole idea that vaccines are blindly accepted by many ignorant people in the medical field yet no study has ever been done on an unvaccinated vs vaccinated population.
Vaccine promotion is their conflict of interest.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | April 22, 2009 at 06:56 AM
www.fourteenstudies.org is an awesome site. Thank you I have been posting it everywhere. I love the simple way it spells out how their house is built out of cards and sand. No foundation and faulty structure. The truth will overcome.
I have often thought that Parents should get a certification after our many years of research. I know my 2 - 5 hours a day for the last 7 years should earn me some sort of degree. I know I would put myself or any of the daily AOA readers up against any expert in a debate on current Autism and vaccine safety issues.
Posted by: Tanners Dad | April 22, 2009 at 06:41 AM