JB Handley: An Angry Father’s Guide to Vaccine-Autism Science (understanding “distracting research”)
Thanks to JB Handley for this important article - please share. You can read the entire article at Medium.com An Angry Father’s Guide to Vaccine-Autism Science (understanding “distracting research”)
PORTLAND, Oregon — We autism parents are being browbeaten by a mantra from the mainstream media and health authorities spoken so loudly and repeated so often that it seems it simply must be true, namely:
“It’s been asked and answered, vaccines do not cause autism.”
The science has been done. Deal with it. Case closed.
How do you fight against something repeated by so many seemingly respectable and informed people? Ben Carson just said it yesterday:
Because we live in a society where almost everybody gets vaccines, they make that false correlation. There’ve been multitudinous scientific studies that have demonstrated that there’s no correlation. It’s sort of like if all of a sudden everybody had to eat carrots, and we say that every week you have to eat a dozen carrots, and then somebody would be saying, ‘You know, that’s what’s causing the autism.’ They’re all eating the carrots, and this certain percentage has autism.
(And, yes, he just compared getting vaccinated to eating a carrot.)
He’d probably prefer the carrot.
If a doctor running for President is saying it, it must be true! Right?
Well, no, wrong actually. If any interested party would devote 30 minutes of their life to looking at the actual details of the “multitudinous” science done to date, they’d understand the truth, too.
If I told you that none of the studies used to “prove” vaccines don’t cause autism come remotely close to asking the right questions about cause and effect or even consider the proper control groups to get to an answer, would you believe me?
If I told you that every time someone like Richard Pan of California or Ben Carson or Bob Wright of Autism Speaks references the “science”, they are just promulgating a lie, would you be skeptical enough of their collective motivations to consider that I might have a fair point?
Backstory: manufacturing doubt
Modern history is replete with examples of the true causation of man-made calamities being obscured and contested for decades by experts producing “science” to support their predetermined conclusions. This “manufacturing of doubt” — an explicit and well-understood process — is not only delaying justice for millions of children around the world, but it’s also falsely reassuring parents right now that vaccines are playing no role whatsoever in permanently damaging the neurology of America’s kids.
Tobacco and lung cancer, coal smoke and acid rain, CFCs and the ozone layer, and global warming are all recent examples of the very same phenomenon: relatively obvious scientific truths (today) had to endure decades of contention from “scientists” publishing “science” that was, at the very least, artfully contrived, and, at worse, downright fraudulent. (You could argue that the “WMD” fiasco justifying the invasion of Iraq was an offshoot of this same phenomenon.)
A 1954 article from The Guardian newspaper rings eerily reminiscent of what we are today experiencing with the autism epidemic. In 1953, a pair of scientists reported their findings that coating mice in tobacco tar had produced skin cancer in 44% of the mice. Importantly, the mice study produced the first alarm bells around the world that smoking may in fact be bad for one’s health, which triggered a forty-year campaign by the tobacco companies to obscure the truth with funded “science”. The Guardian article from 1954 also discusses a scientist from the American Cancer Society — Dr. Cuyler Hammond — who expressed deep cynicism about the initial findings of the smoking-cancer link from the mice study and other studies bubbling up implicating tobacco. From the article:
Dr. Cuyler Hammond
“He has deep doubts about all the studies reported so far. He suspects that the interviewers of lung-cancer patients probably induce an emotional bias in their victims who will thereby be led to make suspicious confessionals of heavy smoking. He says that it is extremely difficult to find a control group with the matched characteristics, of age, social standing, occupational habits, and regional location, of any given sick group. He warns against the false premise which might be exposed to prove only that smokers produce earlier symptoms rather than more cancer. He suggests that even if there were no significant association between smoking and cancer in the general population, a telling one might be found in the hospital population. He is even sour about the claims of the filter-tipped cigarettes, remarking in his wry way that the carbon in tobacco smoke probably neutralises some toxic agents, and that if the filter removes those carbon particles ‘filter cigarettes would do more harm than good.’”
How many times have we parents heard scientists throw mud on the relatively straightforward lines so many parents are drawing between brain damaging products (vaccines) and their children’s brain damage?
Not only was Dr. Hammond the Chief Medical Statistician [epidemiologist] for the American Cancer Society, but at the time of the publication of The Guardian piece in 1954, he was also a 4-pack a day smoker. (More on him later.)
As late as 1979, tobacco companies worked closely together to develop “an extensive body of scientifically, well-grounded data useful in defending the industry against attacks.” In their remarkable book Merchants of Doubt, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway provide further perspective:
“The goal was to fight science with science — or at least with the gaps and uncertainties in existing science, and with scientific research that could be used to deflect attention from the main event. Like the magician who waves his right hand to distract attention from what he is doing with his left, the tobacco industry could fund distracting research.”
I pulled part of the title for this article from the above quote, because I think two words perfectly encapsulate what we are dealing with in the vaccine-autism science war: “Distracting research”.
Knowing the published science as well as I do — because I have read every study the other side cites as “proof” — it’s painful for me to read the never-ending quotes from people like Doctors Ben Carson and Richard Pan. I take some solace in all the historical examples of science being used as a weapon to protect people and profits because I know this movie will end like all the ones before it: with the truth finally being revealed.
(Five years ago, I got so sick of all the lies, I wrote an entire website devoted to this single topic, 14Studies.)
Most people today look at the tobacco-cancer history and think how silly it is that we ever thought sucking burning tar into our lungs WOULDN’T create health problems. I believe the same truth will emerge here:
“Why couldn’t people see that when you quadruple the load of a product known to cause brain damage in children, you’re going to cause more brain damage in children?”
Three principles lead to understanding
biological plausibility: “refers to the proposal of a causal association — a relationship between a putative cause and an outcome — that is consistent with existing biological and medical knowledge”.
encephalopathy: “means disorder or disease of the brain. In modern usage, encephalopathy does not refer to a single disease, but rather to a syndrome of overall brain dysfunction; this syndrome can have many different organic and inorganic causes”.
wisdom of crowds: the notion that “large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.”
No one wants to blame the childhood vaccine schedule for the autism epidemic. Vaccines were invented to save the lives of children, not harm them, and I believe most people on both sides of this debate believe they are helping children by either fighting for more vaccines or fighting for the recognition that vaccines are causing autism in a sub-set of children.
There are two points that I find resonate with most independently-minded people who’ve never spent a lot of time thinking about the details of the actual scientific studies that have been done:
1. Blaming vaccines for the autism epidemic is the most biologically plausible hypothesis.
Sorry, vaccines, but it’s just true: you provide benefits to society in preventing certain potentially fatal diseases, but you also have a very nasty underbelly: you cause brain damage in some of the kids who receive you. Don’t take my word for it — our federal government could not be more clear about this truth, the truth that vaccines cause brain damage in SOME children. Time and again, the department of health and human services makes it clear that “encephalopathy” is a vaccine injury, and they go on to define one form of “encephalopathy” in the following way:
Read more at Medium.com.