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Best Of: Six Bad Ideas That Triggered the Autism Epidemic

6Best of from December 2015

By Dan Olmsted

We probably all know the saying that Ideas Matter. Lately I’ve been mulling a handful of ideas – very bad ideas, I’d say – that have come together to trigger, expand, and perpetuate the autism epidemic and a host of allied disorders that constitute The Age of Autism.

Today I’m going to lay them out in brief, and in coming days I’ll say more about each one, and end with the counter-ideas that could really bring us a happy new year.

Please add your own!

Bad Idea Number One. Vaccines are the Eric Clapton of Medicine; they are God. Vaccines are the number one medical accomplishment of all time, and every day in every way they make our world safer and safer. Bow down!

Bad Idea Number Two. The evidence for Number One is clear. “Study after study” has shown that vaccines work wonderfully and that the so-called “risks” are effectively zero – a one-in-a-million chance of anything serious happening. (“One in a million” is pharma speak for zip, zilch, nada, roll up your sleeve.)

Bad Idea Number Three. Disagreeing with Numbers One and Two is Unacceptable Speech. Claims that vaccines are more dangerous than advertised are bogus and should be suppressed. You need to be a conspiracy theorist, a purveyor of junk science, a pathetically gullible parent looking for someone to blame for your damaged kid, or out-and-out anti-vaccine to harbor such ideas.  

Bad Idea Number Four. Conflicts Don’t Count. Drugmakers, doctors, legislators, bureaucrats, TV programs buoyed by pharma money are immune to the usual concerns that conflicts of interest -- profits, incentives, campaign contributions, ad dollars, liability worries -- require extra vigilance by the press and public. The drug companies may be caught red-handed in corrupt dealing, Congress bought off, the media lazy and desperate for drug dollars, but when it comes to vaccines (see Number One), they have only our health at heart!

Bad Idea Number Five. Because the first four are true, we must trust The Experts who are working hard every day to help us stay happy and healthy. They are god’s messengers on earth.

Trust. The. Experts.

Bad Idea Number Six: Because all the foregoing is undisputed fact, no one should be exempt from any of the vaccines currently recommended, and there is no limit except for medical ingenuity on the number of vaccines we can and should receive. Experts say we can take 10,000 vaccines at once with no ill effects.  There are hundreds of new vaccines in the pipeline, which is unalloyed good news. Vaccines should continue to be given for any reason “the experts” propose.

You and your children and their children are so very, very fortunate to live in a time when more and more safe and effective vaccines are available. And you haven’t seen anything yet!


OK, that’s my list. To me all those ideas fit together and explain how we got from a few targeted shots against the ancestral scourges of mankind (to use Harris Coulter’s marvelous phrase) to a runaway public health nightmare of chronic and developmental illnesses that most people don’t notice are caused by vaccines that most people don’t need.

There are other ways to put the ideas together – as we did in our book The Age of Autism, for example, showing that a long history of medical use and abuse of mercury fed into vaccine dangers that went unrecognized even as they increased exponentially, with regulators in too deep to ever face the truth. That the autism epidemic started with the first uses of ethyl mercury and then rose along with that exposure. That the truth has been covered up by the CDC and a whistleblower’s testimony has been suppressed by the medical and media vaccine establishment.

We could start with the corruption of science, move on to bogus studies, suppression of dissent, and so on.

They all lead to the same place – a very bad one triggered by a small number of very bad ideas that interlock like the links in a fence and keep out the truth. Ideas matter, and we need to make clear how bad these are, then propose new and better ones. As Thomas Kuhn said in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, big bad ideas – he called them paradigms – don’t just vanish on their own, they need to be displaced by new and better ones.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.



Nice news about moving in the right direction on one of the other ideas about how to improve. As other organizations are starting to publicly support extending the time before cord clamping at birth, this one is, too - American Congress of Obs. and Gyn. Cord clamping had got down to 15 to 20 seconds - they are supporting to delay AT LEAST 30 to 60 seconds (which I suppose gives them permission to wait even longer if needed or desired), based, it appears, simply on 80ml of blood transfer by one minute vs 100 ml by 3 minutes. Other organizations still advocate delaying even more, but at least there is improvement here. The Royal College of Obs and Gyns supports waiting 2 minutes!

The following quotes from the article stood out to me:

"A longer duration of placental transfusion after birth also facilitates transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells, which are essential for tissue and organ repair. The transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells may be particularly beneficial after cellular injury, inflammation, and organ dysfunction, which are common in preterm birth (14, 15). The magnitude of these benefits requires further study, but this physiologic reservoir of hematopoietic and pluripotent stem cell lines may provide therapeutic effects and benefit for the infant later in life (16)."

"In another study, delayed umbilical cord clamping among infants born before 32 weeks of gestation was associated with improved motor function at 18–22 months corrected age (17)"

"At 4 years of age, children in the early umbilical cord clamping group had modestly lower scores in social and fine motor domains compared with the delayed umbilical cord clamping group (13)."

Eileen Nicole Simon I'm sure will appreciate this minor improvement.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Bob Moffit, Thanks for the monkey analogy! Hopefully, conversations on AoA, public comments submitted to the IACC, and speaking out anywhere we can will begin to undermine the arrogance of medical hot shots.

In 10th grade (back in the 1950s) we learned that the anatomy of the heart must change at birth. Fetal valves must close for blood flow to be redirected from the placenta to the lungs. I will continue to ask what is being taught in prestigious medical schools? It was in the 1950s that Apgar's scoring system came into use. "Randomized controlled trials" were begun to "prove" no evidence of harm from amputation of the placenta at birth.

Vaccinations are far more visibly traumatic than use of a clamp on the umbilical cord. Vaccines were too quickly made mandatory without proper consideration of dangerous additives like mercury. Autism "experts" have tried to shame us with genetic junk science like "autism traits" exhibited by parents and siblings.

I have contacted President-elect Trump to initiate investigations of HHS, CDC, FDA, AMA, AAP, and NIMH. I hope others will also. Start with

tony bateson

The biggest bad idea of all is that vaccines are neutral to autism. This is not simply a claim that is unsupported in any known science it is a nuanced claim that allows itself to be repeated by doctors and civil servants (in the UK who are adept in the use of elliptical language) to rubbish any suggestion that vaccines could be to blame for autism. But the truth (the science even) supports the notion that autism is wholly associated with vaccines. There is no gold standard science to say mercury is safe only a void where it should be said that all the evidence points to its use in vaccines being wholly unsafe, starting with it being the second most toxic material (excepting radio active substances) on earth. If vaccines were to be invented all over again it's hard to imagine that any individual anywhere would not recoil from the notion that putting mercury in vaccines would be a clever thing to do.

Bob Moffit

@ Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

"It is high time for thorough investigation of unsafe medical procedures."

Unfortunately .. human nature being what it is .. investigating "unsafe medical procedures" only arises when enough casualties resulting from "existing medical procedures" overwhelms the entrenched bureaucracies .. such as .. HHS, CDC, FDA, AMA, AAP, etc .. that created and practiced those "unsafe medical procedures" their entire careers.

Whether the following is an actual psychology behavior experiment .. or .. someone's creative example of how "group think" is first formed .. and .. then continues .. simply because .. "we have always done it this way":

You start with a cage containing four monkeys, and inside the cage you hang
a banana on a string, and then you place a set of stairs under the banana.
Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana. You
then spray ALL the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt. As soon as he touches the
stairs, you spray ALL the monkeys with cold water. Pretty soon, when
another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to
prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it
with a new monkey.

The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his
shock, ALL of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another
attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will
be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original four monkeys, replacing it with a new
monkey. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous
newcomer takes part in the punishment - with enthusiasm -- because he is
now part of the "team."

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new monkey, followed by the
fourth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not
permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are
participating in the beating of the newest monkey. Having replaced all of
the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been
sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to
climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask? Because in their minds, that is the way it has always been!

This is what happens when the younger (monkey) generation enters most professions .. they "learn" what they can .. and .. cannot challenge .. simply by seeing what happened to those who dared challenge ... "what the profession has ALWAYS DONE".

I suspect that is why our President Elect's promise to "drain the swamp" resonated so loudly among the people .. because .. the somehow instinctively know sometimes ...

ALL of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME!

DISCLAIMER: This is meant as no disrespect to monkeys.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

The first surgery under general anesthesia (ether) took place in 1846. In 1853 Queen Victoria was given chloroform during the birth of Prince Leopold. Obstetrics became a surgical specialty, and in the early 20th century midwives were outlawed. See Declercq ER (Am J Public Health.1994 84:1022) on the campaign to abolish midwifery in Massachusetts.

Episiotomy was a surgical procedure promoted for all women by the 1950s. A "sterile field" for repair of the episiotomy required clamping of the umbilical cord and removal of the infant. Virginia Apgar then devised her scoring system. She made note that some infants left the delivery room without an adequate cry. Developmental delay and dyslexia soon became concerns.

Apgar made note that many obstetricians continued to practice "slow birth" waiting for pulsations of the umbilical cord to cease before clamping. Nevertheless by the mid-1980s clamping the cord immediately after birth became the norm. Papers were published warning against "hasty clamping," but then "randomized controlled trials" were undertaken to prove nothing bad happened from immediate clamping of the cord. But none of these trials were conducted with school-aged children.

Just this month (December 2016) a recommendation has beeb made to delay cord clamping for 30 to 60 seconds after birth. The same recommendation was made in the UK 2 years ago. Hopefully this short delay will be beneficial. But placental blood flow can continue for many minutes (up to half an hour) as documented in many research papers published in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

It is high time for thorough investigation of unsafe medical procedures.

Jeannette Bishop

Some more bad ideas from Forrest Maready:

Jeannette Bishop

I have a question about whether the following is a good idea. At about 23 minutes into this discussion, the subject of media prosecution for material omission comes up:

Is the idea of prosecuting institutions/individuals operating under the pretense of giving us the facts, performing investigative reporting, etc, while in reality only reporting according to an agenda, viable?

Jeannette Bishop

@Cherry Misra, I agree. Doctors (dentists, optometrists included) have almost always been wrong for me.

As a culture, we seem to worship medical practice...maybe in the hopes that will go a long way to ensuring good care when were vulnerable. Unfortunately, IMO the culture promotes the worst practices.

Cherry Misra

There is a bad idea so deep and pervasive, that few people in U.S. even seem to notice it- The idea that your doctor gets to tell you what to do and you must do it. To put it another way- Your doctor owns your body. . We need a revolution in our thinking. on so many levels., yet most people dont see the need for it.
On a more cheerful note: Happy New Year to everyone at AOA. You're the BEST !
(Its 45 minutes after midnight here in New Delhi, with party music and firecrackers to be heard )

Dr Taylor

1. Indoctrinate young medical students into the vaccination myth.
2. In fact teach them to threaten parents who question their authority.
3. That's in addition to convincing them that certain populations need high blood pressure drugs, anti-chloresterol drugs and a baby aspirin 'just in case'.
4. Oh and just for good measure tell them that chiropractors are quacks.

So when patients present with drug side effects in my office they question my clinical experience and worse they doubt natural health options.


Bad ideas - yes, exactly.
All are equal in badness.
But the one that is just so bad is Vaccines are so important that we cannot chance the vaccine companies will go bank rupted and ruptured from law suits. To protect the vaccines industry and vaccines we, Congress so generously decided the tax payer will pay for vaccine damaged children.

Meanwhile; drug companies will research ways to make safer vaccines.

Oh yes, and for the last 30 years or so they have heroically done just that.

As soon as they came up with the DTaP in other countries, why here in American they jumped right on it and changed that old DPT shot out- and it took them what - a decade.

Not to worry; it probably was not much safer than the old one.
Still not safe but I am sure they stayed up many of a night and made heroic efforts to make safer vaccines. Yes indeedy. Working hard, slaving away cause they have an incentive to do so-- what that incentive is - ? Oh, they really care!.


Where does making doctors and an entire industry unaccountable fit in? Doesn't that just pave the way for the six bad ideas.?

Birgit Calhoun

The worst bad idea is that there are people, especially certain scientists, who think that mercury is safe in any form. That idea has made real doctors into quacks without them knowing it. Medical doctors do not learn pathology because they don't ever want to be accused of murder. You can only be accused of murder if there is malice (as in aforethought). A common defense of Thimerosal is that it's only ethyl mercury. However, even the patent-holder Ely Lilly divested itself of it after 10 newborns died after it had been dabbed on their navels. Funny thing that information was not reported at the time it happened (1970). Only much later it was discovered in the course of investigations. Same happened to teething powder, which was also a bad idea. Hg2Cl2 had been in use for many years before it was quietly taken off the market. The only country that has acknowledged that mercury is dangerous is Japan, and it took the government over 50 years to recompense a poisoned population. That, too was not exactly front-page news here in this country.

Angus Files

swearing is not frowned upon because it is used defending pharma products.
conflicts of interest's arise only when promoting non pharma products.
whistle blowers are only used against non pharma products.
compensation is only given if autism is not mentioned after using pharma products.
your vaccine damaged kids aren't removed from you providing you don't mention pharma products.
you wont be locked up after your pharma ill kids die providing you don't mention pharma products.
your kids can receive schooling providing they take all the pharma products.
you can have a Hollywood career providing you promote the cash cow pharma products.
you will never be jailed in any part of the world if you promote pharma products.
You can believe all the above because the population of the world is subjugated by pharma.


Jeannette Bishop

Bad Idea Number Whatever: With all of the above in mind, those promoting vaccines--which, as we all know, can do no wrong--also can do no wrong, no matter how many wrong assertions and arm-wringing wrongs they apply in vaccine promotion, so we will exempt them from liability when it appears, wrongly of course, post-vaccination that things went really, really wrong.

Cynthia Cournoyer

As Kuhn would also say, rigid scientific thought can only be changed when the anomalies that challenge accepted thought are too great. Only when the anomalies become so great, will the scientific thought of the time be left behind for good.

We have plenty of evidence of vaccine failure to look at. So that is exactly why your list of 6 bad ideas must be forwarded as good ideas, at all costs. I believe that the collective sub-conscience of the pro vaxxers intuitively knows that investigating any anomaly for the furtherance of science is their greatest enemy on earth!

Ted Kuntz

HI Dan.
Good work as usual.

My only complaint is in describing these ideas as "bad ideas". My perspective is this adjective is not nearly strong enough. These are destructive ideas. Deceptive ideas. Dishonest ideas. These ideas, and the inability of humans to think critically, has allowed the pharmaceutical industry, corrupted government agencies, and a prostituting media to destroy entire generations of children. I concur with Robert Kennedy's description of this as a holocaust.
I look forward to your further expose on these ideas.

Tim Lundeen

The big myths I see:

(1) If we stop vaccinating, millions of kids will die. (Bogus, death rates dropped dramatically before vaccines due to better nutrition and improved sanitation.)

(2) Vaccines are needed for herd immunity. If you don't vaccinate your kids, mine are at risk (if they have very rare vaccine failure of their vaccines), as are immune-compromised people who can't be vaccinated. (But of course vaccines cannot provide herd immunity due to vaccine failures and waning protection over time.)

(3) Vaccines don't cause autism. (This is a red herring, because we know conclusively that vaccines do cause many kinds of injuries. But the myth that vaccines don't cause autism allows the propaganda to ignore the others. And in fact vaccines do cause autism for some kids.)

(4) Doctors and scientists are the high priests of the religion of science, they alone can evaluate the risks and benefits. (Bogus, lots of people have the training or can learn the scientific method and how to evaluate studies.)

(5) Science has evaluated vaccines, and "the science is settled". We don't need to do any more research on safety and efficacy, we know they are good for everyone. (Bogus, science is always evolving and we learn more every day. Lots of studies show the harm from vaccines. Not to mention that the key studies on both safety and efficacy have never been done.)


Excellent !

2a. Never perform a study that can hurt your product.
4a. Lavishly support JAMA, Lancet, NEJM, and CBS news with advertising dollars.
4b. Always recruit thought leaders for your clinical trials and overpay them.
4c. Given generously to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

(no longer in healthcare)


#7 Pump as many of these untested, unregulated products as you can into the most vulnerable populations of people; pregnant women, infants, toddlers, the elderly, and the poverty stricken so evidence of harm is easily denied.

As always thank you much Mr Olmsted and AoA for all you do!!! Happy New Year!


1,2,3, The third times' the charm! First, that's an excellent piece of writing, Dan. Second, I want to agree with and second Bob Moffit's comments above. Third, here's MY suggestions. (....cue drumroll and flare of TRUMPets....) It is somewhat "preaching to the choir" here. We agree, we need the reinforcement, but not the education about the lunacy, greed, etc., of PhRMA, and the medical-industrial complex. I'd suggest taking this piece carefully apart, using it as an outline, framework, and template for rewording the basic ideas in the most prosaic, boring, "newspaper reporter" style of writing possible. One way the media controls, dupes, and misleads us all is with careful presentation of whatever ideas are being propagandized. Whoever's greed is being catered to. Whoever's ignorance is being pandered to. Use simple words. Use short sentences. Allow the ideas to flow simply and logically. I once wrote a (longish) short story only using sentences of ten words or less, and most 5 or 6 words. Or less. Try the same with the piece above. Then, BROADCAST it in a form that we can cut-and-paste a letter-to-the-editor of our local papers, and online. VAXXED was scheduled for an airing at the local Public Library, and I was very much looking forward to seeing it, but a snowstorm cancelled the showing! BUMMER! There are folks around here, besides myself, who *DO* know the *TRUTH*, and the process I've outlined above could help get OUR message across to a larger audience. I'm coming from the world of so-called "anti-psychiatry", and working against the potent neurotoxins which they push like candy. The greed, ignorance, and arrogance of PhRMA seemingly knows no bounds. We need to amass & strengthen ourselves and our allies, and educate, educate, educate! THANK-YOU!, and HAPPY NEW YEAR to *ALL*....
(It's obvious that not *all* vaccines *always* cause Autism in *all* who get them, **BUT**, the evidence that *sometimes*, *some* vaccines *DO* at least contribute to Autism, &etc., is compelling, and overwhelming. That, combined with the roaring silence from the medical mafia about exactly *what* *does* cause Autism speaks volumes....
(c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

Bob Moffit

Dan ... with the greatest respect for your list ... I would make bad idea number 1:

The insane .. more wish than science .. indeed .. nothing more scientific than a "hopeful belief" .. that injecting perfectly healthy human beings .. with a "one size fits all" cocktail of .. bacteria and viruses .. immersed in a virtual soup of known and unknown chemicals .. absent any precautionary scientific evidence that many of those preservatives and metals are KNOWN TO BE TOXIC TO HUMANS .. would somehow provide those perfectly healthy human beings with "greatly improved health" .. is as bad a "scientific idea" as one could conceive.

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