Sucked into the vortex of the woo-nuts; a follow-up on Moffie's debate challenge

Warning: A not-so-brief rant at the damage that militant ant-vaxxers can do will now commense:

So, Dr. Sears has an article on vaccines and autism, right? So he can help parents sell his books. And somehow or another I found myself sucked back into the vortex of the woo-nuts (okay, we know who I'm talking about; it's not like I'm tarring all those ant-vaxxers with the same brush stroke).

I told Anne Daschel that if more folks thought critically they'd have less of a following over at AoA. Moffie decided to challenge me to a debate, and I told her I'd rather bang my head against a brick wall. Well, I would! Spent months countering her conspiracy theory crap before I realized that folks would either see she was off her rocker or not and I decided if they bought into the same woo, well, okay, harsh as it may sound,  you know where that train of thought is headed, right?

So, she responds to my post (which is somewhere below in another blog) with "I didn't think you'd be up for it. That says it all."

To which, I responded with:

Thank you sincerely for the chuckle reading your comment just provided. Moffie, with all sincerety, in order to have a debate there would have to be an agreement on the facts at hand so the interpretation could then be argued. You don't come to the table with any facts. And anyone reading your site in agreement with you is also not coming armed with any facts. There is absolutely no reason on God's green earth I should waste my time with "debating" you.

You spin it your way, Mof, go right ahead. Doesn't hurt my feelings in the slightest. :-)

Now, I would add here where I ain't gonna be censored that it certainly does say it all that I won't "debate" her. There's no point in debating every crackpot that comes along. You elevate the status of their crackpottery by doing so. And this person, who thinks that SIDS is caused by vaccines, that vaccines are worse than the diseases, that there is a vast government and industrial conspiracy to make everyone autistic (which is by the way the dumbest frakking thing I've heard), and that getting a vaccination is as bad as what those who were lined up for the gas chambers during the holoaust experienced because the fear is somehow equivalent, (I don't forget shit that folks have written even it some of it manages to disappear from Huff, not that that horrendous crap did), thinks I should debate her at her site. No. I think I'll pass. I'd much rather do my chemistry! And grade essays and study for A and P. And a million other things, like go clean my brother's colostomy bag before I'd want to debate you, Moffie.

I hadn't missed conversing with you, and I think I'll pass on future exchanges. What you do is beyond bad taste. You actively seek to make the elderly, most at risk of the flu, not get protected. Seriously. She's written about going into drugstores where the elderly are in line for their flu shot and scaring the shit out of them. I hope the next time you do that, it's noticed and the cops are called, Moffie. I really do.

To say that I have grown disgusted over the months with your level of  distortion, lies, and flat out crackpottery would be to minimize my reaction to what you spend your days doing. I have to admit that I'm grateful I had missed the last month or two of your work as just2curious. I just hope that your impact is minimal, that so much of your time is spent on Huff that you don't get out and about in the real world misleading people. But who knows, Moffie, maybe one day you'll have a counter up like Jenny does.


cawill said...
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Squillo said...

Bob Sears has no evidence that his schedule is safer than the current CDC schedule. By continuing to flog it, he is a)expanding the window of time in which kids will be vulnerable to VPDs; b)expanding the number of people who can potentially infect others who are too young or otherwise unable to be vaccinated; and c) validating parent's fears about vaccination and increasing the liklihood that some won't vaccinate at all.

KWombles said...

Craig, other than my brief comment regarding why Sears is posting these blogs at Huff, this blog has nothing at all to do with Sears. At all. Zip, zada, zilch. Nothing. I'm referring to one poster. One person. That's it.

As fas as that goes, he's not doing anything different that most pediatricians. They can't make you vaccinate your child at a certain time. Ultimately, the parent decides when and what the child is vaccinated for. Now, do most parents just go along? Yes. Doesn't mean they all do.

Craig, I think more of you than you've provided in this comment. I didn't attack Sears. I "attacked" Moffie. Huge difference. Maybe you should reread the post and pay a little closer attention.

Please don't think I'm being pissy when I point out to you that I didn't attack Sears. I'd appreciate it next time you're here reading if you could just note that I was in fact attacking Moffie's bullshit, not Sears.

So, no, a throwaway comment towards Sears trying to sell his books is pretty much nothing like the lies and abuse heaped on scientists like Offit. Not saying you do that. But AoA does and they know they are lies.

KWombles said...

Oh, and I'd agree with Squillo.

KWombles said...

Seriously, Craig, I just reread that whole blog. Where do you get I was attacking Sears when the whole damn thing is about Moffie and her woo-crap?

kathleen said...

I'd like to know how you are acting like "Orac"-I have read many of Moffies posts-she is a wackaloon...an angry one. It indeed would be like banging your head against a wall..
I agree with Squillo as well. I also agree with Kim-Dr. Sears wants to sell books.

Corina Becker said...

I'm still trying to figure the whole conspiracy theory out, as much as I can.

As fair as I can tell, the only motivation for "making everyone autistic" is for profit. While yes, there may be some greedy individuals in the government and industry; however, this is not a bushel of apples where one bad apple corrupts the entire lot.

Also, the point about adult vaccines making people autistic is somewhat ridiculous. If there was a conspiracy of this nature, then making "normal" people autistic in their adult and senior years is rather stupid. Think about it, an NT adult goes in for his or her vaccine, and within 10 days, suddenly stops being NT and diagnosed as autistic? Um, I think people would notice, and a good conspiracy is one that no one knows about.

Seriously. I know that some governments aren't as competent as we'd like, but I doubt that they're THAT incompetent.

Also, generally from accounts and experiences of others, adult autistic diagnosis tends to go similar to this (if it helps, imagine this with hand puppets):

person sees doctor "Gee doc, I've been having these problems all my life."

doctor listens to person and directs person to appropriate specialist.

specialist asks more direct questions "I think you have [insert ASD], because of this, this and this"

person "thank you, now I know what is going on and can get the appropriate help if I need it"

ta da, adult diagnosis of autism. It kind of isn't a spontaneous regression into autistic traits.

cawill said...
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KWombles said...


I don't think you were attacking me; I think you were focusing an undue amount of attention on a throwaway comment regarding Sears. The post isn't about Sears; that was provided as a subtext to understand the exchange between Moffie and me.

In addition, my main beef about Offit is with AoA and not particularly with you, although the Paully Profit stuff you engaged in in the past was annoying.

There is a huge difference between suggesting that Sears' main goal is to sell his books and AoA repeatedly lying about the amount of money Offit made, as well as all the other lies they've told regarding his role in a variety of things. So, in this sense I'm not actually discussing your overt hostility towards scientists in general nor the pharmaceutical industry as a whole; I'm not even talking about you. We can bring it to that specific and personal a level, but I like you; I think you've got serious difficulties in your life, and I don't want to add to them if I could instead be a source of relief and friendship to you. Most of your posts at Huff are directed at Ken and in that same sense are personal to the two of you as my post was personal to Moffie and me.

When I asked about the hostility, I was focused on the overall increase in the hostility and wondering if it reflected on additional difficulties in you and your family's lives out of concern for you and yours, not because I was condemning the hostility in and of itself. Does that make sense?

Nowhere in my blog did I condemn Sears; that's taking my one line regarding him well beyond the actual content or sentiment. I imagine he posts his revised schedule for the same reason that Hyman posts his seven steps: give a little to entice readers to want more. Huff has devolved into a marketing arena for writers and others hawking their wares. It isn't about information; it's about selling products. But that is an entirely different debate.

I don't have your email or another way to contact you, so public arenas such as Huff or here are my only ways to say hey and tell you that you and your family are in my thoughts. I still feel that your comments have been more overtly hostile than your usual and I wonder why. Is it entrenchment? The more years that pass that you and Ken and others argue, the more backed into your position you become, the more you hate the others, or is there an element of dopamine to it all? This is what you do instead of playing solitaire? This is how you let off steam?

And I wonder these things because if it's letting off steam then not everything you write has to be taken at face value; it could be seen as trash talk between opposing team members. Just curious about the dynamics. :-)

cawill said...
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KWombles said...

I didn't say I didn't believe he's posting on Huff to sell books. I believe he is. That isn't an attack. And it is no where near commensurate with AoA's lies about Offit.

I get that you hold those individuals in contempt; I'm not sure it's productive, but you've communicated clearly your feelings on them.

Offit speaking to the lack of research on vaccines causing autism does not constitute attacking parents of vaccine damaged children. If he's personally attacked parents, I have not seen that. If you direct me to where he's personally attacked them, I'll note it. What I have seen is him address directly the evidence of shysters and hucksters trying to take advantage of parents. That's a great deal different. Whether he's the best spokesperson for the need for vaccines or not, he's one of the few willing to stand up and take on the hostility and death threats, and the truth is that for those who are entrenched, it doesn't matter who speaks on it, the person will be villified. It takes some serious intestinal fortitude to do what Offit has done. And the fact that the money he made from his book on autism went to autism research where other individuals' royalties do not speaks volumes.

Oh, I know, those who believe the lies that AoA puts out there would say he had no need of the money, but there are plenty of people with no need of the money who still take it and keep it.

I'm glad that overall ya'll are okay. My email is wombles@sbcglobal.net (it's on my profile page and my main website page, so no harm putting it here as well-- I understand you not wanting to give yours out).

As to advocacy, I think it's possible that any message other than your contempt for those individuals may be getting lost. I know that you are for more research into vaccine safety and the need to educate parents so that they can make a real informed consent. I assume you are also for better parent education so that doctors or nurses dismissing reports of vaccine reactions are not allowed to go unchallenged. And so that parents bring their children into the emergency room sooner! I know this because I have spent the last six months reading your posts around the internet, but if one hadn't read a great deal of you, that could be easily missed.

autismnewsbeat said...

Dumbest anti-vax video ever:


Sullivan said...


what's up with the "I want to debate you" schtick? We've got someone asking to debate Brian Deer, someone else asking to debate Paul Offit and now someone asking to debate you.

I am glad you declined the chance to be a part of someone else's theater production. Because that's what debates are in these cases, theater.

NightStorm The Aspiewolf said...

I have no idea who the blue fuck Moffie is I am assuming she's another curbie from the ignorance-propaganda machine. Oh goodie -.-

Me personally? I would just troll the bananas out of her. No. Actually troll her, not the nip-picky crap. Seriously do some crazy stuff. But I don't know her repuation so I am not going to.

Mom26children said...

I have been "debating" with the biomedical side of autism for a while. Funny thing, the debate always turns to name-calling...namely, me being called names.
Among them is the parents who think that maybe, just maybe, my kids really do not have autism.
I will reassure you, my kids are autistic, but they have worked their tales off to be functional, respected and good people.
This was very hard work...and when they are ridiculed or questioned about their achievements by the biomedical crowd, that is when I get pissed off.
My kids have achieved so much in their young lives. My point for many years is that this happened without the need for expensive DAN! doctors, supplements, chelation, colonoscopies, special diets, or any of the other woo! purchases out there.
I don't depend on a doctor to tell me that they are broken and need fixing. I don't need the support of other parents who are so deep in their despair, they want to make sure others are just as low as they are.
Sorry...I have just had it with the AoA crowd.
There is a group of parents out there who are just as knowledgeable...and guess what..??
We won't ask for a single dime from you.
We will just tell you what has successfully worked for our families. We will support you and listen. We will not demand anything else from you.
What gets my goat the most is that when I try to tell my story, I am called a liar and maybe, just maybe, my kids don't have autism.
I would never, ever dismiss a parent of an autistic child(ren). We all have something to bring to the table.
Some of us have been through the highs and lows of autism for many years. We really do have a lot to offer the new people who have newly diagnosed children. We have a huge amount of knowledge and it does not come with false promises or sales pitches.
It comes with much love.

cawill said...
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Kwombles said...


It would be one thing if it were a true debate, but that sure wouldn't have been. :-)

(too lazy to navigate away from the page to sign in properly)

Kwombles said...

Still too lazy to sign in proper.


I enjoy our conversations. I hope you and yours have a good week. :-)

Kwombles said...

Yup, you guessed it, too lazy.

Would have been shorter to just sign in, but I'm on a roll now.


Well said. :-)

Heraldblog said...
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Heraldblog said...

Oh Craig, I never called Child Protective Services on you. I have no evidence that you are anything but a good, loving father to your children. I've never "viciously attacked" you, figuratively or literally. On the other hand, you have leveled some seriously crazy charges against Dr. Offit, ones that border on defamation, and you've shown no genuine remorse for your actions.

cawill said...
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Heraldblog said...

Again with the personal attacks. Here's Mr. Willoughby this morning on AoA:

"These quacks are so unbelievably unethical that they don't deserve to be called scientists. They barely deserve to be called human."

What's next - eliminationist rhetoric?

cawill said...
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KWombles said...

Morning, gentleman. I see that ya'll are getting your adrenaline flowing.

I hope ya'll both have good days. Wanna hug and make up? Just messing, couldn't help myself.

So, link, Craig? Who's barely human?

Just a note, when you devalue people you make it easier to treat them as less than human. I get that we are hardwired to form in and out groups and that the desparagement is necessary to class folks into the out group, but you'd think that this knowledge would allow us to stop doing that.

Craig, unless you are talking about scientists who abused people, experimented on them unethically (sort of like using a chemical castration drug on innocent childre for whom there is no legitimate medical reason for doing so), then perhaps the one-liner was over the top when you took it to the end there of barely human. Without knowing the context I can't evaluate the appropriateness. And honestly, I wouldn't go the barely human. I'd probably go with evil. Total difference.

cawill said...
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Heraldblog said...

You don't come off any better when the entire comment is quoted, which is to say that you don't need me to discredit your position.

Why not focus that finely honed sense of ethicality on your friends in the anti-vaccine movement, where lying about Dr. Offit is practically an initiation rite? I'm glad you've promised to stop defaming the man, but as a careful reading of my comment reveals, there's still the matter of whether you believe the things you said about him. Do you know, for instance, that Offit was not part of the 2006 vote to include RotaTeq in the Vaccines for Children program? Some of your past comments suggest that you either did not know, or just weren't that interested in the truth.

cawill said...
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cawill said...
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Clay said...

I suspect your will see AoA "dancing and capering gleefully" as soon as one their "opponents" dies. When and if, I'll be sure to point it out to you.

cawill said...

Clay, I will point it out to them as well.

KWombles said...


I appreciate the apology. I understand the discord between the two of you. I think it would be awesome if you could both move past that, but it's not like me and Moffie are going to be hugging anytime soon (although that's another story; I might if she would quit scaring old people).

Here's my hope and what I'd like to see happen in the autism community, both from those within the community who are on the spectrum and from family members: community and fellowship. Not complete down-the-line agreement because (1) that would be boring and (2) it's absolutely not necessary.

The main problem standing in the way of that are individuals who (and believe me when I say I am not talking about you, Craig) have decided for whatever their reasons to take autism (and I'd argue that it is very much something more than a behaviorally-based diagnosis if done right) and twist it into things it is not. These individuals then market this new and twisted autism to the parents of children who have neurological issues, offering various cures and explanations. They prey on people's need for certainty, for clearcut answers and quick and easy fixes.

I'm not talking about people who have children with adverse reactions to vaccines who wind up with autism diagnoses. I'm not doubting adverse reactions to vaccines occur. At the individual level I see no point in arguing with a person on what the cause of autism is assumed to be (and not casting aspersions here, either -- it is as much as assumption on my part that my three children are on the spectrum because of a strong genetic precursor and problematic pregancies as it is for Joe Blow to believe his kid's autism is vaccines -- one of us may have a little more science to back it up than the other, but we've seen that folks have different ideas on what constitutes science).

KWombles said...

My main point is that arguing with another parent about what he or she believes caused the child's autism is pointless. It isn't what I'm doing when I pull out the latest research accepted in mainstream neurology circles; I am not personally deriding another parent's beliefs. I'm addressing the situation at the population level and not at the personal narrative level. Now, I think that's a hard thing to do and not one I always succeed because some people are pulling the vaccine induced autism out their asses. No adverse reaction to a vaccine following the vaccine but months later the kid has an autism diagnosisand the parent heard Jenny say it, so that must be it? But again, I'm not personally interested in figuring out which parent has done this. I'm just pointing out that might be a little absurd.

Here's what I am interested in: how does the parent view his or her child? How does the parent view science? How does the parent view autism? How does the parent cope with the challenges at hand? Is the parent desperate, angry and hell-bent on taking innocent parents down the woo-trail into idiocy that sees all vaccines as bad, that sees the government and big industry in collusion to make everyone autistic, that thinks sites like whale.to and the like are reputable and reliable?

As far as I can tell, Craig, that last descriptor set isn't you, except for the angry. My question is how do we deal with the anger in such a way as to let it go, not let the sense of purpose that injustice fires in you go, but the anger and rage. And I'd ask that not just of you, but other similar parents at AoA who rage and rage and rage. Is it making your lives any easier, any better? And how is it impacting your child? Unless it really is about the dopamine.

What if there were another way to deal with the challenges you and your family face, and without buying into woo, without spending a fortune on ABA (why is the school not covering the OT?)? I'm not talking about magic bullet cures or recovered children. I'm not talking about acceptance as do-nothing policy, either.

What if, instead of raging at asses who don't seem to be able to find the way to talk to parents compassionately (I'd argue Orac isn't acting as a personal physician on his blog, so his behavior is not unethical nor immoral-- perhaps not in good taste, perhaps every bit as angry as his opponents), you decided there was no changing them and focused on what you could do to build a supportive community that wasn't built around exclusionary criteria as AoA's is?

What if we focused on adaptive coping and positive acceptance? What if, instead of spending the fortune on out-of-pocket ABA whose efficacy is debated, you talked to autistic adults and found out the kinds of things that helped them adapt to the NT world successfully? What if you found out what didn't work for them, what hurt the most?

What if you used cognitive-behavioral therapy instead and you and your family implemented the treatment? I've never spent a dime expensive therapies like ABA, but I did invest thousands of hours of my own time working one on one with my children to help them achieve target goals. I believe that Bobby was helped as much as was possible, and that the fact that he is happy and is building a good life for himself is more important than whether we reached him achieving independence.

I've rambled now for awhile, and I appreciate those of you who have stayed on to the end of the ride. It sure beat studying for A&P. :-)

Craig, what if instead of worrying at the individual level about who's disrespected you, you let that energy go and focused on positive community building?

KWombles said...

Damn, I am long-winded when I want to avoid doing something. Did you know there is a 4096 character limit (man I hope it said character and not words)?

Clay said...

Um, what is "A&P" anyways?

Heraldblog said...

Well said, Kim.

Mom26children said...

Bravo !!!

I remember when I let go of the anger.
It was when I remembered that I had kids to parent.
It was when I got away from the promises made to me by a very prominent doctor and started to believe in my kids.
They have never let me down...the prominent doctor did !!!!

cawill said...
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Connie said...

Well, here’s my take, for what it’s worth.

A month ago or so, I admitted to my sister that I don’t share her views that vaccines account for most/all cases of autism in this country. I didn’t call her names. I didn’t make fun of her. She asked, and I told her what I think, based on my understanding of the evidence.

For this, she called me a Nazi and a baby-killer (because I think it’s a good idea for children to be vaccinated) with the mentality of a slaveowner.

For quite a while, I was banned from her home. Even now, she harasses me daily (there’s no other word for it) with countless emails demanding to know what I think of this study or that article on AoA – and then becomes angry anew when I don’t fall into line.

She’s done even worse to my brother-in-law.

In front of their kids, I’ve heard her say that he’s an unfit father simply because he doesn’t agree with her views on vaccines. In front of their kids, I’ve heard her say that if something happened to her she would want the kids to be raised by someone else because his views “put [my] kids in mortal danger.”

This is a guy who’s right there every day, doing housework, helping with kids’ homework and reading them stories at bedtime, as well as bringing home the bacon so sis can be the stay-at-home mom she’s always wanted to be. A good guy.

He doesn’t deserve to be vilified because he sees his son’s autism differently than his wife, does he?

It is my firm belief that the rhetoric my sister reads on AoA every day has contributed to her state of mind. Almost every day she reads that people who don’t agree with her are subhuman slime. How could that eventually not start to sink into her consciousness?

Craig, I understand that you’ve been deeply wounded by some of the things that have been said to you about your beliefs. And I wholeheartedly deplore them. I feel your pain, because I too have been viciously attacked because of MY beliefs.

As has my BIL.

And my nieces and nephews are hurt when they hear their mom lashing out at people they love, simply because they don’t agree with her.

It’s a problem. A problem that needs to be addressed. To simply say, “they were mean to me first” just keeps the cycle going, doesn’t it?

Let’s grant that a lot of innocent people are being hurt by the arrogance of scientists and doctors. Let’s grant that point of Craig’s.

But it is also true that a lot of innocent people are being hurt by the culture of vilification that has grown up around AoA and similar sites. These sites, I believe, teach readers to hate anyone who doesn’t agree.

Can we acknowledge this as a reality too? I can’t believe that mine is the only family experiencing this.

Isn’t there anything we can do to stop this? Don’t we even want to?

Corina Becker said...

Cawil, you said "Kim, why should I show them any courtesy if they refuse to show me the same courtesy."

Because, by falling to the same level, you fail to maintain your own dignity. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", so even if someone else is being rude, be polite. It's sometimes harder to do so, but you don't fall to the same level.

KWombles said...


I'm not asking you to unsee what happened to your son. I'm not denying he sustained an adverse effect from a vaccine and ended up with a diagnosis of autism (and that's not a suggestion that I'm doubting the autism but an acknowledgment that kids go through a lot of diagnoses -- Bobby went through ODD, bipolar, ADHD, and more before he was diagnosed accurately with autism and an accompanying cognitive impairment).

Corina's comment to you was spot on. As long a you inflame the rhetoric by trying to inflict as much harm on those you see as wrong, then, you know, it probably is more about the dopamine, and as Jeanette says, right-fighting. Connie raises some excellent points regarding what one person's rage can do to an entire extended family.

If your goal is to inform parents that vaccines do have the risk of an adverse effect and that they should make informed decisions based on the logical risk of an adverse effect versus the risk of death or permanant disability from the disease itself and you are providing scientifically accurate information, that's a good thing. If you're doing the kind of stuff that Moffie is, it's not.

And, seriously no offense intended here, but I believe we'd discussed on Huff months ago that one of your other children was also on the spectrum, albeit more mildly. Am I mistaken?

Also, if you believe that in order for autism to be primarily genetic in nature that someone had to have it somewhere in your family, then you honestly need to review genetics because you are factually incorrect. That's one of the biggest problems with AoA outside of the vitriol: it gets basic science fundamentally WRONG.

KWombles said...

I am glad your son is improving at home. For some children, homeschooling and being in the parents' care is the best place. It was for my son, and it is where we finally saw tremendous progress and a complete removal of behavioral and aggressive outbursts. This is not the case for all children with autism, but it is for some. My girlies are thriving at school, and for that I am grateful. Being there almost 24/7 for Bobby for nearly 20 years was at times a draining, exhausting experience, and now that I am in my 40s, I'm ready to spend some time being someone outside of Mom.

As for OT, PT and speech, once we started homeschooling, I implemented the same tasks that were done for those therapies, finding inexpensive textbooks online as I needed new ideas. No money spent, just a complete commitment on my part to be whatever it was my son needed. Not something everyone can do or wants to.

Craig, bitterness grows and feeds on itself. You don't have to be engaged in a duel with another person to have the bitterness eat away at you.

What is it you're really trying to do, to accomplish? If it's to blow off steam, do you walk away from the confrontations feeling better, less angry, or more angry, more enraged? I ask this because studies have shown that parents of special needs children actually age at a much inreased rate because of the stress (see Sapolsky's PBS documentary on stress for great coverage of this). You already have that to contend with. Add fueling your stress by angry confrontations with people you view as less than human, the stress hormones course through your body and wreak further havoc with an already overtaxed immune system.

I think there are better ways to make your life, your son' life, and your family's lives more satisfying. Doesn't have to be my way. But, if you share with your wife as I share with my husband the internet portion of our lives, then you bring that anger into her life as well.

What I'm trying to say is that I hear you, I understand your anger, I empathasize with the pain of having a child with mutliple difficulties and with the knowledge that the child will most likely not be achieving the independent life you wanted for him. You have my friendship, your wife does as well, and that you are welcome to join the Raising Autism group. Help us to build a vibrant, supportive community for parents, family members, and autistic individuals to make the world a softer place for us all.

You don't have to hate the people who disagree with you. There is far more to bind people together into a community if mutual respect and a desire for community matters more.

cawill said...
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Louise said...

Whoo boy howdy Miss Kim! Looks like a rumble been goin on here! I just been to Miss Gingers site-Cawill! You talkin bout hatred in tha last comment-but ya dishin it out at Miss Gingers! C'mon now! Use yer anger fer change, fer good-rise above it! Ya got things ta say!-say it in way that'll draw people to ya..Bein part of a bully pulpit aint gonna get people ta listen to ya. Ya complain bout Orac, but you doin tha same thing!! Ya say ya want ta sit and drink a beer with J.B. when the truth comes out? That aint about helpin-thats about tha need ta be right. Damn-I was kinda gettin ta like you..

cawill said...
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Louise said...

Well Cawill sugah! Don't that just take my bosoms and bounce em! Glad yer takin inta acount what all these gals is sayin-thats fer true. But ya need ta understand this..I may call folks dumbasses..but y'all take it a heapin poo pile further-I reckin it aint muddyin the waters ta call ya on it. I'm reckinin ya got a whole lot more contempt neath yer words than ya see or mebbe want ta admit..
What all I'ma tryin ta say is this-ya got a story-a valid story..ya got good points ta make..But aint no one gonna listen to ya if yer words is all full a contempt an anger an such. Only people listenin are tha ones that already agree with ya..Now how is that changin anythin? How is that savin anyone? Rise above it! Break free! Set one a them examples an such!
Darlin, don't you worry none bout offendin Miss Louise..I'm way too old and far too busy ta take offense over a few words..

cawill said...
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Heraldblog said...

"That's one of the biggest problems with AoA outside of the vitriol: it gets basic science fundamentally WRONG."

Yes, and when you point that out, they take is so personally.

cawill said...
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Thelma said...

That's my best bud, Louise, for ya, Craig. She lightens my life even as I watch her bosoms headin the other direction, is what I'm sayin. Lordy, she gets a tickled and starts ta giggling, they is some serious bouncing a happenin.

Now, Mama H, on the other hand, God love her, the other night was complainin there was somethin behind her back as she was sittin in the recliner. Turns out she'd misplaced one of hers behind her. Lordy, 90 is hell on the bosoms. Ah well, we popped it right back around and back inta its support system and went on about her business. Now Mama H talks about usin em as pillows when she's misplaced hers.

Ya'll gots ta let some laughter in an a bit of levity. Ya hear? The world is a powerfully hard place ta be, an then ya go an add the heartache ya feel for a child who is strugglin. What I'm sayin, here, hun, echoin Kim an all, is mayhap ya oould member, the two of ya, Kenny and Craig, that ya both be parents who are a dealin with children with special needs. Ya can hate each other (an no doubt about it, the word I done been a readin call ta contempt not disappointment, but mayhap I missed the disappointed, ain't been all over the blogoworld), ya can trash talk and release that there dopamine stuff, or ya can ken that parents new ta the walk ya are a walkin see them words an take em as gospel truth.

Now, Craig, hun, done wrote me about that Ginger today and they ain't no contempt in my words. Ifn ya read me ya knows I gots me a family jus chockful of the dumbasses and the dumb, gotta love em. Ya words over there mostways don't look like the words here. Like this Craig a great deal more, sure do, and ya ain't even gotta agree with Thelma for me ta feel it. No sir. Ya are conversatin here, tryin ta get ta the deep of it when ya ain't swipin at Kenny.

Thelma loves tha deep, loves the conversatin. Ya'll come by and visit with us. We has us an internet party darn near every week. Mayhap we is skippin this week unless Louise okays the Saturday so Mr. Marc can join us. Boy howdy, we has us some fun.

Louise said...

Why thank you Mr. Craig,
Both me an my bobbin bosoms will be honored.
Now Thelma my girl, I told ya Mamma H was needin some extra support! what with em hangin like cue balls in sweat socks an all! Boy howdy an a side 'o Right bosom corner pocket!.OOEEE Rack em!!! do ya ken me?
I'ma thinkin 8 central time on sataday would be right nice! everone is welcome!

Heraldblog said...

No hate, here. I've never called anyone an animal, and if Craig was on fire, I'd smother the flames with my jacket before I'd spit on him.

cawill said...
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KWombles said...



Before you spit on him, meaning you would spit on him afterwards?

There's a whole blog post coming on hate, contempt, digust, heck we'll throw in fear and loathing. I can feel it coming now.

Dopamine and testosterone flowing here along with the trash talk. I have no idea how far back this disfunctional relationship goes between the two of you and no time to go diggin in the interwebz recesses to see.

Consensus building in something I'd like to see happen, and the foundation of that is respect for the humanity of the other individual. If we're spitting on them we aren't doing that.

Craig, you have always been respectful to me, and Kenny has always been respectful to me. I appreciate that courtesy from the two of you despite the lack of cordiality in the two of yours' relations with the other.

Ken: goals. What's the goal of parents with autism? Is there a common goal between those who are convinced that some autism is caused by vaccination and between those who do not have a compelling personal narrative regarding vaccines, whose children were born autistic and had no major regression?

Is this a real divide in the community or is that people in general need to define in and out groups and need a compelling narrative, need to be heroes in the own stories battling a worthy opponent?

In other words, what compelling need is being fulfilled in both you and Craig that you continue to participate in a relationship in which hostilities progressively worsen?

All the time I have for psychobabble for now.
Gotta teach developmental writing and go to chem lab. Then I've got to study for an A & P test for tomorrow morning. Don't take my silence until tomorrow afternoon to be an indicator that I'm mad at anyone or off sulking.


Heraldblog said...

Probably a poor choice of words on my part - let me rephrase:

"If Craig was on fire, I would not spit on him to put out the fire, but rather smother the flames with my coat."

Dr. Poling's on-line hissy fit was the highlight of my week. Being expelled from the Autism One conference last year is a badge of honor, like being tear-gassed on the Pettus Bridge. If anyone should be embarrassed, it's the movement that jettisons science and free inquiry in favor of guerrilla marketing techniques.

Now on to more important matters.

Yes, I see a real divide in the community. On one side are parents who understand and respect the scientific method, and more importantly, respect evidence. They know that human perception is faulty, and that the easiest person to fool is always ourself.

When my son was diagnosed in late summer, 1998, Google was not yet a verb, and the intertubes were buzzing with excitement over Wakefield's groundbreaking Lancet story. I seethed in anger when I read that my son's developmental delay was caused by a measles vaccine.

I printed some important looking articles and drove to my pediatrician's office. "What caused Christopher's autism?" I asked. The doc patiently explained why it was unlikely that measles vaccine would cause autism. I calmed down, and did some more reading. I've never looked back since.

Sure, I've had my moments of doubt about vaccines, when my reptilian brain seized on a coincidence, and I felt the same slow building raqe that sent me to the ped's office 11 years ago. Last summer I took my 10-year-old daughter to the doc's office for a Gardasil shot. Two days later her temperature spiked to 104, and she developed a dry cough. As I sat on the edge of her bed, holding her hand and stroking her hair, the thought hit me - "What if it's the Gardasil? What if I've been wrong all this time?"

It was a human reaction. I checked the list of known reactions to Gardasil, which did not include dry cough. The next day my daughter tested positive for strep throat, and she recovered after taking antibiotics.

Then there are parents who I call "anti-vaccine", but are probably best described as True Believers. They've already made up their minds. Any evidence that contradicts their belief is either ignored, explained away, or dismissed as part of a grand conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies, scientists, government officials and other parents to cover up the deliberate poisoning of millions of children.

True Believers are not a monolith - the movement is roughly split between vaccine accommodationists who grudgingly admit vaccines are important; and vaccine rejectionists who think vaccines are a scam, like wrinkle cream.

But there is surprisingly little infighting among the true believers. An accommodationist's call for slowing down the schedule seamlessly morphs into a rejectionist's claim that tetanus has been eradicated. What's important is the camaraderie and shared sense of altruism. "One day the truth will be known" is a common refrain in this crowd. "We know what we saw. We know what happened. And one day the whole world will know."

This latest wave of anti-vaccine hysteria may seem fresh, but the shine quickly wears off when it is viewed as just another mass movement. Nearly 60 years ago, Eric Hoffer wrote that people join mass movements not because of any particular ideals for goals, but because they do not believe in themselves. In this context, the true believer, driven by guilt, fear, or disgust, buries his own identity in a cause that is focused on a future goal. "The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self," said Hoffer, "the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause. "

So perhaps what really divides the community is simple faith in ourselves. "Am I able to shoulder this burden of raising a special needs child, or do I need something else to blame?" might be the most important question of all.

cawill said...
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Heraldblog said...

How are we doing so far, Kim?

KWombles said...

Better, Ken; I thought your post was thoughtful and raised some excellent points and clarified your position and the whole spitting thing, although Craig's probably not going to let that one slide even with the explanation. :-)

Craig, you're still coming across as mad. Does Ken abuse all folks who say they have vaccine injured children or just those who say the autism was caused by vaccines? Is it a global condemnation of any body claiming an adverse reaction to any and all vaccines or just to those who come across as militantly anti-vax and sorely lacking in critical thinking skills and how to determine a reputable site?

Honestly, I'd be glad to see an answer on that from both of you, a sincere attempt on your part, Craig, to really look at Ken's ideas below his insulting you (I'm going to have to go with that being completely personal on the both of your parts with a bit of competition to see who can out trash talk the other) and, Ken, on your part, maybe further clarification on this issue. Do you think that adverse reactions occur from vaccines, and that on some occasions it is possible that these adverse reactions occur with a child later receiving an autism diagnosis?


Maybe a clear statement from you on your position regarding the safety and need for vaccines? I recognize that our positions and the presentation thereof can be situationally derived (example: at AoA you may find it extremely easy to fall in line with the tone of posting --and present positions that may perhaps be more extreme than you really feel when not in that situation), so I'd like to see where you feel you are now at this time (don't get puffed up in outrage over Orac or Ken before you think this; a calm reflection on what you think instead, leaving them outside the equation).

Position statements that are calmly thought out are good things to have. It's so easy and so much fun (gotta love that dopamine) to get caught up in the heat of the moment over at Huff (or at AoA) and hurl the insults and dismiss the common humanity and shared experiences that ought to trump the hostility. Having a clear position statement to ground oneself comes in handy.

Having clear goals helps as well.

Craig, you wrote that you wanted to prevent another child from suffering what your son has. How precisely do you intend to do that?

If you can clearly and honestly present your assumptions regarding vaccinations and autisms (both of you), as well as your goals regarding these beliefs, then we can see whether there are any commonalities of belief/attribution.

I do like and appreciate the dialogue that is occurring on this thread. :-)

cawill said...
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cawill said...
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Heraldblog said...

"Do you think that adverse reactions occur from vaccines, and that on some occasions it is possible that these adverse reactions occur with a child later receiving an autism diagnosis?"

It helps to split the question into two parts.

"Do you think that adverse reactions occur from vaccines?"

Yes. It is well known and long acknowledged that vaccine injury occurs. It's rare, but it happens. Nobody can seriously deny that.

"Do adverse reactions occur with a child later receiving an autism diagnosis?"

It is not only possible - it has happened.

Kathleen Seidel of Neurodiversity.com found 15 cases (IIRC) in vaccine court where the child had autism, and the court found in favor of the parent plaintiffs. But consider this: the court has found for the plaintiffs in approx. 2,200 cases over the last 20 years. If autistic disorders are found in the general population at a rate of 1:100, then by mere chance alone there should be 22 cases of autism among successful vaccine court plaintiffs. The 15 cases that Kathleen found is statistically in line with that estimate.

Before we ask "do vaccines cause autism" we need to ask, among other things, what is the mechanism? Anti-vaccine activists have proposed a number of possibilities. First there was the MMR shot, based on Wakefield's hypothesis that the measles virus inflamed the gut, then leaked into the bloodstream and headed for the brain. Wakefield says he found evidence of measles virus in the guts of his subjects, but those results have never been replicated. When Dr. Mady Hornig replicated the study last year, using Wakefield's original lab, she concluded that the samples in the 1998 experiment were contaminated. Two other labs also failed to replicate Wakefield's results.

OK, MMR didn't work out. Maybe it's the thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative once added to scheduled childhood vaccines. There are several problems with this idea. First, the symptoms of mercury poisoning are distinct from autism. Second, thimerosal has been absent from scheduled childhood vaccines since 2002, and the rate of autism hasn't declined as one might expect. Concerns over "trace amounts" ignore the fact that everything we eat and touch has trace amounts of mercury. And then there's this: today's schedule uses about the same amount of thimerosal as it did in the 1950s. So why aren't we seeing a 1950s rate of autism (according to Jenny McCarthy, that's 1:10,000)? The only explanation offered is that the principle of dose-response doesn't apply to thimerosal. That strains credulity. It was well noted by those studying the Minamata disaster 60 years ago that severity of injuries caused by mercury poisoning was directly connected to the dose or hg received by each victim. Why would thimerosal be any different? Tough question.

So thimerosal was a bust. Now it's "the toxins". The problem with this idea is that everything is toxic given a large enough dose and concentration. Pure oxygen can scorch the lungs, and was once the number one cause of blindness in newborns. Nicotine contains cyanide, but nobody drops dead from chewing nicotine gum. One of the toxins alleged to cause autism is manufactured by our own body - formaldehye. A 10-pound infant has more FA in his blood that what is found in any five vaccines combined. Some of the supposed autism-causing toxins aren't even in vaccines: anti-freeze and ether. Jenny McCarthy still says vaccines contain them, even though her science advisor, Dr. Jay Gordon, has admitted they don't.

I'm probably just about out of characters so I'll stop here.

KWombles said...


Basically, Craig, Ken, and I all agree that there are unfortunately cases of adverse reactions to vaccines and that there are cases where there have been adverse reactions and the child later gets a diagnosis of autism.

Where there appears to be clear divergence, I'm not sure we've managed to really arrive at, because in the context that these conversations are occurring, there has been far more substantive dialogue and reasoning, so nobody's feeling backed into a wall or in need of defending their side's players (as it seems to play out at Huff). Based on the statements here, as we elaborate on our positions, where do you two see divergences (leaving out past hostilities)?

Craig, have you read the Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism?


Epidemiological research can show patterns, can find needles in haystacks. I'm not saying enough research has been done on who is susceptible to adverse reactions from vaccines, and I don't think that medicine is a one-size-fits all kind of deal.

Perhaps people are villifying Sears only because of his spaced out schedule (although I'm pretty sure that's not the whole of it), but I personally believe that medical decisions belong between the patient (or parent) and the physician. Vaccination is a personal choice, but it ought to be a fully informed choice not made out of unreasonable fears.

I'm not sure how you're prescreening would occur, or what would be screened for. Should studies on how to best space vaccines for maximum efficacy and minimum risks be conducted? Yes. Should have been. Part of the problem is a systemic unwillingness in the medical community to consider the potentially serious side effects of medications.If you aren't willing to consider something, you can't study it, certainly.

Craig, on a slight tangent, I think a large problem with Huff and its 250 character limit and moderation and its need to set up the autism conversation solely as a debate about vaccines is that it forces polarization. Impressions are easy to form of others that may end up being completely inaccurate (for example, the last couple weeks of your comments over there, if I didn't know you from having read most of your easily visible comments at Huff and AoA, do not, I think, show you at your best). It's easier to get polarized over there where first off you're trying to get your post through moderation, and secondly, you're trying to get the best shot in.

Huff isn't about a substantive debate, and honestly, neither is AoA. It's not, and I know you can see that this discussion could not occur over there. Neither of those places is about consensus building or community building or finding a way to the truth. With Huff, that's fine; its intent is to make money.

Ultimately, I don't think the three of us, you, me or Ken (or even Orac) are as far apart philosophically as the rhetoric elseshere indicates.

And we've demonstrated that civil debate can occur. That's progress.

Goals. Where do our goals align?

Heraldblog said...

"Based on the statements here, as we elaborate on our positions, where do you two see divergences?"

One important difference is respect for evidence, and what we choose to present as facts. When we can agree on facts, it will be easier to agree on more important things, like goals.

By way of example, here are four facts which, in a perfect world, all reasonable people should be able to agree on.

1. Correlation is not a synonym for causation
2. Parental concerns over vaccines have been co-opted by special interest groups that deliberately spread misinformation about vaccines and autism
3. Science cannot prove a negative
4. The Chicago Cubs will never win a World Series

Clay said...

Well! It appears that Miss Kwombles is a stern (and efficient) Schoolmistress! I don't believe I've ever read such a cogent (and civil) discourse from both sides as I've just now read. That is truly refreshing, and gives me some hope the dialogue can reach an agreement, somewhere.

I don't have the scientific chops to discuss the points myself, but I mostly agree with Ken, but can agree with Craig on the many suspicious acts of the pharmaceutical companies, and we're just supposed to trust them? Not bloody likely!

A patient of mine was a nice gentleman who had recently retired from Kodak, with a fabulous home, a nice retirement pension, paid health insurance, investment income, everything in the American Dream. But he had arthritis, and was prescribed Vioxx. One night he woke up sick, threw up blood on his way to the bathroom, passed out, and when he woke up, crawled to the phone in the bedroom. Was taken to the Hospital, where he had a heart attack, followed by a stroke. When he was released to go home, I was assigned to take care of him; personal care, shower, shave, some cooking and cleaning, but mostly, it was to help him to walk again. A Physical Therapist wrote up a list of exercises, and we did them everyday. He checked on us once a week, and the man progressed nicely. Hey, it was only a year or so out of his life, with some remaining diminished capacities, but I hope he got a FAT settlement check from Vioxx!

Heraldblog said...

There's no reason to blindly trust the pharmaceutical companies when it comes to vaccine safety. That's something of a straw man argument. That's why we have peer reviewed journals, and multiple trials before childhood vaccines goes to market. The system isn't perfect, but vaccines are continuously monitored for safety, and improvements are made all the time. The number of antigens in the entire childhood schedule is about 150 - that's less than the small pox vaccine alone used in the 1960s. Gardasil, the vaccine that rejectionists love to hate, uses a protein, instead of a killed or attenuated virus, which is safer than an attenuated virus. You can read about it here:


Clay said...

Thanks, I was able to follow that. Sounds good to me.

Connie said...

My goodness, I wish we could have discussions like this on AoA . . . this is turning into something great and important, I think.

Craig and Ken, I really really really appreciate both of you and the things you're saying here.

Thanks to Kim for providing this forum. Keep it going, guys . . . .

KWombles said...


I was always appreciate a chuckle and your last fact certainly provided it.

Craig, are those facts we can agree on, with some leeway on the Chicago Cubs?

I bet there are other facts we can find we agree on as well.

If we can agree on basic facts, we can then begin to work out cooperatively how the meaning we assign those facts differs and whether those are areas that necessarily have to cause friction.

And then, yes, Ken, goals ought to be able to worked out.

I know pissing matches are tremendous fun. And so is right fighting. But change doesn't happen, at least not for the better, if all we do is whip it out to see whose is bigger.


I've got more to say, but I'll do it in a new blog post at the top, so folks who wander by will know they've been missing an excellent conversation.

cawill said...
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KWombles said...

Damn, so close, Craig! Three of four ain't bad.

Now, don't you know, if you and Ken can talk companionably, that I hold out hope of you and Orac? :-) Kumbaya, for reals!

Okay, how about this on #2:

All industry/group have individuals within them for whom the greater good is not their priority. There are corruptible people in every field, and that includes science.

The gold standard of science is replicability.

The gold standard for scientifically minded individuals is the willingness to critically examine all claims and to hold scientific beliefs with a measure of uncertainty so that any new evidence that counters established beliefs has the chance to be seen and examined.

It is axiomatic that there are asses, and pompous asses at that, in every discipline, and that sometimes it isn't the scientist speaking on scientific-minded blogs, but instead the ass (or pompous ass). Sometimes it is the need to be louder, bigger, and badder then all others that leads to trash talk and may not be an accurate reflection of one's actual position.

Now, Craig, would you agree that there are people out there trying to take advantage of parents with disabled children by promising cures if only you are disciplined enough to go through with their regimen?

cawill said...
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KWombles said...

Absolutely my point, Craig. Shysters are common in any industry. You disagreed with Ken's second point of fact, and offered a counter to it that it was the science that was corrupt.

I'm not casting aspersions against all DAN!doctors nor insinuating that they are all shysters, and I'm glad you are happy with his care.

What's missed in the invective thrown about is that on the vaccines-cause-autism side, there are scientists, doctors, and companies promoting a particular representation of autism and potential cures (I am sure that many docs who identify as DAN! doctors are not actually on the woo trail but are trying to help families). On the other side are doctors and scientists, and companies, as well.

So, I offered a compromise fact for #2 that incorporates this reality. There are people out there who want to take advantage, period. Doctors are not infallible and neither are scientists.

There is natural proclivity to want to sort people into categories. This, not that. And to lump people into two groups: this, but not that. This is woefully inadequate and furthers a polarization that is an inaccurate reflection of objective reality (not claiming to know objective reality, in fact offering that we none of us do, but reason and science offer our best chance at agreeing on objective reality).

And yes, for profit companies that deal with people's well-being are not in it for the people but for the money.

KWombles said...

Wait a minute, just picked up on something: he's not any more expensive if you're uninsured? Does he not take health insurance? Craig, clarify here, please.

If your doctor doesn't take health insurance, it really ought to be a red flag. If he's only taking cash, well, that's a huge red flag for me. Of course, he's going to give a little extra; he's taking your cash.

Heraldblog said...
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Heraldblog said...

My evidence-based GP gives me a discount for paying cash. Submitting bills to an insurance company costs physicians money.

Not too long ago, one in ten DAN! MDs and DOs had either been disciplined by their state medical boards, or were in the process of being investigated. ARI culled the ranks in 2008 or so, and now there are more DAN! docs, and fewer of them are in trouble.

But Roy Kerry is still DAN. He's the guy who killed a 5-yr-old boy in the summer of 2005. He wasn't a DAN doc at the time, but he is now. Another red flag.

KWombles said...

Craig, I don't know why you are going through and deleting your comments, but I am deeply disappointed by the behavior.