10/06/2009

The New Epidemic: Woo and pseudoscience -- by hook or by crook

In Dread, Alcabes discusses the faux-autism epidemic and the anti-vaccinists' false assertions regarding autism, epidemics and causal factors. This would, no doubt, have the AoA loyalists and their compatriots at Safe Minds and Generation Rescue in a frenzied tizzy. It's not been a good week for those who are convinced that vaccines spell doom and the end of the world. They're mad that mainstream media dismisses their claims concerning autism and vaccines in general. The evening news makes non-vaccinating people sound like idiots.  They do. I'm not saying they're right to do so, or balanced, but they are making it clear that people who don't get vaccinated against swine flu are not the brightest and are risking public health. The AoAers, no doubt, believe them all to be pharma shills. Or worse. Nuance is not something any of the news stations do well.

As usual, I will offer my normal disclaimers: some people shouldn't get vaccinated. That is clear. That said, it's beyond ridiculous to not vaccinate out of a misguided fear that thimerosal will cause autism. It goes beyond a paranoid fear of thimerosal and measles now;  now it's sodium chloride and other salts (I kid you not, see Orac's deconstruction of an anti-vaxxer's post or the actual lunacy on display here: http://vactruth.com/2009/10/02/fda-approved-h1n1-vaccines-contain-ingredients-known-to-cause-cancer-and-death/). Actually looking at this site led me to another post "Sheeple Dying to Take Shot – Daymare Insanity Begins 10/15" which is the same garbage, only it's all black so you have to highlight it to see any text.

Between vaccines and the H1N1 flu to get folks all good and riled, the anti-vaxxers didn't really need any new material, but they got it and got into a bigger tizzy: a survey from Britain revealed 1 in 100 adults are autistic, and "new"" information over here revealed that it's 1 in 100 or so here, for kids. These numbers are not a big surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. Now, the AoAers hate the numbers for adults and one of their resident woobies decried the whole thing and spewed his venom wherever he could on the matter. Does anyone, outside of the AoA loyalists, take AoA writers/editors seriously? Left Brain Right Brain has a good article covering it at 1 in 100 adults are autistic. It also has the new US numbers, so I won't duplicate their good work on both subjects. But the AoAers are practically swooning over the CDC's change. Dismiss the idea that there's a large, fairly well functioning population of autistic adults in the community and focus on the revised numbers, and you've got yourself confirmation of your autism epidemic and fuel for your fire to argue that you are parents to very sick kids.

Never mind that there is no evidence to support the contention that autistic children are ill. They do have epilepsy at higher rates than non-autistics, but that's not what the anti-vaxxers are promoting. They promote a view of a child who is overgrown with yeast, who suffers intense intestinal distress. Never mind that neither of these things appears to be in fact the case. I'll leave the yeast alone and touch on the gastrointestinal issues that anti-vaxxers insist are uniform in autistic children. Research shows that autistic children are no more likely to have this problem than the general population. A shitload of folks out there, me included as is the pun, have gastrointestinal issues. I don't have leaky gut, and chances are real frakkin strong neither do your kids. Woo to you. My immune system ain't out of whack either (at least not gastrointestinally), and chances are neither are your autistic children's. Autism is not a health related disorder. It is a neurological condition that is not progressive, that is not neurodegenerative. The disease process was over by birth. If your child has health issues, they are not autism. And reading Boyd Haley, the Geiers, Wakefield and Deth isn't going to make you right or even knowledgeable.

After all, you're the ones who keep arguing about antifreeze, formaldehyde, aborted fetal cells, aluminum salts, and now table salt as being in vaccines and causing them to be dangerous.


I may be discouraged by your lack of critical thinking skills, your inability to assess your relative competency, your willingness to buy into woo and pseudoscience by hook or crook, and I may even occasionally call one of you (or two) a dumbass, but I have never displayed the sheer contempt that your insistence that anyone who disagrees with you is a sheeple does. I don't despise you, hold you beneath contempt, or think you have sold your soul to big nutraceuticals.

5 comments:

Roger Kulp said...

Been nipping at the cooking sherry tonight haven't you?

kathleen said...

nutraceuticals!!! hahahaha! Well done!

Chromesthesia said...

Table salt?

I do have such a problem with the anti-vaccination people because I question if their statements are accurate.

Roger Kulp said...

Never mind that there is no evidence to support the contention that autistic children are ill.

Read this

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2716675

It looks like this is what I have.

Sirenity said...

another tidbit for the antivaccine woo-woo train"

Seems some enterprising ex doctor (Russel baylock?) is insisting that H1N1 shot is deadly (and combines several other bad theories as 'proof') and guess what!! all we need is vitamin D3, which he will happily sell ya!

I am so very sad that so many adults seem to be logic disabled and insist on rejecting facts in favour of advertising gambits.

Keep fighting that woo Kim! Hugs and laughter