Winning Folks Over with Sunshine And Moonbeams

It's been the kind of week where I am working hard to avoid working on other things. Oh, I still get them done, but having every moment absolutely chock-full is a good thing right now. So, each morning I'm wandering over to AoA, and sometimes, I get amused. Sometimes, I get discouraged. And we all know when I get thorougly annoyed.

What's AoA got to offer this morning? Honestly, I do believe it will be making many of us "“anti-anti-vaccine”  folks chuckle at the absurdity of it all (http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/11/the-names-people-play.html#more).

Handley pulls the intellectual rape and kool-aid bit after years of other abusive tripe, and this writer comes barreling to his defense because a blogger was far more creative at the invective hurled at him?

Sheoples and trolls, anyone? Alright, we'll all admit we know of some science-based bloggers who hurl the invective sublimely, who show a capacity for stringing invectives together in a mind-blowingly awesome orgy of fun. I do believe Thelma and Louise had a post on this based on Physioprof's invective. It is naughty, no doubt (see http://evendumbasseshavefeelings.blogspot.com/2009/09/inventive-invectiveness-warning-mama-h.html).

This writer at AoA seems to think the science-based bloggers were trying to win the whale.to believing naifs over to an evidence-based critical reasoning system. Awww. She writes: "Do you win over anyone by calling them stupid?"

Well, gosh, no, you sure don't. I do believe at this point, most bloggers who are rational (yes, they may get apoplectic with the group of people who cite whale.to and think there is insecticide in vaccines) and evidence-based have given up on the idea of persuading the anti-vaccine wackaloons that they are wrong. I mean, after all, you can't get basic facts right and you support a holocaust-denying, mind-control believing government conspiracy to inflect and infect, I suppose, an entire generation of people with autism.

You didn't get an anti-vaccine label because you questioned the safety of vaccines. No doctor, other than the nutcase doctors ya'll are following liked the pied piper, has ever asserted the notion that vaccines are without risk. You know that, but you keep repeating it. Mainstream science hasn't concluded that autism is 100% genetic. You know that. But you anti-vaccine types keep betraying an inability to reason and evaluate critically the claims presented. Instead you fall back to whale.to and AoA's talking points. And it immediately identifies you and you lose whatever credibility you might have had because it shows you follow the woo sites. Sorry. Tough toodles.

You cement it with this: "The pedestal upon which the “pro-science” movement is standing doesn’t seem very elevated, does it? But it’s very loud. It’s full of uniformed and ill-informed people who think vaccines are all that’s standing between us and death. They accept the government’s propaganda without critical thought or research. I understand this person all too well because I used to be one of them. I drank the cool-aid."

No, see here's the problem. Much as I absolutely abhor the cool-aid gambit, following scientific evidence isn't drinking the cool-aid. Relying on sites like Fisher's, or whale.to or SafeMinds and TACA and writing the post you just did over at AoA demonstrate a failure to think critically, to examine evidence, and a willingness to walk lockstep with an organization that is actively promoting the idea that vaccines, period, are bad. Oh, I know, green them up, reduce the number. Blah, blah. See more kids fall ill. See more kids die. All because some of you folks decided to jump on the bandwagon and blame vaccines for your child's autism and now every possible thing under the sun rather than accept that sometimes you have to roll the hard six. Sometimes there are no cleancut answers and no quick and easy solutions.

Don't worry, us evidence-based folks will be watching and we'll be more than happy to give you your due if you succeed at reducing vaccine rates. And, I'm certain, some more labels. After all, who, looking from the outside and with half a brain cell, really wants to be seen as being aligned with a holocaust-denying, mind-control believing bunch of conspiracy theorists?

Doesn't sound at all anti-vaccine: "Just to be clear: Vaccines are one of the environmental triggers that cause autism in genetically susceptible children" ( http://lifeasthemotherof4.blogspot.com/2009/04/let-me-state-this-as-clearly-as-i-can.html). To be fair, Hansen writes on her blog that she thinks shot should be thimerosal free and spaced out (http://lifeasthemotherof4.blogspot.com/2009/04/vaccines.html). She's a fan of Kirby, though, and the 14 studies, and like a friend of mine who isn't speaking to me, if her message is truly one of believing vaccines to be necessary, she's surrounded that message with garbage that obscures it. It's really hard to take someone serious when they are wrapped in the cloak of AoA, whale.to, etc. And then asserting that you know more than the average pediatrician on vaccines and linking to SafeMinds, really really doesn't help your case, nor does thinking that Generation Rescue phone survey is reliable evidence (http://lifeasthemotherof4.blogspot.com/2009/11/embarking-on-new-career.html).

My message would be to step away, re-evaluate, and recognize no one in the mainstream is going to take someone speaking from the midst of all that seriously, nor should they. If you can't correctly identify pseudoscience (hello, Mercola) and misinformation, what do you expect?

Update: See, the AoAers really don't get it. They don't get taken seriously because they swarm over the quacks.

Don't see Palevsky. Seriously. Don't. Already covered this last week. Woo. If you quote Mercola or one of his merry band of wooquack docs, I won't take you seriously. I won't think you know your head from a hole in the ground, and neither will other science-based people.


Corina Becker said...

""Just to be clear: Vaccines are one of the environmental triggers that cause autism in genetically susceptible children""

if this was true, as an autistic adult, wouldn't this mean that I'm genetically susceptible? and therefore, wouldn't my getting more vaccines cause me to become more autistic?

this would follow the whole conspiracy to cause autism in all ages.

unless, of course, vaccines only cause autism in children, but then that conspiracy about causing autism in adults and senors is busted.

And it's been over three weeks since my H1N1 vaccine containing thimersol. still not more autistic.

also, joking around here: drinking kool aid? nah, my cult doesn't drink kool aid, we get Jenova cell injections and read from the Necronomicon :D

(sorry, couldn't resist. If you don't get it, don't worry; I'm being very fantasy-geeky)

Clay said...

I know for a fact that I've gotten the flu shot every year for the past 17 years, the first 16 provided at my workplace. They also gave me the shots against hepatitis, and I'm no more autistic than when I started out. Going to get the H1N1 shot on 10 DEC.

Stephanie Lynn Keil said...

What about the cases with young children who were said to have "caught" autism from vaccines who had a mitochondrial disorder? Isn't it true that in those with a mitochondrial disorder if they get vaccinated it can trigger autism or autistic-like symptoms?

I don't believe in this whole insane conspiracy, although I find it rather amusing.

Liz Ditz said...

Mrs. Hansen's whines:

"The next thing I knew I was listed as an anti-vaccine writer on a Neurodiversity blog.

Of course, she doesn't list which blog, so we, the readers, cannot judge for ourselves....

I wonder who writes that "Neurodiversity blog"....

Why, it's me! I listed her first response to Dr. Parikh in my post Amy Wallace's Pro-Vaccination, Pro-Science Article in Wired & Reactions to It

And yes, she was listed under the heading

Other anti-vaccine writers

Is she anti-vaccine? I'd say so, based on her previous history.

THE neurodiversity blog published the following on March 6, 2006

"In December 2005, the Boston Globe Magazine published The Secret Truth, by Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, assistant professor of pediatric cardiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The article featured an extensive profile of the Hansen family of Framingham, Massachusetts, both of whose sons are autistic. In that article, parents Jared and Marjorie Hansen expressed their belief that their sons’ autism was caused by vaccines, a conclusion from which Dr. Sanghavi respectfully differed. Eventually, Jared Hansen wrote a letter to the Globe reiterating his perspective on the matter. Another letter supporting the Hansens’ assertions about thimerosal was submitted by Richard Deth, a professor of pharmacology at Northeastern University. Professor Deth’s letter was written within hours of an alert issued by the coordinator of the “Mercury Free Vaccines Coalition,” requesting that “each of our experts” provide refutations to Dr. Sanghavi’s arguments.

Evidently Mrs. Hansen wrote a follow-up post on November 1, in which I didn't see, in which she explains the evolution of her thinking in more detail..

I don't think it was careless of me not to follow up. I was following the Amy Wallace story, not Mrs. Hansen's thinking.

Personally I think it is rude to complain about an article or post, without providing a link to the post.

Mrs. Hansen doesn't seem to know how to link. Just a word -- if you use a URL-shortening device, it doesn't raise the target's search-engine rank, if that is why you don't offer links.

Blogger #1 that Mrs. Hansen refers to (the "founder of the ultimate denialist's association one) is Dr. Isis

Blogger #2, the "The anti-vaccination movement is morally bankrupt" one, is PalMD.

Blogger #3, the How To Kill Children Legally one, is Tethered Swimming.

Oh, and you might want to go back to my post. Ms. Hansen is not very thorough. She mentions three bloggers. There were more than 20 responses -- first to Amy Wallace's piece and second to Handley's scurrilous behavior.

Lastly -- is my blog I Speak of Dreams a "neurodiversity blog"?

Not in my mind.

I think of it as more of a general interest magazine.

I do write posts condemning the "autism is vaccine injury" point of view. I do write articles critical of non-science-based treatments for autism and specific learning disabilites.

If believing that autism is a "normal variation" and that people with autism should speak for themselves, why yes, I am a member of the neurodiversity [camp] [tribe] [movement].

KWombles said...


It's nice to see you here. :-)

The vaccine courts may have ruled in favor of those two families, bu I don't believe that there is scientific evidence actually linking the two; there's certainly speculation, though.


Fantasy-geeky is awesomely cool. :-)


Excellent rebuttal of Hansen. Did you try to get it on AoA?

Liz Ditz said...

A slightly edited version of my comment above was submitted to AoA at 4:13 pm, PST. Start your clocks. (For the record, I've never had a comment approved.)

kathleen said...

I wouldn't hold my breath on comment approval! Although I have gotten a few on here and there..All of a sudden, I find that worrisome. :)
Two of my kids just had the swine flu..(just to keep it all scientific)the vaccine wasn't available here yet..My son isn't any more or less autistic for having gotten the illness :)

KWombles said...


Apparently, Hansen's AoA post is a reposting of a blog post of hers from the 10th, where (unless she edited it to include the links after the fact), she did provide the links to all the bloggers she mentioned.

You'd have to ask her how her post came to be on AoA, what say she had in alterations, etc. AoA does run pieces by others (thinking Marc Rosen) without their permission, making it appear that they posted it to AoA as a guest blogger. I would want to know more, based on the fact that she did link on her blog.