Will AoA Admit it got details wrong on Thorsen? Amended 03/06/10

UPDATE 03/06/10 2:36 PM I appear to have flipped the "not" in Ginger's post; my apologies. Ginger offers no evidence for why she thought it was Madsen not Thorsen and offers no reasons for why she switched to Thorsen. As corrected by Dan Olmsted, I note that she is not saying AoA would be posting on the switch, only that AoA would be posting on it (the missing money, etc). 

Olmsted has not issued any corrections on the Thorsen matter, and JB Handley immediately went on the attack again today, working hard to cement in readers' minds the idea that Thorsen is still missing (he is not). 

No original corroborating documents have been provided that implicate Thorsen. And the email documents provided by Handley from another site can also not be substantiated. The email address for Dr. Diane Simpson contained in the documents are not valid, although that may be for a variety of reasons.

Original posting from 03/05/10 around 10 pm, with changes in another color:

As we wait to see what AoA will do, I'll update you. In the comments of the last post, I offered various sites showing that it did appear that the reports of money missing was in overseas papers, but no names were mentioned. Having read the blog posts here with information regarding Thorsen's location, a reasonable reporter interested in the facts would do more digging and amend his report. He'd also provide original documenting information, too, right? Transparency and all. Oh, and since we're talking, I'd love to know all about the 131 hits for Dan at whale.to. Does he align himself with folks who deny the holocaust, believe in mind control, and all the other conspiracy theories over there?

I cannot confirm any details in terms of which researcher the papers in question are referring to. And let's say the facts, sketchy as they are, are accurate. Money was taken. This says nothing about the research itself. Now, Wakefield's behaviors of paying kids money for blood and not having full ethics board approval also says nothing about the quality of his research. The quality of his research does. Still stands.

If AoA continues to run these twin themes of Danish researcher renders research invalid but Wakefield is a prince among men, it will serve as further proof that reality-based reporting isn't their strong suit. Don't see anything needing alteration here.

At some point, reasonable people will see the light and alter their course. Research shows, though, fairly consistently, that people who have invested everything only to see it crumble will hold even tighter to their beliefs. Based on that, what do you predict AoA will do? If Ginger Taylor is any indication, I think we can all go to bed tonight knowing it will be more of the same tomorrow at AoA. Ginger Taylor originally reported information on one researcher, then amends it to another, but says it changes nothing. It doesn't matter; she and other loyalists to the vaccine-autism theory decided it was something in the vaccines that did it, and it really doesn't matter if it's thimerosal, if it's the MMR vaccine, if it's some other component. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter what the research shows because it's all a government and industrial conspiracy to harm children. Doesn't matter what the folks who are trying to cure and recover their kids do, either, because they are saints who just want to save the kids.

My point remains: AoA, its writers and its loyal readers are not interested in science or in truth. They do not admit to mistakes. They do not correct them. They keep marching on.

If it turns out that one of the researchers absconded with money, I'll note it here. If a study is debunked or overturned, I'll report on it here. And if I screw up, I'll own it.


olmsted.dan@gmail.com said...

What details did we get wrong on Thorsen? We never said anything about the other researcher you cite. Age of Autism and Adventures in Autism are unrelated blogs.

KWombles said...


I'm going to think you are being disingenuous. I'm aware that Ginger's blog is separate from AoA. Did you read her post? I'm also aware you didn't mention the other researcher (and neither did I-- Ginger did, although she, like you, can't bother to confirm details or be tied down with fact-checking).

You got the details wrong. You didn't substantiate the information. You ran a story you took from a dubious source.

You've ignored the content of these last three blogs.

And instead of ever taking ownership of factual errors, AoA either ignores it entirely, deletes the posts, or runs bulldozer, like Handley's piece on Thorsen.

Ginger says on her blog you'll soon be correcting your error. That was yesterday (I'm going to ignore her March 4th pub date as it appears she rewrote over her original post without distinguishing what changes she made, where, and when). Ginger is one of your staunchest supporters and has guest blogged on your blog (because we all admit now you don't even come close to being a newspaper, even ya'll).

I'd hope she'd have a wake-up call if you continue to get stuff factually wrong, but my hypothesis regarding you, your co-editors, and your loyalist followers remains unchanged: you've invested too much to ever admit where you've gotten it wrong and you will continue to contradict yourself willy-nilly.

You get very little factually correct relating to vaccines, to studies, to autism in general, and I find it frightening to think of just how chockful of errors your history of autism will be.

olmsted.dan@gmail.com said...

You're simply misreading Ginger's words -- she is correcting the name that SHE had used on HER site, and noting that Age of Autism will be posting its own article shortly. At that point, we hadn't posted anything, so she's certainly not saying that WE would soon be correcting an error WE made. You can't misread Ginger's post, then decide we made an error, then decide we refused to correct it, then decide I'm disingenuous! Can you stipulate this one matter of fact so that we can go on to discuss the other issues raised by our post and your comment? That's what I mean by, let's talk.

KWombles said...

You're right, I misread her words, and will amend my post to reflect that. This is one reason why it's helpful to note when changes are made on posts.

Also, you distanced yourself from Ginger, and yet in order for her to know you would soon be posting on this topic, you or someone at AoA had to be in contact.

It also helps to provide corroborating materials, something still not done.

And the key point remains that Thorsen has not vanished, is not missing, and is on a DSM5 workgroup as of January this year, not something he'd be on if he were under investigation of having stolen funds.

Nor have you explained how you could write in staunch defense of Wakefield at the same time you post an article on Thorsen that you apparently used The Flu Case for.

Anonymous said...


Anne said...

Dan, I'd like to know the basis for your statement that Dr. Thorsen "now stands accused of forgery and fraud." The statement from Aarhus University that you linked to makes it clear that Aarhus has not accused Dr. Thorson in connection with the police investigation, and I'm not aware of any information that Dr. Thorsen has been charged with anything. I also wonder what Dr. Thorsen said when you contacted him for a comment, which you surely must have done before publishing a statement of that nature.

AutismNewsBeat said...

You can read all about it on JB's new website, 14libels.com

Ginger Taylor said...


Found this on accident, but I wish you had just contacted me rather than speculating... happy to clear up any misconceptions or questions.

Friday night someone sent me the two articles from Denmark with a tip that is was likely Madsen. Since I could not confirm that it was Madsen, I used the appropriate language, ie... "they seem to be referring to", "if indeed, it is Madsen", "will Aarhus confirm that this is Madsen?", etc.

It was late, and I posted it. Next morning, I got an email from someone else saying that it was Thorsen, not Madsen, and that AOA would be running a post on the whole thing shortly. I was literally walking out the door and threw up the correction and referred people to look for information at AOA.

My comments were only about my writing, and my error and had nothing to do with anyone else.

As far as amending... I often post stories and give myself a 10 or 15 minute grace period to make changes, spelling corrections, clarify things that are messy, etc... the blogger tool is a small window and I don't like it and it is not until I read it on the page that I can get a good handle on problems. When I make changes of any import, I always note it.

So If you have any other questions, let me know.


AutismNewsBeat said...

Commenter Anne at LBRB notes:

"It looks like a paper was just published from the University of Aarhus maternal lifestyle study, with Dr. Thorsen being one of the co-authors. Kesmodel et al., “Lifestyle during pregnancy: neurodevelopmental effects at 5 years of age. The design and implementation of a prospective follow-up study,” Scand J Public Health. 2010 Mar;38(2):208-19. Epub 2010 Jan 11. PMID: 20064917 [PubMed – in process]

"This must be the study that was mentioned on the Aarhus University website in connection with a May 2009 complaint to police about possible forgery. I don’t know whether a continuing police investigation would impede the publication of this paper, and I wonder whether Dr. Kesmodel and the other co-authors from Aarhus would have included Dr. Thorsen as an author on this paper if Aarhus were accusing him of wrongdoing in connection with this project."

Read more: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/03/another-hoax-from-age-of-autism/#ixzz0hWcXzWhd

Anne said...

I should also mention that a PubMed search turns up at least 15 papers co-authored by Dr. Thorsen since he "vanished" in March 2009. Plus, of course, he's on the DSM-V Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup. One would think that an experienced investigative reporter could track the elusive Dr. Thorsen down!

KWombles said...


I appreciate the contact information and the background on the post.

I meant the time of the change, Ginger; I realized you had noted that it was a correction, and it was my misreading of where the "not" was that led to my initial conclusion, which I corrected in my main post. :-)

KWombles said...

Thanks, Anne and Ken, for the additional information. :-)

Dan, we're still waiting for some conversation here.

AutismNewsBeat said...

Mr. Olmsted is busy high-fiving himself for threatening legal action against LBRB two hours ago:

There is a new comment on the post "Another hoax from Age of Autism".

Author: Dan olmsted
Remove accusations of hoax by aoa and apologize within 24 hours or I will pursue all available remedies.

Olmsted can pursue all he wants, but there's not much he can do in this case. AoA has a long, shameful history of playing fast and loose with the truth. It could be easily argued that AoA isn't really a news site, more like the publicity arm of a radical anti-vaccine interest group, and thus subject to the same scrutiny reserved for other dangerous cults.

It's not enough to just prove that a statement is wrong. Olmsted and his fellow vectors would also have to demonstrate that their reputations were harmed by the alleged libel. I would explain how ridiculous that is, but I might start laughing so hard that I would wake up the kids. I mean really, what would he tell the judge? "Your honor, our reputation as prevaricating buffoons has suffered irreparable harm because somebody suggested that we were fabricating yet another story. But we got it right this time. Honest."

The only apology AoA is owed is that LBRB should have placed a question mark at the end of the headline, which would have created a tiny sliver of doubt, the benefit of which Olmsted could spin into more blistering exposés.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the actual Thorsen MMR study? Is a study valid that fails to count cases primarily diagnosed in a location excluded from the study? Simple questions - simple answers!

Jennifer said...

You might be interested in this blog, which also speculates that it's Madsen. It's dated Thursday March 4, which puts it before Ginger's original post, I believe.