Age of Autism: Hash and Rehash and a Glimpse of Spring to Make Up for That

What do you do when things aren't swimming along in your direction and the media for the most part is ignoring your whole vaccines are causing autism argument? Well, you hash and rehash, of course.

Paul Offit's paperback edition of False Prophets is now available and he's going to be on PBS's Frontline "The Vaccine Wars" on April 27th (thanks to Sullivan for his post on it). Of course, that means Age of Autism has to run a rehash of a post by Handley, with a note that, you know, what's Offit doing talking about autism when he's an infectious disease expert? We all agree I've held the snark on the backburner, right? Okay, then; it really seems I'm due some. Paul Offit would never have needed to get involved in autism if it hadn't been for the charlatans and snakeoil salesmen and gullible parents who sold or fell for the autism-vaccine connection. Since he's an infectious disease expert and an expert on vaccines, he is eminently qualified to assess the research and discuss the likelihood of autism being caused by vaccines. Any rational person would immediately get that; that Stagliano et al. don't speaks volumes. That they keep trotting out the same garbage shows they are unwilling to examine their errors and grow from them.

Apparently, feeling that the Offit piece wasn't enough, Katie Wright had to speak out on Thorsen, calling him "one of the world’s most influential and prolific autism researchers."  I'm pretty sure that's not right, but, you know and I know that facts never get in the way of Age of Autism's need to ratchet up their readers' ire. And I admit I giggled when I saw Wright referenced other AoA articled by Blaxill and Olmsted and the amazing Robert Kennedy, Jr, cuz, you know, facts and he are so close, they're like twins. Hah, same could be said for  B and O, as well. Wright can't even get it right, either, saying he's still on the DSM-V workgroup (I reported that he had requested leave from it more than a month ago); even Ginger gets it and wrote on it March 18.

Come on, AoA, are you tired? Worn out? Worn down? This is it?

I like how AoA has such weird ideas on experts and stuff, too. Offit not an autism expert, so he should hush, but Dr. Bob Sears gets his autism book plugged because he's friendly to their wackaloon notions. It's not about what you know, but about whether what you have to say agrees with their warped world view.

To make up for this hash and rehash of tired, worn out ideas that even they probably wince at, here's a picture to send you off  about your day happy that spring is here:

Pansies from my mother's garden.


Joseph said...

It's sort of a nonsense argument too. I could say "why is David Kirby involved in autism if he's only a journalist?"

At least Dr. Offit is a vaccine expert, so when it comes to the vaccines-autism debate, he's got expertise relative to a key aspect of the matter.

In fact, I doubt very many people are experts in both immunization science and autism science. So maybe no one should be debating the issue?

Sullivan said...

Let's see, they complain that Dr. Offit isn't an autism specialist?

They make some point that Dr. Offit doesn't have a patient base of his own? I guess the fact that Dr. Wakefield can't see patients in the US (and soon the UK) is lost on them?

I have called Dr. Offit on a few occasions and had him cut me off short to go on rounds. He's a senior member of a teaching hospital.

Let's see, AoA is a group that promotes the idea that autistic children are mercury poisoned (an idea promoted by...an MBA...no irony there). Instead of doing the responsible thing, recommending that the children be taken to medical toxicologist, AoA promotes the idea of taking your child to doctors with no special training in toxicology.

No irony there.

Sullivan said...

I saw that story on Thorsen when it came out (the one Katie Wright sources).

One very interesting bit of that story is the idea that the missing money was used to fund NANEA. NANEA was a semi-autonomous research center for Aarhus University, and was headed by Dr. Thorsen. Funding for NANEA still went through Aarhus. So, CDC funding would be paid to Aarhus, which would then fund NANEA.

As NANEA funding ran out, they got advances from Aarhus with the (probably forged) letters from the CDC.

While RFK Jr. and AoA are trying to create the image of Poul Thorsen "absconding" with the missing money, the most likely explanation is that the money was spent at NANEA.

While one can not rule out Dr. Thorsen (or many other people) taking or spending money for personal use, there is no direct evidence of it.

One explanation that has been posited is that NANEA ran short of funding due to exchange rate issues.

The dollar purchased about 6.2 Danish Krone in 2005. By 2008 (when NANEA was in trouble), a dollar only purchased 4.8 Danish Krone, a drop of about 20%. Much of the drop came in 2007-08.

The funding from the CDC would have been committed in dollars, not Kroner, so the exchange rate drop would have had a major impact on NANEA.


Again, this explanation is only posited, and would not excuse in any way forging documents or diverting Aarhus funding to NANEA

David said...

I have been saying pretty much all along that there's no evidence that the money was used for purposes other than research. It's also been my take that what was done with the money probably doesn't matter, for legal purposes. As I put it in an essay I didn't post, "The definition of theft does not depend on what is done with the take."

I finally have some word from Aarhus on the issue, and should be posting about it very shortly.

Sullivan said...


I've read your comments about how there isn't proof that Dr. Thorsen took money for his personal use, as is the impression made by these groups.

I should have noted that in my own comment.

I await your communication from Aarhus.

David said...

OK, the communication from Aarhus is up at "Possum", in an essay titled "Paul is dead, Poul is missing!" at the top of the Thorsen page. In a nutshell, they confirmed authenticity, and offered significant clarification about its original purpose and circulation. The rest (which I had been planning separately) is about AoA's persistence in reporting that Thorsen has "disappeared".
Reposts welcome!