Pronoun Antecedent Problems Reveal All at AoA

Julie Obradovic, bless her, she of the infamous bump in the road from last summer, has another piece up at AoA proving once again that it really is about vaccines and conspiracy theories.

Obradovic preps her readers for an incoming big  Pharma/governmental assault to win the hearts and minds of the American public concerning the need to vaccinate. Of course, there's a dastardly purpose to it and the way the conspirators will go about it is almost evil: "The strategy appears to consist of using fear, imagery, and insults as a way to gain greater compliance."

Fear of deadly diseases is a rational motivator. These infectious diseases killed and maimed children and adults and still do in too many places in the world today.

For some reason, Obradovic launches into a string of fragments:

"Forthcoming Public Service Announcements with infectious disease victims."

Well, shame on the PSAs for showing infectious disease victims; you know, people who actually suffered from these diseases. Shame on them for making the diseases real to people who have never seen them.

"Conferences guiding physicians linguistically through tiresome conversations with seemingly misguided parents."

Obviously, physicians aren't communicating well if google and wackawoos like AoA, Tenpenny, Mercola, Mike Adams, Ullman, and others have sway over what it is too large a number of non-critical and poorly scientifically educated parents.

"Referring to concerned parents as anti-scientific."

Well, tough toodles;  folks who are denying the abundance of scientific evidence at hand showing no link between autism and vaccines are anti-scientific. Deal with it.

"Censorship by the media at the government's request."

It isn't censorship to point out that there is no need to present the appearance of balance when it's a false balance. How often do you see the media present a false balance between scientists who think the earth is a sphere and flat-earthers? Sorry, when a fringe group loses all credibility and is marginalized to the sidelines and dark dusty corners where it belongs, the legitimate media begins to weigh its own credibility before using the marginalized group as anything other than that. Maybe Maury, Jerry Springer or one of those other crazy daytime shows appealing to the lowest common denominator will let you spout your wackawoo ideas. Hey, I know, Dr. Oz is throwing his credibility right down the toilet, there you go!

Obradovic then, thankfully, takes a break in the fragments and writes this launch-up: "Predictably this strategy will fail miserably and likely only make the situation worse. Why? It misses the point of why parents actually aren't vaccinating."

Why would these strategies of better informing and better communicating fail with parents? Why would it make the situation worse? Ahhh, yes, because Obradovic will go on to tell us some incredibly dumb shit that, yes, she's probably right about: for the fringe element she represents, it won't work, because they are wackawoos set on bringing the vaccination program down. Period.

Obradovic explains it all: "Parents aren't opting out of vaccinating because they are too young to remember infectious disease."

On this one, she's undoubtedly wrong; parents in their early twenties and thirties don't remember the mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis. They certainly don't remember polio. They don't know what diphtheria is, or tetanus. Come on, really? Half the wackawoos posting over at Huff on anything related to autism still can't wrap their head around the idea that vaccines are not injected into the bloodstream. They still think antifreeze is in vaccines. Sorry, but Obradovic's audience isn't the best and the brightest or well informed.  Getting your information from fringe sites doesn't count.

"It isn't because they take the threat of infectious disease lightly and want their children to get it."

No, that certainly is a part of that because they don't remember the infectious diseases and when they do, they assert they got the diseases and all lived to tell about it, and now they have lifelong immunity. Right. Shingles, anyone?

"It isn't because they are misinformed by the internet and media."

Bullshit. If they read Obradovic, AoA or half the Huff stuff, or whale.to, or any of the other wackawoo vaccine safety websites, they've been misinformed.

Okay, so Obradovic's told us what it isn't. What are the reasons, then? She's numbered them for our convenience:

"1. Having a child with Autism far outweighs the risk of having or dying from any infectious disease right now, and anything that could possibly be contributing to the development of Autism, even if it means risking infectious disease, will be considered riskier."

I'm going to go with this whole risk thing being dependent on where you live. Let's stipulate that she's correct. There's a 1 in 100 risk that your child will be born with autism. Let's say you're a wackawoo who's bought into the antifreeze/formaldehyde/aborted fetal cells/measles in the gut/thimerosal/it's something in teh dreaded vaccines with the toxins. Yeah, you think the risk is greater. It's not a real risk, though. It's one based on incredibly bad information, poor scientific understanding and a fanatical adherence to a particular world view that holds that the government and big Pharma are intent on turning an entire generation of children autistic.

She moves on to the next reason, which is where this post's title comes into play:

"2. They don't trust the denial of the role of vaccines in the development of Autism by the medical community or government because they are biased; they will be the entities held accountable for Autism if it is proven vaccines are indeed causal factors. Furthermore, they are both closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry that repeatedly puts profit over safety and has to have products recalled because of it."

Too many theys, Julie, and the way you've written it, the they  in "they are biased" refers back to your parents. Nice work; the truth: these parents who believe that vaccines cause autism are indeed biased. The government and the pharmaceutical companies are not in a global conspiracy to cover up that vaccines cause autism and to go on making more autistic individuals. That's so incredibly stupid that it boggles the mind.

Moving on, I have to warn readers that it gets worse; there is such an incredible skew here that anyone who reads Obradovic and agrees with her logic belongs in the wackawoo brigade. They are unreachable. They have an incredibly warped view of reality:

"3. Their reality is vastly different than what these groups are trying to convince them (that Autism always was this prevalent and problematic). A condition that was unheard of only 25 years ago is now the number one issue facing a generation of children and the only explanation offered for any of it is coincidence. Further, 1 in 20 families now has an affected child, with neighbors, grandparents, relatives and friends being eye witnesses to the regression and recovery of these children."

Another truth, though: the AoAers' version of reality is vastly different. Autism is not the number one issue facing families. Learning disabilities/developmental delays occur  in  about 1 out of 8 children: "Approximately 13% of children have a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism." Does that look like autism is the number one issue? It doesn't to me.

ADHD affects "3%-7% of school-aged children." See,  3 to 7 times the prevalence of ADHD compared to the prevalence of autism.  Oh, and by the way, the prevalence of ADHD varies by state, with a high of 11% in Alabama. Very few states reported a prevalence of less than 6%. That's more than 1 in 100, isn't it? Oh, and that 3 to 7%, it's obviously a low end ballpark. The CDC also writes: "Prevalence estimates of ADHD in school-aged children have ranged from 2% to 18% in community samples." Wow, that's way more than 1 in a 100!

What is the most common developmental disorder children have, according to the CDC? Intellectual impairment: "Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disorder." How many? 1 in 83. According to the CDC: "Mild intellectual disability was 3 times more common than severe intellectual disability. As in MADDSP, intellectual disability was more common in boys than in girls, and more common in black children than in white children." What's the total estimate on ID?: "The study showed that about 1.5 million children and adults (ages 6-64 years) had intellectual disability. The highest rate of intellectual disability was found in West Virginia and the lowest rate was found in Alaska."

Autism is undoubtedly top front in center in the minds of parents with autistic children, but it is by no means the number one issue facing our society. By no means. And it is incredibly arrogant and offensive to suggest that parents dealing with other developmental and neurological disorders are not facing similar situations or even worse. It's enough. There are a lot of children dealing with a lot of issues out there, and autism isn't the number one disorder being dealt with. It isn't even the most disabling. So grow up, get over your conspiracy theories, get some facts straight, and quit trying to make sure that more parents have to deal with children with even greater issues because you've managed to scare people into not vaccinating.

These diseases, many of which I am old enough to remember, and gosh, I'm smart enough to read reputable, reliable scientific and historical information on, have the potential to maim and kill far more children than have autism. These diseases are bigger risks than autism, especially since autism isn't caused by vaccines.

Obradovic rants on, but why would you read on? What credibility does she have? Why give this fringe element, with its hysteria prompted by an arrogant presumption of knowledge it proves time and time again that it does not have, the light of day?

Obradovic isn't interested in a safe vaccine program. She isn't interested in facts. What she wants is everyone to believe the AoAers skewed version of reality and then to follow their lead.

That isn't going to happen. No, the shift to educate the public won't reach everyone. Maybe it will reach enough. Maybe if each and every distortion the AoAers and people like them put out there is soundly refuted, it will have enough weight to reach those who aren't too far gone down the woo trail.

The people that run and write for and agree with the AoAers aren't interested in other people's children. They aren't interested in sound scientific information. They could give a shit about facts. What they want is to make someone pay for what they're dealing with. They want to reach out and strike out. Maybe they'd all have been wackawoos and conspiracy theorists without their child's autism. I suspect they would have. The autism is incidental to a global conspiracy. And if you think about it, they've provided themselves with a hell of a narrative, one that has them the perpetual underdog up against the man, a clarion call being offered into the wilderness, a ready-made pity-me party, and potential martyrs to the cause. They've wrapped themselves in a cloak of self-righteousness and the air of pugilistic scrapper sending sharp jabs out, connecting with the soft underbelly of global conspiracy. They are the ultimate in right fighters. It's a damn shame they're wrong about almost everything.


Socrates said...

"a hell of a narrative"

Which can't be whacked by all the science Orac can throw at it.

They are either:

i) hopeless cases

ii) tractable to a more beguiling myth

If it's i, then I'll join you in futile, lavender-scented outrage.

If it's ii, then one needs an Hero to lead them from their folly.

Oprah is the only woman with powerful enough Juju to do the job reliably, but she's even more sweet on Jenny than the boys.

Mrs Obama would be a good second choice.

You could probably have a good shot at it if you wanted to play the pr game (& ruin your life).

But you would have to stop going on about all this sciency stuff.

Our weapons are quickly dulled by the Stupid.

kathleen said...

Last paragraph says it all and well..sigh..

Roger Kulp said...

"Well shame on the PSAs for showing infectios disease victims."

I haven't seen these PSAs,but I wonder if it might fry some antivaxer brains,if you a PSA showed some mom with her sick,and autistic kid,saying she had some preventable infectious disease while pregnant,and her kid was now autistic as a result.But maybe not if this is any indication.Trying to grasp that all autism requires damage in the womb,seems to be one of the hardest things for these people to get.It's sort of like trying to explain to a teabagger that Obama is a center-right corporatist,not some flaming Marxist.I'm you you've noticed how many antivaxers,like Tenpenny are also far right,and are frequent guests on places like the Alex Jones show.

Autism is not the number one issue facing families.Learning Disabilities/Developmental Delays occur in about 1 out of 8 children."

I realize that this gets to the core of how ND sees autism,but I still have a hard time not seeing LDs,and DDs,which I had/have in spades,as an integral part of autism.Even after reading the DSM. Would I be venturing too far into AoA territory,if I said most people with autism had these problems as well?

You have all sorts of numbers you can pull up.You're better at this than most,can you remind me again just how many people with autism have these problems as well?

Do most people with autism,who are not intellectually disabled,get told by psychologists,that they need to be in a home,because the psychologist thinks they are too low functioning to be on their own,even if they admit there is no intellectual disability,as I have been?

I would like to know these things.

Kim Wombles said...


I'm thinking it has to be the first; I can't imagine a leader capable enough to lead these people out of the wilderness. Not even Oprah herself, were she to forswear all woo (and she is the queen of woo) could lead them into the light.

yeah, I think the last paragraph probably does sum them up pretty well.


Hadn't heard of that autism list before.

I wrote last week on IQ, http://counteringageofautism.blogspot.com/2010/05/another-look-at-intelligence-and-autism.html.

The science seems to show pretty well that the vast majority of those with ASD diagnoses are not on the severe end and that the majority do not seem to have an ID. Having an average IQ does not guarantee functional life skills, though, whereas individuals with mild IDs may function well enough to live relatively independently.

Autism is complex and is often accompanied by other comorbids that compound functional levels and increase the need for assistance.

David N. Brown said...

As always, complaints by AoA about censorship blow the "irony meter". Let's see: They censor me when I post comments like, Offit made $6M instead of 30M, and I resolved a semilegitimate complaint from Dan Olmsted over my Thorsen material simply by clarifying my original meaning so stop claiming it as a "libel" against them. But when the media won't act as an uncritical mouthpiece for their false and dangerous claims, they complain of government-sanctioned censorship.
I say, do unto them as they do unto others.

Roger Kulp said...

I had to add this from one of the few Yahoo! groups I still get.This was posted a few minutes ago "I believe Fragile X is a co-morbidity rather than a cause.I have seen several parents report their child recovered from autism despite having Fragile X"

Liz Ditz said...

Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on this one...it fried my brain.

Why isn't reading failure (RF) an national emergency? It affects more than 1%. Some cases of RF are neurologically-based (dyslexia) and others are teaching-based (dysteachia).

See Children of the Code:

According to the U.S. Department of Education more than 60% of K-12 school children are reading below the level needed to proficiently process the written materials used in their grade levels - reading below the level necessary for the brain-work of reading to be transparent to the mind-work of learning from what they are reading. Obviously, reading is the skill that matters most to success in school and children who fall behind in reading are in great academic danger. However, it is not just the lack of reading skills that most endangers these children. It's the mind-shame.

Orac said...

"Which can't be whacked by all the science Orac can throw at it"

Um, wrong.


Fritz V said...

He walks among us! :swoon:

Kim Wombles said...

I think Socrates meant that all the science thrown at them wouldn't put a dent in their narrative, not that the science or what you could throw at them was lacking. Their belief system might as well be wrapped in kevlar.