6/18/2010

Basic Information on Intellectual Disability Causes: Autism and ID are not ONE Condition

Coleman (2005) writes "over 2000 different disease entities have been described in which patients have mental retardation. Mental retardation is a series of neurodevelopmental syndromes due to chromosomal, genetic, infectious, endocrine, and toxic etiologies; in almost all cases, the disease process is underway prior to birth. Regarding genetic disease, when mutation of a single gene is both necessary and sufficient to cause disease, it is called a monogenetic trait; it is now known that over 200 of the mental retardation diseases are classified as monogenetic diseases (Zechner et al. 2001)" (page 3).

Anyone who tries to argue that all cases of intellectual disability and autism are the same condition, are one condition, is not relying on scientific evidence. In fact, anyone who does so has turned his back to science completely and is asserting something on faith and ideology.

What the most recent genetic studies show is that some of the multiple genes involved in complex, previously unidentified causations of both idiopathic (no known cause) autism and ID is an overlap of genes in the two. No one who follows the scientific evidence denies that there is a large overlap of ID and autism; studies show varying degrees of overlap/coexistence. There is not a hard and fast number because different studies show different levels of overlap. In fact, that is the point. Anyone who uses ONE number and insists it's the right number isn't following the scientific evidence that shows a wide range in the percentage of individuals with both ID and an ASD. Scientists know there's a large overlap. Scientists also know that historically, many studies simply carried forth the figures from other studies rather than verifying in their own sample the degree of overlap. Anyone nonverbal is going to be unable to comply with an IQ that depends on being verbal. The CDC's attempts to measure the degree of overlap is important and necessary. These, too, though, should not and are not taken by scientists as the final numbers. Nor would scientists ever do something like take the CDC number and decide that there are equal numbers of Asperger's and autistic disorder, so the figure must be 80% in autistics, while ignoring the three other PDDs, nor would they decide that PDD-NOS is milder, so there can't be ID there (there can in fact be -- it isn't that PDD-NOS is milder, but that it does not meet the criteria for autistic disorder), so the new, artificially constructed number still works. That's, again, not relying on science.

Scientists measure. And they keep measuring. They keep refining their questions. They don't speak in certainties and absolutes, and if they are really scientifically-minded, they don't make numbers up. Or conditions, like Wakefield did.

It's one of the ways those trained in science distinguish between those committed to the scientific method and those who follow pseudoscientific principles. Those who rely on scientific evidence accept a certain level of uncertainty and are constantly looking at what the data shows, not what they want it to show.

Autism spectrum disorders are complex, with many causal factors. Intellectual disability has literally thousands of causes. Will autism spectrum disorders ultimately have thousands of causes identified? It's too early to tell. What is evident is that there are a number of genes, both separately and combined, that appear to work together with the environment to create the behaviors we now call autism.

In its own way, this kind of narrow-minded, obsessive need to focus on one thing and conflate it with the other and insist it's one thing and one thing only is just as bad as those who put forth the AoA rhetoric. And it serves none of the individuals who have an intellectual disability or an ASD or both.

Genetic research is important and necessary. So, too, is environmental research. But even more importantly, is research that focuses on helping those living with an ID or an ASD, or both, to live the fullest lives possible, to make as much progress as possible towards independent life skills. In tandem should be the focus on funding safe living and working environments for individuals who will always need assistance.



References:
Coleman, M. (2005). The Neurology of Autism.

18 comments:

farmwifetwo said...

I always view it as a Venn diagram. There are the conditions/dx's and how they overlap others.

There's no reason for not having a dual dx. My youngest does b/c without it he can't be in the "slow learners" class. He'd have to be in the ASD class - cringe. Every person in our sphere says to ignore the IQ test, it has to be done as part of the process but it doesn't tell the entire story.

I think it's personal.... b/c I've never read why it's so important that those with severe autism must be labelled as ID. You can have severe autism and not be ID.

Roger Kulp said...

farmwifetwo said...

You can have severe autism,and not be ID.


When I was first diagnosed,I was told the only thing that kept me from having a diagnosis of classic Kanner autism,was that I was not intellectually disabled.I would have ended up in a home right then and there had my mother not intervened.I hate to keep harping on this,but severe autism without ID is very common in autism "caused" by metabolic disease.

This also gets back to what I was saying here the other day about cognitive disability,and intellectual disability being two distinct conditions.

One day when the wackaloons all die out,autism will be looked at the same way we see seizures,as smething that can occur either by itself,or as part of more complex syndromes.

Until then,we have decades more of willful ignorance to counter.

MJ said...

I may be mistaken, but I do not think that Harold was suggesting that "all cases of intellectual disability and autism are the same condition, are one condition". His point seems to be that autism and ID have significant overlap - especially in the group that falls under the class "autism" label.

And in that, he is correct, there is a significant overlap between autism and ID. Consider the fact that the number one known genetic cause of both autism AND ID is fragile X. Or consider some of the most recent research (Pinto 2010) also speaks to the overlap between the two conditions -

"When comparing 996 ASD individuals of European ancestry to 1,287 matched controls, cases were found to carry a higher global burden of rare, genic copy number variants (CNVs) (1.19 fold, P50.012), especially so for loci previously implicated in either ASD and/or intellectual disability (1.69 fold, P53.431024)."

If you have not read the full text of the study, I suggest you do so, it is very interesting.

It might not be fashionable in some circles to point out the relationship between autism and ID, but that does not mean that it does not exist. The data very clearly shows that it does.

As for some of your other statements, they are simply wrong -

"Anyone who uses ONE number and insists it's the right number isn't following the scientific evidence that shows a wide range in the percentage of individuals with both ID and an ASD."

That is just playing word games. Just because different papers quote different figures does not mean that there isn't a generally accepted figure, or if you prefer, one that is quoted to make life simpler for those talking about it. If you want to be strictly correct, you would not only have to cite the individual figure but the population in which it was seen.

For example, there is a wide variety in autism prevalence, but you don't hear people quoting all of the figures, you hear an approximation (1 in 110). When you talk about how common autism is, do you cite the huge variety of figures each and every time with the full disclosure of the relevant populations, or do you ballpark it?

"Anyone nonverbal is going to be unable to comply with an IQ that depends on being verbal."

By this logic, every person who is mute would also test as having ID.

"It's one of the ways those trained in science distinguish between those committed to the scientific method and those who follow pseudoscientific principles."

Is there a secret handshake? But seriously, how exactly does this process work? If they agree with your conclusions, then you are "scientific", otherwise you are "pseudoscientific"? No matter which way you slice it, this would involve an interpretation of the data as the data never "says" anything directly. And then we are back to interpretation.

"Those who rely on scientific evidence accept a certain level of uncertainty and are constantly looking at what the data shows, not what they want it to show."

Bull. The data are the data but the conclusions of each and every study out there are an interpretation of the data. If the researchers are honest, the data will support the conclusion but that doesn't mean that the conclusions aren't what the researchers want them to be. Nor does that mean that there aren't other, equally valid, conclusions that could be drawn from the exact same data.

The scientific community it very loathe (like the rest of us) to consider the fact that their ideas are wrong and will hang onto their own ideas long past the point when the data supports them.

"Or conditions, like Wakefield did."

If "scientists" don't suggest new conditions when they find them, then were did the label of autism come from? Autism was first named by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, was he like Wakefield in making up a condition or was there some reason he was allowed but Wakefield wasn't?

KWombles said...

Yeah, MJ, I'm leaning to you being mistaken, what with the title of his post: "Autism and Intellectual Disability, Two Disorders or One? The Genetic Link"

And with this: "it appears that a common genetic basis implies that the conditions may in fact just be part of one neurological disorder and are not in fact separate conditions at all."

I'm not arguing there isn't considerable overlap; there is. And if you'd even read my post, you'd have noted that there are literally thousands of causes for ID, which means ID isn't one condition. Nor are autism spectrum disorders; each distinct cause identified results in similar behaviors, but they are in fact distinct syndromes.

It's such a shame when people don't actually take the time to read what's written. And I wrote about the study you mention. In fact, I did take the time to read each and every word in the study. I also took the time to read the entire 70 plus page supplementary material. Did you? Did you, before attempting to school me look to see if I'd written about it?

I could care less what's fashionable. I'm interested in the science. And I've written extensively over autism and intellectual disability, noting the wide range of figures covering the overlap in the two conditions.

See, there you go. You relied on Harold's strawmen arguments concerning my positions rather than actually making sure you knew whether Harold had conveyed them accurately. He has not.

Gosh, thanks for letting me know where I was wrong. Shew. I feel so much better now.

No, it's not word games. And the problem with rounding and hedging numbers and then yet using those numbers with absolute conviction about their accuracy is that they are not accurate numbers.

And, hey, I guess you're just wrong about science and how scientists committed to the scientific method conduct themselves. They absolutely live with the awareness that there is inherent uncertainty in their numbers. And if they're doing their job, their conclusions are drawn from the data, not from what they want the data to show.

Ummm, mute and nonverbal are the same thing, you know. Unable to talk. And yes, that is kind of the point, isn't it? An IQ test that requires responding to verbal instructions with verbal responses is automatically going to penalize individuals who can't respond verbally. It's also going to negatively impact someone who's deaf. Someone with a receptive language disorder. Someone who's distractable.

And it isn't measuring a nebulous concept of intelligence. It's measuring academic performance and is geared towards someone who's had academic exposure.

As to ballparking numbers, scientists note it's a ballpark. For example, the CDC says "It is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD." See how you ballpark?

Here's a little bit on pseudoscience:
"Hallmarks of pseudoscientific theories are: 1) Incompatible with broader, more fundamental scientific theories that are supported by overwhelming evidence, 2) Violation of the testability / falsifiability requirement; that is an experiment cannot be designed or an observation made that the results of which would refute the theory."

http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/courses-jmgay/GlossScience.htm

In my facilitated communication post, I refer to a study that looks at some of the hallmarks of pseudoscience:
Finn, P., Bothe, A., & Bramlett, R. (2005). Science and pseudoscience in communication disorders: criteria and applications.American Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology / American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 14(3), 172-186. Retrieved from MEDLINE database.

You might want to take the time to read it. It's fascinating.

Oh, scientists may suggest new conditions all the time, but if the research doesn't bear it out, the conditions are rejected.

KWombles said...

From a scientist:

http://autism.about.com/b/2010/06/17/when-it-comes-to-autism-how-does-science-help.htm#comment-28

MJ said...

Do you always judge a book by its cover? The title alone doesn't make the argument and neither does a single statement. If you have been reading what Harold has been writing (and I think you have), I think you would understand what he is saying.

I did note that you claimed that "are literally thousands of causes for ID, which means ID isn't one condition", but no offer no evidence for that assertion. I am not aware of ANY medical condition that has "literally thousands" of causes. If you consider cancer, which has multiple forms that effect almost every major organ of the body, there are *only* 500 or so forms of the disease known (and that is an extreme estimate). Yet you are claiming "thousands" of forms of ID.

I think you may need to provide some evidence to back up that radical assertion.

As for ID not being "one condition", you are quite simply wrong. ID (and autism) are based on observed behaviors. IF you have the behaviors, then the label fits. Maybe this - http://bit.ly/br15Qc - will help you understand where you are going wrong.

As for reading the relevant posts and papers, you can always assume that (unless I say otherwise) I have in fact read (and in some cases even understood) the material that I cite or comment on.

As for being wrong about science, again, you are just mistaken. For (almost) every set of data there are multiple conclusions that can be drawn - especially when it comes to a very abstract subject like mental heath. See the link I included above for some examples. Honest scientists will try to limit their conclusions to what the data shows but even their best efforts are going to be have some problems with preconceived notions about that the solution looks like. You hope for the best but realize that nothing in science is written in stone and that there are always multiple ways to look a the same data.

As for reading the material, of course I did. I do not comment on material that I have not read nor do I cite research that I have not read. If I haven't read it, I will say so.

"Ummm, mute and nonverbal are the same thing, you know"

Really, is that your final answer? (Hint - go do some research if you haven't already).

"An IQ test that requires responding to verbal instructions with verbal responses is automatically going to penalize individuals who can't respond verbally"

First, does nonverbal automatically imply the inability to understand oral directions? Second, since when are people who are mute unable to hear or understand spoken language?

As for an IQ test just being a measure of "academic performance", again, really? There is some part of an IQ that deals with what was learned in school, but that isn't what an IQ test is trying to measure. Academic performance and intelligence are very different concepts and one does not automatically imply the other.

BTW, you aren't being exactly accurate about what I say when I say -

"you hear an approximation (1 in 110)"

and you respond with -

"As to ballparking numbers, scientists note it's a ballpark."

Wwhat does the work "approximation" mean to you?

As for your ideas about what "pseudoscience" are, I would suggest that the entire notion that you present violates its own rules. If you don't think so, then please present a test that would be able to prove the theory false.

MJ said...

I also wanted to point out the following where you said -

"Oh, scientists may suggest new conditions all the time, but if the research doesn't bear it out, the conditions are rejected."

Which is true. But that isn't the statement that I responded to. You said -

"Scientists measure. And they keep measuring. They keep refining their questions. They don't speak in certainties and absolutes, and if they are really scientifically-minded they don't make numbers up. Or conditions, like Wakefield did."

You said that "scientists" who are "really scientifically-minded" don't make conditions up. Tell me if I am misunderstanding your words, but it does seem rather straightforward.

So, which is it? Do "really scientifically-minded" scientists not make conditions up OR do they but then drop them if they don't bear out?

And if either is the case, which one was Wakefield guilty of when he published his first paper?

KWombles said...

MJ,

Go back to the article I wrote. Read the quote.

You appear to be lacking some information regarding mental retardation and the, yes, thousands of causes.

Thanks for stopping by and offering up your wisdom. I really appreciate it. Tell Harold I said hi.

MJ said...

I'm sorry, I thought we were talking evidence based medicine, you know, published research and the like.

I assumed if you were claiming thousands of types of ID, you would have published, peer reviewed material to back up your statements. But you don't - you are quoting from a book.

If you would rather throw out peer reviewed reviewed, published research from major journals and instead start quoting our favorite medical authors as fact, I can do that as well.

KWombles said...

MJ,

A text on the Neurobiology of Autism, backed by thousands of citations, you know, of published, peer-reviewed literature, edited by a pediatric neurologist who specializes in autism. Yeah, that's hardly credible as a source.

If you were coming here armed with legitimate information and arguing against my actual points, I'd be interested in conversing with you. However, you're obviously uninterested in reading my actual arguments and you assume you have greater knowledge than your posts here convey.

I'm going to be honest and admit that I am judging you by the cover and the company you keep.

This statement alone is enough to make a judgment (cumulatively, your responses here are more than adequate for me to choose to not engage you in further dialogue; much like Harold and your other friends):

"I did note that you claimed that "are literally thousands of causes for ID, which means ID isn't one condition", but no offer no evidence for that assertion. I am not aware of ANY medical condition that has "literally thousands" of causes. If you consider cancer, which has multiple forms that effect almost every major organ of the body, there are *only* 500 or so forms of the disease known (and that is an extreme estimate). Yet you are claiming "thousands" of forms of ID."

It's not my fault you're not up on the current literature regarding MCA/MR syndromes.

MJ said...

Hmm, published medical book with thousands of references. Well, I don't know if this one quite reaches to the "thousands", but there are certainly a lot -

http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Course-Autism-Scientific-Physicians/dp/1591810612

but I get the feeling you wouldn't cite that one.

But seriously, do you really think the number of citations has anything to do with the strength of the evidence? Or the author of book? And we are talking about the introduction of the book here.

As for "not being armed with "legitimate information", well, that is certainly in the eye of the beholder and you have already said that you were biased against what I was saying because I was seen associating with the wrong sort of people. Wait, what part of evidence based medicine talks about not associating with non-approved people?

Hmm, that sounds like a value judgement to me. Isn't judging people based on who they are seen talking (or linking) to and not the content of what they say the antithesis of what science is about?

As for not being up on the most recent ID research, you are correct. I am not as familiar with the condition as I am with others. But, a single quote from the introduction of a book notwithstanding, I still find it highly dubious that this author is asserting that there are "thousands" of "causes" of ID and that each is a separate condition, completely unrelated to the others. More importantly, other reputable sources (such as the CDC) do not make mention of there being that many individual forms of the condition.

I suspect that there would be a number of causes, like autism, but that these causes would target a somewhat limited number of pathways (think hundreds at best). Although there are always the corner cases.

This line of argument completely sidesteps the point that ID is still a behaviorally based diagnosis. But then again, you already said that point was not "legitimate information", I guess I have to inform the APA that they are not legitimate.

Joking aside, I suspect that you picked that quote simply because it fit the premise of what you were trying to say and were more concerned with proving Harold wrong than with the reality of the situation.

And I think you addressed that point very well when you said -

"In its own way, this kind of narrow-minded, obsessive need to focus on one thing and conflate it with the other and insist it's one thing and one thing only is just as bad as those who put forth the AoA rhetoric. And it serves none of the individuals who have an intellectual disability or an ASD or both."

Harold has a point in what he writes, as do you. I may not agree that ID is as common in the autism spectrum as Harold asserts (at least in the total population, excluding sub groups), but his overall point is valid - ID exists in a substantial number of children with autism AND that fact tends to be overlooked or ignored. That is a problem that needs to be addressed and not buried.

KWombles said...

MJ,

You decided to view my arguments through the prism of Harold's contentions about what I believe rather than my own words. Seems fair, on my part, to keep in mind where you're coming from, especially given your ample evidence here that you choose to ignore my contentions and instead argue strawmen.

In any case, you certainly prove yet again with your last comment that you didn't read this post or any of the others I wrote on ID and autism.

You accuse me of drawing conclusions that Harold thinks ID and autism are one condition based on his title and a sentence saying they're one condition. Well, duh. That was his point in that post of his.

You deny the introduction of an important and well-respected text that covers briefly undisputed MCA/MR syndrome causes as a way into discussing similarities and overlaps between these and ASDs and place your trust in what you know even though it's not your area of expertise. The introduction of text about the neurology of autism that looks at, initially, the similarities and overlaps between the two, and you have a problem with that. Seriously? Yes, I picked and chose the statement that reflected the current state of knowledge on MCA/MR syndromes to rebut someone who decided to pull his information out of his ass rather than from established, incontroverted evidence-based science. And did you notice, the quote ended with Coleman citing someone? Wow. Go figure, she used peer-reviewed studies in her introduction.

You then engage yet again in a strange need to whip it out and insist yours is bigger. I'm more than happy to concur that indeed yours is if that will help you to decide, as Harold has, to find another way to get that little need out of your system. Perhaps you can giggle while he writes KWibble? That's manly. After all, it was such an insult and so much easier than being factually correct.

And then you lecture me, as if I've ever argued there isn't considerable overlap, when in this article alone I wrote:

What the most recent genetic studies show is that some of the multiple genes involved in complex, previously unidentified causations of both idiopathic (no known cause) autism and ID is an overlap of genes in the two. No one who follows the scientific evidence denies that there is a large overlap of ID and autism; studies show varying degrees of overlap/coexistence.

And later wrote: The CDC's attempts to measure the degree of overlap is important and necessary.

And finished up with: But even more importantly, is research that focuses on helping those living with an ID or an ASD, or both, to live the fullest lives possible, to make as much progress as possible towards independent life skills.

You'll just have to forgive me for taking the combination of all your comments here and concluding you are either essentially a stand-in for Harold to put forth his strawmen or a dumbass, or both. I'm not denying there can be an overlap there. :-)

You, like Harold, have decided to argue strawmen. Frankly, I don't know and I don't care why you demonstrate either an inability to read and comprehend that I'm not arguing there isn't considerable overlap or intentionally ignore that. But, as far as I'm concerned, as long as you choose to be Harold's surrogate in a dispute of his own creation (in that he thinks we're disagreeing on ID and ASD overlap), I have no interest in continuing this conversation.

MJ said...

Wow, what a nice rant. I maybe a giggling, non-manly dumbass, but at least I understand the concept of how to have a civilized conversation without resorting to name calling. Somewhere along the line you seem to have confused intelligence with belittling and arrogance. You do understand that being constantly insulting does nothing except make you look bad, right?

As for "Kwibble", well it does describe your style of argument, at least from what I have seen. You seem to have a habit of quibbling over the little things and ignoring the big picture. An example of this would be your attempt to call me on my use of "ballpark". And I happen to find puns funny - I know this is a personal failing of mine, you can chalk it up there with other failings like associating with the wrong people. Add in a touch of persistent sleep deprivation because the kids don't sleep, and yes, I found it to be funny. And for the record, it was more of a manly chuckle than a "giggle".

But since you seem to have a hard time staying on topic when there are several outstanding issues, lets keep this simple.

I understand that you think that an introduction of a book constitutes some sort of rigorous evidence for your statements. I do get that, so you can stop repeating that it is valid because you think it is valid. I also get that you think this introduction somehow supports your assertion that there are thousands of "causes" of ID and that each cause is somehow a separate condition.

For the sake of argument, lets assume that the book you are quoting is completely 100 percent factual and accurate in every way and constitutes the best that evidence-based medicine has to offer. With that a given, let me ask you this -

Do you think the concept of a "disease entity" is the same as a "cause" and that each and every "disease entity" will have a unique "cause" that is completely distinct from all of the others? Furthermore, you are saying that, contrary to common usage, the different "causes" of ID constitute a separate form of ID that is distinct from the others?

If you care to answer, a simple yes or no will suffice. And do try to refrain from using the following "strawmen", "dumbass", "manly", "giggle", or "whip it out".

KWombles said...

MJ,

I think you're confused. This is my blog. You seem to think that you can make demands here and that I'm under some obligation to kowtow to those demands.

I assure you I feel under no such obligation to someone who switches his arguments on a moment's notice and couldn't be bothered to actually read the post and then refuses to directly address those points when it's made clear he's chasing the wrong dog.

I'm pretty sure I didn't confuse intelligence with arrogance. They can actually go together pretty well. Of course, you can certainly be arrogant without being intelligent. There is that. In fact, some of the most arrogant people out there are the ones who dismiss scientific research because they don't like what the data showed.

I also find that, arrogant as I am, I really don't have a problem with you thinking I am.

Again, I'm not interested in continuing a conversation with someone who obviously isn't interested in discussing what I've actually written.

Accuracy, you see, does matter, whether you or Harold agree or not.

MJ said...

This is most certainly your blog, and you can do whatever you want with it. Since you find my comments so irksome, feel free to delete them. I don't really care as I can always post them on my site if I wanted to preserve the conversation.

I was simply asking questions about what your wrote and you apparently didn't like the questions - or as you called them "demands". You are of course under no obligation to address my questions, or "kowtow" as you put it.

But since you aren't addressing my questions, I have to assume that you are either unwilling or unable to. I suspect that you can't because you know that your position is not defensible.

And for switching arguments, I would challenge you to quote me where you think I did so. I will typically approach a subject from several different angles at once but that is certainly not "switching arguments" nor has my underlying point changed.

As for arrogance and intelligence, you could not be further from the truth. Truly intelligent people are rarely, if ever, arrogant. I hope that someday you have the fortune to meet a really intelligent person (not someone who just thinks they are) and you will see the difference.

Arrogance is also the opposite of what science (and evidence based medicine) is about. Science is about having an open mind, not one that has already decided that it knows that is true.

Regardless, as fun as this has been, I have a bruised ego to nurse and an appointment to do some non-masculine giggling at puns, so unless you care you answer my questions, I am done with this conversation and will leave you to your arrogance.

KWombles said...

Oh, MJ, please, please, leave me to my ignorance, I beg of you. It would be sheer bliss to be left to wallow in it, revel in it. I am only sorry that I could not be edified more fully with the wisdom that drips from each letter you type.

Yes, bait me, tie up my time, pretend that this has been a conversation and that I am simply unable to muster the wit to counter your knife-sharp arguments chock-full of peer-reviewed science.

You win, does that please you? I am overcome by your dazzling brilliance, your awe-inspiring verbage. I am, I assure you, humbled, my arrogance reduced to shambles.

Harold's argument, one you carried forward, was that I deny a considerable overlap between ID and ASDs. I do not.

I'm not incorrect regarding the thousands of causes identified for MCA/MR, many of which have named syndromes, so yes there are multiple syndromes which most lay people are absolutely unaware of (as you've demonstrated). Multiple causes of ASD have been identified. Some of these also have their own named syndromes. Again, multiple disease states (although the disease state is not an ongoing one in most cases).

I'm not interested in conversing with you, either civilly or not, as you appear to have an agenda that is not based on a real desire in discussing information.

So, please, feel free, as has Harold, to not bother to engage me. Oh, I know, Harold still feels comfortable in his tweets and his ever so witty KWibbling. What big and mighty men. Why, I'd almost dare say real men, but having read your last blog post, I can see that perhaps you'd not choose that route.

May you find the edifying and satisfying conversing you desire with your merry band of friends, MJ. I'm certain they're much better company.

signed,
Sincerely,
Kim "Orac in a Skirt" Wombles

KWombles said...

Oh, and I think you're confusing intelligence and wisdom, buddy. That's okay, though. If you hadn't been such an arrogant ass, and thereby proven your whole arrogant/intelligent argument (seemingly), you'd have known that.

Either way, I am thrilled to know I will be left in both my twin arrogance and ignorance. Works for me.

Emily said...

To answer a question posed in one of the comments: Yes, there is a secret handshake. And I would recommend never, ever teaching it to the likes of some of the posters here.

Pseudoscience has clear indicators. It's been parsed a great deal, and it's usually fairly obvious.

Yes, researchers interpret their data. But there are these people called reviewers and editors and readers and such who also vet interpretation. Researchers don't interpret in a vacuum. If they did, their work would suck. Yes...I'm here all day, folks. Tip your waitstaff.