11/16/2010

The Fallout of Handley's Sullivangate: Looking to Tomorrow and Hope

What's in a name? In an anonymous identity? Some of the richest irony coming out of the deplorable post and comments over at AoA is that anonymous posters are crowing about the supposed outing of Dr. Bonnie Offit as Sullivan, insisting he/she has no right to privacy, all while they remain cloaked in it. Of course, a couple someones/someone over there put out another name for Sullivan, and the AoAers have pounced on it, all while holding the idea that Bonnie Offit still writes as Sullivan. AoAers insist that "She's already trying to diffuse the situation on her blog!"  Apparently, they are referring to LBRB. 


This is, for many reasons, both sad and absurd. While Handley's post was ludicrous and many bloggers pointed out each and every way it was, the comment, like a feeding frenzy, left little to the imagination. How do these fervent believers feel about strangers, doctors they've never met? Well, there are threats galore, aren't there? 


There is glee at what a great job someone has, getting to come up with the photos to accompany posts and all the other things that being a managing editor entail.



There are people acting like mad, foaming-at-the-mouth Romans at the coliseum, intent on watching death and mayhem. Over two doctors, one of whom quietly engages in a pediatric practice, whose husband happens to be the doctor who helped to invent a rotavirus vaccine and who's taken on the mantle of staunch defender of the importance of vaccines in saving the lives of children. That's these two people's mistakes. That's what makes them worth villifying. 

Except it doesn't, and we know it doesn't. Reasonable people cannot in good conscience stand by and support the Age of Autism site. Too many times we've seen AoA call for people to harass individuals they disagree with. They have intentionally allowed comments on that are inflammatory and threatening. 

This is not the behavior of people who support other parents, who support autistic people. You cannot be a disability rights activist and actively call for the harm and harassment of individuals in medical and scientific fields because you don't like their work. Folks over at AoA have crowed, hoping this will silence Sullivan. Wow.

Even at our snarkiest on science-based and skeptic blogs, even at our snarkiest, the bloggers do not call for readers to harass, belittle, and threaten those they disagree with. It's understandable on blogs that are non-moderated that commenters may be boisterous and aggressive, but let us remember that absolutely every comment at AoA is filtered, is seen, read, and approved in order for us to read it. That means either Stagliano herself is responsible for what gets on to the site or the author of the piece. We don't know, because they are unclear about it. But make no mistake, this is Stagliano's day job. It's her job. I don't think I can stress this enough. It's how she makes a living. She's admitted it on the facebook page and she talks about it in her book. 

So when we go to looking at what sites in our autism community actively, intentionally, and with forethought go out of their ways to incite people to aggressive actions and more violent, fringe comments, let's remember that on the skeptic side, we got a few laughs this morning, but we didn't threaten anybody. Did we? We didn't do this:

No, we banded around Sullivan and Dr. Bonnie Offit. Not because we're paid, because the vast majority of us make not a dime from blogging. Not because we're pharma shills and were assigned to by our pharma overlords, but because we're friends with Sullivan, either online or even in the real world, and that's what friends do. They support each other. We recognized a slight against a woman who had done absolutely nothing to deserve some of the things these people are saying about her.


Do not profess to be about hope and acceptance. Do not pretend to represent the autism community and say you're advocates for families and individuals on the spectrum and then engage in this behavior. And do not pretend that you reach beyond the confines of your belief system regarding vaccines and autism when you intentionally signal out a father of a child on the spectrum.


Nearly two years ago, when I entered the online fray that is the edges of the autism community, I was immediately rejected by those at AoA. My role as a mother to three on the spectrum was always dismissed and my position on vaccines the sole criteria for whether I was part of the ingroup. If you do not agree with them on the vaccine issue, do not expect to be treated with respect. It won't happen.


Most people do not exist on the fringes where Age of Autism exists. Most parents who believe that vaccines caused their children's autism are good-hearted, decent human beings who aren't interested in waging war against other parents. They just want to make the world a better place for their children and to help their children overcome their disabilities. They are to be commended. They don't spend time tearing down innocent bystanders like Dr. Bonnie Offit. They spend their time reaching out to other parents, regardless of causation theories. In the real world, in the mainstream autism world, causation isn't nearly as important as what we do now, how we help now.


Lest we think that the AoAers represent most family members, take a minute and go read any of the 240 family member blogs or 109 autism member blogs at the directory. Most of these wonderful people probably missed all of this hoopla. They focused on the things that matter to them and paid no attention to AoA. Why? Because AoA doesn't matter in almost all of our day-to-day lives. And ain't that awesome?


Yes, there is a fringe element in our community that seeks to destroy whatever they can. We laughed today in the face of that. And tomorrow, we who laughed, who wrote, who stood will go about our regular lives, recognizing just how far off the deep end AoA has slipped.


I don't care about what you think caused your child's autism. I care what you want to do about it. I care about if you want to work beside us to make the world a better place for all our children, to offer positive support to other families and individuals. I care about now and how we make this world shine with goodness, with honesty, and with compassion. I care about tomorrow and helping our children find their place in the world. That's hope. That's acceptance. It's time we quit letting folks co-opt words they apparently don't know the meaning of.



34 comments:

Emily said...

As her "job" is editor of a "newspaper," I'm starting to wonder how subject to libel laws they are when they deliberately (and the intent is what matters) malign and impugn these people. They had better watch it, given their purported nature as a "news" outlet. This isn't private opinion--they've made themselves public figures, and they'd better be sure they've got their facts straight. Clearly, they neglected to do this.

Roger Kulp said...

Don't be naive.Facts are the enemy to both AoA,and the movement they represent.

KWombles said...

Roger, I'm not being naive; I'm not talking about the AoAers. The hardcore AoAers are unreachable.

I have several blogging friends and facebook friends who do think vaccines caused their child(ren)'s autism, but that isn't their focus. They aren't stuck in the past. They are focused on the here and now. Those folks who want to focus on helping their kids, being supportive to others, well, I've been working with them for a year now, and I'm going to keep doing so. :-)

kathleen said...

Well done...well said..
You summed it up very well this morning in an email to me-calling it "jumping the shark" That is exactly what it was-this AoA piece was written to get a reaction..kind of like dominos. As more and more people realize that AoA is neither credible nor reputable..they ignore them. Aoa not liking this-put up a piece that they knew would cause a "controversy" because ALL publicity is good publicity. Yes, we had some fun being "Bonnie Offit"..and of course we rallied around a fellow blogger -Sullivan. But looking back on this day I see that we fell into a trap. We fed the frenzy at AoA simply by defending people. Why do we give them so much power?Why mention them-the post today was so ridiculous-that anyone with a rational mind could figure it out. I guess I'm just saying is that they are only as influential as we let them be. It is a site to be ignored..they will in time feed on themselves if we just let them.

MJ said...

Give me a break. You harass and belittle people all of the the time. You have actually called me names.

AoA might have been out of line with their post, but you have no high ground to stand on either.

KWombles said...

Sorry, MJ. I believe I am fresh out of breaks today. As far as I can recollect, I've never gone out of my way to fabricate identities, incomes, actions, or positions for people. I know I've never made any money off of advertising mining chelators on my website. And I've never photoshopped people eating a baby. I don't promulgate hair-brained "theories" or attempt to destroy people's careers or threaten their personhood.

Calling someone a dumbass or an asshat are not all equivalent (nor have I ever just called a name; I have always explained, usually in copious detail why they are). Now I'll admit yesterday, I simply used a screen capture from AoA as an explanatio for calling them batshit crazy, but having written a thorough post pointing out how batshit crazy the post was (oh my, the comments really were, weren't they?), I figured I'd done the work of explanation more than adequately.

If I were inclined to stake a position and argue I had the moral high ground here, I do believe, well, I wouldn't be going under water first. That's not what I did, though.

Science Mom said...

Give me a break. You harass and belittle people all of the the time.

That is a pretty serious allegation MJ. I have never seen KWombles harass anyone and she mostly belittles ideas and not people. Although when someone is heinous enough, consistently enough, I guess they rightly earn an acrimonious moniker. So spare me the Tu Quoque, you either condone or condemn J.B. Handley's post on its own merits (if it can be called that).

MJ said...

KWombles -

So you have never attacked Wakefield or tried to imply that he was a fraud? And before the words "that's different" escape your mouth, no it isn't. Your goals - whatever the reason - where to discredit him and I don't think that you were sad when he lost his license to practice.

When you call someone a "dumbass" or "asshat" or label something "woo", your intention is clearly to belittle or disparage those that you disagree with.

Your actions are similar enough to what AoA did that perhaps you might want to take this opportunity for self-reflection. If you found it distasteful when AoA does it, perhaps you want to stop doing it yourself.


ScienceMom -

First, I do not condone the post at AoA and I said so on my site.

Second, no, it is not a "serious allegation". There are many, many, many things that are far more serious that this.

kathleen said...

As sciencemom so aptly put-kim does not belittle people, she belittles ideas-false science, fake remedies, misrepresented studies. Did she question the science behind Wakefields study? yes. Did she question his ethics? yes. As did the medical board who revoked his license. To try and equate what Kim does to the smear campaign AoA has run on Sullivan and Bonnie Offit is a straw man argument. Kim has never incited hatred. She encourages dialog. The arguments that she makes she backs with credible science. Big difference.

Science Mom said...

So you have never attacked Wakefield or tried to imply that he was a fraud? And before the words "that's different" escape your mouth, no it isn't. Your goals - whatever the reason - where to discredit him and I don't think that you were sad when he lost his license to practice.

Umm, you DO realise, of course that Wakefield has been found to commited fraud and guilty of unethical conduct from both the scientific and medical communities right? And I certainly don't think it was KWombles that had anything to do with that. Why should we be sad that he was struck off the GMC register? He committed egregious transgressions against special needs children and their families. Just because you don't accept that well-established fact, doesn't mean that KWombles or any of his other detractors have discredited him. He did that all by himself.

When you call someone a "dumbass" or "asshat" or label something "woo", your intention is clearly to belittle or disparage those that you disagree with.

You are confusing your own ideology with facts in evidence. And if you would like to provide a specific example of something KWombles has labled as woo or a specific person, an asshat, then I would be happy to explain more thoroughly. I'll even use Venn Diagrams if you like.

Your actions are similar enough to what AoA did that perhaps you might want to take this opportunity for self-reflection. If you found it distasteful when AoA does it, perhaps you want to stop doing it yourself.

Tu Quoque, ad hominem AND strawman. You hit the trifecta of logical fallacies. Has KWombles ever put out a hit piece on an anonymous blogger with whom she disagreed with? Right, that's what I thought. She is one of the few people that makes repeated attempts to reach across the aisle. Some things just are what they are (or aren't) so you might want to take a step back and evaluate where your personal ideology might be affecting your assessment of an individual.

ScienceMom -

First, I do not condone the post at AoA and I said so on my site.


Pretty passive-aggressive if you ask me. It read to me as though you just didn't approve of AoA's method but the targets were just fine.

Second, no, it is not a "serious allegation". There are many, many, many things that are far more serious that this.

When you accuse KWombles (of all people) of stooping to the same vile, contemptible tactics of AoA, then that is pretty serious.

KWombles said...

@kathleen and Science Mom, thank you.


@MJ, Other than taking the opportunity to lash out here, I'm not sure what your point is.

I believe I've been careful to admit my fallibility nor have I suggested I was morally superior to anyone. I've owned that I do indeed, upon occasion, hurl an invective or two. I try to make sure I substantiate it. Sure, the temptation to just yell "dumbass" and be done with the whole thing is tempting, as I'm sure you well know.

Suggesting that there is any sort of moral or ethical equivalency between accusing Bonnie Offit of writing as Sullivan and therefore is being "dishonest and, well, absolutely reprehensible. In fact, I’d even call it disgusting--Offit’s wife is pretending to be one of us!" and then allowing all manner of vile comments to be posted both at facebook and AoA besmirching and targeting an innocent woman and posts in which at worst, after carefully deconstructing an argument, a post, a journal article, I conclude a person is a dumbass or an asshat suggests to me that someone's moral compass is a bit off.

MJ said...

Not to quibble, but...

"Umm, you DO realise, of course that Wakefield has been found to commited fraud and guilty of unethical conduct from both the scientific and medical communities right?"

OK, first of all, the idea that the "scientific" community has found that Wakefield guilty is just pure nonsense. There is no judging entity for the scientific community.

Second, it was not the "medical community" but rather the GMC that found Wakefield violated ethical rules. The GMC is a subset of the medical community in one country and does not speak for the community as a whole.

Third, both of those points - and Wakefield's guilt - are completely irrelevant to the comment I was responding to. The comment was -

"I don't promulgate hair-brained "theories" or attempt to destroy people's careers or threaten their personhood."

And that statement was false. She has attacked Wakefield and I doubt she did it to further his career.

"You are confusing your own ideology with facts in evidence."

You will have to explain how my belief that calling something "woo" or calling a person a dumbass or asshat is derogatory is an ideology. If you looked up those terms in the appropriate dictionary, I think you would find those terms are meant to be insulting or belittling.

"I'll even use Venn Diagrams if you like."

Speaking of attempts to belittle.

"Some things just are what they are (or aren't) so you might want to take a step back and evaluate where your personal ideology might be affecting your assessment of an individual."

So what, exactly, is my ideology that is impacting my ability to be able to form an educated opinion? Please, enlighten me.

"Pretty passive-aggressive if you ask me. It read to me as though you just didn't approve of AoA's method but the targets were just fine"

Guilty as charged. When someone willingly takes part in something like this -

http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=3144

I tend to lose all sympathy for them when something similar happens to them.

"When you accuse KWombles (of all people) of stooping to the same vile, contemptible tactics of AoA, then that is pretty serious."

You are certainly entitled to your opinion.

MJ said...

"Other than taking the opportunity to lash out here, I'm not sure what your point is. "

Strangely, I have better things to do with my time than go trolling on the internet. You can always safely assume that if I leave a comment that I had a reason other than "lashing out".

"after carefully deconstructing an argument, a post, a journal article, I conclude a person is a dumbass or an asshat suggests to me that someone's moral compass is a bit off. "

Do you understand the difference between attacking the idea and attacking the person? AoA's crime was that they crossed the line and not only attacked the idea but the person behind the idea.

You can deconstruct all the arguments all you want, but as soon as you hurl insults at the person behind the idea - such as by calling them a dumbass - you have done the exact same thing that AoA did. You attacked the person and not the idea.

kathleen said...

You know the Brittany Spears song "Oops I did it again"? Well I'm being reminded of that...going back to the first comment I made on this post..human nature..*sigh* we are so damn predictable..

Joseph said...

"AoA's crime was that they crossed the line and not only attacked the idea but the person behind the idea."

It's worse than that. There's really not much of a problem in saying "This guy is wrong for these reasons, and therefore I conclude he's an ass-hat." That's not an ad-hominem argument.

AoA did not attack an idea at all. They didn't even attack someone's character. They just fabricated a story about someone, based on ridiculous circumstantial evidence that not even they probably believe, in order to discredit the person, and in order to feed the conspiracist paranoia of their regulars.

KWombles said...

MJ, I stand corrected. I can clearly see now that your way is the way to handle things: "Regardless, I have to say that while I won't agree with Sullivan on much, s/he does not deserve this type of treatment. I don't care if "Sullivan" is a humble father, Dr. Bonnie Offit, or a gaggle of evil pharmaceutical shills, it is not acceptable to attack the person. So, Age of Autism, I think you owe "Sullivan" - whoever he/she/they might be - an apology. Let the poor guy have his anonymity so he can continue to spread ignorance in peace." is so much better; the indirect way of accusing someone of being part of a "gaggle of evil pharmaceutical shills" who "spread ignorance." That is so much more substantive and a veritable fount of evidence.

I'll work harder at it so that I, too, can promote peace and love and passive-aggressive non-substantive posts.

Thanks! I'm just so embarassed to realize that all this time I was operating at a moral threshold so far removed from yours.

The attack, filled with fabricated evidence, as Joseph pointed out, involved two people. You've focused on the idea that Handley's main dig was at Sullivan, but it seems clear, especially since the skeptic bloggers(team Offit to your team Wakefield, since the folks who believe autism is caused by vaccines has chosen Wakefield as their paladin) chose to write posts claiming we were each Bonnie Offit, that the real target was Offit.

The real smear was at Bonnie Offit and nowhere in your post do you acknowledge this. She is owed an apology for the heinous slurs hurled her way as is Sullivan for the nastiness directed at him.

This goes far beyond deconstucting an argument and concluding someone is a dumbass because of these particular reasons. And again, I never claimed moral high ground.

Obviously, you do believe in naming and categorizing things based on characteristics and traits, "evil pharmaceutical shills," so I suppose I continue to miss your point and how it relates to the content of my post. Perhaps that's because you did not respond to the content of my post at all.

Hmmm, perhaps I need to dig up that post that's out there on trolls again?

Science Mom said...

OK, first of all, the idea that the "scientific" community has found that Wakefield guilty is just pure nonsense. There is no judging entity for the scientific community.

No, you are wrong there. It's not in the judicial sense, the word 'guilty' extends beyond that you know. Wakefield has had 3 papers retracted (to date). His work has been utterly refuted by independent investigations and discovered to be worthless and even fraudulently obtained by numerous experts during the OAP. He has been struck off the GMC register for numerous ethical violations. Hence he and his work are viewed as fraudulent and guilty by the scientific and medical communities.

Second, it was not the "medical community" but rather the GMC that found Wakefield violated ethical rules. The GMC is a subset of the medical community in one country and does not speak for the community as a whole.

He cannot practise medicine anywhere and he is no longer accepted as a viable member of the medical community. Save for a few fringe sycophants. You seem rather desperate to cling to some belief that Wakefield is anything but a fraud and a liar and has been proven to be such.

Third, both of those points - and Wakefield's guilt - are completely irrelevant to the comment I was responding to. The comment was -

"I don't promulgate hair-brained "theories" or attempt to destroy people's careers or threaten their personhood."

And that statement was false. She has attacked Wakefield and I doubt she did it to further his career.


No, Wakefield's guilt is most certainly central to that point since KWombles had nothing to do with his unethical behaviour, nor uncovering that. She is reporting on facts in evidence and adding some personal opinion about his unsavoury character, so what. His career was over long before, it's too bad you can't seem to get over it.

You will have to explain how my belief that calling something "woo" or calling a person a dumbass or asshat is derogatory is an ideology. If you looked up those terms in the appropriate dictionary, I think you would find those terms are meant to be insulting or belittling.

You missed the point. It is because you disagree with her assessments of biomed or a particular person that you are enamoured with. She also qualifies her reasoning for concluding that something is woo or someone is an asshat, not just gratuitously throwing it out there. And taking a peek at your blog, I doubt you are in any position to cast stones on that front. Particularly when you just go straight for attacking the messenger.

So what, exactly, is my ideology that is impacting my ability to be able to form an educated opinion? Please, enlighten me.

You have your own belief system and like it or not, is not rooted in any scientific evidence. You have continued to liken KWombles occasional use of pejoratives to AoA's sick smear campaign on that basis alone, i.e. you don't agree with her.

Guilty as charged. When someone willingly takes part in something like this -

http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=3144

I tend to lose all sympathy for them when something similar happens to them.


You just emphasised my point rather well here. You simply don't like the message because it is part of your ideology. That post is, in no way, a comparison to the many fabricated hit pieces AoA has done. That LB/RB blogger changed the names of those he was writing about and the point was to highlight some of the extreme measures that some are driven to to 'cure' their children. Again, you may not like it but it doesn't exonerate, justify nor excuse AoA's actions. It's really too bad that you cannot see the disparities here but that's what happens when one becomes so wedded to a particular belief.

MJ said...

Joseph,

I did not say ad-hominem argument, I said personal attack. As in an attack on the attributes or character of the person.

For example, the following is an (simplistic) ad-hominem argument "that person is a dumbass therefore their statements are crap".

I am not talking about statements like that but rather statements like "that argument is bogus therefore that person is a dumbass".

These are two different statements.

KWombles,

If you can't even recognize the sarcasm in my use of the phrase "gaggle of evil pharmaceutical shills" then there isn't much hope for you.

KWombles said...

Oh (back of hand across forehead, vapors coming on), MJ, mortally wounded am I by your words. So, personal attacks by inference ("no hope for me"), are fine. And I see, as long as names are offered sarcastically, that's perfectly acceptable. Got it! Thanks! Shew, I tell you, where would I be without someone like you to set me straight? I despair at the thought of how completely clueless I would be without your overwhelming wisdom to help me correct my course.

Rest assured, I would never dream of referring to some obscure, anonymous blogger belonging to Handley's posse in terms like he chose to refer to those of us who wrote on Bonnie Offit and Sullivan's behalf: "One of the more enjoyable parts of kicking the hornet's nest is watching the Keyboard Courage Club, aka anonymous bloggers, all get together to defend one of their own. It's a society of chicken-shits. The more I read Sullivan's posts, the more I hope, for Sullivan's sake, this is really Bonnie Offit. Otherwise, "Sully", you have got yerself a creepy case of hero worship."

Dude, you are that anonymous blogger, right, since you totally said Handley owed Sullivan an apology? Make sure to get that cool button I made for all of us proud members of the chicken shit society. I mean, yeah, it does kinda lessen the cred and prestige of the club since you were like one of three actually anonymous bloggers, but hey, I'm an inclusive kind of gal, and gosh, you know, hugs and welcome! :-) I just know we'll become best friends like forever with all the visiting you're doing here!

MJ said...

ScienceMom,

"It's not in the judicial sense, the word 'guilty' extends beyond that you know."

You said - "has been found to commited fraud and guilty of unethical conduct from both the scientific and medical communities"

Now, ignoring the bad grammar, the phrase "has been found" when combined with the concepts of "guilty" and "committed fraud" and the idea of two different group strongly suggests that you were implying that a judgement was involved. Hence my response.

But now you are saying something different in that specific journals have retracted his papers and several independent investigations have not been able to replicate his work. You are also now changing the judgement of the "medical community" into he no longer has a license to practice medicine.

These are very different assertions. I would agree with your revised statements but not your initial one.

"You seem rather desperate to cling to some belief that Wakefield is anything but a fraud and a liar and has been proven to be such"

Where exactly did I say that? Please quote my exact words.

"She is reporting on facts in evidence and adding some personal opinion about his unsavoury character, so what."

Look at the second part of that sentence, that is exactly what I am talking about. You cannot try to claim the high ground while at the same time doing the exact same thing that you are complaining about.

"His career was over long before, it's too bad you can't seem to get over it."

Again, where did I say that?

"She also qualifies her reasoning for concluding that something is woo or someone is an asshat, not just gratuitously throwing it out there."

So it is alright to belittle someone if you think that they deserve it? If you think that then what exactly do you think that AoA did wrong? They clearly believe they are in the right, so by your own reasoning, they did nothing wrong.

"You have your own belief system and like it or not, is not rooted in any scientific evidence."

Everybody has their own belief system and you have no clue what mine is rooted in.

"You simply don't like the message because it is part of your ideology."

No, you miss the point that stalking someone and posting an account of it online is far beyond questioning someone's identity. Changing the person's name does not mean that the stalking didn't happen. You seem willing to forgive the offense because it fits your ideology.

"It's really too bad that you cannot see the disparities here but that's what happens when one becomes so wedded to a particular belief. "

Pot, kettle, black.

MJ said...

"So, personal attacks by inference ("no hope for me"), are fine."

I never made silly statements about not belittling people. But for the most part, no, I don't go in for name calling.

"And I see, as long as names are offered sarcastically, that's perfectly acceptable."

And you are still missing the point. Here's a hint, the sarcasm wasn't directed at Sullivan.

"Rest assured, I would never dream of referring to some obscure, anonymous blogger belonging to Handley's posse"

I have no clue what you are talking about.

"Dude, you are that anonymous blogger, right, since you totally said Handley owed Sullivan an apology"

Uhm, no.

KWombles said...

Let me borrow Teresa Conrick's comment: "If it's 'completely baseless' Daniel, why did you feel the need to venture over here at all? If it has no merit why waste your time?"

But let me tweak it some:If I am without hope, why bother? I'm open to evidence, but you lost me completely when you tried to assert that me calling someone a dumbass was the moral equivalent of what Handley et al. choose to engage in on a frequent basis.

And I have to echo Science Mom, glass houses and all; you do engage in attacking the person, and since you seem to think that's teh horrible ebeel that you must go around and concern troll about, perhaps you'd best go back to your own house and clean up shop. Or not. I don't really care what you do on your blog. I don't care what names you call. See, I just flat out don't care.

You've changed your point here in the comments sufficiently now that perhaps you're lost as well.

I get it, you don't like me. You didn't like me when you first read me because you're all buddy buddy with other people who don't like me. And you really didn't like me after I suggested you just might be a dumbass. I'm so sorry you were offended by that. I completely take it back and I totally get how awful it was to suggest that paragraph after paragraph of distortions, bobs, weaves and otherwise meaningless wordy jargon might indicate that. I promise I will never, ever again suggest you might be a dumbass. It was terribly insensitive of me.

I gave you Handley's quote in the last comment. Anyone who wasn't with Handley was a member of the society of chicken shits. You said he owed Sullivan an apology. You are anonymous. Ergo, you are a member of the society of chicken-shits with the rest of us non-anonymous bloggers! And that makes us buddies, right?

Your BFF,

Kim

MJ said...

"you lost me completely when you tried to assert that me calling someone a dumbass was the moral equivalent of what Handley et al. choose to engage in on a frequent basis."

No, I said that there wasn't much difference between what AoA did in attacking Sullivan and what you do in belittling people on a regular basis. If you want to talk about glass houses, well, look around.

"you do engage in attacking the person"

Go ahead and point out where I call people "dumbass" or asshat or "attack" people. I may be sarcastic but I typically stop far short of attacking people. Ideas, yes, people no.

"You've changed your point here in the comments sufficiently now that perhaps you're lost as well."

Strangely, no I haven't.

"You didn't like me when you first read me because you're all buddy buddy with other people who don't like me. "

No, I disagreed with what you were suggesting.

"And you really didn't like me after I suggested you just might be a dumbass. "

Just like you call everyone who disagrees with you. But I seem to remember something about evidence and science and not belittling mentioned earlier?

"I gave you Handley's quote in the last comment."

And what does that have to do with what I was saying?

KWombles said...

Aww, MJ, you're gonna make me certain we're not going to be best buds, especially since you're not really responding to the things put forth.

Listen, you're locked into your position, and that's fine. As far as you're concerned, we're all bad guys. Whatever. And you're morally superior. Plus, you've decided if you use sarcasm that's all good, but if anyone else does, for shame. I already admitted I wasn't perfect. Never pretended to be. Admitted I wasn't morally superior or better than anyone. If it makes you happy to come here and spout your concern trolling, good for you.

You have nothing substantive to add here and our exchanges cannot be considered conversations, dialogues, or debates, as it appears we disagree on simple things like definitions. And contrary to your assertions, I do not call everyone who disagrees with me a dumbass. And I only do so with serious forethought. It's tremendously easy to call names and a damn sight quicker to do that and be done.

I don't call the vast majority of the people who disagree with me names. And honestly, how would you know? If you weren't so dead set on proving your preconceived expectations, you wouldn't keep harping on this in a post in which I discussed that I have many friends with whom I disagree and we get along well. I don't mock them, disparage them or call them dumbasses. I consider them my friends and I appreciate them and their companionship along this journey.


It appears you (a) are completely victim here to disconfirmation bias, (b) you have a reading comprehension problem, and/or (c) have an axe to grind and decided to twist off here. Whichever it is, I really don't care.

Consider this, have I engaged in an all out concern trolling on your blog pointing out that you completely ignore (and continue to) how horribly wronged Dr. Bonnie Offit is despite repeated prompts regarding your failure to mention her? No, I haven't. Nor will I. In fact, you can rest comfortably assured that I have absolutely no intention of frequenting your blog or commenting there.

You first came over to this blog this summer to rub your perceived superiority in my nose; did it feel good? You ignored the content of my post and instead acted upon the information your best bud fed you. You didn't actually read my post (or posts). You came in negatively biased and stayed that way.

What did you expect, that I'd roll over and thank you for pointing out how horribly wrong I was? Especially when it was a review of the literature on intellectual disability and autism and was a fair and accurate rendering of that literature?

You come back here to do yet the same sort of thing. You don't actually address my arguments; you vent and spew and insist that I'm as bad as them. Good for you. Feel better?

You're either intentionally obtuse on the Handley thing or, again, not reading. Handley thinks anyone who wrote in favor of Sullivan is anonymous (you are) and a chicken-shit. See, he name called anyone who disagreed with him. They turned on Craig, too, did you see? Guess he's a member of our club, too.

Whatever your deal is, on any of it, I don't really care. Since you're just here to try to win, consider yourself the winner, job well done, and move on, content that you really showed all of us!

Emily said...

I can't figure out why they call themselves "Age of Autism." I read through a few of their recent posts, and there's very, very little there to help anyone who's got a child with autism or an autistic person. It's mostly about vaccines and mercury. They should just call it "Age of the Antivaxxers" and get it over with. The use of the word "autism" is incredibly misleading at this point.

MJ said...

Wow, nice rant. You feel better?

I have to admit that I do get a kick out of it every time someone who disagrees with me suggests I have a reading comprehension problem. Is that in the standard "skeptic" book of plays?

Skeptic's Handbook Section 10, paragraph A, subsection 3 -

If badgering the person and trying to make them feel stupid doesn't work, tell them they have reading comprehension problems.

As for this summer, we will have to agree to disagree that your post was a "review of the literature on intellectual disability and autism and was a fair and accurate rendering of that literature". Because personally, I would call parts of it misinterpreting the introduction chapter of a book. But, hey, whatever floats your boat.

As for Dr. Bonnie Offit, I might have to agree with you. But it isn't really relevant to the point I was trying to make here and I don't like to digress.

As for statements like "in fact, you can rest comfortably assured that I have absolutely no intention of frequenting your blog or commenting there", I can only say, so what? I really couldn't care less if you read it or don't.

I do, however, find it interesting that you constantly use lines like "You first came over to this blog this summer to rub your perceived superiority in my nose" while at the same time trying to make other people feel inferior. I believe you are the one with the psych degree, so maybe you could explain to me what that means.

KWombles said...

MJ,

We're done. Thanks for playing. :-)

Joseph said...

"No, I said that there wasn't much difference between what AoA did in attacking Sullivan and what you do in belittling people on a regular basis."

I want to emphasize, once again, that MJ doesn't get it. The same goes to anyone who's said the problem is that AoA "attacked the person." I've seen several people (mainly AoA sympathizers) characterize it this way.

Personal attacks occur all the time in blogs. It goes with the territory. This is not what AoA did in this case.

It wasn't even an "outing", which would be bad enough. It's simply wrong to post people's private information on the internet, without their explicit permission. (AoA often does this, and it allows its regulars to post private information in comments.)

It was nothing but a groundless, fabricated accusation. Are we in agreement on this?

Now, I will point out that something like this did occur in LB/RB, when David Brown claimed someone had forged a document. (He didn't say it was AoA, but it was reasonable to take it that way.)

I and others immediately questioned David about this when it happened. Ultimately, LB/RB posted a correction, and David no longer writes for LB/RB.

What is AoA doing to correct such as serious mistake?

Science Mom said...

"It's not in the judicial sense, the word 'guilty' extends beyond that you know."

You said - "has been found to commited fraud and guilty of unethical conduct from both the scientific and medical communities"

Now, ignoring the bad grammar, the phrase "has been found" when combined with the concepts of "guilty" and "committed fraud" and the idea of two different group strongly suggests that you were implying that a judgement was involved. Hence my response.


My grammar is just fine, you really do have a reading comprehension problem (per my playbook ;)). If I had meant in a court of law, I would have stated that. Guilt may be ascertained by numerous venues you know.
guilt:
–noun
1.
the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.
2.
a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
3.
conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.

But now you are saying something different in that specific journals have retracted his papers and several independent investigations have not been able to replicate his work. You are also now changing the judgement of the "medical community" into he no longer has a license to practice medicine.

These are very different assertions. I would agree with your revised statements but not your initial one.


No, they are not different assertions, that is in your mind alone. I simply provided supporting information since you seemed so confused by the word 'guilty' and that it actually could have an application outside a court of law. He is guilty of being a fraud, liar and unethical by both scientific and medical communities. He is no longer welcome to participate in them.

SM: "You seem rather desperate to cling to some belief that Wakefield is anything but a fraud and a liar and has been proven to be such"

MJ: Where exactly did I say that? Please quote my exact words.


You mean here?:

"So you have never attacked Wakefield or tried to imply that he was a fraud? And before the words "that's different" escape your mouth, no it isn't. Your goals - whatever the reason - where to discredit him and I don't think that you were sad when he lost his license to practice.

Imply he was a fraud? Really? Have you not read any of the OAP or GMC transcripts? No implication is necessary, he IS a fraud. Anyone who would use your syntax is clearly still in the Wakefield supporter camp. Otherwise, why invoke him at all as an example of skewering an innocent?

Look at the second part of that sentence, that is exactly what I am talking about. You cannot try to claim the high ground while at the same time doing the exact same thing that you are complaining about.

You are performing some tortuous ethical gymnastics there. A.)No one (except you) is claiming moral superiority. That is a strawman you chose to construct to dodge the real issue at hand. And B.)Examining an issue and coming to the conclusion that someone is an asshat or something is woo is not a comparison to the flat-out, wholly unsubstantiated character assault and fabrications (I am comfortable with lies) woven to justify such an assault. You really can't get the level of incongruity here?

J.B. Handley is threatened by Sullivan's information; it's really that simple. Anyone with a shred of decency and intelligence would take a run at rebutting his information first. They (AoA'ers) haven't been even remotely successful at outing and/or harassing bloggers who have written unfavourable pieces on them, so they keep going down the line and getting increasingly frenzied in their assaults.

Science Mom said...

SM: "His career was over long before, it's too bad you can't seem to get over it."

MJ: Again, where did I say that?


See above. No reason to invoke him in the manner you did if you accept his demise.

"She also qualifies her reasoning for concluding that something is woo or someone is an asshat, not just gratuitously throwing it out there."

So it is alright to belittle someone if you think that they deserve it? If you think that then what exactly do you think that AoA did wrong? They clearly believe they are in the right, so by your own reasoning, they did nothing wrong.


After examination of an issue, substantive address of said issue and one wishes to qualify the author as [insert pejorative here], it is a matter of one's opinion. I don't have a problem with that; it's discrediting the argument along with the author. I do have a problem with skipping the first two and simply going for the ad hominem with the express intent to discredit someone, without even attempting to discredit the argument.

Again, because you approve of AoA's target(s), Sullivan and Bonnie Offit, you can't seem to see the distinction. You just seem to have a tepid problem with the method. And my guess is that even you know it makes your 'community' look off the rails. And you rely upon that sense of community.

SM: "You have your own belief system and like it or not, is not rooted in any scientific evidence."

MJ: Everybody has their own belief system and you have no clue what mine is rooted in.


Believe it or not, you aren't that unique or original. "Vaccines cause autism (but I'm sure you don't believe that is the only cause) and everyone should be allowed to pursue their own course of 'treatment' for their child no matter what that is." That's in our playbook too ;)

SM: "You simply don't like the message because it is part of your ideology."

MJ: No, you miss the point that stalking someone and posting an account of it online is far beyond questioning someone's identity. Changing the person's name does not mean that the stalking didn't happen. You seem willing to forgive the offense because it fits your ideology.


You need to believe that LB/RB, for whom Sullivan writes for has committed an equally egregious offence as AoA has. Otherwise, you can't justify this attack. But let's look at some obvious differences (and why I believe your ideology clouds any objectivity). The author of that post didn't stalk with the intent of causing harm, J.B. Handley did. The author of the LB/RB post wrote with compassion and with the proposition of underscoring the extreme (possibly even standard) use of untested, potentially dangerous use of 'biomed' for 'curing' an autistic child, for years on end, all with publicly-available information, straight from the horse's mouth. J.B. Handley launched a straight-up assault on two people for no other reason than to assail their characters because his wittle feewings were hurt. If you really can't see the difference here, then I can't help you out of your dissonance.

Evil Possum said...

Joseph,
I am very amused by the contrast between AoA's reaction to my dispute of a document they reposted and the fantasy they were willing to take from JB. I find it even more amusing that JB put so much confidence in his ability to learn about an author, while I was very emphatic that even professionals are very cautious (if not pessimistic) about trying to identify the author of a forged document.

MJ said...

Science Mom,

Hmm, "has been found to commited fraud?", you don't think that should read "has been found to have committed fraud"?

And speaking of reading comprehension issues, you said "guilty" - not "guilt". As in "has been found [...] guilty of unethical conduct". "Guilty" is an adjective, not a noun, and means -

guilt·y
–adjective, guilt·i·er, guilt·i·est.
1. having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty; culpable: The jury found her guilty of murder.
2. characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guilty intent.
3. having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined: a guilty conscience.

And the first meaning fits in quite well with what you said

"Imply he was a fraud?"

The "tried to imply" refer back to the subject of the sentence (KWombles in this context). Since many of these posts were from before the verdict, I would think that "imply" would be fitting. But, if you would rather, you can change that part of my sentence to "never attacked Wakefield or said that he was a fraud".

"Anyone who would use your syntax is clearly still in the Wakefield supporter camp."

I think you are reading just a touch too much into the use of one word.

"Otherwise, why invoke him at all as an example of skewering an innocent?"

And that wasn't what he was an example of, go read my comments again and I think it is clear what I was responding to. I certainly never said that I thought he was an innocent.

"No one (except you) is claiming moral superiority. That is a strawman you chose to construct to dodge the real issue at hand."

Hmm, what do you call this?

"Even at our snarkiest on science-based and skeptic blogs, even at our snarkiest, the bloggers do not call for readers to harass, belittle, and threaten those they disagree with."

or this

"Do not profess to be about hope and acceptance. Do not pretend to represent the autism community and say you're advocates for families and individuals on the spectrum and then engage in this behavior. And do not pretend that you reach beyond the confines of your belief system regarding vaccines and autism when you intentionally signal out a father of a child on the spectrum."

I seem to be detect just the faintest odor of self-righteous in these statements. And, since you think it is appropriate to belittle someone you disagree with and you clearly are a reader here, I have to wonder at the veracity of the first statement.

"J.B. Handley is threatened by Sullivan's information; it's really that simple."

If you say so.

MJ said...

"They (AoA'ers) haven't been even remotely successful at outing and/or harassing bloggers who have written unfavourable pieces on them,"

LBRB has been forced to remove material and apologize to AoA - twice. And, if I am remembering correctly, the first time the site had to go back retroactively and delete a lot of historical material.

"After examination of an issue, substantive address of said issue and one wishes to qualify the author as ..."

There you and I will have to agree to disagree.

"And my guess is that even you know it makes your 'community' look off the rails. And you rely upon that sense of community."

My "community" that I "rely" on? Now that is funny. You haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about.

"Believe it or not, you aren't that unique or original. "Vaccines cause autism (but I'm sure you don't believe that is the only cause) and everyone should be allowed to pursue their own course of 'treatment' for their child no matter what that is.""

Never claimed to be unique and you missed completely on the rest. Rather badly I might add. How's that straw taste?

"You need to believe that LB/RB, for whom Sullivan writes for has committed an equally egregious offence as AoA has."

Go talk to the person that the piece was written about and see how egregious it was for her.

"Otherwise, you can't justify this attack."

I thought I was quite clear about that.

"The author of that post didn't stalk with the intent of causing harm, J.B. Handley did."

So it is ok to stalk if the intent isn't to cause harm? That is quite an interesting position.

"The author of the LB/RB post wrote with compassion and with the proposition of underscoring the extreme..."

Bullshit.

Science Mom said...

MJ, you aren't even coherent any more, not that you had much going to begin with. And you are a bullshit artist to boot. I have politely and patiently provided rather compelling explanations for the dichotomy under discussion. And you choose to try and make your argument with a freakin 'y'. I know your type and sadly for you, you think you are more clever than the average AoA mouth-breather, but you really aren't.