Green our vaccines – the outreach effort

5 Jun

Whilst Team McCarrey were busy wowing the ‘hundreds‘ of people at the Green our vaccines rally yesterday, one face was notably absent from proceedings.

David Kirby was in good old Blighty, enjoying our lovely summer drizzle and grey skies.

Mr. Kirby will speak about recent legal, political and scientific developments in the United States in the ongoing vaccine-autism controversy. The briefing is open to Peers in the House of Lords, Members of Parliament, their Staff, members of the Media, and Invited Guests. It is sponsored by His Lordship Robin Hodgson, Baron Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, Shropshire.

Now, I’ll come clean. David and I had tried to arrange a meet up so we could rage amicably at each other over a huge quantity of alcohol. Unfortunately, as it so often does, life intervened and I had to cancel.

This meant I also couldn’t attend his talks.

However, I could do something. I could ask my MP to formally protest David’s presence in Parliament to brief Lords, Peers and MP’s. Truth be told I was pretty annoyed by this – why is it so easy for a journalist to swan in and command the attention of the government and opposition and yet untold hundreds of autistic people and their families never really get a look in.

My MP was agreeable and did a bit of reading up on the issues David would be talking about in his briefing so he could debate if needed as well as protesting on my behalf.

Turns out that this wasn’t strictly necessary. When my MP reported back to me this morning he told me that David was briefing an audience of one (1) MP (mine, who only attended as I asked him to) and four Lords (one of whom was David’s sponsor I would guess and his cronies). No press attended, aside from a few people/press my MP described as “….obscure journalists who have become consumed by this issue.” so I’m thinking probably oneclickgroup, JABS and various other marginal nobodies.

So, not the most auspicious of presentations. As it turns out though, something of a blessing in disguise – my MP seems quite keen on me getting the chance to present myself which would be interesting.

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20 Responses to “Green our vaccines – the outreach effort”

  1. Broken Link June 5, 2008 at 21:51 #

    I have it on good authority that John Scudamore of http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html and Sheri Nakken were in attendance. They are among the best known anti-vaccine people in the world, and apparently they were there on the invitation of David Kirby himself.

  2. Ms. Clark June 5, 2008 at 21:58 #

    Very interesting. To think he had this miniscule turnout and it included two of the most openly antivaccine people on the planet and they were there at David’s invitation. John Scuadmore’s website includes lots of stuff about how evil the Jews are and how evil the Jesuits are and links to information on how to protect oneself from mind control waves from both aliens and demons (tip: use shiny metal foil thought screen helmets)and how to make “holy hand grenades” which have something to do with preventing thought control from the Illuminati.

    And I understand this whole trip to the UK was funded by various antivax leaning organizations in the US, is that right?

  3. Sharon June 5, 2008 at 22:03 #

    Good one Kevin!

    First you take on the blog world, then you tackle the politicians. Kev for PM! (as they say on ‘Have your say.’)

    It makes me recognise that I too should get in touch with my MP, even though all the MPs here (NI) are more caught up with seeing who are the Most Oppressed People Ever.

  4. Kev June 5, 2008 at 22:32 #

    Holy hand grenade?

    There seems to be several groups who sponsored David’s trip over here. All of them are not keen on vaccines :)

  5. Ms. Clark June 5, 2008 at 22:47 #

    That is the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

    Here are directions on how to make the kind that clears out bad stuff or something.

    www(dot)littlemountainsmudge(dot)com/howtomakehhgs.htm

  6. Kev June 5, 2008 at 22:54 #

    “……..”

    [speechless]

  7. Socrates June 6, 2008 at 16:30 #

    There are three stages of public humiliation i) to be hated, ii) to be ignored, iii) to be ridiculed. Kirby is at stage ii, rapidly heading towards stage iii. I supose it’s justice of sorts… I must tell you about my howitzer of Moab and my spear of Capernaum, sometime.

  8. Rob Hinkley June 6, 2008 at 20:35 #

    I went to Kirby’s lecture on Wednesday evening, and have written it up on the BadScience Forum. The media presence at the lecture is itemised in full below:
    Newspapers: zero.
    Magazines: zero.
    Radio: zero.
    Television: zero.
    Internet: OneClick and AutismOne Radio were recording.

  9. Socrates June 6, 2008 at 20:46 #

    Ow! Bet that stung (It hurts to be ignored. I know). Perhaps he should’ve brought Jenny McBoobies with him? On the other hand, can we draw the conclusion that the UK is less gullable and more informed? Or is it just the journalists? But then isn’t JABS British? I’m sure someone more learned than me will be along shortly to explain.

  10. Sullivan June 6, 2008 at 20:48 #

    All I can say is that we got stuck with Wakefield in the US. The least you guys in the UK could do is make David Kirby feel welcome and try to recruit him over to your side of the Atlantic.

  11. Kev June 6, 2008 at 21:00 #

    Thanks for that Rob, very informative.

    Socrates – JABS is indeed a British group.

  12. Joseph June 6, 2008 at 21:03 #

    Thanks Rob. I found this part of your summary interesting:

    “He contrasted this with the case in favour of a vaccine/autism connection being based on “harder” laboratory studies and toxicology, real diagnoses of actual patients instead of any aggragation of statistics.”

    In other words, it appears that David Kirby believes case reports and in vitro studies are superior to group studies. This is exactly the opposite of reality in evidence-based medicine, where case reports and in vitro studies are considered the least reliable forms of evidence. They are about at the same level as expert opinion and a notch above anecdotes I believe.

  13. Orac June 9, 2008 at 04:28 #

    This is exactly the opposite of reality in evidence-based medicine, where case reports and in vitro studies are considered the least reliable forms of evidence.

    Not exactly. One of the problems with evidence-based medicine is that basic science results tend to be under-emphasized. That’s the reason that modalities that are totally ridiculous a priori from a scientific standpoint (homeopathy and “reiki” for example) keep getting tested in clinical trials. This certainly doesn’t mean that in vitro tests are superior for questions like vaccine safety. They aren’t, and David Kirby’s full of crap if he thinks that throwing thimerosal on neurons in cell culture at high concentrations tells us much of anything about how mercury behaves in the body when injected at the concentrations that used to be used in vaccines. It’s just a little bit of a sore point that the EBM paradigm tends to undervalue basic science by a large degree.

  14. Chris Wright June 9, 2008 at 23:50 #

    Just a brief comment to say thanks for the work you put in on this issue and long may you do so.

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