What would you expect if you gave $1,500 to an “autism” charity

22 Nov

If you do a Google search for SafeMinds the link you get says “SafeMinds Autism Mercury Thimerosal”. SafeMinds considers itself to be a part of the “Autism Collaboration” (which, as far as I can tell, is the group that is supporting Andrew Wakefield now that he has lost his job with Thoughful House). A member of SafeMinds holds a chair on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

So I think it safe to say that they pitch themselves as an autism charity. If you were to donate, say, $1,560, would you expect some or all of that money to go towards something that might help the autism community?

Well, if you had paid for the the Pass the Popcorn but HOLD THE MERCURY! Safeminds Theatre PSA Campaign that SafeMinds recently put on, you would be mistaken. The campaign was an effort to raise money to put this public service announcement (PSA) into theaters this week.

You can find details, where else, on the Age of Autism blog. If you go there, you will see that three people donated at the $1,560 level, each such donation would put the PSA on 25 screens all week in New York or Los Angeles. Many others donated at lower levels.

The Age of Autism had another fund-raiser recently. That story was met with skepticism even though it was, I have been told, supported by Andrew Wakefield himself. The fundraiser was for legal aide for an autism family. So far, about $1800: enough to put the PSA on a little more than 25 screens. None of the prominent “editors” of the Age of Autism blog came forward in support.

SafeMinds. Age of Autism. At least you know what their priorities are. Autism isn’t number 1, vaccines are.

One might respond that to SafeMinds (and Age of Autism), vaccines and autism are not separate issues. They still subscribe to the idea that thimerosal in vaccines caused an autism epidemic. That by preventing thimerosal containing vaccines being given to infants and pregnant women is, in their view, preventing autism.

To that I answer: why spend money putting the PSA on screens in Los Angeles? In 2006, California law prohibited administering thimerosal containing vaccines to children under 3 and to women who are pregnant. Yeah, they are warning pregnant women and parents of young children against—something they aren’t going to get anyway. But that doesn’t stop SafeMinds from putting an image of a syringe next to big puddles of mercury in front of families.

addendum: it appears that at least one theater chain said no to the PSA.

174 Responses to “What would you expect if you gave $1,500 to an “autism” charity”

  1. stanley seigler December 3, 2010 at 07:29 #

    [gf say] Again, prove that Dr. Offit is lying…I have been directly quoting Mr. Chemist from this very thread, please don’t accuse me of lying in a way that is so stupidly false.

    oh my sigh…more confirmation some LBRB posters play with themselves. you attribute statements/implications to me that i never made nor implied. i never said nor implied offit was lying…neither did i say/imply you were lying stupidly or otherwise.

    i did say and you proved you attribute statement/implications to me that i never made nor implied.

    then you demand i prove statements/implications i never made nor implied. again i never said offit or you lied.

    i did make the analogy to the mistakes of tobacco, BP and manufacturers of asbestos products’ tech staffs (drs and scientists)…there is the possibility offit is wrong.

    also posted the following to indicate that possibility:

    for the true believer pseudo scientist (PS) who KNOWs there is NO link to consider:

    do you ever have a thought there may be a link…research makes long held “truths” untrue… eg, the sun revolves around a flat earth and a lil more recent:

    Researchers discovered microbes that are able to subsist almost entirely on arsenic, a finding that may be the first exception to the formula long thought to govern the basic chemistry of life.

    stanley seigler

  2. Chris December 3, 2010 at 08:37 #

    Mr. Seigler, The topic of this article was the disparity between the donations to the Arizona family and playing of SafeMinds very inaccurate video in movie theaters. It seemed you were straying as far off target as Mr. Fryer. It has nothing to do with recently discovered bacteria.

    You have been asked if you donated to the Arizona family more than once. Please answer. Here is the paragraph, again, from the article you are commenting on:

    The Age of Autism had another fund-raiser recently. That story was met with skepticism even though it was, I have been told, supported by Andrew Wakefield himself. The fundraiser was for legal aide for an autism family. So far, about $1800: enough to put the PSA on a little more than 25 screens. None of the prominent “editors” of the Age of Autism blog came forward in support.

  3. John Fryer Chemist December 3, 2010 at 11:23 #

    To all

    The discussions here are not on topic and I have already recommended the EOH site where all sensible comments and learning are welcome.

    We need to learn and stop squabbling as the health of the world and even the well being of the world are at stake.

    People accuse me of statements without corroboration and to advance science someone has to push the barriers forward.

    The subject of lead is not unrelated to that of mercury – the point of this thread – and I commend people to look at the personal attacks made on Needleman who did actually work with Landrigan and many of those who attacked him.

    As in the mercury debate those seeking to protect a neurotoxin and carcinogen may look silly or may get their way.

    Lead has long been a metal to take down children, men and even civilisations.

    Mercury is more toxic in every sense than lead and is quietly taking down nations and the world while we rant and rave over why we inject 87 times the KNOWN toxic limit of mercury into babies AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.

    If you have an industry agenda or government agenda then I can understand why you fight here to defend or chose not to answer MY questions on why we poison children time and again.

    Today it has been taken back to the womb where WE KNOW the consequences of thimerosal injections.

    My own reasoning for this in fighting when we can be working to stop autism is

    lack of knowledge

    incessant demands for where is the proof; isnt the fact that one million healthy babies die for no good reason and tens of millions get autism good enough. We are not world class scientists like Needleman or even those that take the almighty dollar like Doll but we can have an input if we are sensible and stop being RUDE to each other.

    and other reasons left to your imaginations

  4. stanley seigler December 3, 2010 at 12:16 #

    [Julian Frost say] The attacks on John Fryer “Chemist” are not ad homs. An ad hominem is “you’re stupid, therefore your argument is wrong”.

    perhaps you also believe the listed excerpts are, “not a personal attack, but a sincere concern”

    i see the excerpts as ad homs per this definition: argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise…also called personal abuse or personal attacks usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate his or her argument…

    stanley seigler


    Will someone at SafeMinds or AoA eventually be able to understand the evidence

    They’re out to incite hatred. They’re out to scare people.

    we will assume you just made it up. Just like the rest of your rant

    Do you have a neurological problem that affects your memory?

    Mr. Fryer suffers from some kind of neurological condition…he does not understand what he reads…he would not know truth if it bit him on his posterior…Whatever, no one should believe in what Mr. Fryer writes.

    You really are confused. Why don’t you read peer-reviewed articles THEN post?

    have you crossed that point where your brain has fallen out?

    Maybe you did not pull them out of your rear, or you are Fryer the Pathological Liar. You may actually have some neurological disorder that distorts everything you read. Some kind of delusional psychosis.

    Mr. Fryer (Mad Chemist) claims…

    assuming that he means anything at all…he seems incapable of understanding the concept of supporting data.

    Ah, I see that Mr Fryer is still on his Gish Gallop…Again, you must be a very poor chemist

    JFC, do you have something coherent to say that you can articulate in a coherent way and/or that actually corresponds with reality?

    That’s pretty stupid, particularly coming from an alleged chemist

    Mr. Fryer, you need some serious help. Please go to the nearest outpatient psychiatric facility and request an evaluation.

    I know I shouldn’t feed the troll but…

    based on his writings, a very poor chemist

    I would love for you to tell us how 2597 is less than 9.

    I repeat that you need to seek out the nearest outpatient psychiatric facility and ask for an evaluation.

    everything you write will be considered misinformation

    Obviously you are having trouble reading

    How do I know you aren’t responsible for their deaths, so that the movement can have martyrs

    Really, Mr. Fryer, go to your nearest out patient psychiatric facility for evaluation.

    you really need help from mental health professionals because you grip on reality is tenuous

    Mr. Fryer seems incapable of embarrassment.

    Mr. Fryer please go to the nearest outpatient psychiatric facility for a full evaluation

    You have shown yourself to be someone who does not have a good grip on reality.

    now his comments don’t even make grammatical sense.

    …it seems cruel to argue with someone who clearly is suffering from a serious mental illness.

    I really do wish that Mr. Fryer gets the help he needs,

    You don’t do “grammar” either. If you wish to be taken seriously you might want to learn about your keyboard’s “shift” key, and how to use an apostrophe.

    please go to the nearest outpatient mental health facility for an evaluation.

    Mr. Fryer, you need real psychiatric help. Please seek it out.

    Please get some help.

    Of course people are going to question his sanity.

  5. Gray Falcon December 3, 2010 at 16:15 #

    Here’s some direct quotes from you, Mr. Siegler:

    ps. gray, thanks for NYT link: Dr. Offit is the co-inventor of a vaccine against rotavirus…of course, no VAX bias here.

    This is a proper ad hominem fallacy: Dr. Offit invented a vaccine, therefore, he is lying about vaccine safety.

    say what you will, the tobacco industry’s tech staff (drs and scientists) provided evidence nicotine was not addictive…for decades tech staffs of companies that used asbestos in their product proved asbestos did not cause cancer…oh/and BP tech staff said Hg harmless then removed from their VAXs. and you might want to consider what ms dawson says re promotional science.

    It’s hard to accept that you aren’t accusing Dr. Offit of lying from these statements. Also, when I directly quoted Mr. Fryer on polio, I believe your response was:

    wow, so many confirmations of my opine many LBRB posters make up facts…eg, you know “of course”

    What facts were you accusing me of making up, then, if not what Mr. Fryer was saying? Claiming polio was not a virus but a form of poisoning is not something one says without something to back it up. I could just as easily say that autism is caused by your practice of sorcery!

  6. Chris December 3, 2010 at 17:16 #

    Mr. Seigler, did you or did you not donate to the family in Arizona?

  7. stanley seigler December 3, 2010 at 20:16 #

    [gf say] This is a proper ad hominem fallacy: Dr. Offit invented a vaccine, therefore, he is lying about vaccine safety.

    oh my sigh…again you incorrectly make your conclusion (your therefore), my conclusion. again and again i did not say offit was lying.

    my conclusion/therefore is: there is a possible bias analogous to bias of reports of the tobacco companies, big pharma (corp USA) re their products…

    tho mainly related to ABA…ms dawson makes, in her discussion of promotional science, a much better argument than i re possible biases. tho mainly related to ABA…her concepts are also applicable to corp USA and big pharma promotional science.

    [gf say] It’s hard to accept that you aren’t accusing Dr. Offit of lying

    ok, to make it easier for you…i can accept pointing out analogies that support the possibility of bias is calling offit a liar…and in this world of political correctness, pragmatism, euphemisms, suck ass drivel…lying does cuts to the bottom line…that said;

    i believe acknowledging bias is more acceptable than denying it exit…also believe acknowledging there is a possibility of a link is better than categorically denying possibility.

    perhaps offit even agrees, he say: “Let’s proceed cautiously, carefully, and scientifically”

    [gf say] What facts were you accusing me of making up, then, if not what Mr. Fryer was saying?

    what facts: your “of course” comment…ie, there is no “of course”…”of course” is your opine. NOT fact…nothing to do with what fryer said.

    stanley seigler

  8. Gray Falcon December 3, 2010 at 20:43 #

    Mr. Siegler, even if you’re right about Dr. Offit’s biases, think about it. He’s not the only pro-vaccine advocate, there are several others. Plus, Dr. Offit’s biases are secondary to the argument the evidence is.

    Here’s the evidence: Thimerosol was removed from childhood vaccines, partly due to fear, partly to allergies, but the autism rate has not declined. The only evidence provided for the link was a mild correlation, and that’s gone.

    “Of course” my be my opinion, but seriously, can you expect someone of sound mind to say something like “I used many years ago to collect such anecdotes of people injured, killed or strange happenings but gave up when it passed the thousand mark.” or “Years ago organochlorine toxicity was called polio.” without having any evidence to show for it?

  9. Gray Falcon December 3, 2010 at 21:07 #

    Let me add the following clarification to my previous comment: “Dr. Offit is incorrect because he is biased” is not the same as “Dr. Offit is lying because he is biased”, but it’s still a form of ad hominem attack on its own. Remember, the tobacco-cancer link was not established simply by questioning the biases of some scientists, extensive research and studies were done. Research and studies into an autism-vaccine link have not shown much of anything, and most scientists would rather not keep putting money into drilling a dry well.

  10. stanley seigler December 3, 2010 at 21:28 #

    [gf say] whatever

    not sure of your point(s)…but believe we are beating a dead horse…i believe there is a possibility of a VAX-autism-link and possibility of VAX-harm…you deny any possibility…

    i believe offit’s advice should be followed: ” “Let’s proceed cautiously, carefully, and scientifically”…sense you do not.

    nuff said.

    btw i have never denied i use ad homs…some LBRB posters deny they have…and rationalized their use as sincere concern…

    ad homs are not all bad and sometimes appropriate…ie, mine are appropriate, yours are not:)

    stanley seigler

  11. Gray Falcon December 3, 2010 at 21:31 #

    My point is that the evidence shows there is no possibility of a link between vaccines and autism. If you have any proof otherwise, post it here, or forever keep silent.

  12. stanley seigler December 4, 2010 at 00:01 #

    [gf say] My point is that the evidence shows there is no possibility of a link between vaccines and autism. If you have any proof otherwise, post it here, or forever keep silent.

    you should have said this much earlier it would have saved us all time beating that old dead horse…

    you are a true believer with only one point…who sings the party line mantra: “there is no link”…sad you miss the nuances and possibilities.

    i should have know better than to engage with a true believer…i now know…thus will take your advice and remain ever silent re any of your future posts…”that all folks”

    stanley seigler

  13. Prometheus December 4, 2010 at 00:56 #

    Gray Falcon states:

    “…the evidence shows there is no possibility of a link between vaccines and autism.”

    While there aren’t any data supporting a connection between vaccines and autism, I think it would be overstating the data to claim that there is “no possibility of a link”. So far, the data on vaccines and autism suggest that if there are cases where autism was caused by vaccines, they make up a very small percentage of the total number of cases.

    Since we know that several of the vaccine-preventable diseases can cause irreversible brain injury (at least one – congenital reubella – can cause autism), the risk of developing autism as the result of vaccines (which we know is very small, if not zero) is much less than the risk of developing autism (or permanent brain injury) from the diseases the vaccines prevent.

    BTW, an ad hominem is only a fallacy if it is used as an argument. Saying “You’re wrong because you’re stupid!” is an ad hominem fallacy; “You’re stupid because you’re wrong!” is not.

    I don’t see any inherent problem with name-calling (what Mr. Seigler calls “ad homs”) as long as it isn’t the method of first resort when dealing with disagreement. I feel that sometimes the normal rules of civility only serve to protect people who are contrarian, dogmatic or – let’s be honest – stupid from the consequences of their actions.

    When someone repeatedly makes unsupported claims (and refuses to provide support when asked), they are begging for a little “respectful insolence”. If someone is acting stupidly or like a troll, it is only common courtesy to tell them. If we don’t, how will they ever learn?

    As for Mr. Seigler’s huffing departure – I suspect we’ll be hearing from him (or one of his sock puppets) again soon. The door-slamming goodbye is never as permanent as we’d like it to be.


  14. Gray Falcon December 4, 2010 at 00:57 #

    I might have been willing to change, if you had provided me with something, but your excuses didn’t impress me in the least. You say there are nuances and possibilities, but you never say what they are. I gave you the evidence, try to counter it for once.

    Are you accusing me of being closed-minded? Remove the board from your eye before looking for specks in my own. I gave you a very good reason to doubt the vaccine-autism link, you just dismissed it out of hand.

    Tell me, do you really care about autism, or do you just want to try to make real autism advocates look bad?

  15. Gray Falcon December 4, 2010 at 01:20 #

    Good point, Prometheus. The best we can say is that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks currently known. Sorry about that, I was letting my frustration talk for me again. I also made an error in accusing Mr. Seigler of accusing Dr. Offit of lying, he was only suggesting Offit was mistaken. (With no evidence, mind, but still, it’s a very different accusation.)

    And he’s very likely to come back. One thing that annoys me is that if he really wanted to make a difference, why didn’t he post his evidence? He’d at least win over neutral lurkers. Right now, all he did was declare victory and run.

  16. stanley seigler December 4, 2010 at 03:26 #

    the personal attack mode of GF-etal do much to destroy a dialog on LBRB…and have altered my opine/respect of/for hi functioning autistics … well some who post on LBRB…

    as mentioned they are as arrogant, egotistical and compassionless as us normal idiots…sad…

    LBRB now deleted from favorites list…since learning hi functioning autistic are not much different than normal idiots…i see little to be gained from LBRB…it adds nothing more to my understanding of autism…it’s mostly about no link…maybe this is important…but seems it’s beating that old dead horse.

    sing along “there is no link, show me the evidence” one note as you play with yourselves kids…

    stanley seigler

  17. Chris December 4, 2010 at 04:18 #

    Mr. Seigler, I see you came back. Are you ever going to answer my question? It was actually on topic.

  18. Gray Falcon December 4, 2010 at 04:33 #

    Three and half hours between final goodbye and return, about average. And the childish-insult hurling is pretty standard too, more original than usual. Wonder when you’ll be back next time?

    I always wonder why some of these people have such a hard time with the concept of “burden of proof”. I mean, if I claim someone is an otherworldly invader, wouldn’t it be up to me to prove it, rather than complain about everyone else being closed-minded about aliens and whining about their demands for evidence?

  19. daedalus2u December 4, 2010 at 20:41 #

    Most cases of autism can definitively shown to be not due to vaccines. If symptoms characteristic of autism predate vaccination, then vaccination cannot have caused those symptoms.

    The most characteristic symptom of autism is a larger head, larger brain with more neurons and more minicolumns. The number of minicolumns is fixed during the first trimester in utero. Every person with autism who has a larger number of minicolumns can be said to not have autism caused by vaccines. This type of autism is the most common, the familial type of autism (which has impenetrable genetics).

    Similarly all the autism caused by CNVs and other congenital genetic differences. They predate vaccination, they are not caused by vaccination, vaccination did not cause the autism associated with CNVs.

    With most autism known to not possibly be due to vaccines, by what vaccine-induced mechanism could vaccines cause an autism-like disorder? So far there is no hint of any physiology that vaccines could uniquely induce that is remotely connected to any symptoms characteristic of autism.


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