The following comment was submitted to the Age of Autism blog but not approved:
Dr Wakefield is being disingenuous. In an earlier video posted on Age of Autism, he offered to debate the MMR-autism link ‘with any serious contender’. In an article published in the online magazine Spiked on 16 April, readily accessible through a link on AoA, I indicated that, as both the parent of an autistic son and as a doctor who has been engaged in this controversy for 15 years, I was prepared to engage in such a debate:
On 17 April Matt Carey published an article on the Left Brain, Right Brain blog, entitled ‘Mike Fitzpatrick calls Andrew Wakefield’s Bluff. Wakefield moves the goalposts’, drawing attention to Dr Wakefield’s apparent switch from being ready to debate ‘any serious contender’ to proposing that he was only prepared to debate with British immunisation chief, Dr David Salisbury: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2013/04/
As Dr Wakefield is well aware, this is a very safe offer because Dr Salisbury has publicly indicated that he will not engage in any debate with Dr Wakefield.
Still receiving no response from Dr Wakefield, I publicly repeated this challenge in a posting on the Left Brain, Right Brain blog on 30 April, under the title ‘Andrew Wakefield: Now What About That Debate?’: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2013/04/
Given the findings of the General Medical Council inquiry that removed Dr Wakefield’s name from the medical register on the grounds of ‘dishonesty’ and ‘irresponsibility’ in the conduct of his research, doctors and scientists are reluctant to engage in any public discussion with him. Many have advised me against accepting his challenge on these grounds. Yet I recognise that he continues to exert some influence among parents of autistic children. Hence I am prepared to engage in a debate that can only expose his failure, after 15 years, to produce any evidence in support of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Michael Fitzpatrick 6 June 2013