Peter Fletcher, Melanie Phillips and the Daily Mail – A Cracked Facade

9 Feb

The Daily Mail published another MMR piece earlier this week. As usual it had the predicted results in that it stirred up the usual frenzy of illogic and fallacy.

Why do I say that?

In order to explain we need to fast-forward a couple of days to where Melanie Phillips, Andrew Wakefield’s staunchest media supporter in the UK, published her own follow up to the Mail story. I urge you to go read both pieces now before you read the rest of this.

OK, done? Good.

So lets talk about what was said. Basically, the gist of both articles is now the medical community in the UK _have_ to take the MMR link seriously because Dr Peter Fletcher, ex-Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health has said a few things about it.

On the face of it thats pretty impressive – this isn’t some no-nothing from nowhere – this is an *ex CSO*. But once you get past the fact of who he _is_ and start to isolate what he’s actually _saying_ then, to borrow a phrase, the facade starts to crack.

First is the fact that this sort of argument – based on his good standing in the past – is a sort of reverse Argumentum Ad Hominem in that it is argued that it is equally or of more importance regarding who Dr Gordon _is_ as oppose to what he _says_. This is, of course, a fallacious position from which to start.

So what does he (and the original article) actually say?

[Dr Gordon]….has accused the Government of “utterly inexplicable complacency” over the MMR triple vaccine for children.

Thats simply an assumption based on his circular reasoning that the MMR has routine or above average negative effects: as an argument it relies on the reader agreeing that there is a case for the Gvmnt being complacent in the first place. Since the establishment of this case _is whats actually being debated_ its safe to ignore this as pre-conceived bias.

[Dr Fletcher]…..said if it is proven that the jab causes autism, _”the refusal by governments to evaluate the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in medical history”_.

Well, d’uh. How is that news? Its obviously true and equally obvious entirely irrelevant to establishing a case for believing MMR has a role in causing autism. Its a tactical appeal to emotion – nothing more.

He added that after agreeing to be an expert witness on drug-safety trials for parents’ lawyers, he had received and studied thousands of documents relating to the case which he believed the public had a right to see. He said he has seen a “steady accumulation of evidence” from scientists worldwide that the measles, mumps and rubella jab is causing brain damage in certain children.

This is at the heart of the two articles. Dr Fletcher however simply invokes the spirit of these ‘thousands of documents’ and doesn’t discuss them or what they contain at all. It may well be that he’s hampered by the legal constraints of the case(s) in question but thats really besides the point. What we need to know is – what can Dr Fletcher _add_ to the debate? Both the epidemiology and the hard science have refuted the MMR link on more than one occasion. If Dr Fletcher has peer reviewed journal based evidence that contradicts or invalidates the science done so far then he should state it. At the moment he is simply repeating a fallacy of intuition, magical thinking and an argument to the future. None of these lend any scientific credence to making a case that supports the idea that the MMR jab caused or contributed to anyones autism. If there’s evidence lets get it peer reviewed and published in a respected journal – anything else is simply hearsay.

But he added: “There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves.”

This is a combination of Galileo gambit and a fallacy of the assumed but hidden truth. In other words its the invocation of a conspiracy theory. Its an easy thing to say because one doesn’t have to prove or even allege who these ‘powerful people’ actually are and thus there is no one available to defend the given proposition. I always think of this as the last refuge of the truly desperate. If someones case is strong enough then why resort to such a transparent and desperate tactic?

Clinical and scientific data is steadily accumulating that the live measles virus in MMR can cause brain, gut and immune system damage in a subset of vulnerable children,” he said.

It is? Where? In fact the vast weight of scientific evidence has very recently concluded that there is no link.

There was no credible evidence behind claims of harm from the MMR vaccination. This is the conclusion drawn by the Cochrane Review Authors, an international team of researchers, after carefully drawing together all of the evidence found in 31 high quality studies from around the world. They also highlight that the policy of encouraging mass use of MMR has eliminated the scourge of measles, mumps and rubella from many countries. _”In particular we conclude that all the major unintended events, such as triggering Crohn’s disease or autism, were suspected on the basis of unreliable evidence,”_ says lead author Dr Vittorio Demicheli who works at Servizo Sovrazonale di Epidemiologia, Alessandria, Italy.

By contrast, Dr Fletcher yet again fails to say _what_ this ‘vast weight’ of scientific evidence was, where it could be found and who produced it. He just says its there. And we should just trust him because he’s cleverer than us.

Yet there has been a tenfold increase in autism and related forms of brain damage over the past 15 years, roughly coinciding with MMR’s introduction

Really? Obviously Dr Fletcher (and the Daily Mail) don’t examine the actual science which states:

The new study, which involved 10,903 preschool children in the United Kingdom, confirmed the elevated autism rate, but clearly demonstrated that autism prevalence is not increasing.

Fletcher also makes the mistake of matching correlation with causation – a schoolboy error for any scientist.

He said there was “no way” the tenfold leap in autistic children could be the result of better recognition and definitional changes, as claimed by health authorities.

Another totally specious statement with nothing to back it up. Fletcher might well believe it but as he provides no evidence then its just an opinion. In fact, scientific studies in the US indicate the rise in rate _is_ down to better recognition and diagnosis.

“It is highly likely that at least part of this increase is a vaccine related problem.” he said.

Again, this may be Fletcher’s opinion but he provides nothing in the way of support for it. This isn’t science, this is just gossip.

And thats just about all of Dr Fletcher’s contribution to the debate. Fallacy, lazy reasoning, assertion and unverified claims. It comes as no surprise that other lazy thinkers hype such garbage when they have so little science to support their position.

193 Responses to “Peter Fletcher, Melanie Phillips and the Daily Mail – A Cracked Facade”

  1. Kev February 12, 2006 at 09:37 #

    Lots of ‘Gustein’s’ in PubMed but none related to autism. Do you have _anything_ credible to back up your opinions GG?

  2. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 09:41 #

    Kev, i will ignore what you ask me as long as you ignore what I have asked you!

  3. Kev February 12, 2006 at 09:44 #

    Yes, I know who you are. I’ll ask you again: do you have _anything_ to back up your opinions? You’ve made unverifiable assertions yet again – just once, as with Sue, it would be nice if you could either back them up or admit that what you have is a belief, not a scientifically valid opinion.

    Are you seriously suggesting that because PM has a .gov top level domain its not to be trusted? I guess you really don’t know about the non gvmnt affiliated and international status of the journals that contain the articles PM list. If you don’t trust PM then go to your local library and get the relevant article from there.

  4. Kev February 12, 2006 at 09:48 #

    _”Kev, i will ignore what you ask me as long as you ignore what I have asked you!”_

    As far as I can see, you’ve not asked me anything. What you’ve done is pretend knowledge of science then retreat when asked to verify it. All I’m trying to get you to tell me here (again, just like Sue) is to establish a scientific basis for your claims. You claim they’re sound – I want to see the science that shows that.

  5. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 09:50 #

    Kev, my son right now would no longer be diagnosed as autistic if someone were evaluating him. He is not neurotypic yet but after 7 months on chelation he is making unbelieveable progress and no one can believe it, including his therapists that have been treating these kids for years.

    These things will never be found on Pubmed!

  6. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 09:51 #

    it would be nice if you could either back them up or admit that what you have is a belief, not a scientifically valid opinion.

    Whatever it is, or where ever I heard it from, it makes perfect sense to me.

    I guess I got it out of my arse then.

    you can only post a comment once every 15 seconds, slow down cowboy,/i>.

    LOL!

  7. Kev February 12, 2006 at 09:55 #

    _”Whatever it is, or where ever I heard it from, it makes perfect sense to me.”_

    Thats absolutely fine. Carry on. All I’m saying is that when you claim these things as fact you should expect to be challenged. Just be honest from the start and make it clear that what you’re claiming isn’t factual but opinion.

  8. Kev February 12, 2006 at 09:57 #

    _”These things will never be found on Pubmed!”_

    If they’re true and anyone can be bothered to do the science then I assure you they will.

  9. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 09:59 #

    Kev said,

    Are you seriously suggesting that because PM has a .gov top level domain its not to be trusted? I guess you really don’t know about the non gvmnt affiliated and international status of the journals that contain the articles PM list. If you don’t trust PM then go to your local library and get the relevant article from there.

    Come on Kev, I know you don’t trust government seperation that much. I would be willing to bet that you’re one of the Euro’s that think George Bush and the United States Gov. was lying about Iraq but when it comes to our children and one of the most powerful and most profitable lobbist sectors of corporate Americ( Big Pharma), you have total unwavering confidence?

    SPELL CHECK JUST WENT OUT THE WINDOW!

    It’s on dude!

  10. Kev February 12, 2006 at 10:09 #

    _”Come on Kev, I know you don’t trust government seperation that much. I would be willing to bet that you’re one of the Euro’s that think George Bush and the United States Gov. was lying about Iraq but when it comes to our children and one of the most powerful and most profitable lobbist sectors of corporate Americ( Big Pharma), you have total unwavering confidence?”_

    I don’t think Bush was lying as I don’t think he’s clever enough to do it convincingly. He believed what Cheney and Rummy told him to believe.

    But your point here is a Strawman – the articles that populate PM are international. PM is just a glorified search engine. Its not an overseeing entity in and of itself.

  11. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 10:16 #

    My point here is supported by studies that i cited that you don’t agree with.

    I guess I am a just a strawman that is pulling these things out of my “arse”, but I know that what I
    am doing is working.

  12. Kev February 12, 2006 at 10:22 #

    _”My point here is supported by studies that i cited that you don’t agree with”_

    You cited an article you can’t attribute, another article you can’t attribute, an article you _can_ attribute but has nothing in it to support your points and you name dropped someone who seems to have no published studies to his name. None of thats of much worth.

  13. GottaGo February 12, 2006 at 10:32 #

    you name dropped someone who seems to have no published studies to his name. None of thats of much worth.

    Go see him Kev, I think you will be impressed.

    Check out his London dates.

  14. Kev February 12, 2006 at 11:04 #

    _”I think you will be impressed.”_

    I may well be, but what I want from you/him in relation to this post is these figures he has that back you up.

  15. Jennifer February 12, 2006 at 13:15 #

    A couple of pubmed indexed studies on outcome:

    J Autism Dev Disord. 2005 Jun;35(3):351-60. Related Articles, Links

    Autism after adolescence: population-based 13- to 22-year follow-up study of 120 individuals with autism diagnosed in childhood.

    Billstedt E, Gillberg C, Gillberg C.

    Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Queen Silvia’s Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Goteborg, Sweden. eva.billstedt@pediat.gu.se

    BACKGROUND: Prospective population-based follow-up study of 120 individuals with autism followed from childhood to adulthood. METHODS: Individuals with autism, diagnosed in childhood, were followed prospectively for a period of 13-22 years and re-evaluated at ages 17-40 years. The instruments used at follow-up were the DISCO, WAIS-R, WISC-III, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, psychiatric-medical examination and GAF-scale. A set of criteria was used for the classification of outcomes, taking into consideration employment, higher education/vocational training, independent living and peer relations. RESULTS: Six of the 120 (5%) had died at the time of follow-up, and six declined participation. Overall outcome was poor in 78% of cases. Only four individuals were independent albeit leading fairly isolated lives. Childhood IQ-level was positively correlated with better adult outcome, as was the existence of some communicative phrase speech at age six years. CONCLUSIONS: Children with autism as diagnosed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s may have an even worse psychosocial outcome than previously believed.

    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;45(2):212-29. Related Articles, Links

    Adult outcome for children with autism.

    Howlin P, Goode S, Hutton J, Rutter M.

    Department of Psychology, St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK. phowlin@sghms.ac.uk

    BACKGROUND: Information on long-term prognosis in autism is limited. Outcome is known to be poor for those with an IQ below 50, but there have been few systematic studies of individuals with an IQ above this. METHOD: Sixty-eight individuals meeting criteria for autism and with a performance IQ of 50 or above in childhood were followed up as adults. Their mean age when first seen was 7 years (range 3-15 years); at follow-up the average age was 29 years (range 21-48 years). Outcome measures included standardised cognitive, language and attainment tests. Information on social, communication and behavioural problems was obtained from the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI). RESULTS: Although a minority of adults had achieved relatively high levels of independence, most remained very dependent on their families or other support services. Few lived alone, had close friends, or permanent employment. Communication generally was impaired, and reading and spelling abilities were poor. Stereotyped behaviours or interests frequently persisted into adulthood. Ten individuals had developed epilepsy. Overall, only 12% were rated as having a ‘Very Good’ outcome; 10% were rated as ‘Good’ and 19% as ‘Fair’. The majority was rated as having a ‘Poor’ (46%) or ‘Very Poor’ (12%) outcome. Individuals with a childhood performance IQ of at least 70 had a significantly better outcome than those with an IQ below this. However, within the normal IQ range outcome was very variable and, on an individual level, neither verbal nor performance IQ proved to be consistent prognostic indicators. CONCLUSIONS: Although outcome for adults with autism has improved over recent years, many remain highly dependent on others for support. This study provides some information on prognostic indicators, but more fine-grained research is needed into the childhood variables that are associated with good or poor outcome.

  16. Kev February 12, 2006 at 13:31 #

    Thanks Jennifer. At last someone has come up with something verifiable.

    OK, so we can see that according to these two studies, the outcome for adult autistics can be mixed at best. Of course thats only within the terms of the study that the authors specified but the point is taken. So lets (finally) move on to the point GG quoted these stats:

    _”They can’t handle social situations, that’s why! If chelation or biomedical treatments will help these children recover and help them overcome these social pitfalls that it’s time you all got on board!”_

    So, there’s the next set of questions to answer: is there any evidence that chelation enables autistic people to ‘recover’? Is there any evidence that chelation helps autistic people to ‘overcome social pitfalls’?

    Of course, in order to verify the scientific basis of chelation as a recovery mechanism for autistic people, you also have to prove a causative link between heavy metal poisoning and autism. Or you have to discover some as yet unthought of side effect that ‘recovers’ autistics.

  17. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 14:44 #

    Kev: “Nice find M – pretty typical Daily Mail. I’m just amazed they haven’t blamed autism on dole-scum evil asylum seekers yet.”

    I wouldn’t even wipe my arse on that paper, let alone wrap my chips in it….

  18. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 14:56 #

    JBJr (evidently): “I guess I got it out of my arse then.”

    No different from just about everything else you say then…

  19. Jennifer February 12, 2006 at 15:01 #

    Just one more abstract. In this one, it is pointed out that some high functioning children with autism can be considered to have “recovered”. Since this study was published in 1989, and the average age of the children on followup was 26, these children grew up before ABA, chelation and other biomed treatments. This highlights the difficulty of anecdotal evidence of “recovery” in proving the efficacy of treatment.

    J Autism Dev Disord. 1989 Jun;19(2):213-25. Related Articles, Links

    A follow-up study of high-functioning autistic children.

    Szatmari P, Bartolucci G, Bremner R, Bond S, Rich S.

    Department of Psychiatry, Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.

    It is well known that IQ is an important prognostic variable in the outcome of autistic children. There are, however, very few data available on the outcome of nonretarded autistic children as adults. We identified 16 such probands from records and followed them up between 11 and 27 years since discharge from a center specializing in the assessment of autistic children. There were 12 males and 4 females, average age was 26, and mean IQ was 92 (range 68-110). Although the majority were functioning poorly in terms of occupational-social outcome and psychiatric symptoms, a surprising number (4) had a very good outcome and might be considered recovered. The severity of early autistic behavior was a poor predictor of outcome, but neuropsychologic measures of nonverbal problem solving were highly correlated with outcomes. The results of the study indicate that a small percentage of nonretarded autistic children can be expected to recover to a substantial degree.

  20. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 15:10 #

    Jennifer: “A couple of pubmed indexed studies on outcome…”

    and Kev: “Thanks Jennifer. At last someone has come up with something verifiable.”

    Indeed.

    The main problem for me with those studies, valid though they most likely are, is that neither addresses (or seems to) the sorts of social-psychological issues which get in the way of social development, or the fact that latitudes of acceptance (regarding difference) have tightened over the past 100 years (since clinical psychology took hold, actually, and especially since the inceptions of two tests in particular: the Rorschach and the MMPI).

    The problem is based on the fact that those conducting the studies come from a strictly biomedical theoretical background and that they therefore fail to take into account anything from outwith the body…

    As Kev says, at least Jennifer provided a study or two to back up some particular viewpoint, and I am also grateful for that. However, I (like a growing number of autistics entering the autism field as students of this phenomenon) have more of an insight into this issue than either of the teams doing those studies, since I live and research that outcome (and, sorry to piss in your chips, JBJr, but much of it is down to the prejudices of non-autistics and – in many cases – total misconception about what it is to be autistic).

    Nice one, Jennifer. Thank you. Providing a source, as you did, enables discussion and debate (and I have to say that it was lovely to be able to add something to this myself… it gets boring when the only possible response to the stuff that JBJr and SueM come up with is to take the piss out of them; I do actually like to debate issues).

  21. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 15:14 #

    SueM: “Now, I said “a bunch” of kids died. Listen, I don’t know how many actually died… Officially, they say actual deaths was less than 5 but of course I have heard that the number was greater than that but they could only conclusively tie a very small number to the vaccine.”

    So, in other words, you accused the guy of killing a bunch of kids with an unsafe vaccine, and yet you then claim that you do not know how they died???!!!

    If he got hold of that accusation, he could seriously wipe the floor with your arse. You bloody idiot. To say that you are an alumnus of a reputable college, you come out woth some totally ridiculous crap and you do some pretty bloody stupid things….

    Shitting Nora…. I an so glad I didn’t go to your college!

  22. Kev February 12, 2006 at 15:31 #

    _”JBJr (evidently):”_

    Not this time David ;o)

    Jennifer – thats an interesting point worthy of debate but its really a seperate issue from that which GG was trying to make.

  23. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 16:16 #

    Dave wrote:

    “So, in other words, you accused the guy of killing a bunch of kids with an unsafe vaccine, and yet you then claim that you do not know how they died”???

    – Oh, no David. I KNOW how they died and you KNOW how they died. They died from the unsafe RotaShield vaccine that they were given. By the way, in case I wasn’t clear… many more children were seriously injured by the vaccine but didn’t die. Clearly they would not have withdrawn the vaccine for just a few dead babies… we all KNOW that, right?

    – Sue M.

  24. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 16:25 #

    Kev wrote:

    “Both. I was up late and now early”.

    – Of course you were, Kev. The reason that you were up late and are up early is because your mind is racing… you can’t seem to figure out what the h*ll to do now. How the hell am I going to keep up with this “peer reviewed” science only when the science that is peer reviewed is so blatantly bogus… What are you gong to do, Kev? Where to go from here?

    – Sue M.

  25. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 16:40 #

    Nana wrote:

    “Anyone expressing shock and horror at the theoretical statement that a baby could withstand 10,000 vaccines is being willfully stupid; college educated or not”.

    – Hey Nana (or is it Diva, Camille or Ms. Clark). I’m not accusing because Nana may in fact be a different poster but if you are in fact Diva… you’re mightly lame. A way to boost Kev’s numbers, maybe? A way to hide behind Nana as opposed to put questions out there without using your own name because you KNOW that the argument is completely bogus? So what is it?

    As for the 10,000 vaccine issue, Nana… I ASSUME that we can agree that there are a number of children who are injured by vaccinations each year. It happens. I hope that we can agree on that. So now, your argument is that instead of the relatively small amount of vaccines (as compared to 10,000) that are given now… if we were to inject babies with 10,000 that all would be fine. No issues. No problems. What are you smoking, Nana?

    Who is being “willfully stupid” here?

    For THE THIRD TIME… balls anyone?

    – Sue M.

  26. Kev February 12, 2006 at 16:41 #

    _”Of course you were, Kev. The reason that you were up late and are up early is because your mind is racing”_

    Not that its any of your business Sue but two of my kids are unwell. They prefer to sit downstairs and watch a movie when they’re ill.

    Any chance of you backing up your points…like…. _ever_ ?

  27. Amanda February 12, 2006 at 16:42 #

    “Parents’ intuition” may exist, but it often fails when it comes to certain aspects of autism (if the parent is not autistic), and it certainly often fails when it comes to an explanation of autistic children’s early development.

    It used to be that parents’ intuition told them that their child had been stolen. Literally. And replaced. With a demon, or a fairy. They could torture, kill, or trick the “changeling” child to bring the “real” child back.

    When psychodynamic views were more popular, parents’ intuition often told them that their child only showed signs of autism after a traumatic event, such as witnessing a car crash or something.

    And now, parents’ intuition blames any of a number of childhood vaccines, for any of a number of unrelated or even contradictory reasons.

    Pardon me for not trusting it on the origins of that subtype of autism.

  28. Kev February 12, 2006 at 16:49 #

    _”Who is being “willfully stupid” here?”_

    I give up.

    Forget being able to get a horse to water but not being able to make it drink- I can get a Sue to science but can’t make her think.

    I officially give up Sue – go live in a cave with no electricity, internet, TV, medicines, gas, petrol, cars, modern clothing etc etc – science has given up on you in disgust.

  29. Amanda February 12, 2006 at 16:52 #

    The statement that it’s necessary to “treat” autistic children so they will have a more level playing field as adults shows a lack of understanding of what a level playing field is.

    Leveling the playing field, whether you agree with doing so or not, is not about changing the players to match an unlevel playing field. Changing the players does not make anything more level at all, it just makes the players more capable of competing against certain other players.

  30. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 16:52 #

    Kev wrote:

    “Any chance of you backing up your points…like…. ever”?

    – like… maybe. When it’s worth my time. If you think that I’m going to go searching the internet for studies which would refute the bogus claim that it would be safe to inject babies with 10,000 vaccines at one time you are sorely mistaken.

    – Sue M.

  31. Jennifer February 12, 2006 at 16:53 #

    Kev,

    Maybe you could consider setting up an “outcomes” section in the forum to discuss these issues. I know I’m off topic again even suggesting this 😉

  32. Kev February 12, 2006 at 16:59 #

    _”The statement that it’s necessary to “treat” autistic children so they will have a more level playing field as adults shows a lack of understanding of what a level playing field is.”_

    Indeed. Its essentially a value system: these are the things we think everyone should be doing, therefore thats how we measure success.

    _”Maybe you could consider setting up an “outcomes” section in the forum to discuss these issues.”_

    There’s _never_ an outcome – we all just rant at each other till I write another post then we all go off and rant in that one ;o)

  33. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 17:00 #

    SueM: “I KNOW how they died and you KNOW how they died. They died from the unsafe RotaShield vaccine that they were given.”

    You have proof beyond reasonable doubt? If not, neither one of us knows. Conjecture is one thing, Sue, and knowing is another; I’d expect someone with your education to know the difference, and you evidently don’t!

  34. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 17:05 #

    SueM: “Clearly they would not have withdrawn the vaccine for just a few dead babies… we all KNOW that, right?”

    No we DON’T, Sue, and this is my point. We do not have any evidence to support “knowing” anything. There are many reasons why a product might be recalled… safety is one issue, and others exist too (such as wishing to reassure a public in the face of non-scientific and totally evidence-lacking statements like those put forward by you and JBJr, amongst others).

    Kev’s given up on you. For all your reputable college education, you demostrate that your college’s educational philosophy and practice was, in your case, basically unsuccessful: you are, one has to assume, totally ineducable. One further pair of questions: where did you go, and did you graduate?

  35. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 17:06 #

    “demostrate” => “demoNstrate”

    Do excuse typos….

  36. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 17:59 #

    GTG: “I take it that Margaret Farelly’s research kind of butts heads against everything you were just taught in school?”

    Heh…yes. I for one was taught that a good descriptive epi study needs minimum n=30 to be minimally reliable…. Jonathan was taught this too. Anyone who has dealt with social or clinical sciences has been taught this… and there is a bloody good reason why… because reliability is important! N=14 sucks as far as reliability goes….

  37. clone3g February 12, 2006 at 18:22 #

    Sue M: […]if we were to inject babies with 10,000 that all would be fine. No issues. No problems.

    No one is suggesting that we inject babies with 10,000 vaccines Sue. That’s your misstatement of Offit’s statement. FWIW, I don’t care for much of what he has to say, I question the logic of his statement and how he may have arrived at that figure. I have no reason to defend the man. I will defend his right to be accurately quoted.

    If it weren’t for your belief that thimerosal causes autism, and diabetes, and asthma, and teenage acne, and every other imaginable disorder, you would have no idea who Paul Offit is, nor would you care. So, because some of us don’t see red when we read the number 10,000, that automatically means we think babies should receive 10,000 shots starting tomorrow? What are you smoking. You should try to find something with a less paranoid side.

    For THE THIRD TIME… balls anyone? (If I had two I’d be King!)

    Umm, no thanks. I never did develop a taste for Mountain Oysters.

    What is with the mercury parents and the testicular fixation? Seriously, it’s a little disturbing. Let us know when yours have descended, will you?

  38. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 18:33 #

    A Cracked Facade: The Story of Bogus “Peer-Reviewed Science”.

    – Sue M.

  39. Jonathan Semetko February 12, 2006 at 19:10 #

    Hi GottoGo,

    The she I was referring to was Margaret Farelly.

  40. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 19:36 #

    SueM: “A Cracked Facade: The Story of Bogus ‘Peer-Reviewed Science’.”

    Um…. you’re a shite comedienne, aren’t you?

  41. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 19:37 #

    Hi Jonathan…

    “The she I was referring to was Margaret Farelly.”

    Shit, even *I* got that… did JBJr (evidently) not get it? With *his* education???

    :/

  42. Prometheus February 12, 2006 at 19:51 #

    Wow! I can’t keep up with the constant stream of conspiracy theories coming out of Sue M and GottaGo (are they both channeling the spirit of JB, Jr.?). Here’s what I’ve “gleaned” from this thread alone:

    [1] Any website with a “gov” suffix is corrupted and cannot be trusted.

    [2] Anybody who now – or has ever in the past, or will ever in the future – worked for the government or “Big Pharma” is corrupted and cannot be trusted. Unless, of course, they admit that the government and “Big Pharma” are concealing the “truth” that vaccines cause autism.

    [3] Any statement or data from “the government” (a loosely defined term) is corrupted and cannot be trusted.

    On the “anti-conspiracy” side, we have:

    [1] Anyone who speaks out against vaccines is telling the truth and should – a priori – be trusted.

    [2] Epidemiological studies that support what Sue M/GottaGo believe are – again, a priori – correct, accurate and absolute received Truth. Even if their methodology is seriously flawed (e.g. by failing to include enough subjects).

    [3] Epidemiological studies that contradict what Sue M/GottaGo believe are corrupt, flawed, and biased – even if they are methodologically rigorous.

    [4] Anything Sue M/GottaGo say is absolute received Truth – even if they (he, she?) cannot provide a source for their “data” or even a valid reference for what they claim to be repeating.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I grow tired of trying to squeeze the data out of these characters – it’s like trying to get blood out of a turnip.

    They promise to provide the data, but then do a “bait and switch”, throwing up yet another unsupported bit of nonsense or another blind alley of accusations and conspiracy theories.

    If I were cynical – and I am – I would say that all of these iterations of vaccines/mercury-causes-autism promoters are fully aware that they have nothing but their own twisted imaginings to support their outrageous claims. And as soon as someone asks them to back up what they say, they either leave in a huff (temporarily) or change the subject.

    I’ve been keeping a tally of assertions made vs. real data provided (“real” data being a reference to actual data or at least to a source of the original assertion) and I make it out to be over twenty assertions per actual reference provided.

    That’s a lot of IOU’s.

    Maybe we should refuse to let these people play until they “pay” up.

    I noticed that when persistently pressed for the source of the “5 million new autistic children in China” datum, Fore Sam (an avatar of JB, Jr.) was finally – after dogged, single-minded pursuit – forced to admit that he did not have a source for that number.

    So, here’s a suggestion: let’s not let Sue M or GottaGo change the subject until they either provide the data or admit that they made it up.

    Prometheus

  43. derailed February 12, 2006 at 20:24 #

    Kev and Jonathan:

    A small note here — I have not had time yet to read through all the posts about the “irish/farelly study/work”, but I am familar with the citing of the work.

    At the beggining of at least a couple of the RDI workshops I’ve attended (conducted by different people) THIS work was cited and I noted from the reactions by parents in the audience that is was perhaps being used a “shock factor”. The implicit statement was, basically, “no mattter how smart your children are, if they cannot RELATE they will go no where … but WE (RDI) are here to help you with helping your child learn all about relating with others by using RDI.”

    — OR something like that …

    I commented to one person w/in RDI that I thought this was manipulative and counter-productive. In fact, I would NOT have pursued RDI, IF I had heard that little tid-bit and the way in which it was used/employed. We had actually been doing RDI for maybe nearly two years before I had seen any kind of presentation. RDI was interesting and we had a very experienced “coach”, but (as we do in this household) we took things off into our own realm. It was from RDI that my ASD child taught ME how to play and relate (not vice-versa). There’s more to this story, from a personal perspective, but now is neither the time nor place — however, it is startlingly interesting if I daresay.

    So, in summation, I’ve never read the study or heard it referenced anywhere but at these RDI workshops. It does a good job of scaring the parents; I’ve seen several cry upon this being read to them via the powerpoint presentation. I wonder if highly-emotional reactions to hearing the citing of this work are highly correalted with those who then attend the RDI training seminars; do the RDA; etc.

  44. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 20:51 #

    Prometheus wrote:

    “Here’s what I’ve “gleaned” from this thread alone”.

    – You were able to “glean” all of that from this post. That’s fascinating and a little bit of “magical thinking” on your part. Here’s what I have said in this post (GottaGo can speak for himself):

    1) IOM speaks/writes from a place of elitism.

    2) It is outrageous that Offit/Sir Liam Donaldson can say that 10,000 vaccines could “theoretically” be given safely to infants.

    3) Offit held a patent on the unsafe RotaShield vaccine which was subsequently withdrawn in 1999.

    4) “Peer-reviewed science” can be flawed, misleading and BOGUS. We all KNOW that, it’s just many of you are afraid to admit it here (No balls). This includes the Danish studies…(which by the way, have you done your own research into why they may/may not be bogus? That was cute for you to get Kristjan Wager to do your work for you on your blog because he/she has the esteemed credentials of … being a regular old citizen of Denmark).

    – So anything else that you take from this thread (from me) is a figment of your imagination.

    – Sue M.

  45. Kev February 12, 2006 at 21:31 #

    Jesus, I’m easily trolled.

    _”It is outrageous that Offit/Sir Liam Donaldson can say that 10,000 vaccines could “theoretically” be given safely to infants.”_

    You might find it outrageous. Thats your perogative. Now tell us people who don’t find it outrageous what science you have found that leads you to the opinion its outrageous.

    _”“Peer-reviewed science” can be flawed, misleading and BOGUS. We all KNOW that, it’s just many of you are afraid to admit it here (No balls). “_

    Except at least one person has repeatedly said that it can: peer review don’t guarantee correctess – there, I said it again. If you feel this paper is bogus then show us why. I really cannot for the life of me understand what is so difficult for you to grasp about this.

  46. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 12, 2006 at 21:48 #

    Kev: “I really cannot for the life of me understand what is so difficult for you to grasp about this.”

    I know what it is.

    She hasn’t got the education to do it.

    If she had, with her education, she’d be able to debunk a paper in very little time…

  47. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 23:10 #

    David wrote:

    “If she had, with her education, she’d be able to debunk a paper in very little time…”

    – Coming from someone who has some “pending” diploma of some kind is somewhat interesting. I must have missed all those papers which you have debunked, David.

    – Sue M.

  48. Sue M. February 12, 2006 at 23:12 #

    Kev wrote:

    “peer review don’t guarantee correctess – there, I said it again”.

    – Thank you, Kev. I’ll consider this matter over. The Offit paper is junk.

    – Sue M.

  49. clone3g February 13, 2006 at 01:52 #

    Sue M. Said: Thank you, Kev. I’ll consider this matter over. The Offit paper is junk.

    How about this Sue, we’ll consider this matter over (your head) and Offit’s work may or may not be junk but your saying so doesn’t make it so.

    Peer review doesn’t guarantee correctness, Wakefield’s work is one example that comes to mind, and being listed in PubMed doesn’t equate with good science. There are plenty of lousy scientists and doctors to be found in PubMed. Try searching Vojdani or McCandless if you don’t believe me. If so many hacks can get their garbage published in throw-away journals and earn a PubMed cite, just imagine the quality of the professionals who can’t.

    Pick a publication from one of your favorite DAN! types and I’ll bet it wouldn’t be too difficult to find some major flaws without having to say “It’s Junk”

  50. Bartholomew Cubbins February 13, 2006 at 04:01 #

    If so many hacks can get their garbage published in throw-away journals and earn a PubMed cite, just imagine the quality of the professionals who can’t.

    Meanwhile, on the Millenium Falcon…
    -Ben Kenobi: droops head and clutches at chest.
    -Princess Leia: “What Is it?”
    -Ben Kenobi: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”
    -Luke Skywalker gets hit from the training blaster.
    -Han Solo: Laughs. “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster and Clone3g at your side, kid. Besides, those Imperialists shouldn’t have put their name in print if they didn’t want a good pilot to read it.”
    -Ben Kenobi: “That’s no moon, it’s a Tijuana Altie clinic!”

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