David Kirby/Arthur Allen Debate Part I

15 Jan

ACIP Meeting Minutes, Feb 2002

It’ll be Part I because after the debate video is released I’m sure there will be more to come. This post will concentrate on the pre-debate interview involving both people on Fox and the words of several audience members.

OK, so, first lets look at the joint interview on Fox.

When asked what the issue was with vaccines Kirby replied that it was because up until _”very recently”_ , _”most”_ vaccines contained thimerosal. This is incorrect. Unless your definition of ‘very recently’ is five years ago and your definition of ‘most’ is between 2 and 5 % then its incorrect. Note that I am choosing to believe Kirby is simply incorrect and a sloppy researcher rather than a good researcher who knew about a document we’ll discuss shortly and elected to suppress his knowledge of it.

Kirby’s next error is when he makes reference to the ‘epidemic’ – he says in the the 90’s we start to see the number of autism cases really start to climb and that it ‘almost tracks exactly’ with the addition of thiomersal containing vaccines. This isn’t an error. Kirby knows this isn’t the case. He knows the ‘science’ that argues this hypothesis is poor, published in non peer reviewed, bad quality journals by people who utilised poor data sources.

However, this sentence also damns Kirby to sticking with those sources. If he wants to quote them to back up his points then he needs to realise you can’t simply abandon them when they don’t – and one of those sources is CDDS, and CDDS has very recently contradicted Kirby.

Kirby then proceeds from one error to another. He states that the symptoms of mercury poisoning are very similar to the symptoms of autism. They aren’t.

At what point do these errors that are stacking up become outright lies and dishonesty? I’m not sure but its a pretty fine line.

About a minute and 40 seconds into the interview, Kirby debuts his new adjusted hypothesis. He mentions all the ‘environmental mercury’ and makes special mention of California in order to challenge the CDDS stats I would assume.

Now excuse me if I’m wrong but isn’t the strapline to Kirby’s book _”MERCURY IN VACCINES AND THE AUTISM EPIDEMIC: A MEDICAL CONTROVERSY”_?

It is. So what’s with the sudden interest in ‘environmental mercury’. This interview was booked regarding the upcoming debate with Arthur Allen about the _vaccine_ hypothesis – the hypothesis Kirby made the central subject and content of the book. In this context I’m utterly uninterested in this new, competing theory. Stick to the subject would be my message and stop building convenient strawmen. More about this later too.

About three and a half minutes into the interview Arthur Allen gives Kirby a bit of a shock. He mentions the 2% figure I mentioned at the top of this post.

Let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about here. To do that we’ll skip forward to some remarks made by an EoH Yahoo Group member who attended the debate. These are her words about what Kirby had said.

We do not know when 25 mcg infant vaccines really made it off the shelves. When the CDC says the supply was down to 2% in 2003 (I think that was the stat) it was not official. They called vaccine providers and asked what was in the fridge — not a definitive answer.

First off I urge caution – the video’s not been made available yet so this person could be in error but lets assume for now its not.

This proclamation by Kirby is wrong on many levels.

We _do_ know when the vaccines made it off the shelves, the supply was down to 1.9% in 2002, they did _not_ ‘call vaccine providers and ask them what was in the fridge’. Here’s what actually happened (you can download the document at the top of this post to see for yourself if you want to).

In Feb 2002, a meeting was held by the CDC to discuss many aspects of vaccine policy and supply, one of which was the thiomersal issue. Here are the main points (see page 51 of the document):

1) The thiomersal update was made regarding paediatric vaccines. Babies and kids.
2) There was a _survey_ conducted from Sept 2001 to Feb 2002
3) The survey was performed using site visits from public health officials
4) In September 2001, 225 sites were canvassed, and 447 by February 2002.
5) The decline in thimerosal-containing vaccine went from 5.6 percent to 1.9%, from 33,500 doses out of 63,600; to 2,796 doses out of 149,147
6) Of the 447 interviews, 83.5 percent reported no thimerosal-containing vaccines in stock at any time since October 2001.

Make no mistake, this is a bombshell to the thimerosal hypothesis. When examined in context with the CDDS data which shows _no decline in autism_ this is the smoking gun that kills the thiomersal hypothesis stone dead.

To make it crystal clear – by 2002 thiomersal containing vaccines made up 1.9% of supply. Autism numbers are still rising. Reconcile if you can.

Anyway, back to David Kirby. Not a stupid man, he can see the writing on the wall. So what does he do? He makes up something else to ‘plug the gap’. Now its not ‘mercury in vaccines – a medical controversy’ now the writing is on the wall something else is needed. back to our EoH attendee:

Calif has had horrendous forest fires over the last 5 years (much more so than the previous 20), and pregnant women are breathing the fumes. Forrest fires release a lot more mercury than even coal fired power plants.

The horrific coal generated mercury pollution from China (as we have been reading) is getting worse and the mercury by-product is brought into CA (particularly So Cal) from the jet stream. These coal fired power plants have expontially increased since 2000.

Aha – here we have it. The prelude to Kirby’s second book methinks – he’s going to go all Al Gore on us and expound on the evils of environmental pollution.

Let’s be clear here: this is a de facto admission that the vaccine hypothesis is dead in a ditch. the minute that he reneged on his ‘severe blow’ of 2007 and the minute he went against the strapline of his own book he became openly hypocritical and wrong.

_You cannot have a thiomersal supported ‘epidemic’ when there is no thiomersal and increasing autism_.

I’m not suggesting that mercury has not increased with forest fires and (maybe) from China but to attribute these things as autism causation? Please. First off, the CDDS numbers are collected from regional centres. The data from each varies wildly – if Chinese mercury is an issue why are these numbers so disparate?

Are we also expected to believe that as thiomersal tailed off, the mercury from forest fires and China neatly and exactly dovetailed on in ever increasing amounts year on year until it carried on producing such a flat line increase? Were there no forest fires during the 90’s? Did China not spew mercury in the 90’s?

But all this is way besides the point of the debate – did the debate moderators call Kirby on this? None of this has anything at all to do with vaccines or thimerosal.

I’ll say it again: _You cannot have a thiomersal supported ‘epidemic’ when there is no thiomersal and increasing autism_.

I look forward to the release of the undoctered video.

39 Responses to “David Kirby/Arthur Allen Debate Part I”

  1. Brian Deer January 15, 2007 at 12:12 #

    Not only from Kirby’s signals elsewhere, but also from that local TV clip, you can see where he’s heading.

    Once he’s optimised his media profile, and sold a copy of his book to all the litigants, and anybody else in the Wakefield/Geier crowd with money to spare from pumping their kids full of quack products, he’ll dump these people, move on to something else, and say something along the lines of “Hey, I never said thimerosal was the only factor,” and he’ll shade off into some even more irrefutable theory, like it’s maybe the vaccines and the power stations and – why not? – the planet Mercury.

    Then he’ll slip into the background, look for another “project”, and count his money.

    Same’s happening with MMR. Even Private Eye’s started pushing out the line about how they never said it caused autism, and were only calling for research etc…

  2. Ian January 15, 2007 at 12:40 #

    “So make it crystal clear – by 2002 thiomersal containing vaccines made up 1.9% of supply. Autism numbers are still rising. Reconcile if you can.”

    If average age at diagnosis is 2-3 years (for instance) and age of thiomersal first exposure is 0-6 months say, then it’s easy to see how a child vaccinated in late 1999 or 2000 could be diagnosed in the same year (2002) as thimerasol containing vaccines making up up only 1.9% of supply… or am I missing something .. do the numbers for 2002 refer to children born in 2002 – I thought they were diagnosis date numbers.

  3. Broken Link January 15, 2007 at 13:13 #

    Children born in 2002 wil be aging out of the age 3-5 cohort at the moment, i.e. all of those children will be turning 5 this year. So, if all of autism is caused by thimerosal in mandated pediatric vaccines, then there should be LESS than 2% of the number of 3-5 year old children in the CDDS data base now, compared to in the 1990’s. Of course, about 45% of children do have a flu shot, and if a child had a shot at exactly 6, 18 and 30 months, they would have received less thimerosal than children did in the 1950’s. So, the number of 3-5 year old autistic children in California should be less than 50% of what there was in the 1950’s. Both of these are clearly not correct.

  4. Kev January 15, 2007 at 13:38 #

    And to add on to Broken Link’s point Ian, then we should’ve seen a very, very sharp fall in CDDS figures. Not a change in the rate of increase but an actual decline.

  5. Joel Smith January 15, 2007 at 13:51 #

    I’d also add that mercury put into the atmosphere doesn’t travel that far in general. In other words, it doesn’t typically travel over oceans. Mercury is heavy, so it settles relatively close to the source when put into the air.

    In other words, we should see more autism right next to those plants.

    In addition, most western countries have strongly limited emissions from power plants in the last 25 years. Mercury is one of those emissions which is at much lower levels today than 25 years ago. Yes, power plants pollute. But not as much as they used to in regard to mercury. And, in the US at least, VERY few new ones have been built (even stricter regulations and a tremendous threat of lawsuits).

    As for forest fires, you’ve got to be kidding! But besides, most of California has wind from the west, and most of the forests are on the east of the populated areas. But, heck, I’m sure wind does unnatural things when it comes to the mercury hypothesis.

    Finally, wouldn’t London, England, say, 150 years ago have a lot more coal (with no environmental controls to prevent pollution!) and wood (once again, no controls) burning near people? Where is the hidden horde ™?

    I *love* the crematorium argument though, myself. (it’s those silver filings damn it!) Of all absurdities, this one has to take the cake.

  6. Joseph January 15, 2007 at 14:20 #

    The forest fires hypothesis has to be the most ridiculous autism causation hypothesis of all time. I’m sure firemen inhale the fumes. Do firemen have lots of autistic kids? Do other people stick around to inhale the fumes? A forest might produce more emissions than a power plant, but power plants are usually near populated areas, and their emissions are ongoing. Forest fires occur only in a specific time of year, in specific forests. It’s a useless hypothesis.

  7. cupertino January 15, 2007 at 14:26 #

    I wonder whether the video that is made available will be the full footage, or edited (to fit a certain point of view?). I know at least one person who tried to enter with a video camera was turned away.

  8. kristina January 15, 2007 at 15:37 #

    So is this why Kirby suggests that certain children wake at 3am “because something inside them hurts like a burning coal”……

  9. notmercury January 15, 2007 at 16:15 #

    I really don’t understand how Kirby can think it possible for it to be both environmental sources and thimerosal. It has to be one or the other, or the more obvious answer; NEITHER.

    I really thought he was a little brighter than this but it’s obvious he’ll spit out anything SAFEMINES tells him.

    Even if environmental Hg is the main culprit and thimerosal acted as a trigger, along the lines of the ‘toxic tipping point’ hypothesis, removal or even reduction of thimerosal would have an impact. Clearly it hasn’t made a difference at all.

    Think of all those wasted years and energy that could have been applied to actually helping and understanding autistics instead of lining the pockets of quacks and quelationists.

    Attention all mercury parents: You’ve been had. Kirby sold you out. He’s officially dismissed every anecdote concerning regression following vaccination. He is more concerned about book sales and saving face than he is about your kids.

    Attention David Kirby: For every parent who reads your words, becomes convinced their children are mercury toxic (regardless of the source) and decides to subject their children to dangerous and unproven medical procedures, YOU are to blame.

    Sweet dreams champ

  10. Joseph January 15, 2007 at 16:32 #

    Yes, there’s a major problem Kirby needs to solve with this new stuff of his. The litigant parents don’t want to hear about multiple other environmental causes. It makes it all the more difficult to prove specific causation in court. The problem is that he would have to argue that all the other environmental causes kicked in only in 2000, but not before. It can’t be done.

  11. Ian January 15, 2007 at 16:43 #

    OK Kev and Broken link — I now see you were in fact talking about the 2002 cohort, as are showing up in the 2006/7 numbers.

    Are these numbers able to prove anything, from an epidemiological point of view, about any hypothesis, beyond some loose potential link, as opposed to causality? If there has been a massive improvement in diagnosis (a widely held belief), coupled with a widening of the diagnostic criteria, then surely it’s impossible to use these figures in a definitive way for anything. The numbers can neither prove autism rates are stable, decreasing or increasing … the result of improved diagnosis cannot be factored in by some empirical equation. Any underlying change (increase or decrease) in the actual rate is likely to be completely masked by the increase due to better diagnosis and wider diagnostic criteria.

    Hence these numbers seem useful only to governments trying to budget for current social/educational service needs.

    Is anyone doing any research to get the real number, e.g. take random population sets of all ages and doing ASD screening, to see what the autism rate is by each age group currently? Since adult autism is believed to be massively under-reported I’m talking about research on random sets of the general population, rather than those people already known to soial/educational services. Seems like this would be a useful thing to do to get a snapshot of where we are and also provide a more accurate guide for predicting future social/educational service requirement needs. Sure suuch studies are not cheap, but they are in the context of the billions that are allocated for services.

  12. Kev January 15, 2007 at 16:55 #

    _”Are these numbers able to prove anything, from an epidemiological point of view, about any hypothesis, beyond some loose potential link, as opposed to causality?”_

    That’s the million dollar question. The fact is that a wide variety of people have been claiming CDDS numbers are what Kirby once called ‘The Gold Standard’ of autism epidemiology. Rick Rollens used to put out ‘tsunami alerts’ and the Geier’s have produced at least one paper using CDDS. (See my post entitled ‘stat-tastic’ for details).

    In essence you’re absolutely right – but they’ve used these figures to whip up hysteria. We just feel they should play by the same rules when it goes against them too. They can’t stop being the gold standard just because they don’t match your beliefs.

    That said, its simply not viable now that we have isolated the correct cohort (3 – 5yo) and the correct length of time _and_ the known amount of TCV’s to have seen anything other than a massive, unmissable fall off last year (if the autism/vaccine hypothesis is correct).

    We’re talking almost 5 years now with a state wide amount of 1.9% five years ago and decreasing ever since. The idea that this can lead to an increase in caseload is laughable.

  13. culvercitycynic January 15, 2007 at 17:38 #

    Moderators? What moderators? They were more like emcees. It was DK’s show through and through. I now see the code for “a thoughtful debate” means being free to pontificate and veer completely off the stated topic as one spin-doctors, prevaricates, and practices duplicity. But, oh the drama!

    Stan Kurtz was there, ever present with camera and fawning over Kirby, so we’ll need to wait to see just how the on-line version is edited.

  14. Ian January 15, 2007 at 17:48 #

    I agree that the hypothesis of thimerasol exposure being the direct, and only, cause of autism is now clearly wrong. However, this was always an extreme end of the set of hypotheses that concern thimerasol and/or vaccines.

    So, lets say this theory is not viable, what about…

    1) A set of children who are genetically predisposed to be unable to handle vaccinations the way theory suggests humans should handle them. Changing autism rates can then be hypothesised to be due to the increase in numbers of vaccination given to young children and the change in vaccination schedule (more shots earlier — inclusing HepB at birth).

    2) A set of children who are genetically predisposed to be unable to handle an environmental factor, such as certain types of chemical, metal viral exposure. Exposure can either be in utero or post-partum.

    Theories 1 and 2 are admittedly impossible probably to ever have a direct causal proof, but the weight of evidence might eventually stack up to make one look plausible.

    Is any government or group doing serious studies for any of the above or other biomedical causation hypotheses — all research dollars can’t have been directed to disproving just one theory (Autism as a Novel form of Mercury Poisoning circa 2001) surely…

    For those who’ve always believed this hypothesis is garbage, what’s the set theories that they have developed as counter-theories for the underlying casue(s) of autism (as opposed to debates about rate change) etc. How do these counter theories stand today, given our current scientific knowledge


  15. Joseph January 15, 2007 at 17:48 #

    Administrative caseloads give an approximate lower bound for prevalence. They are not very useful if you want to determine the actual prevalence.

    But if the lower bound is increasing, it’s far fetched to suppose the actual prevalence is decreasing. Possible, but not likely. Also, if there’s a major event that affects actual incidence, I’d imagine administrative incidence would reflect it.

    Broadening criteria and increased labeling can be inferred from some aspects of the data, yes.

  16. Brian Deer January 15, 2007 at 18:44 #

    On the outside looking in: “It’s hard to publish that someone’s mechanism is wrong unless you publish a proposed mechanism that doesn’t have the same pitfall.”

    Well, maybe not if you can get at their raw data. Ho, ho, ho.

  17. Kev January 15, 2007 at 18:57 #

    _”1) A set of children who are genetically predisposed to be unable to handle vaccinations the way theory suggests humans should handle them. Changing autism rates can then be hypothesised to be due to the increase in numbers of vaccination given to young children and the change in vaccination schedule (more shots earlier—inclusing HepB at birth).”_

    I would simply ask – what reason (other than the foundering of the thiomersal hypothesis) would you have for proposing this?

    The reason this is such a ‘smoking gun’ moment for the thiomersal hypothesis is clear – as I understand it, when science thinks there is something worth looking at, they first look at the numbers, if there’s numerical justification to proceed then comes the clinical science. The thiomersal hypothesis has never got beyond that epidemiological stage. What in the science of autism leads you to think there is justification for proposing a non-thiomersal related vaccine causation?

    _”2) A set of children who are genetically predisposed to be unable to handle an environmental factor, such as certain types of chemical, metal viral exposure. Exposure can either be in utero or post-partum.”_

    I certainly personally have more truck with that idea but thats my personal unscientific opinion.

    _”but the weight of evidence might eventually stack up to make one look plausible.”_

    I think one has to recognise that waiting for something that may never come is a waste of time and money. MMR over here has cost the taxpayer over £15m. Thiomersal over there? No idea but I bet its similar, if not more. And for what? Nothing.

    _”Is any government or group doing serious studies for any of the above or other biomedical causation hypotheses—all research dollars can’t have been directed to disproving just one theory (Autism as a Novel form of Mercury Poisoning circa 2001) surely…”_

    I think several are. Baron-Cohen’s team are if I recall correctly but this is how science should be done – by interested people. Government mandated science is often poor.

    _”what’s the set theories that they have developed as counter-theories for the underlying casue(s) of autism (as opposed to debates about rate change) etc. How do these counter theories stand today, given our current scientific knowledge”_

    Me personally? None. I think autism is mostly heritable with a potential environmental component. Beyond that, I have no idea and certainly no science. I’m interested from a curiosity point of view but that’s it – I don’t feel a burning need to find a cause. Its more important to me that we can start to address the everyday needs of autistic people.

  18. Ms Clark January 15, 2007 at 19:43 #

    I don’t see why people can’t let go of the vaccine hype-othesis. The roots of anything linking vaccines to autism are deep into lies and quackery. Without Wakers lies about MMR in the guts of autistic kids the SAFE MINDS gang would never have been looking at vaccines as a cause of autism. Without lies about epidemiology driven by lawfirms pushing the idea of a generation of children destroyed by Big Pharma of the Deep Pockets most people never would have heard of an “autism epidemic.”

    The terror of vaccines and thimerosal was manufactured by the lawyers and the antivaxers and helped along by Kirby who may have a personal vendetta against the CDC. Eventually we may get some confirmation of that from one of Kirby’s friends, but it’s a good guess. Kirby did it for the money and for the love of taunting the CDC, I think.

    There’s no reason to keep pursuing a heavy metals or virus cause of autism right now. They have some interesting leads being produced by scientists as to the myriad causes of autism, none of them I’ve seen are related to heavy metals or viruses (oh, yeah, that’s cuz of the conspiracy). Odds are no one is close to finding out what caused YOUR CHILD’S AUTISM. Parents need to cope with that. If anything all these lies about an epidemic and it’s cause will cause a backlash against the pursuit of any toxic cause of autism. Not that David Kirby cares. I bet he’s laughing at the suckers who have supported him.

    It will be interesting to see what project he takes up next. You can be he isn’t interested in the lives of autistic people.

    I agree with Kev, the majority of money needs to go into understanding what autism is, how to teach autistic kids and how to improve the lives of autistic adults. We don’t need to focus on causes like pollution because it appears that the numbers of autistics is pretty stable and doesn’t react to changes in the environment, much if at all. Also, with what we know about epigenetics, the “cause” of some autism could be in what the autistic persons GRANDPARENTS were exposed to or what they ate. How you gonna fix something like that? I’m afraid to ask, it will probably involve dangerous experimentation on autistic fetuses and babies, if not sterilization of the WRONG kinds of future parents.

    Thank the mercury militia for the demonization of autistics so that we are now even more to be feared and more likely to be sterilized or destroyed otherwise.

  19. livsparents January 15, 2007 at 20:36 #

    First, the closest to an admission you’ll get from DK occurs at about 4:45 of the video: I will admit that the numbers in CA still going up makes Arthur’s job a lot easier arguing his side.
    Something like that…

    Now to my rant. To say that possible environmental factors are absolved in the causation of autism because there is not a causal link between autism and thimeresol is a bit irresponsible. Since we have ‘stable’ numbers now just means that we have stable numbers; I’m all for figuring out what autism is and how to best train our kids, but part of that HAS to be was has caused this to happen and how to prevent it from happenning. I don’t buy the eugenics argument and if something my grandmother was exposed to caused her to have alzheimers; my mother to have alzheimers and my daughter to develop autism, then we should look to limit or stop the exposure. I’m sorry if it sounds cold, but I’d rather not have children become non-verbal simply to not offend those non-verbal autistics. I’m not saying prevent the existence, just prevent the disability if possible.

  20. HN January 15, 2007 at 20:54 #

    There is something about growing up in the 1960s before there was an Earth Day, before lead was removed from gasoline, before lead was removed from paint, when rivers actually caught on fire and before there were any scrubbers on industrial smokestacks… is that we can laugh at the rampant “chemical paranoia” that affects so many.

    It was not too long ago that thermometers used to measure temps in kids had actual mercury in them… and we used to use the mercury from broken thermometers to “polish” pennies.

    Also, chemical sets were much more interesting! Though not as interesting of what Oliver Sacks got to do from his description in his book:

    I pretty much laugh at the chemical paranoia.

    Also, those of us who grew up in 1960s also got to see the effects of measles, mumps, rubella, Hib, pertussis and chicken pox. From suffering myself, to seeing the effects on kids I knew and on parents I knew who lost kids from “simple childhood diseases”.

    The lawyers and their cohorts using the system for their own personal gain… and when the result is an erosion of herd immunity where real people have to suffer the actual diseases… that just disgusts me.

  21. Ms Clark January 15, 2007 at 21:04 #


    The way to prevent a child from having problems with communication is to offer ways to communicate, that might not involve speech.

    How are they going to track down what a set of grandparents of autistics did during their lives that may have led to the grandchildren’s autism? The problem is extraordinarily complex. Whether or not I want them too, you can bet scientists will continue to work on the causes. There may be dozens of causes, maybe none of them that will be discovered in the next 30 years will be what caused your child’s autism, Bill.

    Scientists will follow what looks like the most promising leads. One of them seems to be that the mom’s body sees the baby as an invader and sends antibodies that affect the development of the baby’s brain. Amaral is proposing that possibly moms could get their blood cleaned out by plasmapheresis or that moms with this problem can get surrogates to have their babies… I guess mercury free surrogates would be best.

    You like that idea? I don’t. I’d rather have non-verbal autistic kids and a society that values them, than that brave-new-world garbage. Maybe I’m over reacting, though. Maybe there won’t be laws preventing moms with the antibodies from having kids.

    The eugenics thing has already happend in Down syndrome, there’s not reason to think autism isn’t next. There’s no reason to think that your typical kids, Bill, won’t be prevented from having kids, or told that if they have kids that the state won’t support their autistic kids (if they had autistic kids).

    Eugenical thinking is thick in the United States and elsewhere. They abort lots of girls for being girls in China, I hear. To the point that they don’t have enough girls to go around for the boys? So I hear. But then the Chinese are trying to cause an autism epidemic here, according to what we are hearing from Kirby… because they “own half our economy”? Or is that half of California’s economy.

    As someone who speaks Mandarin, a bit, I find this to be quite bigoted on the part of Kirby. Capitalist running dog. 🙂

  22. Ruth January 15, 2007 at 21:55 #


    I collect old pharmacy books. It is fun to see what the friendly neighborhood druggest used to mix up for tummy aches. Lots of mercury salts, heavy metals of all kinds. And laudum (thats opium dissoved in alcohol) for teething and colic.

  23. Ms Clark January 15, 2007 at 21:55 #



  24. _Arthur January 15, 2007 at 23:00 #

    Blaming the forest fires in California is idiotic.
    Note that autism prevalence cannot be correlated with the intensity of forest fires. Some years in California there are no forest fires, no smoke to be breathed by pregnant women, but the number of autistic children is not affected.
    Besides, the prevalence of autism is similar elsewhere in north America, including states that have no known forest fires problem. And towns that aren’t downwind to any smoke.

    That’s grasping at smoking straws !

  25. HN January 15, 2007 at 23:23 #

    Hey, what about volcanoes?

    Was there a spike in autism reports starting in Southern Washington State going eastward when Mt. St. Helens exploded in 1980?

    There was ashfall that turned day to night in places like Spokane. Did they get a spike of autism in the first half of the 1980s?

    Ruth: I know about laudum. When my group of college friends started to have babies a couple of decades ago we used to joke about drugging of kids long ago. Oh, and of course there used to be the dosing with castor oil… stuff that could give a kid a stomach ache (and in the right forumlation could get you a visit from Homeland Security since ricin is derived from castor beans!).

  26. livsparents January 16, 2007 at 00:58 #

    Ms Clarke, Now that we have the single mindedness of the thimeresol theory behind us, I disagree in that we WILL find many of the genetic aspects of the disorder before the end of the decade; hopefully we have subclassifications by then as well.

    I still feel it is way way to early to fear this eugenics spector. What you speak of is ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’ stuff and I and millions of others would be on the front lines battling any regime that proposes it.

    I also feel that there is more coming in the form of more precise therapies once we can figure out what works and what may not. Remember, 35 years ago we could barely recognize a dyslexic child, let alone teach one. I can’t see a world abandon a whole group of people that will contribute to society simply because they are different. The world ain’t built like that anymore (at least mine isn’t)…

  27. Ms Clark January 16, 2007 at 02:06 #

    I stand by this Bill, the eugenics thing has already happend in Down syndrome, there’s no reason to think autism isn’t next.

    Part of what the hysterics have been screaming is how economy destroying little autistic kids are. All you need is some economist to say that we can “turn the economy around if only we didn’t have to care for these rotten expensive autistic kids we have coming out our ears.” Did you read the quote on my blog from Amaral 2003:
    “These numbers are frightening,” […] “This is something that is devastating to families and devastating to children who have a lifelong disability. But it will be devastating to the state of California, too. If you think about it, there are now 20,000 kids in the system, and each of them will eventually get $2 million worth of services. Just do the math.”

    Multiply that comment by bunches, every “autism advocate” straight thimerosalist or not has cried the epidemic and followed it with an accounting of the devastation in dollars and cents.

    You think that energy/impetus couldn’t be turned against people who might propagate more little demons? I think it could.

    I never said that scientists might not come up with causes in the next 3 years, the end of the decade, it’s just not likely that they’ll find causes for the majority of cases of autism, since the causes appear to be so multitudinous.

    Hopefully, you wrote to the NIH autism steering committee and gave them your ideas as I did, besides signing the petition.

    I told them that I didn’t think autism was a multi-organ disease but it was fine by me if they looked into the digestive tracts of autistic children to see if they needed some digestive enzymes to avoid gas and diarrhea problems. I told them they should consider the problem of stress (cortisol) being a main cause of digestive upsets in autistic kids, and that they should also look for undiagnosed known genetic disorders in kids with problems like seizures and digestive problems, as those causes may already have known treatments specialized for those causes. I.e. undxd Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome needs to be treated by something other than B12 injections and chelation, right?

    I do not have a pipeline to the NIH/NIMH, certainly not of the sort that Allison Tepper-Singer has now. My voice is only one voice, Bill. Your’s can jump in there too and say what you want to have researched. What a deal. My opinions are roundly ignored by the MIND Institute folks if that makes you feel any better. 🙂 Now they say if I walked into the MIND waving a bundle of cash that they’d find a way to research just about whatever I suggested…. they’d actually value my opinion, but I ain’t got no bundle of cash and I wouldn’t give it to them anyway, maybe to UCSD, maybe to Yale… probably to some Canadians in Montreal.

    NO ONE is recommending that a large vulnerable class of individuals (which includes me and one of my kids) should be abandoned. Where did you get that idea?

    One thing I told the IACC was that they should refuse to fund any resarch based on a grant application that starts by saying, “We are about to be destroyed by an autism epidemic… I can’t help this great nation of ours avoid utter devastation if you only fund me….” Not in those words exactly.

  28. David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) January 16, 2007 at 11:28 #

    Bill: “I can’t see a world abandon a whole group of people that will contribute to society simply because they are different.”

    I can. I work in it. Finland is just one of many parts of such a world.

    Bill: “The world ain’t built like that anymore (at least mine isn’t)…”

    It’s been that sort of world as long as I can remember.

    Here’s an example of how well people like us are thought of (from ABFH’s blog):

    “At Keene State College, in New Hampshire, fellow students act as ‘social navigators.’ Their assignment: change their charges’ ‘outsider’ status by introducing them to their friends. The mentors get $10 an hour (and sometimes course credit in psychology) by helping students on the spectrum make small talk, date and get consent at every level of romantic advancement.”


    Bit sick, if you ask me. But that’s in the state that JBJ-arsehole lives on… why am I not surprised at that sort of crap being done to us.

    We get abandoned for who we are, but rather that than to be the recipient of paid pity.

  29. anonimouse January 16, 2007 at 16:33 #

    David Kirby will continue to spout the SafeMinds Party Line(tm) as long as he gets paid. Once Lyn Redwood realizes she isn’t getting a penny from the vaccine settlement – because there won’t BE one – then Kirby will fade into the sunset.

    He’s already laying the groundwork for his eventual departure, leaving behind a bunch of true believers and broke parents in his wake. I’m sure his next book “If I Caused Vaccine Rates To Decline” will be a best-seller.

  30. meany January 16, 2007 at 21:46 #

    Maybe Kirby’s next book will be, “How to cause vaccine uptake to decline, for fun and proft.”

    Or, “How I got paid for taking revenge on the CDC, and had fun mocking the parents of autistics at the same time.” No, that one’s too cumbersome.

    “Look at me! I’m a plume!” might work…

  31. Bonnie Ventura January 16, 2007 at 22:23 #

    Bill, the NIH already is funding research to develop a prenatal test for autism, and the research has been going on for several years. It’s not just a distant possibility, it’s real life, right now. Take a look at this article:


    Scroll down to the interview with Dr. Buxbaum.

    (I wrote about this in my comment to the IACC and asked them to reallocate the funding to the development of educational programs and community services.)

  32. TheProbe January 17, 2007 at 00:58 #

    Brian Deer’s comment, about Kirby having to find a new line of work….

    Kirby for the Defense!

    It is a great title, would make an excellent book, and the movie could star someone like Tom Cruise, with a little couch jumping!

  33. David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) January 17, 2007 at 06:55 #

    “the NIH already is funding research to develop a prenatal test for autism, and the research has been going on for several years.”

    I remember this being mooted in about 1998-9, when I was still an undergraduate at Leeds… my social and health psychology tutor alerted me to this issue.

    We found it somewhat scary.

  34. Blowing in the wind January 17, 2007 at 18:58 #

    Autism caused by mercury blowing from the East?
    Nah, it’s aluminum in the fireworks imported from the Big Buddha. An evil Chinese plot to give our children autism.
    The slogan is ” A sparkler in every child’s hand”. (sarcasm)

  35. Badger3k January 19, 2007 at 20:57 #

    Hopefully you’ll get this. Just saw that Kirby has another screed up on HuffPo (http://feeds.huffingtonpost.com/~r/huffingtonpost/raw_feed/~3/78056942/and-now-for-something-com_b_39075.html). I made a small comment, but given my incomplete knowledge of all the arguments I am not sure I made any points.

  36. Brian Deer January 19, 2007 at 22:15 #


    Don’t worry about your incomplete knowledge.

    If this clown Kirby had any, he might have checked the collapsing US birthrate figures.

  37. Ian Parker January 19, 2007 at 23:37 #

    “If this clown Kirby had any, he might have checked the collapsing US birthrate figures.

    Er, not that I want to be seen as an advocate for Kirby’s argument, but the figures he’s quoting are rates per 10,000 children, so any change in birthrate is irrelevant.

    Also, I’m under the impression that the US has a relatively stable replacement rate of 2.1 (vs. an E.U. rate of 1.47) (source).

    Having said that, I’m not suggesting that Kirby’s statements (let alone any implications in his post) are correct, but merely that he didn’t fall at the first gate mentioned above.


  1. Left Brain/Right Brain » David Kirby/Arthur Allen Debate Part III - January 24, 2007

    […] Also in this slide I want you to notice that according to this data that Kirby is using, the numbers are continuing to climb in 2001, 2002 and 2003. However, we know from a recently discovered CDC set of meeting minutes that according to a survey, in September 2001, only 5.6%1 of all vaccines contained thiomersal. By Feb 2002, only 1.9% of all vaccines contained thiomersal. […]

  2. Autism Vox » Science and Scientific Controversy, Journalists and Parents - March 8, 2007

    […] Back on January 13th, a debate was held between Arthur Allen, author of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver and David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy. The topic of the debate was whether thimerasol, a mercury-containing vaccine preservative, had caused an “epidemic of autism.” It was a debate, that is, between two journalists on a scientific question for which there is virtually no scientific evidence. […]

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