RFK Jr – Attack on sense

20 Jun

You can always tell when the mercury militia are hurting – they wheel out their biggest gun. The biggest gun they have in their armoury is RFK Jr, a man who seems to live on the reputation of his dead family members and not a lot else. Last time he dropped the biggest, steamingest, drippiest turd on the web in the fullsome (and entirely accurate) language of Orac.

Well, after reading RFK Jr’s latest verbal tantrum I think Orac might need to get out the Dynorod and try and flush this particular big shit in a small bowl away as quickly as possible.

RFK Jr claims firstly that:

The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week–for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury — surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal.

Christian Wright has ‘recovered significant function’ has he? Any evidence for that? Any evidence even if he has that _chelation_ is responsible for this? No, didn’t think so. I’m going to go right ahead and assume that Christian Wright isn’t any more ‘significantly recovered’ than the other 90% + kids on the Generation Rescue page.

Kennedy may be unfamiliar with the sort of PR bullshit that Katie Wright’s self confessed mentor likes to spin so let me clue him in a little: The chelationistas love to claim ‘thousands of cured kids’ but when pressed, cults like Generation Rescue can only display 76 and when one examines those 76 carefully only 6 report their kids as recovered/cured/whatever. The situation with Katie Wright’s mentors is so ridiculous that I got my own daughters details published on their website as a ‘recovered’ kid.

So, Kennedy will have to forgive me if I’m less than impressed with the (unfounded) claim of ‘significant recovery’.

Kennedy then goes on to paint loving images of the mercury militia’s members:

Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I’ve found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other professionals.

I must admit I did start chuckling when I read this. I’m sure some of these people are clam and grounded but ‘for the most part’ they are comprised of racist, homophobic dullards such as John Best Jr – a man thrown out of 4 autism groups at the last count and who likes to fist fight his autistic son, or people Erik Nanstiel who holds down his autistic daughter to inject her with pointless, dangerous drugs. Or people like Christine Heeren who takes her son to a doctor who chelates him with IV’s of garlic and vinegar. Or people like Julia Berle who loves to crow about her ‘recovered’ son, neglecting to state that he was diagnosed, treated and ‘cured’ by Scientologists.

_These_ are your ‘calm, grounded’ people Mr Kennedy.

Kennedy goes on to describe the ‘overwhelming science’ behind the thiomersal hypothesis:

hundreds of research studies from dozens of countries showing the undeniable connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological illnesses. In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between autism and Thimerosal.

Wow. Kennedy must be privy to studies that the rest of the world isn’t. Where are these ‘hundreds of research studies…showing the undeniable connection’ between thiomersal and autism? Up your ass Mr Kennedy? How come they’ve not been used in the Vaccine court hearing of the last week? You’re a lawyer right? Get your legal backside down there and save the day with your ‘hundreds of research studies’.

The truth is Mr Kennedy, that the vast majority (key word: vast) of the ‘science’ done thus far by the militia is not of sufficient quality to be published in decent science publications. These ‘hundreds of research studies’ in habit the murky world of JAPANDS, Medical Hypothesis and Medical Veritas. These aren’t science journals Mr Kennedy, they’re agenda driven vanity publishers. Much like your good self.

Battling further through the stupid we come to this:

Ironically, it is the same voices that once blamed autism on “bad parenting,” and “uninvolved” moms that are now faulting these mothers for being too involved.

Er, what? Who has said that? When? Where? Cite your sources Mr Kennedy. You might also want to check, but I’m pretty sure that Bruno Bettleheim, the man who actually _did_ blame autism on bad parenting isn’t so vocal on the subject anymore. Possibly due to him being dead the last seventeen years.

You know absolutely nothing Mr Kennedy and yet you feel duty bound to poke your oar in anyway. Participate by all means, but do so from a position of knowledge, not ignorance.

Others fed up with RFK Jr

Steven Novella
Denialsim Blog
Orac

37 Responses to “RFK Jr – Attack on sense”

  1. Matt June 20, 2007 at 08:36 #

    Between the Kirby almost-a-swan-song, and this (OK, add that stuff from CBS), this has been a big week for the people who want to selectively cite the news media.

    Add to that selectively citing fragments of testimony and you have a veritable Christmas in (almost) July.

    Wow, hundreds of studies… Dozens of countries…

    Now, I wouldn’t say that “for the most part’ they are comprised of racist, homophobic dullards “. The loudest may be. The rest are just your regular, garden variety dullards.

    Matt

  2. Phil June 20, 2007 at 11:37 #

    RFK? Mr.Kennedy? There’s a pro wrestlng gag just begging to be cracked there – but I won’t because most of you wouldn’t get it.

    But crikey! This man needs just as much help as the rest of them. Why do idiots like this even exist? That’s what I want to know!

    No wonder the world’s up shit creek!

  3. bones June 20, 2007 at 11:52 #

    His father would be ashamed.

  4. notmercury June 20, 2007 at 12:58 #

    “Get your legal backside down there and save the day with your ‘hundreds of research studies’.”

    That would be a treat: “Era er era yer honar, era. There are studies, era, hundreds of them, era.”

    Right there with the missing Zapruder frames.

  5. Bartholomew Cubbins June 20, 2007 at 15:58 #

    First Kirby pulls the if-you-don’t-agree-with-me-you’re-Osama card. Then RFK Jr. pulls the if-you-don’t-agree-with-me-you’re-Bettleheim card.

    Here’s the card for you two morons:
    !http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/bsp/hi/rugby_league/rules/referees_signals/img/red_card.jpg!

  6. Ms. Clark June 20, 2007 at 17:57 #

    I wondered if it was a tag-team Huffpoof thing… Kirby tells the mercury moms that he’s “outta here” and they point to Kennedy and say, “You’re on!”

    I hope they are both leaving autism-land. I hope the screen door hits them on the way out.

  7. Joseph June 20, 2007 at 20:38 #

    Not only is it not hundreds of studies (I’d call that a blatant lie) but the handful of *epidemiological* papers linking thimerosal with autism are all written by none other than the Geiers. Plus they are all easy to refute (or worse). And I believe none of them are published in a reputable journal.

  8. _Arthur June 20, 2007 at 20:47 #

    RFKjr handwaves in the direction of hundreds of studies establishing mercury causing _neurological damage_, tacks an “and thimerosal” at the end, and downplays the “handful” of epidemiological studies disproving links between thimerosal and autism.

    But, he seems out of touch with the Petitioners scientists, who are arguing forcefully before the Vaccines Court that Autism is caused by _viral damage_. Can’t they get together and straighten their pseudoscientific story ???

  9. isles June 20, 2007 at 22:10 #

    “Get your legal backside down there and save the day with your ‘hundreds of research studies’.”

    I love this.

  10. Phil June 21, 2007 at 00:03 #

    I hope they are both leaving autism-land. I hope the screen door hits them on the way out.

    You mean the glass door, Ms.Clark! LOL

    Hear Hear, Isles!

  11. Sarah, Liam and Ryan's Mama June 21, 2007 at 00:23 #

    Ah yes. The same old same old from the open-minded mercury crowd. Hundreds of studies that, if I were only intelligent enough to blindly agree with, would insstantly and magically produce peace, harmony, and a “cure” for the entire autism community.
    I tend to think that these “grounded and patient” types are perhaps a bit too much so. I have yet to find one approach that works unfailingly and completely save for time and maturity both on my part as well as that of my boys. I listen to the needs of my children and consider their reactions, thoughts, and feelings first. So I suppose that makes me less involved than someone who forces their child to pop pounds of pills and “detoxifiers” a month and injects them against their will with the contents of a spice cupboard?

    If RFK Jr. has all the studies and answers, please share with the rest of the class.

    Until then, like my mother said, if you don’t have anything nice (or pertinent) to say, sit down and be quiet.
    This court situation gets more amusing as the days go by and I can barely read it with a straight face anymore.

  12. Tom June 21, 2007 at 12:04 #

    Why isn’t his uncle exposing the CDC, FDA and “Big Pharma” in what Jr. alleges to be the biggest public health debacle and subsequent cover-up ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public?

    Ted has a lot of sins to atone for and this would be one very large chit in his favor.

    Yet, not a word.

  13. 666sigma June 21, 2007 at 12:51 #

    If RFK Jr is living off the reputation of his dead relatives, I feel sorry for him. They’re a bunch of scumbags. Although, the scummiest of them all is still in the Senate. God knows how his liver held up this long.

    BTW, I did think (surprisingly) that RFK Jr’s paraphrasing of the Simpsonwood conference was basically accurate. His tone may be off, but he did capture the sentiments being spoken at the meeting.

  14. 666sigma June 21, 2007 at 12:57 #

    Coincidence?

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=our_schools&id=5401263

    Who knows, but it is interesting that NJ, the most toxic state in the US, keeps coming up big on the autism list.

    I’m sure RFK Jr will be all over this one.

  15. bones June 21, 2007 at 13:12 #

    Has anybody seen Kirby’s latest? The man is pathetic.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/autism-in-room-5_b_53110.html

  16. 666sigma June 21, 2007 at 20:39 #

    It’s about the same classroom that I posted an article on. Who knows if he is telling the truth with his additional stories? He’s beating his own drum. However, he didn’t make the situation up.

    He didn’t decide to shut down the school for testing. I can’t imagine that they did this unless the data collected was reasonably accurate. If anything, I would expect undercounting.

    Given that ASD’s encompass 100 or more genes, does it really seem that unlikely that some may have an environmental trigger?

  17. 666sigma June 21, 2007 at 20:55 #

    Let’s put some data around that NJ classroom.

    In terms of LD’s, it is over 3 standard deviations away from the norm and, in terms of ASD’s, it is over 5 standard deviations away from the norm.

  18. bones June 21, 2007 at 21:06 #

    “Given that ASD’s encompass 100 or more genes, does it really seem that unlikely that some may have an environmental trigger?”

    Do you have any idea the number of environmental exposures one is exposed to in a given moment? Which would you like to pick? Grass? Bee sting? Pollen? Dander? PCB’s? CO2? Bacteria/Germs?

    Substantive difference between “environmental trigger” and “thimerosal in vaccines”. I wish people would stop using these terms interchangeably. EoH is constatnly doing this, and it’s really annoying.

    Let’s focus on one premise at a time, shall we?

  19. _Arthur June 21, 2007 at 22:22 #

    Put me on for *custard* as the environmental trigger.

  20. Broken Link June 22, 2007 at 00:51 #

    Me, I like TV. Lots of evidence about TV (or maybe it is just Sesame Street) triggering autism has been given during these hearings.

  21. bones June 22, 2007 at 01:01 #

    Kirby: “That means that, if autism spectrum disorders are genetic only, then New Jersey officials must be three times better at diagnosing and counting ASD cases than their Alabama counterparts.

    He’s an egocentric idiot regurgitating a fallacious argument spoon fed to him by his sycophants at EoH, SafeMinds, et al.

    …ask me how I really feel.

  22. Prometheus June 22, 2007 at 04:25 #

    I’d like to see how Kirby would explain why Oregon has the highest autism prevalence (per the USDE) in the country.

    It’s not as though Oregon is well-known as a toxic waste dump, nor is there a lot of heavy industry spewing pollutants into the environment.

    In fact, given that Oregon has the highest autism prevalence, perhaps it is exposure to trees and rain that “triggers” autism.

    Prometheus

  23. Susan June 22, 2007 at 06:06 #

    Prometheus: Dare I suggest that Oregon has the highest rate because people like myself move here for better educational opportunities for our autistic kids?

  24. Phil June 22, 2007 at 09:54 #

    Put me on for custard as the environmental trigger.

    Custard pie – in the face, Arthur? LMAO!

    Kirby: “That means that, if autism spectrum disorders are genetic only, then New Jersey officials must be three times better at diagnosing and counting ASD cases than their Alabama counterparts.

    And Kirby thinks that’s not possible? He is definitely living in la-la land! What’s the bet that a lot of misdiagnosing of ASD’s as schizophrenia (for example) goes on in Alabama? I say it’s odds on!

    And where would Oregon fit in with that? Well put, Susan.

  25. 666sigma June 22, 2007 at 11:55 #

    “I wish people would stop using these terms interchangeably. EoH is constatnly doing this, and it’s really annoying.”

    Sorry, Charlie, but I didn’t use them interchangeably. I have nothing to do with EoH or Kirby. I’ve never even read his book. I have no desire.

    There is a classroom in New Jersey where the children born to the teachers in that class room are far more like to have a severe LD or ASD. Simple math shows that it is over 3 standard deviations away from the mean for LD’s and over 5 standard deviations away from the mean for ASD’s.

    Strange, isn’t it?

  26. bones June 22, 2007 at 16:15 #

    “There is a classroom in New Jersey where the children born to the teachers in that class room are far more like to have a severe LD or ASD.”

    More likely than what or who? people in the school? people in other classrooms? the town? the state? where do these children live w/in the community? what is the rate of autism within that community?

    “Simple math shows that it is over 3 standard deviations away from the mean for LD’s and over 5 standard deviations away from the mean for ASD’s.”

    The mean of who? To what populace are you comparing these numbers? Maybe that’s your problem, you’re using simple math instead of valid statistical analysis.

    “Strange, isn’t it?”
    No, I believe the proper term is coincidental. What I do find strange is that you believe (or at least imply) that there exists a potent environmental toxin is somehow easily contained or confined to one classroom.

    Kirby states: “The CDC tells us that children here are three times more likely to have an autism diagnosis than kids in, say, Alabama.”

    Where does he get this number? Is this prevelence? or Incidence (which is implied by the way)? What’s the mean age, and range?

    He then admits the numbers relating to this particular school were derived from
    “…an admittedly “informal poll” of school administrators”. Wow! Very reliable methodology, indeed.

    People (myself included) need to stop looking at the information given, and look at the info not given. The information we know is of less value to us than the infromation we do not know.
    Kirby talks a lot, yet says little.

  27. Tom June 22, 2007 at 16:18 #

    666Sigma sez, “There is a classroom in New Jersey where the children born to the teachers in that class room are far more like to have a severe LD or ASD…. Strange, isn’t it?”

    No, it is not strange in the least unless you like to infer causation at the drop of a hat and lack an understanding of the natural variation in the occurrence of a disorder(s).

    This poorly written, uninformed account mirrors all the cancer cluster scares. I hope autism does not give rise to the same fear mongering.

    666Sigma, you may dislike David Kirby but you sure do think alike. Actually, maybe you are David Kirby.

  28. 666sigma June 23, 2007 at 12:40 #

    Bones, it would seem that you have no education involving statistics. If you did, you could have easily replicated the numbers that I have posted.

    If you are reading this board than you’ve heard about 1 out of 150. Regarding language disorders, I was rather generous and assumed 1 out of 6, which is supposed to be the figure for learning disabilities.

    So you can do the math yourself and determine if it is relevant. Even for such a small sample size, the numbers are off the charts. The school board made the right decision.

    To my friend, Tom, where did I assume causation? However, 5 sigmas is worth looking into.

    Regarding cancer clusters, they are real. Your profession also has a strong bearing as to whether you will get cancer and what type. You’d be amazed at the statistics the government keeps on this. It’s available online for free. BTW, you don’t want to be a farmer.

  29. bones June 23, 2007 at 13:33 #

    “Bones, it would seem that you have no education involving statistics. If you did, you could have easily replicated the numbers that I have posted.”

    Nice. If you had a clue, I might be offended. Anyway, it’s time for you to open your Stats101 book and read the chapter about bias (sample & confirmation, in particular) and how they have the potential to produce unreliable results.

    Nice way to avoid answering the remaining questions.

  30. 666sigma June 24, 2007 at 02:01 #

    Bones, it’s nice to see that you are able to open a statistics book so it sounds like you now realize that I’m right.

    Now, go back and read the article and my comments. Tell me how the sample was biased or where I said it was even a scientific survey.

    Are you suggesting that because it is special education school that they are more atuned to learning diabilities?

    It may turn out that this is nothing, but the informal survey shows results that are so skewed, it is prudent to investigate. That’s what a reasonable person (a.k.a. unbiased) would do.

  31. 1 out of 6? How is that supposed to be “the figure” for learning disabilities? That sounds more like the approximately 1/6th (16%) who will fall to the left of one standard deviation less than the mean of any normal distribution, which is about as relevant as 50% being below average.

    More reading that might apply.

  32. daedalus2u June 24, 2007 at 17:01 #

    One might also ask why those particular people became special ed teachers. Was it because a family member, sibling, neice or nephew was in need of special ed services?

    Were any of the children with learning disabilities siblings?

    Some of the leukemia “hot spots” have been attributed to viral exposure in utero. Could somethign like that be happening here? If the school does draw from a wider geographic area than a regular school, there might be exposure of the staff to a more diverse array of viruses.

  33. Ms. Clark June 25, 2007 at 01:12 #

    It’s funny that David Kirby delivered some startling information about pollution around the area in NJ where “room five” is.

    He said something like “LOOK, there are all these toxic sites near the school!!” Which is about as helpful to the EoHam gang as, “LOOK! I’ve found evidence that Eli Lilly was totally not at fault in causing your kids’ autism!”

    He’s building his little escape hatch, they’ll be more than happy to see him go if he keeps hammering pollution as the cause of autism …. uh… epidemics or something.

    Not by the hair of my chinny chin caplan: But Mr. Sigma is the math guy isn’t he?

  34. 666sigma June 25, 2007 at 12:32 #

    Chinny Chin, you need to read a little more carefully if you want to get in an argument (as does Ms. Clark).

    1 in 6 is a liberal estimate for rate of learning disabilities in CHILDREN. Some say that it is only 5-10%. The incidence rate for a language/speech disorders will surely be less than 1 out of 6. If I assume it’s 1 out of 20 then the children born to this classroom’s teachers are almost 9 standard deviations away from the expected mean.

    Yes, Ms. Clark, I am.

  35. Kev June 25, 2007 at 12:45 #

    Just out of curiosity Siggy, what is it you do do for a living? I’m not trying to ‘out’ you, I just got the idea somewhere that you were an RNA scientist….no?

  36. bones June 25, 2007 at 12:47 #

    666sigma (or is it Mr. Beast?), this is the last time I’m going to comment on this so follow closely, and I’ll do my best to use simple terms.

    Your numbers are meaningless, i.e. they have no meaning.

    Where’s the sample bias, you ask? Why do you think they took an informal poll at that particular school, in the first place? Mind you, “…a public school for special education students, many with autism.”

    You don’t honestly believe that the Bergen Record just randomly chose this particular school to take an informal poll? Do you?

    Ya think maybe (just maybe) they (the media) were contacted by people (doctors, administrators) who maintained preconceived conclusions. The same people who, when “polled”, recalled only the specific events that confirmed said conclusions. All the while ignoring information that didn’t.

    Let me repeat, your numbers are meaningless, i.e. they have no meaning.

  37. Phil June 25, 2007 at 23:49 #

    You know what they say, Bones.

    “You can make statistics prove anything you want to.”

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