Pity for the Rankins

26 Jan

Its no secret that Wade and I were once pretty good internet pals. We regularly communicated despite our staunch opposition to the others beliefs regarding vaccines role in autism. That changed however as Wade sunk deeper and deeper into the bad science surrounding autism.

Wade and his wife Sym have recently been the subject of a piece by the Chicagoist following Wade’s open letter to the Trib. The Chicagoist reporter (one Mr Carlson) had obviously read both the Trib articles and Wade’s open letter before writing his own piece.

And now Wade has been obligated into writing yet another blog piece as it seems the Chicagoist has taken a similar line to the Trib. Wade says:

Reading through Mr. Carlson’s brief post gave me the distinct impression that somehow the meaning of our letter had gotten lost,

A brief digression. Wade and his family used to live in the South and were affected very badly by Hurricane Katrina. Once the dust had settled they decided to resettle in Chicago. Once there I learned they had become aquainted with the infamous Erik Nanstiel and David Ayoub, both hardcore believers of the vaccine causes autism idea. Not long after that Wade’s own beliefs on the subject hardened and it wasn’t difficult to see where this hardening of beliefs was being hardened from. I found it increasingly difficult to accept the things Wade was saying. An intellegent man, his new beliefs can be summed up in his opinion of Lupron and OSR.

…we have not, as yet, utilized either the Lupron protocol or OSR #1, both of which were the subjects of Tribune smear pieces. That is not to say, however, that those interventions may not be appropriate treatments in particular circumstances. On the contrary, we know families that these interventions have helped…

The old Wade would not have ever considered using these snake oil treatments. The old Wade would not have described the Trib articles as ‘smear pieces’. The old Wade wouldn’t have described knowing families who did use them and would have been much less credulous about their effectiveness.

SO, back to Wade’s statement that he believed the meaning of his open letter had been lost. It was lost, he’s right. It was totally lost on Carlson, it was totally lost on the commenters to the site and its totally lost to people like me. Not that I’m singling myself out for any special praise – thats kind of the point. I’m just an ordinary person with no special agenda and yet Wade’s point is totally lost on me and I very much suspect the vast majority of people who read Carlson’s piece or either of Wade’s long pieces on the subject. (Its hard to say which of the two points of the Somerset Maugham quote Wade utilises for his blog ‘Have common sense and … stick to the point’ that Wade has more strongly abandoned).

I miss the old Wade very much – a strong, principled and funny man, Wade has become just another sad foot soldier in Jenny McCarthy’s Bimbo Brigade alongside his fellow Chicago hardcore believers. His child is 10 years old and I doubt very much that xe is anywhere even approaching the level of ‘cure’ or ‘recovery’ that Wade has been promised by the various DAN doctors and new friends I have no doubt xe has been worked through. Wade’s tone in both of his blog pieces is a sad, tired sort of bewilderment – a bewilderment that the world just can’t see what he can apparently see. Sadly – pitifully – the viewpoint that he has adopted only means he’s going to become more bewildered.

8 Responses to “Pity for the Rankins”

  1. Wade Rankin January 26, 2010 at 15:46 #

    Well, Kev, it’s nice to know you still come over to read my stuff sometimes. It’d be even nicer if you got it right.

    I’m sorry you don’t seem to get the point, but then again our opinions on journalism differ almost as much as do our opinions on the causes and treatment of autistic symptoms. After all, you seem to feel that Brian Deer is a great journalist.

    Although I hesitate to get involved in what we call “a pissin’ contest” on this side of the pond, I do feel it necessary to correct a few inaccuracies in your post.

    You imply that some change came over me after we moved to the Chicago area, and I became acquainted with Eric Nanstiel and David Ayoub. The only part of that you got right was that we moved to the Chicago area.

    I am proud to call Eric a friend, but we were that long before we moved from Louisiana. I have neither met nor spoken to Dr. Ayoub, although I would certainly welcome the opportunity to do both. The fact is, my general opinions and beliefs on biomedical interventions were in place long before we came up here, and long before we stopped communicating with each other. Indeed, if you look at my earliest posts, you’ll see those opinions and beliefs were in place before you and I knew of each other’s existence.

    Although I certainly recall fondly our correspondence (both public and private), the end came not because of a difference on those core issues, but rather because the tenor of the debate had turned quite nasty. Specifically, you were upset that I would not “disassociate” myself from a sad little man with whom I was never associated in the first place. (Indeed, I pointed out to you in an email exchange that you had managed to make him far more important than he really was, as his credibility within the biomedical community was nil; your response was “perhaps you’re right.”) In turn, you seemed to have no problem at all with just how uncivil the debate had become on many of the Hub blogs.

    I try not to comment too much on the specific interventions we use with my son. I’m leaving it up to him to tell his own story when he gets a little older. (I have always appreciated your respect for my son’s privacy, and I have always tried t honor your daughter’s privacy as well.) But I can say that we have utilized many biomedical approaches that you disapprove of. That is nothing new; we were doing so before you and I “met.”

    Is my son “cured?” Well, not in the conventional meaning of the word. As I have consistently said, cure is a process (and a damn long one at that) and not a result. But the progress of his recovery has been remarkable. A child who was said to be doomed to institutionalization is functioning quite nicely and independently. Would he have made the same progress without biomedical interventions? Based on the timing of particular developments and test results, I have to emphatically say “no, he would not have.” His is a story of continuing success, and as I said, it is a story he some day will be able to tell himself in his own words.

    In short, old friend, do not hold any pity for us. We have never particularly cared for pity parties. We are people of hope.

    • Kev January 26, 2010 at 16:13 #

      Wade I often come and read your stuff and just like Ginger, it makes me sad to see how far you’ve moved from middle ground to polarity. We’ll just have to disagree on the reasons why we don’t see eye to eye any more but one thing I’m sure about is how isolated you sound. Just like pity, loneliness isn’t a commodity you can do with or do without but a state imposed upon you by your own actions. I do pity you and its the isolation that causes that pity. People like Erik are not good friends to have in my opinion.

      I’m glad your child is biologically improved but is xe ‘less autistic’? Thats the goal of the people you now associate with. I remember a guy who was not a fan of EoH and the people on it. These days you feature prominently on AoA – its blogging incarnation. A blog that features posts ‘outing’ the siblings of journalists and posts of people eating dead babies. What happened Wade? When did you become this?

  2. Wade Rankin January 26, 2010 at 17:40 #

    Hmmm. I’m not sure what this revisionist history is all abut, Kev. I’ve been a fan of EoH, the book, since before I started blogging, a fact that would be obvious from my first post. As to EoH, the group, I was not a member for some time, but that was because I was keeping up on it through others; I don’t recall ever criticizing it. As you are well aware by your occasional lurking on the board, I have been a member of EoH now for several years. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything I see there. Indeed, that’s the very purpose of a forum is to exchange thoughts.

    I’m not sure what you mean by isolation. The fact is, Kev, neither of us has ever occupied “the middle ground.” At one time, we both saw an opportunity for civil dialog, but that frankly got to be a bit difficult after a while. Maybe we both said everything there was to say in each other’s sites.

    In any event, I continue to wish nothing but good things for you and your family.

  3. Joseph January 26, 2010 at 19:28 #

    @Kev: If there’s been any change in Wade it’s only in the pretence, in my view. His blog was always called ‘injecting sense.’ Clearly, he’s anti-vax to the core and always was.

    There have been other bloggers who try to paint themselves as ‘neutral’ but you can tell they are not. Case in point: Harold Doherty.

  4. Kev January 26, 2010 at 20:53 #

    Whatever you say Wade.

  5. Science Mom January 27, 2010 at 01:36 #

    We thought it appropriate to write and explain why we thought this necessary. Put briefly, the Tribune’s continuing written assault on the autism community and those who serve us has caused us to lose the high degree of respect we once held for your newspaper.

    Mr. Rankin, I find that it takes an incredible amount of hubris to think that you speak for the autism community, one that is sadly fractured, in great part by the vocal minority that you actually represent.

    We are part of a growing number of people who have chosen not to meekly embrace our son’s disability, but rather to seek biological explanations for the clinical manifestations that led to the diagnosis and to utilize the best medical treatments to treat the underlying physical conditions.

    More hubris; those that disavow quackery and snake-oil are not ‘meek’, quite to the contrary. There is a chasmic difference between those that accept their children’s diagnoses and provide them with approved interventions that can help them navigate the NT world and yours that seek to cure and treat your children as diseased and damaged.

    We have utilized some so-called “alternative” therapies together with more traditional treatments. The continued improvement of our son’s clinical manifestations has been nothing short of remarkable.

    As long as alt-med practitioners continue to refuse to test their therapies and practise evidence-based medicine, there is no way that you could possibly differentiate between which therapies may be useful, neutral or even harmful. As someone claiming to be educated in the realm of medicine, you should know that.

    The Tribune’s editorial stance on autism treatments, however, seems inconsistent with other positions it has taken. Recently, your paper printed an exposé on overuse of drugs at nursing homes, a worthwhile subject. Why is the only focus of your autism coverage upon so-called “alternative” treatments?

    How is that inconsistent and not worthwhile? Is that only so because you don’t agree with the negative exposure that these potentially harmful, untested therapies are being given? I don’t think that’s the Tribune’s bias showing.

  6. Leila January 27, 2010 at 16:05 #

    Thank you Science Mom.

    Mr. Rankin buys into the fallacy that the Tribune stories are against autism treatment, when in fact they are doing us a service by exposing a whole industry that preys on autism families with their snake oils.

    Mr. Rankin: I’d like to cure my kid too. But I’d never, ever trust doctors who sell supplements or already have an agenda, which by the way is based on very shoddy science or new age holistic BS. When mainstream, good science discovers effective and safe medical treatments for autism you bet I’ll get them for my son.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Pity for the Rankins « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - January 26, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev and autism_hub, Autism Hub. Autism Hub said: New post: Pity for the Rankins http://bit.ly/80okGA […]

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