A sense of civil discourse

8 Oct

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted have been on a book tour for their new book, The Age of Autism. In a radio interview they were asked about being attacked, Mr. Blaxill responded:

“We get attack on a regular basis. I think we have become accustomed to that. I think that one things we really need to recover in this debate is a sense of civil discourse”

Mr. Blaxill made a similar call for a more civil discourse about a year ago. This was in regards to a post that was so offensive that the Age of Autism blog had to pull it down. Before it was pulled, Mr. Blaxill defended the piece. Mark Blaxill’s comment? He supported the attack as “edgy”.

The irony is fairly thick. Toadies who do hit jobs in the media?!? What was that blog piece but a hit job in a form of the media?

What is strange is the repeat of the statement that the discourse should be more civil. In that, I agree with Mr. Blaxill’s commentsl. Where we part ways is in the definition of civil discourse. I just don’t think he and his team at the Age of Autism blog have promoted a civil discourse in the last year (or ever).

Dan Olmsted owns/runs the Age of Autism blog. Mark Blaxill is an “editor” blogger there and frequent commenter. They are

Shall we go down the list of the people who have been personally attacked by that blog? Peter Bearman, Tom Insel, Story Landis, Richard Grinker (and his wife), Ari Ne’eman…the list goes on.

These are not “edgy” blog posts. These have included false claims of pharmaceutical ties levied against a blogger combined with an effort by Age of Autism readers to make the blogger lose his day job.

A more civil discourse would be welcomed. Even an edgy discourse would be welcomed. I encourage Mr. Blaxill and Mr. Olmsted to put substance behind the words. Stop the hot pieces. Stop the attacks.

9 Responses to “A sense of civil discourse”

  1. Julian Frost October 8, 2010 at 08:13 #

    So, the man running a blog that, amongst other stuff, photoshopped a picture to show 8 people sitting down to eat a baby wants a “civil discourse”?
    There goes another Irony Meter.
    And another Hypocrisy Meter.

  2. Neuroskeptic October 8, 2010 at 13:14 #

    Let’s have a look at the current Age of Autism posts:

    From “Forcing Flu Shots On Healthcare Workers: Who Is Next”

    “It is not a pretty sight to watch doctors acting more like thugs than healers. When doctors threaten people with financial ruin for refusing to shut up and salute smartly, there is something wrong. Trust is replaced with fear and anger. People start asking questions. Questions like: Who will be threatened and punished next for refusing a flu shot? The answer is YOU, me, and every American. We are next in line because when doctors trade in their white coats for military uniforms, going after their own is just the first step on the road to going after the rest of us.” – Civility itself!

    from “Autism Speaks: From the Town of Bedrock”

    “Umm..am I the only one thinking that [a proposed study looking at 22q11.2 deletion syndrome] is that it’s really dumb and expensive? And when is a deletion a “syndrome?” Plus, there has been information available for years, on lead and more importantly, MERCURY, causing deletions! AS makes it sound like genes just spontaneously delete! How come they don’t want to investigate that? (HERE)” – Lovely and civil. Pity about the grammar, spelling and factual errors but it couldn’t have been nicer.

  3. Roger Kulp October 8, 2010 at 19:50 #

    The stupidity of these people never fails to amaze me.Derry Brownfield has a phrase he like to use,”Ignorance gone to seed.”,that describes AoA these people perfectly.

    The only cases I am vaguely aware of,where mercury might cause a genetic deletion,is in candida albacans,and <a href="C.Elegans in yeast.Fungi not complex things like mammals.

    These people have Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome

  4. Roger Kulp October 8, 2010 at 19:59 #

    Delete above comment it was written before it was compelted

  5. Roger Kulp October 8, 2010 at 20:16 #

    The stupidity of these people never fails to amaze me.Derry Brownfield has a phrase he likes to use called “Ignorance gone to seed.” that describes these people perfectly.

    The only case know of where mercury would cause a genetic deletion,is in candida albacans,and in c. elegans in yeast.

    Fungi,not mammals.

    There are chromosome 22 deletion syndromes,like Velo-Cardio-Facial,and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome,I have a variant of the latter,that are well known to be associated with autism.even with all of the problems they have had with people skimming off money,insanely huge perks,and salaries,I am glas Autism Speaks is doing some chromosome 22 research.But to AoA all genetics are eugenics.

    It is THEY who are “suck in the stone age”,and are increasingly irrelavant.As I keep saying,we need to move on,and ignore them,and the will eventually go away.

  6. AutismNewsBeat October 8, 2010 at 23:22 #

    The anti-vax movement can call itself civil when it stops ejecting journalists from conferences. I heard today that a Chicago Tribune reporter was warned by rally organizers to stay out of Grant Park when Mr. Andrew Wakefield spoke there last May.

  7. crowepps October 11, 2010 at 20:29 #

    It is difficult to maintain a high level of civil discourse when discussing things with someone who is advocating policies which would result in my grandchildren being dead of preventable diseases.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - A sense of civil discourse « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com - October 8, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Alltop Autism. Alltop Autism said: A sense of civil discourse http://bit.ly/au1KSc […]

  2. Skeptics: Bringing Civility to the Vaccination Discussion « DrosophiBlog - October 12, 2010

    […] that there needs to be more civility in the discussions of autism being linked with vaccination.  Mark Blaxill, while doing a radio interview promoting his new book […]

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