Reading Age of Autism – All I can handle, I’m no Vladimir Nabokov

13 Nov

I read Dan Olmsted’s latest post on Age of Autism and was reminded I had yet to publish a closing post on my experiences with the book. Here’s a quote from Dan:

It’s doubly disappointing to see traditionally progressive outlets – from Salon to Daily Kos to The Atlantic to National Public Radio and PBS – ignore the evidence presented in our book and so many other places, twist the facts they can’t deny, belittle those who believe otherwise including beleaguered autism parents, and glibly trumpet tired reassurances that the concern over vaccines has been “asked and answered,” that “study after study” has refuted any relation, and that continuing to point out disturbing patterns of evidence to the contrary endangers children and infants.

Quick translation for you: “Waaah, nobody liked our book or thought it was valid. What a bunch of pooh-pooh heads!”

The embarrassing truth for Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill is that their book has been still-born. Take a look at the Amazon rankings compiled by Broken Link and its hard to come to any other conclusion. But why has this happened?

First off, the book is badly written. Its not an easy read in the way that Evidence of Harm was. Of course the style is different but Age of Autism is not even a well written poor story.

Secondly, the content is – well – embarrassingly one sided. Whilst B & O claim to be not anti-vaccine, the whole book – particularly part II is rife with anti-vaccine sentiments designed not so much to lead the reader to a conclusion but to batter the reader over the head with the conclusion B & O reached before sitting down to write even.

Thirdly, the content is old hat. There is literally nothing new in the book. For those of us who have followed the the whole story, AoA has nothing _new_ to add to the overall scenario. Whereas Defeating Autism, Autism’s False Prophets and Evidence of Harm all had something _new_ to add to the story, AoA merely dully repeats truthiness from 3 or 4 years ago and couples it with a retelling of historical speculation that simply reiterates what everyone already knew – mercury isn’t so good for you.

So thats that for me reading purgatory. I’m reading something very much better now that I think Sullivan and I will be blogging at length in the new year.

12 Responses to “Reading Age of Autism – All I can handle, I’m no Vladimir Nabokov”

  1. Visitor November 13, 2010 at 17:54 #

    Looks to me from this quote of Olmsted’s that they have been abusing media organizations, which have responded in the manner he cites.

    You can just see it:

    Q: “How come you ignore our book? We reveal that the first case of autism was in 1931!”

    A: [Hits delete].

  2. Harold L Doherty November 13, 2010 at 20:52 #

    Without Age of Autism would lbrb have a reason to exist?

    • Kev November 14, 2010 at 00:16 #

      Odd question Harold, course it would. Apart from anything else it existed for years before AoA did.

  3. Dedj November 14, 2010 at 14:26 #

    And a significant amount of the material here has nothing to do with Age of Autism, as can be easily verified by a preliminary check of either the headlines feed or the drop down boxes at the top.

    I can only presume Harold has not updated his browser and therefore cannot see these elements.

  4. ANB November 14, 2010 at 15:32 #

    Yes, Harold. Would you?

  5. Prometheus November 16, 2010 at 00:26 #

    So, Dan Olmsted thinks that his book is selling poorly because “progressives” don’t “get” autism – or, more specifically, they don’t accept his (and Mark Blaxill’s) narrative about autism (see: “Dan Olmsted On Why Progressives Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”, Age of Autism ‘blog).

    How sad.

    Well, I’ve got news for Olmsted and Blaxill – based on my highly unscientific (but still better than any of the “science” in Age of Autism) poll, Dan is going to need to write some more apologias, such as:

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Liberals Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Conservatives Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Moderates Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Independents Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Secular Humanists Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Religious Fundamentalists Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Apolitical Apathetic Non-voters Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    “Dan Olmsted On Why Hamsters Don’t ‘Get’ Autism.”

    What Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill have done may be unique in the history of human literature – they have written a book which people of every political persuasion disagree with.


  6. Liz Ditz November 16, 2010 at 03:17 #

    As always, schooled by Prometheus.

  7. Harold L Doherty November 17, 2010 at 10:59 #

    Kev I am aware that lbrb posts the Neurodiversity ideological perspective, as does ANB an alleged “evidence based” resource, on other autism disorder related topics.

    I was simply suggesting that you, and ANB who commented on this thread, seem very obsessed with Age of Autism and the opinions expressed on that site.

    • Kev November 17, 2010 at 11:38 #

      Really? Obsessed? Out of the last 20 posts on LBRB, 3 are about or touch on AoA (either website or book) – thats 15%. Thats hardly the hallmark of an obsession Harold…and lets also factor in thats counting yesterdays shennanigans…if we ignored that we’d be down to 5%.

      I think we’re both interested in that site as it really exists on its own little echo chamber putting forth stupid idea after stupid idea and so its rich blog fodder.

  8. Tom November 17, 2010 at 17:24 #


    I think you’re obssessed with hatin’ on LBRB.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Reading Age of Autism – All I can handle, I’m no Vladimir Nabokov « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - November 13, 2010

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