Robert Kennedy, why can’t you actually apologize? My kid’s brain is not gone.

16 Apr

Robert Kennedy is here in my home state, making disparaging comments about my kid. Not specifically, you see. His comments were about those whom he wrongly considers to be vaccine injured, but that includes autistics and, as a part of that, my kid.

He is quoted by the Sacramento Bee as stating:

“They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Really? Their brain is gone?!?

Because, you know, autistics don’t have brains. They’re gone.

How insulting and ignorant can this guy be? Well, before you answer that realize that: he doubled down on his mistake. He apologized, but just for using the term “holocaust”. Stating that kids

“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word to describe the autism epidemic,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”

Mr. Kennedy leave my community alone. We are not your tool to attack vaccines, Mr. Kennedy. Your ignorance and stigmatizing comments are doing damage to my kid and autistics of all ages.

Here’s the thing: the autism as a vaccine epidemic idea is the most damaging idea since the refrigerator mother theory. It fuels an industry of charlatans who use the one two punch: you caused your kid’s autism, now let me sell you the cure. And it fuels stigmatizing language: telling an entire group of people that “their brains are gone” is so wrong, so very wrong, so damaging that I can’t believe you let that stand.

Sadly, I can believe that you let it stand. Most other people I would suspect would be quickly apologizing.

Mr. Kennedy, you have been given every gift imaginable. And I mean gift: you did nothing to earn these. You are a wealthy white male in the United States, with a famous name to boot. Again, none of this earned. I bring this up because as the parent of a disabled kid I am so saddened to see gifts wasted. Thrown away, no less. You could be using your brain to do so much more, and yet you remain fixated on vaccines and you use kids like mine in your attacks.

You are not done apologizing. Not by a long shot.


By Matt Carey

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61 Responses to “Robert Kennedy, why can’t you actually apologize? My kid’s brain is not gone.”

  1. reissd April 16, 2015 at 22:41 #

    The children really do not deserve to be insulted this way. Shame.

    • Maggie Howell April 17, 2015 at 00:39 #

      I agree. RFK, Jr. needs to apologize, then be quiet.

    • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 00:14 #

      This ‘kid’ isn’t a kid because the #ActuallyAutistic Community is made up of adults as well.

  2. rh59 April 17, 2015 at 01:43 #

    Great. Lets criticize this guy (RK Jr) from every possible angle. “I am offended”. “No – I am more offended”. It goes on and on – from holocaust sensitive people, autism sensitive people, vaccine sensitive people etc. Every statement with its own religious prejudice built-in.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 17, 2015 at 02:20 #

      Nice troll.

      I will criticize Mr. Kennedy when and where he deserves it. He deserves it for both his use of holocaust and for his description of autistics. How exactly the latter fits with your “religious prejudice” notion is beyond me.

    • novalox April 17, 2015 at 07:35 #

      @rh59

      The person who was a Holocaust survivor that I knew would love to have a talk with you and your gratuitous insensitivity.

  3. chavisory April 17, 2015 at 02:21 #

    We’re suffering going on 36 straight hours of helicopter noise in my neighborhood, and I want RFK to explain why, if my brain is gone, does it hurt so damn much.

  4. Damon Matthew Wise April 17, 2015 at 08:42 #

    Can’t believe that this guy is in the real world; He is obviously not related to the Political Kennedy family as they have done great work with The Special Olympics, Kennedy and Roosevelt Awards to reward achievements, ability and recognizing the lifelong accomplishments and extraordinary talents. This guy belongs in a work camp, or19th century disability centre for he knows not what he says. Jokes is him, not on him. Sad pathetic reprobate of a regressive mundane and totally brain-dead loser himself! If stupidity was contagious, he would be prime suspect for patient zero; what a total and utter “dumb blond”; airhead; his claim to fame is the flies in his head are playing Space Invaders!

  5. Goldy April 17, 2015 at 09:11 #

    Encephalitis is a known reaction to vaccines – so Kennedy is quite right about what can happen after vaccines.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2262534/American-parents-awarded-600-000-compensation-son-developed-autism-result-MMR-vaccine.html
    While you may not get a direct admission of autism – encephalitis and brain injury from the vaccine causes autism like symptoms – so if you are a parent it is neither here nor there what the diagnosis is – you have a child with autism like symptoms and a lifetime of care and misery.
    “American parents awarded $600,000 compensation after their son developed autism
    Parents who claim their 10-year-old boy developed autism as a result of being injected with an MMR vaccine when he was a baby have been awarded more than £600,000 in a landmark court decision in America.
    Saeid and Parivash Mojabi claimed that son Ryan suffered a ‘severe and debilitating injury to his brain’ after being administered with two measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations in December, 2003 and in May the following year.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/post2468343_b_2468343.html

    “The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, better known as “vaccine court,” has just awarded millions of dollars to two children with autism for “pain and suffering” and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars.

    The government did not admit that vaccines caused autism, at least in one of the children. Both cases were “unpublished,” meaning information is limited, and access to medical records and other exhibits is blocked. Much of the information presented here comes from documents found at the vaccine court website.

    Some observers will say the vaccine-induced encephalopathy (brain disease) documented in both children is unrelated to their autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Others will say there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.

    What’s more, these cases fit the pattern of other petitions, (i.e., Poling and Banks) in which the court ruled (or the government conceded) that vaccines had caused encephalopathy, which in turn produced permanent injury, including symptoms of autism and ultimately an ASD diagnosis.”

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 19, 2015 at 03:35 #

      “Encephalitis is a known reaction to vaccines – so Kennedy is quite right about what can happen after vaccines.”

      I take it you don’t understand the term “encephalitis”. A swelling of the brain is not “brain is gone”. Mr. Kennedy is wrong and owes the autism community an apology.

      Let’s see, you quote David Kirby’s article on the Mojabi case. Mr. Kirby is not one to correct his mistakes. Let’s take a look at your quote:

      Now, let’s take a look at a vaccine court decision, in which the Mojabi family asked for their record to be sealed. Why? Because David Kirby mistakenly told the world they were compensated for autism when they weren’t:

      Petitioners have made these requests because they have had the misfortune of being frequently contacted by members of the media who mistakenly believe they were compensated for their alternative autism allegation when Petitioners were actually compensated for a Table Injury encephalopathy.”

      Ironic, isn’t it? They weren’t compensated for autism *and* they *wanted* their case redacted.

      https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/03/01/a-cause-celebre-for-those-claiming-vaccines-cause-autism/

      Somehow I doubt you will acknowledge your mistake or even attempt to avoid it in the future.

      In one point, Mr. Kirby is correct, this case does “fit the pattern”. The pattern of David Kirby making mistakes and not correcting them. Take the Poling case. I’m sure you are aware that Mrs. Poling wrote a very clear statement in a comment on the Age of Autism blog making it clear that her child was not compensated for autism, aren’t you? Do you want the link and the quote?

  6. Seth Bittker April 17, 2015 at 12:31 #

    So you disagree with him about shots. Fine. His choice of the word – holocaust – was poor. Agreed.

    For me his broader points ring true. The evidence suggests that there has been an epidemic of autism with a significant environmental component that is affecting increasing numbers of kids who would otherwise be neurotypical. This is in fact a monumental tragedy as these kids would for the most part have healthier more fulfilling lives if they were not affected.

    Regarding the “their brain is gone” comment, it is hyperbolic. Clearly he is not saying literally that those with autism do not have a brain as a physical structure once they have the disease. What he is saying is that in many cases the brains of those with autism are severely affected and this can show up as a lack of connectedness with the physical world. In most cases I think it is not too much to say that there is brain damage. Now none of this means that those with autism cannot be highly intellingent in some cases or cannot be wonderful people or do great things.

    In my opinion there is way too much political correctness in discussions of autism and in autism research. People should feel free to say what they mean. Otherwise we will confuse ourselves about the nature of this disease by sheltering behind politically correct agendas that think of autism as just another variation in the human condition that we should not attempt to ameliorate the negative affects of.

    • Lawrence April 17, 2015 at 13:27 #

      @Seth – fine words, except that everything he said did nothing but dehumanize those who have autism…..it isn’t PC to point that out and hold him accountable for trying to compare a neurological condition to the worst mass genocide in history.

      Yes, if a person did not have autism, they would have a different life, but who are you to say that life would be “better?” It would just be different – and no, there is no “epidemic” of autism – we’ve just gotten a lot better at diagnosing those that do have it – and the majority of the “increase” has been on the upper part of the spectrum…people that might be a “little odd.”

      • Seth Bittker April 17, 2015 at 20:44 #

        Hi Lawrence,

        Regarding “better” this is your word: my words were “healthier more fulfilling lives”. There is good research that indicates that those with autism often have very high levels of oxidative stress, endothelial damage, and immune dysfunction. In fact markers for some of these issues in the blood can identify many of those with autism independent of other testing. In addition those with autism often have significant issues of digestion such as constipation, diarreah, or GERD. These issues are issues of health. They cause pain and suffering in many cases and they shorten lives. I think it is quite reasonable to say that people with these issues will typically have less healthy less fulfilling lives unless we are able to come up with compounds and therapies that could ameliorate these issues.

        Regarding your contention that there is no “epidemic” I don’t think the data bears this out. Nominal increases since the 1986 are greater than 2000% in Californaia for example. Sure some of this is catching additional cases that had been missed previously but if in fact this were the only cause we would expect that the percentage of the population with an autism diagnosis that are severely affected to drop precipitously. I.e. even in the 1980s if you could not speak and had significant behavioral issues it would be tough to get through school without somebody noticing. Yet the percentage of the autism population that is severely affected have not dropped by a factor that is anywhere close to the rise in overall nominal rate.

        Another way of looking at this issue is that autism is very often an auto-immune disease and the rates of auto-immune disease in general have been rising and some have objective markers that show that this a real phenomenon. For example, from looking at historical blood samples and comparing them to more recent blood sample, celiac undiagnosed celiac disease in the US population rose by at least a factor of 4 between 1950s and 2000.

      • Lawrence April 17, 2015 at 21:30 #

        Considering when the diagnostic criteria was expanded for autism, I’d say you have no idea what you are talking about.

        In fact, the percentage of those who are diagnosed with severe autism has no increased relative to the overall population – much of the “increase” has been on the higher side of the spectrum – meaning that those children who were diagnosed as autistic over the past decade would probably have not gotten that diagnosis earlier.

        And autism is not an “auto-immune” disorder – which anti-vax site did you get that off of?

      • Seth Bittker April 18, 2015 at 03:17 #

        Lawrence,
        Regarding autism not being an auto-immune disorder there is quite a bit of evidence that in a number of cases it is. Consider these studies among others:
        1) anti-ds-DNA antibodies are about 8 times more common in autism than controls and anti-nuclear antibodies are about 12 time more common in autism than controls. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24837704
        2) folate receptor antibodies that can have signifcant neurological affects were present in about 75% of those with autism based on a particular popultion. See: http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v18/n3/abs/mp2011175a.html

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 19, 2015 at 16:05 #

        You misrepresent a coexisting condition with a causal condition. As of now there is not evidence that autism is an autoimmune disease. It would be like saying that epilepsy causes autism, or intellectual disability causes autism because both are common coexisting conditions.

    • Lara Lohne April 17, 2015 at 17:13 #

      Real autistic adult here! I’m not brain damaged and I have always been autistic. I was also raised in an anti-vaccine family so the first vaccine I ever had was at the age of 16. I wasn’t born in the 1990s, I was born in 1970 when autism was still being blamed on Refrigerator Mothers. Nobody who claims autism is an epidemic takes into consideration the number of adults that are now being identified (nope, wasn’t diagnosed as a child because at that time, autism as we know it today, did not exist) because the diagnostic criteria finally sees them as being neurodivergent as opposed to just ‘odd’ or ‘querky’ or even shy. The Autistic community is just as real a cultural difference as the Deaf community is and most adult Autistics and a growing number of professionals do, in fact, see autism as a norma, natural part of human diversity, just as all disabilities are seen as such by the UN (look it up, it’s true).

      Something else to consider also, most of the ‘negative’ affects of autism are due to lack of proper support, understanding, education and accommodation on the part of the allistic community, a refusal to accept that autistic people are the way we are for a reason and we are going to be the way we are and we shouldn’t be shamed by you, and people like you, into acting in a non-autistic way so you can feel more comfortable with yourself. disabilities are real, they can happen to anyone and it is typically society and social constructs that disable more so than actual impairments so get over yourself, your privelege is showing. You want to amelioate the negative affects of autism? STOP TREATING AUTISTIC PEOPLE AS IF WE ARE DISEASES BECAUSE WE AREN’T!!

      My partner is one of the most intelligent people I know, though I am not intellectual slouch myself, and our son is brilliant and creative and an absolute joy to anyone and everyone who knows him. There is no epidemic, and autism is NOT a disease, nor is it brain damage (my younger sister had brain damage from near suffocation as a toddler, another sister has brain damage from menengitis as an infant that left her permanently deaf in her right ear, my older brother is brain damaged from cerebral palsy, which he was born with.) Get your facts straight before you mouth off about topics you are clearly and sadly misinformed about. You are emberrassing yourself!

      • Billy Cresp April 17, 2015 at 21:28 #

        The negative effects of autism are only due to impairments, period. I know this as I am a heavily impaired autistic. Phony help and saccharine rhetoric won’t make impairments trivial.

      • Seth Bittker April 17, 2015 at 21:29 #

        Lara,

        I can see you feel strongly about this. I do as well because what I see as misperceptions on these topics affects autism research direction and funding, and this is unfortunate as I hope we find ways of providing more effective help to those affected.

        On your contention that there is no autism epidemic, I think there is good evidence that there is an epidemic and I refer you to the reply I have now provided to Lawrence on this same point above.

        Regarding autism being a disease, it is indeed typically characterized by a biochemical gestalt and this biochemical gestalt is not healthy. Therefore I think it is quite reasonable to refer to it as a disease in the same way that diabetes is also a disease.

        To be specific research shows that the majority of those with autism can be identified by looking at compounds in blood, urine, and saliva. Here is some of the biochemistry that characterizes autism in most cases:

        1) Immune dysfunction. Often this shows up as comorbidity with allergic or autoimmune diseases. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/16512356
        2) Elevations in monoamine neurotransmitters in the young. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8749.1994.tb11911.x/abstract
        3) Methylation deficits. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585776
        4) Low plasma cysteine and higher sulfate excretion than controls. This means there is a functional sulfation deficit. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13590840050000861
        5) Lower levels of fatty acids in blood plasma than controls. http://www.lipidworld.com/content/10/1/62
        6) Oxidative stress as demonstrated by markers.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005342
        7) Vascular damage as demonstrated by markers. http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=792009
        8) Intestinal dysbiosis. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/11/22

        Why is this important? Because by avoiding referring to autism as a disease we give people the erroneous belief that there is no dysfunctional biochemistry that characterizes most cases of autism. So then there is little reason to do research on autism biochemistry and how to ameliorate its undesirable affects.

        Your contention that I’m treating autistic people as if they are a disease does not follow from anything that I have said. Would you treat somebody with diabetes badly because they have diabetes? I think not. I have no animosity toward those with autism and do not advocate such a view. One of my family members is affected and I love him deeply.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 19, 2015 at 16:14 #

        I stay out of the “is autism a disease” discussion because it is not a good use of time. You get people using and misusing different definitions arguing with eachother and never actually accomplishing things.

        Your comment is a good example, to be honest.

        “Because by avoiding referring to autism as a disease we give people the erroneous belief that there is no dysfunctional biochemistry that characterizes most cases of autism”

        By calling autism a disease and trying to pin every finding as being causal in autism, one then creates the impression that “fixing” every proposed difference will cure autism. It feeds charlatans almost as much as the failed vaccine causation idea. Case in point “stop calling it autism” who advocate shutting down the glial cells in the brain because they feel that glial cell activation is the cause of autism. Ever talked to a doctor who had to help a child harmed by this protocol? I have.

        As to the idea of an epidemic, again people misuse the term. A rise due to social factors *is* called an epidemic in some circles (consider Peter Bearman at Columbia). There are at least three studies pointing to an increase in true autism rates due to increasing parental age. But that points to genetics so it tends to get ignored.

        “Would you treat somebody with diabetes badly because they have diabetes?”

        http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/know-your-rights/discrimination/

  7. Roger Kulp April 18, 2015 at 06:19 #

    Seth Bittaker,I bet I know a lot more about folate receptor autoantibodies than you do,or anybody else here.I am glad to see someone else besides me is bringing up CFD and FRAs

    I have autism,FRAs,blocking and binding,and resulting cerebral folate deficiency,but I do not have autoimmune immune disease.I have mitochondrial disease,and inborn errors of folate metabolism.Take a look at this article,and see what it says about folate metabolism and FRAs.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073259/

    I have even been seen in Arkansas as a patient,as an adult.In order to be seen,I had to provide documented proof of both an autism diagnosis,and all sorts of genetic and metabolic tests,that fit the research Dr. Frye is doing.I am now proud to call one of the top metabolic specialists there my friend.I hope to go back sometime.

    People like Lara Lohne are the ones who are misinformed.Every bit as misinformed as any antivaxer.Autism is a spectrum.It includes the very high functioning with no comorbidities,and it includes people with profound intellectual disability who are unable to care for their own basic needs.People like Lara need to recognize and accept this.People like Lara also need to recognize and accept that somewhere in between,there are children,and adults,who have serious impairments,because of autoimmune or metabolic disorders that directly impact the brain,and cause conditions that are diagnosed as autism.Not vaccines,but serious inborn diseases,that usually come with lengthy family histories.

    Anybody who is unaware of the connection of mitochondrial disease or PANDAS and PANS to autism is far from well informed.Autistic people are not “diseased”.Autism can be just one obvious feature of a very complex disease.

    My own diagnosis was that I was very low functioning,but with no problems in speech or language.I had profound learning disabilities and developmental delays growing up.I was re evaluated for autism,as an adult,and I have it documented I was too low functioning to live on my own,and needed round the clock care.A year later,many of my metabolic problems were found,and I began treatment,and as a result was able to demonstrate to adult protective services I could live on my own after my mother died.

  8. Sheogorath April 18, 2015 at 14:29 #

    On Wikimedia Commons, there’s a photo of Robert Kennedy Jr. at three months old. Just sayin’. ;D

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 21, 2015 at 17:19 #

      That comment and use of picture is wrong. Plain and simple. It’s demeaning to disabled people, and, ironically, a demonstration of privileged thinking.

  9. Roger Kulp April 18, 2015 at 18:49 #

    That comment may be the most tasteless,most disgusting thing I have ever seen on this site.Making sick jokes at the expense of those with severe birth defects is no better than anti-vaxer Nazi comparisons.Shame on you.

    • Sheogorath April 18, 2015 at 19:10 #

      If Robert Kennedy Jr. didn’t want me to make jokes at his expense, then he shouldn’t make disparaging comments about Autistic people. And where do you get off defending him on behaviour you would find reprehensible if it were aimed at you? Check your privilege!

      • Science Mom April 19, 2015 at 03:08 #

        Sheogorath, FYI Roger is an adult autistic so I would guess his “privilege” is well accounted for. Normally I enjoy your comments but I have to agree with Roger that your comment is tasteless (to say the least) and no better than what RFK Jr. has said about autistics.

      • Sheogorath April 19, 2015 at 06:13 #

        Well, he comes across as more of an ‘Autism’ parent when he defends people who attack us and uses so-called ‘person-first’ language about all Autistic people, so you can hardly blame me if I spoke in error.

      • Sheogorath April 19, 2015 at 06:34 #

        And anyways, passing privilege is still privilege.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 21, 2015 at 18:46 #

        Mr. Kulp’s comment did not defend Mr. Kennedy. Pointing out that your comment/picture-link was offensive is not a defense of the person attacked.

        Just because Mr. Kennedy makes disparaging comments doesn’t mean that others can do the same.

        Mr. Kulp is in the right.

      • Sheogorath April 22, 2015 at 00:22 #

        As I’ve stated before, my opinion was born of a long series of posts, not formed solely on the basis of that one. It may seem like I was accusing Roger Kulp of defending Robert Kennedy Jr., but I was actually referencing his defence of Andrew Snakefield, something I now realise I should have made clear at the time.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 22, 2015 at 01:37 #

        Since none of this addresses the fact that your comment demonstrates both privilege and is demeaning towards disabled people, this conversation is over. I don’t want to go around in circles forever.

        You used a picture of someone with an extreme disability as an insult.

        You used a lack of brain as an insult, pretty much paralleling Mr. Kennedy’s insulting comment with the added feature that he wasn’t trying to insult.

        You misuse the idea of “do not feed the trolls” to avoid criticism.

    • Science Mom April 19, 2015 at 20:01 #

      Sheogorath I can’t see how admonishing you for your tasteless and offensive “joke” is passing privilege. What you did was gross; own it.

      • Sheogorath April 19, 2015 at 21:52 #

        Fine, my joke is gross in your opinion. Now admit that Roger Kulp passes as NT on the Age of Autism website.

      • Chris April 20, 2015 at 01:20 #

        Why? There is no way we can fathom the thinking on AoA.

  10. Goldy April 19, 2015 at 08:25 #

    Robert Kennedy is one small voice among a huge well funded group of pro vaccine voices. He speaks for those who have been vaccine damaged and brain damage is an acknowledged side effect from vaccines. It is obvious that no public debate on the issue is allowed. The only venue is comments on newspaper articles. Of course when he says a child’s brain is gone he is referring to an acknowledged effect of brain damage to varying degrees which does happen. Use it if you will to disparage him but he is one of the few brave souls speaking up. We know the effect of being “Wakefielded” and he is risking this by speaking up as any high profile person does. Thank you Robert Kennedy.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 19, 2015 at 16:01 #

      “Robert Kennedy is one small voice among a huge well funded group of pro vaccine voices.”

      Trying to change the subject rather than acknowledge the fact that Mr. Kennedy demeans autistics in his attacks on vaccines?

      ” It is obvious that no public debate on the issue is allowed.”

      Really? They shut down the Age of Autism blog while I wasn’t looking? Natural News? All the other sources of vaccine misinformation? Kennedy gets in the papers based on his family name and he’s “one small voice”?”

      “Wakefielded” = being caught for unethical acts and facing no substantial consequences. Seriously, what happened to him? He left his job at the Royal Free of his own accord, having been offered full support to research his claims. He landed in the U.S. where he got a $270,000/year job. He’s since managed to put together a charity whose primary function is paying him. Dang, he’s suffered so.

      Kennedy risks nothing. He will still be a Kennedy and will still be listened to. He remains wealthy and free to say what he wants.

      ” Of course when he says a child’s brain is gone he is referring to an acknowledged effect of brain damage to varying degrees which does happen”

      If that’s what he wanted to say, he could have said it. In relation to autism he would still have been wrong. Mr. Kennedy has been asked to explain himself and has declined the opportunity. Unless you can point to where he has publicly clarified his comment, you are just putting words in his mouth.

      Bravery is being willing to apologize (he hasn’t) and correct the misinformation one has propagated (he hasn’t). Brave is not a word for Mr. Kennedy.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 19, 2015 at 16:27 #

      ” Use it if you will to disparage him ”

      You are the one trying to make this personal, not me. It’s a common debate tactic to avoid the facts.

    • Sheogorath April 19, 2015 at 19:02 #

      Actually, brain damage is a rare side effect of vaccines, and rarely results in acquired Autism anyway. Odds of about one in seven million, which is a lot lower than the international rate of Autism diagnoses, which is itself a lot lower than actual cases (Autistic girls tend to get missed, especially if they’re Aspies). And Andrew Snakefield got struck off and his paper retracted because it was discovered that he was attempting to get the MMR pulled off the market in favour of his own triple-dose vaccine, and he was being paid by lawyers who were suing the NHS on behalf of parents who believed (erroneously) that the jab had caused their kids’ Autism, two clear conflicts of interest. So the next time you want to comment on these issues, have the decency to do some fucking research first! *facepalms*

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 20, 2015 at 18:39 #

        “Odds of about one in seven million”

        I don’t know where that number comes from. Which is to say, I don’t think this is a valid number.

      • Sheogorath April 20, 2015 at 18:43 #

        That’s the number my maths got me, but it could be wrong because I’m dyscalculic. If somebody who’s better at maths than me could recalculate the sum, I’d be very grateful.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 20, 2015 at 19:01 #

      “Robert Kennedy is one small voice among a huge well funded group of pro vaccine voices”

      Nice way to slip in the “pharma shill” claim. Can you point me to where one can tap into this “well funded” program? (you can’t). Since the pro vaccine discussion is largely being held by parents and other ordinary citizens, your claim is clearly a slur.

      Here’s a question for you: do you think that Andrew Wakefield flew out to California on his own dime to be featured in a video against a vaccine-related bill here? I don’t. He was paid by multimillionaire Barry Segal to produce his “CDC Whistleblower” video. He was paid by another millionaire to make his “who killed Alex Spourdalakis” video. He’s likely being paid to produce his current project.

      But, hey, let’s claim “well funded” where there is no evidence and ignore it where evidence is clear, right?

  11. Sheogorath April 20, 2015 at 19:07 #

    @ Chris: In an email sent to AoA (don’t know exactly when, it’s been a while since I read it), Roger Kulp made the claim that ‘people with Aspergers are not truly disabled’. Now normally, I would let that slide. It’s the type of lack of empathy we’re all capable of in the heat of the moment. What I can’t let slide, however, is the subsequent failure of Roger Kulp to think about what he said and apologise to Aspies for it. It’s that lack of positive, empathic action that leads me to believe he’s an allistic parent who is describing his child’s hallmarks and issues in the first person, because I know of no Autistic adult who lacks compassion to that degree.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 20, 2015 at 19:29 #

      You are likely referring to this letter
      http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/07/a-refrigerator-mother-adult-with-autism-speaks-out.html

      In which he stated:

      For far too long nondisabled (Yes I’ll say it people with Aspergers are NOT truly disabled.) neurodiversity types have been the only voice of autistic adults out there. Neurodiversity ideologues like Laurent Mottron are hijacking serious autism research and threaten to take it over.The neurodiversity movement represents the single greatest threat to the well being of all autistics,just as Bruno Bettelheim and his followers did when I was a child.Both are based on a dangerously unrealistic and limited picture of what autism is.

      I’m not sure if he still holds to this viewpoint, but it is certainly one I do not ascribe to.

      • Sheogorath April 20, 2015 at 21:15 #

        Yes, I believe that’s the email I read a couple of years ago. I’m actually surprised I got the wording almost right (forgot about the word ‘not’ being in all caps).

      • Chris April 21, 2015 at 00:04 #

        Mr. Kulp has changed his opinions quite a bit over the past few years. Unlike many on AoA his mind was open enough to accept new data and evidence. He is not the only person I have noticed that have updated their opinions.

        We have to be open minded enough to accept the idea that people change.

      • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 00:12 #

        That doesn’t alter the fact that he has yet to apologise to Aspies for what he said however long ago; that point still stands.

      • Chris April 21, 2015 at 01:02 #

        Perhaps he should. Though not everyone realizes when they have offended others.

        As an Army brat who was always the new kid in school that bullied, a woman who worked in a male dominated profession and a parent to child with several medical and developmental issues, I have given up being offended at remarks about me. I just pity the person who thinks I give credence to random insults.

        I am offended at the attitudes toward my adult son who is an autistic man with normal intelligence. He is very much like your average Aspie, but since he did not have speech at age three (ten years of speech changed that) he would never had that diagnosis under DSM IV. Of course Asperger’s is gone for DSM V, perhaps because of those like him (who did not qualify under DSM III).

        Excuse me, I have a broken arm. I am bit cranky and I hate typing with one hand, I keep dropping words. Tiled bathroom floors are much dangerous than vaccines.

      • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 03:04 #

        Though not everyone realizes when they have offended others .
        That’s their problem. The only person who should have found it offensive is the one it was aimed at.
        My point still stands. As an Autie with speech (albeit with language issues of varying severity), Roger Kulp’s remark may as well have been aimed at me, and he still hasn’t apologised for it two years after I read it.
        Of course Asperger’s is gone for DSM V, perhaps because of those like him (who did not qualify under DSM III).
        Actually, you should thank whatever deity you believe in (or not) that your son was diagnosed under DSM-IV TR, because the opposite of what the DSM-5’s proponents promised is what’s happening. You can read about the issues at TACA (normally a bad site).

      • Chris April 21, 2015 at 04:34 #

        He was finally diagnosed last month, You really need to think more.

      • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 05:01 #

        First off, that’s meaningless since most psychologists diagnose either under the ICD-9/10 for insurance purposes or under the DSM-IV-TR because of the issues with the DSM-5. Secondly, when was I privy to the date of your son’s diagnosis? I’m really not the one who needs to think more, am I? Now I’m going to ignore you on the basis of DNFTT.

      • Chris April 21, 2015 at 16:28 #

        Oh, that just breaks my heart! [eye roll]

  12. Science Mom April 21, 2015 at 03:24 #

    My point still stands. As an Autie with speech (albeit with language issues of varying severity), Roger Kulp’s remark may as well have been aimed at me, and he still hasn’t apologised for it two years after I read it.

    You are making a Tu Quoque argument which is fallacious. Roger’s ideology has gone through several incarnations (as Chris pointed out) and I don’t know where he stands on his original statement which is problematic but has nothing to do with what you did; it’s a separate issue entirely. Perhaps some behaviour modelling is in order if you get my drift.

    • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 03:38 #

      I never said that the two things are linked. Maybe listening to your own suggestions is in order, if you get my drift.

    • Sheogorath April 21, 2015 at 03:46 #

      Also, to criticise the latest episode in a long chain of posts that leads someone to believe the target of the criticism is an anti-vaxxer ‘Autism’ parent is not a Tu Quoque argument, no matter how much you try to spin it into one.

      • Science Mom April 22, 2015 at 00:09 #

        Then you fail to understand what the Tu Quoque argument you made was. Also, claiming ignorance or assumption for who someone is to justify your disgusting jab at RFK Jr. puts you deeper into the hole.

      • Sheogorath April 22, 2015 at 00:23 #

        DNFTT.

  13. Sheogorath April 22, 2015 at 00:37 #

    Yeah, you think it’s so bad you commented on it rather than deleting it. Whose blog is this again?

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 22, 2015 at 01:31 #

      Mine.

  14. Goldy April 23, 2015 at 04:46 #

    My perfectly reasonable comments have not been published. Sullivan does not actually allow debate. He deletes selectively comments even though they contain no abuse, if they do not agree with his theories.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 23, 2015 at 19:52 #

      Goldy,

      If I want to delete your comments, I will delete your comments. Typically when I delete a comment I make a note of it. Try me. Post another comment where you complain about how I run this site and it won’t be posted but I’ll leave a comment stating that I deleted your comment.

      If your comments go into the spam bucket (which has happened to your comments and the bucket at any time has a few thousand spam comments), I am not going to spend effort to search for them.

      Your right to express your views is not infringed. I don’t usually read your comments, so whatever they contain doesn’t bother me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. And so the dismantling of public health begins: Donald Trump meets with antivaccine ideologue Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to discuss “vaccine safety” and autism – Respectful Insolence - January 11, 2017

    […] True, he did apologize, but his “apology” sounded as sincere as Dr. Neides’ apology for his antivaccine screed did over the weekend. Let’s recall RFK, Jr.’s “apology” for using the word “Holocaust”: […]

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