Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

Another example of the arrogance of ignorance

The other day, I mentioned what Prometheus termed the “arrogance of ignorance,” in which people with no training in a complex, scientific issue have the hubris to think that they know enough to be able to lecture medical scientists on shortcomings of their research. Here’s another example of just such arrogance by antivaccinationist Barbara Loe Fisher:

As usual, it is not the M.D. or Ph.D. “experts” but parents of vaccine injured children, who understand the bigger picture involving accumulating clinical evidence that many children are regressing and becoming chronically ill after receiving both mercury-containing and non-mercury containing vaccines. Parents know well that this one study cannot negate the fact that the medical establishment has refused to conduct the methodologically sound basic science research into the biological effects on immune and brain function of injecting infants and children with multiple vaccines containing many potentially toxic ingredients, including mercury.

Once again, personal observations by parents are prone to so many biases, particularly confusing correlation with causation and confirmation bias. Moreover, the plural of “anecdote” is not data. Scientists can be prone to the same biases, but that’s what the scientific method is expressly designed to compensate for. Worse, Fisher’s ideology is clearly at the fore here. She simply can’t accept that the overwhelming weight of the epidemiological and scientific evidence available does not support the concept that either thimerosal-containing vaccines or vaccines in general are a cause of or a contributing factor to the development of autism.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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