I just saw something that utterly stunned me over at that house organ of the mercury militia and antivaccinationists everywhere Age of Autism. It’s an example of hypocrisy so blatant that it stuns even me, someone who’s been following the whole pseudoscientific “vaccines cause autism” movement for over three years now. It started with this headline:
Then, when The Probe quite reasonably points out in the comments:
Kim, since you are so concerned about conflicts of interest that you are willing to deny Dr. Offitt his right of free speech and press, I assume that you support the idea that any parent who is a claimant in the Omnibus Class Action should hold their comments, as they, too, have a conflict of interest.
The reporter should at least mention Dr. Offit’s financial interest in vaccines along with his title at CHOP. If a parent involved in a legal case chooses to discuss it in a forum like this that’s their right too.
Dr. Offit is certainly allowed to have freedom of speech. He can write books, articles, get his quotes plastered in every paper in America. We plan to add the information that tends to be missing, however.
But wait a minute. What was the title of Kim’s post again? Oh, yeah, it was this:
Nice to catch Kim lying so blatantly about what she clearly meant from the title.
In any case, I do so love the quote from Dr. Offit that so irritated the not-so-merry band of antivaccinationists over at AoA:
I think that what’s so endearing to me about the anti-vaccine people is they’re perfectly willing to go from one hypothesis to the next without a backward glance.
This is so true. Antivaccinationists are, if nothing else, very–shall we say?–flexible about what hypotheses of autism causation they will accept. The only absolute requirement they have for such hypotheses, of course, is that the hypothesis must somehow blame vaccines for autism, no matter how tangentially. Anything else is negotiable, as the Hannah Poling case taught us. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or scientifically implausible (remember the Geiers’ “testosterone sheets” and mercury, for example) or how many high quality studies refute it (the concept that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in most childhood vaccines, for example), as long as the hypothesis somehow blames vaccines for autism, antivaccinationists will credulously gobble it up. It doesn’t even matter if the hypotheses they champion are mutually contradictory. To them, as long as a hypothesis somehow allows them to blame vaccines for autism, it’s all good.
What’s really scary, though, are some of the comments. For example, a commenter named Craig Willoughby issued what is in essence a call for violence against Dr. Offit:
This man makes me sick. I cannot describe to you how angry I am right now. My autistic child is very ill right now because of this man and his willingness to do anything for his blood money. And the rest of America (except for those of us who know the truth) go on blithely as if nothing was ever wrong or give this demon praises (PRAISES!) for the “contribution to the safety of our children.”
Prison will be too good for him. I think that if and when this all finally comes crashing down, I think that the government should give this sick and twisted individual to the parents of the children he so willingly destroyed.
Whatever you may think of Dr. Offit, even if you believe that vaccines somehow cause autism, can we all agree that calls for violence against him are beyond the pale in civilized debate and that Mr. Willoughby has descended into truly vile, frightening rhetoric?
I fear for Dr. Offit and his family, given this degree of hatred directed against him by antivaccinationists.