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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

In which Orac sits back and lets someone else take on Jenny McCarthy’s “autism charity” for a change…

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Regular readers of this blog know pretty much what I think of Jenny McCarthy. In brief, she’s an opportunistic, scientifically ignorant but media-savvy twit whose hubris leads her to believe that her Google University education, coupled with her personal anecdotal experience, render her proclamations that vaccines cause autism and that “biomedical” quackery can cure it more convincing than all that boring science, epidemiology, and clinical trials. Indeed, her critical thinking skills are so poor that she was once a huge booster of the “Indigo Child” movement, but had to try to purge the Internet of all traces of her involvement with that woo in order to be reborn as a “mother warrior” fighting to cure autism–or at least to keep parents from vaccinating their children. Or, as the mad Photoshopping skills of Rebel Macaque parody her, she’s a medical whackaloon, much as all the others parodied are. (The tattoo on her right arm is a particularly brilliant addition to the parody.)

But if you think I’m tough on poor ol’ Jenny, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Check out this series of posts from The Daily Gonzo:

  1. Jenny and Me
  2. …and now I must go and bleach my brain
  3. “What’s Wal-mart? Do they sell walls and stuff?”
  4. Generation Revenue
  5. Emotional Wellness

Personally, what I find most amusing about Generation Rescue and Age of Autism is how hypocritical they are. They castigate, for instance, Dr. Paul Offit for having had his work funded by pharmaceutical companies, going so far as to call him “Dr. Proffit”; yet they chase after every dollar they can from sponsorships by purveyors of dubious “biomedical” treatments for autism. Meanwhile, Jenny and Jim command big bucks on the speaking circuit (Jim more than Jenny; being a real, as opposed to washed-up, star has its advantages).

Anyway, it’s very relaxing and amusing for me to let someone else dump on Jenny McCarthy and her “autism charity” Generation Rescue for a while, while I just sit back and enjoy. Every so often, even Orac needs some down time.

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]

168 replies on “In which Orac sits back and lets someone else take on Jenny McCarthy’s “autism charity” for a change…”

“They castigate, for instance, Dr. Paul Offit for having had his work funded by pharmaceutical companies, [yet they ignore that their hero, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, had his work funded by trial lawyers seeking to sue pharmaceutical companies and that he was seeking to have his vaccine replace the MMR vaccine so he could profit from royalities from pharmaceutical companies.]”

How’s that?

McCarthy Reveals: Bathing with laundry balls cures autism!

Did she bath with the laundry balls or did she put her child in?
Which brand of laundry balls?
Which setting do you use?
Do you put your kid in alone or do you put him in with knits or cottons?
How long?
obviously not a high heat setting?

Dammit! You call this a science blog yet you have no specifics!

No, it’s true but they have to be magnetic zeolite clay laundry balls.

That Jenny McCarthy would use botox is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Not only is does she lack brains she also lacks a sense of self awareness and humor. I shall sit here and giggle myself silly at the spectacle of Jenny “Toxins Are Bad” McCarthy injecting herself with actual (GASP!) toxins for the silliest of possible purposes.

“They castigate, for instance, Dr. Paul Offit for having had his work funded by pharmaceutical companies, [yet they ignore that their hero, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, had his work funded by trial lawyers seeking to sue pharmaceutical companies and that he was seeking to have his vaccine replace the MMR vaccine so he could profit from royalities from pharmaceutical companies.]”

How’s that?

Better than my version, actually.

Stacy said: “I shall sit here and giggle myself silly at the spectacle of Jenny “Toxins Are Bad” McCarthy injecting herself with actual (GASP!) toxins for the silliest of possible purposes.”

Now, if it had been for some life-saving treatment, we might have forgiven her…but to get rid of wrinkles???

I have to hand it to her cosmetic surgeon: Jenny’s plastic-enhanced breasticles look quite natural.

Orac,

I like how you make fun of the Indigo Movement while linking to a site that apparently supports neurodiversity. Apparently, one kind of quackery is fine but another isn’t? If you’re a skeptic, shouldn’t you also be skeptical of neurodiversity?

It’s not pharmaceutical companies in particular anyone is against, merely the conflict of interest that the ties with them would cause due to all the drug patents, grant support, corporate loyalties and financial royalties. On the other hand, autistic people have been taking vitamins since before anyone knew thimerosal was even in shots.

As you know, ScienceBlogs is owned by Seed Media Group. And Seed’s CEO Adam Bly spoke at the renowned “Council of Competitiveness” in front of other big corporate leaders on the councils exec committee, including Richard Clark, CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals. Bly did scientific research at the age of 16, is that right? That was the same age when I was proving myself academically. The year before I had an aide in most of my classes. What I’d have given to have been at the functioning level of Bly (who is neurotypical, right?) at that age…

Btw, how long does the effectiveness of Menactra last? I got one summer of 2007 before going to college and plan on getting a booster when the effects from the first one wears off. I figured you must have a lot of knowledge about vaccines since you frequently blog about “anti-vaccination lunacy.” Surely you can answer my question, can’t you?

“Now, if it had been for some life-saving treatment, we might have forgiven her…but to get rid of wrinkles???”

Since her physical appearance is the only thing that makes it possible for her to earn a living, I’d say that’s a “life-saving treatment.”

Thank you. It’s not copy-righted, so fair use means you can use it whenever you wish (and, I don’t remember the first place I read it — Prometheus? Dr. Novella? Autism Diva? Neurodiversity? Those facts are well known by those familiar with Dr. Wackfield, and well-documented in the court records. They just aren’t often noted, despite the irony of Gen. Res., et al, constantly bleating “Offit makes a profit from his patent.” So, please, remind your readers as often as necessary — especially when noting the irony of Dr. Wackfield’s supporters).

…and wow, I just got an e-mail from my local “Rescue Angel” in which she advised me to go on a diet “free of carbohydrates”.
How can people, who’ve obviously never had a single lesson in biology give dietary advice?
Mind-boggling.

Orac,
I notice you link these criticisms to an ND website, shouldn’t a skeptic like yourself also criticize neurodiversity if he is also criticizing the Indigo Movement. You’re a skeptic, right? You’re only skeptical of one kind of ridiculousness but not another?

It’s not pharmaceutical companies alone that we have a problem with, it’s the conflicts of interest that would arise from pharmaceutical corporate ties such as a vaccine patent, grant support, corporate loyalties, and millions of dollars in royalties which all apply to Paul Offit. These COIs don’t apply to vitamin sellers, autistic people have been taking vitamins since before we knew mercury was even in vaccines.

Besides, your blog is owned by Seed Media Group. The CEO of which, Adam Bly, spoke for the Council of Competitiveness in front of corporate CEOs who sit on the council’s executive committee including Richard Clark, CEO of Merck. Bly carried out biological research when he was sixteen, becoming the youngest person in Canada to do so and instantly making himself a prodigy. At that age I was in the middle of proving myself academically when just the year before I had an aide supervise me in most of my classes. What I’d have given to have been at the functioning level of Adam Bly (who is neurotypical, right?) at that age.

Btw, how long does Menactra last? I got it in the summer of 2007 before starting college and am planning on getting a booster after it wears off. I figured you would know the answer to this since you frequently blog about “Antivaccination lunacy,” and therefore must have some knowledge about vaccines. Surely you know the answer to this, don’t you?

Besides, your blog is owned by Seed Media Group. The CEO of which, Adam Bly, spoke for the Council of Competitiveness in front of corporate CEOs who sit on the council’s executive committee including Richard Clark, CEO of Merck. Bly carried out biological research when he was sixteen, becoming the youngest person in Canada to do so and instantly making himself a prodigy. At that age I was in the middle of proving myself academically when just the year before I had an aide supervise me in most of my classes. What I’d have given to have been at the functioning level of Adam Bly (who is neurotypical, right?) at that age.

I see you’ve been reading the other medical whackaloons over at Age of Autism.

That’s a lame attempt at a pharma shill gambit, even by the low standards of AoA. Oh, and you can tell J.B. Handley I said so.

Project much, Jakey?

So you are playing the Pharma Gambit:
http://respectfulinsolence.com/2006/09/the_pharma_shill_gambit_1.php

How lame is that!?

Do me a favor, young Master Crosby, show me exactly what actual factual scientific evidence shows that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella and that the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (by the way, the latter is still killing more than a dozen American babies each year, and that number is increasing).

Remember, it has to be in a real scientific paper that I can access through my local medical school library. Though I will reject out of hand anything written in Medical Hypothesis (look up the word “hypothesis” if you want to know why), or anything paid by lawyers or the hired guns of lawyers (that eliminates Wakefield and the Geiers). You can just tell me the PubMed Index number, that will be sufficient.

Remember I have a kid who has had seizures caused by a real disease, and who has a genetic heart condition who can be killed by something as “simple” as measles or pertussis, so be very careful when suggesting that kids who die from vaccine preventable diseases deserve to die.

By the way, if you have issues understanding some of the issues surrounding vaccines I suggest you listen to a podcast. The podcast I would highly recommend is this:
http://www.quackcast.com/spodcasts/files/48f9db861d8a83f764792aa4b77990f8-29.html

By the way Jake, do you notice one difference here, compared to your usual stomping grounds of AoA?

That’s right; I let people who disagree with me post unhindered except for the occasion getting caught up in the spam trap if there are too many links or certain “spammy” words. You can hate my guts, call me an idiot, cuss me out, whatever, and I’ll let you have your say. Contrast that to AoA, where if anyone gets too critical their comments are censored, where you and yours exist happily in an antivax echo chamber, where never is heard a discouraging word.

Of course, you have to be able to deal with my skeptical readers, who are more than capable of dealing with the likes of you without any intervention on my part. In fact, that’s all the more reason for me to sit back and enjoy. Anyone got any popcorn?

Jake, You are now irritating. You are young, and have been fed the koolaid since you were a lad, I bet. Where do you think money is going to come from for research? Hm? And who will make drugs? I’m going to assume you are ignorant of what it takes to develop drugs and other treatments.

The criticisms your group makes of Paul Offit is disingenuous, as it’s deflecting the very real criticism and concerns we have of your group’s leaders. The difference between Paul Offit and anyone representing the antivaxxers is that he is a real expert and he was upfront about all of his activities, which is something Blakefield, McCarthy, and the Geiers were not. They weren’t open with their “work,” (ie, working with lawyers suing major pharmaceutical companies in order to further their own financial interests, and lying immensely to scam vulnerable families with pseudo-science).

Also to assume if you weren’t autistic, you would have been something like Adam Bly is a concern. That’s quite a dream, as Bly is a rare breed. If you didn’t have autism, you probably would have been quite ordinary, like most human beings. The fact you are in college is an indicator that you aren’t like normal human beings as most people don’t go to college. Just that fact puts you in the upper levels of human intellectual ability.

You assume as well that just because many of us and Orac are critical of the antivax crowd that we don’t have concerns about the more extreme parts of the ND movement. The difference between antivaxxers and the ND movement is that the ND movement is for research into treatments and therapies that WORK for people on the spectrum, and do not (usually) advocate the lunacy and non-evidence based woo advocated by many on the antivax side. Contrary to the antivax movement, at least the ND movement has respect for those with severe ASDs, something I don’t get from the antivax movement. As an adult of middle years rapidly approaching those tinted golden, and with uncles and my father having been on the sprectrum, I find antivaxxers deluded at worst, and dangerous at most. As a daughter of a woman who died of post-polio syndrome and discovering one of my acquaintances is also suffering from it and facing a horrible death, I have no sympathy for those on the antivax side.

I also am concerned that you are full of self pity. That is another result of the views you were raised with. It’s also typical of adolescence, so I hope that’s what it is. I hope you learn to appreciate yourself for your positives, and not keep carping on the negatives. To be so down on yourself is no way to live life.

You are an example of what is wrong with the antivax side and Jenny McCarthy’s complicity and misleading statements: a young man with obvious talents, in college, and able to communicate very well verbally thinking he’s some kind of waste of humanity. It oozes from your words. And that’s tragic.

Well, Jakey, young man… I am one of those people who AoA has only let a couple of comments go through. They seemed to object to me asking Mr. Olmsted about his non-existent visit to the http://www.clinicforspecialchildren.org/CSC/Research.html

Oh, and here is this interesting bit of maps I saw linked to from Dr. Benway’s website… it is the difference in the levels of pertussis in the USA in the past few years. Look at the map for 2001, and then for the more recent one:
http://www.pertussis.com/locate.html … Do you notice how the areas in red are getting bigger? That means that due to the diligent efforts of Mr. Handley, Ms. Fisher, Ms. McCarthy and others fewer people are getting the DTaP vaccine, and that pertussis is coming back bigtime.

Pertussis is caused by a lovely bacteria that creates a real honest to goodness toxin! That toxin loves to kills children under the age of one year old (basically by choking them to death as they try to breathe between coughs, doesn’t that sound fun!).

Since my oldest son had neonatal seizure he was denied the DTP, but instead only got the DT vaccine. The reason was the scaremongering caused by Barbara Loe Fisher and her friends. They claimed that the pertussis part of the vaccine caused more seizures (it turned out that was false). At that time our county was going through a pertussis epidemic. Do you know what an “epidemic” is?

I had to be very very careful who he came into contact with.

To get an idea of when this was, it was in the same time period that over 120 Americans died from measles. Something that may happen again if your friends at AoA have their way.

So go and do some real research, and tell me exactly what real actual factual scientific evidence shows that vaccines are worse than the diseases.

When neurodiversity becomes a scientific hypothesis that is inconsistent with established scientific principles, by all means, be critical of neurodiversity. As it is, it’s simply a philosophical model; a way to think about disability, ability and the different types of brains that people have. It is independent of medicine or causation debates. (I realize you don’t get this point, Jake, judging by your recent post on neurodiversity.) It’s like saying that feminism should be criticized by scientific skeptics.

In fact, many, though not all, neurodiversity proponents are adamant about the standards of ethics and science that should be in place when autistics are studied, but often are not. For example, behaviorism is considered a very effective evidence-based autism treatment modality, and yet, the only randomized trial of a behavioral treatment had results that were rather poor.

Jake Crosby, I feel sorry for you. You hate yourself so much.

Crosby – ditch Handley’s talking points and start thinking for yourself. You are confused and it’s pretty tough to watch you flounder like this. Here’s a hint: a philosophy is different than a scientific discipline. There are some obvious connections, but not in the way you imply.

Look, if you’re angry about neurodiversity then so be it. But your little band of Jenny-worshipers just don’t have any science to back up your steadfast and evidence-free beliefs about either autism or vaccines. You’re throwing rocks at the moon.

Orac: “Contrast that to AoA, where if anyone gets too critical their comments are censored, where you and yours exist happily in an antivax echo chamber, where never is heard a discouraging word.”

Antivax echo chamber. Perfect!

Do you notice how the areas in red are getting bigger? That means that due to the diligent efforts of Mr. Handley, Ms. Fisher, Ms. McCarthy and others fewer people are getting the DTaP vaccine, and that pertussis is coming back bigtime.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Odd…according to the link that YOU provided, the increase in pertussis is due to previous under-reporting and misdiagnosis. It doesn’t say anything at all about the increase being attributed to anti-vaccine groups.

Now, since pertussis most certainly can be lethal to infants, and since it is often spread to them by underimmunized adults that have very mild symptoms that often go unrecognized as pertussis, I’m sure that you and everyone else here are up to date on your pertussis boosters, right?

Actually, Jen, I am probably due for a booster and will ask my doctor about it when I have my next annual exam. However, since I apparently went through a bout of pertussis a few years ago (oh, the joys of coughing until you are breathless and vomiting…oh, and rib breakage, too…) so he might want to do titers first he said.

Why Jen! I am touched by your faux concern.

As a matter of fact, I am completely up to date on my pertussis boosters. Because of the large number of pseudo-intellectual anti-vax parents and their offspring in our area, I made sure I got vaccinated before I got pregnant. I was terrified of getting pertussis while pregnant and passing it on to my newborn.

Thanks for asking!

Yes, Jen – I’m up to date on my DTaP and so is my family. Thanks to dipshits like you and Jake the world will have to worry about pertussis for a long time to come.

Seriously, put down the keyboard. Let go of the mouse. How many hours a day do you spend fighting the good fight on the Internet, and how many tending to their children’s special needs? I have sympathy that you have two children that are autistic, but come on.

Millions of people involved in a conspiracy or just a few con men and scared (but well meaning) taking advantage of the situation. Which is more likely?

And Jake, while you are at it, ask JB how much Generation Rescue has spent on research versus advertising in the past 5 years or so. Yeah, he is really interested in helping. They could fund a really good study by now, the problem is they have a hard time finding reputable scientists to do a study with pre-determined results.

Full page ads in newspapers pull in more donations than research though, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for any of that to change. Holding your breath that long will cause damage, unlike the non-existent mercury.

Jake wrote (on 14 Jan, AoA):

“For me, the thimerosal-autism link was a logical explanation for my condition, and it was reassuring to know that my issue had nothing to do with who I am. This allowed me to accept my condition and disclose it to others.”

Son, from your 16 yr old vantage point, it may have seemed a possible explanation, and you jumped at it, because it absolved you of any blame for being who you are, this was something that was done to you by greedy Doctors, pharmaceutical companies, corrupt politicians, etc. etc. I can see how this seemed a reasonable explanation, given your experiences, i.e., your mother trying to treat you with vitamins and whatever else. You sensed that she saw you as defective, and wanted to cure you. I can’t really blame her for that either, you can only go by what you know.

Let me give you a more reassuring explanation: There is no blame for being born autistic, or AS, or PDD-NOS, whatever, for the same reason there’s no blame for being born black, or gay, or female, or any other group that society has ever looked down on.

You are what you are, there’s no one to blame, not yourself, not your parents, not your Doctors; but if you want to blame God, then go right ahead. Then go on to make the best of your life. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Utilize your strengths, make the most of them. Work on improving your weaknesses, or avoid those situations where they would come up. Don’t be hard on yourself when you fail to do something you’re just not naturally good at.

One last bit of advice, (good for anyone), don’t get locked into a position before you have thoroughly researched it. One can be swayed by emotional appeals for this or that “cause”, and their arguments may sound good and altruistic, but they don’t tell the whole truth, such as how they will profit by “converting” you.

As I read Jake’s words here and at Handley and Best’s AgeofIdiocy site, I feel both sorry for the young man and anger at Handley/Best/Blaxill/Geiers/Erb/Antivax Dawn for playing the kid.

For shame Bradford, for shame.

From Wikipedia – Vaccination controversy – History
Read about some anti-vaccinationist crackpots, Jake.

Religious arguments against inoculation were advanced even before the work of Edward Jenner; for example, in a 1722 sermon entitled “The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation” the English theologian Rev. Edward Massey argued that diseases are sent by God to punish sin and that any attempt to prevent smallpox via inoculation is a “diabolical operation”.[59] Some anti-vaccinationists still base their stance against vaccination with reference to their religious beliefs.[70]

After Jenner’s work, vaccination became widespread in the United Kingdom in the early 1800s.[71] Variolation, which had preceded vaccination, was banned in 1840 because of its greater risks. Public policy and successive Vaccination Acts first encouraged vaccination and then made it mandatory for all infants in 1853, with the highest penalty for refusal being a prison sentence. This was a significant change in the relationship between the British state and its citizens, and there was a public backlash. After an 1867 law extended the requirement to age 14 years, its opponents focused concern on infringement of individual freedom, and eventually a 1898 law allowed for conscientious objection to compulsory vaccination.[3]

In the 19th century, the city of Leicester in the UK achieved a high level of isolation of smallpox cases and great reduction in spread compared to other areas. The mainstay of Leicester’s approach to conquering smallpox was to decline vaccination and put their public funds into sanitary improvements.[72][73] Bigg’s account of the public health procedures in Leicester, presented as evidence to the Royal Commission, refers to erysipelas, an infection of the superficial tissues which was a complication of any surgical procedure.

In the U.S., President Thomas Jefferson took a close interest in vaccination, alongside Dr. Waterhouse, chief physician at Boston. Jefferson encouraged the development of ways to transport vaccine material through the Southern states, which included measures to avoid damage by heat, a leading cause of ineffective batches. Smallpox outbreaks were contained by the latter half of the 19th century, a development widely attributed to vaccination of a large portion of the population.[74] Vaccination rates fell after this decline in smallpox cases, and the disease again became epidemic in the 1870s (see smallpox).
1904 cartoon opposing the mandatory vaccination law in Brazil. “The Congress”, depicted as a Roman Caesar, threatens “the People”, in rags, with a sharp object and shackles.

Anti-vaccination activity increased again in the U.S. in the late 19th century. After a visit to New York in 1879 by William Tebb, a prominent British anti-vaccinationist, the Anti-Vaccination Society of America was founded. The New England Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League was formed in 1882, and the Anti-Vaccination League of New York City in 1885.

John Pitcairn, the wealthy founder of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG Industries) emerged as a major financer and leader of the American anti-vaccination movement. On March 5, 1907, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he delivered an address to the Committee on Public Health and Sanitation of the Pennsylvania General Assembly criticizing vaccination.[75] He later sponsored the National Anti-Vaccination Conference, which, held in Philadelphia on October, 1908, led to the creation of The Anti-Vaccination League of America. When the League was organized later that month, Pitcairn was chosen to be its first president.[76] On December 1, 1911, he was appointed by Pennsylvania Governor John K. Tener to the Pennsylvania State Vaccination Commission, and subsequently authored a detailed report strongly opposing the Commission’s conclusions.[76]. He continued to be a staunch opponent of vaccination until his death in 1916.

In November 1904, in response to years of inadequate sanitation and disease, followed by a poorly-explained public health campaign led by the renowned Brazilian public health official Oswaldo Cruz, citizens and military cadets in Rio de Janeiro arose in a Revolta da Vacina or Vaccine Revolt. Riots broke out on the day a vaccination law took effect; vaccination symbolized the most feared and most tangible aspect of a public health plan that included other features such as urban renewal that many had opposed for years.[77]

In the early 19th century, the anti-vaccination movement drew members from across a wide range of society; more recently, it has been reduced to a predominantly middle-class phenomenon.[78] Arguments against vaccines in the 21st century are often similar to those of 19th-century anti-vaccinationists.

Clay – “The mainstay of Leicester’s approach to conquering smallpox was to decline vaccination and put their public funds into sanitary improvements.”

The sentence before that said:”In the 19th century, the city of Leicester in the UK achieved a high level of isolation of smallpox cases and great reduction in spread compared to other areas.”

They put their efforts into strict quarantines and vaccinated contacts … the “cordon sanitaire” approach.

Clay…good advice in your 10:57 a.m. post. Nicely said and succinct.

Jake, if you ignore everything else, at least read Clay’s words.

I have synesthesia, so I often wonder if the indigo movement is just a case of synesthesia gone horribly wrong. I’m thankful that I’ve always known the “auras” aren’t real.

Odd…according to the link that YOU provided, the increase in pertussis is due to previous under-reporting and misdiagnosis.

Actually that’s not correct. The web site says: “The increase in pertussis cases is in part attributed to….” And what do you think the other “part” of the increase might be due to?

Well several factors are at play. Any drop in vaccination rate will play a part, and we know rates have declined, albeit slightly. The other reason may be that older children and adolescents are losing their immunity. This isn’t such a big deal for them, as an infection in this age group is no more than a bad cold usually. But if this is happening, these people serve as a reservoir for exposing and infecting the infants, which is a problem as these kids are susceptible until they have vaccine immunity of their own to protect them, and pertussis in an infant is pretty nasty.

Personally, I’d like to see adolescents all get booster doses of pertussis vaccine, which would help quite a lot.

This is so nice, I read that Jenny grew up with three parents. I’m so happy for her.

Damn, some people are misguided, sure. But others are so dumb it hurts to read the words they write. I’ve been a reader here for a while, and various other SEED blogs (wooo, Big Pharma…!!!) because I get to read FACTS.

The whole situation reminds me of a post I wrote regarding Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle (post Sherlock, when he started beliving in fairies at the bottom of the garden). Conan Doyle was shown, by Houdini, how it was ‘possible’ to walk through a brick wall using a rubber mat and a trapdoor under the wall. Doyle shook his head and, reputedly, said “No Harry, I believe you can walk through walls”.

Evidence doesn’t work with the wilfully ignorant. Ever.
Hopefully, evolution will do us all a favour and de-select the gene that predisposes for gullibility.

JH

Jacques Hughes said:
“Hopefully, evolution will do us all a favour and de-select the gene that predisposes for gullibility.”

But, from all reports, autism is on the increase. 🙂

Clay, actually people on the autism spectrum tend to be somewhat more literal and fact based and less willing to take thing on faith than people who are NT. It is (mostly) the NT parents of people on the ASD spectrum who are the followers of the anti-vaxers. Virtually all of the so-called “autism advocacy groups” have essentially no adults with autism in any policy positions.

I think there is a reason for this. My hypothesis is that it relates to what I consider to be the great trade-off along the autism spectrum, the trade-off of a theory of mind for a theory of reality.

http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/10/theory-of-mind-vs-theory-of-reality.html

I think there is great danger in trying to eliminate autism by preventing the birth of individuals who have genes associated with autism. I think that will tend to increase the gullibility of the human population. I also don’t think it will work to prevent autism.

Hi Daedalus,

I guess I should have introduced myself, I’m a recently retired Aspie who only now has the time and opportunity to peruse the various blogs on the Hub. Of course, I’ve read this blog occasionally for years, but not all that often, and I didn’t have the time to respond. I never did see that blog you linked to before, but found it very interesting. (Okay, I didn’t have time to read all of it, but I will.)

I’m sure you’re far more educated than I am, and I would be a fool to argue with you, so I won’t. In fact, I have a personal anecdote that lends credence to your stress/NO theory that I’ve never discussed with anyone. My mother once told me that my father once aimed a shotgun at her stomach shortly after she realized she was pregnant with me. (She was always tearing him down to me, he’d left her for a younger woman who owned her own beauty shop.) If true, it might have been about 6 weeks after conception. How’s that for stress?

I was Dxd nearly 10 yrs ago, July ’99, and have been on autistic advocacy Lists most of that time, so I’m up to speed on things; we don’t disagree on anything of importance. I will say, however, that there have been many times when I have been naive and gullible. So many of my Listmates have said similar things that it seems to be a common experience among many Aspies. And then there was the tale of William Cottrell, the fella who was convicted of torching SUVs in an ELF protest of gas-guzzlers. An extremely intelligent Cal Tech student working on String Theory, he was set up by his “friends”. I’d call that being naive and gullible.

I’ve included my URL this time, so click on my name for more info.

Sonofagun, something’s happened to my web page, all the pics are absent, leaving only the poetry below. I dunno.

“Having an autistic child, tragic.” By the subject photoshop artist

Bring on the photoshop, however, I don’t consider my life nor my son’s neurology tragic. Again, I point out the hypocrisy of the pro-vaccine ND’ers “advocacy”. An enemy of my enemy is not necessarily an ally of autistic folks. While we are all high fiving the obvious, lets not ignore the gigantic turd laid by the subject artist.

Oh, the the photoshop artist also has a quite unique, and I’m sure rather humorous to him use of the word retard here:

http://hellsnewsstand.blogspot.com/2009/03/celebutard-monthly.html

That’s the kind of crap that undermines ND when it is ignored. Its indicative too of why I chose to be delisted from the Hub. Somehow autistic self advocacy has become intertwined with this type of ableist “ally” crap-ola.

Kent, I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think that “enemy of my enemy” is an accurate way to look at the intersection of autistic self-advocates and skeptical bloggers. I think of it more as a common interest in one discrete area that affects autistic people.

I do agree that a number of skeptical bloggers are not allies of autistic people (yet) but, on the other hand, autistic science types have infiltrated their blogs and the skeptics are getting used to them. I’ll bet Orac has changed the way he thinks about autistic people over the years just by having them participate on his blog. Maybe he’s not a good example, though, since he gets branded as an “ND” by association anyway.

I think you should go ahead and make comments like you just did when you see something that needs to be pointed out like the “retard” thing. Go ahead and call these guys out. Raise their consciousness, as we used to say. I think it’s worth doing, and Daedalus2u can’t do it all by himself.

@K: You’re taking things too personal if you think that someone who agrees with you about one thing should be in general an “ally” to you or your kind. It’s not great if people are ableist, but they are. Basically everybody is ableist one way or another. It’s ingrained in culture.

It’s reasonable if you expect that Hub members should be allies. But people outside the Hub, why?

Really, the anti-vaccination issue is a scientific issue. Its relation to autistic self-advocacy is tangential. It’s almost as if I were involved in discussions about global warming (which I have been) and expected those who agree with me about AGW to also be mindful of autistic rights and disability politics. It would be a totally unrealistic expectation.

The same applies to the Brian Deer thing. Now, I didn’t like what he said either, and I told him. But you shouldn’t expect him to be an “ally.” He doesn’t have to be.

Jake Crosby, I liked Clay’s comment to you, and I think he gave you some great non-medical advice. In fact, it’s great advice for me, too, even though I’m a neurotypical lady of a certain age rather than an autistic young man.

Orac,

I like how you make fun of the Indigo Movement while linking to a site that apparently supports neurodiversity. Apparently, one kind of quackery is fine but another isn’t? If you’re a skeptic, shouldn’t you also be skeptical of neurodiversity?

Orac,
I notice you link these criticisms to an ND website, shouldn’t a skeptic like yourself also criticize neurodiversity if he is also criticizing the Indigo Movement. You’re a skeptic, right? You’re only skeptical of one kind of ridiculousness but not another?

Jake, Orac practices what is called “scientific skepticism” or “rational skepticism”, which has to do with distinguishing those claims about factual issues which have strong evidence supporting them from those claims about factual issues which are weak in supporting evidence.

The Indigo Movement is based on claims about factual issues; the very identifying feature of “indigo children” is the alleged indigo shade of their “auras”. If double-blind experiments were to show that people who see auras can consistently distinguish the auras of “Indigos” from those of “non-Indigos”, that would be supporting evidence for the key claim that there actually is some difference between “Indigos” and “non-Indigos”.

Sadly, however, there is no supporting evidence for the claim that auras have any reality at all outside of the mind of the observer, let alone for the claim that people with auras of a particular color have some special gifts or abilities outside of the mind of the observer.

Neurodiversity, by contrast, is not a claim about factual issues but a way of looking at the factual issues that no one disputes. No one disputes that people who have autism and those who have Asperger’s are different from those who do not have these conditions. But some people look at those with autism/Asperger’s as “abnormal” and those without as “normal”. Those who favor the neurodiversity approach, however, see all three kinds of people as “normal” — quite different, yes, but not “abnormal”. Since this is a value judgment, and not a claim about factual issues, there is nothing there for a rational skeptic to be skeptical of.

Thank you, to Daniel J. Andrews and Anne, for your endorsements of my advice. I hope Jake reads it, and responds.

Those who favor the neurodiversity approach, however, see all three kinds of people as “normal” — quite different, yes, but not “abnormal”

Small correction here. Those who favor neurodiversity are not very likely to say autistic people are “normal” nor do they usually believe autistic people or normal or near normal, or anything like that. That type of wording in general is not used. Those who are not autistic are referred to as “non-autistic” or “neurotypical” (which don’t mean exactly the same thing, and it’s questionable whether anyone can really be called “neurotypical.”)

My view of ASDs, NTs, ND, what is normal and what that means is complex.

I heard a discussion on NPR last night where someone used a German expression which he translated as “if you will not be my brother, I will bash your skull in”. In effect saying that I am willing to relate to you as an equal, but only on my own terms and will kill you if you don’t agree.

I see this as completely analogous to what the curebie community is (in effect) saying (by their actions) to the ASD community and to the ND community. People with ASDs can be related to as being fully human and deserving of human rights only after they have become NT. Anyone who is not NT is not relatable to, and is worthy of having their head bashed in. Anyone who opposes trying to convert ASDs to NTs (i.e. NDs) is worse because they are actively trying to deny ASDs the opportunity to be related to as human, and are therefore compelling the curebie community to continue to hate ASDs and compel them to bash ASD heads in, and so it is necessary to attack the NDs in defense of ASDs.

Xenophobia is a common NT trait. As a common trait, it can be considered a “normal” trait. “Normal” traits are not necessarily traits that are beneficial. My understanding of xenophobia is that it is analogous to the mythic green-beard effect, which compels people with the green-beard gene to kill all individuals without a green-beard.

My hypothesis is that when curebies use the term “normal”, what they mean is sufficiently like me such that that xenophobia is not invoked. That is a very self-referential definition, a definition based on “truthiness”. Not a definition based on any logic or scientific understanding, but based on a “gut feeling”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness

I recommend that people try to understand the meaning of truthiness because it really explains a great deal about how the curebie community and the anti-vax communities, the creationist community and the CAM communities think. They actually don’t think, they feel. They don’t have an intellectual understanding of their ideas, they don’t have an understanding of those ideas based on facts and logic, they have feelings about those ideas. They don’t have the intellectual honesty or the capacity to let their intellectual capacities “trump” their feelings. This is the fundamental problem in trying to deal with such people. They don’t have the intellectual honesty to do real science; they can only do cargo-cult science. They are also (for the most part) completely unable to distinguish between what is real science and what is cargo-cult science. I think that is why many of the CAM practitioners support each other, even though their different CAM modalities are completely incompatible. I think that is why many religions support each other too, even though they are completely incompatible.

Small correction here. Those who favor neurodiversity are not very likely to say autistic people are “normal” nor do they usually believe autistic people or normal or near normal, or anything like that. That type of wording in general is not used. Those who are not autistic are referred to as “non-autistic” or “neurotypical” (which don’t mean exactly the same thing, and it’s questionable whether anyone can really be called “neurotypical.”)

I was trying to communicate the basic idea of neurodiversity to a young man who clearly has either very little knowledge of the concept or very little experience to give him context for that concept. If you think you can communicate the concept to him more clearly than I did, go ahead, but I have to say that your “explanation” confused me.

I suppose Neurodiversity is best explained by inventing a completely new term and then making a comparison.

Sexualdiversity is a way of interpreting the information we have about sexuality. For example; some people think homosexuals DO have equal rights to heterosexuals because they both have the right *to marry the opposite sex. A person adopting the position of Sexualdiversity rejects this totally and says it most certainly is not an example of equal rights: it’s a position which in fact only permits such rights when a person is de facto a heterosexual.

Likewise, you could say wheelchair-users have equal access rights to the same buildings as anyone else, but someone who is serious about disability rights rejects the suggestion that providing the means for them to access buildings in the form of a ramp is ‘special rights’ or ‘extra rights’. Even elevators intended for wheelchair-users only are not ‘extras’ for them.

Neurodiversity simply takes these assumptions an extrapolates them to neurological conditions. Like sexuality and physical disability rights, the arguments against are always the same: the differential needs are framed as unreasonable, expensive, bizarre and a waste of time. The individuals concerned are not spoken off very nicely either.

Orac,
Adam Bly is a young, ambitious corporate CEO who was a prodigy as a kid and started up a magazine when he was only 19(one year younger than me). Now as an adult, he’s reaching out to other corporate CEOs to get his media group promoted, just as any good media outlet would do to survive. And you, Orac, seem to be a part of his promotional campaign. Pharmaceutical corporate CEOs must love Bly after seeing this site and reading posts from a blogger with a strong, loyal readership from the neurodiversosphere.

HCN,
I would, accept that MMR/thimerosal deaths often get written off as SIDS or Shaking Baby Syndrome in which the parents are blamed and get thrown in jail,like Alan Yurko.
Excluding studies solely on the basis of journal prejudice is ad hom, I could say just the same thing about those that get funding from big pharma. If you will not believe doctors who say their is a link between c ertain vaccines and autism because they get paid by prosecuting lawyers then you should discount those who say there is none for working for the plaintiffs such as the government and the pharmaceutical companies themselves. Oh wait I forgot, the government exonerates pharmaceutical companies from liability on one of their most lucrative products, replacing it with a kangaroo court where the government is liable while having the right to exonerate itself.
I am very sorry to hear of your immunocompromised child and his seizures. I was tested for them when I was young. Your description of him reminds me of Katie Wright’s child whom she describes as having the immune system akin to a late-stage AIDS patient.

Orac said,
“You can hate my guts, call me an idiot, cuss me out, whatever, and I’ll let you have your say.”
That’s just the type of mentality that allowed Michael Savage to stay on the air!
also:
“Of course, you have to be able to deal with my skeptical readers, who are more than capable of dealing with the likes of you without any intervention on my part.”
They post a lot, but they really take up posting space more than anything else.
You still didn’t answer my question about Menactra.

Rjaye,
I was not “fed” anything. I saw a FOX5NY news report four years ago, didn’t discuss it with anybody until my mother mentioned chelation to me last year, started talking to others about it and then became outspoken about the issue.
“that he is a real expert and he was upfront about all of his activities”
Claiming that a child can withstand up to 100,000 vaccines at once and never mentioning that he personally made between 29-44 million dollars off RotaTeq? Yeah, he’s an “expert” alright. :S That is what I’d call “lying immensely to scam vulnerable families with pseudo-science.” The closest he came to divulging his vaccine royalties was bragging that they were like winning the lottery. What kind of greedy, selfish person would say that?
I never suggested I’d be like Adam Bly, nor do I want to be. What I said was that basically no autistic person I know of would be developmentally capable of carrying out scientific research at the age of sixteen. Meanwhile, this very high-functioning NT whose probably never had a speech delay in his life, never had to fight his way out of special ed, never struggled socially, and never had meltdowns is now trying to get PR points to make some cash and boost his ego since his prodigy days are over. Obviously, his strategy is to start “ScienceBlogs” which would include someone who previously had very low readership in the blogosphere who would personally attack any doctor whose tried helping autistic people beyond superficial and abusive ABA and dangerous anti-psychotics. Bly should be ashamed of himself.
You are totally unfamiliar with the ND movement. The point of neurodiversity is to counter the consensus that autism is a disorder and ultimately get it de-medicalized, like anorexics who deny help for their mental problem. Your claim of “respect” for severe ASDs is ridiculous. Most of the AoA team is made up of parents of children w/ severe ASDs.Your mention of polio is a straw man argument by the way.
No, for your information, I don’t “pity” myself or think I’m a “waste of humanity,” just because of my condition, it does not define who we are. As an autistic person, I have a right to express my experiences without anyone else speaking for me, including you, and find it offensive that an NT such as Adam Bly has taken on the issue of autism on his blog. He’s never grown up facing any of the challenges I have and was practically born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I’d like to see how far he’d make it if he were stricken with my disorder. Just to give you an idea of how different things might be: I knew an autistic guy whose non-autistic father graduated from Yale, but never even graduated from college himself. He was almost thirty last I spoke to him.
See my still unanswered question to Orac above if you think I’m so “anti-vax.”

HCN,

The children you claim Dan Olmsted “missed” in fact have Fragile X, a genetic condition and a whole other spectrum of disorders separate from autism which include phsyical abnormalities. Phenotypically, autistic people look like everybody else.

If the CDC did basic calculations of the safety levels of ethylmercury in shots, assuming lack of immunization is the reason behind this, the pertussis comeback you complain
about wouldn’t have happened. It’s like blaming Andrew Wakefield for increased measles rates when the NHS is too cheap to provide seperate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.

Joseph,
The fact that neurodiversity proponents such as yourself claim that autism is not a problem and calls for a de-medicalization of it as such is related to causation and medicine. It contrasts with the accepted mainstream view that all autism spectrum disorders are listed as such in the DSM-IV and ICB-10. In that sense, it very much goes against what the scientific consensus or medical establishment thinks. Not surprisingly, a so-called “Science Blogger,” rather than labeling this as “quackery” has instead embraced it. If he did, most of his readership, who are mostly pro-ND autistic people, would turn on him. He’d lose the base of his support and he’d be kicked back to blogspot with all the other random bloggers. He would inflict irreversable harm to his only hobby.
“It’s like saying that feminism should be criticized by scientific skeptics.”
If being a woman is on par with having a mental disorder. You might want to watch what you say, this can come across as sexist.

Vindaloo said,
“Look, if you’re angry about neurodiversity then so be it.”
Except that by allying yourself with them uncritically like Orac and other skeptical bloggers, you do not make yourself look very convincing.
And:
“…(I)just don’t have any science to back up your steadfast and evidence-free beliefs about either autism or vaccines. You’re throwing rocks at the moon.”
Speak for yourself.

Clay said,
“Son, from your 16 yr old vantage point, it may have seemed a possible explanation, and you jumped at it”
Reread my article, I did not talk about it with anybody for three years. That’s hardly “jumping” at anything.

and:
“There is no blame for being born autistic”
I know, I’m well aware of my mother’s amalgam fillings.
and:
“but if you want to blame God, then go right ahead”
I’m actually an atheist (no offense to anybody), but thanks for the advice.
and:
“but they don’t tell the whole truth, such as how they will profit by “converting” you.”
Like Paul Offit and his $29 million(minimum) vaccine royalties?

Vindaloo said,
“I feel both sorry for the young man and anger at Handley/Best/Blaxill/Geiers/Erb/Antivax Dawn for playing the kid.”
The first three you mention are parents of autistic children who regret getting their children certain vaccines, so I doubt they would want to live with the burden that their childrens’ autism could have been prevented. I ask Dr. Geier questions every bit as critical as I ask of all of you. I’ve never heard of the last two you names you mention. FYI, John Best has nothing to do with Age of Autism.

Clay,
You tell me to read up on early, religious-based anti-vaccination movements of the nineteenth century on wikipeida. I will if you read about the much more recent, previous scandal relating to the MMR:

From the UK: The Betrayal of a Nation’s Children

Two weeks ago, the Director of vaccine policy at the UK Department of Health, Professor David Salisbury, moved to stifle all criticism of himself and the Department’s policies by letters warning of writs for defamation, against a number of vaccine damage campaign websites. These legal letters asked that websites take down Martin Walker’s last essay, To Encourage the Others. In the writ Salisbury tried to distance himself from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

In two weeks time, in April of this year, vaccination policy in Britain will change radically when it is handed over to a committee appointed by a quango that consists almost entirely of drug company insiders. In this new statute, it will become compulsory for the government to enact the wishes of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). From April onwards the New Labour government will abdicate all responsibility for vaccine policy, mass vaccination programmes, licensing, deaths and adverse reactions to the pharmaceutical industry.

To understand this massive gift to Big Pharma, US observers in particular should bear in mind that in Britain, conditions have never been so favourable nor citizens’ criticisms of the pharmaceutical companies so acute as they are at the moment. So powerful is Big Pharma in little Britain, that there has never been a single successful court action against a pharmaceutical company; that all British Vioxx and MMR claimants were denied legal aid; for two years now, Dr Andrew Wakefield and two other doctors have been on trial before the General Medical Council, for suggesting that MMR might cause inflammatory bowel disease and Autistic Spectrum Disorders; and as 1,340 adverse reactions are announced following the Cervarix mass vaccination, ongoing for=2 0six months, the drug company-funded regulators have told the British people, that they can live with these minor events.

Between 1988 and 1992 the British government, in fear of putting off parents from having their children vaccinated and endangering pharmaceutical profits, neither acted upon, nor made public, information about deaths and adverse reactions that affected thousands of children given the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccination. The Urabe Farrago, Martin Walker’s latest essay, takes the expose of vaccine politics in Britain further than ever before, describing a state of near regulatory anarchy in the licensing and administration by the government of MMR vaccination.
http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/03/from-the-uk-the-betrayal-of-a-nations-children.html#more

Anne,
Or rather, it WOULD have been good advice had I not already known about my prenatal exposure from mercury emitted from amalgams. Mercury exposure for me at least began from the moment of conception. I’ve had noise sensitivities as early as three weeks to the rustling of plastic bags of all things, so Clay might actually be right.

Mr. Feldspar,
Of course people dispute the views of neurodiversity, it’s highly controversial. To claim such a condition that’s been growing exponentially in recent years is natural and should be de-medicalized goes against the beliefs of the scientific consensus, and would fit in with what Orac would call “quackery.” Very many people, even people in public health who deny their own institution’s role in this epidemic would dispute neurodiversity. Orac doesn’t.

Orac, you’ve not answered my question about Menactra, I’m very disappointed with you. I thought you knew these things, instead I had to go to the health center at my college and ask the people there myself, and wait for them to give me an answer. For a self-styled vaccine defender such as yourself, you really don’t know a whole lot about the product you’re defending. What’s even funnier is that I got Menactra in 2007, well after I learned about the harm thimerosal can inflict. Pretty “anti-vax,” don’t you think?

Anyway guys, it’s been fun, but I can’t let this divert attention away from my studies. Thanks for your responses. With the exception of the “anti-vax” straw men and insults, I appreciate them.

Like Paul Offit and his $29 million(minimum) vaccine royalties?

You seem to suggest that Dr. Offit’s compensation constitutes a rational argument against him. Bzzt. Bzzt. Wrong-O. Dr. Offit spent an extraordinarily long time developing a safe and effect vaccine. Longer than you’ve been alive, in fact. You’ll never do anything as useful in your life. Count on it.

@Jake: You get called on your nonsense, shown that you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about, but then keep coming back for more. You’re persistent, I’ll give you that.

I’ll only take part of what was addressed to me.

Not surprisingly, a so-called “Science Blogger,” rather than labeling this as “quackery” has instead embraced it. If he did, most of his readership, who are mostly pro-ND autistic people, would turn on him. He’d lose the base of his support and he’d be kicked back to blogspot with all the other random bloggers.

Quackery is a term that describes unproven or fraudulent medical practices. For example, someone who claims Lupron or Nicotine can cure autism is practicing quackery. No question. If Neurodiversity were promoting unproven “cures” of autism, it would be guilty of quackery as well, and I’d be the first to call them on it.

Now, the part about Orac depending on neurodiversity advocates as his audience is complete nonsense. I understand Orac has in the order of hundreds of thousands unique visitors a month. Yes, he has an order of magnitude more visitors than AoA.

Jake also showed up at my blog after I posted about a completely erroneous article that he wrote for AoA. Then in trying to rebutt my criticism, he posted yet more errors. A couple of my readers came and called him on his nonsense as well.

I sincerely hope the young man stops regurgitating the claptrap he’s overheard at AoA and comes to realize he’s unfortunately gotten involved with a bunch of cranks who can’t get facts right and who are unable to interpret science.

“If Neurodiversity were promoting unproven “cures” of autism, it would be guilty of quackery as well, and I’d be the first to call them on it.”

It’s advocating against any kind of cure at all, whether it’s unproven or not, on the basis of false and unproven beliefs about autism and against the wishes of doctors and many autistic people, which is what I would call quackery. You still have yet to call them on that.

It’s advocating against any kind of cure at all, whether it’s unproven or not, on the basis of false and unproven beliefs about autism and against the wishes of doctors and many autistic people, which is what I would call quackery. You still have yet to call them on that.

When there’s a proven cure of autism, which is ethical (as an example, “shock treatment” would not be ethical), let me know. Whatever neurodiversity advocates believe now, if there ever is a real cure, proven to work, which doesn’t result in more problems than it solves, the vast majority of neurodiversity advocates will not likely be opposed to it.

If you think neurodiversity advocates have factually incorrect beliefs, you should engage them and provide evidence that their beliefs are in fact erroneous. You will note that the blogs owned by neurodiversity advocates generally don’t censor comments like AoA does.

Neurodiversity is an idea which asserts that atypical (neurodivergent) neurological development is a normal human difference that is to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. This belief is neither cure-friendly nor factually correct.

“You will note that the blogs owned by neurodiversity advocates generally don’t censor comments like AoA does.”

because we don’t follow this sort of mentality:

“You can hate my guts, call me an idiot, cuss me out, whatever, and I’ll let you have your say.”

“because we don’t follow this sort of mentality:”

And you’re proud of that?

Jake – I think you will find that many of the regulars here have had polite thoughtful comments that did not call people idiots or contain profanity censored at AofA.

Neurodiversity is an idea which asserts that atypical (neurodivergent) neurological development is a normal human difference that is to be recognized and respected as any other human variation.

Scary philosophy, right? (I don’t know why they have the word ‘normal’ in the definition you copied from Wikipedia.)

This belief is neither cure-friendly nor factually correct.

It might not be “cure-friendly.” The same is true of gay rights. It’s not “friendly” towards a cure for homosexuality. Nevertheless, neurodiversity advocates generally stay out of the way of scientists who medically investigate neurodiversities (unless they are quacks.)

Humor me, though. How is it not factually correct?

Mr Crosby, those advocating a cure never cease to misrepresent what Autism is.

Currently the science is at a stage where there are some good ideas, but a general admission that *we do not actually know what Autism is*. The ideas supported with evidence, such as the Extreme Male Brain theory and Different Perception theory, do not support claims that a cure is necessary or even desirable. None of them. Repeatedly however, those advocating a cure use descriptions of Autism and Autistics which conform to *no evidence-based theory* of Autism in order to raise funds or awareness. The ‘normal person trapped in a shell’ hypothesis is the most used but is almost creationist-like in it’s simplistic misrepresentation of what is known about Autistic perception and thought processes.

At this moment in time, there is no single supported theory about what Autism is: we do not know what Autism is. But still, the majority of Autism organisations in North America(who pro-actively exclude Autistic people from any significant roles) declare loudly what the only solution must be. If they already have the answers, what is the question?

This is an accurate account to the best of my knowledge of the situation curbies are in and how they behave. In this light, I gladly welcome any question of my position as that of a neurodiversity proponent: nothing I could possibly say, no matter how bad, could make me seem as unreasonable as the other side on this matter.

Do I actually need to point out to Mr Crosby that what makes humans different from animals relies heavily on how our neurology diversified? I don’t suppose there is a single animal with a more diverse range of neurologies, behaviours and psychology than humans. It’s our advantage and it is normal for our species. Not always good, not always bad, but it’s normal.

It’s only ‘not factualy correct’ if one asserts that it is a ‘fact’ that ‘normal’ equates with ‘not different’.

As neurodiversity challenges (as physiodiversoty challenges the assumption that people with diabeties or asthma are ‘not normal’) that ‘fact’ by indicating that ‘normal’ is an artifact of consensus and not extant outside of a social context which allows for the delineation, using that ‘fact’ to argue against neurodiversity merely indicates that the challenger is insufficiently informed about neurodiversity or how ‘normal’ is defined.

ND challenges the assumptions over what ‘normal’ versus ‘not normal’ signifies as either a proscriptive or descriptive label. To debate ‘facts’ about words indicates that you haven’t even grasped what level the debate is at, much less provided a counterpoint.

Jake Crosby also makes another bizarre point here:

“”It’s like saying that feminism should be criticized by scientific skeptics.”
If being a woman is on par with having a mental disorder. You might want to watch what you say, this can come across as sexist.””

Being a woman *was* considered a mental disorder until comparativly recently, with women being considered intrinsically incapable of making rational decisions. Even early moral theory held that one had to be a man in order to have the potential for moral action. Feminism is exactly equitable to ND in this case.

Young Master Crosby said “I would, accept that MMR/thimerosal deaths often get written off as SIDS or Shaking Baby Syndrome in which the parents are blamed and get thrown in jail,like Alan Yurko.”

You are actually activating for a known criminal who murdered his girlfriend’s baby? He was still in jail when the child was conceived.

What kind of child hating loser are you?

By the way, Yurko was an anti-vax loon cause, until he landed himself in jail again. Read up on it:
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/yurko.htm

By the way when I ask for real actual factual evidence that the MMR and DTaP are worse than measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis — I want papers that I can find in my local medical school library (or your local college library, try spending time there, you might learn something). Not whiny made up stories about SIDS (which by the way, has decreased considerably in the last few years), and excuses to get criminals out of jail for shaking babies to death.

Try again.

More on baby murderer Alan Yurko:
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/yurko1.htm

CASE INFORMATION
Number: CR-05-473467-G
Caption: THE STATE OF OHIO VS ALLAN YURKO
Status: CASE OPEN
Judge Name: LILLIAN J GREENE
PO Name: N/A
Next Event: PRE TRIAL CONFERENCE SET FOR 01/11/2006 AT 09:00 AM IN ROOM 16C JUSTICE CENTER
Arrested: CLEVELAND PD

DEFENDANT INFORMATION
Number: 96328
Name: ALLAN R YURKO
Status: DEFN JAIL
Date of Birth: 12/11/1969
Race: WHITE
Sex: MALE

BOND INFORMATION
Bond Number 482731
Amount 2500
Type CASH/SURETY/PROP.
Date Set 12/16/2005

ACTIONS
Event Date Event
09/21/2005 ARRESTED
11/17/2005 INDICTED ORIGINAL
12/01/2005 CAPIAS
12/14/2005 JAIL
12/16/2005 ARRAIGNED

CHARGES
Statute Description
2925.11 DRUG POSSESSION

Shaking Baby Syndrome in which the parents are blamed and get thrown in jail,like Alan Yurko.

That’s just sick, Crosby. The baby had broken ribs!

I know you think it sucks to be you. I’m inclined to agree at this point.

It looks like Jake Crosby has swallowed all the lies fed to him by the AoA infectious disease promotion squad hook, line and sinker. Perhaps in time as normal development takes hold he will learn to think for himself and get an open mind, and also learn how to distinguish good information versus made up stuff.

I would suggest one way to do this is to only use the computer for actual school work (stay away from AoA, here, and any online networking site). Actually attend each class and do the homework. Since it is obvious that he is not as learning disabled as my son, it is a shame that he is throwing away any opportunities to learn (like his statistics class).

It is my contention that Mr. Crosby does not have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder as others proclaiming online have. Some of Mr. Crosby’s critics eschew an official diagnosis themselves.. Mr. Crosy attends Brandeis University, without supports. I’ve been told by others claiming an online diagnosis that they did not need a support system. They were able to navigate the social environment while attending a university with no problems, did not have executive functioning issues while navigating course criteria etc. I had terrible problems with these things. I did manage to achieve academic success, but with considerable effort and hardship. I have a BS and a MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and a PhD from Duke University. But it was an agonizing process. An ASD diagnosis in adulthood is a difficult and lengthy process and I feel some are passing themselves off as having an ASD when they do not and cheapening the struggles I and others have to face. Of course this will be denied and those posting here know of whom I’m speaking of. You can cling to your dogma, but it is obvious to me, from my own experience as well as my support group that what you ain’t autistic. I support ND, but I don’t support fakers and pretenders who eschew an official diagnosis and claim no issues with sensory, social and executive functioning as being autistic.

It disturbs me that I supported these folks for so long and I come to find out that their “autism” ain’t anywhere near mine, and I’m considered extremely “high functioning”. Somehow acknowledging my “deficits” is considered off the “party line”. My position is that one can acknowledge their reality, with a medical/social model neutrality, and still be ND. Those that deny they have social, executive and sensory issues aren’t autistic. The diagnosis is being cheapened by this crowd as they spend all their writing energies on subjects that have nothing to do with the realities that autistic people face throughout their lives. If your only concern for autistic people is causation and supporting a pro or anti-vaccination position, you don’t understand autistic people and what we face everyday (you only understand childhood controversies). Stop spending wasteful hours creating charts and statistics and start focusing on accommodations, education, opportunity, independent living, legal protections, and discrimination in various societal settings, etc. Acknowledge that there is an added burden on those of us lower on the spectrum!

Here is some dirty laundry for you folks. The Seidel’s ain’t autistic allies in my view, despite their efforts to bring down some of quackery surrounding autism treatments. Kathleen runs a website which profits off the backs of autistic people with Amazon Associate advertising to books and resources on quackery. A true ally wouldn’t have a click for dollars entry on their website that promotes false assumptions of autistic people. I’m sure I’ll be pummeled for that one as the faux autistics come to her support. These same “autistics” that never needed accommodations in academia because they did not have sensory, executive functioning or social impairments and were perfectly capable of navigating their academic careers.

The Autism Hub is not exactly autism friendly. Parents drugging their children with anti-psychotics, inclusion of an individual that defends the methods of Matthew Israel and Dave Seidel refusing to even entertain an autistic as the administrator of the Autism Hub. Moderation of only autistic members (not very autie communication style friendly) on the Hub’s private email list. Amanda Baggs holding other autistic members hostage to her views. I also doubt her diagnosis. What person becomes autistic in their teen years? How does someone become “severely” autistic in their teen years? Autism begins at birth, unless you believe in fairies. I, a person with AS, let alone non-verbal “severe” autism, struggled in school from the beginning. No one would have thought I was qualified to attend a college in my teen years. Good grief.

The over-representation of female “autistics” to a statistical absurdity. Male autistic voices moderated to the point where one believes they have to be neutered in order to be accepted. If your autistic, you must be a certain type of autistic in order to be accepted by the Hub administrator. You can be an aspie supremist. You can be a homophobe. You can even be a racist. But don’t dare to be an autistic that calls to task Hub members supporting (even tacitly) Matthew Israel. I once asked the Hub to support blogging against the recertification of Israel’s Judge Rotenberg Center. Not a single member blog against recertification! Go to the Hub’s blogs and look at how many fellow member parents comment on “autistic” member’s blogs. You won’t find many. Everyone is interested in only fighting the public’s perception of autism. That’s fine, but no one wants to get down and do the really hard stuff like lobby legislatures for change. Why? Because they would rather talk about themselves and their lives than do the hard work of lobbying.

I expect the AoA crowd to ignore the issues of autistic folks and to denigrate autistic lives. I didn’t expect the Autism Hub to do it but they do everyday and when you point this out to the Administrator, he asks you to leave, which I gladly did.

I posted this here because I expect the “perpetrators of distraction” to follow comments here and I’m addressing these comments to them. Get off your asses and start writing about discrimination, housing, education, employment and supports. Put down this crap masquerading as autism advocacy.

@Kent: Get off your high horse and stop telling people what they should do. That’s absolutely ridiculous. If someone wants to do autism advocacy, it’s their right to do so. If they want to discuss anti-vaccination or the economy or global warming all day long, it’s their right to do so as well.

What’s sad is that Kent seems to think he’s engaging in autistic advocacy when he undiagnoses people over the internet. In effect, he’s engaging in exactly the opposite.

He’s even tried to undiagnose Donna Williams for Christ’s sake. Is it because she’s female? I bet. All this at the same time he’s at the receiving end of the same sorts of over-the-internet assessments.

“He’s even tried to undiagnose Donna Williams for Christ’s sake. ”

I keep good company in my skepticism of Ms. Williams. I agree with Fred Volkmar (Yale University Professor of Psychiatry and DSM committee member, chair of it I think http://www.med.yale.edu/chldstdy/faculty/volkmar.html) on Donna Williams. Let’s just say she feels the same about me. That’s ok with me. Donna has certainly gone on forums and said the same about me. I have comfort in knowledge so it doesn’t bother me if someone questions my diagnosis and because I don’t have a monetary motivation to sue others over my diagnosis, I won’t be engaging in that behavior. I have nothing to prove. Donna on the other has threatened to sue me for questioning her’s. I can certainly understand her response. She has a lot of $ to lose if she is faking it.

“What’s sad is that Kent seems to think he’s engaging in autistic advocacy when he undiagnoses people over the internet. In effect, he’s engaging in exactly the opposite.”

It’s not sad Joseph. True, I use to believe as you do. But my thinking on this has evolved as I’ve been presented with additional evidence. My beliefs are not dogmatic and I’m willing to listen to convincing evidence. However, I don’t feel supporting what I believe to be an Al Jolsen type expression of autism to be in the best interest of autistic people nor of neurodiversity. “Severe” autism, like my son’s, is not something that suddenly appears in adulthood nor in the teen years. However, if you have evidence that this is possible (severe autism occurring in the late 20’s or in the teen years, I’m certainly capable and most willing to change my views on this.

Yes, I do think that what I described as good advocacy (fighting for accommodations, expanded educational opportunities, vocational training, expanding living arrangements, legal protections and acceptance) is important for autistic people. Its certainly not the only way, but I’ve found it effective locally. No adult in my support group, which is my demographic I rely on for feedback, would think that talking about vaccinations endlessly does them one bit of good. Come to my group and explain to them why they need to think differently and why spending so much energy and advocacy “capital” on causation will positively impact their lives. Most are just struggling to survive and gain independence. It was after joining this group that I realized how silly these views were that I once held (namely the over-weighting of causation as an issue). Being presented with such counter-evidence changed my thinking. It would do you a great deal of good to get this viewpoint rather than the echo-chamber of the Hub. Neurodiversity should be more than what is routinely served on some blogs on the Hub. In my opinion, the Hub is destroying that very idea by being so strongly linked to vaccination issues and its surrounding cabal of silliness. There are some blogs on the Hub I think are great. I don’t want to give the impression that I think its all bad. But I think it could be better.

Kent, all you have to do if you don’t think the Hub is what it should be is start your own. Or you could just carry on moaning like a child. Your call.

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