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After all this time, Dr. Bob Sears finally tips his hand on vaccines, part III

Dr. Robert Sears (a.k.a. “Dr. Bob), author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, is definitely antivaccine. His mouth may say, “No, I’m not antivaccine,” but his actions say, “Yes, yes, yes!”

There, I finally said it. I’ve been flirting with saying it that bluntly for some time now, but have been tending to avoid it. I really didn’t want to conclude this about “Dr. Bob,” but, sadly, he’s left me no choice. What else can I conclude from his actions over the last three months, when he’s clearly solidly allied himself with the worst elements of the anti-vaccine movement? First, back in June Dr. Bob wrote a truly nonsensical post for the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism entitled If A Vaccine/Autism Link is Proven, Will Vaccine Policy Change?, which I duly eviscerated. In it, he fantasized that one day a definite link between vaccines and autism will be found and speculated that it wouldn’t make any difference in government policy and advocacy of vaccines. In Dr. Bob’s view, so entrenched in its ways are scientists and the government that they would conclude that autism is an acceptable risk. Most ridiculously, he betrayed an either ignorant or willful misunderstanding of science by complaining that the burden of proof should be on scientists to demonstrate that vaccines do not cause autism, apparently unaware that science can never absolutely prove a negative, only demonstrate an extremely low likelihood that there is a link, which is what it has already done. At the time, I noted that, while Dr. Bob craves above all else the adulation of his readers, a close second is his craving for his “alternate vaccine schedule” (nicely deconstructed by John Snyder) to be taken seriously by physicians and scientists. That’s why I pointed out that one way to virtually guarantee that you will not be taken seriously is to start writing posts for the crank blog Age of Autism.

The second thing you don’t want to do if you want to be taken seriously by the medical and scientific community is to agree to be a speaker at a conference of anti-vaccinationists sponsored by that “venerable” anti-vaccine organization the National Vaccine Information Center. Trust me on this one. Getting on stage with “luminaries” of the anti-vaccine movement like Andrew Wakefield, Barbara Loe Fisher, Kim Stagliano, and, to top it all off, that woo-meister supreme, Gary Null sure won’t do accomplish that, but Dr. Bob seems to think that it will, given that he’s going to be speaking at a conference with the aforementioned anti-vaccine activists, the ever-nutty David Ayoub, plus chiropractors who seem to labor under the delusion that there is any role for chiropractic in treating autism and homeopaths who are, like all homeopaths, just deluded about their preferred remedy.

But there’s one thing that, above all else, you, really, really, really don’t want to do if you want to be taken seriously by the scientific and medical community. Can you guess what it is? Sure, I knew you could. If you want to be taken seriously by the medical and scientific community, you do not–under any circumstances–start blogging your “skepticism” about the current vaccine schedule on that repository of quackery and anti-vaccine propaganda, The Huffington Post.

Which is exactly what Dr. Bob did yesterday, excreting a turd of logical fallacies and pseudoscience entitled Vaccines And Autism: What Can Parents Do During This Controversy? The stupid in there is so concentrated, under such high pressure, that it’s going to turn into diamonds of ignorance, which is undoubtedly why Age of Autism is promoting it.

Dr. Sears sets the stage:

The debate over vaccine safety rages on, with no clear end in sight. On the one side is a medical establishment made up of hundreds of thousands of doctors, researchers, infectious disease specialists, vaccine manufacturers, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and our government, who all insist that vaccines are safe and everyone should comply with the standard recommended vaccine schedule. On the other side is a growing number of parents, and a small but growing number of physicians, who are questioning vaccine safety. Caught in the middle are the 5 million couples who have a baby every year and are faced with the decision of whether or not to vaccinate.

Uh, not exactly, Dr. Bob. While you’re correct that we have hundreds of thousands of doctors, researchers, infectious disease specialists, the FDA, the CDC, and our government assuring us that vaccines are safe, there is also something that Dr. Bob doesn’t mention right off the bat that he should have mentioned: The science. That’s right; even though Dr. Bob seems to be “framing” the “other side’s” argument as an argument from authority, in reality it is the science that drives the defense of vaccines as safe. What we really have is mounds upon mounds of science on the side of vaccines versus a small number of cranks, anti-vaccine advocates, pseudoscientists, quacks, and cranks (some of whom straddle more than one of these categories), who are ideologically opposed to vaccination; blinded by pseudoscience; or making money off of “biomedical treatments” for autism that claim “vaccine injury” as the basis for autism. (Again, many of these straddle more than one of these categories.) Dr. Bob is correct about one other thing, though: It is the parents who are caught in the middle. Most do not have a sufficient background in science, medicine, or epidemiology to recognize the fallacious arguments made by the anti-vaccine contingent for their sheer, stinking, steaming bogosity. I feel sorry for them. I really do. The lies of the anti-vaccine movement can sound convincing if you don’t have enough background knowledge to see through them, especially when they suggest a threat to your child.

Like a politician campaigning on a populist platform, Dr. Sears further buffs his “I’ll fight for you” cred by giving a bit of background. He portrays himself as “self-educated” on vaccines, while coming to the radical conclusion that:

…vaccines are effective and generally safe for most children, but that there is a small risk of a serious reaction. This may not seem like any great revelation, as most people agree that vaccines do work (although not 100%, and in some cases as low as 85%), and that most children seem to handle them just fine without harmful effects.

Well that’s mighty nice of you to admit that vaccines are safe. So far there is nothing new there, but Bob can’t resist painting himself as a brave maverick doctor bucking the status quo, Speaking The Truth To Power, and Being Down With The Parents in a way that all those apparently pharma shill, vaccine zombie pediatricians supposedly aren’t:

The reason I viewed my conclusion as significant was that back in the 1990s, the party line within the medical community was that vaccines do not cause severe reactions. Reports of seizures, encephalitis, autoimmune reactions, bleeding disorders, and neurological injuries were just coincidence. Vaccines can’t cause that. Now we know differently, and the medical establishment has acknowledged that such reactions can be attributed to vaccines (just read any vaccine product insert). So the party line has changed to the opinion that such severe reactions are so rare that the general population doesn’t (and shouldn’t) need to worry about them. But every parent is still going to worry that their one individual baby is going to be one of those statistics. And that’s an understandable concern.

Pretty radical, Dr. Bob. Except that it’s a straw man. It has always been recognized that there are a small number of serious adverse reactions to vaccines. In fact, early on in the history of vaccination, occasionally severe reactions were noted to the smallpox vaccine. Contrary to Dr. Bob’s spin, that there are occasional severe reactions to vaccines is not a revelation. Read, for example, Arthur Allen’s Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver. It describes complications from smallpox vaccines. Read Paul Offit’s–yes, that Paul Offit–The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis. The point is not that there aren’t rare serious reactions to vaccines; there are. Indeed, that’s the very reason why the Vaccine Court was created over 20 years ago, in order to fairly compensate those injured by vaccines. Yet, Dr. Bob presents this as though it were some sort of revelation that he and he alone (well, maybe he and the other brave maverick doctors) has discovered and that public health authorities won’t admit. The real argument being made against the anti-vaccine movement is that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating. Vaccinating is safer than the diseases vaccinated against. It is a point that is apparently beyond Dr. Bob’s ability to grasp.

It is here, after he mentions Andrew Wakefield as though he were anything more than an incompetent, biased scientist in the pocket of trial lawyers suing for “vaccine injury” who also almost certainly falsified data, that Dr. Bob descends into the deepest black hole of stupid that I’ve ever seen him fall into. Apparently, the supernova of stupid had already occurred and collapsed into a black hole. Or maybe Dr. Bob took care of both the creation of the black hole and the feeding of it with even more stupid. Be that as it may, here comes something that may hurt your neurons to read, a veritable gravitation wave of blithering idiocy producing a massive wave of neuronal apoptosis if you’re not prepared for it, sucking all intelligence into Dr. Bob’s black hole of stupid.

You were warned. Here it is:

Ultimately, I believe the vaccine/autism question cannot be answered until a very large, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is done that compares the rate of autism in a very large group of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. That type of study is the gold standard of medical research, and until that study is done this issue cannot be put to rest for many parents; there will continue to be doubt in many parents’ minds about the safety of vaccines. I know that there are dozens of studies that show there is probably no link between vaccines and autism, and virtually every doctor, government official, and vaccine manufacturer is very quick to point that out. But parents just don’t believe it. And they won’t believe it until the type of large study I describe above is done. But that research is many years away. Millions of parents need to know what to do with their babies now. Here is my solution: vaccinate, but do so in a manner that lowers the risks.

That’s right. You heard it correctly. Dr. Bob has apparently actually bought into the concept of a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” trial. But he did even worse than that. He bought into the idea of a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. But not just a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, but a “very large” prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Any such study would be utterly and completely unethical. No IRB would ever approve it–and rightly so, because it would violate the very tenets of clinical trials ethics in that there would be reasonable presumption of clinical equipoise. In other words, there is no way that any informed scientist could claim that, to the best of our ability to know, the two groups would be subjected to roughly equal risk. No, the placebo control group would be left unvaccinated and completely vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Children in the control group would fall ill from not being vaccinated; some might even die. That’s about as unethical as it gets in human subjects research.

If Dr. Bob doesn’t know that, he is too ignorant of the very basics of human subjects research to be spouting off about it. He needs to be called out for this. Loudly. Really, this is Human Subjects Research 101. Indeed, knowing about the concept of clinical equipoise is arguably the prerequisite for Human Subjects Research 101. On the other hand, if Dr. Bob does know just how unethical such a “vaxed versus unvaxed” trial would be, then he is cynical beyond belief, throwing out the excuse that parents won’t be convinced that vaccines do not cause autism by anything less than a randomized clinical trial of “vaxed versus unvaxed” and using that as a justification for his “alternate” vaccine schedule “until such a trial is done.” While I hope that the former is the explanation for Dr. Bob’s saying something so monumentally disturbing to anyone involved in clinical research (like me), I tend to vote for the latter. Presuming the former would mean that Dr. Bob has to be even more mind-numbingly ignorant than Vox Day, who once proposed the very same thing, an RCTof vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. Come to think of it, even J. B. Handley doesn’t try very hard to argue for an RCT of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children any more. Not really. Even he understands that it would never fly because it is unethical, even if he doesn’t really accept the reasons why it is unethical.

Word to Dr. Bob: If you’re suggesting something (or even using something in a rhetorical sense) that Vox Day advocates and even J. B. Handly realizes won’t fly, you have sunk to a new low. Sadly, so has Dr. Jon Poling, father of Hannah Poling, who chimed in the comments:

You are correct that a vax-unvax study must be done to answer the open autism question once and for-all. Your summary of the Wakefield-Offit piece also astutely points out that while Wakefield acknowledges scientific uncertainly with his hypothesis, Offit is dogmatic that vaccines are always safe.

Geez. Not you, too, Dr. Poling! Surely you know that a vax-unvax study of the type described by Dr. Sears would be profoundly unethical, on the order of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Don’t you? You do, also know, that doing an epidemiological study of vaxed versus unvaxed children would be far more complicated and expensive than the anti-vaccine movement lets on and, more importantly, that there is no good scientific justification for it, as I explained in depth here. If you don’t, you should. As for Dr. Poling’s comment about Dr. Sears’ analysis of Matt Lauer’s story on Andrew Wakefield, this is what Dr. Bob said:

This is a little pet peeve of mine, and this closed-minded attitude really came across when watching Dr. Offit’s comments, and Brian Deer’s, for that matter. They are so certain they are right, and that vaccines are completely safe, case closed. Whereas, Dr. Wakefield admits that he doesn’t know whether he’s right or wrong regarding MMR and autism, but he believes we should keep looking. He’s open minded, and open to the possibility he may be wrong in the long run. He just wants to make sure.

No, Dr. Offit and Brian Deer are certain that Wakefield is a fraud, an incompetent scientist, and I agree with their opinion of him. Wakefield’s “science” is not to be trusted. It’s crap. Wakefield, on the other hand, oozes the unctuous poise of the con man, trying to appear “reasonable” on TV when his actions over the last decade tell a different story. His last decade does not tell the tale of a man who is “open-minded” and “just wants to make sure.” If that were true, he wouldn’t have ignored the concerns of researchers working for him about false-positive PCR tests for measles in the gut.

On the other hand, for all the cesspit of misinformation he laid down in this steaming, stinking turd of a post, Dr. Bob is sort of correct about a few things. Sort of. For example, there are indeed dozens of studies failing to find a link between vaccines and autism–at minimum, many dozens. Also, virtually the entire public health establishment, including doctors, scientists, the government, vaccine manufacturers, and public health officials, does accept that vaccines are safe and effective–based on those many “dozens” of studies, natch! Finally, such a large prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study as described by Dr. Bob is indeed “years” away–as in never. Unless we as a nation have a radical “reimagining” of our current ethical concepts that govern human subjects research–and not for the better or more stringent, I might add–such a study will never be approved by any IRB or board responsible for human subjects protection. Nor should it ever be.

Dr. Bob is wrong about one thing, though. While he is correct that there are parents who don’t believe that vaccines don’t cause autism, where he is incorrect is in his charmingly naive belief that even a large prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children were done and its results definitively showed that vaccines do not cause autism. The mountains of existing evidence haven’t convinced these parents already; more evidence, no matter how high quality from a scientific standpoint (albeit of incredibly dubious clinical trial ethics) is highly unlikely to convince them. Just look to the example of Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds. In a misguided effort to be “inclusive,” investigators consulted her in the design a very large epidemiological study looking for a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. When the study was resoundingly negative, not at all what Bernard wanted, she didn’t believe it and started attacking it.

It is in order to assuage the fears of these parents whose fears cannot be assuaged by reason and science that Dr. Bob goes on to repeat his evidence-free advocacy of a “slower,” “alternate” vaccine schedule. If you have a child with autism, Dr. Bob suggests that any further children you might have shouldn’t get the MMR vaccine, saying:

Although the science is overwhelmingly in favor of no link between MMR and autism, until a large-scale study is done in the manner I suggest above to really prove there is no link (or as close to “proof” as we can come), parents with autism in their family already should be cautious. But what about the other 99% of families without a child with autism? If your child has any of the risk factors associated with autism, such as severe food allergies, chronic diarrhea, any form of early developmental delay, or a strong family history of autoimmune disease (as revealed this month in Pediatrics), the MMR should be at least postponed until these problems resolve. Again, no science, just a precaution.

Oh, well, at least Dr. “Bob” Sears admits that the science is overwhelmingly in favor of no link between the MMR and autism. He even admits there’s no science behind his recommendations, but he makes them anyway! After all, he don’t need no steeenkin’ science. He’s Dr. Bob, Brave Maverick Doctor, who really and truly cares so very, very deeply about your child! Unfortunately, so eager is Dr. Bob to be seen as the “brave maverick doctor” by parents who think there is a link that he makes evidence- and science-free recommendations to delay or even skip important vaccines–just until a study that can never ethically be done is done, that is.

If that isn’t anti-vaccine, I don’t know what is.

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]

138 replies on “After all this time, Dr. Bob Sears finally tips his hand on vaccines, part III”

Will Dr. Bob do a very large, double-blind study to show that his “alternate schedule” is safe?

Heck, he could at least show that it is safer than the currently recommended schedule.

Or does the burden of RCTs only apply to non-anti-vaxxers?

Pretty nice, eh? “You can only know for sure if you use very large RCTs” coupled with “I got nothing, but do it anyway”

I started reading the comments at Dr. Bob’s HuffPo article. Yikes! That really is a cesspool of stupidity.

The mountains of existing evidence haven’t convinced these parents already; more evidence, no matter how high quality from a scientific standpoint (albeit of incredibly dubious clinical trial ethics) is highly unlikely to convince them

That is exactly right. They didn’t get there by reviewing scientific reasoning, they won’t leave that way either. The only thing that will get these parents to change their minds are if the people current profiting from this conspiracy theory decide to find integrity and say “I was wrong”.

I’m not waiting around for that to happen.

I stopped reading the comments when I got to “millions of parents can’t be wrong”.

Because yes, millions of people’s opinion=truth. That’s why, one day all of a sudden the earth transformed from a flat plain to a sphere, because “millions of [people] can’t be wrong”.

Will Dr. Bob do a very large, double-blind study to show that his “alternate schedule” is safe?

I actually thought that this could make a good study, since the anti-vaxxers are crying for a study of children who are vaccinated versus not vaccinated, and that is clearly unethical.

Instead, we could have a study where a group of children are tested periodically from birth for specific signs of autism. This would rule out the bias of anti-vaxxers ignoring their kid’s problem. Then children could follow either a standard schedule or a delayed schedule. It would be pretty straightforward to compare not only the rates of autism, but the timing. It’s hard to claim that something caused autism if the autism came first (although I’m sure they’d try).

It would be difficult to make the study double-blind because parents and doctors know when children are vaccinated. The only way to control for this is to give all children some inert injections in addition to their vaccines. Of course, even if those injections were pure water, the anti-vax crowd would find some way to blame them.

There are only 2 problems that I can think of with this type of study.

First, it’s somewhat unethical to leave some children at risk for a longer period of time, but certainly not as bad as leaving them completely vaccinated. You could just study children whose parents voluntarily chose the alternate schedule, but that would remove the blindness factor and introduce some obvious bias, even if the participants underwent routine autism screenings throughout the study.

The second problem is the biggest one. If this study showed no autism link to vaccines, just like every other study has done, it would not change any minds in the anti-vax crowd anyway. We already have plenty of evidence, and another really good study won’t make a difference to people who already don’t care about evidence.

Dr. Bob: Here is my solution: vaccinate, but do so in a manner that lowers the risks.

Check for signs of illness before injection. Use sterile needles and syringes, latex gloves and alcohol swabs.

Next?

The second problem is the biggest one. If this study showed no autism link to vaccines, just like every other study has done, it would not change any minds in the anti-vax crowd anyway.

If no difference was found, they would conclude that even the modified vaccination schedule causes autism, leading parents who might otherwise have chosen the modified schedule (which is probably inferior, but still better than nothing) to avoid vaccination entirely.

Ooh, the Huffington Post, that is a bad one. Yeah, he is beyond redemption. Not that it matters. No amount of studies will convince them of anything. All that is left to do is to educate the masses.

If no difference was found, they would conclude that even the modified vaccination schedule causes autism,

Well, one of the parroting points I hear from the anti-vax crowd is that their kid’s autism was diagnosed soon after a certain vaccine, and I think that’s also the main motivation for Sears’s alternate schedule. The study I proposed would have periodic screenings for autism symptoms, and it would show that timing of onset has no correlation with vaccination. Also, I expect that it would show plenty of autism showing up before vaccination even occurs. Of course, they’d probably justify that by saying that the kid developed autism just knowing that they would be vaccinated in the future.

The most likely possibility is that they would cry conspiracy or fraud, like Todd W. suggested.

There is, of course, the elephant in the room here – vaccine preventable disease. It is on the rise in many places around the world, thanks in my opinion to AoA, Jenny, & Wakefield et al. As the “opinion of millions” sways more and more fence-sitting parents, the real danger will take root and do real damage. Polio, mumps, measles and the devastation they leave in their wake may eventually drown the vast majority of anti-vax noise. I can see nothing else, not the immoral study Sears advocates, not any amount of evidence, swaying the idiots.

I suspect a resurgence of vaccine preventable disease is the only thing that might convince any large number of parents to return to vaccination.

The most likely possibility is that they would cry conspiracy or fraud, like Todd W. suggested.

Many of them would attribute it to exposure to other children who had been vaccinated. TEH TOXINZ are contagious, you know.

Many of them would attribute it to exposure to other children who had been vaccinated. TEH TOXINZ are contagious, you know.

As dumb as this sounds, I have seen such noise (ok, on sMothering.com, so take that for what it’s worth). There was the mom who said she knew someone who’s child was autistic but not vaccinated, and said she never realized that non-vaccinated children could get autism (now, who in the world would give her that idea?). Others jumped in and started blaming the toxins all over, even resorting to mercury contamination of the breastmilk from the mother’s fillings.

Run and hide from the toxins!!! They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

I’ve been studying vaccines for over 16 years, ever since my first child was born. I was in medical school at Georgetown at the time, and since I wasn’t learning much about vaccines there (besides “vaccines good, diseases bad”), I decided to educate myself on all the pros and cons of vaccines.

No, 16 years of quote-mining and outright incomprehension of the scientific literature does not constitute research.

And he’s not alone. Dr. Healy (former director of the National Institutes of Health, for crying out loud!) agrees — more research needs to be done.

Again with the appeal to authority; if Dr. Healy is so speshul, then why has she been relegated to “Health Editor and Columnist” for U.S. News and World Report? She turned her back on science a long time ago in lieu of failed political aspirations. Why she is afforded any voice on this subject is beyond me.

There are probably more cases than these that go unrecognized, but these are the numbers we know for sure. Add them up and you get about 410 yearly cases out of the approximately 50 million U.S. children age 10 and under. That’s a 1 in 120,000 chance every year that your unvaccinated child will catch one of these three illnesses.

This offends my sensibilities beyond description. How can someone who claims “sixteen years of vaccine research” write this with a straight face? I suggested to him that he consult with a statistician the next time he makes a foray into risk calculations, although I suspect it has fallen upon deaf ears. And to think, people actually believe this twaddle.

Wow, that’s all he learned about vaccines? He didn’t learn all about immunology at med school? About herd immunity etc (oh yeah, I forgot, he wants everyone of his million+ followers to hide in the herd)?

I am facing the prospect of my daughter being diagnosed with an ASD. She’s fully vaccinated. If I have another child, they will be fully vaccinated. My brother has an ASD, shocker my daughter may have one too… Oh I forgot, Generation Rescue is saying it isn’t genetic…

Sigh…. I am really saddened to see this kind of anti-vaccine propaganda over and over again.

i found myself wondering why dr. bob would write that article. then i got to this sentence:

“I also offer another schedule in my book…”

what a scam.

@Science Mom:
“This offends my sensibilities beyond description. How can someone who claims “sixteen years of vaccine research” write this with a straight face?”

Apparently he can write it, but not say it. As far as I can tell, Dr. Bob has never testified in any court, or even been tendered, as an expert (in any field, much less one that involves vaccination). Best selling author with a nice smile and friendly demeanor (sorta like Prof. Gilroy in the Harry Potter book), you’d expect that some lawyer would hire him to look at the jury and intone “When I’ve been writing and lecturing trying to make your kids safe . . .” But, apparently, the result is a Nada. Even Mark Geier has managed to get to testify a few times. But, apparently Dr. Bob hasn’t. (‘course, that might’n have to do with that statistics thingy you mentioned, along with other thingies others have mentioned. The world’s a little different when someone can ask you pointed questions you have to answer). If anyone knows of him testifying as an expert, please provide a case cite.

Note, I’m not implying that everyone who is allowed to testify as an expert witness in fact knows what he/she is talking about. But, if he can’t even get past a layman (judge) and be allowed to testify, I wonder why anyone would take him seriously — much less let their kid’s health depend on his opinions.

Again with the appeal to authority; if Dr. Healy is so speshul, then why has she been relegated to “Health Editor and Columnist” for U.S. News and World Report? She turned her back on science a long time ago in lieu of failed political aspirations. Why she is afforded any voice on this subject is beyond me.

The only thing lamer than appeal to authority is appeal to an authority who is…er..not one.

Healy has no expertise or training in any relevant field: autism, immunology, or public health.

Yeah, I learned a new concept: “clinical equipoise”. I can imagine how to design an ethical trial for the most part, but I didn’t know there was a special term for it.

This is slightly OT, but I thought it was worth mentioning as a heads-up. The next salvo in the autism wars may come not from the anti-vaxers, but from the anti-dairy crowd. An article showed up on Alternet on Monday, claiming that a particular type of milk may be a trigger for diabetes, heart disease, autism, and schizophrenia.

The supposed culprit is the A1 beta casein variant, which is said to be very nasty, unlike the A2 variant. This hypothesis has been around for a while, and, naturally, we now have a professor (from New Zealand in this case) who has written a book detailing the horrors of A1.

I’ve just done a little digging about this one on PubMed, and the theory looks to be bogus. Early studies seemed ominous, but later, larger studies didn’t find any statistical relationship. Well, at least for heart disease. This is starting to remind me of that article on Mercola’s site that claimed pasteurized milk was to blame for autism, actually. But I’ve got a feeling the “toxins” crowd will eagerly seize on this new book and use it as a fallback when ever more “no, it’s not thimerosal, and it’s not vaccines either” evidence emerges.

You heard it here first.

“…excreting a turd of logical fallacies and pseudoscience entitled Vaccines And Autism: What Can Parents Do During This Controversy? The stupid in there is so concentrated, under such high pressure, that it’s going to turn into diamonds of ignorance…”

Orac, you silver-tongued devil.

You are the Master of the Metaphor
….the Ayatollah of Imagery
…….the Bard of the Blogosphere.

Keep up the good work!

ORAC writes: ” . . . science can never absolutely prove a negative, only demonstrate an extremely low likelihood that there is a link, which is what it has already done.”

In that phrasing, I agree with ORAC. And yet, many people continue to claim that it’s been proven that there’s no link between vaccines and autism.

Can you really have it both ways? And, if so, could you refer me to the literature which says you can.

The stupid there burns, too.

Best,

Jay

You must be done with that article you mentioned before, Jay. Otherwise, I don’t see why you’re tilting at strawmen, and/or bringing up a point that no one is discussing.

Jay G @23
How about “the research shows a near certain conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism”.

This is in the tradition of science where we make a conclusion and continue to test it. With each supporting result (there are hundreds) we feel more confident in our conclusion. Good science is always checking but not preventing a conclusion based on a non-certainty. Strawman indeed.

Straw man.

When you answer questions with clichés and repeatedly point out that an argument is a “straw man” I’m starting to think that you really don’t have an answer at all.

None. You can’t prove that vaccines have no connection to autism. The IRBs would never allow the studies required and I agree with you and the IRBs. And . . . I agree that the connection is tenuous, unproven, and controversial; But to say that there’s no connection is scientifically unsound. Kind of like a Tin Man with no heart to the argument. (I like that one.)

Jay

In that phrasing, I agree with ORAC. And yet, many people continue to claim that it’s been proven that there’s no link between vaccines and autism.

This is the proper terminology, but something which anti-vaxers use to try and justify yet more studies because they don’t understand how science works.

What are the ‘many people’ and what does that have to do with Orac’s correct phrasing?

My issue with this whole vaccines causes autism debate and this incessant need for anti-vaxxers to “reinvent” the wheel so to speak by doing more and more studies on the connection (which many many many studies have said there isn’t a link) is that it is detracting from further research and money to look into other therapies or resources and help for kids and adults (they exist) who are on the autistic spectrum (some resources would say to help autistic/AS adults find meaningful employment).

I have a brother pushing grocery carts with an IQ of over 150 since he lacks the critical social and communication skills needed to present himself well in job interviews.

I will most likely be looking for therapies (don’t worry, I am not putting a penny towards any biomed stuff) for my daughter to help her learn to converse properly and learn critical social skills.

With this constant barrage of articles and pressure this media attention garners to do more studies on this autism/vaccine link (though again there has been a plethora of studies done on it) takes valuable resources away to help many people be able to function in a world that unfortunately doesn’t always accept or accommodate the neurodiverse.

In that phrasing, I agree with ORAC. And yet, many people continue to claim that it’s been proven that there’s no link between vaccines and autism.

Can you really have it both ways? And, if so, could you refer me to the literature which says you can.

The stupid there burns, too.

Dr. Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay.

You’ve clearly learned nothing at all. Either I’m not a good enough teacher over the last four years or you’re unteachable. Not sure which is the case.

All of medical science is like that. You can never absolutely prove a negative. However, when large enough studies are done with sufficient power, you can in essence show that there is such an incredibly small likelihood that there is a link that for all intents and purposes in the real world there is no link, which is where we are with vaccines and autism, and, in fact, we say there is no link as short hand because it’s easier than saying that the null hypothesis hasn’t been falsified, with all the qualifications about statistical power and the probability of alpha and beta errors.

Let me put it this way. You can never absolutely, positively prove that there is not a celestial teapot circling the sun between Mars and the Earth, either. Are you going to assume that there is one?

Shall we try to teach you science and statistics again? Obviously all the previous lessons over the last four years haven’t stuck.

Jay sez: “When you answer questions with clichés and repeatedly point out that an argument is a “straw man” I’m starting to think that you really don’t have an answer at all.”

Please do not project your failures and confusions onto me. If you insist on making fallacious arguments, then it will never be “cliche” to reply by pointing out why you are wrong.

That’s to say nothing of the fact that you didn’t ask a question! What would you like me to respond to? If you would like me to agree with you, here you go: yes, if someone claims to have PROVEN that there is ABSOLUTELY NO link between vaccination and autism, then they are wrong.

But, as you pointed out yourself, no one here is saying that. Did you have a point, Jay? Oh, and how is that article coming?

Orac how do I love thee? Let me count the ways … or at least the first few that come immediately to mind: your clarity; your insolence; and definitely not least your absolutely wonderful turns of phrase, that often serve to keep me from sinking too far into the mire of despair when reading of the stupid you battle for us. 😉

… celestial teapot … lolz ^_^

There’s no definitive proof that reading Jay Gordon’s blog posts does not cause irrepairable liver damage.

The connection is tenuous, unproven and controversial, but we can’t say there’s NO connection because that would be scientifically unsound.

So will Jay stop writing posts on the remote possibility that this might be true? It’s what he demands we do with vaccines…..

MikeMa – I wrote the same thing last time we had this Dr. Bob discussion. The true believers wouldn’t even believe the unethical study suggested by Dr. Bob–they are like the “birthers”, “deathers” and so on, committed to their “belief” and unable to process anything else.

Also, everyone, there is a very annoying ad off that keeps flashing off to the left and says: “JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE”. How does that turn up here?????

@Orac

Tough choice for tomorrow’s show: Andrew Weil on Larry King vs. Kirby/autism/vaccines on Huff Po. Can’t wait.

Or maybe Dr. Bob took care of both the creation of the black hole and the feeding of it with even more stupid. Be that as it may, here comes something that may hurt your neurons to read, a veritable gravitation wave of blithering idiocy producing a massive wave of neuronal apoptosis if you’re not prepared for it, sucking all intelligence into Dr. Bob’s black hole of stupid.

Actually, if we get all nit-picky about the metaphors of black hole physics (one of my all time favorite theoretical subjects), wouldn’t that be a powerful gamma ray burst of neuron disintegrating stupid?

Other than the random, nerdy technicality from me, great job as always!

You gotta feel for Dr. Jay.

His role as the go-to celebrity maverick antivax pediatrician is being threatened by the emergence of Dr. Bob Sears. Pretty soon, when Tila Tequila falls out of the news and Larry King needs another hit of antivaxery to flog the ratings, he could well go to Sears as his “expert”.

Poor Dr. Jay will be left steaming, much like a celestial teapot. 🙁

via Mark Probert misc.health.alternative

Alternative Informed Consent:

By signing below, I acknowledge that I have been informed that
vaccinating my child is a risk-filled endeavor that may lead to
autism, ADHD, skepticism and even death*. I acknowledge that I have
been informed that the current risk of acquiring a vaccine-preventable
disease in the US may be less than the risk of the vaccine**. I
further acknowledge that I have been advised to let my neighbours bear
the risk of vaccinating of THEIR children and let my children slide by
on the slipstream of the “herd immunity” they provide***.

Having decided, against well-meaning and heartfelt advise, to
vaccinate my children, I choose to follow the vaccination schedule
checked below (initial in the box next to your choice):

[ ] I choose the current CDC recommended vaccination schedule against
all recomendation and with full knowledge that it might turn my child
into a soul-less autistic monster or give them “hummingbird-on-meth”-
style ADHD. By making this choice, I release “Dr. Bob” Inc. from any
and all liability and financial, professional or moral responsibility
for what may subsequently happen to my child. May God have mercy on my
soul.

[ ] I choose to make the smart choice and “spread out” my child’s
vaccinations according to the current “Dr. Bob” (TM) vaccine schedule
(subject to change without notice or reason). I acknowledge that this
vaccination schedule is supported only by “Dr. Bob’s clinical
experience” (pat. pending) and may not protect my children from
vaccine-preventable diseases to the extent that the CDC recommended
schedule does. I hereby release “Dr. Bob” Inc. from any and all
liability and financial, professional or moral responsibility for any
infectious diseases my child may acquire and/or spread to others as a
result of this vaccination schedule. I further acknowledge being
warned against taking my children out of the country or into areas of
the country where vaccine-preventable diseases have become endemic.

Signed ____________
Relationship to child ____________

In that phrasing, I agree with ORAC. And yet, many people continue to claim that it’s been proven that there’s no link between vaccines and autism.

First of all, I don’t think many scientifically minded people actually use the exact phrasing above: “it’s been proven that there’s no link…” It probably happens from time to time, but it’s simply a short-cut for what we all know: that studies have simply failed to rule out the null hypothesis again and again. One study in particular, Thompson et al. (2007), is shockingly consistent with the null hypothesis in a statistical sense, but even this doesn’t prove the null hypothesis.

Now, if science is not supposed to rule out hypotheses once they have failed to produce results, then effort should be spent researching, say, the refrigerator mother hypothesis of autism, or secretin as a treatment option. For that matter, it hasn’t been proven that bloodletting doesn’t work.

Actually, if we get all nit-picky about the metaphors of black hole physics (one of my all time favorite theoretical subjects), wouldn’t that be a powerful gamma ray burst of neuron disintegrating stupid?

Two black holes coalescing are expected to produce a major gravity wave. So the combination of the black hole of stupid that is Bob (no way I’m going to dignify him with an honorific when he spends his days trying to kill children) with that which is HuffPoo would indeed produce a gravitational wave of stupid.

Anthro @33
Sadly, the point made about vaccine preventable disease on the rise as the one possible way to convince the Dr Jay/Dr Bob/Jenny/AoA masses they may have made a little error, is a common one here but it bears repeating I think.

As for the ads, I use firefox with noscript and adblock. I see only what I wish to see and no more. Very pleasant browsing experience.

When I gave birth in 2002 to my first child, many people recommended Dr.Bob to me. I read his book, and just about threw it across the room. I have despised him ever since.

Not only is he vehemently anti-vaccine no matter what he says, he is also extremely sexist and anti-working mother. Of course breastfeeding is good for a baby, and I did it, but you are not giving your child dreaded toxins if you use formula.

In a section designed to “help” women decide whether or not to go back to work, he asks you to consider ALL financial options available (including asking grandparents to chip in) and tells you to ask yourself “who can better mother your child than you?”

Uh, maybe the same child care provider that can father better while my husband is at work as well!

I usually look to frequent Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi’s works for the likes of the paragraph quoted below – combining outrage with mastery of the English language to the end of enlightening the audience with truth in a context of threatening nonsense. Bless you. My weekend will be that much better now.

“Which is exactly what Dr. Bob did yesterday, excreting a turd of logical fallacies and pseudoscience entitled Vaccines And Autism: What Can Parents Do During This Controversy? The stupid in there is so concentrated, under such high pressure, that it’s going to turn into diamonds of ignorance, which is undoubtedly why Age of Autism is promoting it.”

Dr. Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay.

You’ve clearly learned nothing at all. Either I’m not a good enough teacher over the last four years or you’re unteachable. Not sure which is the case.

No, Orac, never doubt your ability to teach. Dr. Jay is a cement head.

Not only is he vehemently anti-vaccine no matter what he says, he is also extremely sexist and anti-working mother.

Unfortunately, Heidi, this attitude is still very prevelant in all of society. Double unfortunately, it is due a lot to men’s own actions. Their willingness to fulfill the traditional role leaves mothers stuck with the role of “nurturing parent.”

I have been trying for the last year to fight this attitude as much as I can, but it’s difficult. I do things like volunteer for Dad’s Boot Camp in baby classes, and hang out at WhatToExpect.com to interact with other moms and dads, but it is certainly fighting a tough battle. When dads come in and ask, “How much time should I take off from work after the baby is born? Is a week long enough?” I can only roll my eyes (the answer, of course, is “as much as you can afford to take”). Moms are expected to take at least 6 weeks, why should dads be any different?

Of course, too many moms are also content with it, as well. Look at the social groups that are formed (either in person or on-line). They are always “Moms with Multiples” or “Mommy and Me” or “Religious Moms” etc. Clearly, dads are not considered to be part of them.

As a dad, I was not allowed to participate in the local mom’s meeting (my wife was working) because there were women who breastfed and they wouldn’t be comfortable with guys around (I didn’t care). While that might have some basis, it doesn’t make sense to exclude guys from on-line groups at all. I have fought for this at WhatToExpect.com with no avail. Why do the groups have to be “Moms in College” etc? Is it really so hard to call it “Parents in College”?

Why mothering.com and not parenting.com? Oh that’s easy…because sParenting.com doesn’t work.

“Dr. Jay” opines:

You can’t prove that vaccines have no connection to autism. [emphasis added]

True, there is no study – not even one that involved every human on the planet – that could “prove” that vaccines never cause autism. There would always be the possibility that someone in the control group or someone now dead or someone not yet born could develop autism from a vaccine.

However, in real science, we have already seen that the risk of autism from vaccines is indistinguishable from zero.

If “Dr. Jay” could point to some study that showed an increased prevalence of autism in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, he would have a point. As it is, he has zero data to support his conjecture and so his “point” has died before it ever lived.

Prometheus

Oh Doctor Jay,

You insist there’s a connection, yet there’s no scientific proof of that connection. You expect everyone else to prove your claims false, yet your proof that vaccines cause autism is…where?

since you CAN prove a positive, it should be trivial for y’all to do that. Oh, and no, the addle-pated ramblings of a silicone princess and her rubber-faced idiot boyfriend do not in fact constitute scientific proof.

Dr. Jay, you ignorant attention slut.

You’ve apparently forgotten the original claim of the vaccine etiology of autism believers – that vaccines cause autism.

The logical position (I don’t expect you to understand) is not that they don’t, but that the claim that they do is baseless.

Yep, it’s often shortened to, “no, they don’t,” or “the original claim is false,” but the logical essence is that the original claim is baseless.

If you’re going to suggest otherwise, bring some evidence. There is burden on no one to prove to you that you are not incorrect. You need to prove that you are correct. So, in short, why don’t you knock of the idiotic ranting if you got nothing to back it up? It just adds to the weight of evidence proving you’re an idiot (and no, we can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re not a complete idiot).

@45, Pablo

Don’t you know that the only way to truly bond with your baby is through breastfeeding? Dads can’t do that so they’re SOL. Your child will never be close to you, so sorry. Keep working those 60 hours work-weeks and do what little you can to be useful. Dads also don’t have any other “superpowers” like growing a human or the always-right mommy instinct.

:huge eye roll:

BTW your comment about sParenting.com cracked me up!

Dads also don’t have any other “superpowers” like growing a human or the always-right mommy instinct.

Yeah, this one pisses me off to no end. Moms are constantly bombarded with the message, “Use your instincts, they are usually right.” Unfortunately, too often it is taken to mean, “That means everyone else (including dad) is wrong,” which isn’t true (actually, there is truth in the saying, “you are usually right,” but that’s because the issues that are being talked about are so trivial that it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s not wrong. Of course, that applies to everyone else’s opinion, too – they aren’t wrong, either)

When I talk to dads, I emphasize the concept of “team parenting,” which means both parents contribute. “Team parenting” does not mean “dad does everything mom tells him to do.” Too many moms and dads let it become like this.

“The goal of parenting is not to think alike, but to think together.”

Two black holes coalescing are expected to produce a major gravity wave. So the combination of the black hole of stupid that is Bob (no way I’m going to dignify him with an honorific when he spends his days trying to kill children) with that which is HuffPoo would indeed produce a gravitational wave of stupid.

That works. But by themselves, gravitational waves are nothing to worry about. They’re just distortions of time and space we wouldn’t really notice. Now the gamma rays… that would be devastating.

@”Dr.” Jay…

You can’t prove that vaccines have no connection to autism.

And you absolutely can’t prove that this comment wasn’t written by a Sasquatch who broke into a house and used someone’s computer. However unless you’re absolutely brain dead, you could say that the odds against it are overwhelming and probably wouldn’t start looking for the comment-leaving Sasquatch and demanding that the entire scientific establishment helps you.

The same goes for vaccines.

But of course, you need to make money by selling false hope with a hefty dollop of bullshit to scared parents which is why you’re neglecting the basic common sense you should’ve learned in med school.

Don’t tell us you want studies because that’s such an obvious load of fertilizer in progress. You don’t. It would put your quack business in peril.

The numbers just don’t work. Vaccine-preventable diseases are not “on the rise” in a statistically significant way and you all know it.

The “studies have proven no connection between vaccines and autism” phrasing is used over and over and you know that too.

And, you continue to try to have it both ways.

Modulate your rhetoric to promote reasonable discourse rather than calling me–or anyone else–a “cement head” or a “slut.” Yes, I appreciate the SNL allusion.

My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

Best,

Jay

P.S. If Larry King chooses Bob Sears over me, I’ll be thrilled. 🙂

J

Dr. Jay:

The numbers just don’t work. Vaccine-preventable diseases are not “on the rise” in a statistically significant way and you all know it.

Um, ever hear of a town in Southern California called “San Diego”? How about the following countries: the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Switzerland and Japan? They have all experienced increases in measles since 1998. In Japan there are enough mumps cases to show that mumps actually causes deafness in one in a thousand cases… or don’t you read the medical literature: An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.

Oh dear, looks like ‘someone’ really really hasn’t been paying much attention again.

Time to grab some popcorn and enjoy the regular ass-kicking.

Since Dr. Jay evidently has some kind of block when it comes to understanding the scientific method and comprehending the association between vaccination rates and infectious disease outbreaks, here’s some concise information listing recent measles outbreaks (with accompanying severe pediatric complications and deaths), and the association between the drop in MMR coverage (due to antivax scaremongering) and jump in measles cases:

http://jdc325.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/measles/

There are simple graphs with colored lines and bars to help Dr. Jay understand what’s at stake here.

So on the one side we have solid evidence of the value of vaccination and the harm caused by encouraging parents not to vaccinate their kids – and on the other side we have Dr. Jay’s personal biases.

What should be most important to Dr. Jay is protecting his vulnerable patients. Somewhere along the line he got horribly off track. The fact that he feels the need to keep defending himself in this forum is the only flicker of hope we have that on some level, he feels the need for acceptance by his professional colleagues and might actually at some point allow himself to recognize the mistakes he has made.

My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

Dr. Jay, perhaps you would like to discuss why you think those studies are so ‘slanted and poorly-executed’ and offer those that support your claims. I have also read the so-called ‘fourteen studies’ critiques on AoA and have not been done by anyone that has the ability to objectively parse scientific studies so I would appreciate if you do not simply direct me to that site.

Aren’t there far more than fourteen studies that have been done over the past ten years that conclude that there is ? What evidence does Dr. Jay present other than his experience with a very limited demographic?

My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

Bullshit, Dr. Jay.

There, I said it.

In any case, there have been far more than fourteen studies that fail to find a link between vaccines and autism. Perhaps you can explain to us how your “personal experience,” chock full of your confirmation bias, confusing correlation with causation, personal bias leading to selective memory, and a patient population that, as your fame as a “vaccine skeptic” has grown has undoubtedly become more self-selected as people who believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism and tell you so, outweigh the huge weight of basic scientific and epidemiological evidence that have thus far failed to find an association between vaccines and autism that is distinguishable from zero?

I’ve tried to get you to explain this to me time and time again over the last four years, and time and time again you have failed, in the process admitting that science doesn’t support your views and showing that you do not understand how science is done.

But, hey, perhaps even at this late date you can still prove me wrong. Tell me how those fourteen studies are “slanted” and “poorly executed.” Try doing it without reference to Generation Rescue’s absolutely execrable “Fourteen Studies” website. Or, if you must refer to that website, please read the following by some of my “friends” before you do:

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends, part II: Generation Rescue, the anti-vaccine propaganda machine, and “Fourteen Studies”

More On Fourteen Studies

14 Studies Later*

Dr. Jay, you seem like a nice guy, but if there’s anyone who demonstrates the arrogance of ignorance on par with Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley, it’s you. I’m sorry if you perceive that as “mean” or if it hurts your feelings, but it’s the inescapable conclusion to which your behavior and arguments lead me.

Now you can do one of two things. You can either slink off whining about how mean and uncivil I am, or you can actually argue specifics and science to try to convince me. Which is it going to be?

Indeed, there are more than 14 studies that have looked at the issue, and that’s not including any non-english language ones, or the incalculable number of studies that weren’t looking expressly, but could have indicated a connection, if it were actually present.

“What evidence does Dr. Jay present other than his experience with a very limited demographic?”

None, and yet it’s a requirement of maintaining registration that he must engage in life-long learning. I doubt the AAP would be happy to learn that he is dismissing the hierarchy of evidence in favour of his own opinion.

At this point it must be pointed out that internet postings may be used as evidence in FTP and complaints hearings.

Oops, didn’t finish my sentence: there are more than fourteen studies that all conclude that vaccines have very little correlation with autism,plus several that show they are safer than the disease, and few more that show that vaccines save money (preventative medicine usually does).

I am curious as to why Dr. Jay would take the analysis of the studies done by those who no medical nor scientific training over the several dozens of specialists around the world.

Heidi, are you sure you’re not conflating Dr. Bob with his father? I don’t think Dr. Bob was writing in 2002. The Baby Book was out then, and it is very sexist in parts. I don’t remember Bill Sears being anti-vaccine, though.

Alexis – I remember reading in it only a brief part about vaccines, where he said “Vaccines have a high benefit to risk ratio” and mentioned thimerosal had been removed. Nothing specifically anti-vax that I recall

I like your site and have laughed my a off on some of your articles! (especially the john edwards thing). I do however want to say that I do think that my little man’s autism ‘could have possibly’ been linked with the vaccines and I will explain how. When he was 1 1/2 he had a series of shots, he was not ill at the time and did not seem to have any other disorders at the time other than the regular adhd that his older brother and I myself have, hyperactivity runs rampent in my family lol, but Ive never beleived in medication (another story), so anyway he was given the shots and developed a high fever of 106 degrees! I rushed him to the ER and they played it off like it was nothing, just a reaction from the shots, happens all the time thing, well he had a fevral convulsion and ever since he seemed to lack normal eye contact, did not seem to listen and just seemed all around different. As a mother you know your child. I knew my child was somehow changed. Then after I waited over five months (that was how long it took to get a doctors appt.) he was finally diagnosed with PDD which is a milder autism. Obviously I cannot say with certainty that the shots caused the autism but I have heard very similar stories about the seizures associated with the vaccines. So I think indirectly there may be a link. Your thoughts?

@”Dr.” Jay,

Vaccine-preventable diseases are not “on the rise” in a statistically significant way and you all know it.

Right… this is why the UK, New Zealand, Australia and some cities in the U.S. are facing formally declared outbreaks of mumps and measles which were formerly prevented by vaccines. But hey, health agency certified outbreaks can’t possible be statistically significant right? And in light of your overwhelming evidence consisting of an indignant “you know it,” we should all start blaming vaccines for all the evils of the world, right?

Seriously, idiots like you in the healthcare profession are a worse public hazard than any disease.

I’m even going to go one step farther.

You should have your license to practice medicine revoked for being a quack and your negligence towards actual medicine.

My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

For a doctor to make such an assertion bespeaks not merely ignorance of science, but abysmal ignorance of the history of his own profession. The history of medicine is chock-full of examples of patients being subjected to worthless or even harmful treatments inflicted by doctors who were certain that they could judge from experience whether or not a therapy was effective without the need for statistics and controls. Like Dr. Jay, Dr. Gonzalez believed in his experience over scientific plausibility. He knew (and like Dr. Jay, probably still believes in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary) from experience that his cockamamie treatments (which made about as much biological sense as Dr. Jay’s previous belief that formaldehyde in vaccines could pose a danger to patients) were saving lives–when in reality they were shortening patient’s lives and increasing their pain.

Modulate your rhetoric to promote reasonable discourse…My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

Your arrogance disgusts me, Jay Gordon.

What “reasonable discourse” have you even provided to this discussion. You’ve admitted that the science clearly does not support your professed stances; often the data stands in direct opposition to your . You’ve admitted that you have made choices as a physician, and/or as a spokesperson, without sufficient knowledge or care to back up your assertions (e.g., formaldehyde). You bluntly claim that your “experience” outweighs the evidence provided by a substantial number of independent research groups using multiple sets of data (with no apparent explanation as to why each of them is apparently “slanted” or “poorly-executed”).

Tell me where the reason part of the “reasonable discourse” is even met? If I didn’t think you were a public health nuisance, I’d laugh at your farcical attempts to demand reason while clearly and brashly eschewing it.

This is why I consider Jay Gordon to be a waste of time. I really don’t know why I ever respond to him, but I do.

He’s made it clear time and time again that he doesn’t care about science. Scientific studies mean nothing to him. We can talk all we want about educating Jay about the science, but it’s a waste of time. He doesn’t care.

That’s all we need to know about Jay Gordon. He does not practice science based medicine. He has no interest in science based medicine. So it’s a waste of time to talk science with him.

He’s made it clear time and time again that he doesn’t care about science. Scientific studies mean nothing to him. We can talk all we want about educating Jay about the science, but it’s a waste of time. He doesn’t care.

Oh I disagree; he cares very much about the “science” that supports his conclusions and impotently tries to trash the science that doesn’t. He is an exercise in confirmation bias. I am still, however, very much interested in his assessments of the fourteen studies. Perhaps he will grace us with a mention of that.

I am still, however, very much interested in his assessments of the fourteen studies. Perhaps he will grace us with a mention of that.

Don’t hold your breath. He doesn’t know and doesn’t care anything about those 14 studies. All he knows is that they don’t agree with his experience, and therefore they must be wrong.

And it’s not confirmation bias in any way. Confirmation bias means that you use those things that agree with your view for assessment, i.e. you are right because those things support your view. His position is that they are correct because they agree with him.

I stand by my statement. Jay Gordon does not care what the science says. Oh sure, he may use it when it agrees with him, but that has no effect on his beliefs in any way.

He is anti-science. Do not be fooled.

“Dr. Jay” can put his fingers in his ears and scream, “La la la la la! I can’t hear you!” as loudly and often as he likes, but it won’t change the reality of the data failing to show a “connection” between autism and vaccines.

Not only is there a growing body of data that fail to show a connection, there is no data (zero, nada, nicht, none) showing that there is a connection.

Seriously, his “experience” is “more valuable” than data? That one sentence sums up all of what is wrong-headed about “Dr. Jay” and others of his ilk. In the face of overwhelming data refuting their “experience”, they reject reality in favor of their own belief system.

What do you call it when somebody rejects reality in favor of their own internally-generated beliefs?

Delusion (or religion). It’s not science – or even close to it.

Personally, I think that “Dr. Jay” is uneducable on the topic of autism and vaccines. The only point to rebutting his inane comments is to show the people who still might see him as a reliable source of information how inpoverished his reasoning has become.

And if “Dr. Jay” thinks that there are only “fourteen studies” showing that he is wrong, then he simply hasn’t been paying attention.

Or he’s in deep denial. Take your pick.

[Note: I expect “Dr. Jay” to soon use the “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” gambit to say that there is more to medicine than science. This is true enough, but when the “art” of medicine collides with reality, reality wins.]

Prometheus

Personally, I think that “Dr. Jay” is uneducable on the topic of autism and vaccines.

I am wondering, what is Jay’s response these days to parents who consider using chelation therapy?

After getting his ignorant ass hauled to the woodshed and soundly beaten, I am willing to bet that he still has never advised anyone against using it.

Actually, given Jay’s demonstrated incompetence and the fact that so much of his practice is actually MALpractice, I’m astounded he still has a license.

How many babies do you have to try to kill before somebody takes action?

Modulate your rhetoric to promote reasonable discourse rather than calling me–or anyone else–a “cement head” or a “slut.” Yes, I appreciate the SNL allusion.

My experience is more valuable than your 14 slanted poorly-executed studies. There, I said it.

It’s all about you, isn’t it?

You indeed did say it, Jay. You’re right and everybody else is wrong. We may need to “modulate our rhetoric,” but you need to modulate your brain. A little more science, a little less arrogance ought to help …

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