How can I resist such a request?


You know I’m a sucker for a heartfelt plea from an anti-vaccine activist. That’s why, upon seeing Kim Stagliano write in Age of Autism:

Hi, I’d appreciate your comments over at HuffPo on my post, The Censorship of Autism Treatment” HERE.

I had to admit that I heartily agree. That’s why I’m asking my readers to take Ms. Stagliano up on her offer and head on over to comment on her post! Who says Orac is not a kind and benevolent box of blinking colored lights?

Even more amusingly, Kim’s post was entitled The Censorship of Autism Treatment, which makes what she says next even more rich in irony:

Support Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues and share your own story there, please. Thanks.

Clearly, Kim has no sense of self-awareness at all. It makes me wonder if the Huffington Post will “censor” anyone who doesn’t support Andrew Wakefield, it does. In any case, I’d just like to say to Kim and others of the merry band of anti-vaccine fighters at AoA: “Censorship. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The reason, of course, is that AoA conflates criticism of its support of the pseudoscience that claims vaccines cause autism with “censorship.” Sorry, it just isn’t. It’s free speech criticizing AoA’s free speech. No one is stopping AoA from publishing its tripe far and wide. No one is stopping Ms. Stagliano from voicing her erroneous belief that vaccines cause autism. Heck, she even has a blogging gig on HuffPo and is promoting a book she’s written that will apparently be coming out soon! [NOTE ADDED AFTER WRITING: Apparently CNN interviewed Ms. Stagliano and let her ramble on and on about her anti-vaccine views. Wow, that’s some “censorship”!] She just doesn’t like the fact that science is increasingly going against her belief, and, even more, she doesn’t like being reminded of it. So she retreats back into one of the lamest cliches there is:

I implore you to consider the patients. Remember the children, young adults and older persons with autism for whom GI disorders and other medical conditions are a very real problem..

Won’t you think of the children?

Of course, it never occurs to Ms. Stagliano or her merry band that those of us who oppose them, those of us who don’t accept their pseudoscience claiming that vaccines cause autism are doing just that. We are thinking of the children. We are thinking of the children who will suffer needlessly from vaccine-preventable diseases, thanks to the activities of people like Ms. Stagliano. We are thinking of autistic children, subjected to all manner of invasive procedures, such as stem cell quackery in which cells claimed to be “stem cells” are injected into their cerebrospinal fluid in dubious Costa Rica clinics. We are thinking of the children whose parents view them as “poisoned” by vaccines or worse and try to “detoxify” them with dangerous regimens of chelation therapy.

Oh, yes, we do think of the children. That’s why we view the anti-vaccine movement as such a profound threat to the health of children and public health in general. That’s why most of us think it’s a profoundly good thing that Andrew Wakefield has been, in Ms. Stagliano’s words, “censored.” In actuality, he has only reaped what he sowed in 1998. It’s been a long time coming, but finally maybe some justice is catching up with him.

A guy can hope, can’t he?

ADDENDUM: My irony meter exploded when I saw a comment from Ms. Stagliano in response to Landon Ross, who took her to task thusly:

May I remind you that your title is “THE CENSORSHIP OF AUTISM TREATMENT,” and yet:

We aren’t afraid of a thing, Taradiddles. I am one of the moderators, we have made a conscious decision to moderate the site so that it does not become a cesspool of dissent. You can go to the ScienceBlogs for that, dear.


So, there is no room for the effective dissents? Censorship is censorship. I don’t censor dissenting comments on my posts – EVER – and nor should you.

Kim’s response shattered the irony meter of the universe, such that it contracted into a black hole of hypocrisy:

So would you, an avowed atheist, go into a devout Christian site and tell them they are wrong, there is no God, and expect to have your comments posted regularly? Or would those Christians have the right to a single safe haven where they could share their views among each other? We are very clear in our moderation guidelines who is our target audience and the tone of our content.

TRANSLATION: When our views are criticized it’s “censorship,” but it’s not censorship when we suppress viewpoints contrary to our own. It’s just providing a “safe haven.”

Could Ms. Stagliano be more hypocritical?