Best. Conspiracy. Theory. Ever.

It looks as though Generation Rescue’s bubble-brained spokescelebrities Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have finally found their niche. Can you guess where it is? Come on, take two guesses! That’s right. They’ve made it into, crossposted from a post they had their handlers make to Age of Autism, entitled A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys. Truly, it is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen on AoA or You’ll see why in a moment. Suffice it to say that Jenny and Jim have the most fascinating conspiracy theory, a “real” explanation as to why The Man (a.k.a. big pharma and the CDC) made sure that the British General Medical Council decided to find Andrew Wakefield guilty of numerous charges relating to dishonesty, abuse of public funds, and lack of ethics in research and that the editors of the Lancet decided to retract his incompetent and unethical 1998 study. Well, not really Jenny and Jim. Given their writing and scientific “prowess,” it is painfully obvious that neither could compose something anywhere near this coherent, and even then it’s not very coherent. One wonders if either Dear Leader J.B. Handley wrote it or perhaps his MBA scientist wannabe Mark Blaxill. Maybe it’s very incoherence is why Mike Adams decided their statement was worthy of being featured on

After all, it’s the best conspiracy theory ever (or the worst conspiracy theory ever–you be the judge):

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.

It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues.

Gee. Jenny and Jim constantly lecture us that they are not anti-vaccine. Odd, they could have fooled me. After all, they seem to think that vaccine makers are conspiring to slap down their hero Andy Wakefield and hide horrific complications from vaccines. Oh, no. Jim and Jen are not anti-vaccine at all.

The disingenuousness of Jenny and Jim’s constantly claiming that they aren’t anti-vaccine while at the same time they blame vaccines for all sorts of horrible problems and vaccine manufacturers for a massive campaign to cover them up, Jenny and Jim apparently think all the bad news raining down on Andrew Wakefield isn’t the chickens finally coming home to roost for his dishonest, unethical, and incompetent science. Oh, no. It’s the nefarious vaccine manufacturers! Apparently, in order to protect their profits not only did vaccine manufacturers manipulate the GMC to rule that Andrew Wakefield was unethical in the manner that he ran his experiments, subjecting autistic children to unnecessary invasive medical procedures, but that he hid conflict of interest, but they got the Lancet to retract his original 1998 study, too! Is there no end to the power of the vaccine manufacturers? Is there no end to their perfidy? Apparently not, according to the fevered paranoia of Jenny and Jim:

The retraction from The Lancet was a response to a ruling from England’s General Medical Council, a kangaroo court where public health officials in the pocket of vaccine makers served as judge and jury. Dr. Wakefield strenuously denies all the findings of the GMC and plans a vigorous appeal.

Despite rampant misreporting, Dr. Wakefield’s original paper regarding 12 children with severe bowel disease and autism never rendered any judgment whatsoever on whether or not vaccines cause autism, and The Lancet’s retraction gets us no closer to understanding this complex issue.

Once again, this talking point of the anti-vaccine movement is disingenuous nonsense, as I explained in detail the other day. The statement in Wakefield’s paper that he had not demonstrated a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism was almsot certainly something reviewers forced Wakefield to insert into the manuscript. More importantly, upon the release of the paper Wakefield went on a media blitz in which he went far beyond what the paper said by arguing that parents should get their children the single vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella, rather than the trivalent MMR. Then he proceeded to spend the next decade trying to prove that MMR causes autism and “autistic enterocolitis” with bad science, most recently the aforementioned monkey study.

Speaking of the infamous Wakefield-Hewitson “monkey study,” I’ve written about it not just once, but twice, first when they first published its results at IMFAR and then later after they published their results last year. Read both previous posts if you want more detail, but the short version is that the corresponding author, Laura Hewitson, failed to disclose some huge conflicts of interest when the abstracts describing the research were presented at IMFAR, and there appeared to be some post hoc alterations in the study design when the paper appeared last year. Suffice it to say that the study appeared to me (and Prometheus) to be not just bad science but also custom made to be used to support the complainants’ case in the failed Autism Omnibus proceedings as “evidence” that thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines cause autism. Indeed, one of the big conflicts of interest that Laura Hewitson failed to disclose the first time around was that she has an autistic child who is a complainant in the Autism Omnibus proceedings.

Of course, in Jenny and Jim’s (and Generation Rescue’s) world, it’s this study that has brought the wrath of the Vaccine Illuminati down upon poor, poor Saint Andy. After a hilariously irony free description of Wakefield as one of the world’s “most respected and well-published gastroenterologists,” Jenny and Jim opine:

Behind the scenes, the pressure to keep the work of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues from being published is immense, and growing every day. Medical journals take extreme risk of backlash in publishing any studies that question the safety of the vaccination program, no matter how well-designed and thorough the research might be. Neurotoxicology, a highly-respected medical journal, deserves great credit for courageously publishing the first phase of this vaccinated monkey study.

“Courageously.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Oh, well, every journal makes a mistake. In fact, that Neurotoxicology would publish rubbish such as Andrew Wakefield’s monkey study tells me all I need to know about the editorial standards of the journal, none of it good. It’s very clear that the editors just don’t get it either, given their tepid response to criticisms of the paper. Their journal is now paying the price by being used for propaganda purposes by the anti-vaccine movement and thereby seeing its scientific credibility take a huge hit. It is a self-inflicted wound that was entirely preventable. Whatever damage is done to the reputation of Neurotoxicology is entirely predictable and richly deserved.

But, of course, it’s all The Man, and nothing can be a coincidence:

What medical journal would want to step in front of this freight train? Moreover, why now, after 12 years of inaction, did The Lancet and GMC suddenly act? Is it coincidence that the monkey study is currently being submitted to medical journals for review and publication?

Jen and Jim’s ignorance is so powerful that it can travel faster than light to permeate the universe with their stupidity. First off, allegations of Andrew Wakefield’s misconduct first started coming to light a few years after the publication, but they weren’t really publicized until Brian Deer reported them in 2004. It was at that time that ten of the original thirteen authors removed their name from Wakefield’s paper. Second, it is indeed a scandal that the editors of The Lancet took so long to retract Wakefield’s work. Third, it’s amazing that the GMC took two and a half years to rule on what appeared to be a fairly obvious case, but I’m glad they finally ruled. Finally, Jen & Jim seem to think that the pharmaceutical companies (1) knew Wakefield was about to publish the “final” report on his monkey study; (2) had sufficient pull over the GMC to get it to rule against Wakefield exactly when it did (maybe the reason that it took two and a half years is that some brave maverick on the GMC fought back!); and (3) had sufficient pull with the editors of the Lancet to get the article pulled exactly when it wanted. Vaccine Illuminati indeed.

However, if the Vaccine Illuminati were behind all this, I must say that they’re a pretty incompetent global conspiracy against The Truth. After all, the time to discredit Wakefield is not now. It’s way too late; the damage has been done. The MMR scare in the U.K. resulted in plunging vaccination rates 12 years ago, and it took nearly a decade for the effect to have resulted in measles becoming endemic again in the U.K. in 2008. The time to discredit Wakefield was 12 years ago, before his incompetent, trial lawyer-funded, unethical “research” could result in plunging MMR uptake rates in the U.K. and then metastasize across the pond, only to mutate into David Kirby and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s anti-mercury fearmongering. Then it might have done something. Instead, apparently the Vaccine Illuminati let Wakefield proclaim the “dangers” of the MMR, thanks to the credulous and sensationalistic U.K. press, for several years without doing anything. Come to think of it, what kind of pathetic all-encompassing conspiracy can the Vaccine Illuminati be if it can’t muzzle the U.K. press?

Of course, if Jen & Jim’s stupid is faster-than-light and all-encompassing, Mike Adam’s ignorance is so powerful that nothing like it has been seen since the universe was created in the Big Bang. Get a load of this:

When I saw The Lancet’s recent retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s famous paper linking vaccines to autism, I couldn’t help thinking back to 1989 when Fleischmann and Pons were widely attacked and discredit over their demonstration of cold fusion technology. These two brilliant physicists had accomplished the seemingly impossible: They had caused fusion to take place at low temperatures, producing both excess heat energy as well as the helium artifacts proving that low-energy nuclear reactions had taken place.

The conventional physics community went berserk. They attacked Fleischmann and Pons relentlessly, attempting to destroy their character and any scientific credibility they might have held. They paraded a gang of “hot fusion” scientists through the mainstream media, telling everyone it was “impossible” to create nuclear fusion at tabletop temperatures. Through a repetition of lies, they convinced the world that Fleischmann and Pons were frauds.

Hot fusion, you see, is big business. Big money. Billions of dollars have been thrown at hot fusion, and the careers and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people depend on it. By demonstrating that cold fusion really worked, Fleischmann and Pons were threatening an entire industry. That industry had no choice but to do everything possible to destroy the scientists. Truth be damned… this was all about politics and profits!

That’s right. Mike Adams is likening Wakefield’s work to cold fusion, and he is doing it as though that were a good thing! Particularly hilarious is that he thinks that cold fusion is a threat to “hot fusion.” (Note that I’m using “cold fusion” as shorthand for “cold fusion that generates more energy than it requires.”) Given that no one’s been able to figure out how to harness fusion for peacetime purposes, the only real use for hot fusion at the moment is for hydrogen bombs. That may have been a growth industry during the Cold War, but these days, with the START treaty, it’s not as though we’re making lots of hydrogen bombs anymore. Mike Adams appears to be irony-proof, though. Wakefield’s incompetent pseudoscience is very much like cold fusion, just not in the way that Adams thinks it is.

Particularly amusing is Adams’ invocation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. and how the job of its protagonist, Winston Smith, was to rewrite history whenever his country Oceania changed policy radically (as in changing alliances in its never-ending war). This was the origin of the saying, “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia,” because when Oceania changed alliances and went from being at war with Eurasia to being at war with Eastasia. History in Orwell’s novel was thus perpetually rewritten, with any evidence of previous policy being thrown down what was known in the novel as the “memory hole” and destroyed in the furnaces of the Ministry of Truth.

In reality, retracting a scientific paper is nothing like that. The paper still exists. It is not destroyed. All that has happened is that the journal’s editors decided that it was so flawed, so tainted, that they no longer want their journal to be associated with it and therefore retracted it from the scientific literature. Indeed, in this case, the paper is still present on the Lancet‘s website, but comes up with a big red word “RETRACTED” across its front page. So much for the scientific memory hole:


Of course, the real reason for Jenny and Jim’s press release is painfully obvious:

We urge the media to take a close look at the first phase of the monkey study discussed above and to start asking a very simple question: What was the final outcome of the 14 primates that were vaccinated using the U.S. vaccine schedule and how did that compare to the unvaccinated controls?

Personally, I actually agree with this to some extent. I do hope that the media will take a look at the first phase of the monkey study, at the second phase of the monkey study, at all phases of the monkey study. I hope that the media will actually look at how it was conducted, how Wakefield could possibly have gotten IACUC approval for such a badly designed, dubious study, and, most especially, who funded the study and how many undisclosed COIs there are in the study. And, while they’re at it, I hope they don’t forget to ask some inconvenient questions of Andrew Wakefield and Laura Hewitson about how the control group appears to have changed between abstract published two years ago and the paper published last fall, in which the control group mysteriously grew from three to seven monkeys without explanation. Come to think of it, why are they now referring to “fourteen monkeys”? There were originally 13 monkeys in the “vaccinated” group and three in the control group for a total of 16 monkeys. In the “first phase” report last fall, there were thirteen monkeys in the vaccinated group, three monkeys in the unvaccinated group, and four monkeys that appeared to have shown up out of nowhere to be included as a saline injection control group. That’s twenty monkeys. In any case, how is it that there are now apparently fourteen vaccinated monkeys? One wonders if Wakefield added another monkey to the vaccinated group and did some more “monkeying” with the control groups, one does.

Despite his utterly being discredited, however, don’t cry for Wakefield. After all, the anti-vaccine, HIV/AIDS denialist “journal” Medical Veritas is inviting Andrew Wakefield to republish his 1998 Lancet paper, although I’m not sure that any of the reputable researchers that Wakefield roped in with his pseudoscience would be happy about having their names associated with such a crank journal. I know I wouldn’t. Still, I’m sure MV would be more than happy to publish the final report of Wakefield’s monkey study.

And if MV won’t take it, there’s always the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.