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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine

The reverse pharma shill gambit applied to Age of Autism?

It’s a common tactic of suuporters of alternative medicine or other pseudoscience related to medicine to try to smear defenders of medical science as being hopelessly in the thrall of pharmaceutical companies, or, as they like to call it, “big pharma.” For example, the anti-vaccine movement in general, and Generation Rescue in particular, love to use this gambit, for which I coined a phrase back in 2005 (at least I think I coined it), the pharma shill gambit.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if we defenders of science-based medicine attempted a “reverse pharma shill gambit,” if you will. Now I think I know. The hypocrisy of the anti-vaccine movement knows no bounds. I’ve actually challenged the odd AoA member on this, and their invariable reply is that these are relatively small companies and pharma is big. Sorry, that doesn’t work. If Lee Silsby et al are providing AoA with a significant cash infusion for advertising relative to its budget, then it’s just as much a potentially corrupting influence as Sanofi Aventis, Pfizer, or Bristol-Myers-Squibb buying advertising in a medical journal.

ADDENDUM: A photo of the dreaded Lee Silsby in Cleveland Heights taken this winter during a visit to my old stomping grounds. (I used to live only two or three miles away back in the 1990s.)

i-69b0f1dafd35bd37afec45f8b8105666-IMG_0280.jpg

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]

320 replies on “The reverse pharma shill gambit applied to Age of Autism?”

In the small part of blogworld where I live, HBOT or hyberbaric oxygen treatment seems to winning over we-who-should-not-judge and declare the fraud under which it is administered.

Any chance you would take-on HBOT as a treatment without merit?

Exactly!If you very *carefully* scan some of our favorite altie sites,you may *possibly* notice,(sandwiched between health “information” and catastrophizing economic/political/ecological “news”)*ads* and *stores*.(Actually, it’s all ads:”Scare’em,then sell’em”).Right now, Mikey(NaturalNews,4/30/10)has his knickers in a twist over Rep.Henry Waxman’s addition to the financial reform bill which would *regulate supplements*:a total affront to his health rangerly safeguarding of “health freedom” for pharma-oppressed Americans.

Years ago when the Internet was young, there were special interest listservs. I was on one for my son’s disability. There were often DAN! quacks, supplement purveyors, cranial sacral therapists and the like shilling their wares on the list. One even decided to skip using the listserv, and just harvested the email addresses to spam members.

They were not supposed, so they were politely asked to leave. But then they decided to get sneaky and pretend to be parents. It turned one of the most strident Mercury Militia Moms was really annoying, including sending me nasty grams. I quit the listserv when someone else discovered this particular pernicious woman was actually employed by a DAN! doctor with a very large supplement business.

Yeah, pharma shill gambit always amused me.

I’ve kind of said the same thing about Uncle Bob Sears and his recommended “spaced out” vaccination schedule. If nothing else, it a) sells a lot of books, and b) it gets parents to bring their kids in for an office 3 – 5 times more often, probably.

Isn’t it funny how people think that vaccine manufacturers are so intent on cashing in on that tiny profit margin of each vaccine given can ignore the extra hundreds of bucks that Dr Bob gets for telling parents, “Come back in a month and I’ll give him another shot”?

HBOT has been discussed at length elsewhere. D’oC, in March 2009, published a list of studies at Autism Street

For readers who may be interested in a skeptical perspective with regards to “mild” hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism, I’ve assembled a short list of links. These are articles that I’ve enjoyed reading, found interesting, or written myself.

In no particular order:

HBOT: Under Pressure
http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=131

HBOT: Is it just a bunch of hot air?
http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=127

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Autism
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=496

Is there no end to unscientific treatments for autism?
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=249

More Hot Air about HBOT
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=2055

Mild hyperbaric therapy for autism – Shh!…don’t say it’s expensive
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=2041

Autism, HBOT, and the new study by Rossignol et al.

http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1987

When High Does Mean Low: Autism, mHBOT, and Dan Rossignol
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=686

Does Rossignol et al. show HBOT’s effective?
http://ebdblog.com/2009/03/21/does-rossignol-et-al-show-hbots-effective

Ridiculous Autism Treatment Statements – Part One – ICDRC Website on HBOT
http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=130

Hyperbarics and Hypotheses
http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=60

Nitpicking Sloppy Science
http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=40

Autism HBOT: First Look
http://www.autismstreet.org/weblog/?p=36

Hyperbaric Oxygen as a Treatment for Autism: Let the Buyer Beware
http://autism.about.com/b/2009/03/14/hyperbaric-oxygen-as-a-treatment-for-autism-let-the-buyer-beware.htm

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Autism? Not so fast
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/492-hyperbaric-oxygen-for-autism-not-so-fast.html

Comments On Rossignol et al., 2009

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2431/9/21/comments

They’re all pretty good reading in my biased opinion. I’ll also take the opportunity to point out that “Mild hyperbaric therapy for autism – Shh!…don’t say it’s expensive” is just up at LeftBrain/RightBrain.

To read it, hop across the pond with a click, to:

Mild hyperbaric therapy for autism – Shh!…don’t say it’s expensive

Addendum (4/6/2009): Prometheus has a guest blog up at LeftBrain/RightBrain on Rossignol et al. (2009).

More Hot Air about HBOT

Had seen the phrase BIG PLACEBO for altie-woo fraud used not too long ago; can’t remember if it was on this blog or somewhere else? Sounds good to me, wonder why it hasn’t caught on?

WKM: My guess is, brief exposure to the name made people feel better, and they moved on. (If they were to stop and think about it, it might not have the same effect.)

Nice article, and quite a bit more substantive than the joke that anti-vaxers actually are shills for Big PharmaTM by working to bring diseases back, thereby necessitating more products to treat the diseases – products made by pharma companies.

You can expand this thesis to include the practitioners of “alternative” autism therapies, who are – in effect – shills for themselves.

It is beyond reasoning that people would nod in mindless aggreement about “big pharma shill” and “conflict of interest” claims and not see the inherent profit motive behind the “alternative” practitioners’ claims that their therapies – untested and unproven – “work” for whatever they choose.

The folks who own HBOT chambers and claim that they “work” for autism, stroke, CP, etc. have an even clearer profit motive than a doctor who prescribes a drug (for which the pharmacy pockets any profit) or gives a vaccination. The chelationist who claims his infusions will cure autism, heart disease, malaise and ennui has an obvious profit-based motivation to ignore any conflicting data (or the utter lack of supporting data, in most cases).

Yet, it is only “mainstream” medicine that is accused of having base, money-grubbing motives.

How does that verse go….? “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

Prometheus

I’ve always wondered what would happen if we defenders of science-based medicine attempted a “reverse pharma shill gambit,” if you will.

Done and done. Here’s a little sampling if you don’t mind the quasi-shameless links…

http://worldofweirdthings.com/2010/02/27/time-com-fawns-over-anti-vax-activists/

http://worldofweirdthings.com/2010/02/06/mooney-tackles-the-anti-vaxers-well-sort-of/

http://worldofweirdthings.com/2010/01/19/if-its-catchy-why-bother-with-the-science/

Since mid-January I’ve been harping on the fact that anti-vaccination activists either sponsor, advertise for, or outright run businesses that sell expensive, untested, unproven woo and snake oil to dismayed, upset and confused parents for a hefty profit while they chant against “Big Pharma’s greed” and call skeptics “Pharma shills.”

The anti-vaccinationist reply? They simply ignore it and pretend these conflicts of interest simply don’t exist in their midst.

I gather your blogging this has something to do with the ad for Claritin, made by Merck subsidiary Schering-Plough, to the left of your blog? Not to mention that ad for the diabetes meter manufactured by Bayer?

Yep Jake, and Orac is also paid by Advantage Rent-a-Car, whose ad is sitting right of this post. You got him.

The Pier 1 Imports ad is the big give away, Orac is obviously a shill for Big Tchotchkes. They will not rest until everyone in America has rattan furniture and cheap glassware made in foreign sweatshops.

Well, with Adblock I can’t see any of the ads (Sorry Orac, on some of the sites I visit the ads were so overwhelming you could barely read the posts, hence, installation of Adblock).

But Jake, with all the brains you claim to have, and the fact that you’ve been commenting on here long enough, you should know that Orac has no voice in the ad selection. Ads are usually triggered by words in the post. As you should be able to figure out, if he selected the ads, several that have shown up in the past for supplements and “cleansing” wouldn’t have been chosen.

As for many of the supplements pushed by AOA, et al, and chelation therapy….aren’t they made by Big Pharma? How come it’s OK to prescribe chelators made by Big Pharma which cost tons of money, OK to prescribe Lupron ™ which is VERY expensive and also made by Big Pharma, but not OK to prescribe vaccines? In all cases, money is going to BP. And in most cases, a heck of a lot more money goes into the pockets of those quacks using chelators and Lupron. Compared to what a doc gets for giving Lupron or charges for chelation, vaccines are extremely cheap. And Lupron and chelation are FAR more dangerous (side effects, patient reaction) than vaccines.

I gather your blogging this has something to do with the ad for Claritin, made by Merck subsidiary Schering-Plough, to the left of your blog? Not to mention that ad for the diabetes meter manufactured by Bayer?

@Jake: Frankly, you’re an embarrassment to autistic people everywhere. At least that’s how I feel for you. I hope as you grow older, you’ll stop spouting such contemptible conspiracist claptrap.

Jake, seriously, STFU about spurious BIG PHARMA connections, until you and the rest of your “pro-safe vaccine” (cough) friends purge the pharmaceutical (J&J) influence within your own camp. You’re only making yourselves look silly.

According to the Puffft! of All Knowledge, Lee Silsby supplies Thoughtful House with “[t]he metals and chemical compounds used at the center during the [Chelation?] therapy”.

I wasn’t able to find any info I’d consider too reliable on Lee Silsby’s financials. I did find an undated guess they do between 500,000USB to 1,000,000USD annual sales. I could not verify that guess.

I’ve only got an ad for Double Tree Inns, which isn’t so bad. It’s the “whiten your teeth” and
“five rules to obey to get rid of belly fat” that seem to follow me everywhere! My teeth are fine and I weigh what I’m supposed to–why are the picking on me?

Hi, Jen in Tx. Haven’t seen you around for a while. I hope things are going well with you and your family. Have you found any more information about Tylenol (yes, I am serious; I find your theory interesting, even if I don’t agree with it. Certainly worth reading anything you find)

Don’t be too hard on Jake. After all, he’s fixated on the idea that Wakefield is perfect, so therefore, anything that has to do with Wakers is fine, even if it does include overlooking the fact that Big Pharma money, in the form of Jane Johnson, helps fund TH.

@Jake, #11

I gather your blogging this has something to do with the ad for Claritin, made by Merck subsidiary Schering-Plough, to the left of your blog? Not to mention that ad for the diabetes meter manufactured by Bayer?

Hmm… Right now, I’m seeing ads for Lenovo ThinkPads. Clearly this means Orac saw your comment and immediately changed the ads. Or the he’s actually paid by Big Computer.

Then again, it could be that ScienceBlogs has an ad server which can see what sites you visit from your cookies and delivers ads relevant to you, so if you’ve been trolling through pharma sites quite a bit lately, you see ads for their medication and someone who’s been looking for a new computer sees ads for new computers. It’s a technique used by most ad networks today.

So Jake, if you’re going to come up with a conspiracy theory, how about choosing one that’s not completely brain dead? Really, this attempt was more of a punchline than anything else.

Hi Dawn,
Things are settling down somewhat. My oldest child has been ill with pyelonephritis, and had to make a couple of visits to the ER this week. She’s on the mend, now– thanks for asking.

Much to my chagrin, I ended up having to resort to Tylenol #3 to treat her pain, since she has enlarged tonsils and cannot swallow pills, and didn’t want to chance ibuprofen. Had to put my disdain for acetaminophen aside in order for her to be pain free. We used half the recommended dose, and it worked pretty well for her, and she only used it twice.

Sorry, I don’t have any new information on acetaminophen/autism. Spoke with Dr. Torres a few weeks ago, and we had a nice chat. Apparently, there is no funding available to study this link right now. To be fair, he was the first to propose this theory, not me.

Jake, how much is Big Altie(TM) paying you? Answer, shill.

There’s a difference between a single mercurial ad that occasionally shows one particular thing and a consistent pattern across the major players in an anti-science movement. So, Jake, how much is Lee Seibel paying you?

Jake,
Really, try to think before you post. First, as has been pointed out earlier, Orac does not control the ads on this site. You have been around these parts long enough to have seen the complaints Orac has made about this. I would be surprised if you were somehow able to miss these posts.

Second, you completely ignore the content of this post. How do you respond to the these facts about the advertising over AoA? Why is it only fair to complain about big nasty pharmaceutical companies and not do it the other way? Here is a hint to try to keep you from posting a hasty reply and getting dumped on again, you might want to stay away from saying the commpanies are smaller. That is rather irrelevant.

Just to further confuse Jake the Brainless, I’m in France. All the ads I’m seeing are French, in French. One is trying to get me to click on it by suggesting I’ve won a Mini Cooper; another seems to be for an online game. Both are incredibly badly targeted, in addition to having nothing to do with the contents of this blog or the SciBorg site: I’m not interested in cars, and don’t play online games.

Obviously it’s all Orac’s fault.

Wow… American Heart Association and Super 8.

Big Heart wants me to take a Big Vacation, obviously.

@Jake

I’m with you bud, stand up against the…

…Super 8 and Advantage Rent-a-Car shill!

To the topic–we can sit around and think of clever things to say against the woo all we want, I know I have. In the end they just won’t get it or will ignore the hypocracy of being against “big pharma” and for the multi-billion dollar sCAM industry. Such is life with a conspiracy prone thought process.

I’m suspecting Jake doesn’t know much about contextual advertising, remarketing, ad-words, cookies etc. I’m in the UK and getting an American Express ad. The other day on Science Blogs on my work computer I got all my companies products (totally not healthcare, science or pharmaceutical related – I”m an arts grad…) served up to me on a retailer ad – because that’s what I mostly search for

“I’m suspecting Jake doesn’t know much about contextual advertising, remarketing, ad-words, cookies etc.”

There’s no need to suspect.

One can look at his previous posts and see that there’s quite a bit he knows very little about.

Nothing wrong with that by itself, but his continued persistance in believing he is correct even after repeated and comprehensive correction is tiresome and a pain.

Even if he were to ever admit to error, you can bet he’d blame that on his autism too.

It seems to me that alties often put a great deal of emphasis on intent. Company X manufactures a remedy which, when tested, does no better than placebo. However, the pill is sold as a “supplement,” and the big. glossy ads are filled with glowing testimonials. Is Company X doing anything wrong?

To people who are into alternative medicine, the answer seems to come down to motivation and circumstances. If Company X is a big pharmaceutical company which is knowingly over-hyping this product in order to make money, then yes. The pill should be taken off the shelf for being misleading. If Company X is a mom-and-pop operation run by some hippies who truly believe in their product and want to help people, then no. This is wonderful, because it allows the consumer the choice to discover what works for them.

The pill, what it contains, and whether it actually does what it says it does, seems to take a back seat to the storyline. Is it a corporation trying to screw the little guy consumer, or is the little guy who cares about people trying to stick it to bigger corporations? I wonder sometimes, how alties would propose to weed out purported cures based on the sincerity and good intentions of the manufacturers. Perhaps companies could fill out a Moral Application, where they answer questions like “I believe we all are vibrating energy in a higher field of consciousness: Yes ( ) No ( ).”

Jake,

How about answering why you think it’s ok that Lee Silsby is a featured sponsor for Age of Autism?

Jen in TX,

I’ve looked at some of the evidence for a Tylenol/autism link, and have been pretty unimpressed. It really does feel an awful lot like the vaccine/autism argument, where people are trying to confuse correlation with causation. That being said, caution with NSAID use is a good idea in any event.

their invariable reply is that these are relatively small companies and pharma is big

So Little Pharma is Good but Big Pharma is Evil?
Guess they’re not familiar with the concept of “economies of scale”. If it’s an expensive, niche product it must be good.

Reminds me of the creationist/ID mantra of micro- vs. macro evolution. Little Evolution Good but Big Evolution Bad.

As for the ads, I rarely notice them here but now I clearly see that Orac is also a shill for Big Sex, touting “Release your naughty pepper at Be Naughty”
Thanks for exposing him Jake! You made my day 🙂

Don’t be so hard on Jake: He knows exactly as much about medicine, virology, epidemiology, and the like as you can reasonably expect an undergraduate majoring in history to know about those subjects.

The only real problem is that Jake seems to think that an internet connection in a dorm room provides an understanding of those subjects equal to that of people who have devoted decades of diligent study to those topics. Jake knows so little that he can’t even begin to comprehend that he knows so little.

In the sidebar here you see an ad for Bristol Myers Squibb product Reyataz. You do not see a “buy Reyataz here” link, or a “Bristol Myers Squibb Online Store” here.
Get the point ?
While Orac may indirectly make a couple pennies from Sciblogs, who makes a couple pennies from BMS, nobody is selling aids drugs here. Or perhaps Orac is actually controlled by Big Hotels ? Super-8 is currently the other right-hand sidebar. Hey, Orac, can I get a couple free room-nights ? LOL

Sastra: Alternative medicine, like most rigid belief systems, is fundamentally based on the genetic fallacy: It’s all about who you believe in, which is to say who you personally identify with and who makes an emotional connection with you. Questions of what don’t enter the process. Ultimately, it’s a very tribalistic, authority-based belief system, where We can do no wrong and They can do no right.

Although altmed is stereotypically associated with the Left in the US, it’s really a profoundly conservative movement; it just places the Golden Age in a different period than the Right does (the latter tends to be fond of “cutting-edge politically incorrect” ideas that mostly turn out to be rehashes of Victorian-era speculations that were long ago abandoned for good reasons) In many ways it’s fueled by a reactive opposition to capitalism that is not like the opposition of the socialist, but more like the opposition of the aristocrat whose ancestors won their wealth with the battle-axe, not by something as wimpy as “trade”.

Ooohh, I got the Bayer Glucose Monitor and the University of Virginia Health System. Big not dieing of diabetes wants me to go to a university hospital in the state where I live.

And what the hell is Safecount.net?!?!

Just had a quick look round the Lee Silsby website. The pharmacy is very helpful. They even have an area list of “Recommended Practitioners”. Gee I wonder if those practitioners listed also recommend Lee Silsby autism treatment compounds.

http://www.leesilsby.com/resources.php

a-non,
I completely understand the skepticism, and I’ll be the first to admit that the available evidence is weak.

@Kristen

All kidding aside, make sure you do your best to get the word out about that recall. I have two toddlers and had to go through the medicine and throw out the majority of what we had. To me it’s a pain but an indicator that the system is working! I’d love to see that kind of action from ANY sCAM corporation or individual (not holding my breath).

The site to find the applicable NDC numbers (for the US) is found here: http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/new_recall.inc

I’ve actually challenged the odd AoA member on this, and their invariable reply is that these are relatively small companies and pharma is big.

I think that they mean “Big Pharma can afford a massive astroturf campaign, while the vaccine -> autism people can’t”.

Also, depending on how strict a definition you use for “shill”, there might be few or no shills among the anti-vaxxers. As far as I can recall, the classic “shill” was “someone the con artist hired to go along with the con”, which means: 1) the con artists him/herself isn’t a shill, and 2) implies that the shill either doesn’t believe in what the con artist is selling or doesn’t care whether or not it works. So since the people who run places like AoA are True Believers who are accepting ads to defray the cost of running the sites, I don’t think they fit the classic definition of “shill”. (NOTE: I’m not accusing all, or even the majority, of bio-med autism doctors of being con artists, since I believe most of the genuinely believe in what they’re doing. I’m just saying that those who are con artists aren’t shills in the classical sense)

@ebohlman

Alternative medicine, like most rigid belief systems, is fundamentally based on the genetic fallacy: It’s all about who you believe in, which is to say who you personally identify with and who makes an emotional connection with you.

You can quite clearly see this in people who do things like repeat the “Pasteur recanted on his deathbed” myth. They don’t understand that it doesn’t matter if Pasteur recanted or not.

I’m in Australia, and the only ad on my screen shows a spunky, buffed-up young man saying “learn to get ripped in 4 weeks”.

I’ve never seen a photo of Orac, but that provides me an image of him. Obviously, Big Ripping pay him millions for the privilege.

@ Brian – Go easy on history majors! Any history major worth his or her salt would be pretty well-versed in epidemics of terrible diseases that were eradicated by vaccines (small pos, for instance). (And in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t a history major. Even worse – I was a poly sci major.)

And about the ads here: I’m getting at least two, and usually three, ads for Internet Explorer 8, in spite of the fact that I’m using Linux. I would say that Microsoft isn’t getting much bang for it’s advertising dollar.

@Dawn and @Jen in TX:

I’ve actually been thinking that ibuprofen exposure in utero may be a cause of autism. My wife took ibuprofen when she did not know that she was pregnant, and the OB-Gyn told her to use only Tylenol while she was pregnant. Recently, a Science-Based Medicine blog post reported that a recent study found that autism began to rise around 1988-89, and concluded that “if we want to look for an environmental factor we should look for things whose exposure began around 1988-1989.”

Ibuprofen was approved for over-the-counter use in the U.S. in 1984. Give a year or so for ibuprofen to become popular and taken to some degree by pregnant women, nine months for gestation, and 18 to 36 months for diagnoses of children, and you’ve got a match for the time of exposure to ibuprofen and the “turning point” in autism diagnoses.

Of course, I do not mean to imply that this possible correlation (if it’s even that–I haven’t seen the charts of autism diagnoses and sales of ibuprofen) shows causation, but it’s something to think about.

Matt P.

Matt,
You’ll have to first explain the autism that existed before ibuprofen’s approval, as well as a possible mechanism in order to convince me. 😉

I think that the rise correlates almost perfectly with the warnings of aspirin’s link to Reye’s Syndrome, and the subsequent increase in the use of acetaminophen.

BTW, can anyone tell me when acetaminophen began to be mixed with narcotics, (Darvocet, Lortab, Vicodin, etc.) and the reasons for doing so? I’d be interested in the history there, but can’t seem to find anything.

Shawmutt,

I am definatly getting the word out on the recall. We give Gabriel Benedryl about once or twice a month when he can’t sleep. Our package wasn’t part of the recall, probably because it is probably six months old.

Telling everyone I know. But thanks for the advice. 🙂

Read what Kathleen Stratton, Study Director for the Immunization Safety Review Committee, stated in her deposition about the care taken to eliminate anyone with a conflict of interest or a bias from the committee. No financial interest, no grants from CDC, no advocates for a point of view, no one writing papers on vaccine safety, no paid experts, no one with a business interest, no one who had testified about vaccine safety, etc. etc. For sure Mark Geier, Andrew Wakefield, Lee Silsby, and other autism cranks would not qualify.

Any history major worth his or her salt would be pretty well-versed in epidemics of terrible diseases that were eradicated by vaccines (small po[x], for instance).

I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whether or not Jake is a history major worth his salt, but your post does suggest an answer. It’s clear, though, that although Jake almost certainly knows more about history than I do, he’s profoundly ignorant of the scientific and medical fields related to his too-numerous posts.

Jake,

How about answering why you think it’s ok that Lee Silsby is a featured sponsor for Age of Autism?

Yes, Jake — please explain why you think it’s OK that Lee Silsby, who supplies materials used by alties for the alleged treatment of autism, is a featured sponsor for Age of Autism.

#49 Jen in TX said: “BTW, can anyone tell me when acetaminophen began to be mixed with narcotics, (Darvocet, Lortab, Vicodin, etc.) and the reasons for doing so? I’d be interested in the history there, but can’t seem to find anything.”

As for when, I can’t tell you. But I can tell you why.

With narcotics, it’s easy to quickly become chemically dependent (even on a scale where you don’t feel the dependence, but tests may show a response, so to say) or start to show levels of tolerance, even if you’re not psychologically dependent on them. They can be dangerous, but it’s a risk vs benefit deal. They added the acetaminophen in order to decrease the chance of dependency and addiction.

“Orac” writes:

“A photo of the dreaded Lee Silsby in Cleveland Heights taken this winter during a visit to my old stomping grounds. (I used to live only two or three miles away back in the 1990s.)”

Give me a break, they are not even a vested party in the vaccine-autism debate, unlike the drug companies that advertise on your blog. If you wanna get people to stop believing what you call “conspiracy theories,” best to not replace them with your own. It would also do you good to distance yourself from performers in the neurodiversity freakshow, especially after their horrific blunder of libeling AoA by claiming we “forged” official university documents. Not to mention the fact that they claim to be “autistic” when most of them aren’t even diagnosed, not unlike a few of your loyal commenters here.

Jake, since you seem to have overlooked his main comment in the blog, I will repeat it for you:

“If Lee Silsby et al are providing AoA with a significant cash infusion for advertising relative to its budget, then it’s just as much a potentially corrupting influence as Sanofi Aventis, Pfizer, or Bristol-Myers-Squibb buying advertising in a medical journal.”

Is AoA not “a vested party in the vaccine-autism debate”?

And, since you consider AoA and you to be “we”, do you have an official capacity at AoA or are you suggest a supporter?

Give me a break, they are not even a vested party in the vaccine-autism debate, unlike the drug companies that advertise on your blog. If you wanna get people to stop believing what you call “conspiracy theories,” best to not replace them with your own.

Jake, you are seriously sarcasm-challenged, aren’t you? This is mockery of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and hypocrisy, not a serious claim that there is a conspiracy involving Lee Silsby.

As for the rest of the bit about “forgeries,” I really have no idea what you’re talking about.

Finally, how do you know that commenters of mine who say they are autistic are not actually autistic. Are you calling them liars? If so, you’d better have some damned good evidence to back up your claims, because I don’t take kindly to such accusations if you can’t back them up.

Also, Jake,

Perhaps it is because I mostly manage to restrain myself from using pejoratives to refer to other people, but I was rather struck by your reference to the “performers in the neurodiversity freakshow”.

I’ve been following a few of these blogs for a couple of years now and occasionally take a peak at AoA and GR, but I don’t think I had heard of that category before.

Could you please enlighten me? Who are some of these “performers” you tell people to “distance yourself from”?

Lee Silsby sells treatments for autism. Lee Silsby gives money to AoA. It really does not matter if they are directly part of the vaccine-autism debate (though they do probably have some interest in promoting the idea because they want people to treat autism chemically with their “medicines” and a chemical cause would be helpful), or if they care about the issue at all. The issue is, by accepting money from Lee Silsby AoA does the exact same thing it claims Pharma shills do. If AoA writes a post that defends (and a quick search of the site shows that not only does AoA defend them it seems to directly endorse their treatments) any treatment endorsed by Lee Silsby I could go over there and make the shill gambit and it would be the same circumstances imagined by those that play the pharma shill gambit. Except it would be worse, especially when compared to people like Orac, as his ads are pretty random whereas AoA is directly sponsored by them.

I have no idea what this forgeries thing is about. Jake will have to supply some more information.

The last claim can basically be ignored. I would love to see your evidence that the autistic people on this site are not actually autistic. You might want that to be true but your wants do not make it a fact.

“…the drug companies that advertise on your blog.”

And while we’re piling on to Jake, is it not strange that despite being told this endlessly on this thread, he still has not acknowledged the obvious fact that Orac has no control over the advertising that is carried here.

“especially after their horrific blunder of libeling AoA by claiming we “forged” official university documents.”
Jake:
I warned your superiors at AoA that if it was not acknowledged that I did NOT implicate AoA of direct involvement in a forgery, it would be grounds for a libel lawsuit.

Here’s another vacuous threat I got from Jake Crosby, over the one name I actually did throw out openly (strictly as an example of someone who MIGHT forge a document), “Liar For Hire” Martin J. Walker: “To allege that a regular contributor forged a document posted on AoA which we used as a primary source is to allege that AoA was involved in the forging. And for a person who did not intend to accuse Martin Walker of falsifying a document that is actually real, you sure worded it that way, without any prior reason other than your conspiracy-mindset, as Walker has never been accused of fraud.”

To get back to something I was going to mention before being sidetracked by Jake: I looked into Lee Silsby last Summer/Fall, and wrote my findings down in two articles, “Frankenpharma” and “Pointless, Useless and Dangerous” (“Cures” page, evilpossum.weebly.com)
This is an absolutely terrifying organization. I feel strongly that, until and unless regulators act to shut them down, they should be made the target of protests and civil disobedience.

Also, a point on the fallacy of arguing that Lee Silsby’s small size somehow places them above criticism: It is a notorious pattern in criminology that more violent offenders get less money out of their crimes. John Dillinger stole a lot more money than Bonnie and Clyde, but Bonnie and Clyde caused a lot more deaths.

Ah, and to clarify for confused bystanders, Crosby is referring to the manufactured outrage over Poul Thorsen (covered by a page at my site). I argued that a document posted at AoA was a forgery. It has very recently been confirmed as authentic by the identified source, Aarhus University. On the other hand, I am completely satisfied that the story AoA helped publicize, claiming most notably that Dr. Thorsen had “vanished”, was a hoax by one Jane Burgemeister, whose site theflucase.com is now offline.

“This is mockery…”

I am clearly aware of that, but you keep pushing a major straw man. A legitimate COI concerns a direct financial stake in the vaccine-autism debate, one held by pharmaceutical companies such as Schering-Plough, not compounding pharmacies that sell vitamins. Your analogy is bunk.

“Are you calling them liars?”

No, I’m calling them self-“diagnosed” autistic wannabees.

“As for the rest of the bit about ‘forgeries,’ I really have no idea what you’re talking about.”

You can read my first post last April and see for yourself, I also linked to it in an email exchange I had with you. It was just an example, I don’t want to open up that can of worms again. Unfortunately, I see the person who perpetuated it on Leftbrain/Rightbrain has just posted three whole comments about it and is apparently unable to let go of his conspiratorial views.

“I am completely satisfied that the story AoA helped publicize, claiming most notably that Dr. Thorsen had “vanished”, was a hoax”

If “Dr.” Thorsen really is still just “living a very public life” as you put it, then where the hell is he? And why’s $2 million missing along with him?

No, I’m calling them self-“diagnosed” autistic wannabees.

I notice you missed the important part of Orac’s comment about this

If so, you’d better have some damned good evidence to back up your claims, because I don’t take kindly to such accusations if you can’t back them up.

If you have no evidence for your comment then it is just what you want to be true. Do you have any actual evidence other than it being convenient to label people as wannabes?

Where? After you comment claiming posters here were wannabes the only comment I see addressing this is:

“Are you calling them liars?”

No, I’m calling them self-“diagnosed” autistic wannabees.

That is not an answer. What post was the answer in?

And I should say, I know the actual question that was asked was whether you were calling them lairs. However, in writing not everything that should be replied to has to be phrased as a question. I asked you to address the actual point that was important in that section. That was, do you have any evidence.

So do you have any evidence to back up your claim? (If you only response to writing in the form of a question)

I appologize for the spelling errors. I should have been more careful with that last one. I was just frustrated with the pedantic nature of Jake’s comment.

I called them “wannabees” because they are not diagnosed with autism, they just read some description about autism somewhere and decided to cultivate it as some new identity of theirs.

I know what you mean by wannabee Jake. I am not asking why you called them that.

I am asking if you have any evidence that they are actually not diagnosed. That was what Orac was referring to in his post as well.

You have claimed you know that some of those on here who indicate they are autistic are wannabes and not really disagnosed. It is this claim I asked you to back up. What evidence do you have that this is the case?

I know the loser who said this has no diagnosis:

“@Jake: Frankly, you’re an embarrassment to autistic people everywhere.”

And I’m pretty sure David N. Brown is self-“diagnosed,” too. He didn’t deny it when it was written on another blog that he likely was.

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