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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine

Andrew Wakefield: Another one bites the dust…

First, it was anti-vaccine “martyr” Andrew Wakefield’s infamous 1998 Lancet paper.

Then it was his equally incompetent 2009 NeuroToxicology paper.

Now it’s Wakefield’s 2000 American Journal of Gastroenterology paper:

Errata, Corrigenda and Retractions

Am J Gastroenterol 2010; 105:1214; doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.149

Retraction: Enterocolitis in Children With Developmental Disorders

A J Wakefield, A Anthony, S H Murch, M Thomson, S M Montgomery, S Davies, J J O’Leary, M Berelowitz and J A Walker-Smith

Am J Gastroenterol 2000; 95:2285-2295

On 28 January 2010, the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practice Panel raised concerns about a paper published in the Lancet by Dr Wakefield et al. (1). The main issues were that the patient sample collected was likely to be biased and that the statement in the paper, that the study had local ethics committee approval, was false. There was also the possibility of a serious conflict of interest in the interpretation of the data. The Lancet has now retracted this paper (1). This paper in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG) (2) also includes the 12 patients in the original Lancet article and therefore we retract this AJG paper from the public record.

I wonder how many more Wakefield papers are destined for retraction. Certainly, any paper that used data from the children in his original Lancet paper for which he was found to have committed unethical conduct is a reasonable candidate to share the fate of the three papers above. It’s only too bad that all his incompetent science can’t meet the same fate. It will have to stand as an object lesson that crap remains in the scientific literature. In the meantime, Wakefield is devolving further and further into Mike Adams territory.

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]

94 replies on “Andrew Wakefield: Another one bites the dust…”

I am thinking that I will be able to pick it up for about $1 at the Super Bargain niche in my local Half Price Books in about six to eight months.

He is responsible for the crippling of thousands and the deaths of hundreds of children. In a just world he’d have a new position as “Strange Fruit” hanging from the nearest tree.

a.nuran: “He is responsible for the crippling of thousands and the deaths of hundreds of children. In a just world he’d have a new position as “Strange Fruit” hanging from the nearest tree.”

Crippling? Deaths? Really? Certainly you have proof of this and this wouldn’t be you fantasy.

Methinks a lot of the bloggers just jump in and kick like street thugs kicking a man on the ground when others are already doing it.

Now there’s a bit of good news.
Seeing Wakefield hoist on his own petard.

I don’t know. The IUMS&D* has strict rules about ethical conduct. Paying children for samples is definitely too ethical for them.

* International Union of Mad Scientists and Doctors

A while ago I compiled a list of his papers using PubMed. I should check if it’s still on the hard drive.

If they’re going to start cleaning out his older papers, they should start with his Crohns’ papers, which in hindsight should have given him away as a fraud years before the autism vaccine scare.

And, while we’re at it, why not see if we can do something about his medical degree?

Off topic: -Hello Orac et al. You have experience detecting BS, so I am forwarding some links from Sweden in case you or some of your colleagues are interested in this subject. If it works, it would certainly have big public health consequences.
Is this for real, or a vastly overoptimistic weight-loss approach?

Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, a professor at the university of Lund, Sweden [which should count for credibility], has spent a long time researching metabolism and the physiological chemistry of obesity. The last few years she has been doing research on the effect of chemicals in thylakoids –components of plant organelles- in delaying fat digestion and suppressing appetite. (She has even set up a company, Thylabisco, with the purpose of selling concentrated amounts of these chemicals for weight loss purposes, but this does not necessarily detract from her claims, since even legit researchers do the same)…

I should mention that so far there are only (to my knowledge) successful results using lab mice. They may have progressed to testing the effect on people since I last heard anything.
Here is Erlanson-Albertsson’s web site: http://www.erlanson-albertsson.se
Articles: http://www.erlanson-albertsson.se/publikationer.html
Example of articles: -Thylakoids promote release of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin while reducing insulin in healthy humans http://www.erlanson-albertsson.se/humansthyl09.pdf
-Appetite suppression through delayed fat digestion http://www.erlanson-albertsson.se/ny_dimaele06.pdf
-Chloroplast membranes retard fat digestion and induce satiety -Effect of biological membranes on pancreatic lipase-colipase http://www.erlanson-albertsson.se/ny_thyl06.pdf
(Swedish-language summary from an article) http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=2874498
Good luck sorting the wheat from the chaff. Birger Johansson
Umeå, Sweden

the statement in the paper, that the study had local ethics committee approval, was false.

Can you imagine the screaming that would ensue if a pharmaceutical company ran a clinical trial without EC/IRB approval, and then lied about it?

Disclaimer: I work for a pharma company, no involvement in vaccines. Also as a disclaimer, I’ve always obtained regulatory and ethics committee approval for every study I’ve run.

OFF TOPIC:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100602/sc_nm/us_costarica_stemcells

Costa Rica has ordered the country’s largest stem cell clinic to stop offering treatment, saying there is no proof that it is effective, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.

About 400 patients, mostly foreigners from the United States, have been treated at the Institute of Cellular Medicine in San Jose for multiple sclerosis, arthritis, spinal injuries and other illnesses.

“This isn’t allowed in any serious country in the world,” Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila said in a telephone interview.

The Health Ministry several weeks ago ordered the clinic, owned by Arizona entrepreneur Neil Riordan, to stop performing the treatment, in which stem cells extracted from the patients are reinjected into their bodies.

Also off topic:
The Mexican Supreme Court has allowed a conviction to stand in the case of two herbalists and “natural healers” who swindled money out of people by promising cures for all sorts of ailments. In their decision, the Court also allowed for the prosecution of such “charlatans” when their remedies have no effect where one was offered or when they discourage people from seeking conventional care.

(In Spanish: http://www.milenio.com/node/457562 )

It must be the international day on “Insolence”.

@Tsu Dho Nimh

owned by Arizona entrepreneur Neil Riordan

Hmm…an Arizona man owns a clinic in Costa Rica, offering dubious treatment. He wouldn’t be trying to swindle people out of some money by locating his clinic where the FDA’s regulations don’t apply, now, would he? I mean, if his treatment worked, why not do the clinical trials and get it approved in the U.S.?

“He wouldn’t be trying to swindle people out of some money by locating his clinic where the FDA’s regulations don’t apply, now, would he? I mean, if his treatment worked, why not do the clinical trials and get it approved in the U.S.?”

Well because Big pHarma would just silence him (or worse!) of course! /sarcasm

@ Little Augie

Are we really going to play another game of “Let’s move the goalpost!” again?

chance: “Are we really going to play another game of “Let’s move the goalpost!” again?”

Force mass vaccinators can move them with the best of them. All one has to do is watch these threads and watch the science fade away as it ultimately turns political.

“Oh no, Brer rabbit don’t throw me in the briar patch.”

@16, Little Augie.

Really? Politics have nothing to do with public health? The very basis of our social contact is that we often sacrifice personal liberties to protect the health and safety of others – vaccination are among thoses. And as I recall, except in cases of federal court orders in the event of an outbreak, no one can force you to get vaccinated – you still have the choice to homeschool and expose as many other children to your walking disease vector. And no one’s advocating that someone strap you to a chair, and force you to take any vaccine – most simply want parents to understand that a lot of the information out there against vaccination is, franky, crap that is fueled with a poor understanding of basic sciences. It’s not unrelated when the science is used to support a political position that the opposing side wants to bring us back to the early 1800s in terms of public safety from disease.

Unfortunately, the Science of Vaccination and the Politics of Vaccination will always have a hand in hand, because the other side often uses those politics with their star power and the poor education of our general society.

chance: “Really? Politics have nothing to do with public health?”

No, the exact opposite. Thank you for confirming. Your magical scientific vaccine powers dwindle in the briar patch. And this is what FUMES the biased scientists on here.

chance: “you still have the choice to homeschool and expose as many other children to your walking disease vector.”

Maybe you live in West Virginia. I don’t. And I still have the choice to send them to public school.

@Dan Weber

Doing a search on PubMed for “Wakefield, Andrew J” brought up 9 results. Excluding two that are not studies and the retracted Neurotoxicology study, there are 6 remaining.

well maybe the journals etc. will clue in and retract some other “studies” (like Fombonne’s -McGill University- bullshit studies on autism prevalence in Canada and Poul Thorsen’s useless figures on autism and vaccines. Hopefully that happens but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Pharma is too entrenched in the journal world to hold them to any decent standards. What a complete joke!

@ Jen – Really? Anti-Vaxxers are still stuck on smearing Paul Thorsen after it was proven their accusations were nothing but bunk?

And I suppose the Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t have autism either, right?

and that the statement in the paper, that the study had local ethics committee approval, was false

Well.

well maybe the journals etc. will clue in and retract some other “studies” (like Fombonne’s -McGill University- bullshit studies on autism prevalence in Canada and Poul Thorsen’s useless figures on autism and vaccines. Hopefully that happens but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Pharma is too entrenched in the journal world to hold them to any decent standards. What a complete joke!

I guess those scorch marks on your backside must still burn eh jen? Hint for you; studies are not ‘bullshit’ merely because you proclaim them to be. You need to explain what renders a study ‘bullshit’ and you haven’t even come within the same galaxy as that.

Fombonne-McGill study from 2006 looking at rates of PDD not autism per se.

The retraction of the Am J Gastro paper was fairly predictable, given that it included 1998 Lancet paper subjects. More tricky will be the O’Leary Mol Psych (disbanded) paper, since that is published by the BMJ, which declined to investigate the affair in 2004.

Before long, however, I think all eyes will be on the Royal College of Pathologists, which awarded Wakefield a fellowship, not based on exams, but on submitted papers. Since two of those have been retracted, Wakefield has been found guilty of research dishonesty, struck off the medical register and fired by his employer, it will be interesting whether they strip him of his fellowship of their own volition, or whether they will be required to be shamed into it.

augustine @16

Seeing as the science supporting vaccination as a medical intervention and the concept of herd immunity has decades of support behind it (centuries if you go back to Jenner & cowpox vaccinations), there is no particular reason to go back to the basic science.

Indeed, your basic premise in the comment is a straw man since, to repeat, there is no large-scale movement agitating to make vaccinations compulsory for all US citizens.

@jen

Which studies of thorsen’s (and of course we mean ones where he is the primary researcher here) do you have a problem with and why? Be sure to list actual problems with the research in question.

@jen

Moreover, jen, what is your background in regards to science? Unless you have some history in the field, I have my doubts about your ability to evaluate primary sources. Orac (and to a lesser extent, many of us) has spent his entire career reading, evaluating, and (I would assume) participating in these studies. This stuff isn’t aimed at the layperson, and it always strikes me as a bit suspect when the folks at AoA decide to critique journal articles.

mike the snake: “Which studies of thorsen’s (and of course we mean ones where he is the primary researcher here) do you have a problem with and why? Be sure to list actual problems with the research in question.”

You would be better served by asking Brian Deer. He’s an expert at uncovering conflicts of interest and ethical breeches in research. But if Thorsen’s work involves Pharma then Deer wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

@22:
“Anti-Vaxxers are still stuck on smearing Paul Thorsen after it was proven their accusations were nothing but bunk”

I stepped into trouble on this one… From what can be established, Aarhus did file a complaint against Thorsen implicating him in a real crime, but the police who received the complaint do not appear to have filed formal charges. AoA’s only “contribution” in establishing these facts was to link to a then-unverified document obtained by still-unknown means, repost or link to articles containing unsubstantiated or clearly false claims, and threaten and harass me for offering a critical appraisal of the evidence at hand.
What is and always has been clear is that the accusations against Thorsen amount to a completely prosaic complaint of misappropriating funds, not the prefabricated scenario of bribes, coverups and international conspiracies.

@mikerattlesnake

Unless you have some history in the field

We should be a bit careful about using this angle of argument. While experience/education in the field does help, it is not necessary to enable one to understand, analyze and interpret the information appropriately. For example, I feel that I have a decent grasp of how to evaluate the science, even though I have no formal education in a scientific field. The closest I come is education in regulatory affairs.

While it may raise red flags about the quality of the individual’s argument/understanding of the subject, it should not be used as a means of negating or downplaying what the person has to say.

@mikerattlesnake:

(sarcasm) Now you know that isn’t fair. Jen read somewhere on the internet that Thorsen was a bad man; therefore it’s true. She should never have to back up her claims with evidence. (/sarcasm)

augustine,

Have you read any of Brian Deer’s exposes? He’s been as hard on Big Pharma as he has on Wakers.

Brian,

Wouldn’t the fact that Wakefield lost his ability to practice medicine automatically preclude him from being a fellow in the Royal College of Pathologists? Maybe somebody who’s better versed in this can explain, but it would seem to me that if you’re not licensed to practice medicine (especially through license revocation, which is essentially what happened here) that a professional medical society should automatically remove you.

You would be better served by asking Brian Deer. He’s an expert at uncovering conflicts of interest and ethical breeches in research. But if Thorsen’s work involves Pharma then Deer wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

Emphasis mine. Pardon me for being Captain Obvious here, but Augie, you really are thick as a plank if you think that.

Has augie actually ever come out with an opinion of his/her own? Or has he/she just come here to comment on other people’s ideas?

Emphasis mine. Pardon me for being Captain Obvious here, but Augie, you really are thick as a plank if you think that.

Oh gravy, are we going to go through this again? Remember the process…

1) Find the citations to the articles for augustine
2) Provide direct links to articles for augustine
3) Read the friggin articles for augustine
4) Explain what it all means augustine

We’ve been through this once. Do we have to do it again?

Have you read any of Brian Deer’s exposes? He’s been as hard on Big Pharma as he has on Wakers.

That’s obviously just a ruse to hide his allegiance to Big Vax.

Todd–

Thanks. By mikerattlesnake’s standards, I should quietly fold up my tent and go sit on the sidelines with my B.A. in history. Obviously Orac and many of you have training I don’t. But I can apply the tools of a liberal education, such as critical thinking and some education in math, including logic, to what I read.

Has augie actually ever come out with an opinion of his/her own? Or has he/she just come here to comment on other people’s ideas?

Bingo. I’m sure Augustine views himself as the John McClane of science: “Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench”.

I love good debate with people of various viewpoints, when they can construct and defend a good argument. And if Augustine comes up with an original thought that’s worthy of discussion, then great. But otherwise it’s probably best to step over him and let the troll debate himself.

augustine @ #31:

You would be better served by asking Brian Deer. He’s an expert at uncovering conflicts of interest and ethical breeches in research. But if Thorsen’s work involves Pharma then Deer wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

Yet another demonstrable lie by augustine! LOL! Wow augie you already have essentially zero credibility, but you want to just keep digging that hole deeper don’t you?

Here you augie, yet more proof (as if any more was needed) that you’re full of crap.

Vioxx – a killer painkiller

Brian Deer investigates an “Aids vaccine”

The Drug Trial That Went Wrong

So tell us augustine, when will you be making your public apology to Brian Deer for lying about him? Will it be before or after you apologize to everyone else you’ve lied about and misrepresented so far?

My earlier post is being held in moderation…., but as to this from Orange Lantern

Bingo. I’m sure Augustine views himself as the John McClane of science: “Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench”.

That would be accurate for augie….if McClane wore clowns shoes, used a squirt gun, and worked for the bank-robbers.

😉

Brian Deer,

Don’t you have anything better to do than hang on Orac’s every word? Aren’t there any other doctors over in the UK who are trying to help children with GI problems that you can drag through the mud? How about going after doctors who talk about the dangers of H1N1 vaccines? Go get ’em Brian… Get busy!

Don’t you have anything better to do than hang on Orac’s every word?

Deer undoubtedly has Google Alerts (or something similar) set up to email him whenever a blog post about Andrew Wakefield pops up.

@Pablo-38,

I wouldn’t waste the time on it until Augie shows some interest in trying to follow the step by step instructions for themself.

@mikerattlesnake and Todd W,

As I told a commenter on another blog who had a problem with “reading comprehension”, my arguments (and jen’s) stand or fall on their own merits including any evidence I can present in their favor. My credentials, which do include a bit of scientific training, and my actual are name are irrelevant to that.

However, since jen’s comments (IMHO) mostly fall through the black hole in the floor and her evidence to support them bears a strange resemblance to AoA/GR talking points, there is a small, but non-zero possibility that inquiring about her education, scientific or otherwise, might have some limited utility as an opening to inquire about the basis for her statements with a possible end objective of leading her to the water.

I am not sanguine about that.

(Gee, that one sentence was almost Bullwer-Lytton material!)

@ 47 squirrelelite,

(Gee, that one sentence was almost Bullwer-Lytton material!)

Don’t give up on the Bulwer-Lytton Prize, yet. Where I am, it is a dark and stormy night. 😉

“Orac’s Wackosphere”,
Whoever this is, I strongly suggest a new handle. If it were under my control, I would be deleting your comment, the same way I did a jester who posted under the name “Andrew Wakefield”.

And, exactly who are these “doctors who talk about the dangers of H1N1 vaccines”? The only one I can think of offhand is Len Horowitz, the paranoid dentist who claims the vaccines are designed to sterilize people.

Oh gravy, are we going to go through this again? Remember the process…

1) Find the citations to the articles for augustine
2) Provide direct links to articles for augustine
3) Read the friggin articles for augustine
4) Explain what it all means augustine

We’ve been through this once. Do we have to do it again?

It’s not for him. It’s for the legions of laypeople reading this blog who don’t comment and might assume that if augie’s nonsense went unchallenged, then that would mean that he was right.

So please, keep embarrassing him and his sockpuppets and friends whenever they appear. (By the way, they all seem especially agitated today, eh? And Jen’s officially given up on science, just like Wakers.)

David N. Brown said:

And, exactly who are these “doctors who talk about the dangers of H1N1 vaccines”? The only one I can think of offhand is Len Horowitz, the paranoid dentist who claims the vaccines are designed to sterilize people.

[engaging anti-vaxer emulation mode]
But, David it’s like…people…you know like “Doctors” with like…. degrees and stuff! Surely that counts, right?”
[/anti-vaxer emulation mode]

Actually I think that “Wackosphere” is just a poe that pops in from time to time.

@pablo & phoenixwoman,

I agree. That is why I occasionally address comments by some of our more persistent and argumentative misunderstanders.

I remember offering my version of pablo’s list on an earlier blog, but it was a late comment to an old blog and was quickly lost in the sea.

As I recall, my thoughts were something like this:

To be taken seriously as a commenter, even if not everyone chooses to agree with everything you say, you should at least do the following.

1) State what you think/understand/perceive to be the truth. Don’t just toss out questions that imply disagreement even if they don’t actually say so or respond to everything with a content free short retort.

2) Explain what you base that on. You don’t have to provide peer-reviewed journal articles to support everything, but you should be willing to at least go to the well of real data when questioned to see if they really support what you are saying.

3) Try to make a direct response to questions. Merely asserting that the other person doesn’t understand you or is biased or you just know won’t convince very many people.

4) Oddly enough, be willing to correct your own mistakes or at least clarify them when questioned. It shows you care about the accuracy of what you say, not just about whether it irritates someone into responding. And that makes you more believable, not less.

David N. Brown:

Whoever this is, I strongly suggest a new handle.

No worries. We just shorten this silly troll’s ‘nym to “Wacko.”

@squirrelelite: man, are you a pretentious asshole or what!! I still wonder when other “studies” will be stricken-you know shit like Fombonne’s autism prevalence data and Thorsen’s mishandled, problem ridden prevalence data. Oh, but pharma AGREES with their shit so their shit will stand. What a double standard. So pathetic…

@jen

Once again, rather than simply asserting that the studies are bad, you need to provide valid reasons that illustrate how they are flawed. Give us some valid critiques rather than simply saying “They’re sh*t.” Also, as mikerattlesnake said, to which study or studies of Thorsen’s (where he is the primary author) do you refer?

“Thorsen’s mishandled, problem ridden prevalence data”
At least one of Thorsen’s coauthors denies that he had any role in the collection of data.

jen continues to show that she is a blithering idiot. She just parrots the stuff she reads on AoA, and even then she does not get it right.

I will state again, Fombonne’s study looked at the prevalence of PDD which may seem like nitpicking, but if you are going to dismiss a study, you should at least know what the title was………

wow, looks like a London University has just developed a urine test for autism (something about gut bugs). Interesting. Maybe Wakefield was actually on to something eh?!

@Jen at 61,

Or not. The study relied on Wakefield’s prior work for its underlying gut disturbance theory and other subpar studies that were dubious at best. The sample selection doesn’t appear to have been very good. Between the three groups in the study, there were around 100 urine samples; diet differences were not accounted for. And that’s just off the top of my head regarding the study. For a more in-depth look at the problems, you can look at my post on it, linked through my name.

wow, looks like a London University has just developed a urine test for autism (something about gut bugs). Interesting. Maybe Wakefield was actually on to something eh?!

Anatomy of an anti-vax troglodyte:
*Make lofty proclamation completely devoid of any scientific merit.
*Get roundly mocked for it and ignore requests/demands for supporting evidence.
*Come back and make another lofty proclamation to distract from the lunacy of earlier claims.
*Still feel rully, rully, important that you posted your message on a hostile interwebz board.
*Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.

Seems like the test picks up the abnormal urine results soon after birth (so bang goes the vaccines-cause-autism idiocy), and also identifies the non-autistic siblings too (so what does that mean, jen?)

I would definitely like to see Orac’s special friend (or one of the friend’s friends) take a stab at, I daresay.

@jen-56 and -61,

You have yet to show any interest in following Pablo’s step by step instructions or mine, but you did respond to my comment(s), so I will take a look at what you said.

I stated:
“my arguments (and jen’s) stand or fall on their own merits including any evidence I can present in their favor”

and

“since jen’s comments (IMHO) mostly fall through the black hole in the floor and her evidence to support them bears a strange resemblance to AoA/GR talking points, there is a small, but non-zero possibility … of leading her to the water.”

You replied to my suggestion with the following:

“@squirrelelite: man, are you a pretentious asshole or what!! I still wonder when other “studies” will be stricken-you know shit like Fombonne’s autism prevalence data and Thorsen’s mishandled, problem ridden prevalence data. Oh, but pharma AGREES with their shit so their shit will stand. What a double standard. So pathetic…”

Well, perhaps I am a “pretentious asshole”. Since orac characterizes himself as a

“surgeon/scientist with an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent’s posterior about his miscellaneous verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few will.”

at least that puts me in good company. Perhaps he and I have something in common besides being Wolverines at roughly the same time period.

Since commenting on a forum such as this one takes at least a small amount of bravery, I do admit that my ego is strong enough to think that something I say might interest someone else. Since commenters such as Rogue Medic, Chris and Todd W among others occasionally show some interest in my thoughts, I guess I am not totally wrong in that hope. Nevertheless, I primarily write for my own amusement and so, if I occasionally choose a word or phrase that is more complex or abstruse than necessary, it is usually because I just prefer the sound of it.

“I wonder when other ‘studies’ will be stricken…”

Sorry, jen,

The temporal scanner was blown out trying to plot the course of Planet X in 2012 and is still out for parts replacement, general maintenance and temporal alignment, so my 3D crystal ball visual readout device is rather foggy at the moment. But since scientists do err from time to time (although few as egregiously and unethically as Andrew Wakefield) and part of the process of science is to detect and correct such errors, I expect that other papers will eventually be withdrawn. I just don’t know which ones or when. But, since even limited or misleading data can have value in guiding science to a more accurate understanding, it takes really extensive malfeasance such as tampering with or outright fabricating the data to warrant such a drastic step as withdrawing an already published paper.

You have yet to demonstrate such malfeasance in any of the cases you have chosen to mention.

“but pharma AGREES …”

No, Jen, as I stated earlier, those studies stand or fall on their own merits regardless of who agrees or disagrees. Since one of those merits is that their results are consistent with results obtained in similar research by other researchers in other locations and other countries, those studies will continue to stand.

The standard is scientific integrity, not a wide open barn door. And, since Andrew Wakefield aimed for the barn door and didn’t even hit the barn, his results have fallen.

“pathetic”

I do enjoy the Symphony Pathetique, although generally I prefer Beethoven to Tchaikovsky. Perhaps it is my German dairy farmer genes. However, your statements remind me more of the Symphony Fantastique!

squirrlelite, I always enjoy what you write. Thanks for noticing.

I, on the other hand, am experience fatigue after dealing with the same tired arguments after ten years. This why I admire anyone who has dealt with Ben’s parents, jen, Little Augie and the rest. I just gave up on a Wakefield Fan Boy on the Bad Astronomer blog because he was using too much cherry picking (and I just hate going through massive wall of texts hand waving).

I just hope I can put in a little dent of doubt. I may have by pointing out that the Lancet Twelve were give two different MMR vaccines (it has to do with the one American and the change the UK did in 1992).

Chris,

Thanks for pointing out the little bit about the 2 MMR vaccines. Even with the numerous blog posts about Wakefield over the last few years, I was aware of that until you mentioned it.

As I said a big motivation for my writing is my own amusement, but I also try to explain things to others and do so in a way that may be entertaining as well. It also helps me learn about good sources of information on the internet and modernize my research skills a bit.

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.

And for anyone who wants to see me showing off my pretentious self-importance ;), I have posted a short clip from a talk I did recently on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9wCOH-TWZk

There is a lot more, but it requires some editing and conversion work and I have been busy resurrecting a crotchety computer this week.

Have a good weekend.

I just gave up on a Wakefield Fan Boy on the Bad Astronomer blog because he was using too much cherry picking (and I just hate going through massive wall of texts hand waving).

Aren’t those the worst? I just love being dumped upon in debates with several screenfuls of studies. I’ve just started responding with “Instead of spamming me with a bunch of vaugely-related links, why don’t you pick two or three of those studies that you feel make the strongest case for your position, and I’ll read those first”. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a response.

squirrelite:

As I said a big motivation for my writing is my own amusement, but I also try to explain things to others and do so in a way that may be entertaining as well.

I look forward to watching your video. Since we have had internet service with dial-up I have always posted the expense on Quicken as “Entertainment.” This is how I stayed sane during the years on Usenet (where I actually made the mistake of taking Scudamore seriously at first, and tangled with Roger Schlafly).

Orange Lantern:

I just love being dumped upon in debates with several screenfuls of studies.

(blush) I have been known to do that. I now limit myself to the dumping of my special form of a Gish Gallop when someone dumps one or two studies that are supposed to prove beyond a doubt that their special woo is true.

Though on the Bad Astronomer debate I only used the list of papers on or before 2004 that were questioning Wakefield as an indication that Brian Deer was not the only critic. I really only used three studies that answered “no” to the question of “do autistic children have more GI issues.”

@ Chris: Get this. I looked at your interchange on BA and guess what? I had a conversation with the exact same guy on HuffPo. I got suspicious because I thought had read the same text around post #59.

It was JonGH on a HuffPo article concerning the lack of an Autism/GI link, and after some back and forth, he dropped one meeellion studies (many of which had nothing to do with the topic, or actually detracted from his position) in my lap. I gave the response I mentioned above and received a sidestep in response.

Here’s some of it, if the link works correctly:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/16/autism-bowel-disease-may_n_540635.html?show_comment_id=45212684#comment_45212684

Small blogosphere, ain’t it?

Orange Lantern, looking at that was a deja-vu moment!

He is a real piece of work.

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