Calling all skeptics…Andrew Wakefield in New York City

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Since it is a holiday here in the States, I’m chilling out and recovering. I’ll try to be back tomorrow, but, worst case scenario, I’ll be back for sure on Tuesday. (Monday just so happens to be a holiday, too, this year. Gotta have those three day weekends.) In the meantime, here’s a little something you might want to know about, particularly if you live in New York City..

The skeptics in Chicago did a truly excellent job countering what fortunately turned out to be not much of an anti-vaccine “protest.” Now here’s a chance for NYC skeptics (both belonging to NYC Skeptics and unaffiliated) to do the same. The big macher of the anti-vaccine movement, the guy who arguably started it all (at least the most recent incarnation of the movement; remember, the anti-vaccine movement has existed since vaccines were first developed).

We’re talking Andrew Wakefield, people, and he’s going to be speaking at an event sponsored by the New York Chapter of the National Autism Association on Thursday, July 8:

Dr. Wakefield will talk about vaccines and his recently published book, Callous Disregard, as well as his involvement with the autism community from his perspective as a medical practitioner and as a father.

Dr. Wakefield will be signing copies of his book, which will be for sale at the event.

Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FR CS, FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist. He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, and pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestinal transplantation in Toronto, Canada. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001. He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country of birth, his career, and his medical license. He and his wife, Carmel, a physician and a classical radio presenter, live in Austin, Texas, and have four children: James, Sam, Imogen, and Corin.

Location: Rebecca School, 40 East 30 Street, 5th Floor
6:00 pm: Social Hour/Networking
6:30 pm: Lecture<

I realize that this conflicts with TAM8 and that a lot of skeptics who might be interested in this sort of thing may well be winging their way to Las Vegas as this is going on. I’ll be there myself speaking at one of the the Science-Based Medicine workshops and taking part in one panel at TAM8 itself. Still, here’s hoping there are a few intrepid souls. The key, I think, would not be to protest or to make yourselves known, but rather simply to ask Dr. Wakefield some very polite but very pointed and skeptical questions. Be careful, as well. The guy can Gish Gallop. Still, I think it’s helpful to make sure that events like these are not the lovefests that the organizers (and Wakefield) want them to be.