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Time to spring into action: Is the vaccine-autism link proved false?

My faithful minions have pointed me in the direction of a poll that desperately needs crashing. Apparently, Andrew Wakefield posted a link on his Facebook page, and the forces of anti-science have already descended upon it. Here’s the poll:

We think the British Medical Journal’s report debunks once and for all the supposed link between autism and the MMR vaccine. But what do you think? Is the vaccine-autism link debunked? Take our poll.

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. You know what to do, my minions. Make me proud.

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]

49 replies on “Time to spring into action: Is the vaccine-autism link proved false?”

Voted. Some of the comments are shocking, as usual.

Dr. Wakefield today is to us families with Autism what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was to everyone back in his fight. Dr. Wakefield is someone who knows the battle we fight everyday.

/facepalm

The comments, with few exceptions, are appalling.

And it illustrates that one of the primary beacons of the anti-vaccine movement put out an study that was pretty much a fabrication and it STILL doesn’t matter. It will never matter to them. For them, it’s all about being right, consequences be damned.

Any chance of getting Pharyngula in on this?

Emailed PZ, but it’s kinda late here in the Midwest and he’s probably long abed. Maybe if someone were to embed a link on the eternal thread over there, you’d get some action. I always have trouble with links on Pharyngula, for some weird reason, or I’d do it.

Oh! Voted! Jenny McCarthy Body Count on FB has this poll linked, too.

Voted but there’s a lot more voting that needs doing to level it out ๐Ÿ™

I often think back about things humans used to believe that today we laugh at how stupid it is. I think I read lately that when cow-pox vaccines were made people thought you could turn into a cow by having them, for example. Most people think we’re much smarter now to say such silly things but this MMR-Autism link shows there will always be idiots. A huge shame – that’s embarrassing.

Sounds like one battle in a long war. Wakefield has been debunked. Turns out he was a defective, -ing vaxxr, corrupt with profit seeking biotech roots ๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously, the problem seems to have several parts: 1. the parents are alarmed – a lot of somethings seem wrong with kids and vax fears carry the water; 2. despite many improvements in the manufacture of vaccines, new vaccines are often less well tested for safety and efficacy by rigorous standards; 3. chronic and minor GI problems are legion, among the less well MD addressed problems that have probably fueled the renaissance of ND naturopathy; 4. the heavy vaccination schedule raises a lot of hackles; 5. US personal experience and scientific background for the average person, and professional, has declined; 6. liability limitations combined with compulsory attitudes in lieu of objective information processes, erodes public cooperation and support; 7. institutional science has lost a lot of trust and elan.

For the preprofessionals, I notice with a lot of high school AP courses, rote content is higher than university courses. Many recent graduates are more worried about moving up to management or getting an MBA, than in-depth technical experience for nonexistant and disappearing technical ladders.

Voted, read the comments. Posted the following(inter alia);

“In brief, I have rarely read such a farrago of conspiracy theories and reverential intonings of รขย€ยœI believe Xรขย€ย. What you believe or not does not matter. What does matter is facts and scientific testing. Anecdotes and feelings do NOT count.

The saddest facts are that first, thanks to the panic inspired by the fraud Wakefield, measles is now endemic in Britain again. Measles kills children. Second, again thanks to anti-vax scares in Nigeria, polio is still crippling children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Congratulations, antivaxers, how you sleep at night escapes me.”

I voted and read the comments too, well as many as I could stand to read. I swear my brain would have melted out of my ear if I read more 200 proof pure distilled crazy.

How do we sleep at night? Indeed.

The poll hasn’t been removed. I just looked. The yes vote has gone up by about 150 since I first checked, and is now in the lead, while the no vote has gone up by exactly one.

I voted.

We are up to 53%.

I’m not going to start reading the comments. I have work I have to get done today and I’m sure the comments will leave me in a foul mood.

Actually, the comments from 78 on down are from skeptics and are well-written and sensible. I couldn’t get through the earlier comments either.

Going over now! I won’t read the comments though. Not while I need to hold on to my sanity. I find myself feeling more and more prejudiced against those who exhibit willful ignorence. Seriously anti-vaxxers, the studies have been done!! This is fact!! No matter how much you wish to deny it, the studies have been done!! No link to be found, not even the slightest indicator that your theory has even the slightest merit! For the love of humanity, please crawl back under the rock from hence you came!! (Is that to cruel to say?)

Just voted, we’re up over 60% now. I tried reading the comments, but since I just finished a reading a discussion on homoeopathy on Sceptic North, I couldn’t handle them. I have already passed my tolerance level for bullshit today.

All the finest scientists show they’re right by using their Facebook pages to get their adoring fans to vote for them in minor-league newspaper polls.

Well, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. A better question would be “should we continue to spend autism research resources in an area that hasn’t borne any fruit and for which there’s no scientific evidence that any fruit ever will be borne?”

this poll has appeared on Pharyngula, so you can rest assured it’ll be crushed.

science and poll crashing FTW!

Computer technical help needed here in order to write a post on the blog referred to on this thread. I don’t quite understand their registration form and I don’t want to inadvertently post with my real name:

Name (required) Okay with me with the assurances from the site that it will not be published.

Email address: Okay with me.

Website: Is that where I use my “posting name”???

BTW, I voted “yes” to the debunking of the vaccine-autism link and at 1 PM “yes” votes were at 85 %.

In the comments after the poll, “brian” states that last year’s GMC ruling (that Wakefield be struck off) became effective today. Anyone know if this is true?

Wonderful news Chris. I visited the site you referred to and (confess) I enlarged the actual British Medical Registry document.

My thanks to Orac, Brian Deer and all the other child advocates whose exemplary reporting helped to get Wakefield’s licensed removed.

I voted, and I hope my pharma-shill bonus check will be in the mail by the end of business today, as I was counting on it to build our swimming pool . . .

The wailing and gnashing of teeth of the anti-vaxx propaganda sales hierarchys and sheeple shepards appears to be getting louder and increasingly desparate.

Yet another example with JB Handley at Univ. of Louisiana Professor Continues to Claim That Vaccines Cause Autism by Brie Cadman.
JB, of course repeats all the usual AoA anti-vaxx gambits.

There’s the 14 Studies. (Talk about dead parrots!)

There’s JB’s obligatory ad hominem.

Ms. Cadman is attempting to silence and ruin one man’s reputation, because he has the courage and knowledge of his convictions, and she’s yet to provide any proof of her assertions, beyond the endorsement of vaccine-funded organizations. The truth is, the question of whether or not vaccines cause autism remains wide open, and debate should continue, not be silenced by immature, unfounded petitions written by public health apologists.

Oh, and here’s the required Pharma Shill Gambit (TM)from one Julia Wilson:

I can only wonder whether Ms. Cadman has received any money from the pharmaceutical industry for this hatchet job.

On the Pharma Shill issue, I have a serious complaint to Big Pharma.
I know that I don’t post that much here, but I do make an effort when I can! OK I must admit that, more often than not, I do simply enjoy to sit back to watch the anti-vaxx cultists advertise their mendacity, their unwavering regurgitaion of baseless anti-vaxx propaganda and the requisite wilfull ignorance.
Then there’s the rhetorical “foot in mouth” condition whic tends to afflict so many anti-vaxxers. I just can’t help wanting to sit back and savour the show.

Still, I want to mention that I have never recieved even a token Shill Cheque(TM)and I’m seriously beginning to believe that these Big Pharma Shill payments are nothing more than an urban legend concocted by anti-vaxx propaganda minions to prop up the peddling of their anti-vaxx ideology.
If I don’t get a Shill Payment, (and I mean STAT!)well then I’ll know I’m right about this! Even John Stone would agree with my logic.

ps. extra post length in effort to capture Big Pharma Shill Dept.’s attention. I saw an excellent pair of shoes today that I just can’t afford at present ๐Ÿ™

MacTurk @16, this was so succinctly put, may I use it?

“What you believe or not does not matter. What does matter is facts and scientific testing. Anecdotes and feelings do NOT count.”

I usually get long winded and frustrated trying to say the same thing and end up nowhere.

@Sauceress: there is a big problem with the Pharma Shill checks. I never get mine, either. And when I call to ask about them, little lizards appear at my door so I hang up real fast. Lord Draconis needs to keep the hatchlings under better control! They seem to like to eat paper (better paper than me, I guess), so I think that’s where the checks go. I just wish they’d eat the bills too…

“I think that’s where the checks go.” That’s what They Want You To Believe. How do you think the anti-vaxxers fund their campaign, if not through stolen Pharma Shill checks?

Votes against the “link” are now at the level that MMR vaccination used to be at in the UK before Wakefield did his bit for truth and science in 1998 (i.e. over 92%)

Yeah, bummer for you, Saucy. I get my pharma-shilling money every month. I get a 2 million dollar gift card. Of course most of my money comes from AIDS Inc. and whatnot. Sadly the gift cards are only good at Arby’s.

@30 lilady

Name: This is the name that will be displayed on your post. Put whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be your real name. I would recommend just making something up.

Email Address: Sort of self evident however, I have found that in many cases you can just make something up and it will be accepted (example: [email protected]) if you don’t want to use a “live” email address.

Website: If you have a personnel website that you want the post linked to you would enter it on this line.

The truth is, the question of whether or not vaccines cause autism remains wide open, and debate should continue, not be silenced by immature, unfounded petitions written by public health apologists. IMAO

starralex76:

The truth is, the question of whether or not vaccines cause autism remains wide open, and debate should continue,

Interesting. What evidence do you have for that statement? Please be specific, and try to avoid any papers that have been dismantled at this website.

not be silenced by immature, unfounded petitions written by public health apologists.

How does an internet poll qualify as a discussion? Or even science? And who is trying to silence who? Who are the “public health apologists”? Is there something you have against public health departments?

How exactly is this silencing anything? Seriously, how did this stop anyone from saying what they want? I am really curious what your thought process was in this case. Do you think internet polls actually mean anything and if these “public health apologists” had not voted the poll would have been valid? It is an open poll on an open site, anyone can tell anyone else about it. That is what makes it so useless.

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