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The antivaccine band The Refusers: Back from the dead

Whenever I call an anti-vaccine activist “anti-vaccine,” frequently there will be an indignant response along the lines of either, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m pro-safe vaccine” or “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m a vaccine safety activist.” (This latter retort is a favorite of Barbara Loe Fisher.) Another favorite retort is, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m for ‘informed consent'” or “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m for freedom!” (Imagine the person saying this looking like this the photo below.)

i-9409b27ae5a9b7f4db8c0b84836f2a37-braveheart.jpg

Anti-vaccine warrior crying “Freedom!!!!! (from vaccines)”

Not infrequently, it doesn’t take very long to put the lie to these claims. All you have to do is look at the websites or delve into vaccine discussion forums. Or look at their blogs. For instance, take The Refusers. The Refusers first rose to infamy among the anti-vaccine movement about a year ago, when at last year’s anti-vaccine “American Rally for Personal Rights” they combined bad music with bad science and a healthy dollop of conspiracy theories to bring us gems like “Vaccine Gestapo” (complete with comparing supporters of science-based medicine to Adolf Hitler) and “Get Your Mandates Out of My Body.” After that, I didn’t hear much from The Refusers (a fact for which my ear drums are profoundly grateful). Unfortunately, The Refusers appear to be back to demonstrate their pro-personal rights cred:

i-f4ecc75db21b3535abaf41167f9ac12c-Toxicvaccines.jpg

Yes, unlike many anti-vaccine activists, The Refusers are right up front about where they’re coming from. Let’s see. Vat of vaccines with worker whose head is a skull? Check. Vat looking like a toxic waste container? Yep. Logo of the World Health Organization on the vat, in order to provide insinuations of a New World Order or threats of a one-world government? Check.

Bad music and paranoid conspiracy-mongering back elsewhere on the blog and website? Check.

Indeed, it looks as though The Refusers have a fresh batch of new songs, with catchy titles like “Crazy Cult” (in which pro-vaccine advocates are predictably and tiresomely compared to–yes–a cult or a religion, which is the message they repeat time and time again). Never mind that it’s not the science-based medicine supporters who are comparing their heroes to Jesus, as J.B. Handley did with Andrew Wakefield less than two months ago, likening him to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.”

I will give Michael Belkin a mild degree of credit for shamelessly stealing from the Dead Kennedys in naming one of his songs “Vaccination Über Alles,” but after listening to it I think I’ll stick with the Dead Kennedys. They’re far easier on the ears.

But if you really want to see over-the-top, check out this video for The Refusers’ “Mad Hatter Blues”:

Nice touch, using a guy doing a bad Dr. Strangelove impersonation portraying a representative for the “Centers for Autism Creation.” The video then segues into a storyline where a scientist wearing a huge Nazi-esque cap (apparently he is a cross between the Mad Hatter and, well, a Nazi) is chasing a cute little girl through a forest, brandishing enormous syringes, all accompanied by mediocre rock music. Meanwhile, we’re treated to lyrics like:

They’re so self-righteous
But doctors haven’t got a clue
Vaccines with mercury
Will make a Mad Hatter out of you

Never mind that mercury was removed from childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine nine years ago, that no childhood vaccine other than some flu vaccines contains more than trace mercury, and that there are many thimerosal-free flu vaccines out on the market now. Also never mind that there is no convincing scientific evidence that mercury in vaccines was ever responsible for autism or other neurological conditions. I mean, really. Mercury? That’s soooo 2004.

As I said a year ago, the anti-vaccine movement has degenerated to the point where it has become almost impossible to distinguish real from parody. It’s just like Poe’s law with fundamentalists, only this time with antivaccinationists. If I hadn’t known that The Refusers and “Mad Hatter Blues” were real, I would have had a hard time knowing for sure whether they were real or parody. They also lead me to repeat my proposed corollary to Poe’s Law, first suggested a year ago:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody anti-vaccinationists in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.

The Refusers lead me to conclude time and time again that this law is a good description of the anti-vaccine movement.

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]

120 replies on “The antivaccine band The Refusers: Back from the dead”

Vaccines with mercury
Will make a Mad Hatter out of you

Yet again revealing exactly what the anti-vax movement actually thinks of autistic people.

The Refusers aren’t the only ones showing what they think. I got wind of a protest of GAVI and wrote about it over at Harpocrates Speaks (linked in my name).

I understand that the parents of autistic kids are very emotionally involved, and rightly so. But they really need to take a step or four back and try to instill just a smidge of objectivity and rationality into their inquiries.

What happens when the anti-anti-vax movement don’t like an asperger?

They relabel it as an ‘SMI’ with word salad.

The only thing that makes an aavax better then an avax is that an aavax has a chance of looking like they like autistic people, even if they don’t.

AV people have no chance of looking like they like autistic people.

The Refusers? It sounds so… petulant. Why do I see five-year-old kids folding their arms and refusing to eat their vegetables when I hear that name?

(No offense intended to five-year-old children or vegetables.)

Interesting that the only “Press” they have is a quote from Orac, and a quote from Jake Crosby about Orac. Are you sure this isn’t a joke?

OK, so my judgment is probably impaired by vaccine and tooth-filling-related mercury poisoning, but…holy mother, what business do these guys have calling anybody else crazy?

I think they’ve got the wrong Lewis Carroll reference here too – the alt-med/anti-vax view of medicine is more Through the Looking Glass (cf the Red Queen: “You may call it “nonsense” if you like,” she said, “but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!”). They insist complex diseases like cancer or AIDS can be cured with herbal teas, vitamins, weird diets, faith healing, etc, but a simple, safe preventative measure like getting vaccinated is a deadly threat.

I was going to go to their web page, facebook page, or twitter feed and write something crazy… But I kept reading the comments and couldn’t top any of it off. The amount of nuts they post only proves that it’s not mercury that makes you a “mad hatter”, only a misplaced sense of government-is-going-to-get-us-itis.

Apparently anti-vaxer Lowell Hubs had his site hacked, and part of that was a hoax implying that the government had shut down his site. Ars Technica put up an article, focusing on the legal and technological aspects of the incident. Lowell shows up to chat in the comments.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the anti-vax advocate displays poor reading comprehension, zero grasp of formal logic, and a gargantuan persecution complex. Hilarity ensues.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/no-the-feds-didnt-seize-your-domain-youve-just-been-punked.ars?comments=1#comments-bar

Well, considering that music and science are both passions of mine, this may well be the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. I’m talking “keep me up at nights” awful…

Fools! All of them!

They don’t realize just how bad these vaccines are. Not only are these evil doctors giving our children vaccines that they know cause autism, they’re also doing it because lucifer tells them to!

He’s trying to make as many autistic children as possible, so when they die he can devour their souls! (Autistic souls taste the best)

What if the autistic people were religious you ask?

Mercury! The mercury in the vaccines bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

Joe’s conspiracy theory makes as much sense as any of the others that have been pandered about around here….too funny (and sad at the same time).

@12 JoeKaistoe
Needs random capitalization, some misspellings and less punctuation.

Fools! All of them!

They don’t realize just how bad these vaccines are. Not only are these evil doctors giving our children pashminas that they know cause autism, they’re also doing it because lucifer tells them to!

He’s trying to make as many autistic children as possible, so when they die he can devour their souls! (Autistic souls taste the best)

What if the autistic people were religious you ask?

Mercury! The mercury in the pashminas bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

Fixed.

Aw, I was expecting them to be a hardcore band. At least that would be fun to jump up and down to.

So the song is just one giant Godwin? seriously how freaking obvious can you get with your imagery

dude with bad rug and really bad fake german accent, and another dude with a milatary style peak cap which actually looks like it has the eagle and swatstika on it.

oh the singing is pretty bad as well :). And i call POE on @JoeKaistoe, its to obvious joe it needs a bit more subtelty.

I just don’t know what to say to that. I don’t think words by themselves can justly express the height of awful that has risen to. And it isn’t a joke? How can anyone take it seriously? I kept expecting the gestapo guy to bust up laughing in the beginning, when he didn’t I got shivers of fear. I couldn’t watch the whole music video, it was just too ridiculous to allow any more of my time to be taken up by it.

On a completely off topic note, I recently watched a short video interview on YouTube of Dr. Eric Courchesne who was keynote speaker at IMFAR. I’ve been trying to find blogs and articles regarding his presentation/speech but I’ve not been successful in finding any. Perhaps I’ve missed some but if anyone has any links to additional information, I’d love to read more about it. Anyone?

I do love me some Bainbridge Island, and I say this from the position of knowing some dear and entirely rational people there. But if you’re going to make crazy, it’s best to be crazy of the first water.

…as J.B. Handley did with Andrew Wakefield less than two months ago, likening him to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.”

Oh I missed that post, and wish I missed this one too. How… nauseating.

Thanks to Wakefield and his sycophant disciples we have a resurgence of the measles here in NZ. Now many anti-vax parents are crying foul at having to keep their children home from school. Some of them have to take unpaid leave from work, you know! I watched an article on local tv here and felt like gouging my eyes and ears such was the tripe one particular self-titled ‘informed’ mother was saying (usual stuff – aborted fetuses, mercury). She then went on to say (in some failed leap of logic) that keeping her children home was damaging to the community.

None of them seem to think beyond their own family at all. It’s quite scary. My daughter has just reached one and I’m completely dependent on herd immunity until she’s old enough to have the MMR jab.

/end rant

Mercury! The mercury in the pashminas bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

mmm…soul sprinkles.

Unbelievable. You’d think people would actually want to read all of the research about something they’re so emotionally invested in.

@ Venna: Here you go, key in:

The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism IMFAR 2011 Eric Courchesne

Thanks for the heads up; it is the complete presentation..minus some visuals and has some interesting research into brain structure and brain development.

The video??? Probably the worst cacophony I’ve ever heard. The kids next door who had a teen “band” and practiced 2 X a week, were even better than this…and they were the pits.

What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines? I guess you call that anti-vaccine? Ok… I consider it a person capable of rational thought.

There are grey areas on the other side too. A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore).. As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc… That doctor will recommend and push for certain vaccines but also understands that vaccine “safety” is overrated.

What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines?

In most cases, mistaken since the injury was most likely not related to vaccination. Nevertheless, if we assume that it actually was, then (a) spreading out vaccines provides no benefit and is actually more likely to cause further reactions, and (b) not giving further doses of the same or related vaccines is completely standard practice.

I guess you call that anti-vaccine? Ok… I consider it a person capable of rational thought.

It becomes anti-vaccine when the injury has no relationship to the vaccine, the reasons given why vaccines are dangerous bear no resemblance to reality, and the actual risk/benefit ratio is grossly distorted.

A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore)

Please provide evidence that Dr. Offit – heck, ANY doctor – “will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what.” Completely standard and accepted practice is to consider whether particular patients have a contraindication (e.g. someone with an egg allergy shouldn’t get vaccines grown in eggs), and what the benefits vs. risks of the particular vaccine are. That’s why we no longer vaccinate for smallpox, or use the older-style polio vaccine (more effective, but more risk of complications).

As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc

99.9% of the time, what is best is vaccination according to the CDC schedule.

That doctor will recommend and push for certain vaccines but also understands that vaccine “safety” is overrated.

Please provide evidence that vaccine safety is overestimated.

Beamup

99.9% of the time, what is best is vaccination according to the CDC schedule.

Citation Please. There doesn’t seem to be any scientific literature to back this opinion up. Do you know what the NNT for a vaccine is? Do you know how many people do not benefit from a vaccine?

In most cases, mistaken since the injury was most likely not related to vaccination.

It’s nice that the vaccine injury deniers admit their assumptions before they even consider a case. This is a bias. No way around it. It’s not an objective view on the case. At least parents can be assured that you’ll shout “It’s not the vaccine that’s for sure” before ever looking at one single fact. It’s a dismissive bias and disrespectful to parents who observe vaccine damage.

That’s why parents are turned away from this type of arrogance. No matter how much “science” you think you have.

“I don’t understand why we can’t communicate to them”. Because you don’t listen, you have little to no tolerance, and therefore little to no compassion.

“But, But we’ve studied the subject of compassion and communication techniques. I still don’t understand.”

You just don’t get it. No listening, no tolerance, no caring, no compassion. It’s that simple.

Augustine, I have yet to see you show concern for anyone’s well-being but your own. Questioning whether someone is correct is not cruel in and of itself. You make claims, you have to provide evidence. No definition of compassion includes “agrees with everything you say”. Too often, the only evidence provided is a vague sense of temporal correlation, and that’s about it. Not enough evidence, then to prove anything.

Citation Please. There doesn’t seem to be any scientific literature to back this opinion up. Do you know what the NNT for a vaccine is? Do you know how many people do not benefit from a vaccine?

I’ll freely admit that this was one of the 87.2% statistics made up on the spot. Take it as “the great majority” if you like.

It’s nice that the vaccine injury deniers admit their assumptions before they even consider a case. This is a bias. No way around it.

Nope, it’s based on the observation of how common it is to attribute injury to a vaccine when there is no such relationship. Particularly common among people who say things like Cool.

It’s not an objective view on the case.

Well, DUH. Since when is something prefixed with “in most cases” EVER a view on a specific case?

At least parents can be assured that you’ll shout “It’s not the vaccine that’s for sure” before ever looking at one single fact.

“In most cases” is CLEARLY equivalent to “that’s for sure.” If you’re a lunatic, anyway.

Simplistic arguments like “vaccines are (un)safe” are ludicrous. This is a highly complex topic involving some of the more complicated biological topics, immunity and infection.

Mindless pro- or anti-vaccine posters (possibly in the employ of pharmaceutical corporations or lawyers in class-action vaccine-related lawsuits) should read the CDC fine print on their vaccination schedule:

“Considerations should include provider assessment, patient preference, and the potential for adverse events.”

Are the CDC also anti-vaccine advocates? Why are they talking about the potential for adverse effects, if they’re not?

Too many vaccinations can in many cases lead to serious, long-term health effects – this has been well-documented in the case of scientists working on biological warfare programs in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the past:

“I have lost all sense of smell and have the broadest range of allergies of anyone I know. I can’t eat butter, cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, sausages, chocolate or candy. I swallow two or three pills of anti-allergy medicine a day – more on bad days, when my sinuses start to drain. Every morning, I rub ointment over my face, neck and hands to give my skin the natural lubricants it has lost. The countless vaccinations I received against anthrax, plague, and tularemia weakened my resistance to disease and probably shortened my life.” – Ken Alibek, Biohazard.

However, no vaccinations at all can lead to serious childhood and adult health risks related to polio, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus.

So, what rational informed people do is find a doctor who understands both sides of the issue, and who carefully screens patients (typically children) for adverse reactions both before and after giving any injections.

So yes, vaccines can be dangerous and can have negative health effects, but isn’t this also true of infectious microorganisms and viruses? It is a balancing act that must be informed by scientific information.

It’s also true that the (now banned) practice of using organomercury preservatives in vaccines was perhaps the stupidest thing the pharmaceutical industry has ever done, and it points to a problem of low quality standards (especially with all the pharma manufacturing being outsourced to India, Mexico, etc.). Caveat emptor.

Too many vaccinations can in many cases lead to serious, long-term health effects – this has been well-documented in the case of scientists working on biological warfare programs in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the past:

Then you should have no trouble providing actual citations. That demonstrate an actual causal link, as opposed to an entirely unsubstantiated assertion as in your quotation.

It’s also true that the (now banned) practice of using organomercury preservatives in vaccines was perhaps the stupidest thing the pharmaceutical industry has ever done, and it points to a problem of low quality standards (especially with all the pharma manufacturing being outsourced to India, Mexico, etc.). Caveat emptor.

Given that there was no actual health concern, it resulted in a superior product, and the only drawback was that it happened to be the thing the fraudsters chose to latch onto, that was far from the stupidest thing they’ve done. Indeed, it wasn’t even vaguely stupid at all.

Beamup

Given that there was no actual health concern, it resulted in a superior product…

You should put your foot down and boycott all inferior vaccine products until the mercury is put back in to establish it’s previous superiority.

To think that vaccine manufacturers and the government appointees would recommend withdrawal of a life saving, necessary ingredient such as mercury and risk the quality and safety of vaccines is preposterous. And to do it without any merit whatsoever. ugh.

You should shout to the top of your blogging lungs, “No more inferior products. Bring back the mercury!”

@ augie:

Complete reading comprehension fail and/or deliberate lie. CHEAPER does not equal LIFE SAVING, NECESSARY.

Yet again, you prove yourself to be either the greatest moron in existence, or a compulsive liar.

beamup

Complete reading comprehension fail and/or deliberate lie. CHEAPER does not equal LIFE SAVING, NECESSARY.

Ah, you so you agree that it’s major purpose was financially driven? Higher profit margin with multi use vial.

So let me get this straight. Thimerosal was supposedly responsible for a massive increase in autism, but when it was removed, the increased rate did not stop. Why is this, augustine?

Ah, you so you agree that it’s major purpose was financially driven? Higher profit margin with multi use vial.

Lower costs benefit both the producer and the consumer (precise proportions depending on how much competition causes the produce to lower prices).

Of course, even if it was pure profit for the manufacturer, so what? That would just mean that they’d be utter morons not to use it, since it was safe and there was no downside.

Right on Rene! That made me giggle.

This thimerosal debate is old and dry and nothing will be accomplished by bringing it up other then making yourselves dizzy.

At this point in time, routine children’s vaccines don’t contain it and haven’t since 2002. Autism rates have continued to rise since it’s removal therefore, contrary to unpopular belief (as it isn’t the majority of the population, or even the majority of parents of children or people with autism that believe it) Thimerosal had no effect on autism either to cause it while it was used, or to prevent it after it was removed.

I’m sure the trolls will take issue with this but the fact that it’s no longer present and autism rates continue to rise should be at least a little convincing to the average ‘thinking’ person.

@lilady
THANK YOU for the info! I think I’ll go submerge myself in it now!

The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology just published a paper that supports the hypothesis that the confirmed neanderthal admixture event(s) provided cognitive variations that were subsequently selected for, sometimes causing a locus of deleterious recombinations in the genomes of children with parents who had selected one another for those characteristics.

An excerpt: “The autism continuum could represent a remnant of genetic introgression that took place before humans were the lone species in our genus. Perhaps some of the genes for autism evolved not in our direct ancestral line but in a solitary subspecies which later merged genetically with our line of descent through gene flow.”

The paper is titled “Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis” and it can be found here: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf

More info can be found in the Wikipedia discussion of the “Causes of Autism” page (including two neanderthal genes strongly implicated in autism (CADPS2 and AUTS2), as well as evidence of neanderthal art and communication (they shared FOXP2)): https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Talk:Causes_of_autism#Neanderthal_Admixture_Hypothesis

Wow. They are from Bainbridge Island. For those of you who don’t know, it’s right across the water from Seattle. For those of us who live in the same county, it’s where all the wealthy, privileged folk live.
I love their “hip,” “edgy,” “extreme,” “in-your-face attitude.” Bunch of rich white-boy poseurs.

An excerpt from Slartibartfastibast’s reference at #44:

Hunter-gatherer children need to laboriously and perseveringly learn a language along with social morays

I am easily amused. Watch out for those eels!

LibraryGuy:

For those of us who live in the same county, it’s where all the wealthy, privileged folk live.

And many moved there from other places like New York, just like Michael Belkin (who is the main “Refuser). He was a financial analyst who used to put out a stock investment newsletter. Which we all know is exactly the right kind of education to counter anyone in public health. Just like JB Handley, Mark Blaxill and Gayle DeLong. The latter is a business school professor, who says any kid with a Specific Language Impairment is autistic.

@Slartibartfastibast

You used a lot of jargon in that post. Were you trying to impress someone? Can you say it again but remove the stick from your anus please? Thanks ;D.

I’m guessing that Slartibartfastibast is actually Jacob replying to my question about the Neanderthal/autism theory on another thread. Thanks Slarti, again interesting, but still in my opinion speculating way beyond the data. I’ll dust off my social anthropologist hat and have a closer look.

@herrdoktor
It’s the antisocial morays you really need to watch out for. It doesn’t say much for the peer review process of that paper, does it? Spellcheckers have a lot to answer for.

@Slartibartfastibast

That’s a nice link, thank you for that. It is going to be a threat to a lot of people here.

The implication is rather critical. Neanderthal admixture suggests that autism is some kind of hominid mulatto, (me, a hominid mulatto? Sure.), so interventions like ABA could be considered a teeny weeny bit politically incorrect.

@Krebiozen please do, this is such a curious area of research it’s irresistible to any real anthropologist!
ORAC! Please confirm that it is not me posting as Slartibartibast. The wording is not nearly as saladified as mine yis!

How does one even get through the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology? Reads like a lot of gibberish to me and also sounds like Jacob is using another pseudonym.

Moray eels…thanks for the chuckle Herr Doktor Bimler.

Guess it didn’t work for Jacob, et alia; I went into attack mode against the troll hundreds of posts ago, when it first posted about nutrition causing/curing autism, when it dismissed ABA, when it claimed a recent diagnosis of ASD, when it posted many “studies” it allegedly was involved in, threw ambiguous sexual identity into the word salad, and finally its addictions. Just a lying pothead jerk.

I’ve had some fun with the phony Jacob, now it simply bores me.

It doesn’t say much for the peer review process of that paper, does it?

There’s also an entire repeated paragraph. Not good.
I had to abandon a promising career as a proofreader because after the third misplaced apostrophe I would be all BIMLER ANGRY!! BIMLER SMASH!!!

How sad that Refused might have their reputation tarnished by association with these purveyors of woo.

Food is the cause of life.
Therefore food is the cause of Autism.

Food is the effect of life.
Therefore you will be unable to resolve autism until you can resolve the philosophical paradox of unity.

Define ‘One’ without referring to any number as a basis for your definition.

Obesity is a serious disorder. Autism is the least of your worries.

We see that our young gentleman has become focused on *skills*( Sanskrit; “linguistics”) that have little application in everyday life. This is common in certain disorders- where a person might spend much of the day immersed in one-sided “conversations” about the exotic, the unlikely, the idiosyncratic, the fanciful, and the irrelevant. Similarly to many woo *aficionados*, a flirtation with the “Mysterious East” exists as well.

I have an alarm that goes off when I read material like this: concern about skills for daily living ( divided roughly into- self-care; communication/ social; academic/ vocational) usually signals a degree of ( for lack of a better word) “normalcy”. Its lack can be problematic.

Notice that the language is *not* one spoken frequently- outside of yoga class. Hence, it’s not primarily concerned with communication. I know a non-Indian who can speak some Hindi: he learned from schoolmates and has found it to be very useful in his career and when ordering food in restaurants. His focus is communication-oriented.

In short, don’t expect dialogue because you hear words. Ain’t gonna happen.

Orac, can you ban this annoying juvenile troll for excessive sock puppetry, please?

What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines?

 

What do you call someone who visits a city with one of the lowest crime rates in the entire nation, and is the victim of a crime while there, and now decides to declare to the entire world that the city is a hotbed of corruption and crime and that to set one foot inside its borders is to take your life in your hands?  I call such a person possibly intelligent, but misguided.  One can understand why that person generalizes inacccurately from one thing that happened to them to a rule, but it doesn’t make their generalizations correct or reasonable.

If such a person then goes on to make pronouncements that obviously are not reasonable extrapolations from their own experience, I say that the person has let fear and superstition rule them, which is again, an understandable reaction to a terrible occcurence but not a rational one.  “I went to New Puppyleg, Connecticut and stayed there two days, and on the second day I got mugged!  You should never go to New Puppyleg, but if you do, space your visit out!  Don’t go on two consecutive days; visit for one day, go back to the far less crime-ridden New York City for a week or so, and then brave the horrors of New Puppyleg again!”  The idea that “spacing out” vaccines actually provides some benefit is not a conclusion that derives from the evidence; it’s a superstition adopted by people who in other times would have grabbed at rabbit’s feet or other talismans to try and ward off the unpredictable.

Personal experience, even painful personal experience, does not make an expert.  

There are grey areas on the other side too. A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore)..

Wow, you trot out an easily debunked personal attack like that and still claim not to be anti-vaccine?  That’s like saying “How dare you call me an anti-Semite!  I’m merely opposed to the cabal of Jewish bankers that’s manipulating the world economy!”

If you’d actually done real research as opposed to just swallowing propaganda whole, you’d never have told such an easily debunked lie about Offit.  In 2002 Paul Offit was the only member of the CDC advisory panel who recommended against widespread usage of the smallpox vaccine, precisely on the basis that the risk from the vaccine, small though it might be, was still larger than the general threat posed by smallpox at the time.

As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc…

If you go to see a real doctor and say “Give me something that will make sure I never, ever get cancer,” the doctor will tell you “I’m very sorry, but there isn’t anything that would give a guarantee like that.  There are things you can do to lower the risk of getting cancer, and I’d be happy to explain them to you, but there’s nothing that will take away the risk altogether.”

If you go see a quack doctor and ask the same thing, he’ll say “Sure!  We’ve got that on special!  Just pay me $1,000 per treatment and I’ll set up a combination of special diet, proprietary vitamin supplements, colored light exposure, binaural sounds and hyperbaric oxygen tank use that, if followed precisely, will guarantee you never to get cancer!  Of course, if you do get cancer,it means you deviated from my instructions somewhere along the line and therefore it’s your fault that you got cancer.”

Which of those two people actually has your best interests at heart?

“There is only one person on amongst this commentariat who is pushing neuroleptics on autistic people and that is lilady.”

Not so.

Grow up. Or piss off.

Oh Jacob: Where, or when have I EVER push neuroleptics on people with autism?

Do I sense some major “projection” here from the drug addled cannabis-pushing pothead?

BTW Jacob, Orac left a message for you on “The bride of the son of the revenge of cell phones and cancer rises from the grave…again”. You might want to look at it before you send any more posts.

The paper is titled “Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis” and it can be found here: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf

More info can be found in the Wikipedia discussion of the “Causes of Autism” page (including two neanderthal genes strongly implicated in autism (CADPS2 and AUTS2), as well as evidence of neanderthal art and communication (they shared FOXP2)):

It’s a seriously flawed paper that takes 32 pages to say F-all. It soon became obvious that autism is NOT the author’s specialty. He cites review papers rather than original sources. He’s done a cursory literature search, and cherry-picked points that fit his hypothesis, but is spectacularly wrong on a number of things like gaze-avoidance in autism. At the same time there are pages of info-dumps about neurochemistry which sit there awkwardly, interrupting his argument and having no relevance to it, but the author has done the reading and doesn’t want to waste it.

What he’s trying to do is fit autism into the Procrustean bed of evolutionary psychology. When his theory that autism once had adaptive value is contradicted by the fact that the #1 identified genetic cause of autism is Fragile-X syndrome (not very adaptive!), he is less than honest, preferring to call Fragile-X a “rare co-morbidity”.

Anyway, it’s an Ev-Psych journal so no-one is expecting high standards.

The relevant point here is that the paper flatly contradicts the “Neandertal hypothesis” — it postulates that the ‘solitary forager’ autistic genotype far predates the human migrations out of Africa and the subsequent encounters with Neandertals. The author notes that autism is present in all human populations (including African groups).
So why does Slartibartfastibast at #44 tie it in with “Neanderthal genes”? Why do people hate reading comprehension?

herr dokter bimler:

So why does Slartibartfastibast at #44 tie it in with “Neanderthal genes”? Why do people hate reading comprehension?

Because it is one of Jacob’s sock puppets, and he seems to have issues with reading comprehension. I think I saw a couple other sock puppets he has been using lately (one that has a link to Todd W’s blog). His morphing has been noticed, and our kind overlord is not pleased.

We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

‘Stealing from the gut to pay for the brain’ would appear to be the cause of many of the genetic changes in autism.

Every time the human race improves it’s food supply (cooking, processing, chopping it up, selectively breeding etc), all these improvements mean we don’t need such a long gut to digest our food, so evolution makes us loose some gut and grow more brain, in turn we develop more language and share more.

This process is happening all the time and it always has. When we see autism in some of the less functional kids, we can see where evolution has gone too far – we get overgrown brains that seize up and a gut with holes in it, and an immune system that eats us!

We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

‘Stealing from the gut to pay for the brain’ would appear to be the cause of many of the genetic changes in autism.

Every time the human race improves it’s food supply (cooking, processing, chopping it up, selectively breeding etc), all these improvements mean we don’t need such a long gut to digest our food, so evolution makes us loose some gut and grow more brain, in turn we develop more language and share more.

This process is happening all the time and it always has. When we see autism in some of the less functional kids, we can see where evolution has gone too far – we get overgrown brains that seize up and a gut with holes in it, and an immune system that eats us!

@Julian Pursell

We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

Do we really know this? Which autism genes were inherited from Neanderthals? I have seen this claimed by various people, but I can’t find any actual evidence this is true. There have been some guesses about how Neanderthals might have behaved, based on burials, tools, art etc. that some claim are similar to autistic behaviors, but as the good Doktor Bimler suggested, this is a bit of a stretch.

Just because genes have been around for aeons doesn’t necessarily mean they have a survival advantage. There are plenty of genes and phenotypes that don’t confer any survival advantage, but as long as they don’t confer too much of a disadvantage, they remain in the gene pool. For example male nipples, the human appendix, I’m sure there are many more.

As far as I know what you claim about shortening guts and enlarging brains isn’t actually true. I don’t think humans have significantly changed genetically in 40,000 years at least. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I like evolutionary psychology as it generates interesting ideas to play with, but I really don’t think we should take it too seriously. I don’t see how we can falsify these theories, and I’m not sure how they help us to understand or help autistic people.

“Do I sense some major ‘projection’ here from the drug addled cannabis-pushing pothead?”

I think, lilady, you’re sensing a shitload of said.

S/he’s making autistic people look bad, and I’m not convinced at all that s/he’s anywhere near the spectrum.

@Krebiozen From reading meand23 forums, so maybe not a great source? I read somewhere that we were as different ~2Kyr ago genetically as the diff between us and neanderthals too. I’m as confused as anyone. What does ~2% Neanderthal genes mean? I thought we were 99.8% chimp?

Who’s slagging off autistic people? Where’s the bitch-fight?

@Julian

Your hypothesis is assuming that all people with autism have immune system issues and that all people with autism have intestinal or digestive issues when in fact that isn’t the case. These other conditions are separate from autism and need to be treated separate from autism. I doubt anyone has been able to treat IBS with ABA successfully. Am I wrong?

My son has autism but has no immune issues or digestive issues. While some people with autism may have other disorders, they aren’t mutually exclusive and there are also people who have these other disorders without having autism (e.g. epilepsy, IBS, ADHD, OCD, tourettes, etc.)

Essentially, assuming autism is the result of evolution gone haywire, doesn’t account for or explain all cases of autism, therefore it doesn’t fit very well into the realm of figuring it all out. IMHO of course ;D.

So, we’ve identified “autism” genes, have we?

Would be news to the hundreds of researchers that are actively attempting to track them down….

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