Science is quite safe from your pitiful little band…

I’m having a hard time keeping myself from laughing uproariously. I’m talking gut-wrenching belly laughs, the kind that are so intense that you have trouble catching your breath between paroxysms of laughter, the kind that threaten to force the contents of your stomach to go the wrong way, up and out. What, you may ask, is so hilarious that it would make me laugh so hard that it hurts? Let’s go back to last week, when I urged my readers to rally the troops to counter a couple of different antivaccine activities, one of which will occur later today. This is the appearance of the Dark Lord of Vaccine Pseudoscience himself, disgraced “scientist” and gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in response to Brian Deer’s appearance at the University of Wisconsin as part of its Distinguished Lecture Series in Life Sciences. At the time, Andrew Wakefield’s personal P.R. machine and propaganda organ, Age of Autism, hadn’t yet settled on a location for His Fraudness’s desperate attempt to remain relevant after his utter disgrace (i.e., his promised press conference).

Now Wakefield’s handler have:

Researcher and patient advocate Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath, will hold a press conference with Midwest autism families at a public park in LaCrosse, Wisconsin on Thursday, October 4 from 1-1:45 p.m.

The information session will be at the Myrick Park Gun Shelter, 2020 Myrick Park Drive, just north of the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse off Highway 16/LaCrosse Street.

My first thought upon reading this was something along the lines of “What, they couldn’t afford a bowling alley? At least there would be a bar there.” Certainly alcohol would be necessary to fortify oneself against Wakefield’s misinformation Then I did some Googling. The Myrick Park Gun Shelter is described as costing $140 a day for a non-resident to rent and having a capacity of 40 people. That’s right, 40 people. It’s described as follows:

This cabin style shelter is located right next to the Myrick/Hixon Ecopark, as well as the Kid’s Coulee Playground, and is great for any reuinon or get-together! The shelter includes a fireplace as well as 6 interior tables and 4-5 exterior tables.

And here’s a picture I found on the La Crosse website:

How cozy. It’s also one of the smaller shelters offered by the City of La Crosse. I’m guessing that the organizers of this little antivaccine whine-fest know how many people will be there. After all, using Myrick Main or the Riverside Bandshell, which accommodate 100 and 300 people, respectively, would make it painfully obvious what a pitiful band Wakefield’s groupies are. I mentioned that I had heard it through the grapevine that Wakefield is being featured in a new antivaccine propaganda movie and that his appearance in La Crosse would be filmed (which led me to speculate that he would likely try at some point to crash one of Brian Deer’s talks). I’m guessing they’ll be using all sorts of careful camera placements to make it look as though there’s a crowd there. It’ll be a crowd that consists of people who can write something like this with a straight face:

Because of deer and his stupidity important research gets
delayed.Go home mr.deer,you caused lot of damage and lot of pain already.
I wish I could be there at your presentation Dr.Wakefield.
Stay strong and protect the children.Please keep us up-dated. Thank you.

Yes, this is one of the commenters on AoA, and she’s got it exactly wrong. So much time, energy, and research dollars have been wasted chasing a highly improbable hypothesis (that vaccines cause autism). The opportunity cost of that diversion is staggering, and the public health cost even more so. And who, arguably more than anyone else, is responsible for that diversion of research effort down an unproductive blind alley? Andrew Wakefield. Paid off by a trial lawyer to manufacture research to use in lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, Wakefield stands accused of scientific fraud and an undisclosed conflicts of interest, uncovered by, of course, the investigative journalism of Brian Deer.

Today ought to be…interesting in La Crosse. One wonders if any skeptics would be allowed anywhere near that log cabin in which Wakefield will be trying to rally his little band of groupies.