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Get out the popcorn! This internecine war among antivaccinationists is getting interesting (part 3)

The other day, I took note again of a rather amusing internecine war going on between various factions of antivaccine cranks. On the one side, spearheaded by everyone’s favorite inept conspiracy theorist and bumbling epidemiologist wanna be, Jake Crosby, there are the true believers, who believe that the other side, the more “mainstream” antivaccine groups (such as SafeMinds) and elder statesmen (such as Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill) somehow shafted Jake’s hero, the even more bumbling antivaccine “scientist” Brian Hooker out of a role testifying in front of Darryl Issa’s last antivaccine hurrah provided for longtime Congressional antivaccine crank Dan Burton before he retired. I’ve been sitting back and crunching my popcorn at the sheer entertainment value of a group who fervently believes that vaccines cause autism and all manner of ills and want to let their antivaccine freak flags fly, even in front of Congress, castigating a group that fervently believes that vaccines cause autism and all manner of ills but wanted, for apparently strategic reasons, to appear at least somewhat sane in front of a Congressional committee, and that selfsame group castigating the true believers right back.

Yes, it was on.

Since earlier this week, the lulz have only gotten more, well lulz; so I thought I’d take note of the fun going on in the comment threads after Jake’s latest incursion against his foes. One thing I noted is that some of the true believers actually recognize that Jake doesn’t actually have any evidence to back up his accusation that SafeMinds’ representative Beth Clay misrepresented SafeMinds to Congressional staffers. Jake is not pleased at having this pointed out and has shown up in the comments. Presumably, this was too much:

Jake Crosby wrote: “[Safeminds] provided no proof that any of [Crosby’s allegations] were false, completely ignoring some of the more serious allegations.”

Is that how it works? Safeminds has to prove that Jake’s allegations are false, rather than Jake has to prove that his allegations are true?

I laughed. It took the AoA denizens until now to understand that this is how Jake’s mind works? More appropriately, to them apparently it’s OK for Jake to use such “logic” (such as it is) as long as it’s directed against perceived enemies of the antivaccine movement, such as Paul Offit or myself, but suddenly AoA denizens clutch their pearls when Jake uses his main technique for smearing his enemies against one of the movement’s own. As I said, it’s just too hilarious. Whatever Jake accuses is true to him, and it’s up to his targets to disprove his allegations, not up to him to meet minimal standards of evidence. If you go back and look at all of Jake’s posts, all he’s demonstrated is that SafeMinds probably tried to insert less loony antivaccine conspiracy theories into the testimony to be given. He shows no evidence whatsoever that Beth Clay misrepresented SafeMinds. He only asserts it because Brian Hooker asserted it and apparently he believes Brian Hooker. That’s it. That’s the sum total of his evidence for that particular point. More than ever, I’m convinced that Jake is a mere puppet, a tool of the more cunning Brian Hooker and the even nuttier Patrick “Tim” Bolen.

Here’s where my irony meter exploded (again) though. It’s when Jake addressed one of his critics, who suggested that Brian Hooker speak for himself rather than use Jake as his mouthpiece, which is what he has been doing:

I appreciate your concerns, but please be respectful of other commenters. It’s important to maintain a dialogue without condescension or name-calling.

If you think it would be so difficult for SafeMinds to hijack the hearing, imagine how difficult it must have been for Brian Hooker to organize it in the first place – only to have the rug yanked out from under him by SafeMinds.

He’s been through enough. We should give him [Brian Hooker] some space; SafeMinds has already confirmed his grievances.

Pot. Kettle. Black. The hilarity just keeps on coming. After all, Jake has been describing SafeMinds and Mark Blaxill by adjectives that are just shy of the word “evil”; now he wants civility? It is to laugh. He also makes the baseless claim that SafeMinds has admitted wrongdoing when it hasn’t? It’s even more to laugh. As I said before, I have no dog in this fight. I find Jake and SafeMinds both to be equally objectionable, promoting an antivaccine ideology that has the potential to result in the unnecessary deaths of children from vaccine-preventable diseases. That’s why it’s so much fun to see them going at each other. It’s schadenfreude without the guilt, particularly the addendum to the introduction:

(PS: After a thorough airing of views, the comment thread is now closed. Go in peace for all mankind.)

More popcorn, please.

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]

76 replies on “Get out the popcorn! This internecine war among antivaccinationists is getting interesting (part 3)”

Oh my, poor Jake. His budding career as a *journalist* appears to be over.

He may still be listed as a “contributor” at AoA, but he will never be part of the *inner circle*, now that his loyalty has been tested and he flunked.

@lilady – when I saw that comment directed at Jake that it was up to him to prove his allegations are true vs. his targets proving his allegations false, I did just about fall out of my chair – the hypocrisy contained in that one comment was enough to blow out irony meters across the globe……

When I “conversed” with Jake, he informed me that I had no idea about how conspiracies work.

Well, perhaps he’ll be able to explain to us how and why the members of SafeMinds, AoA and various sinister secret operatives have all conspired against him – leaving him out in the cold.

Many of the contributors to blogs like AoA and TMR get automatic sympathy and empathy because they are parents of children with ASDs, like most readers. Jake never had the instant rapport that someone like Alison MacNeil might receive which might blunt the audience’s immediate recoiling reaction to her scathing ( and scathingly bad) rhetoric.

Jake was there for another reason and was always seen in a different light.

I imagine that the conference in May should be a great deal of fun – for observers.

That room for Jake in his mommy’s attic is becoming more of a possibility now.

The other *journalists* at AoA have tried to play Jake’s game of “Six, Sixty, Six Hundred Degrees of Separation”, most notably the utterly deranged U.K. Editor Stone, but who’s going to do the personal stalking at public meetings?

MedPage ran a story this morning about a Lancet paper on the genetics of various mental disorders. Autism looks to be linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and others in terms of a particular part of the genome. The region of the genome involves a type of calcium channnel. The MedPage story cites the idea that calcium signaling plays a key role in the growth and development of neurons (see comments by Michael Smith in the Feb 27 medpage).

This story is at least plausible, since there is evidence for abnormalities in the fine structure of the brain in at least some of these disorders.

I look forward to reading about the anti-vaccine peoples’ response to this article.

By the way, this study looks to be based on the new sequencing technology which allows for doing lots of sequencing of lots of samples in a short period of time.

I look forward to reading about the anti-vaccine peoples’ response to this article.

My prediction of their claims: The calcium channel problem is latent until vaccines trigger it. Also, look at [insert chemical X] in vaccines – it reacts with calcium! Proof of the causal link!

Thank god I am not your irony meter. Those don’t seem to last long.

This segment seems interesting as well:

In actuality, Brian did not like Mark’s speech at all, having told me so in email. To have not tried sounding complimentary of SafeMinds’ testimony in an interview about the hearing with Age of Autism might not have sat well with Mark Blaxill, who has already given Brian grief in the past. That grief included taking a page out of pharma’s playbook by suggesting his advocacy was mostly motivated by a vaccine injury compensation payout.

Is Brian Hooker also annoyed? How deep do the divisions go?

In actuality, Brian did not like Mark’s speech at all, having told me so in email.

Jake would have cited the email’s actual wording, but that would be an unethical betrayal of confidence.

taking a page out of pharma’s playbook by suggesting his advocacy was mostly motivated by a vaccine injury compensation payout.

Apparently it is purely a pharmaceutical-industry tactic, to accuse people of having a financial motivation when they argue against you.
I have learned something new today.

Todd: Thank you. Interesting read.

I’ll leave it to the experts to support or refute, but I seem to recall that there has been evidence for more than a decade regarding structural abnormalities in some schizophrenic brains. Combined with the recent work on structural abnormalities in autism pre-birth, it’s not too surprising that there could be some underlying common issue.

Of course, as I like to point out, when you have a complicated system (whether it’s a biochemical pathway or development of the central nervous system), there are lots of ways to break it, and only a limited number of ways to get it right. That’s why the question regarding all these different syndromes could have gone either way. I suspect that we will find differences in addition to the genetic similarities as work progresses.


Will look into that (assuming I can find time…)

CACNA1C is the gene associated with Dravet Syndrome, a genetic cause of seizures in young infants, some of which were previously attributed to “vaccine damage”.

(I really must get around to writing about Dravet, have meant to for far too long.)

Although I am not a betting person:
would anyone like to wager- virtually,of course- where he’ll turn up next?

A few options:
another anti-vax blog
a site or channel associated with Andy
an alt media site/ blog**
his own franchise

** he’s already @ Bolen’s and @Null’s.

@ BobG:

And I imagine that the aetiology of both conditions is similar-
see / causation

@Denise – could schizophrenia be an altered form of autism that develops later in life (perhaps triggered by the onset of puberty or late teens / early twenties)?

I mean, I’ve known several schizophrenics that “regressed” in their late teenage years, which could be compared to the “regressive autistic” characteristics which occur in children around the age of 18 – 24 months?

How’s that for an interesting hypothesis?

@ Lawrence:

I don’t think that they’re the same but causation might be similar and a similar type of “error” in micro- brain development – “wiring” – for lack of a better word- might be involved. And I’m speaking in very, very general terms.

By “similar causation” I mean purely that there is a genetic component that is affected by very early ‘environment’ – i.e. pre-and peri-natal- not by vaccines at age 1-2 years.

What happens in teenagers with schizophrenia may be ‘set up’ genetically and triggered during gestation/ delivery.

If you look at the non-genetic factors at the website I cited and new factors being investigated for autism, there seems to be a timing factor that’s relevant.

@Denise – agreed. Like a series of switches that get pulled at specific time periods or intervals during brain development – if there is a problem or flaw with a switch, depending on where it is located in the sequence, it can cause say, autism at age 1 – 2 or perhaps Schizophrenia at age 18?

They aren’t the same, but the mechanisms could be similar enough to help to begin to really isolate the parts of the genetic code that could be responsible – giving us more to look at.


I believe that most cases of “vaccine injury”/Dravet syndrome thus far examined were associated with mutations in SCN1A; Dravet cases were also associated with mutations affecting another subunit of the neuronal sodium channel (SCN1B) and in a few other genes, including PCDH19. (These mutations are apparently responsible for myriad “my baby was fine until a vaccine-induced fever caused autism” cases.)

I thought that CACNA1C mutations had been linked to Timothy syndrome, to autism, and to schizophrenia, but not to Dravet syndrome. Do you have a link?

Brian – you’re quite right. I’m having a lousy morning, nothing much seems to be going right 🙁 I’m confusing my sodium and calcium channels. Sigh

I wanted to avoid this topic, but it turns out it is a side show of something I am writing about.

Consider the story of Brian Hooker. He’s stayed back while Mr. Crosby has been lodging complaints, right? He was just a lone guy going against the odds to get congress to hold a hearing, right?

Mr. Hooker is on the board of Focus Autism. This is a foundation with about $5M in assets, run by Barry Segal, whose family foundation has almost $60M in assets. No word on his personal worth.

Focus Autism has recently put out a message critical of SafeMinds:

The so called autism community is represented by:

#1 Autism Speaks, which because of Bernie-Julie thing refuses to meaningfully go after environmental issues, especially vaccines.

#2 Safe Minds, another disaster and I don’t know (or care) what their agenda is.

The rest of the community is fragmented, acts like our congress, accomplishes nothing and has an approval rating similar to congress. In both cases we need to change.

Based on a picture from facebook (sorry, I don’t have the link), Mr. Hooker was seated in the audience for the hearing next to Mr. Segal’s wife, who was next to Mr. Segal.

Is it possible Mr. Hooker might have had a little more assistance talking to members of congress than the average citizen? And why is his organization being so harsh on SafeMinds?

For those wondering, Bernie in the above statement is most likely Bernie Marcus, co founder of Home Depot. Bernie Marcus has a good program going with the Marcus Autism Center is also on the board of Autism Speaks. Mr. Segal feels that Mr. Markus stands in the way of doing vaccine research.

There appear to be more divisions among and within those groups who are favorable to the vaccine-causation idea. Apparently this includes Autism Speaks. An email from Mr. Segal to Bob Wright indicates that AS’s previous president may have been ousted due to not being on board with vaccine causation research.

I’ll have these up later tonight/early tomorrow.

@Bob G

Thanks for reading it. I’m not an expert by any means, so I’m sure there are spots that those with more knowledge could fill in or correct.

Like Denice said, the causes probably share some similarities or connections, but undoubtedly, the more we study things, the more we’ll find differences that clearly differentiate them.

I guess I could have done a location joke what with Los Angeles and mental illness, but I’ll leave that to the 7 foot lizards and their relatives in the entertainment industry.

Thanks for the link to — The long list of statistical associations to everything from anoxia to the flu are consistent with my earlier point, namely that there are lots of ways to break a complicated system. What doesn’t as yet seem to be established is whether there are a few forms of anatomical defect that are definitive, or whether, by contrast, something at the cellular level (such as an ion channel) might be doing the damage. Perhaps there are different diseases depending on the level of damage, and it is only our lack of imaging technology or biochemistry that is holding us back from making the distinction.The micro-chemical explanation would likely suggest a higher probability for therapeutic intervention. The opposite model, in which layers of neurons or physical interconnections among neurons are abnormal, suggests a more difficult path to therapeutics. If people who are destined to be seriously disabled schizophrenics suffer from a substantial anatomical defect, then we would imagine them as going through life adapting as best they can to their systematic problems, and once in a while adapting less well, a situation in which they end up hospitalized for a while.

When I was in college, I read the book I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. It suggested that the unfortunate victims get hit with massive delusional or hallucinatory symptoms from time to time, and that they do not have any control over the onset. If I understand correctly, one form leads to paranoid delusions which seem completely real to the victims, unlike the experience of taking hallucinatory drugs, where the person has some understanding that the experience is drug induced.

Oddly enough, both autism and schizophrenia seem to affect approximately 1% of the population apiece

Although there may be similarities , we should keep in mind that there are qualities that differentiate the two conditions- not the same symptoms, ways of dealing with information, age of apparent onset, relationship to other people,language etc.

If I understand correctly, one form leads to paranoid delusions which seem completely real to the victims, unlike the experience of taking hallucinatory drugs, where the person has some understanding that the experience is drug induced.

The psychedelics do not generally produce true hallucinations or, really, anything close, although of course one has McKenna and the assertion of the elves. Cannabis can produce frank auditory hallucinations. The dissociatives I have little experience of; I don’t know that I’d consider Lilly’s contact with “E.C.C.O.” to be a “hallucination.” The deliriants, on the other hand, are where one gets people “smoking” imaginary cigarettes, carrying on conversations with nonexistent people, and so forth. (I am surprised to discover that high-dose diphenhydramine falls into the last category.)

As Jake has considerable family finances behind him I expect that he will be bothering us for the rest of our lives.

C’est le vie

I’d love to see Jake should prove he isn’t the sugar plum fairy before demanding others to prove a negative. That would make for interesting reading.

@ lilady:

I’ve been aware of Seagal since LKH announced that she was to work for his foundation as PR. I think he occasionally comments @ AoA as ‘Barry’.

As I’ve frequently said, these groups claiming to be advocating for thousands or millions of people are a very small group who represents their own interests- not the general public or scientific consensus.
Bolen calls his– what is it? “millions of health freedom fighters”.

-btw- [email protected] AoA, EBCALA wants to go to court.


I imagine that the conference in May should be a great deal of fun – for observers.

I badly want to go…Anyone here want a good observer to report all that’s going on at the conference?


@ Alain:

You might be perfect for the task but they already know your name and they have been b!tches about sceptical observers- probably require photo ID.
We need Anonymous to step forth.

Well, I could say I’m there with my mentor (Dr. Casanova)…they might grumble but hell, he’s presenting there and I’m there to assist 😀


Well, now they’re going after everyone’s second-favorite vaccine-phobic pediatrician, “Dr. Jay.”

Jay Gordon had the temerity to suggest that, “Dr. Wakefield, whether his intentions were good or ill, should have written a brief letter to the editor about his findings and the need for much more study.” AoA’s Dan Olmsted then wrote: “In the event, says Gordon, the Lancet was right to retract [Wakefield’s Lancet article], and he, Gordon, bases nothing he writes about autism on it.”

Apparently Olmsted didn’t like that.

An AoA commenter noted that Gordon wrote in 2010, “Any thoughts I ever had about wavering in my support of Andrew Wakefield have dissolved. “ Gordon’s support for Wakefield certainly seems to have wavered, but perhaps that’s because he hopes that his new book will appeal to more than the lunatic fringe.

Here’s what Dr. Jay posted in reply to other comments linking to RI:

“….The website you’ve linked to, Orac’s site, often contains excellent information and entertaining posts. The problem is that is also fills up with obsessive perseverating people who have no desire for dialogue but are persistently offensive and unreadable….”

Hey, all you obsessive perseverating (sic) people who have no desire for dialogue but are persistently offensive and unreadable, just stop being obsessive, etc., etc, etc.

Hi Harold. Oddly enough, I wasn’t really discussing civility except in passing as a means of demonstrating Jake Crosby’s hypocrisy, but then you never let reality get in the way of an attack against me, do you?

Note what I said:

The hilarity just keeps on coming. After all, Jake has been describing SafeMinds and Mark Blaxill by adjectives that are just shy of the word “evil”; now he wants civility? It is to laugh.

I was simply pointing out Jake’s hypocrisy in whining about a lack of civility when he hasn’t exactly been civil himself. I expect no civility from you or the crowd at AoA. I simply point out the hypocrisy whenever someone like Jake complains about what he perceives as someone else’s lack of civility, given the nasty attacks Jake has routinely launched on people like Paul Offit, Seth Mnookin, and, yes, me.

And now against Mark Blaxill, Beth Clay, and SafeMinds.

Oh, and do you have anything substantive to say? For instance, about the charges and counter charges flying about between Jake Crosby, Brian Hooker, AoA, and SafeMinds? Or are you here just to troll?

It’s also rather amusing now to see the AoA contingent clutching its pearls because Dr. Jay made the closest thing to a reasonable statement I’ve seen from him in a very long time. True, he’s not there yet, as he doesn’t reject Wakefield’s fraud and pseudoscience completely, but it’s a big step for him to suggest that Wakefield is not the persecuted Galileo-level genius that the AoA crowd has elevated him to. For having the temerity to suggest that, suddenly he finds his “friends” attacking him.

Actually, unlike the case with Jake, I feel a little guilty about the schadenfreude here. But just a little.

I have a certain attitude about civility. You only get to complain about incivility if you are acting civil or if you’re willing to apologize for your own incivility and clean up your act. Otherwise, you’re a hypocritical troll. Aside from that, I don’t really care about civility. What really matters is who’s got the most cogent arguments.

Bronze Dog – I agree in general with your comments. However, it’s been my experience that excessive incivility can weaken the presentation of the argument – the focus becomes the (real or perceived) insult, tempers flare, and the meat of the argument gets ignored. Additionally it’s frequently used as a way to shut down or demonize one’s opponent without resorting to data and reasoning.

Which makes for a good reason to explain that complaints about incivility are commonly a distraction that insults the intelligence of the readers, as well as a reason to culturally ingrain the idea that reasonably thick skin is a mark of maturity.

But, yeah, there are limits. You don’t want discussions to devolve into baby-eating pictures, but neither do you want to legitimize opponent’s demands to be patronized and tiptoed around when they won’t extend any similar courtesies.

Well, now they’re going after everyone’s second-favorite vaccine-phobic pediatrician, “Dr. Jay.”

Perhaps Dr Gordon has been watching the Simpsons — he seems to have adopted Homer Simpson’s argument that “it takes two to lie”, as a way of shifting the blame from Wakefield to the journals that printed his observations without questioning their honesty.

I believe that Dr. Wakefield and The Lancet erred in allowing his incomplete study to be published in the way it was

@ Bronze Dog:

More than there being a lack of civility, I worry that there may frequently be no common ground for discussion:
alt med advocates dismiss the integrity of sources that most reasonable people would accept-
to them, institutions and professionals are automatically suspect. Listing governmental agencies or physicians’ associations or standard media sources ( let’s say about the safety of vaccines) is met with derision and accusations of compliance with pharmaceutical companies. There’s literally nowhere to go wih them.

I tried- lord help me- to bring in the concept of liklihood to no avail. I’ve tried to get them to question their own sources. To some, an internet woo-meister trumps scientific consensus and rationality all the time.

I worry that with the decline of journalistic investigation, a growing number of people rely upon the internet and their current emotional state as their advisors. I wish it weren’t true.

Uh oh, if Dr. Jay really is about to launch a new book…is Jake going to stalk Dr. Jay when he is on a book-promotion tour?

@ lilady:

I think that Jake is now having difficulty keeping his own enemies list straignt:
Safe Minds
Dr Jay
Orac ( and the minions)
et al
So many evil-doers, so little time

@ Denice Walter: Come May 2012, Jake will have to *squeeze in time* to pursue evil doers (whilst he is engaged full time in all the interviews/offers of employment as an epidemiologist).

@ Liz Ditz:

I dunno if Dr. Jay is launching a new book. According to the flying monkey squad at AoA, that is the reason why Dr. Jay retreated from his support of Andy Wakefield.

@lilady – holey-crap, that’s one explosive rant there by Bolen….I don’t think even Mexican soap operas have that much drama……

Lilady, can you repost that link with a “nofollow” tag? I’d hate to give his site more traffic.

Sorry Melissa G. If you’ve been following my posts here and on other blogs…I’m a blithering idiot when it comes to computer techie skills savvy. (Sigh).

Some NG tech monkey seems to have misplaced the submission script, so I’ll try one more time; apologies in advance if this is a repeat.

can you repost that link with a “nofollow” tag?

Just copy the link location and paste it into a new browser window.

LOL, no problem lilady, and thank you, Narad. Not being the greatest at tech-savvy myself, I forgot I can just do that.

Ugh, I read Bolen’s rant and now I wish I hadn’t. People like him really HATE our autistic kids, don’t they.

“I don’t think even Mexican soap operas have that much drama……”

They do. But they focus on things based in reality.

DW, or anyone..
off-topic, but a friend has recently begun to have auditory and olfactory hallucinations. She’s also had several seizures-not epileptic, believe it’s related to nerve damage. Could anyone point me to a resource dealing with brain damage/rewiring from seizures?

@ Politicaluineapig:

She needs medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. Lots of things could be going on: most of them not anything to fool around with or speculate about- this is serious. Medical tests will ascertain topics that you may investigate later on.
Good luck.

@ lilady:

OMFG! Welcome to Woo War!
There seem to be nearly as many groups involved as there are individuals- reminds me a bit of that infamous study where there were more investigators than there were subjects.

Interestingly, Bolen is concerned about the sceptics!

The anti-vax crowd was always fuelled with venomous invective and emotionally overwrought grandstanding: is it any surprise that these tendencies would not be reserved purely for their enemies?

I see group blogs like AoA or TMR as a continuous attention-mongering by rivals: who has the worst experience or is the greatest martyr or ‘investigator’? Would anyone expect these people to get along and work together?

I suppose that there is a limited amount of funding to go around as well as a limited audience. They and their cause may become irrelevant – they’ll have to seek out new hobgoblins with which to scare the unwary: is your food contaminated? Are EMFs polluting yoiur living space?
Will hyper-inflation make your money worthless?

DW: She’s had medical tests, and they aren’t picking anything up. I’ve suggested both getting a second opinion and that she leave home for a few days. (Might seem unreasonable, but she could use a holiday from her family.) I’m also trying to keep the lines of communication open-doesn’t seem to be much else I can do or suggest to help her.

@ PGP:

RightDiagnosis lists over 200 conditions that might involve hallucinations- ranging from minor problems to serious ones like tumors or stroke. Look at some Neurology sites, you’ll get an idea of the complexity of the issue
Unfortunately, serious symptoms that arise suddenly usually ‘mean’ something is amiss.

RFK Jr., huh? I wonder if he “wears his past as a heroin addict/thief like a beauty queen wears her sash.” I mean “(d)rug addicts are interesting and amusing, but they are not trustworthy people. One has to get really good at lying to maintain that life. It takes a lot of years and a lot of work to show that they should be trusted.”

I mean, seriously, “the expectation that he should then be trusted by moms across America with medical advice for their children?”

In my opinion, RFK Jr. “is a guy that pretends to be a journalist, and writes hit pieces that encourage people to neglect the medical needs of children with autism.”

Anyone see what I did there?

“can you repost that link with a “nofollow” tag?”

If you look at the page source, the “nofollow” tag is already there. Comments on blogs usually do that.

I found it so hard to read through this, it was so offputting reading insult after insult jammed in throughout anything actually of substance. It so heavily drew away from the actual message that what dominated was the message that the author was nothing but an immature, arrogant, bitchy, bitter, and twisted blogger.

I’m sorry, Cherie. I don’t understand what you are saying. Are you claiming that this statement: “After all, Jake has been describing SafeMinds and Mark Blaxill by adjectives that are just shy of the word “evil”; now he wants civility?” is an insult to Jake Crosby, or SafeMinds and Mark Blaxill?

Do you think it is okay dokay to just accuse Mr. Blaxill of adultery? Because I do not. It is just good enough to accuse Mr. Blaxill of not having the scientific background to support his claims that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases. If you disagree, then the next time you get quite ill go visit your nearest venture capitalist instead of an actual medical doctor.

I just noticed Cherie’s avatar. I just finished listening to Tina Fey’s reading of the audiobook form of Bossypants (I was told that the aural version is better, because it has some actual sound effects, and it is a very fun listen!). I really enjoyed some of her comments on breastfeeding:

Now let me be clear; millions of women around the world nurse their children beautifully for years without giving anybody else a hard time about it. Teat Nazis are a solely western upper-middle-class phenomenon occurring when highly ambitious women experience deprivation from outside modes of achievement.

Unfortunately that quotes page does not have her description of what happens when the Teat Nazis run into parents who adopted a child from overseas. It seems that they go into some kind of “conflicting data” mode that destroys computers on old Star Trek episodes.

I have a good friend who was made to feel very guilty about not breastfeeding. She had depression and needed to go back on her medication (as the postpartum depression had kicked in and made it worse).

Having a loving, functioning mama is much better than having breastmilk.

Were the people who gave my friend the guilt trip for having an illness “immature, arrogant, bitchy, bitter, and twisted”? I don’t know. I didn’t meet them.

I can certainly say I don’t care much for them–or anyone else who likes blaming victims for their illnesses, either.

DW:Thanks for the advice.
Cherie: Haven’t you been here before? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen both the avatar and the tone policing around in some other posts. By the way, if you *want* bitchy, the commenters here can bring it better than Jake can.

I will simply note that there is absolutely no internal evidence showing that Cherie read any of the actual post before leaving her reply criticizing it. Someone who was pronouncing a reasoned judgment based on a thoughtful, unbiased analysis could have cited specifics and explained their reasoning; by contrast, Cherie didn’t even name the blog or the blogger.

Cherie’s comment was generic and lacking in connections to the original post. She’s spamming.

Now I’m reminded of a comment thread in which Dr Jay Gordon was simultaneously arguing that vaccinations are an unwarranted intrusion on a mother’s autonomy, and that breast-feeding is so important that it should be made mandatory.

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