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Trolling the antivaccine trolls

Craig Egan is a man with a mission. He’s trolling the antivaccine trolls to promote science, and he’s been very successful at it.

There are many ways to combat antivaccine pseudoscience. Personally, I’ve chosen my favored methods, namely blogging, giving talks, and generally combatting pseudoscience on social media wherever I find it. That’s not all I do (for example, I do have a couple of papers in the peer-reviewed medical literature designed to combat the infiltration of pseudoscience into academia), but it is where I put most of my effort. For one thing, I’m good at it. For another thing, it’s fun. Also, it’s something I can work into my busy schedule more easily. It even brings me a bit of notoriety now and then, such as when I had a strange interaction with William Shatner or when various news organizations, for some reason, want to interview and quote me for various stories.

None of this is to say that what I do is the only way to combat pseudoscience. Heck, it’s probably not even the most effective, but it does play to my strengths. Indeed, I very much admire people who can go a more conventional route, forming organizations, lobbying, and doing outreach. I also can’t help but have some respect for people who use more—shall we say?—in your face tactics, people like those who go out and protest showings of antivaccine documentaries like VAXXED. The movie was released well over a year ago, and, unfortunately, the film’s producers and director, Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey, and Del Bigtree, are still promoting it for all it’s worth. They’ve even bought an old bus, painted it up with the film’s logo, and gone on tour to promote the movie, rally the antivaccine faithful, and try to influence legislators, both at the federal and state level—even in my state of Michigan. Throughout it all, they’ve tried to make it a memorial to the “vaccine-injured,” with parents writing the names of the “victims” on the bus. It’s all rather ghoulish, actually.

Indeed, the VAXXED crew is so blatant that just last week they were in Minneapolis, the epicenter of a massive measles outbreak among the Somali immigrant community in Hennepin County that Andrew Wakefield himself, with the help of his acolytes, directly caused through their fear mongering about vaccines and autism. Even worse, even after having drawn national attention to their role in endangering the children of Minnesota through promoting antivaccine misinformation, antivaxers aren’t ashamed. They’re proud. They’re doubling down and still promoting their pseudoscience among the vulnerable population they harmed in the first place. The VAXXED bus visit is just part of that. Basically, Wakefield is making another movie, and his crew is filming interviews wherever the VAXXED bus goes.

That’s why I’m glad there’s someone like Craig Egan, who started a GoFundMe page in order to raise money so that he could travel across the country, report on where the VAXXED bus is going and what the VAXXED crew is doing, protest, and raise money for Voices For Vaccines:

The Vaxxed bus is on tour, spreading fear and disinformation about vaccines. I will be following their route, refuting them with facts and evidence and sometimes lulz at every stop. I will also be using this adventure as a fundraiser for a great organization, Voices for Vaccines. One third of all donations will be budgeted to go directly to V4V . Each goal will get me to another stop on the tour and a larger V4V donation.

He’s even made the news as the “Internet’s most prolific troll of anti-vaxxers“:

Online, his approach is textbook trolling, which is defined by the Urban Dictionary as posting a “deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”

That’s exactly what he does, needling staunch, conspiratorial anti-vaccine types to an uncomfortable point of hilarity or harassment, depending on your point of view.

He has a certain skill set, and he’s not shy about using it, employing take-down-style arguments based in science and medicine in a bizarre digital realm that largely seeks to discredit both.

Online, his many foes know him well. He’s routinely referred to as a bully, or worse.

Egan targets those who believe immunizations are responsible for a host of medical conditions, ailments and disabilities, and that there’s a widespread cover-up orchestrated by the government and large pharmaceutical companies to keep the truth hidden.

Specifically, Egan specializes in making online life miserable for the handful of doctors and authors who deal in this junk science.

Yes, there’s Insolence I can approve of. He also follows an approach I try to follow in my blogging, namely ruthless mockery of the hard core antivaxers but a much softer approach with those on the fence. Antivaxers hate him, of course, probably more than they hate me. They portray him (and Karen Ernst of V4V) as “stalkers and “mockers,” which is not entirely inaccurate but doesn’t really truly catch the flavor of what he’s doing. In any case, Egan is very effective, because he’s basically driven the VAXXED bus underground:

Basically, because of Egan, the locations of where the VAXXED bus will be have been kept as secret as possible, and some appearances have been moved to private homes, where Egan can’t go. In particular, I like how Egan turned the tables on the VAXXED crew in Minneapolis by calling the police on them for not having a permit to film a movie in a public park. The same sort of thing happened in Bettendorf, IA and St. Louis: No bus, or the event was moved to a private house:

Here he noted that Suzanne Humphries stopped showing up, as did Polly Tommey. I really have to wonder how fragile the message of VAXXED is if one person (or, sometimes, a handful of people) respectfully protesting, drives the whole crew and bus underground. I can’t help but think of similar behavior that I’ve noticed elsewhere…

Trolling is not all that Egan does, though. As he’s done his tour, he’s interviewed various physicians and vaccine researchers about the importance of vaccines, thus providing a positive message as well.

So how do antivaxers view him? The Age of Autism crew, specifically Nancy Hokkanen, was not happy:

Organizers of the Minneapolis VaxXed stop withheld its Mississippi River stop location publicly because of troublemakers. One was Craig Egan, a miscreant with suspect funding who boasts online about his national stalking of the bus and its grieving visitors. Nonetheless he and a handful of protesters appeared brandishing a few signs (such as the inapplicable “Mutant and Proud”), but left after some sprinkles of rain. Someone even attempted to shut down the VaxXed event by calling park police, though event organizers had a permit.

“I wonder why Craig Egan and the rest of his trolls are trying to intimidate families who have vaccine injured children?” asked Wayne Rohde of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota. “He has no heart or conscience for understanding others who are living and struggling with disabilities.”

Another empathy-challenged intruder was Karen Ernst of the faux consumer group Voices for Vaccines, who showed up to lurk and smirk. Though the VaxXed bus is a travelling monument recognizing health damage and deaths caused by vaccines, photos taken that day indicate she found the gathering amusing. Her disturbingly inappropriate affect is profoundly disrespectful at an event commemorating the sick and dead, their caregivers, and their mourners.

I don’t presume to speak for Craig, but I do have empathy for parents who have to deal with a special needs child. I really do. Back when I was in college, I worked part time at a group home with children with severe mental retardation, two of which had classic severe autism. I can partially (but never completely) imagine what it would be like to take care of such children 24/7/365. However, having a special needs child does not give you a pass if you spread antivaccine misinformation of the sort that resulted in the recent measles outbreak in Minnesota, nor does it give you a pass if you have, in essence, made a career of spreading such misinformation, as Polly Tommey and several of the leaders of the antivaccine movement have done.

That being said, it is a fine line to tread. Antivaxers use their belief that their children were horribly injured by vaccines as a shield against any criticism of their antivaccine beliefs. Basically, if you criticize their antivaccine beliefs, you are risking falling into the trap of being portrayed as “attacking mothers.” The flip side of their use of their pain as their shield is that, at the same time, as they take self-righteous umbrage at any criticism pro-vaccine advocates might level at their antivaccine pseudoscience, they feel they have every right to use all manner of personal attacks, doxxing, trying to get their critics fired (or at least harassing them at work), and even using violent imagery aimed at their perceived enemies.

Fortunately, Craig treads that line well.

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]

233 replies on “Trolling the antivaccine trolls”

From Craig’s video, it sounds to me like the chiropractors are getting jumpy.

I’d assume that most of their “patients” (if that’s the best word for people who pay them for health care) vaccinate their children, and might be quite concerned by publicity suggesting that they may come into contact with unvaccinated kids at the office.

One was Craig Egan, a miscreant with suspect funding

This bit I always find really strange. Anti-vaxxers (and indeed other anti-science idiots) seem to believe that the only way people could not fully agree with them is for those people to be paid off by some nefarious organisation. Craig Egan has made it abundantly clear where he is getting money for this exercise from, but Nancy Hokkanen thinks otherwise. It makes me worry how much projection is going on.

And on the bright side, down-under has denied entry to three of the anti-vax morons. Now if only we could evict them from here as well.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-41104629

More topically, we need far more people like Mr Egan. If we had more people publicly ridiculing and calling anti-vaxers on greater benefit then pointing out logically how wrong they are. their BS, it may be of a

I HATE THIS TRACKPAD. Apologies for the incoherent post.

FTFM: If we had more people publicly ridiculing and calling anti-vaxers on how wrong their BS is, it may be of a greater benefit then pointing it out logically.

And on the bright side, down-under has denied entry to three of the anti-vax morons.

Sadly, we have plenty of home-grown and important ones. We have a Meryl Dorey in excess of our needs.

It’s funny how AVers can’t take it when someone lawfully protests them. Egan has done nothing to intimidate people wishing to visit the pro-disease Vaxxed group, nor has Egan broken any laws regarding protest or assembly. He’s called a bully simply for opposing their pseudoscientific arguments.

Australian pro-vaccine groups have their AVers essentially on the ropes and almost out for the count through constant calling-out and open opposition by politicians, groups and physicians. I hope Craig is the start of a more vocal, open, direct opposition of anti-vaccine groups in the US, because it’s sorely needed to head off vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

Yeah, the whole “you can dish it out, but you can’t take it” aspect of the antivax reaction to Craig is rather amusing. Antivaxers think nothing of doxing, harassing people at work, harassing CDC employees as they show up for work, and calling us pro-vaccine pro-science advocates every ugly name in the book. Yet, when they’re at the receiving end of a little peaceful protest, with someone like Craig and occasionally a handful of his fellows showing up at a few of their events, the VAXXED crew runs away and hide with their tails between their legs and demonize the protester. I mean, seriously. Antivaxers made fun of Paul Offit for months because he became so alarmed and upset at a VAXXED cameraman getting in his face while he was eating breakfast before a vaccine conference at NYU that he made the mistake of cussing him out on camera (something he acknowledges to have been not a good idea), but they run like cowardly little wimps from a jovial middle-aged dude showing up with pro-vaccine signs at their events. It is to laugh.

It’s a tricky thing, how to interact with someone who is convinced their child was harmed by vaccines? I have a family member who is convinced her son’s eczema was caused by vaccines. Last I heard she stopped vaccinating. The crazy thing is, when she was pregnant she was insisting that family get a Tdap booster. Talk about a 180.

How many of these supposed vaccine injuries have been compensated by the vaccine court? How many have even filed? I’d be curious to know.

How many of these supposed vaccine injuries have been compensated by the vaccine court? How many have even filed? I’d be curious to know.

Angela, you will find some numbers here

Roughly one third of cases are compensated. That number is inflated by Table injuries. These are known vaccine side effects and compensation occurs even if the vaccine did not cause the injury.

Table injuries are somewhat fluid & conditions there were compensated for decades ago, wouldn’t be today (as the science has advanced & we understand that certain conditions aren’t related to vaccines).

It is my understanding that many of the original awards given to claimants due to the DTP vaccine would not be awarded today.

Just to add two points of context to what Chris and Lawrence said: the Table of injuries was updated recently, mostly by adding conditioning, none were removed. Though they did narrow the definition of encephalopathy.

B. A third compensated is, best as I can tell, equivalent or higher rate than non-asbestos product liability cases in the courts. Especially design defect cases, as most of these are, are hard.

Two points on Craig: when he made an error in judgment that upset a mother who lost a child and was in the Vaxxed bus telling it, he apologized publicly (he blew an air horn outside, which he admits in hindsight was a bad idea).

B. Craig is one of the few people I know that was actually successful, online, in converting extreme anti vaccine people, all mothers that I know of. Some of them were impressed by his persistence and the facts he shared.

And yes, he got a lot back. Apparently Dr. Tenpenny called the FBI on him. And more.

Yep. You’ll never see an antivaxer apologize for being too tasteless or too hurtful. The reason is, of course, how “they” view “us.” They view us as the enemy, to be crushed at all costs. To them, almost any tactic is justifiable to achieve that end. In contrast, we do not view most antivax parents as the enemy. The leaders of the antivax movement, maybe in a few cases (e.g., Mike Adams), but the vast majority of vaccine-hesitant and even antivax parents are not our enemies.

http://respectfulinsolence.com/2013/02/12/who-they-view-us/
http://respectfulinsolence.com/2013/02/13/how-they-view-us-briefly-revisited/
http://respectfulinsolence.com/2014/05/05/how-they-view-us-2014-edition/
http://respectfulinsolence.com/2014/07/25/how-they-view-us-mike-adams-and-kent-heckenlively-edition/

You’d be amazed by how many parents have come to me with information about Wakefield.

Case in point: For more than a week now, there’s been a death threat against Dr, Pan on Del Bigtree’s Facebook page. An angry anti-vax lunatic has threatened to shoot him at some public baseball game event. Bigtree has refused to condemn that threat even after repeated requests.

All one needs to do, to see how much of a precious snowflake anti-vaxers are, is take a look at the responses that our friend “the Gnat” gives when his views are challenged.

One was Craig Egan, a miscreant with suspect funding

About that suspect funding. I would have loved to join him on Craig’s ProVax World Tour but obligations prevented me, so I sent many of my little dollar bill friends in my stead. As of this morning, 294 people thought the same as I did — as did the GoFundMe team, which kicked in (IIRC) $1,000.00

Craig is really good at convincing the vaccine-hesitant that vaccines are good for kids. It’s not too late to send him the price of a fancy coffee.

Antivaxers who react to criticism by claiming that it represents bullying of parents with injured children, have never been good at looking in the mirror.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4763062/Parents-harassed-anti-vaxxers-day-son-s-death.html

Antivax leaders have been remarkably quiet about such behavior by their adherents, which has no parallel among immunization supporters.

I’d hesitate to applaud Australian authorities for denying visas to prominent antivaxers. Much better to debunk and mock stupid speech (even when it has potential health consequences) than to ban it altogether.

Angela: “How many of these supposed vaccine injuries have been compensated by the vaccine court? How many have even filed? I’d be curious to know”

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has a page with the statistics, there is a link here:
https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data/index.html

There is information on the US Vaccine Court, including a link to the opinions/orders here:
http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/vaccine-programoffice-special-masters

You can see how the US government keeps it all hidden in plain sight. end sarcasm

Oh, come on! I just had two comments disappear into the ether! I did not even get a note about it being under moderation.

It included the the lawyer fee ruling and final opinion on Brian Hooker’s Vaccine Court case. The one on the lawyer fees as very interesting comments about his lawyer, Clifford Shoemaker. A lawyer who we have encountered before.

Ms. Ginger Taylor actually called for people to start filing complaints about commercial fraud every time a medical provider says something they disagree with, like “vaccines don’t cause autism.”

Her timing was reasonably good, though the idea is a pretty ugly one, since I was just teaching malicious prosecution and abuse of process in torts and she provided a good hypothetical problem for the students to grapple with.

From the angle in the photo of the Vaxxed bus, it looks like it says “Vaxxed.con” on the side.

Now that’s VaxTruth we can live with.

Mr. Egan has really been doing an amazing job. Way back years ago he trolled a (now defunct) facebook page entitled “Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children.” It eventually imploded when a dispute broke out within its ranks about whether or not the page should allow a “medical astrologer” to post advice on the page. It really was entertaining to watch Mr. Egan stir the pot and watch it boil over. He exposed how out of touch with reality many of the hard-core antivaxxers were.

On a side note, I was hoping to get a bit of advise about an anti-vax ethical dilemma I’m struggling with:

I occasionally snoop around secret anti-vax facebook pages. Not really to troll them like Mr. Egan, but rather to just get an idea of what their arguments are. A while ago I stumbled on a post about anti-vaxxers lying about their (and their children’s) vaccination status. One post particularly bugged me. It was by a mother who said she had to lie or she would lose her job. It turns out that this woman is a nurse and works at a medical clinic.

Should I inform her employer? One the one hand, I really don’t like doxing people to their employer. On the other hand, she could be putting her patients at risk….

Some of you are in the medical field and I would be interested in your perspective on this.

A classic example of how the anti vaxxers can dish it but can’t take it: In one of her videos, Polly Toomey describes the T shirt that Craig is wearing as a “threat”. The T shirt has the message “I heart Australia”
A few days later, she recorded a video with the Lindemans, a couple she describes as her close friends. Mr. Lindeman says that paediatricians are evil child murderers, and that anyone who attempted to vaccinate him or a member of his family would “end up underground” . He pulls out the handgun he is carrying and waves it about in front of the camera to show that he is serious.
Polly is not at all upset by this. In fact, she encourages it. its OK if your T shirt says “Vaxxed”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbIwsuzsX5U

Craig is great on video!

Here’s what bothers me and I hope that he can find ways around this:

anti-vaxxers seek sympathy from the general public by comparing their situation ( having autistic family members) to that of victims of war, bigotry and oppression:

– today, @ AoA, Dachel’s post, Dara Berger says her son resembles
” survivors of the fire bombing of Munich”
– Kim Rossi has recently compared the bus to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall;
she’s also shown images of bloody hands whilst referring to doctors ( April 2017) and invoked images of martyrs of racism and bigotry ( Gandhi, King)
– Hokkanen calls the bus a “travelling monument”
– many have compared ASDs to the Holocaust ( Orac covers this)

In reality – if any of them ever visits it-

no one has died- despite their claims-
no one has been blown up by a land mine or lost a family member to an attack by terrorists
( My cousin’s father died when his vehicle hit a land mine and my friend lost a family member to a bombing in a public place and had to identify what was left of the body)

Having a child with autism is not the same thing-

they’re alive and looking at you. They have feelings. They’re not buried somewhere.

You don’t have an “anniversary’ to dread each year like my friend does and you can’t go to a monument to trace the name of the victim as my cousin does.

We should continuously point this out-
They’re playing martyrs and victims inappropriately.
Wars and terrorism have PERPETRATORS who aim at killing people to implement their goals.

Well, I’d qualify that a bit. Some of the parents have lost children, for example, some of the stories are SIDS stories. The vaccine connection is either not there or very problematic, but some of these parents are grieving parents.

The equation of ASD to death, though, which is a constant theme, is horrible. So is language like Kennedy’s use, referring to autism as “their brain is gone.”

Sadly, Lansing is too far away for me to make it.

I really have to visit the Boil Festival one of these days.

I really have to visit the Boil Festival one of these days.

Please, tell us that the festival involves food and not carbuncles. Please.

The AV movement has posted Craig’s home address on social media today.

Doxing and harassment of vaccine advocates – it’s not a bug of the AV movement, it’s a feature.

I have looked into a few hundred of the vaxxed bus stories and, so far, have found only one that has been compensated by VICP. A few have filed but were denied. If you watch the videos, even just a few, it is pretty clear that nearly all of these stories are not really things caused by vaccines. A lot of SIDS babies, a lot of autism kids, a lot of allergies.

I have watched a few hundred of these Vaxxed videos and they are often about things we know vaccines do not cause, such as SIDS, autism, allergies. I’ve seen one that was a case that actually got VICP compensation. A few filed, but claims were denied.

Is Dachel perhaps confusing Munich with Dresden? Both were firebombed, but Dresden was wiped out.

(Not that I expect antivaxxers to get their facts straight).

Dangerous Bacon at #21, I understand your position that censorship is a slippery slope, however there are a few Australia-specific issues at play here. The first is that Australia only has implied free speech, meaning that while in practice it’s ok to say what you want, if push comes to shove defending irresponsible/dangerous speech is problematic. Secondly, our visa requirements are pretty strict – if Heckenlively was intending to travel on a tourist visa but on a speaking tour he would be breaching his agreement with the government. That’s a reason there to reject the visa. If he was travelling on a non-tourist visa (so many visa classes I wouldn’t know which one he may have tried to get) it would be pretty clear what he was intending to do. This gets to the nub of the issue.

The Australian Immigration minister (Peter Dutton – the brussel sprout head who is also in charge of our offshore detention *cough concentration cough* camps – I’m not a fan of him except for his pro-vaccination actions) had recently banned Tommey and Humphries after their Vaxxed caravan of carnage. So whoever alerted him to the fact Heckenlively was intending to come and deliver his ‘wisdom’ would have been able to use the recent banning as precedent, allowing Dutton to get on the front foot.

To circle back to the issue of free speech, while Heckenlively is not allowed to come to the country, there’s nothing censorious about our minister’s actions – Heckenlively’s facebook page is still active on Australian facebook (more’s the pity), and if any Australian really wants to read his words or watch him on video there’s nothing stopping them doing so. His speech isn’t stopped, just his ability to make a buck out of it. And with the way the value of the Australian dollar tends to increase when there’s tensions in the US, that’s probably the bigger issue for poor Mr H.

Apologies for the long comment, essay writer playing at commenting 😀

Just want to add to my colleague Retro Pastiche’s comments. Banning Tommey, Heckenlively et al from Australia is not a “free speech” issue. Every country in the world retains the right to control the entry of non-citizens. That why we have visas and passports. Just a few months ago, a member of one of our State parliaments was banned from entering the US. He was travelling with a group on official government business: had applied for and received the correct visa and was still turned back at the border. The reason? he had a Syrian stamp in his passport. He had visited Syria ( also as part of an official government delegation) in the years prior to the outbreak of war.
Governments do this kind of thing all the time, and sometimes their reasons are arbitrary, but they are completely within their rights. All levels of government and all major political parties in Australia are strongly pro-vax. As the government pays for our health care its very much in their financial interest to see that vaccination rates remain high.
We just don’t need to import anti-vaxxers. We have plenty of our own. We also have many dedicated volunteers who do what we can to counter their message, and hold them to account. Thats where the “free speech ” comes in.

The decision to ban Tommey, Heckenlively et al from Australia is NOT a Free Speech issue. Every country in the world retains the right to restrict the entry of non-citizens for any reason they choose. Just a few months back a politician form one of our State Governments was denied entry to the US . He was travelling with an official government delegation, and had applied for and received the correct visa. He was turned back at the border because he had an Arabic name and a stamp from Syria in his passport. He had visited Syria ( also as part of an official delegation) years ago, before the hostilities occurred. These kinds of arbitrary decisions about who is admitted to what country occur every day and are perfectly valid in a legal sense.
All the major political parties in Australia have a strong pro vaccination stance. Given that the government pays for our health care, they have a strong financial interest in supporting vaccines.
We have no need to import foreign anti- vaxxers. We have plenty of our own. We also have a band of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to counter their lies and hold them to account. That’s where the Free Speech comes in.

Angela: It’s a tricky thing, how to interact with someone who is convinced their child was harmed by vaccines?

Just schedule enough social interaction to keep the lines open in case her son needs help, but don’t indulge her and subtly edge her out of your life.
(I kind of have a similar problem with an uncle who’s been lying about most of his life. But most anti-vaxxers are jerks, anyway, so small loss?)

I wish I’d known about Egan, since I saw the Vaxxed bus on one of it’s tours while out running errands.

Would that The Wife’s favorite cousin could go around with Craig. It wouldn’t be easy, since she would need a couple of caregivers; at her age and in her condition, it’s doubtful she could cope with the evil—doxing, financial assault—that the anti-vaxxers treat their opponents to.

The cousin, you see, was disabled by measles encephalitis in the 1950’s, and hasn’t been able to use most of the right part of her body since.

Would that The Wife’s favorite cousin could go around with Craig. It wouldn’t be easy, since she would need a couple of caregivers; at her age and in her condition, it’s doubtful she could cope with the evil—doxing, financial assault—that the anti-vaxxers treat their opponents to.

The cousin, you see, was disabled by measles encephalitis in the 1950’s, and hasn’t been able to use most of the right part of her body since.

—–The first try at posting this comment didn’t seem to take, so forgive me if this shows up twice.

It is all going to be OK. Kent Heckenlively has been telling his woes to a Donald Trump doll over at Pattimmy’s place. Apparently Kent wants Donald to organize to drop DVD’s of VaXXed on the Australian people in some bombing run.

Heckenlively is obviously trying to make a point, but what point is beyond me.

It is all going to be OK. Kent Heckenlively over at Pattimmy’s place has been telling his woes to a Donald Trump doll. Kent wants Donald to organize dropping DVDs of VaXXed over the populace of Australia in some sort of bombing run.

I kid you not.

The first try at posting this comment didn’t seem to take, so forgive me if this shows up twice.

That happened to me too.

It is all going to be OK. Kent Heckenlively over at Pattimmy’s place has been telling his woes to a Donald Trump doll. Kent wants Donald to organize dropping DVDs of VaXXed over the populace of Australia in some sort of bombing run.

I kid you not.

The first try at posting this comment didn’t seem to take, so forgive me if this shows up twice.

That happened to me too.

Third time lucky perhaps?

This is a test because:

The first try at posting this comment didn’t seem to take, so forgive me if this shows up twice.

That happened to me too.

“…Australia only has implied free speech, meaning that while in practice it’s ok to say what you want, if push comes to shove defending irresponsible/dangerous speech is problematic.”

Many of us support an explicit free speech model, while recognizing that there are greater hazards in allowing government to decide on and ban “dangerous” speech than in permitting public appearances by those with reprehensible messages.

Too bad Australia apparently doesn’t have anything on a par with the ACLU.

Se Habla Espol: One of mine got lost too.

Angela: “It’s a tricky thing, how to interact with someone who is convinced their child was harmed by vaccines?”

I suggest gently edging her out of your life, but making sure that the lines are open in case the son needs someone to protect him from his mother.

Funny thing, I saw the Vaxxed bus while running errands. They didn’t seem to have much of an audience.

Dangerous Bacon: Australia does not have a Bill of Rights, and our Constitution does not explicitly protect free Speech, although the High Court has found in past decisions that we have an implied right to Free Speech. However, this is not a Free Speech issue. Our government is not preventing Heckenlively’s views from being heard here: they are freely available to anyone with an internet connection a a streak of masochism.
We are preventing Heckenlivley from coming to Australia – which is an entirely different matter. All governments all over the world retain the right to control the entry of non-citizens. No one has a “right” to travel wherever they please.

I’m closer to Dangerous Bacon’s views than yours on this, I’m afraid. Yes, Australia, like all countries, has the right to decide who can and cannot visit based on whatever criteria its government decides upon. You keep harping on that, but no one is claiming otherwise or arguing that Australia doesn’t have the right to control its borders. However (and I realize this is an unpopular viewpoint here), when the criteria used are so clearly designed to prevent someone from speaking in a country, I always get a bit uncomfortable.

You’re not going to like this, but I said exactly the same thing about David Irving 11-12 years ago. I’ve been nothing if not consistent about this. I don’t expect all nations to hold a First Amendment-like view on this; so I’m probably less militant about it than DB (although 10-12 years ago I was), but I do tend to be more with him on this than with you. I’m no longer one to condemn decisions like this one as loudly as I used to, but I do sit back and watch all the gloating about it with a degree of discomfort, knowing how easily, depending on who’s in power at any given time, that could be turned to other unpopular views that might not be as harmful as antivax views.

The best way to change the minds of AVers is to find the real cause of autism. I have been working on that for 8 years. Here are my thoughts:
What causes autism?
Autism researchers have developed many clues but haven’t been able to find the answer. They all agree on one thing: autism has both a hereditary component and an environmental component.
One clue, a hereditary trait, stands out: autistic people have a much faster visual response time than the average. [1] This rapid visual processing means that they also have a higher flicker fusion frequency number. This is the frequency at which a flashing light appears to be a constant light, and it varies widely from individual to individual.
If a fast visual response time is the hereditary component, it would explain the puzzling fact that 80-85 % of autism cases are male. Humans have been farming for 10,000 years, prior to that we were hunter gatherers; males hunted and females gathered. Evolution produced a difference in their visual systems: females have slightly wider-set eyes for better depth perception and males have a rapid visual response time to quickly detect motion and react while hunting; more males than females have the hereditary trait associated with autism.
If fast visual response time is the hereditary component, then the environmental component has to be a visual input. It’s not due to an exposure to mercury, aluminum, or any other element or compound, or a lack of any vitamin, nutrient or element, prenatal or postnatal.
It isn’t hard to find a source that produces the problematic visual component: fluorescent light. Research using EEG brain wave monitoring confirms that fluorescent light alters brain waves. [2]. Brain waves of individuals with the shortest visual response time have the greatest change. Fluorescent light is actually a strobe light, turning on and off based on electrical frequency, producing an unnatural visual environment. It’s well known that strobe light can cause migraines, disorientation, and seizures. Brain waves represent the electrical activity in the brain. The five senses are the keyboard to the brain. The electrical input from these senses determines how our brains develop, who we are, and who we will become. If one of the main inputs is providing corrupted electrical signals, it’s understandable why infants with a high flicker fusion frequency number fail to develop a normal social skills foundation, resulting in autism.
Below are other clues that reconcile with and support the hereditary and environmental combination discussed above that causes autism.
In the Pacific Northwest, more rain equals more autism [3]. The inordinate number of rainy and overcast days requires additional hours of artificial lighting including fluorescent light, resulting in additional cases of autism.
There is a higher rate for children conceived from December to March [4]. They are born just prior to the shortest, darkest days of the year, again requiring additional hours of artificial light.
The rate of developing autism is high among premature birth babies [5]. One in four infants weighing between 1 and 3.3 pounds showed signs of autism as toddlers, i.e., 18-24 months. The male/female ratio was 6:1, reinforcing the rapid visual-response-time component. The lower the birth weight the longer the time in NICU and the higher the risk. These children spend extended time in neonatal care, continually exposed to fluorescent light.
Children using daycare have a high rate [6]. Research using Google Earth’s street level function found that over 90% of day cares are in strip malls or stand-alone commercial buildings, certainly all with fluorescent lighting.
The four countries with the highest rates, and 7 of the top 10, use 50-cycle electricity [7]. Lowering the frequency from 60 cycles per second to 50 means those with a somewhat lower flicker fusion frequency number are affected.
Ten clusters with high rates of autism have been identified in southern California. These clusters are neighborhoods with expensive, upscale housing where both parents are highly educated [8]. Due to their education level, each may want their own career or both may have to work to support their lifestyle, resulting in daycare for the child and exposure to fluorescent lighting.
The first cases were diagnosed in the early 1940’s. Fluorescent lighting became commercially available in 1938.
Why has the rate of autism increased over the past three to four decades so dramatically? The major factor was the advent of the compact fluorescent light. From 2000 to 2007 CFL sales went from 21 million to 397 million, an annual increase of 52% [9]. By 2009 70% of homes in the United States had CFLs and averaged 4.4 CFLs each [8]. By 1996 80% of homes in Japan, the country with the highest autism rate, used CFLs [8]. Other factors are the increase in single-parent homes and the declining economy forcing both parents to work, each increasing the use of daycare.
The Amish have little or no autism. The Amish use no electricity in their homes, so no fluorescent lights. Dr. Frank Noonan, practicing for 30 years and treating thousands of Amish children in the Ohio area, has seen no autism [10] and Dr. Kevin Strauss practicing in the Pennsylvania Amish area has seen no idiopathic autism, classic autism [11].
I know many will think this hypothesis is unlikely, but if the answer were obvious it would have been found long ago. I believe further scientific investigation is warranted. It’s my hope that this information becomes widely spread, as it will do no harm, unlike the vaccination controversy. Even parents who think it’s unlikely would avoid fluorescent lighting just to be safe. If that resulted in a noticeable drop in the rate, this case would be very strong. Please share my hypothesis with others in the fields of autism support and research, with parents of autistic children, and with parents of newborn children.
I am willing to discuss all of my research—all of which supports my hypothesis and much of which is not included in this general paper—as well as ideas for further research projects.
Oren Evans
[email protected]

Mr. Evans: “The best way to change the minds of AVers is to find the real cause of autism. I have been working on that for 8 years.”

Um, really? Did you know that over half the genetic sequences that cause autism have been discovered? Some of them have names you may recognize like Rett Syndrome, and Fragile-X Syndrome.

Families should join the effort to find the rest of the genetic sequences by signing up here: https://sparkforautism.org/

This video has more information:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOQ9s0GcG5s&index=41&list=PLjvfRtcMhn4PB0NTW0RlvsMJGu1Csnn5s&t=56s

Mr. Evans: “Why has the rate of autism increased over the past three to four decades so dramatically?”

Here is a little story:

In 1991 I was told by a child neurologist that my non-verbal three year old was definitely not autistic because he smiled and laughed. Granted, sometimes it was often not at appropriate times.

So I had a child who went through the special ed. system with various and differing diagnoses that were often related to speech and language disorders. After ten plus years of speech/language therapy he could speak, though it is sometimes difficult to understand. One has to be patient to understand him.

The very first time someone mentioned “autism” was during his senior year. It was the school psychologist, who also mentioned that even if he was put into their autism program he would have lost services. Because she recognized they created a label without realizing the vastness of the autism spectrum.

It is not one neurological issue, it is dozens. The saying is “If you met one autistic person, you have met just one.”

My son finally got a full diagnosis of autism a bit over two years ago. While he seems to have Aspergers, he would never had gotten that diagnosis because he was non-verbal after he turned three years old. Apparently, speech disorders was an automatic disqualification for Aspergers.

Mr. Evans, can you think of what actually changed between 1991 and 2015?

If you want to check the references for the idea that fluorescent lights cause Autism –

https://www.facebook.com/oren.evans.3/posts/1460741517353896

[1] Children with Autism Detect Targetsat very Rapid Presentation Rates with similar Results as Adults Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders January 2016 DOI:10.1007/s10803-016-2705-9
[2] Kuller R, Thorbjorn L [1998]. The impact of flicker from fluorescent lighting on well-being, performance and physiological arousal. Ergonomics 41(4):433-47.
[3] Waldman M, Nicholson S, Adilov N, Williams J [2008]. Autism prevalence and precipitation rates in California, Oregon, and Washington counties. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 162(11):1026-34.
[4] Ousseny Z, Iosif AM, Delwiche L, Walker C, Hertz I [2011]. Month of conception and the risk of autism. Epidemilology 22(4):469-75.
[5] Study Suggests Preemie, Autism Link WebMD http://www.webmd.com/…/20080402/study-suggests-preemie-autism-link…
[6] Boyles S. [2008]. Study Suggests Preemie, Autism Link. http://www.webmd.com/…/20080402/study-suggests-preemie-autism-link…%5D.
[7] McDowell MJ [2004]. Is autism statistically linked to early non-maternal child care? [http://cogprints.org/3747/1/Autism-Statistical.html].
[8] World Atlas. [www.worldatlas.com/…/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-au…]. Accessed: April 2017.
[9] VanMeter KC, Christiansen LE, Delwiche LD, Azari R, Carpenter T, Hertz I [2010]. Geographical distribution of autism in California: a retrospective birth cohort analysis. Autism Res 3(1):19-29.S
[10] Worldwatch Institute. [www.worldwatch.org/node/5920]. Accessed June 2017.
[11] United Press International [2006]. The age of autism: Amish bill introduced. [www.upi.com/The-Age-of-Autism-Amish-bill-in…/35321154110819/]. Accessed: April 2017.
[12] Combatting Autism from Within [2008]. Guess What? The Amish Vaccinate! [http://combatingautismfromwithin.blogspot.com/…/guess-what-…].

Well, Mr Owens, first you’ll need to change your theory because 1) the Amish *do* have autism and 2) many of us with family members who are/were autistic can trace these members back a few generations, well before the fluorescent lights. Since you gave reference numbers but no articles, we can’t tell if your research is as good as the other stuff spouted off about autism increasing without taking diagnostic substitution into account.

Oren Evans @59: But homes don’t have fluorescent lighting. So unless *only* children in daycare develop autism, then it can’t be the lights.
A few other confounders you didn’t account for: Day cares and pre schools are staffed by early childhood experts (by schooling or experience or both) who are more likely to notice developmental delays compared to parents who don’t have as many kids to compare against. Therefore children are more likely to get diagnosed sooner.

The PNW has a large tech sector and many older fathers, both of which are also correlated with higher autism diagnosis rates.

Finally, if this were true, then all of Canada, Scandinavia and Russia would be autistic.

The vast majority of compact fluorescent lamps with built-in drivers capacitively filter the full-wave rectified AC mains voltage to DC with relatively low ripple content, then drive the tube with a switch-mode converter running well into the kilohertz range, vastly above the flicker fusion threshold of any human. The same applies to modern electronic ballasts for linear fluorescent tubes. Many commercial buildings have switched to T5 (5/8″ diameter) fluorescent tubes and the only available drivers are electronic. With older magnetic ballast circuits designed to drive an even number of tubes (2 or 4 per ballast), phase shifting between the individual tubes doubles the effective flicker frequency.

I don’t buy the hypothesis, and it certainly isn’t supported by the behavior of any reasonably modern fluorescent lighting apparatus, with the possible exception of phase-angle controlled dimmable types, which are not at all common.

Guess where the idea that the Amish don’t have Autism comes from?

From Dan Olmsted.

My original comment with the references was too large so I couldn’t send it. I tend to believe the Doctors who treat the Amish and not those that have an ax to grind.. Here are the references:
References
[1] Children with Autism Detect Targetsat very Rapid Presentation Rates with similar Results as Adults Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders January 2016 DOI:10.1007/s10803-016-2705-9
[2] Kuller R, Thorbjorn L [1998]. The impact of flicker from fluorescent lighting on well-being, performance and physiological arousal. Ergonomics 41(4):433-47.
[3] Waldman M, Nicholson S, Adilov N, Williams J [2008]. Autism prevalence and precipitation rates in California, Oregon, and Washington counties. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 162(11):1026-34.
[4] Ousseny Z, Iosif AM, Delwiche L, Walker C, Hertz I [2011]. Month of conception and the risk of autism. Epidemilology 22(4):469-75.
[5] Study Suggests Preemie, Autism Link WebMD http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20080402/study-suggests-preemie-autism-link#1
[6] Boyles S. [2008]. Study Suggests Preemie, Autism Link. http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20080402/study-suggests-preemie-autism-link#1%5D.
[7] McDowell MJ [2004]. Is autism statistically linked to early non-maternal child care? [http://cogprints.org/3747/1/Autism-Statistical.html].
[8] World Atlas. [www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-autism.html]. Accessed: April 2017.
[9] VanMeter KC, Christiansen LE, Delwiche LD, Azari R, Carpenter T, Hertz I [2010]. Geographical distribution of autism in California: a retrospective birth cohort analysis. Autism Res 3(1):19-29.S
[10] Worldwatch Institute. [www.worldwatch.org/node/5920]. Accessed June 2017.
[11] United Press International [2006]. The age of autism: Amish bill introduced. [www.upi.com/The-Age-of-Autism-Amish-bill-introduced/35321154110819/]. Accessed: April 2017.

I am currently trying to get data from Japan, India and UC Davis. Japan is one culture but two electrical frequencies, the northern half of the main island uses 50 cycle and the southern half 60 cycle. I predict that the northern half will have the highest rate of autism. Remote areas of India has villages without any electricity, I predict little of no autism. A UC Davis study linked a higher risk of autism with some freeway sections but not major roads. The increased risk was for dwellings that were less than 334 yards from the center of the freeway. Considering the width of California freeways that would put the dwellings close to the freeway. I have made many requests but have gotten no response. I believe that Google Earth street level function will show the back (bedroom side) of the dwellings facing the freeway and street lights on those sections. LED, mercury vapor and sodium vapor all have a more pronounced flicker than fluorescent light.

Looking at your predictions:

If a slower flicker rate increases autism than incandescent bulbs would be the main cause of autism (no flicker).

Lower rates of autism in remote areas of India and I am assuming other remote poor areas of world will have lower autism rates. A simple answer if your prediction is correct is that these areas have poor access to medical attention thus autism is not diagnosed (also infant mortality is much higher).

I don’t think your arguments hold much water.

But kudos for at least having citations.

Its a shame the pro-vaccine put so much effort into denying the science.

Vaccines cause brain injuries and autoimmune diseases. Craig Egan is promoting the ongoing epidemic of vaccine injury.

We already know what causes autism, but the medical industry chooses to not understand the science. Autism is caused by inflammation in the brain during prenatal and postnatal development, and the cytokines IL-6 and IL-17a specifically. Aluminum adjuvant in vaccines travels to the brain and causes long term chronic inflammation and stimulation of these cytokines. Thats why vaccines cause autism, and its also why the science done to date (on MMR and thimerosal) has (mostly) come up empty.

This well known quote by U Sinclair captures perfectly why the medical industry has such a hard time understanding the science of autism causation.

“its difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” –Upton Sinclair

Hmmmm – Oren left reference 12 (from his FriendFace post) from his list in post #70. I wonder why.

He says in post #59 “…and Dr. Kevin Strauss practicing in the Pennsylvania Amish area has seen no idiopathic autism, classic autism”, and cites reference 11, which is, as friend Julian notes, is from Dan Olmsted.

But Reference 12 ( http://combatingautismfromwithin.blogspot.com/2008/01/guess-what-amish-vaccinate.html ) has this to say –

Strauss says he doesn’t see “idiopathic autism” at the clinic, which he defines as children with average or above average IQs who display autistic behavior. “My personal experience is we don’t see a lot of Amish children with idiopathic autism. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that we aren’t seeing them at the clinic.”

He says a child in the general population is more likely to have autism detected early and to receive a diagnosis than an Amish child. “Amish child may not be referred to an MD or psychologist because the child is managed in the community, where they have special teachers,” he says. “We know autism when we see it, but we don’t go actively into the Amish community and screen for ASD.”

Strauss adds that the Amish have a high prevalence of genetic risk factors and are protected from others. The low rate of idiopathic autism “might have more to do what genetic structure of population than lifestyle, environment or diet.”

What do you do for a living when cherry picking is out of season, Oren?

Vaccine Papers: “Autism is caused by inflammation in the brain during prenatal and postnatal development, and the cytokines IL-6 and IL-17a specifically.”

So why are there more cytokines from a vaccine than from something like a full pertussis or Hib infection?

“So why are there more cytokines from a vaccine than from something like a full pertussis or Hib infection?”

Because its only the cytokines in the brain that matter. Aluminum adjuvant induces cytokines and inflammation in the brain specifically.

Also, the DURATION of the inflammation is also important. An infectious illness induces a brief inflammation (which typically does not significantly impact the brain). By comparison, aluminum adjuvant particles remain in the brain for months or years, causing long term chronic inflammation.

Normal infectious illnesses reactions do not cause significant brain inflammation, and do not cause long term chronic inflammation in the brain.

VP: You didn’t answer the question. Chris asked you why there are more cytokines from a vaccine, which is antigens, a killed virus, or weakend virus, than from the actual disease.

Saying that only the cytokines in the brain matter does not answer his question. So I’ll ask again: Why would a vaccine produce more cytokines than the actual disease?

And you’re wrong about infectious diseases not causing significant brain inflammation. Hib and measles are two in particular that are known to do that.

The first cases were diagnosed in the early 1940’s. Fluorescent lighting became commercially available in 1938.

Silly bunny. Kanner gave the condition that name in 1943. Are you going to tell us that there were no diagnoses of Down’s Syndrome before someone gave that name to Trisomy-21?

Dr Down diagnosed autistic patients in 1887.
https://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/professional/savant-syndrome/resources/articles/dr-j-landon-down-and-developmental-disorders/

VP: “Because its only the cytokines in the brain that matter”

So the lack of oxygen getting the brain because the pertussis, Hib (epiglottitis), diphtheria is just a minor concern compared to those terrible vaccine induced cytokines.

Of course the encephalitis and meningitis from Hib is not your concern. Obviously you don’t care if a kid becomes permanently disabled by the actual disease.

Chris, first let me thank you for responding to my post. After supper I watched the you tube video you recommended and was amazed that they were attaching significance to gene changes that were found in only 1 or 2 % of autistic people. It seemed like they were standing in a wind storm grasping at straws.
My theory is based on a genetic trait that 100 % of autistic people have.
You asked what had changed in the last 30 years, if you read my theory you would see that it was the introduction of the screw in fluorescent bulb. I’m glad that you mentioned families getting involved.
I have just started trying to get families to volunteer to be part of my research. There is no money involved, no interviews, no Dr.s visits. This would be for newborns and expectant parents. All I want to know is the birth date, the birth weight and gender. After 2 years I will contact the to see if the child is on the spectrum. Of course I will ask that the child avoid fluorescent lighting as much as possible. If you would like to volunteer contact me at [email protected]..

herr doktor bimler, Dr. Kammer said it was a new and never before seen condition but you didn’t mention that. So yes I don’t think it existed prior to fluorescent lighting.

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