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Harlem Vaccine Forum: RFK Jr.’s fiasco of an attempt to court African-Americans

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reached out to the African-American Community in Harlem with his antivaccine message. It didn’t go so well. First, Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Committee was going to host it, bailed due to negative publicity. Then RFK Jr. was kicked out of his venue during his speech because the event went way over time. RFK Jr.’s efforts do, however, show how white antivaxers are a danger to African-Americans and other minority communities through their active, albeit hamfisted, attempts to promote antivaccine misinformation to them.

Over the last couple of weeks, I discussed the strange saga of the Harlem Vaccine Forum, a free public forum that was originally scheduled to be held on September 14, rescheduled for October 19, cancelled, and then held anyway at a different venue. It was, of course, in reality an antivaccine forum that was originally going to be held at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters and feature a number of antivaxers, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Gary Null, Curtis Cost, Mary Holland, Sheila Ealey, and more; that is, until the press got wind of the forum and started asking questions and writing articles about Rev. Sharpton hosting antivaxers. Rev. Sharpton, unsurprisingly, canceled. He also lied about his interest in the forum, claiming that he wasn’t even sure that he was going to attend, even though Curtis Cost had written on his blog that RFK Jr. and Rev. Sharpton had chosen October 19 so that both could attend. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, RFK Jr. would not be deterred, and his child-endangering Children’s Health Defense found another location, historic Riverside Church in Harlem, and the antivax confab went on as planned.

Before I describe the event, let me provide a bit of a spoiler: It was a disaster, a total train wreck. Basically, because of poor planning and speakers unable stay within their allotted time, the event went way, way over the time period for which they had rented the church’s assembly hall, leading the church to cut off the microphone in the middle of RFK Jr.’s talk (naturally, he spoke at the end) and kick the Children’s Health Defense and all the attendees out. It was epic in its hilariousness. Also, not surprisingly, it spawned a bunch of conspiracy theories about how “They” were so threatened by the Harlem Vaccine Forum that “They” made sure to shut it down.

The Harlem Vaccine Forum

For my purposes, it helps a lot that antivaxers are always eager to publicize their activities; so helpfully they livestreamed the event on multiple Facebook pages. You can watch their antivax confab in Harlem if you wish, although I wouldn’t recommend it. It lasted over three hours, and even I couldn’t handle that much antivaccine propaganda. So I merely sampled it. Here’s part one:

Here’s part two:

And here’s a shot of the audience. I can’t help but note an—shall we say?—unexpected paucity of melanin for an event held at a Harlem church:

You can see the point where the confab went over and the whole group was kicked out of the assembly hall at around the 30-35 minute mark in this video:

Also see the 18 minute mark or so in part 2.

Getting kicked out of the space led RFK Jr. and the rest to go out on the street:

Naturally, the conspiracy theories flowed. In this post, an antivaxer commented:

No, they cut off the mic and told everyone to leave because we were slightly over time. Bobby offered to cover the cost, but they just got mad at us and yelled at us to get out.

And another:

because he dared speak about the corruption on this issue of a certain political party. That pastor knows what side his bread is buttered on. The irony of timing of the shut down and what Bobby was speaking about was not lost on me.

In another place, antivaxers claim that it was “overcapacity”:

Maybe. Or maybe it was because the church pastor or manager of the space didn’t realize that this was an antivax confab when he accepted a last-minute deal to rent the place to RFK Jr. and wasn’t going to let them go beyond the bare minimum it took for the church to honor its contract. Or maybe the church had an event scheduled in the evening that it needed time to set up for, such as Saturday evening church services or a wedding? Maybe the church realized that it had made a massive mistake in booking this group and wasn’t going to let RFK Jr. off the hook by accepting his offer to pay for the additional time the Harlem Vaccine Forum went over. I was also not surprised at the sheer sense of entitlement of the organizers and attendees. This manifested itself in outrage when the church told them that the event had run too long and the church’s lack of interest in more money to continue the event beyond the allotted time.

Indeed, RFK Jr. himself took to Instagram later on Saturday:

Meanwhile, antivaccine sites tried to amplify this message and proclaim that RFK Jr. had been “silenced.” For example, here’s the antivaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism portraying RFK Jr. as “Silenced at Harlem Vaccine Forum Event,” citing a blog post from an antivaxer whose ‘nym is Fed Up Democrat. (Why do I get the feeling that this guy is a Trump supporter? I’ve learned that “disaffected liberal” and “fed up Democrat” are basically synonyms for Trump supporters.) In any event, this Fed Up Democrat proclaimed the Harlem Vaccine Forum as:

500 People Attend Vaccine Forum

Amazing Diverse Turn Out!

No Mainstream News Coverage

RFK Names Names!

“Amazing diverse turn out”? I suppose that’s one way to spin the small number of African-Americans who attended compared to what one would expect at an event in Harlem specifically targeting the African American community. I must admit, though, I found it utterly hilarious that all the antivaxers on the bill were so long-winded that their bloviations ended up cutting off their keynote speaker before his speech was finished and getting them all kicked out of the venue! Now that’s some bad planning! One man even could be heard mentioning it in the video for part 2, complaining about “five moms” who “all said the same thing” that took up so much time that RFK Jr. ran out of time, asking why they couldn’t have had just three instead?

But what about the content itself? I’m going to admit again right here and right now that I didn’t watch the whole thing. Rather, I surfed it and picked out interesting bits to comment on. Much of what I saw was the same nonsense that I’ve heard a million times before from antivaxers, the same pseudoscience, the same conspiracy theories, the same everything, with Curtis Cost as the MC. I also saw pandering to the African-American audience, such as when Mary Holland, the first speaker, invoked Frederick Douglass, wondering what side he would be on regarding the issue of vaccine mandates, claiming that he spoke out against vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, it’s true. Frederick Douglass did tell a reporter in 1882 that he believed that mandatory vaccines encroached on people’s liberty and freedom of choice, stating that compulsory vaccination had long offended his “logical faculty” as a man opposed to every species of arbitrary power. Of course, back then medicine was much more primitive and one might understand a former slave feeling that way. Of course, a white privileged lawyer invoking slavery to label vaccine mandates as an offense against freedom is the height of irony and lack of self-awareness.

Fortunately, there are at least two antivaxers providing blow-by-blow accounts, the aforementioned Fed Up Democrat announcing Health Freedom in Harlem, NY and James Grundvig, who incongruously bills his title as Investigative Reporter and whose account, RFK Jr Kicked out of Church: Vaccine Censorship Rolls on, was published on the antivaccine blog Vaxxter yesterday.

In any case, the next speaker was Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, an antivaccine pediatrician that we’ve discussed before. He started out using a bogus example of a car manufacturer who can’t be sued for defects in the cars it manufactures and whose car the state mandates that everyone buy. All I could think listening to this was: How is one of these things not like the other? Also: Parents can sue for compensation. The law just requires that they go through Vaccine Court first. He also complained about how other pediatricians have told parents not to come back to see them if they continue to see Dr. Palevsky. I can see how that would appeal to antivaxers, but in reality if I were a pediatrician I would very much hesitate to see a patient who’s going to see such a quack for vaccine and other medical advice as well.

As described by Fed Up Democrat, he also laid down heaping helpings of antivaccine nonsense:

Dr. Palvesky said in over 20 years that he has spent working with vaccine injured children, he can say the following injuries can and do result from vaccination:

Asthma, allergies, eczema, ear infections, sleep disorders, cancer, Autism, ADD/ADHD, sensory disorders, speech disorders, problems with motor coordination, behavioral problems, autoimmune disease, infertility, commas and death.

Because to antivaxers, the opinions of a lone pediatrician extolling his “clinical experience” (which can be profoundly misleading) is more likely to be correct than the mountains of science that have failed to find a link between vaccinations and any of these adverse outcomes. (Also, vaccines cause “commas”? Who knew?) Palevsky also blamed those evil atheists and secularists:

Palevsky also warned that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution in August recognizing non-religious affiliation in our country as being on the rise and they desire to empower those people. Dr. Palevsky said the effect of this resolution will be an attempt t0 take away both the religious and conscientious beliefs of the individual. He said that he doubts if most elected Democratic officials are even aware of this resolution or it’s implications.

Sure, Larry. Whatever.

Next up were several parents, including Sheila Ealey, an African-American mother of an autistic son who was featured in VAXXED and, alas, has become a de facto ambassador to the African American community for Andrew Wakefield and other white antivaxers. Eventually, we got to more of the headliners, starting with Phil Valentine, who started out saying, “Greetings to all you antivax deplorables”. He was actually a little funny, in that he used self-deprecating humor, at one point saying that he was here to “report on the latest conspiracy theories from the antivax lunatic fringe”, although he quickly added, “soon to be heretics from the high handed religion of vaccination”. Later in his talk he invoked the Nuremberg Code, which of course is a code regarding the ethics of research involving human subjects. Antivaxers love to invoke it, largely because it allows them to let the Nazi and Holocaust analogies flow freely with respect to vaccine mandates, but it doesn’t really apply to standard-of-care nonexperimental treatments.

At this point, part 1 ended, and Cost announced that there would a ten-minute break, with the promise that RFK Jr. and Gary Null would speak next. At the beginning of part 2, RFK Jr. took the stage. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t say anything that I haven’t heard before from him. (I really have listened to too many of his speeches.) He started out discussing how it was mercury in vaccines that first got him, as an environmentalist, involved in “vaccine safety”. It’s true, of course. His “Deadly Immunity” article was all a conspiracy theory in which the CDC knowingly covered up evidence that the mercury in vaccines then caused autism. Recall that, up until 2002, many childhood vaccines used the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal. After that, the thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines, and it wasn’t long before it was removed from all childhood vaccines. Autism prevalence continued to climb with nary a blip, perhaps the best natural experiment refuting the claim that mercury causes autism one can imagine. That didn’t stop RFK Jr., though. Although RFK Jr. did cling to the thimerosal/autism conspiracy theory for a lot longer than most antivaxers, even Generation Rescue (which has since apparently pivoted to a more general autism quackery grift), he did eventually pivot to a more general set of “vaccines are bad” pseudoscientific claims, including the toxins gambit and many others.

RFK Jr. also bragged about having access to officials “at the highest level of government” and with the heads of many government science and regulatory agencies because of his family name, name dropping, for instance, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. Indeed, RFK Jr. bragged about talking to high CDC officials and heavy hitters in the world of vaccine science like Dr. Paul Offit, and how unimpressed he was by their arguments. Unbelievably, RFK Jr. claimed that none of them could provide him with a coherent or convincing argument with respect to the science. He even claimed that they lied to him, a claim that I call BS. He claimed that, for instance, when he asked Dr. Offit why there were all these warnings against eating fish because of mercury when at the same time the government was saying that it was safe to “inject mercury”, Dr. Offit responded that there are two kinds of mercury, good mercury and bad mercury. Knowing Dr. Offit personally, I highly doubt he said it like that. He might have used similar terminology, but I really doubt he was that flippant or simplistic. That’s just not how Dr. Offit rolls. It is correct, though, that elemental mercury is not the same, chemically speaking, the same as ethyl mercury (thimerosal). In any event, I was amused that RFK Jr. was dwelling on an old antivax claim, the refuted hypothesis that mercury in vaccines causes autism, a claim that’s not even relevant any more given that it’s been 17 years since there’s been significant mercury in childhood vaccines. Children born the year mercury was taken out of vaccines are now close to finishing high school! That being said, I did not in the least appreciate RFK Jr. accusing Dr. Offit of lying. Don’t get me wrong. Dr. Offit can be mistaken about some things, just like any other human being can be. For example, claims in a recent book that Rachel Carson’s criticism of DDT resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions in Third World countries due to malaria. He’s excruciatingly wrong about this, but he’s not a liar. Quite the contrary, in my interactions with him, at least, he’s always been honest and polite to a fault, a true class act.

In any event, it was just RFK Jr. being RFK Jr.: A crank with no honor.

Also, as I mentioned above, the most vocal and activist antivaxers tend to be overwhelmingly white and fairly affluent. They also tend to be entitled and have a massive victim complex. Unfortunately, that’s why it’s not surprising that the antivax webpage Hear This Well is making some truly offensive analogies:

Have these people never heard of a contract? Presumably RFK Jr. or his representative for Children’s Health Defense signed one. Presumably that contract specified a start time and an end time for their access to the venue. Having dealt with these sorts of contracts occasionally in the past, I know that there’s often some flexibility, but the church was under no obligation to extend the time, even for more money. Again, I wonder if perhaps the pastor knew when he signed the contract what he was renting the church’s space for and had had second thoughts in the interim between signing the contract and the actual event.

Enter the conspiracy theories

This brings me to the James Grundvig’s post about the Harlem Vaccine Forum, which he ahistorically renamed the “Harlem Children’s Health Forum” (never mind that every flier advertising the confab called it the Harlem Vaccine Forum). Grundvig both lays down antivaccine conspiracy theories as to why the event was shut down and tries to defend RFK Jr. against the charge that white antivaxers are preying upon vulnerable communities.

Let’s see how Grundvig characterizes the fiasco that occurred on Saturday:

The war to silence vaccine injuries came to a head on a leafy autumn Saturday in a Harlem church overlooking the Hudson River. I witnessed the display first hand when I attended the three-hour event, “The Harlem Children’s Health Forum” on October 19, 2019. The event had been set up weeks before with Reverend Al Sharpton scheduled as one of the keynote speakers. But the firebrand reverend, the enforcer of rights for the African-American community, abruptly dropped out of the forum two days before putting the event and its location in doubt.

The forum’s host and producer, Curtis Cost, author of the 2010 book “Vaccines Are Dangerous,” continued to negotiate with the church on Friday, narrowing its scope from a four-and-a-half-hour event down to three hours.

Clearly, Big Pharma and its proxies moved swiftly to subvert and prevent the forum from taking place. No doubt, chasing Sharpton away from defending his own community was no small victory for Big Pharma and the bought politicians of New York City.

Well that’s interesting. My guess is that Rev. Sharpton canceled the Harlem Vaccine Forum because he’s acutely sensitive to public relations and public opinion. When newspapers, both local and national, started to report on his involvement with the forum, he showed that he valued his National Action Network more than he valued doing a solid for what I assume to be his buddy Curtis Cost. Of course, Curtis Cost, as I noted before, was antivaccine before Andrew Wakefield sparked the latest iteration of the modern antivaccine movement nearly 22 years ago; so that makes Rev. Sharpton suspect to me on the topic of vaccines.

What was of most interest to me was Grundvig’s description of what happened when the church cut off RFK Jr.’s microphone. (Oh, how I would have loved to see that in person!) According to Grundvig:

By the time Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., stepped up to the podium it was 3:40 pm. A fifteen-minute break, combined with too many speakers, had robbed him of his time to speak, the information that the people of Harlem and elsewhere had come to hear.

As he was explaining how he transformed from an environmental activist to health advocacy and vaccines, Curtis Cost slipped Kennedy a sheet of paper. RFK read the note aloud: “One minute! I have one minute left to speak?”

As confusion and a furious discussion set in, the church’s (micro-) manager came forward and told them the forum was over and that they had to leave. People booed and shouted. Kennedy tried to negotiate, stating he would pay the church for the extra time.

No. Nothing doing.

The very rude and diminutive church manager stridently refused the offer. Kennedy picked up the mic to address the audience, but then the church cut the power to the audio system.

Confusion reigned.

The loud church manager shouted for everyone to get out now, declaring how the crowded hall was suddenly a fire hazard. She then called the police, which sent one SUV to the front of the church on Riverside Drive to clear the hall.

The obviously Pharma-forced eviction from the church empowered Kennedy to finish his speech on the streets of Harlem, a move that would have made MLK proud.

And there an antivaxer goes again with the specious, highly offensive comparison of the “plight” of white, affluent, privileged antivaxers who’ve lost their personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates, a.k.a. (to me, at least) the “I don’t wanna” exemption, to the struggles of African-Americans to claim the civil rights denied them for so much of our history. One more time: The antivaccine movement is not the “new civil rights movement,” no matter how much its members try to delude themselves otherwise. There’s also no evidence that big pharma had anything to do with shutting down the Harlem Vaccine Forum. It’s just an all-purpose bit of antivax conspiracy mongering to try to blame it on that. I also can’t help but note that Grundvig basically insulted the church manager for being short (“diminutive”).

It can’t be repeated enough times how incredibly offensive Grundvig’s comparing the antivaccine movement to the civil rights movement and to victims of violence and discrimination due to race or sex is. I mean, really. Getting kicked out of a church because your planning and discipline were poor and you went over the allotted time you paid for is nowhere near like having acid thrown at you or being denied opportunities because of your gender. Their claimed “right” not to vaccinate is not anything like the right to equal treatment under the law and to freedom from discrimination that blacks, minorities, women, and LGBTQ people have been fighting for.

In fact, white antivaxers have tried to take advantage of minority communities on more than one occasion in the recent past. Remember, it was antivaxers in Minnesota, overwhelmingly white, who spread misinformation that convinced the Somali immigrant community in Hennepin County that vaccines cause autism and led them to refuse vaccination, creating multiple large measles outbreaks. During the political battle over SB 277 in California, the law that eliminated nonmedical “personal belief exemptions” to school vaccine mandates, RFK Jr. teamed up with the Nation of Islam to promote his message to African-American communities. It’s an alliance that continues to this day and now appears to include the Church of Scientology, with which the Nation of Islam is closely allied. After the release of VAXXED, the antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary, Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, and other antivaxers went to Compton to try to recruit African-Americans to the antivaccine movement.

Grundvig tries to defend this, too. He cites a Tweet by Dr. Peter Hotez criticizing RFK Jr. for targeting vulnerable populations. Then he says about the Somali immigrant population in Minnesota:

Without adding context to his “predatory targeting” race-baiting screed, Hotez failed to support his vaccine Molotov cocktail with facts. No matter. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., addressed the issue in a 2017 article, “Somali Parents’ Rational Concerns About Vaccine Safety.”

In the detailed scientific referenced article, RFK Jr. wrote:

… the children of Minneapolis’s Somalis suffer the highest known rate of severe autism in the world—one in 32, according to University of Minnesota researchers.

The strange (not really) part about Dr. Hotez’s statement of “predatory protection” boils down to the untested, unsafe vaccines and its bloated schedule that he’s fully aware of the academic research and the high autism rate in Minnesota.

No, Mr. Grundvig. Dr. Hotez is quite correct. Antivaxers saw information about a higher than expected prevalence of autism among the Minnesota Somali immigrant community and pounced. White antivaxers descended upon the community with fear mongering about vaccines, and the result turned out to be measles outbreaks, thanks to the very low uptake of the MMR vaccine that resulted from all the antivaccine misinformation and fear mongering among the Somalis. Hell, even in the depths of a measles outbreak, antivaxers doubled down promoting antivaccine misinformation.

Of course, Grundvig also can’t help but invoking the “CDC whistleblower”:

For five years, Peter Hotez has been fully aware of the CDC’s corruption of data, science, and the truth. He knows about the CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson, who recounted the corruption in his epidemiology study masking the fact that African-Americans male infants were 340% more likely to get autism from the MMR vaccine than boys from other populations. (1) (2) (3) Strike three, you’re out, Hotez!

No, Mr. Grundvig. Just no. As has been explained many times, the whole “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory does not show that the MMR vaccine produces an increased risk of autism in African-American boys.

Antivaxers know that African-Americans have ample reason to distrust the medical system and seek to take advantage of that understandable distrust. Now they’re doing it again. What’s disappointing is that Rev. Al Sharpton was all ready to aid and abet this effort and only backed out because the national press noticed. Fortunately, given that the turnout appeared to be, by and large, the same people in the New York City area who always turn out to these events, they appear to have failed. Unfortunately, as you can see from the posts quoted above, that failure has already provided the seeds for conspiracy theories about how “They” shut this conference down. It didn’t, however, make any significant inroads for antivaccine views within the African-American community beyond the old school antivaccine beliefs that were already there.

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]

172 replies on “Harlem Vaccine Forum: RFK Jr.’s fiasco of an attempt to court African-Americans”

Out of all the antivax nonsense reported here, this bit jumped at me:

he can say the following injuries can and do result from vaccination:[…] ear infections

“ear infections”? Is there a vaccine we inject into children’ ears?
Maybe this pediatrician has read Hamlet before going to bed and confused viper venom for vaccines.

OK, I guess it’s the usual “vaccines weaken the immune system, yadda yadda”. But, still, there are known causative agents for ear infections, we call them bacteria. So it’s really weird to see it blamed on vaccines. Well, weirder than the rest. I try to keep an open mind with the other ailments, but this one, nope.

Re: RKF jr running out of time and everybody getting offended the Church managers enforced the end of the event:
I take it these antivax people never attended scientific conferences. Or business meetings. Heck, just check the way the Ig Nobel recipients are kept in line during their acceptation speech.
Indeed, the sense of entitlement of these people is overbearing.

A competent and sufficiently assertive moderator/chairman would have saved them quite a bit of embarrassment. Unfortunately it takes a remotely competent organiser to realise that (and to book the venue with some time buffer). Does anyone actually know how much they overshot both planned and booked time?

A competent and sufficiently assertive moderator/chairman would have saved them quite a bit of embarrassment.

Aye, there’s the rub. I’ve been to numerous anti-vaxx confabs and there is zero moderation; each speaker droning on as though they were the most important voice at the venue. Every single one has run into this problem with the last speakers/performers/whathaveyou shorted due to limited venue time and piss poor planning. Yet here they are, shocked again at the nerve of those telling them to wrap it up.

One thing that I found interesting is this part of Grundvig’s account:

The forum’s host and producer, Curtis Cost, author of the 2010 book “Vaccines Are Dangerous,” continued to negotiate with the church on Friday, narrowing its scope from a four-and-a-half-hour event down to three hours.

I had a couple of thoughts. First, that the church wouldn’t rent the hall to the antivaxers for the four and a half hours that they apparently wanted suggests that the church had the hall booked for something else that evening and were basically squeezing this event in beforehand. Second, it looks to me as though, instead of cutting some speakers to make sure that the event came in at well under 3 hours, Cost just left the lineup the same, and now he (and RFK Jr.) are shocked—shocked, I say!—that they ran out of time less than ten minutes into RFK Jr.’s speech. I also can’t help but wonder whether Cost and RFK Jr. had some inkling that they were going to go over. After all, Gary Null didn’t get to speak, even though, from what I read in the comments, he claimed he was at the event. Now, there’s no way Mr. Null was going to be the final speaker, in essence the keynote. Presumably, as the biggest antivax name other than RFK Jr., he was very likely scheduled to speak right before RFK Jr.

Reading between the lines, I suspect that RFK Jr. and Cost knew as the conference wound down that they were running short on time and tried to sneak RFK Jr.’s speech in, gambling that if he went over the church wouldn’t kick them out until after RFK Jr. finished speaking and that if the church agreed to extend their time in the hall they could let Gary Null speak after RFK Jr. I don’t know if my suspicion is correct or not, but it is not unreasonable and fits what I observed. After all, RFK Jr. spoke for a total of over a half hour, putting them over by at least 20 minutes. If Null had been allowed to speak, my guess is that that would have brought the time closer to four hours total, which, coming back to my first observation, would have fit with the antivaxers not changing their lineup to account for having had their originally planned time in the hall slashed by one third.

In any event, I remain extremely amused at how long-winded antivaxers are and how they seem unable to keep their events within an allotted time, given the other examples of this sort of thing happening that commenters have cited. In this case, the result was particularly embarrassing. On the other hand, perhaps they basically refused to change their lineup and had planned all along to dare the church to kick them out when they ran over their allotted time, knowing that they could spin it into a conspiracy theory about RFK Jr.’s speech being “suppressed.” Nahhh. I don’t think they’re that clever or could plan that far in advance. Also, as others have said, they would have spun the same conspiracy theory about being “suppressed” no matter what. If the forum had gone off without a hitch, they would have bragged about pulling the forum off even though big pharma “had gotten to” Rev. Sharpton.

as though they were the most important voice

This is precisely the issue: in their own eyes, they are. They are holy warriors with a mission from dog and are there to deliver a message. So the message will get delivered.
OK, I shouldn’t be so harsh. The non-grifters are people with grievances (badly-aimed ones as to the cause, but real grievances, for the most part, anyway) and they are just happy to have a place full of listeners where they can unpack.

That they all fall to acknowledge is, that their comrades also have important things to say, at least from their own point-of-view.
So they end up hogging the spotlight and pushing their less lucky fellows out of it.

I take it these antivax people never attended scientific conferences.

If they turn up at any scientific conferences where I have to chair, they had better watch out. I don’t put up with any of this going over time nonsense. It is disrespectful to all the other presenters.

I’ve never been allowed to go over time at a conference. Never seen it happen either, though I suppose it does.

Heck, I had a strict 20 minute time limit to do my mini lecture that was part of my interview for my teaching job. They also required a Power Point with embeded video and an active learning activity all in that 20 minutes.

Palevsky musta missed all the research showing (as any competent pediatrician would tell you) that ear infections decreased when PCV-7 (pneumococcal) vaccine came out.

I’m glad to see pediatricians surrounding Palevsky have ostracized him.

Mr. Grundvig’s narration itself shows that this wasn’t a pharma conspiracy but, as you point out, bad planning. They knew they were allowed the contract for three hours rather than the initial four and more. They used that time for other things than RFK jr., and then complained when they were expected to honor their contract and follow the rules that would apply to anybody. That’s hardly to their credit.

The irony is that the same thing happened to RFK jr. in the California testimony – other activists used up the time and there was none left for him, and there, too, they blamed a conspiracy rather than take responsibility.

If they originally planned for five and got only three that really sounds like their last minute venue could only give them three.

I wonder if the petite person who cut the audio had lectured them beforehand about the need to clear for the next event.

At this point, part 1 ended, and Cost announced that there would a ten-minute break, with the promise that RFK Jr. and Gary Null would speak next. At the beginning of part 2, RFK Jr. took the stage.

Does this mean that Null didn’t speak at all?

I really don’t want to watch the whole thing to find the answer to my question.

But this Harlem Vaccine Meeting is a balls-up of truly epic proportions.

No, he didn’t. To make matters worse, it seems he was running a health retreat in Texas and had to fly to NY. On his show ( IIRC Tuesday early part of broadcast, PRN) he mentions how badly the event was run. He says he knows Mr Cost who is a great charla…. I mean person. They probably put Null on last because he tends to rant on for hours .

He’s another whitey who claims a special relationship to Black people: he’s given health retreats** in Black churches in NY and shockingly, even arranged diet / exercise interventions in a mostly Black charter school in Newark, NJ, which was run by a former music teacher who fell for his “science”. (See also video on PRN which addresses his interventions for hiv/aids and makes use of Black journalists and television hosts). So he has a history.

** instructing church goers in how to eat, exercise and live over several weeks.

The anti-vax rally in Phoenix in May of this year went long enough that they ran their generator dry in the middle of Bigtree’s diatribe. As he was building the audience up as to how much smarter they were than their pediatricians and how the opioid crisis shows how stupid doctors are, Bigtree showed how long-winded and pompous anti-vaxxers are (https://www.facebook.com/HighWireTalk/videos/664681360657858/?t=13447). Bigtree event went so far as to crack the line “How many anti-vaxxers does it take to fix a microphone?” while waiting for someone to scrounge up some gas so they could restart the generator. And these are the people who are supposed to be so smart about vaccines?

Well, these are ‘big-picture’ people, you can’t expect them to keep up with the piddling little details can you?
/s

K, here is an honest question: Which would’ve been better — all the antivaxxers and RFKjr being allowed to speak to their mostly ‘white audience’ and the affair ending without much kerfuffle and everyone heading home, or their message inadvertently getting amplified with RFKjr getting silenced, accompanying talk of pharma interference, as well as Orac now blabbering about it and with this blog about to be shortly uploaded to other vaccine forums? On this point I might also ask, with all the measles hysteria, push to censure antivaxxers, push to mandate vaccines, and so on and so on, why is the CDC still reporting that vaccine exemptions are creeping up?! HHmmnn!

If you rent a location for a certain time, you have to leave in time, in order to give room for the next event in the same location. So if you use the location for a longer time, than qou rented it, it is just a case of bad planning and the people you rent it from, are allowed to remove you.

Of course I ment you instead of qou. Funny, those capitals are hardly close to eachother on my keyboard.

I hear you Renate, but won’t you speak to my bigger issue. In the big scheme of things will this kerfuffle benefit the pro or anti’s more?

accompanying talk of pharma interference

They would have said this anyway. They always do.
Remember, folks, the Nation of Islam rally, and the poor guy who happened to be power-washing a wall nearby? For the antivax tinfoil brigade, he was a CDC ninja in disguise, spying on the rally.
If not for him, they would have accused the non-human creature hiding in the nearby tree which watched them talk, while holding some smooth device near its mouth
(I believe it’s called a squirrel and a nut).

with RFKjr getting silenced

By his own rank-and-file colleagues, who couldn’t keep to a schedule. RFK jr and Null were their own executioners, no need for outside interference.
But of course, I shouldn’t expect to see antivax leaders accept responsibility for anything.

It will not benefit anyone and least of all the vunerable children whose parents refuse to vaccinate them.

I wouldn’t worry about it Greg. It won’t be for the reason you think it is. Out of interest, why don’t you tell us the last time scientific reality was determined by the opinions of the population as a whole? You’re big on the wisdom of the average person aintcha?

Out of interest, why don’t you tell us the last time scientific reality was determined by the opinions of the population as a whole? You’re big on the wisdom of the average person aintcha?

Numb, your comment got me reflecting on one of the greatest irony in the vaccination war. That is how incorrectly named both sides are. Let’s face it, the ‘pros’ are a lot more anti, and the ‘antis’ are a lot more pro.

For instance, provaxxers accept 1 in 6 disabled kids as just an head-scratching mystery. Even stuff that is known, the public is still deemed too stupid to get it. How anti is that! By contrast, the antivaxxers are the ones speaking of healthy kids, and suggesting prevention of disabilities and solutions.

provaxxers accept 1 in 6 disabled kids as just an head-scratching mystery.

Citation needed for this number. Supporting evidence needed for your insinuation that vaccines are responsble.

Out of interest. How many if those 1in 6 are incapable of unsupported lives? I’m probably somewhere on the spectrum myself, according to basic online tests. Not worth my while getting an official diagnosis since I’m perfectly happy as I am. I have a job, a relationship and a life.

The question becomes, what is the definition of disabled? If you’re counting obese kids in that 1 in 6 then that’s a problem with a social cause rather than a medical cause, in almost all cases. Despite all the parents who don’t want to admit any responsibility.

Greg, your comment got me thinking on the greatest irony of the anti-vax movement. They often mention the pro vax, pro science ‘religion’. Yet where do we find the most evident presence of opinion over hard evidence? Religion.

“For instance, provaxxers accept 1 in 6 disabled kids as just an head-scratching mystery. Even stuff that is known, the public is still deemed too stupid to get it. How anti is that! By contrast, the antivaxxers are the ones speaking of healthy kids, and suggesting prevention of disabilities and solutions.”

There really isn’t a lie too extreme for you is there Greg?

Neither – because the general audience doesn’t really care what you say or what anti-vaxers say…but they do get extremely pissed when disease outbreaks affect their communities.

I think you are greatly overestimating how many people care about the Harlem Vaccine summit. You are talking about literally a segment of segment of the population. A group of zealots so small in number that an event hosted in the NYC area can’t outdraw an Indy Wrestling show in Burlington Iowa, even with RFK, Sharpton and last second cancellation that got a bit of a write up in some local papers.

Yes, there is a percentage of the population that doesn’t vaccinate. It is almost impossible to unring the bell of fear. And there are plenty of folks wary of vaccines due to Bill Mahrer and others with a more significant reach.

And even an larger group turns to supplements and natural healing lifestyle advice. But that hardly means they are interested in RFKs hackneyed shenanigans or are even aware of his continued activism.

And there are skeptics who keep a close eye on RFK and company, calling him out for his follies and laying bare his anti-vaccine agenda whenever he appears on the public stage.

Between these two factions, the net result is that the Harlem Vaccine Summit does not even show up in Google Trends.

This kefuffle will have no more impact on the national consciousness than an Alanon family picnic getting displaced from the local park for not having a permit.

K, here is an honest question:

It’s always a good idea to begin with a reminder that all one’s other questions are dishonest.

No matter what the outcome had been, the anti-vaxxers would have lied about it. This is what they do.

Even if they had gone on until midnight, they would have found something to lie about. Big Pharma had intervened to keep away their audience. Big Pharma had bought off the press, so their huge shindig full of African-American protesters was not covered by national media. Big Pharma had threatened Al Sharpton, so he pulled out. It goes on and on. What they are unable to admit to is they completely botched up their own event all on their own.

Most people who know anything about this incident would conclude that Junior and his gang couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery.

The RFK Jr. mic cutoff kerfuffle was undoubtedly planned by antivaxers, to cover for the embarrassment of losing Sharpton and failing to attract a sufficient black audience.*

Another faux conspiracy was needed to keep the antivax sheeple riled up.

*and if you don’t like _that_ conspiracy theory I’ve got more.

In case people aren’t aware, Harlem is not what it used to be long ago, Black intellectuals and artists lived there during its Renaissance then it suffered an unfortunate decline BUT arose recently as really expensive real estate ( NYC is insanely priced in general)
I’m not sure how its ethnic makeup has changed but there may be more whiteys in the area. than there were 20 years ago.

I’m not sure how its ethnic makeup has changed but there may be more whiteys in the area. than there were 20 years ago.

According to these guys, central Harlem went from 2.1% white in 2000 to 14.9% in 2017

True, greater Harlem area is no longer majority black, but Central Harlem is still 62% black and had reached over 10% white by 2010, the rest being mostly immigrant:

There, blacks account for 6 in 10 residents, but those born in the United States make up barely half of all residents. Since 2000, the proportion of whites living there has more than doubled, to more than one in 10 residents — the highest since the 1940s. The Hispanic population, which was concentrated in East Harlem, is now at an all-time high in central Harlem, up 27 percent since 2000.

If that photo is any indication, though, well under half, maybe even less than a third, of the attendees were black, and well over 50% were white. That’s a major fail if the aim was to reach out to the African-American community. From the accounts on various FB pages, it sure sounds as though attendees were mostly white antivaxers from the suburbs who came into the city for this event.

My favorite vaccine side effects were “commas and death”. It’s clearly already happening to a wide swath of the public, as they left the Oxford comma off of that long list of health effects. 😉

Now as an aside ( but I notice things like this):
I scanned a few of the videos and noticed- could it really be?
White Tiered Dress Girl – from the Sacramento protests ( she was holding a US Flag upside down) in a slightly different dress
She shows up a few times here and at one point, RFK Jr says, “California Girls!”
Next to her is another one ( Stephanie?) who talks about g-d outside the building.

OK, I looked over the videos again and it is she! Same boots, same hair, same attitude, same flag manoeuvering- LOOK!’
— in the “great turn out” ( sic) image, she sits in the second row at right
— in the ‘gets thrown out’ video, she is very visible and vocal ( near mic)
— in the outdoor video, she is at the wall near RFK jr
— Somewhere ( outdoors) she meets up with two women wearing red or blue short dresses and does the flag routine as in CA
Someone remarks ” You came all the way from California?”/ RFK jr ” California girls”

These women came all the way from CA on short notice ( no cheap flights- believe me, I know)
Something about this whole scenario ( anti-vax groupies who follow the band?) is both hilarious and pathetic

The California activists, all three, were there all weekend. They did not come just for the forum. They protested outside a New York senator’s office.

Guys, as a vaccine safety advocate — ahhem, maybe I am a little anti-vaccine — here, nevertheless, is my objective take: Much of your effort to suppress the ‘antivaxxers’ is backfiring. You’re breeding distrust, and especially amongst a growing segment that are vaccines wary.

Yes, I see the compulsion to do something as opposed to nothing, but in the end, you’re likely only expediting your demise. As I said before, the ‘antivaxxers’ always win — and even when they lose.

Yet when anti-vaxer communities are hit with vaccine preventable disease outbreaks, the parents rush their kids to the doctor to get them caught up…..that’s what happened in Washington State, where there was a 300% jump in MMR immunizations.

And what happens after the media hysteria dies down? Funny how you don’t need hysteria to fear autism. In fact, even with the best effort to spin it as a ‘virtue’, parents still fear it.

Well Greg, there are a lot of things to be feared, included vaccine preventable diseases and those are the only things vaccines have an effect on, the prevent getting a vaccine preventable disease and all the concesquences of it, including death, braindamage, and other unpleasant things.
All other things a parent can fear for their child have nothing to do with vaccines.

“the church was under no obligation to extend the time, even for more money”

What’s the old saying – lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part?

Even if the church wasn’t being used for anything else afterwards, the people who have to clean and lock up afterwards might well just need/want to get home!

The very rude and diminutive church manager stridently refused the offer.

Grundvig seems to be complaining that the church manager was a dwarf.
Either that, or he does not understand the word “diminutive” and thinks it means something else.

Grundvig did ‘joke’ about “the church’s (micro-) manager”, so I think he knows full well what ‘diminutive’ means.
So yes, a dwarf. Also, a female dwarf, And a loud, uppity dwarf, at that.
The nerves of some people, I tell you. You give them good money to rent their place, and then they complain because you want to stay a few more hours.

Thanks. So Grundvig is genuinely citing the church manager’s relative lack of stature as one more reason to despise her (along with her “stridency”, i.e. her insistence that the organisers honor their contract).

He sounds nice.

I watched the part with the diminutive church manager. Shorter than average is a long way from diminutive. You wouldn’t look twice if you saw her on the street.

She wasn’t particularly rude. What they didn’t like was that she said the room was over capacity and implied that was part of the reason she wanted them to end on time. Thinking ti over that makes sense to me. It’s one thing not to order people to leave after you realized you should have never rented the venue to them but something else to rent it to them a second time. She was probably watching the whole time waiting for it to end without there being some sort of fire. When they started to run over she couldn’t stop herself. She’s the church manager–this is what she does!

The crowd had such a sense of entitlement. They thought she should let them keep going because she didn’t order them out at the beginning.

“As I said before, the ‘antivaxxers’ always win — and even when they lose.”

I’m reminded of how American generals continually reassured us during the Vietnam War that things were going great.
There’s always light at the end of the antivax tunnel, even when it’s an oncoming train.

“The very rude and diminutive church manager stridently refused the offer.”

Now I have alternative lyrics to “American Pie” going through my head.

“Antivaxers tried to hold the field
The rude and diminutive church manager refused to yield
Do you recall RFK Jr.’s squeal
The day the rally died”

It’s more like the Japanese propaganda during WWII – all about how the Japanese had had tremendous victories, each one closer to the home islands than the “victory” before.

And like the Japanese WW2 propaganda, as the prospects and support for their cause wane, the propaganda and declarations of victory become even more inflated and ludicrous.

Hoo boy – we’ve got another martyr in the making for the antivax cause. Move over Bob Sears, there’s a new exemption writer with a fast trigger finger in town.

“A California doctor who has been described as “anti-vaccine” and who has made around $180,000 from issuing vaccine exemptions was charged with gross and repeated negligence for issuing approximately 1,000 dubious exemptions over the past five years.”

“Out of every doctor in the San Diego area, Dr. Tara Zandvliet has written the most vaccine exemptions—which are the only medical exemptions legal in California, according to Ars Technica—since 2015. However, the state has called her methods into question after determining that she issued a vaccine exemption based on irrelevant medical information, according to Voice of San Diego.”

http://newsweek.com/california-antivax-doctor-exemption-1467357

Some more detail here:

http://voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/medical-board-charges-san-diego-doctor-whos-doled-out-dozens-of-vaccine-exemptions/

A few things to note: Newsweek’s math in determining Zandvliet’s income from issuing vaccine exemptions might be subject to question. Zandvliet could for instance argue that the $180 for an office visit to get an exemption includes a complete physical exam (her prices for various services are thoughtfully listed on her website – note that she does not take medical insurance, does not accept Medicare and has no staff. Apparently you book appointments online).

She has a couple of articles on her website relating to vaccination, and while quite a bit of this information is fact-based, there are a number of things she embarrassingly gets wrong. They include the claim that polio vaccine only prevents paralysis, not infection (she thinks some cases of travellers’ diarrhea may actually be polio) and an assurance that the only threat of disease transmission from unvaccinated children is to other unvaccinated children (Zandvliet, remarkably, has never heard of instances where vaccines did not “take” in certain individuals and seems blissfully unconcerned about those whose immune systems have become compromised by disease or treatment for serious diseases, and could be infected by the unvaccinated).

Expect Dr. Z. (surprisingly, not Dr. Tara) to be the new poster child for Medical Mafia/Pharma Oppression. 🙁

*Dr. Z. is “boarded” in Integrative Medicine in addition to two more, um, traditional areas and thinks acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are scientifically valid even if we don’t have the science quite yet.

So, on the one hand RFK Jr. has the ear of the famous and powerful, but on the other, he is being censored by the pharmaceutical industry and RIverside Church?!

(I still wouldn’t believe him if it was some other church, but it wouldn’t seem as absurd. He probably, correctly, figures that you have to be from the New York area and/or at least middle-aged to connect Riverside Church with left-wing activism going back at least to when the Rev. William Sloane Coffin was preaching against the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, RFK Jr. is coasting on the prestige of his family, because presidents and senators are just so anti-establishment.)

It’s not just autism, these statistics reported on the CDC site concern a large number of developmental disabilities.

To address one of your trolling point – “as just an head-scratching mystery”.
For a start, it’s “mysteries”. And just in the page you linked to, I spotted two or three leads for explaining developmental disabilities.
The fact that it’s affecting boys more than girls point to genetic and/or cultural causes (access to education, etc.).
The inverse correlation with family income hints strongly that nutrition and access to healthcare are factors. (and since the US gov is currently busy cutting all “socialist” services, like meals provided to poor children, that’s not going to improve)
Both these facts don’t correlate with vaccines.

@ Athaic:

Right. Anti-vaxxers like to toss out numbers without understanding them. Usually it is “1 in 6 has a learning disability” Sure, if you count a SD below the average/above average- it’s around 16%. Who defines what “a disability” is? Why not the 10% or 20% lowest scores in general schools? Because they used SDs.

Other disabilities may not have been considered decades ago because CRITERIA for diagnosing ASDs has changed a few times adding additional numbers ( at least twice since 1990). This added more people with average or above intelligence to the roles; there are other labels/ categories that were not included- “troublemakers” may now be called something else/ the “socially awkward” may be high functioning ASD, etc. About 1/4 ASD has an intellectual disability.

Another factor is funding: having “disabled” kids leads to more money sent to their districts in the States. Over diagnosing poor kids may actually help them learn because they get additional help in school ( my friend worked in Special ED, Remedial Reading/ Math, Speech Correction) . RFK jr and Co say that over 50% of kids have chronic illness; my SO and I both have mild issues ( asthma and allergies, respectively) that were hardly treated years ago when we were in primary/ secondary school: NOW, we would probably be counted.

But Believers in Damaged Children ** gotta believe!

** band name?

Yes, “developmental disability” means “being in the lowest 16% of capability”. It is truly a mystery why every group of people always has a lowest 16% in height, weight, intelligence or any other characteristic.

A real mystery for the pro-disease crowd is why the percent of children with mental retardation has been declining sharply https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12108622 – it’s a major challenge, since once people notice that fact, they stop being so easily frightened by the “always winning” pro-diseasers.

I find it pretty ironic that you suggest that there’s no black people in the non/ex-vax movement and that you think they’re just being “courted’ by a bunch of bored white moms. It’s even funnier that you insinuate that the black community is even able to be “taken advantage of” by a bunch of white moms due to their exploitation of their historical mistrust in the medical system. If you’re such an empowerment-minded liberal, don’t you think the black community know their histories better than anyone else and there couldn’t be a white, green, gray person out there that could use this as exploitation? Your poorly veiled superiority is just hilarious

You’re a very silly person. It’s not a matter of “taking advantage.” It’s a matter of proselytizing among disadvantaged, insular, or marginalized communities. Antivaxers did it with Somali immigrants in Minnesota. They did it with the insular Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and Rockland. It’s they who think they can come in and “save” these communities’ children from autism by peddling antivaccine misinformation.

You can also take a look at Peter Hotez’s post about how he shut down the forum. So your analysis isn’t all true.

Out of interest. How many if those 1in 6 are incapable of unsupported lives?

Numb, well if we are just considering autism, pretty much all, close to 90%. And Lawrence, in addition to all the BS you guys peddle, you pretty much sold the farm – barn, stable, horses and all!- suggesting that you are not aware of parents fearing this. Yes, in addition to being cool with having an adult autistic child that they will likely have to care for until they’re in their graves, they are also cool with that that child’s 1/3 chance of being nonverbal, and over 60% chance of being mentally or borderline retarded. Right!

https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/09/03/few-autism-independently/18647/

And yes, Dangerous One, anti-vaxxers always win. The more success you have in conning parents into vaccines, the more we will have such frightening, ‘coincidental’ outcomes, and forcing many to ‘reappraise’.

Again, Greg, you’re being specious. Your link is over 6 years old and the diagnostic criteria have widened since then. In addition, you’ve distorted it.

Only about 17 percent of young adults on the spectrum ages 21 to 25 have ever lived independently.

I was living with my parents then. Once I earned enough to move out, I did. Just because someone is still living at home at age 25 doesn’t mean he or she will never be independent.
Like I said, specious.

@ Julian Frost:

I wonder how many non ASD young adults were ALSO living with their parents ?

In and around large cities, many young adults live with their parents BECAUSE it is way too expensive to get their own place. There’s a phenomenon where people buy two family homes/ duplexes expressly for this purpose including when the child marries and has children of their own. Sometimes a new graduate or divorced child also returns. I imagine that this was even more prevalent during the financial crisis or amongst immigrant families..
People in and around NYC or SF convert basements or attics into flats. Not anything new.

I suppose it’s one of the joys of living in a “high rent” area.

Greg:

You know, of course, that no scientific evidence exists that vaccination increases the risk of autism.
So why are you blathering on about autism?

Greg, your comment got me thinking on the greatest irony of the anti-vax movement. They often mention the pro vax, pro science ‘religion’. Yet where do we find the most evident presence of opinion over hard evidence? Religion.

C’mon Numb! Give them a break! You’ve already admitted that they are too stupid to grasp such complicated ‘hard evidence’. As well, you guys are arguing it should remain in the providence of ‘intellectual giants’ in academia to be studied and debated for them.

Not at all Greg. I believe these people could often understand the evidence. They just don’t try. Relying on ‘instinct’, tragic tales and conspiracy theories instead. It’s a form of blind arrogance. We all make assumptions in life. Even when not qualified, we judge the performance of sports team managers, pilots, doctors, police, based on what we think, what we are told. An honest person knows that they may be more to it. An honest person changes their opinion based on facts. An honest person doesn’t form an opinion and then claim any fact that doesn’t fit is a conspiracy.

If you can’t play chess, don’t criticise a player. Learn the rules. Criticise away. Your opinion still won’t be worth as much as a player but it’s a start.

Numb, help me understand this. Are you saying people can understand the evidence that vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ if it’s one-sided dished to them by provaxxers? If it’s, however, presented to them in a two-sided debate, with ‘antivaxxers’ raising objections, then the matter will become too complex for them to understand?

You are so right!
” They just don’t try” ” blind arrogance” True.

But I have a feeling that honesty isn’t the only issue concerned. Many of the people we discuss DO have the ability to read relevant material – you don’t have to include graduate level texts to understand how vaccines work and why they don’t cause ASDs – Lawyers ( and other adults) should be able to comprehend general information like that presented on television news- that’s all the ability you need to understand the basics.

BUT they have axes to grind, fires to fuel and chips to shoulder.
In other words, it’s not only intellectual. They want something else out of the issue. And not all of them are lawyers who can initiate suits

There are no two sides. Just the one supported by evidence. Your comment shows a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific enquiry. The point is not to show who is the best at persuading others to their point of view. It’s to provide evidence. If you have to resort to histrionics then you’ve already ceded the scientific high ground. Doesn’t mean you can’t ‘win’, it just means that you are wrong. If you care more about winning than being right then you’re a politician.

”…the greatest irony of the anti-vax movement. They often mention the pro vax, pro science ‘religion’. Yet where do we find the most evident presence of opinion over hard evidence? Religion.”

An equally greater irony from my perspective involves antivaxers sneering at perceived ”religion” in the first place. These are people who often are highly religious (or at least hide behind religion to get vaccine exemptions) and/or embrace new age woo. Yet they seem to think that labeling pro-immunization opponents as ”religious” is the worst possible insult.

Why do these folks hate religion?

Only about 17 percent of young adults on the spectrum ages 21 to 25 have ever lived independently. By comparison nearly 34 percent of their peers with intellectual disability have, researchers reported online recently in the journal Autism.

Reflect on that for a moment. We are continually reminded that autism is not a disability, just a ‘difference’. Yet, in terms of real life functioning –employment and independent living — autistic individuals consistently fare worse than other disabled individuals. Yes, autism is just a ‘difference’ — a difference that is worse than a disability.

@ Julian:

No matter what any of us present, he will never learn and change his tune. When a person adopts a belief because of reason or through data, they might be affected by reason or data; conversely, if they came to a conclusion based on raw emotion, fantasy or delusion, reason and data will not help.
Woo/ alt med relies upon this tendency.

Greg raises an important point. All the money being spent paying corrupt doctors to manufacture evidence that vaccines cause autism, all the money being wasted on “forums” to spread the lie, and all the money being paid to shills who come to health-focused blogs with “concerns” about vaccines could be being spent to help autistic people get jobs and become more independent. I hope Greg’s conscience gets the better of him, and he donates his illgotten salary towards those efforts (he should also stop lying on his own time of course).

Greg, we all know the problems associated with autism, however, I don’t understand why you are bringing it up, it is irrelevant because the causes of autism are unconnected with vaccines. Incidentally, I saw part of a TV programme yesterday that had a section on vaccination and guess what, no smallpox, how awesome is that!

Greg, we all know the problems associated with autism, however, I don’t understand why you are bringing it up, it is irrelevant because the causes of autism are unconnected with vaccines. Incidentally, I saw part of a TV programme yesterday that had a section on vaccination and guess what, no smallpox, how awesome is that!

Yeah Carl, indeed I have a tendency of blathering on about the ‘gifts’ and ‘joys’ of autism. On a slightly related note, I remember commenting over at SR where I asked the choir (they do have a choir there too, you know) whether if in the ;insanest’ universe vaccines were to cause autism, whether vaccines would still be worth it? Not a single choir member would answer except Mike Stevens who said he would bite. Yet, after doing the electric-boogie — and man did he dance! — Mike ended up not biting. Simply, the faith was so powerful with Mike and the other choir members that they couldn’t even hypothetically abandon it.

whether if in the ;insanest’ universe vaccines were to cause autism

IIRC, this ‘insanest’ universe was one where your narrow definition of autism (i.e. 100% disability) was the only one valid and your definition of childhood diseases was also the only one valid (in short, nothing to worry about).
Since these two parameters are the dual core of our disagreements, of course we were not interested in debating your ‘what if’.
When the question is loaded to that extend toward a certain answer, there is no point in answering it.

You may as well have been a flat-earther asking “Imagine if we were in the insanest of the universe where the Earth was flat and there is nothing to stop you from going over the edge, would you go sail toward the horizon?”

@ Julian Frost:

I wonder how many non ASD young adults were ALSO living with their parents ?

In and around large cities, many young adults live with their parents BECAUSE it is way too expensive to get their own place. There’s a phenomenon where people buy two family homes/ duplexes expressly for this purpose including when the child marries and has children of their own. Sometimes a new graduate or divorced child also returns. I imagine that this was even more prevalent during the financial crisis or amongst immigrant families..
People in and around NYC or SF convert basements or attics into flats. Not anything new.

I suppose it’s one of the joys of living in a “high rent” area.

Only a third of young millennials were living at home, Denice. Could it be other factors other than the ones you listed account for this close to 60% discrepancy, with the overwhelmingly majority of autistic individuals not leaving the nest? Could it be that autistic individuals on a whole are incapable of living independently?! Please also note that I am struggling real hard not to continually refer to you guys as revolting shills.

https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2017/08/young-adults.html

Not quite as hard as I’m struggling not to call you a smug ignorant fuckwit. But hey, it takes all sorts. You might genuinely believe your world wide conspiracy theory.

There, there. If you don’t have any self-control, there’s no need for you to stay in conversation with adults. No one is forcing you to struggle to interact at a level beyond your abilities.

Just to be clear, my above comment is addressed to Greg, who shouts “shill” whenever he is losing an argument. I

The group you dubbed “young millennials”, does it cover the same age range as the ASD group you are comparing it to?

Or does it include adults up to the age of 35? Many Millennials are approaching middle age and this would seem to be a pretty important distinction.

older adults in their 30s are much more likely to have moved out of their parents house than a 21 to 24 year old.

”I am struggling real hard not to continually refer to you guys as revolting shills.”

You could follow the example of Boxer the horse in Animal Farm. “I will work harder”. 🙂

Very nice perspective!
It’s interesting to me that autism, like ADHD, seems to be under-diagnosed in girls, so many of the people who are diagnosed as adults are women. I wonder how the bias started? Is it that boys tend to be socialized to be louder/more demonstrative, and therefore their symptoms are easier for the layperson (parents or teachers) to see and send the child for evaluation?

Someone has got to have done their dissertation on this, right?

Some autistic traits have also been considered as positive aspects of a girl/womans character – eg not making eye contact, being quiet, not putting yourself forward etc, while minor ‘meltdowns’ could be excused as the sort of emotional outburst to be expected of a woman, and the expectations of a boys behaviour can lead to a crisis point much more quickly – not that I am endorsing such primitive attitudes! I’d also be interested to see a proper study of this.

Autism isn’t this strange alien thing, it’s just a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. Some of us will find ourselves more or less compatible with modern living than others, we will all have different needs (and those may vary day to day), but autism is not terrifying or awful, nor is it marvellous and fabulous, it just is.

And again we run into talk of autism being a ‘difference’, not really a disability. Yet, despite Julian’s protest, if we have hard evidence that autistic individuals continue to fare far worse than other disabled individuals, how can it ever be excused as not a disability? The argument is autism is an ‘exception’, since if we find proper ways to accommodate it autistic individuals could thrive. For instance, if we were to find ways to miraculously fill-in all lakes, oceans, rivers, pools, and so on, on the planet, autistic kids would no longer wander and drown. Likewise, if all the walls on earth were padded, autistic individuals would no longer hurt themselves by bashing their heads against them.

Still, can an argument not also be made that other disabled groups may also thrive by similar herculean interventions? Could we then not banish all talk of disabilities and accept everyone as ‘different’? Of course vaccine defenders would never have this. Their livelihood depends on maintaining the fantasy of autism ‘exceptionalism’.

Could we then not banish all talk of disabilities and accept everyone as ‘different’?

Yep.
Speaking for myself, I’m currently busy addressing my prejudices against overweight people. So anything society and medical science will do to lessen the ‘negative views’ coming with excess of weight is helping me being less of an @ssh0le.
And don’t tell me it’s not the same thing, obesity sure comes with plenty of negative cultural views and burden on health.
As the Xian saying goes, we all have our own cross to carry. Some crosses may be bigger than others, but that’s all.
So yep, at the end of the day, we are just all ‘different’.

You should try to address you own prejudices, some day.

Of course vaccine defenders would never have this. Their livelihood depends on maintaining the fantasy of autism ‘exceptionalism’.

Nope.
Name any disability, I’m all for alleviating the burden of people – and their caretakers – suffering from it. And that includes doing some effort not to look down at them.
If I am not going to help them, I can keep to myself my pity, condescension and other mean ‘feel-good’ stuff. They don’t need it.
That includes avoiding calling them names like ‘retard’ or ‘brain-damaged’ or ‘hand-flapping boy’.

There is a home for special-need adults next to my place, I cross a dozen of them about every morning while we are all going to our respective workplaces. They say ‘hello’, I say ‘hello’. Yep, just ‘different’.
There is currently a guy with Down syndrome who started playing in a long-running French TV sitcom. A first for French TV. He drastically changed my mind about people with trisomy 21. So yeah, this guy is just ‘different’.

Athaic: The deaf community offers a really interesting perspective on this, in the area of implant vs ASL for children.
Sadly, I don’t think Greg is up for learning about other people.

@ Athaic:

re changing your attitude about overweight people

This is difficult because society/ entertainment/ fashion often idolises thin people.
I have insight into this process:
my late mother became heavy after suffering arthritis and its complications: she couldn’t exercise much; to make matters worse, she had previously worked in fashion and had always taken care to appear professionally acceptable. She hated how she looked ( actually, not that bad) and was limited in her activities as she got older and developed other illnesses.
Like everyone else in my age group, I wanted to be thin and wear fashionable clothing/ I can’t say I starved myself but I was very careful about what I ate ; my mother would warn me, ” Don’t be like me” and at least I had the common sense to say, ” You don’t look bad”. But I remain careful and watch my weight- not just for health, I fear.

It’s hard to re-learn an attitude especially when the majority of people may hold the same, prejudiced ideas. You are to be congratulated for being so honest: people discussing this will help change general conceptions.
Just like many have woken up to gender, ethnic and racial stereotyping.

@ JustaTech

Great example, I’ll have to look at it more.

@ Denice

Thanks for your kind words.
It doesn’t help that I tend myself to have a few too many pounds, and hate myself for this.
It does help that I lost a few of these pounds recently.
A bigger help is that I recently met this couple of young, friendly, and overweight nerd people at my board game club. I really don’t want to offend them, and it was a sobering discovery to realize how easily I could let escape some stupid catchphrase, if I don’t watch myself.

There was this French graphic novel, back when I was a tiny teen, a fictional story about the friendship between a White boy and a Black boy in South Africa. They would spend hours insulting each-another, but not out of anger: they were actually training themselves to lash out at each other using common insults, while avoiding racially-charged insults. Insults which are of course commonplace.
As you may realize, that got me thinking…

Since these two parameters are the dual core of our disagreements, of course we were not interested in debating your ‘what if’.
When the question is loaded to that extend toward a certain answer, there is no point in answering it.

Athaic, if in an insane universe vaccines did not cause autism and other afflictions, and an ET-blog like this existed, I would join you guys on it in mocking and blasting the crazy antivaxxers. I also would not shy away for debating them, and calling them out at every turn.

@ Lawrence

what’s your point?

Our contradicteur is certainly missing ours.

Greg.

I would join you guys on it in mocking and blasting the crazy antivaxxers.

Nope. More likely, you would find some other equally dead horse to keep beating.
If you really joined us pro-vax, you will be on the receiving end of the banhammer the 3rd time you name-called autistic people ‘brain-damaged’, or some other of your charming terms. We don’t need people like you.

I also would not shy away for debating them, and calling them out at every turn.

What do you think we are doing right now?

Anyway.
Greg, shorter version: you question is akin to ask “If I am right, would you agree that I am right?”
If we were naive, curious or feeling charitable, the only answer we could give is “Yes, but we believe you are not.”
But since you are doing this just to score points, we don’t feel the need to answer.
It doesn’t help your case that you don’t do any effort to convince us, and ignore all of our arguments. So it’s quite obvious you only ask questions to test your power, not because you want an answer.

Vaccines, cause, commas,?, Who, would, have, guessed,?
But “commas and death” sounds like a great title for a murder mystery.
As for the awokens (or, more properly, Awokens,) I believe they are a Native American nation with a reservation in New Jersey.
Good god, what is the English language coming to?

Regarding Greg’s alternate ”insane universe” where vaccination causes all sorts of dreadful ills and the antivax cognoscenti have taken power: we’ve already had a taste of how that works out.

” Not a single choir member would answer except Mike Stevens who said he would bite. Yet, after doing the electric-boogie — and man did he dance! — Mike ended up not biting. Simply, the faith was so powerful with Mike and the other choir members that they couldn’t even hypothetically abandon it.”

I would not doubt your truthfulness for the world (heavens! What a thought!) but could you provide a link to this discussion, so we can all bask in the glorious victory you’ve reported?

Thanks for the assistance, Chris. I didn’t want to let Andrew down but was wondering how I would find the blog. Anyway, here is Mike not biting after he promised he would…

We have come some way, yes, but only touched on the costs regarding these in the USA, when you will see that my original comment related to the costs relating to the cessation of global vaccination.
The US is not the world, and I think you will find that globally the disease burden and costs incurred from vaccine-preventable diseases hugely exceed that in the US.

I must point out that the CDC figures already include an estimate of the costs of vaccine side effects and direct costs of vaccination, so their analysis should be definitive, and is vastly in favour of vaccines (Savings over 20 years = $1.9 trillion, or $95 billion each year, costs associated with vaccines = $228 billion, or $11 billion each year).

I should also point out that the CDC state that this applies to childhood vaccination only, so does not include the savings from adolescent vaccination (eg HPV) averting cancer and the vaccines given to the elderly to avert pneumonia, shingles etc).

I see that the current estimates of the costs of caring for autistic spectrum disorder (2015) are $268 billion per year.

If you want me to say that the total savings from vaccination amount to less than the costs associated with caring for a condition like hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes, or autism, then I’ll say yes, the amount is less. It’s also less than expenditure on Homeland Security, or Education. But if you want me to accept some hypothetical concept where you causally attribute all cases of autism (and therefore costs) to the consequences of vaccination, and want me to say it is therefore a good idea for the US to stop vaccination, then you are whistling Dixie

Summarizing Mike, he was prepared to agree that autism costs in US vastly exceed VPDs costs, but he just couldn’t bring himself to utter that logical conclusion that if ‘hypothetically’ vaccines cause autism, vaccination wouldn’t be worth it.

Remember Christine Kincaid visiting ? She got reports about twin studies, autopsies and neonatal cytokines. There was a report about an actual experiment: Japan banned MMR vaccination, and autism rate went up. Please comment these.

Thanks Chris. I guess if pro-healthy-children want an argument with Greg, we’ll have to provide his citations for him.

Nope. More likely, you would find some other equally dead horse to keep beating.
If you really joined us pro-vax, you will be on the receiving end of the banhammer the 3rd time you name-called autistic people ‘brain-damaged’, or some other of your charming terms. We don’t need people like you.

Nope. Autistic kids are not brain damaged,

https://vaccineimpact.com/2019/scientists-find-chronic-brain-inflammation-in-children-with-autism/

Reflecting, I think it has been a real travesty of justice that, in total, I have been banned five times at RI and SR.

So I clicked through to that link. The very first sentence:

A recent small study out of Tufts University Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts has concluded that, “inflammation may be the main driver behind autism.”​¹

The cite it links to? An article on the Daily Mail. AYFKM?!
Next, the size.

[T]he researchers compared the brains of 16 deceased male, Caucasian children between the ages of three and 14.

Eight of the children had autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and eight did not.

A sample size of eight and eight controls. Are you taking the piss?

Julian, I got thinking, that now that we’ve established that you’re in the rare 10% of autistics who landed a job and flew the coop, have you thought of how you may help your not so fortunate autistic brothers and sisters. Any thoughts of donating some of your salary?

@ Julian

The Anderson study (DOI: 10.1002/ana.25610), from the second link, has a bit more cases in it – 25 ASD and 30 control cases.
In the discussion-conclusion, the authors seem to hypothesize that their findings may indicate that autism is an autoimmune disorder, with a genetic basis. Or maybe the inflammation was triggered by a viral infection.
The authors also go for a genetic basis to explain the absence of brain inflammation in 30% of their samples.
In short, that’s an interesting finding, but not the smoking gun Greg wishes it was.

They speculated that treatment with drugs that target IL-37 may be a promising therapeutic approach to decreasing the amount of IL-18 in the brain.​4

Might there come a time that we give kids anti-inflammatory meds after vaccination, or might that interfere with their vaccination? Can’t risk not keeping them ‘safe’, and even if that involves keeping them safe.

Greg
Might there come a time that we give kids anti-inflammatory meds after vaccination
Dude, I’m pretty sure your commenting history overlaps with Tylenol Jen’s. Pre-treating vs treating symptoms post vaccinations have been debated by mommy blogs and message boards almost as long as the internet has existed. And, yes, I know that Tylenol is antipyretic but not anti-inflammatory, but the question remains the same.

Haven’t you claimed you have kids of your own? Are you sure about that? Or don’t you pay attention to the rest of your family?

Your question is not original, nor game changing.

Box, I am aware that talk of given kids anti-inflammatory meds after vaccination is not ground breaking I am just wondering how you guys will sell it to parents. Will it be — ‘Hey Parents, right after getting your kids vaxxed, don’t forget to give them that trusted IL-37 syrup. It’s to prevent that very rare — absolute rare!– reaction from vaccines, where immune cells start gobbling their brains. Don’t listen to those crazy antivaxxers, it has noting to do with autism. No siree bob!’

The authors also go for a genetic basis to explain the absence of brain inflammation in 30% of their samples

Athaic, what percentage of the controls demonstrated this ‘cuffing’ or inflammation?

In other anti-vax news….

AS you know, I document the outrage of alt med proselytisers in response to social media’s efforts to clean up its sites
( Friday: PRN calls SBM Wahabi Moslems** – see ” Wicked Wikipedia for written article) in addition,
— AoA Saturday, illustrates what happens when you try to acquire anti-vax tweets such as their own : you get SB information as well as your original request. Kim doesn’t like that.
— AoA Sunday, CathyJameson discusses how Rep Posey grilled Mr Zuckerberg about Facebook’s response to anti-vax material and later provides examples of how FB answered her requests for anti-vax by providing the sites PLUS reality-based information. Yet “CDC” appears unaccompanied*** She claims it was very difficult to find the premier date of VAXXED II ( I searched for it the other day and found Nov 6).

So they’re not at all happy.

EXTRA: Dr Jay will appear with Bill Maher on Friday! ****

** and I thought that Dr DG was an atheist: who knew!
*** the Horror!
**** I must be nice or he won’t invite me surfing

Did you see this twitter trail?
1. Some French persons at Aix-Marseille University: It is not clear how well current vaccines protect against the B3 subtype of measles. More research is needed
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30303095

John Stone of AoA, in a letter to BMJ: These French persons showed that current vaccines “caused the evolution of the B3 strain which is apparently less susceptible to the vaccine [3]”!
https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5995/rr-5
Del Bigboote: ‘British gov’t study finds “while #measles #vaccine reduced the general level of immunity, it may have caused the evolution of the B3 strain of measles, which is less susceptible to the vaccine’ and caused the current measles outbreak in the UK! (because African).
https://twitter.com/HighWireTalk/status/1187792202078064641

The human centipede, ladies and gentlemen.

Over here, Julian. Yeah — it;s me, Greg. How many fingers am I holding up? Yeah — that’s two. Good! Now read my lips, Julian. Julian — Julian are you paying attention! — ok, as I was sayng… The last CDC’s autism prevalence report that gave us the rate of 1 in 59 kids, reported that only 44% of autistic kids have normal or above average intelligence. That’s 56% that were either mentally retarded or borderline retarded.
Julian — pay attention Julian!!- given these statistics, how do you square them with the claim that autism genes make us smarter?

https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-facts-and-figures

One of the challenges in working with autistic people is that communication deficits make it difficult to assess their intelligence. For very many, verbal/written testing is futile. A lack of the exposure that a neurotypical might have means that practical assessments won’t work either. An examiner who doesn’t know the autistic person well could have results confounded by aversions that they’re not aware of – a sight, sound, or smell – that can be distracting or intolerable and skew the results.
Take those stats with an ocean of salt.
Pay attention, Gregger. You already know how many fingers I’m holding up, that is if you can count to one.

ORD, I believe we can have a civil discussion without you descending into crassness. I completely get what you are saying. Autistic kids are incredibly intelligent, but we don’t have any meaningful ways of measuring it, and don’t expect that intelligence to help them in any meaningful ways with their basic living.

I believe we can have a civil discussion

Greg has not yet managed this, so I don’t know why he thinks he might suddenly change his spots.

Julian are you paying attention!

Christ, your semiliterate blob was painful to read.

“Because the ADDM sites do not provide a representative sample of the entire United States, the combined prevalence estimates presented in this report cannot be generalized to all children aged 8 years in the United States.”

“The last CDC’s autism prevalence report that gave us the rate of 1 in 59 kids, reported that only 44% of autistic kids have normal or above average intelligence. That’s 56% that were either mentally retarded or borderline retarded.”

So…given that most children with similar intellectual deficits were likely labeled as “retarded” in the past instead of classified as being on the autism spectrum, what does that tell you about modern prevalence figures that are touted by antivaxers as showing an “autism epidemic”?

what does that tell you about modern prevalence figures that are touted by antivaxers as showing an “autism epidemic”?

That the ‘antivaxxers’ are probably right, since no one is having much luck in finding the missing hordes of hand-flapping, headbanging, nonverbal, mentally retarded autistic adults. The mentally retarded, middle-aged adults that we are finding are still sans autism, and can be described as just ‘slow’. How we always remembered them.

“no one is having much luck in finding the missing hordes of hand-flapping, headbanging, nonverbal, mentally retarded autistic adults. The mentally retarded, middle-aged adults that we are finding are still sans autism, and can be described as just ‘slow’. How we always remembered them.”
Your stereotyping is offensive, bigoted, and disgraceful, or would be if they came from someone with the brains god gave a rock. It’s one thing to be a gadfly or a devil’s advocate. It’s something else when you paint an entire group of people by a stereotype that sounds like something out of Josef Goebbels’ propaganda, especially when you are using your bigotry to prove a point that is beneath proof.
On behalf of all my autistic brothers and sisters, I would like to show you this trenchant video:
Be sure to watch it to the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS669AzO8bw

“The mentally retarded, middle-aged adults that we are finding are” hidden away, in psychiatric facilities, or living on steam grates since so many were deinstitutionalized.
Once again Gregger shows the sensitivity and empathy of a rabid wolverine in heat.

What baffles me is why only the mentality retarded autistics were picked on and institutionalized. Currently, we can.still find middle-aged, mentally retarded people with Down’s in our community.

Greg – while I realise that you are (mostly) trolling, I sincerely recommend ‘Unstrange Minds’ by Roy Richard Grinker, I doubt that anything would alter your somewhat jaundiced world-view, but it does have an excellent section about the appalling state of psychiatric care until quite recent times and why diagnostic criteria have expanded/changed and the effects on statistics.

Also your deliberately provocative language is, as the saying goes, neither big nor clever, and shows an unfortunate lack of respect for others and ultimately, yourself.

I suppose it is easier to convince a cat it shouldn’t catch mice and birds, than to convince Greg from anything that doesn’t fit his narrowminded worldview.

Carl and Renate, if you ever spend time with autistic kids you get a sense that they’re suffering, and a lot more profoundly than other disabled kids. With the building science that autism involves brain inflammation, consider the absolute vile in spinning ‘brain on fire’ as just a ‘difference’ or even a virtue. Carl and Renate, I will continue to take pride in being ‘offensive’ and ‘unreachable’.

Carl and Renate, if you ever spend time with autistic kids you get a sense that they’re suffering.

Who the fuck would let you around their children, much less autistic ones?

I’ve known high functioning autistic people and some consider I have some autistic features. I’m not sure about that myself.
I’ve read about some lew functioning autistic children, but their parents know vaccines have nothing to do with it.

You should read more information and not just read stuff antivaxxers write. Get out of your echo-chamber and listen to the people here, who have autistic children and can tell you they are not how you describe them and who also know vaccines have nothing to do with autism.

@ Renate:

All adults over the age of 30 or so, know people who were not diagnosed but have qualities that probably would have been called ASD/ AS had they been born earlier. Studies in the UK, found that the rate of ASDs/ AS in older adults greatly resembled that of younger people if you looked closely at them or tested them. In addition, I know off hand, several men who might have been so diagnosed if they were born in 1990+ ( including two in my primary school classes who are now a physics prof and a self-employed married businessman). Three others through my friends’ acquaintance:
— Myles was an older man who worked for governmental service. He never married and had some very specific interests and needed special considerations if you talked with him/ went places with him. His parents were an engineer and a librarian. He did things somewhat oddly and had unexpectedly rigid opinions about many topics. Despite these peculiarities , he had friends- male and female. When he became very ill with cancer, a retired nurse allowed him to live in her home and other people volunteered to drive him to doctors, stores etc. He died at 75 leaving a great deal of money from his investments.
.– David, Myles’ brother, was a retired Army computer expert. never married; he later worked for a weather service installation. He enjoyed playing tennis and running until he unfortunately lost part of his vision following eye surgery: he began drinking, left his home area and wound up ill in a rural mountain town thousands of miles away where he died in a motel alone, leaving a large investment account to his brother
— Darrin- is a 50 -something who has a college degree in computers and business administration. He has lived both alone and with his parents or mother but usually works.in office or delivery services. He has some stereotypical or juvenile interests about fast cars, fantasy, Disney and chooses movies that seem aimed at teens or younger adults. He has never dated and his relative isn’t sure if he’s gay or straight … or neither ( his evaluation, not mine). He dresses like a person from an earlier era ( 1950s- 1960s). his father was in communications tech and his mother is a retired interior designer.

All of these guys had at least 2 years of college and lived independently most of the time after age 25.All three might have had other psychological and/ or chemical dependence issues.= and might have benefitted from counselling. Two died relatively wealthy.

Greg – My 15 year old son is diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers, he is the only autistic person I have any meaningful contact with. He suffers from fairly severe social anxiety, but all other things being equal he is not ‘suffering’ in normal, ie unstressed conditions.

I see no more virtue in being ‘offensive’ or ‘unreachable’ than ‘changing your opinion to please others’ or ‘never giving an opinion for fear of giving offense’, but it is always a good to be able to listen, analyse and then change your mind, or not of course. Our actions make reactions, I try to always be civil because I believe that it makes the world, even if only in the tiniest way, a better place. Also, in being rude, the reaction of the other person is always to put up a wall, which effectively closes down debate and makes true communication impossible. Of course, I am not particularly singling you out, there are many on this blog and the internet in general who, frankly, need to step back, take a good look at themselves, and decide whether they are living up to their ideals.

Anyway, as ever, a pleasure to talk to you.

Uh-oh, looks like reviewers are being unkind to Bob Sears’ pseudonymous novel “A Tale Of Two Sides”*, which features heroic vaccine-questioning parents battling a deceptive and uncaring Medical Establishment.

An AoA piece urges people to hustle over to Amazon to leave a “valid review” and secondarily, to buy the book.

I can understand why they’re not stressing that anyone should read it. Excerpts suggest the author failed his sophomore high school literature class and is aiming at an audience that did the same. It may not be the worst antivax fiction ever written (Lou Conte’s “The Autism War” and “Melanie’s Marvellous Measles” by Stephanie Messenger are hard to overcome) but it’s providing stiff competition.

*the book is published under the author name “John Phillip Ryan”. 🙂

Is that what Kindle text usually looks like? The Amazon preview dismayed me — it’s as though it doesn’t know about hyphenation and will just set three words on a line padded with em quads.

Oh the writing style. Dr Bob should stick to writing fictional medical exemptions for vaccines.*

There is no real character development, everyone is a cardboard cutout wandering through the text doing stereotypical cardboard cutout things and making cardboard cutout statements. As for the dialogue, it is similar to what you find in graphic novels** and they have the excuse that space is limited.

I am pleased there are only 2 chapters in the preview, but 2 pages would have satiated me.

*Yes I know he is banned from doing that now and it was probably more harmful to the world than this bit of fiction, but oh my eyes and brain!

**While I have seen worse dialogue in graphic novels, I have also seen better.

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