• Wed, Jun 4 2008

The Rallying of the Green

A couple of years while teaching this poem to an English Literature 101 class at a mid-sized university in New Jersey (it’s not where I teach now), I asked my class what “green” signifies. While we live in New Jersey, I grew up in California (think Berkeley not Los Angeles) and — having started to recycle in the 4th grade, lived through a couple of droughts and a gas shortage, and developed a preference for whole grains in elementary school — “green” to me means nature, plants, leaves, grass, stuff that grows in the ground naturally.

So I was honestly crestfallen when several students answered my question about “the meaning of green” with one word:

Money. At the mention of nature — trees etc. — they shrugged. (I sighed.)

So you’d perhaps think that I’d feel some relief towards the notion of “greening our vaccines,” the name of the rally today, June 4th, in Washington, D.C., with Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, described as a “celeb couple” leading the rally “to raise awareness about autism”—I thought this was a rally about vaccines?

I’m not too clear about what “green vaccines” are but—-based on phrases like “how green is my dream kitchen” and (more generally) “how to go green,” “green thinking” and, too, the greening of the automobile — it would seem that “green vaccines” would be something like “environmentally safe vaccines.” As in non-toxic, non-mercury/thimerosal/non-anything-dangerous containing vaccines of the sort touted by those who call themselves not “antivaxxers” but “pro-vaccine-safety”-ists.

But this “green vaccine thing” is but another instance of rebranding, as in the various different names that Evidence of Harm author David Kirby regularly engages in, to find new biological ways of describing “autism.” Orac has taken a good look about the green- and natural-ness of vaccines (and been called an “idiot” in the very first comment). He also offers a small gallery of signs (“Vaccines = Autism EvidenceofHarm.org“), as well as a selection of signs from the “Power of Truth” rally three years ago.

Starting from Orac’s look at both signage and slogans (and semantics), a few more thoughts on the rallying of the green:

Somwhere in the not too distant past, those who were the “antivaxxers” or “anti-vaccine advocates” started to chararacterize themselves as “pro-vaccine-safety advocates.” As Mike Stanton notes, the organizers of the Green Our Vaccines rally sound like their old anti-vaccine selves. But “pro” has positive overtones: Better to be for something and who can object to making things—vaccines—safe? (In the abortion debate, it’s “pro-choice” and “pro-life”—-who wants to be “anti-life” or “anti-choice”?)

Regarding the “green” theme, very prominently displayed on the logo for the rally. The associations of green—aside from my “nature” one and the “money” response of my former students—also include, of course, green stop lights which mean “go.” The notion of green vaccines suggests that those who espouse these are moving forward and being progressive and pro-active. Certainly “green our vaccines” has a much friendlier ring to it than “mercury poisoning” (suggestive of being poisoned by something burning and volatile); the phrase also suggests that, just as we are greening kitchens, cleaning products, clothing, cars, out very way so thinking, etc., so is there a movement to do so for vaccines.

I’m not sure today’s rally is going to bring more clarity to all of this. I’ve been reading a book, Do Vaccines Cause That?: A Guide For Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns by Martin Myers, M.D and Diego Pineda, M.S. that has been helpful in providing some basic clarifications about the science and history behind vaccines and about what is in vaccines. One example is the definitions of “side effect” and “adverse effect” (p. 25). These are key terms in discussions about vaccines and autism; proponents of the hypothesis that vaccines or something in vaccines can be linked to autism hone in on such unintended effects as one of the dangers of vaccines. (This article contains one such story.) However, as Dr. Myers and Pineda write:

Side effect (or Side reaction) are symptoms and signs that occur either locally—such as pain or redness at the injection site—or in other parts of the body—such as headache or fever—because of a particular immunization or dose of a drug. A mild measles-like rash after measles vaccine is fairly common, for example. Serious, life-threatening allergic reactions can be side effects of vaccines, but occur very rarely.
…….
An adverse event is something quite different from a side effect. A side effect is “caused by” the vaccine, whereas an adverse event is something that occurred at about the time. a vaccine was given, but which could have been caused by the vaccine or could have just occurred at that time by coincidence. Although fever is a side effect of many vaccines, not all occurrences of fever after vaccines are caused by the vaccine. This book discusses how scientists determine whether an adverse event is actually a side effect—that is, caused by the vaccine. Thus, when an adverse event occurs after vaccination, it needs to be determined whether the adverse event was caused by the vaccine or whether it was just coincidental—that is, it was going to happen anyway. (p. 25-6)

An “adverse effect” from a vaccine is not something that is “undesirable” or “contrary to expectations”; the term has a specific meaning, as noted above. Do Vaccines Cause That? is a “user-friendly guide” for parents concerned about vaccine safety and it would seem to be a book that a “vaccine greener” might wish to consult. There are numerous other definitions of green and it’s hard to say what a rally about vaccine safety—vaccine awareness, if you will—has to do with the schools, services, and supports that autistic children and autistic individuals need to succeed.

Autism is not about vaccines, it’s about people.

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  • Louis Z Cooper, MD

    As a steering committee member of NNii (www.nnii.org) I much appreciate your comments on the serious book that Diego Pineda and Martin Myers have just completed.

    The challenge remains of how to regain public trust in the motives and efforts of those who create and distribute our life-saving modern childhood vaccines. Thanks for heping.
    Louis Cooper

  • Chuck

    Are vaccines “Life saving” or “threat reducing”? Is the glass half empty, half full, or poorly designed?

  • Ms. Clark

    One of the most frightening thing about these antivaccine and mercury phobic people is how “green” they are in regards to science. They are utterly clueless, yet go around spouting opinions and faux factoids and put themselves on the same level as people who have trained in public health and vaccinology for years, even decades. Their egos are massive and their ignorance-based certainty is frightening.

    They are claiming 10,000 have showed up for this thing, but the photos, so far would indicate something more like 500 to 800, possibly less than 500. It’s typical of these organizers (going on what they’ve done with previous rallies) to claim that at least 10 times the actual number showed up.

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    I guess we know the colors of Google U—-very green.

  • http://autism.about.com Lisa Rudy

    So far as I can tell – someone correct me if I’m wrong – there has been very little actual research done to determine whether claims of vaccines as a CAUSE of autistic symptoms are legitimate.

    Plenty of mainstream docs and researchers SAY that the timing is coincidental, while parents SAY it is not.

    Problem is that there seems to be no clear cut way to make a determination as to whether we’re looking at coincidence or cause/effect.

    In theory, the vaccine court is making just such a determination – but so far, their findings have been underwhelming and unhelpful. For example, in the Poling case, it seems we still don’t really know whether Hannah had an underlying condition which would have led to her disability no matter what, or whether her disablity was actually CAUSED by vaccinations on top of an (asymptomatic) mitochondrial disorder.

    So long as we’re unable to make a determination, I think we’re doomed to keep repeating the same conversations over and over again…

    Lisa (www.autism.about.com)

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    That’s been happening in discussion on this post, for example.

    yes, “underwhelming” and “unhelpful” and inconclusive….

  • Regan

    Those such as Ms. Clark and Kev Leitch have a better handle on it and Kev is blogging on some of the Omnibus testimony, but I don’t see the Poling case as an “autism” case, per se, as it stands, and that award is separate from the test cases currently being heard.
    It’s hard to tell what the determination is going to be (or at least I don’t intend to prognosticate) and whether the testimony is “underwhelming”, “unhelpful” or the converse until the hearings conclude and a decision is announced. I’ve listened to a little and I’ve found it quite interesting.
    I think the situation is a little more complicated than a doctors v. parents dichotomy, although on some days it certainly looks like it’s shaping up into a pro-, con- vaccines dichotomy.

  • Ms. Clark

    Ms. Rudy,

    Anyone can make up anything and say it is a cause of autism. Here, I’ll show you how easy it is. “Dog and cat flea collars are the cause of autism.” Here’s another one: “Cellphones and wifi are a major cause of autism”. Now, you find all the autistic kids who have or even might have been anywhere near a dog or cat flea collar, or a cellphone or wifi device. Form some Yahoo! groups and get some personal injury lawyers excited about it. Throw around some vaguely plausible facts and spice it up with loads of hysterical statements from parents and some outright lies. Get some fringe or frankly whack-job scientists to verify that they think it’s likely. Falsely claim that there has been an autism epidemic and assert that this fake epidemic was caused by your fave cause.

    Put out MILLIONS of dollars $$$$$$$ on PR support to spread you and your friends own personal hysteria (this is exactly what the antivaccine parent groups have done, and I”m not exaggerating). Get a bizarro politician or two behind you who are vested in promoting the cause because they have grandkids who are autistic and are looking for someone to blame.

    Get Lisa Jo Rudy on board. Have her make vague and harmful statements, like, “Well, you know we can’t hurt the parents’ feelings by telling them that their facts are wrong.”

    Then demand that everyone prove that your idiot idea is wrong.

    That’s the situation.

    There never– I repeat — there was never — any reason to suspect vaccines as a cause of autism. Lisa Jo Rudy, there was never any reason to suspect that vaccines cause autism. There is no science to support it. There is a pastiche of junk science, bought and paid for by the antivaccine organizations like NAA and SAFE MINDS, and other research that actually has no bearing on their hypothesis that gets drug into this to give it a gloss of respectability.

    I for one am sick of people saying, “Well, we don’t know…” , “You know, the parents they say…” If you listen to the testimony given about the kids in the Omnibus hearings you can see that these cream of the crop cases show no evidence that the kids were aversely affected by vaccines AT ALL. Their parents are either lying or have really bad memories because when the experts look at the medical records and video they see that they contradict what the parents are claiming.

    So, Lisa Jo Rudy, think of that the next time you decide to believe a poor pathetic parent with a poor pathetic story of a child that descended into the hell of autism within seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, fortnights, months following a vaccine. And stop helping promote this insanity, huh?

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    @Dr. Cooper,

    Thanks for your kind words. I will be posting more about the book, too.

  • Ms. Clark

    Updating the estimated size of the crowd. Someone said that a DC cop said that it looked like 1,500 to 2,000 showed up. The DC cop apparently had been told to expect 10,000.

  • http://www.autism.about.com Lisa

    Ms. Clark, so far as I am aware I have never, ever written the words “Well, you know we can’t hurt the parents’ feelings by telling them that their facts are wrong.” Nor have I ever demanded than anyone prove any of my ideas right or wrong.

    While I certainly don’t have any issues with your choosing to disagree with or disapprove of me, I don’t think it’s fair to make up quotes and then shoot them down!

    As regards the many, many theories about causes of and treatments for autism – obviously some are pure nonsense. Others are based on a bit of research and a lot of conjecture. Still others are still under investigation and cannot be called “true” or “untrue.”

    But I, personally, don’t feel there’s much to be gained by calling names or increasing the sense that the autism community is a hostile group of angry warriors. I think it’s pretty heart breaking that so much of our attention is turning away from the actual kids, families, and lives we’re all trying to improve.

    Lisa

  • Ms. Clark

    Ms. Rudy,

    The words I put in quotes were not meant to appear to be direct quotes from you. I have seen what you have written about wanting to stay neutral and indicating that you can’t deny what the parents tell you.

    Here’s the thing… yes, yes you can refuse to believe all the stories. People get caught up in hysteria and you do not help them by affirming that you “feel their pain” or whatever. The words, “feel their pain” are not meant to be a direct quote of you, either. Just to be clear.

    You have done a great deal of harm with your, “oh, lets not be too critical” type of attitude. And again, the words “oh, lets not be too critical” are not meant to be a direct quote from you.

    Have you listened to all the audio of the Omnibus hearings?

    I have.

    I suggest that you do the same.

    Then tell us all which of the mercury parents’ “biomed” treatments have the slightest shred of a hint of scientific underpinnings. And then tell us how many autistic kids (and their parents) have been tortured or had their time wasted by being subjected to idiotic non-therapies. And then estimate the amount of money that has been wasted on this garbage. OK? Thanks. I wait with bated breath.

  • http://www.autism.about.com Lisa

    Ms. Clark, you say: Here’s the thing… yes, yes you can refuse to believe all the stories. People get caught up in hysteria and you do not help them by affirming that you “feel their pain” or whatever. … You have done a great deal of harm with your, “oh, lets not be too critical” type of attitude.”

    I certainly could refuse to believe parents, and assume that they’re simply caught up in hysteria. But I honestly do NOT know what they saw, and so it really would be a matter CHOOSING to disbelieve a parent’s statement about their experience. I don’t know if their child “truly” regressed, when the alleged regression took place, whether there were signs of autism prior to the alleged regression, and so forth.

    But I don’t think that being respectful of someone’s statement about what happened in their own lives is the same thing as saying “well, heck, then the next thing you should do is go find Dr. X, pay him thousands of bucks, and have him do whatever he thinks is best to cure your child.”

    It seems to me that we are just now beginning to get any idea at all of how the human brain works. I know, of course, that in the autism world that all seems to come down to the vaccine question… but truly, I think we will find that there are many different autisms, and many different etiologies, and many different effective treatments.

    At this point in history (and I guess this is where you disagree with my approach) I’m not yet ready to write off every idea that hasn’t been supported by double-blind, placebo-based, replicated studies. On the other hand I’m more than glad to make readers aware of how much research HAS been done – and to cite the research that is available.

    Lisa

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    It’s still a “pro-, con- vaccines dichotomy” despite the “green packaging” of vaccines under the heading of “vaccine safety.”

    The latest Autism Omnibus case has been especially interesting and revealing about the sorts of treatments that are being used, some of which boggle the mind (read this—fecal enemas), or at least the stomach.

  • Ms. Clark

    Yes, and because you are so poorly equipped to evaluate claims you blandly say, “oh, lets wait for more research” To be clear, I don’t know if you ever exactly said or wrote the words, “Oh, lets wait for more research.”

    The evidence that the DAN! organization is corrupt has been out there for a few years now. That’s not enough? Huh? I think it is. And where do most of the profitable-for-clinicians-and-device-salesmen come from? From DAN! allied physicians and the few utter thieves that are so busy ripping off parents that they don’t have time to join DAN!. Remember, Rashid Buttar and Dr. Geier? Remember all the parents who forked over tons of cash for TD-DMPS? The stuff that I was able to label as a absolute sham and non-chelator while it was still very “hot”, just based on a tiny bit of digging into who Buttar was and what DMPS is. Where were you when other bloggers were condemning hbot and lupron? Sitting on your hands and saying, “Oh dear, oh dear, let’s not offend the parents. Let’s validate their feelings. Let’s all embrace and sing, Kumbaya!” And for the record, I don’t know if you ever actually said or wrote: “Oh dear, oh dear, let’s not offend the parents. Let’s validate their feelings. Let’s all embrace and sing, Kumbaya!”

    When will you stand up for the children, even babies, who are being victimized by this?

    If you don’t have the scientific acumen to even be a little skeptical, then for goodness sakes lady, stand down.

    Give your post over to someone who can cope with the job in an ethical fashion and not try to play social worker or useless spiritual leader to a bunch of skinned sheep.

    I”m not going to “play nice” not when you are doing real harm to real children with your “play nice” attitude. Some things need to be called for what they are and in a timely fashion.

  • http://www.autism.about.com Lisa

    okay, you’ve made your point extremely clear. got it.

    Lisa

  • http://www.rettdevil.org Kassiane

    Ooh, is that About.Com’s lisa?

    Who let me get flamed raw by nasty vaccine people who “dont need fing science and don’t need fing autistic adults?”

    Does about make you drink the vaccine koolaid to take the post? THat’s a serious question.

    And, uh, you might want to read the board once in a while. THere’s an aspie kid posting his personal info while you’re coddling the mercury hysteria-ites. Just sayin’…

  • passionlessDrone

    Hi Lisa –

    Very nicely stated!

    - pD

  • Ms. Clark

    Not to worry, PD. Lisa Jo Rudy will always make you feel thoroughly validated.

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    Woo.

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    Latest update on the Autism Omnibus from Left Brain/Right Brain reminds us to remember the excitement about secretin.

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    “So far as I can tell – someone correct me if I’m wrong – there has been very little actual research done to determine whether claims of vaccines as a CAUSE of autistic symptoms are legitimate.”

    Umm… I think, to the contrary, there has been. If you look in some public resource domains on the subject, I’m sure you could find them.

    As a matter of principle, I think the question exists openly within the realm of fairly extreme skepticism but no further in terms of the total autism population for a number of reasons. But as for a small sub-set; well, that’s still in the realm of skepticism, but at least has an argument which could possibly stand in so far as causing autism-like symptomatology, and even that’s not probable. And usually you get asked for a standard of proof which is nearly impossible.

    And, no, I don’t think the dichotomy is as simple as “all parents” versus “all professionals”. That’s making some sweeping generalizations that are too broad in context.

    Cliff

  • Chuck

    For the record:

    Other than known genetic abnormalities for a minority of ASD individuals,

    NOTHING has been scientifically proven to cause ASD.

    NOTHING

    Woo Yoo!

  • passionlessDrone

    Hi Ms. Clark –

    Your assertion mandates that I require validation from someone such as Lisa Jo Rudy, and secondly that I am worried about not receiving such validation; both of which are completely unfounded. I suspect this will have little effect on your future attempts to psychoanalyze me from afar, however. If I were to hazard to guess, in fact, handing out such speculative assertions makes you feel validated.

    What would make me feel validated is another set of rambling nonsensical responses from you that include plenty of bolded statements and possibly personal attacks on my character and intelligence. Then we’d be getting somewhere.

    - pD

  • Ms. Clark

    Oh, PD do you feel better now? I hope so. So long as you feel better, that’s what counts.

  • Ms. Clark

    There are known causes of autism that are “environmental” one of them is fairly easily prevented with the MMR. Exposure to thalidomide, valproate and misopristol all can cause autism if the exposure is in early embryonic development. Autism is associated with several known syndromes. Besides them there are copy number variants that are associated with autism.

    But hey, let’s trash the MMR and bring back rubella epidemics so people can appreciate what an outbreak of autism (and death, and limb deformities and deafness and blindness looks like). Let’s bring back SSPE from measles outbreaks. Let’s have lots of meningitis and hepititis again to make the flaming antivaxers like Jenny McCarthy happy. Let’s not vaccinate for Tetanus like Jim Carrey would advise. Tetanus is a walk in the park, you know. Maybe Jim would like to experience it to verify that.

  • Regan

    NOTHING has been scientifically proven to cause ASD.
    ———————
    Thalidomide, valproic acid, congenital rubella
    at a particular time in fetal development.

    Obviously not the only contributors available.

  • Regan

    I’ve been sitting here thinking about the responsibility of blogs, esp. those that appear to be more authoritative.
    Statements, like
    “In a way, that’s empowering for parents: Any person’s opinion is as good as any other.”, ( and that is a direct quote).

    IMO such statements are not particularly helpful, esp. in something that is as reliant on specifics of the science, epidemiology, consideration of reliability, controls, nature of the studies, specifics of that studied, is there other research which would serve as a rejection of the hypothesis (and contrary to belief, negative results and rejections of hypotheses are quite important), etc., etc., etc. as this situation is.

    If I were discussing nuclear physics, I might have an opinion, but I guarantee you that it would probably not be as good as that of a nuclear physicist or even a couple, even if I spent a lot of time on Google. Like it or lump it those guys’ scientific chops in that area would trump mine.

  • Chuck

    “But hey, let’s trash the MMR and bring back rubella epidemics so people can appreciate what an outbreak of autism (and death, and limb deformities and deafness and blindness looks like). ”

    If only 1% of the US population is not vaccinated, that means 3,000,000 people. Of those 3 million, 64 got measles, 14 hospitalized, none died. Continue with the hyperbole.

  • Chuck

    “thalidomide, valproate and misopristol”

    All provided by the medical community, how nice of them.

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    Regan, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but your posts are always excellent, and I’m not saying that only because I agree with you.

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    And all useful, in their way.

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    I agree with you, Regan, as to not all opinions being equal. Now, I wouldn’t make the distinction necessarily on status or status of expertise (note necessarily), given all of the circumstances involved (especially given that, historically, such things have been used to promote blatant prejudices rather than actually saying something truthful or substantiative or occasionally the group rests on a societal notion that, in terms of physics, is incorrect) but, indeed, I’m simply going to be joining the group who should not be taken as an authoritative status on particle physics. Just isn’t going to happen (unless I have a very large diversion from career of choice, which I doubt quite highly is going to happen, even at this age).

    Cliff

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    Oh, and while my other comment is in the moderation bucket, I like Regan’s comments too, even if I might not necessarily agree with them (even though I tend to far more often than not).

    Cliff

  • Regan

    Emily,
    Thank you for the kind words! I find your explanations and comments spot on and very educational.

    Cliff,
    I did not explain that well. I am not looking for an appeal to authority, but if there is some scientific consensus based on good research results among those who have the training, I can always have an opinion, but I feel for myself that I’d better be aware of the possible limitations of my knowledge and biases before asserting that this opinion is the equal or superior of the body of knowledge. Or stating that there is little known, when really there is a body of knowledge and the uncertainty is in what I know personally.
    I used the physicist example because I am married to one. He is often buttonholed by people who have various theories that might sound plausible but miss the mark because there is some piece of information that is not understood, is not considered in the theory, or is maintained even though (usually) newer information is available to refute it pretty definitively. The latter is what he usually uses to discern a student from a possible crank.

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    Regan! That happens to me *all* the time, except in a biological context. I often find myself seeking “layperson” ways to explain why someone’s idea just doesn’t really work. These things run the gamut from medical and health “theories” people may have to ideas about ecology or evolution that just miss the mark because they don’t grasp the nuances. There is something to be said for extensive education as one qualifier for real expertise, and for considering that expertise to be a standing trump card over most of what emerges in the lay context.

  • http://autismspectrumdisorders.bellaonline.com Bonnie Sayers

    I agree and especially the last sentence in this post. It is about people. My HFA son asked me last night if there was something like mid function since there are low functioning and high functioning. I thought it was a good question. We were discussing CAMP and looking over the directory for last year and he thought one kid would fit in the mid function.

  • Joannab

    I caught Jenny and Jim on the Good Morning America show this morning and listened for about half of the segment. I was struck at the statements they made and how clearly they did not understand the science behind vaccines, autism, and the Hanna Poling (sp?) case, which of course, came up. I called my sister and said with surprise, “you know, they’re not very smart, are they? You can tell, that they just don’t get the hard science, or they have chosen not to look at it.” She said, “Of course they don’t. Most people don’t get that stuff.” Unfortunately, she’s right.
    The science of vaccines is not “pouring substances in our children” as Jim Carey pointed out. (may I remind him that “our” children are not his.)
    When Jenny was posing in Playboy, and hosting Hot Rocks, I was studying hard and getting a degree in Psychology. When Jenny was on MTV bouncing around and having fun with Howard Stern, and posing in Candies shoes on the toilet (an ad which I kindof liked, then) I was, again, studying hard in grad school for a Masters in Occupational therapy. When Jenny was vomiting on her MTV show, I was working in the schools and private practice with children with Autism.

    Now I’m a mom, of two boys. One with Autism, one with PDD. One I spread out the Vaccines, one I didn’t. Personality wise, they are as different as my husband and I. Spectrum-wise, they are extremely different as well. One is hyperverbal, one non-verbal. I still work with kids of all disabilites, including Autism, every day. And I resent the tabloid and morning programs calling Jenny “the voice of Autism”. She is NOT my voice. Damn her for using her celebrity to inflame areas with poor science when she could be using it for better research and education, insurance coverage and increased community resources and compassion for my boys!!!! Unfortunately the magic diet doesn’t work for us. So I have to figure out how to support them in these communities as they grow up. I can say the same for most of my families at work. We all hoped Jenny would help. I fear she is not.
    Whew. I feel better.

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    @Joannab,

    I think I kind of overlap with you—I was in college and grad school at the same times, no gallivanting, you can be sure!

    As far as “better research and education, insurance coverage and increased community resources and compassion”—-I second you in all this and will rally round these all the time, every day.

  • Ms. Clark

    Joannab, I’d like to say …. you rock. Kristina rocks, too. :-) Oh, and not to leave out Joannab’s sister, she also rocks.

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  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    Actually, Regan, I knew what you meant. And you’re right, though sometimes it’s interesting because such a consensus sometimes is subject to the boundaries of certain assumptions. Nevertheless, it’s interesting when people assert something within a framework (in this example, scientific terminology and accepted means to certain conclusions) that, within in those terms, is either lacking something crucial or has been proved otherwise. And kind of funny, actually.

    The irony, however, is implicit, isn’t it? I’m speaking from the vaguest of viewpoints, as I’m trained at looking at the constructs and language involved than necessarily being trained fluently within such discourse (a poly sci/philosophy student, at the end of the day). Am I being a hypocrite here? I’m not sure I am (because I’ve tended to address things as per how they are constructed at a base level and where the usages overlap into language mediums I’m (kinda) fluent in), but perhaps so. Heh.

    Cliff

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    Rockin’ on……I’m guessing (guessin’?) that one reason the “authority” question has reared its hoary head is precisely because of the internet, which appears to have a radically democratizing power. Anyone can put up a blog or website and it’s off to the races——I think this phenomenon both fascinating and also completely frustrating. One result is that people are more uncertain, confused, etc., about what is a “valid” and “credible” source and, indeed what is “authority.”

  • Joannab

    You guys rock, too. —And help me keep my sanity!
    (Yoga also helps with that) As far as the internet, Kristina, I agree completely. What a boon AND curse it has been for the medical/psychological/intellectual world. Good old Google U.
    Cliff, dude, that was over my head. But rock on.
    :)

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    Oh, man, I didn’t want to have that affect! My bad!

    Cliff

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  • Regan

    “thalidomide, valproate and misopristol”

    All provided by the medical community, how nice of them.
    ————————————-
    You forgot the congenital rubella.

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    Selective memory works well for such theories. I obviously don’t think conspiracy theories are becoming more frequent, but recently it seems I’ve been bombarded with them.

    Then again, I shouldn’t type, because I’ve once again made a really stupid mistake I don’t tend to make (affect as opposed to effect, a really obvious one, too). Gah.

    Cliff

  • Chuck

    The last time I checked congenital rubella was not provided by the medical community. Are you trying to start a new conspiracy theory?

  • Shawn3k

    The postings to Jenny’s McCarthy’s picture at the rally on Eonline are disturbing. We are truly swimming against the tide at times. Although I hope thats not the case…that most people really have the common sense to realize this without merit and aren’t as vocal about it.

    http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b141193_jim_carrey_marches_on.html#comments

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    “The last time I checked congenital rubella was not provided by the medical community. Are you trying to start a new conspiracy theory?”

    Umm… I think you missed the point in a big way. Reread the implications of her post, please.

    Cliff

  • Chuck

    I think she missed the point of my post, so there is no need to re-read hers.

  • http://crimsonthought.blogspot.com Cliff

    Aaaah… no, she didn’t. Pretty clearly, actually. Apparently, it’s pointless.

    Cliff

  • Chuck

    That is your opinion, and you are welcome to it.

  • Regan

    For clarification Chuck, nah, not much interested in conspiracy theories. If I misunderstood your point, sorry, no ball, no foul.

    We talk alot about measles because of the outbreaks (not surprising given how contagious it is), but rubella is more insidious because the exposure is more covert. The disease is pretty mild, but the results to a developing fetus can be pretty devastating and that effect is quite well known.

    For almost a century our state has had 2 rather well known special needs schools for the deaf and the blind. These are for students whose needs rise well above those that can be served by the public schools. I have a friend who works at the school for the blind because of her expertise in working with autistic students (many are dually diagnosed).
    Currently the schools are consolidating because of dwindling enrollment. A lengthy report which examined the contributions of IDEA, early intervention and other variables primarily laid the loss of enrollment to one variable: decreased cases of congenital rubella.

  • Chuck

    I first learned ASL because a friend was deaf due to rubella.

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    @Shawn3k,

    I’m not surprised at the general response to the rally on the celebrity and entertainment websites. The message has been sufficiently watered down and “tamed” so that it seems like it’s just a bunch of parents of disabled kids doing what they think is right, and led by Jenny McCarthy, who could be seen (in the public eye) as having gone through a bit of a conversion into green-mom-concerned-about-kids’-health. With a G rating.

  • Regan

    Not all the celebutainment sites behaved as one might predict. PerezHilton (!) had quite a few commenters discussing the the research quite cogently. Of course that was yesterday, don’t know where that thread might have gone today.

  • Shawn3k

    A great podcast I found http://www.skeptoid.com had an excellent episode on Autism/Vaccinations. Well worth checking out. As for Eonline…I couldn’t stand not to post my two cents along with a couple links.

    Sadly, the good that can come out of “going green”, is being overtaken by those who latch onto it as if it were the latest fashion. They have no idea, how to discern where being green can be helpful or harmful. All this type of mindset does, is promote misinformation and misconception…a potentially deadly mix, when it comes to not vaccinating (IMHO).

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    Regan! You’re reading Perez Hilton? The shame! Have you seen TMZ’s comment? Quite cogent, really, in its irony, re Jim Carry et al: “Finally, someone who’s taking a stand against immunizations.”

  • Regan

    Emily! Yes the shame :-).
    The TMZ comments were also more thoughtful and critical than one might expect…

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    Hey, I was reading him too! And Jezebel.

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  • http://none Michael

    Clearly there are some folks posting here that are more concerned with being right than with being catious with the welfare of children. Dr. Coppers post that these vaccines are “life saving” clearly shows a bias toward the money making machine our medical community and the certainly the drug companies have become. There is no basis for objectivety. The finacial stakes are to high. To simply assume that the doctors and scienetists that insist the vaccines are safe are ethical and completely beyon reproach is to ignore the fact that the tobacco companies for years were able to hire doctors and scienetists that insisted that there was no link between cigarette smoking and lung and heart disease. Dr. Copper’s statement is a clear cut example of professional propoganda. The majority of the vaccines in question do not even combat “life threatening” pathogens. As a child of the sixties who recieved realatively few vaccines, as we all did then, I can atest to the fact that my peers were not exactly dropping like flys due to a lack of vaccinations. Is is the very medical community that some instill their blind faith that has led us to become the over medicated society we have become. This was the opinion of my late father-an MD. As for hesteria, the only hesteria I have witnessed so far has been the postings of Ms Clark who seems to want ot simply take a side and present an ugly arguement to support the side she ahs chosen.

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