Autism & MMR – The Evidence You Were Not Supposed To See

Plenty of links below – first a little taunting of my critics which you may like to skip.
When I posted an item on this topic titled “The Scandal That Will Not Go Away,” I expected a heated debate but not the angry and hysterical responses I had from many people. Even more puzzling was that many of these responses seemed to my expert eye (I’ve been a published writer for almost forty years) to bear a similar verbal style and use certain phrases. “Ad hominem,” a phrase we do not come across often outside the academic community occurred four of five times. “Association fallacy,” also came up and many people accused me of raking up the controversy about Andrew Wakefield’s discredited research into the possible link.

Well all I said about Wakefield was that his case had been used by the medical establishment to divert attention from discussion of the real issues that was going on in other countries. Hardly wholehearted and enthusiastic support is it?

I was also told repeatedly I am not a scientist and do not understand scientific enquiry. The people who made this assertion then went on to describe dialectic, which of course is very much pert of philosophical, sociological and theological debate but not much to do with science. Having worked in computers as an analyst and later a consultant for over twenty years I came to appreciate the descriptiveness of the French name for my occupation, a logician. Logic is a pure science of course whereas medical “science” is mostly about hocus pocus. I would be surprised if anybody reading this had not at some time been prescribed a placebo, a course of medicine in one form or another which has no active ingredient but works simply because the patient believes it is doing them good.

So having ploughed through twenty or thirty long winded replies all similar in content and of increasingly hysterical tone I have grounds to suspect some faceless person or persons have orchestrated this in an attempt to shut me up.

Which is quite amusing really.

(Thanks to all those people who posted intelligent and considered replies, it proves we can have an intelligent debate even though the licking dogs of the British Medical Association will try to silence me.)

The first item promised to bring links to the websites of American Organisations that hold very different views to our medical establishment and justify my claim that Wakefield was a scapegoat, there were many other studies conducted, those that support MMR are as inconclusive as those that suggest more research is needed. These links follow. You will find copies, reviews and extracts of documents on both sides of the argument and information about things that parents can do to help improve the quality of life of autistic children. Can anything possibly work? I am not the person to answer that so here is a paragraph from my American friend Natasha who happens to be the mother of an autistic adolescent. (letters in brackets are mine, for clarification)

Ian, as you know Cam(eron) showed signs of autism from a very early age so there is no question of vaccine damage in my case. I am from a privileged background and was able to get the best help and advice from the start. At age five the outlook was poor but therapies developed at U(niversity of) C(alifornia) Davis M.I.N.D. Center. They seemed to help a lot.
Many parents in both our group around Sacramento and in the San Francisco group have told of autism symptoms appearing in formerly happy children a few weeks after they had the MMR vaccine. Even though these tend to be mainly disorders at the higher functioning end of the spectrum it is still another human life whose potential will never be fulfilled.
love Tash

The self styled “scientists” among my critics will dismiss this as anecdotal and irrelevant of course, but who would you rather trust, a gang of narrow minded egotistical bigots or a concerned mother who spends a lot of her time and money on campaigning for autism related charities?

At the links below you will find both sides of the case presented (in Britain we have only ever heard one as the British Medical Association seem to have decided from the outset that the MMR vaccine was above criticism. An admirably unbiased attitude from these “high minded academics”, if you know what I mean.

(United States) National Vaccine Information Centre
Autism and Vaccines: A New Look At An Old Problem
The cases for and against laid out in accessible language.

Next is Special Children a page from about.com that presents both arguments for and against MMR. The bigots who have attacked me in the earlier post may try to suggest the fact that arguments against appear first is somehow significant (for people who claim high minded academic detachment they are an emotional lot and are rarely troubled by logic or fair mindedness.

Autism Research Institute
An extensive site devoted to autism issues. Parents with autistic children will find this a valuable resource as it is rich in information you simply will not get in the U.K.

UCLA Davis Mind Centre university of California

An academic site and not easy to find your way round. Again both sides of the argument are presented online here.

The Legal Position
As well as promising links to information sites, I promised to bring info on cases going through the US legal process now (latest available updates from June 2007) Now if you fancy some really good bedtime reading, check out the US Federal Courts transcripts of test cases to prove “general causation” against the MMR vaccine in the first hearing of a three trial process to establish grounds for thousands of families to launch civil proceedings against the MMR vaccine manufacturers. You can always go to the final day (day 12) of the first case in three table and read the final submissions and the summing up.

For quicker summaries of proceedings click here to go to a summary site run by the mother of one of the claimants. Check out the picture of her son Chandler and you will understand this issue is not about science at all, its about humanity.

Funny you know but the more I hang in, the more hysterical the attacks become. Keep coming suckers, you’re all helping me.

Despite all this screaming that there is no issue, the case is actually progressing through the U.S. Courts. No doubt at least one of my critics will remind me that Americans are idiots. Well I’ve no problem about making fun of America’s religious right and other oddball aspects of American society but lets not allow the histrionics of Holocaxxxx sorry, Autism/MMR deniers trick us into forgetting America is a civilised country. And thanks to the Wakefield case and other bizarre cover ups American medical professionals, along with those in Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, and even India think British medicine is in The Dark Ages. But even in America the Medical Establishment is in the pockets of the Pharmaceuticals Industry. Read here how a non – committal report from the Institute of Medicine was misrepresented.

Finally though, I have said I will not comment on Wakefield because I am not qualified to do so (again despite my repeating this several times my critics keep referring to my assertion that the Wakefield case has been used to stifle debate as if I have made a detailed defence of his findings. Machiavelli (the clue is in the name) is a political website and all my posts are about the politics of this issue. You want a rebuttal of Wakefield’s critics, here’s one from :

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D.
Autism Research Institute
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116

Dr. Wakefield and his courageous collaborators have endured a torrent of criticism and abuse from those dedicated to silencing anyone challenging the sacred-cow status of vaccines. The fact is, vaccines are not nearly as safe, nor anywhere near as effective, as vaccination proponents claim.
Dr. Wakefield’s opponents argue, quite speciously, that he is confusing association with causation, and that the autism link may be merely “coincidental.”

I find it doubly ironic that the vaccine advocates accuse Wakefield of this elementary error in logic. That very argument was used just as wrongly–against vaccinations–by the opponents of Edward Jenner when he introduced vaccination to Europe. (It was used earlier in Asia.) Jenner’s observation that milkmaids exposed to pox-infected cows developed a resistance to smallpox was attributed to coincidence. Fortunately for today’s vaccine proponents, Jenner’s critics did not succeed in dismissing his observations as merely “coincidence.”

The second irony is that the critics who accuse Dr. Wakefield of confusing association with causation are guilty of doing that very thing–deliberately, not mistakenly–while trying to influence public policy, by claiming that vaccines cause steep declines in the incidence of disease when there is good evidence that the decline was often due to other factors — that is, to coincidence.
CLICK To read the full article and see Dr. Rimland clarify the point confusing so many of my critics, i.e. the difference between coincidence and a significant pattern of events visit this page. Same case as used against Edward Jenner eh? He died in 1823. Nobody could accuse these guys of being original.

Again no comment from me. I confine myself to political, social and economic issues. Except of course when medical people stray into my field and show complete ignorance of data analysis methodology.

Remember, all you egomaniacal junior doctors, autism is about real lives, real suffering, real pain in the real world. Your egos do not belong in the equation.

38 thoughts on “Autism & MMR – The Evidence You Were Not Supposed To See

  1. I always find it surprising when people criticise ‘big pharma’ but support organisations like the Autism Research Institute (ARI). The ARI is broadly supportive of the use of certain drugs to treat autism (for example, EDTA or secretin). However, the drugs they support (and that doctors working for their Defeat Autism Now! (DAN) initiative often prescribe) often have a v poor evidence base – working no better than, or slightly worse than, placebo. They also carry certain risks, and occasionally an autistic child is injured or killed by completely ineffective treatments (I’m not sure if that counts as defeating autism).

    Put bluntly, the ARI and DAN do recommend and use pharmaceutical products – what distinguishes them from other researchers and healthcare practitioners is that they tend to do this unusually badly. Concerns about the ethics of the pharmaceutical industry is no reason to buy into the – even more ethically questionable – claims and actions of organisations like ARI and DAN.

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    1. As usual with MMR supporters you offer evasion, slur and unsubstantiated allegation. Pity you didn’t get to the court case links and learn the US courts have just cleared the way for civil law suits.
      but the vaccine manufacturers had gone as far as trying to get legislation from the senate to prevent people suing them. Must have cost a bomb.
      Amazing they would go so far if their opponents don’t have a case.
      If you know what I mean 😉

      And like all my other critics you base your criticism on prejudice. I have not told people ARI are correct, if you had read before commenting you would see there are many links to sites supporting the other view.

      Don’t you think it is strange that supporters of MMR are so determined the issue weill not be debated. When I am 100% confident in my case I am only too ready to debate.

      Game, set and match to me I think.

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    1. Thanks but I’m not alone, I have an NHS consultant and a senior psychiatric nurse to get info from, plus a lawyer and a couple of interested parties from across the pond. AND none of us claim there IS a link, only that there are reasonable grounds to suspect a link.

      People have challenged me to name my sources but obviously I canno9t link a medical professional to even the most reasoned questioning of MMR. To do so would be to finish their career.

      This one will run and run.

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      1. It thinks thats just the problem however, what constitues reasonable reasonable grounds, which is always going to be subjective, having read through much of your source information i thank you, i will post a comment on it when i’ve read the whole lot.

        Another problem is that many of these medical professionals are far too interested in their career than the quality of their work, which isn’t isolated to just the medical profession, but from my experiance more than most, i understand you have reason to distrust them, i do too, they spend billions of pounds of unproven medicine and deny effective treatment to patients.

        From what i have read so far there still is no reason for me to change my opinion, personally i don’t think there is a link, after reviewing the evidence for and against i think it’s safe, but my opinion is just that, i’m no medical expert, i understand what i read but there are persons better suited to reviewing it in greater depth.

        The real issue as i see it is the media’s irresponsible actions over this debate, they use tiny extracts of information as recently seen, and use it to ‘scare up a frenzy’ all in the name of greater circulation.

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      2. Kenny,
        I too am no medic, but I am an expert in statistical analysis and no matter how much those who have attacked me claim I do not understand science, I do. And I am supremely qualified to comment on their flawed logic.

        They repeatedly cite “correlation does not prove causation” the way an evangelical preacher shouts “Jesus loves you,” but of course while correlation does not prove causation it does not prove their is no link whenever two events occur in sequence. And that is the point they will not allow into the public debate. Unfortunately the peopole better suited than us to discuss the medical issues are to wrapped up in their ego trips.

        Just between us, I think in the majority of cases MMR would pose no risk but in a few cases where certain risk factors are present there is a problem. Unfortunately we don’t know what those risk factors are and so cannot screen at risk children. And there rests the whole argument.

        See, I’m not such a bad guy as people have made out. So why do you think they want to shut me up? That’s the big question.

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  2. As usual with MMR supporters you offer evasion, slur and unsubstantiated allegation

    What aspect of what I posted do you think is evasive, a slur, or unsubstantiated. As you linked to the ARI website, I presumed you were familiar with it: they are (quite openly) behind DAN!, and they do broadly support secretin and chelation as treatments for autism. The death of Tariq Namada is perfectly well-substantiated (as it happens, a civil case is going to court shortly).

    And like all my other critics you base your criticism on prejudice. I have not told people ARI are correct, if you had read before commenting you would see there are many links to sites supporting the other view.

    Now who’s being evasive. Where you link to ARI, you say that this is “An extensive site devoted to autism issues. Parents with autistic children will find this a valuable resource as it is rich in information you simply will not get in the U.K.”
    No it isn’t a ‘valuable resource’. The ARI’s site is an extensive compilation of poor quality information on causes of and treatments for autism. Some of the recommended treatments are known to be ineffective and/or harmful.

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    1. You did not answer my question. Why are you and other who support MMR unwilling to debate. You shout down evrey argument but will not engage in rational debate.

      I get told I am “not a scientist” and do not understand the issue therefore I should not comment. But I have a scientific education and worked in Information Technology which is an applied science.

      Medical Science is an applied science. Real world, real people, real suffering.

      I also se you are quite prepared to pontificae on from a position of ignorance on legal matters. The verdict in the hearing I referred to was “GENERAL CAUSATION” and the evaluation now going on will decide if the manufacturers were ignorant of the possible link or if they knowlingly sold a suspect product. The most significant part of the judgement though was in the definition of the burden of proof. In a criminal case the burden of proof is on the defence. The plaintiff must only show “reasonable grounds to suspect. (legal info from Alex Ewing LLB. – I’m just a front man, my bacup is frightening, like the NHS consultant whose name one critic stupidly challenged me to reveal, who advises me on the medical case.)

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      1. What are you talking about?

        There’s been no verdict or judgement in the test case you linked to. It’s not expected for months.

        And the idea that the burden of proof is on the defence in criminal cases is straightforward nonsense. The burden of proof is on the prosecution.

        In any case these are civil proceedings not criminal and difference is usually down to the standard of proof. Civil cases generally have a lower burden of proof; usually “balance of probabilities” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt”.

        However the Special Masters i the Omnibus Hearings did rule that the Daubert principle applied, which means a high standard of evidence is required when making scientific claims.

        Given how some of the plaintiffs expert witnesses performed they may not get the ruling they hope for.

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      2. The verdict Seanie was of “general causation.” Had that not been the verdict the case would have ended there and then.

        Don’t try to mess me about, my friend in California, Tash (the mother of an autistic boy) is not a lawyer but her brother is.

        So I don’t need you onanists from the Bad Science group to reinterpret it for me. I don’t need you to explain dialectic either, which is just as well as none of you understand it.

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      3. THIS COMMENT IS CUT BECAUSE IT JUST REITERATES WHAT THE COMMENTATOR HAS ALREADY SAID. THIS IS WHAT THE SAD LITTLE WANKERS AT THE BAD SCIENCE FORUM DO; IF I GIVE THEM THE ANSWER THEY DID NOT WANT THEY JUST REPHRASE THE QUESTION.

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      4. Your attempts to stiffle debate by removing comments that simply denonstrate you are clearly wrong don’t do you any favours.

        And there’s still been no verdict.

        Not so, seanie, my blog, my rules. No repetitive, boring comments and you are repetitive and boring. Nobody reads comments anyway.

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      5. You also said;

        “The verdict in the hearing I referred to was “GENERAL CAUSATION”…

        THE REST OF THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN SNIPPED BECAUSE THE WRITER IS BORINGLY GOING ON AND ON ABOUT THE SAME ISSUE. HE SEEMS TO THINK I SHOULD WRITE IN THE COMPLEX LEGALESE OF THE AMERICAN COURTS – BUT AS THAT HAS OBVIOUSLY BAMBOOZLED HIM I WILL STICK TO THE VERSION A U.S. LAWYER, THE UNCLE OF AN AUTISTIC CHILD, EXPRESSED IN LAYMAN’S TERMS FOR ME – Little Nicky Machiavelli

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      6. I can tell you that having succeeded in the first of the three test cases they are feeling confident. If, as you have said over and over again there had been no verdict then the second and third test cases could no go ahead.

        Two of the complainant’s expert witnesses did get shredded, but also the defence expert witnesses got shredded. Having been an expert witness myself several time in Information Technology lawsuits I can tell you a lawyer’s job is to destroy the credibility of expert witnesses and to do so they will just keep on at an issue twisting and distorting the truth as you are doing here.

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      7. It doesn’t take a knowledge of complex US legalese to work out that there HASN’T BEEN A VERDICT YET.

        Try reading the link you provided.

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      8. The word “verdict” will not actually appear until the 5000 cases are heard individually. Would you have me write several thousand words explaining the legal process appropriate to “class action” cases or use a simple word that everyone understands to indicate that as the class action has gone to its next phase this hearing found the general causation case proven. The next hearinmg will rule on a specific component in the MMR vaccine. Obviously general causation has to be proved before specific causation proceeedings can be heard. If there was not general causation there could not be specific causation. I can’t really spell it out more clearly.

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    1. Good one thanks, I was aware of this but did not want to sprread the argument too wide. You may have noticed the link deniers suffer from tunnel vision.

      As I have repeatedly said, I do not know if there is a link but where the link deniers just quote “correlation does not prove causation” to accuse me of fallacious thinking, they forget that phrase is only appropriate to abstact argument and that in real world terms there are “reasonable grounds to suspect.”

      But most of my critics who claim to be in medicine do not seem to understand the difference between vaccine, immunisation and innoculation. Which is strange.

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  3. Hello Ian,

    Thank you for shining the light on what is going on with our kids.

    A quick correction though on this:

    “For quicker summaries of proceedings click here to go to a summary site run by the mother of one of the claimants. Check out the picture of her son Chandler and you will understand this issue is not about science at all, its about humanity.”

    That mom is me, but we are not claimants. We decided not to join the suit for our child’s vaccine injury. Many critics of parents like me like to claim that our public advocacy is simply to get money. We decided not to sue so that we could speak freely and advocate for vaccine safety without being accused of doing it for personal profit.

    I don’t what what happened to my son to happen to any other children.

    Thanks again!
    Ginger Taylor

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    1. Thanks for the correction Ginger and Kudos to you. With such a mountain of evidence to look at mistakes are ieveitable. Its good to get the voice of someone directly involved to silence my critics with their bogus dialectical arguments.
      I keep being told “correlation does not prove causation” but people hiding their bigotry behind that intellectual pose cannot accept the ripose “correlation does not prove non – causation”. And when one thing repeatedly occurs soon after another its a pretty ghood clue something is going on.
      Our opponents are the type of people who are so far up themselves will only see the light if their throats are cut.

      A link from Macvjhiavelli’s much more powerful (but totally insane) cousin Jenny Greenteeth coming your way. Should boost your visibility.

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    2. That is just awesome, I was going to reply to the main post more generally but this deserves to be recognised.

      To Nick: thanks for writing this. I happened upon this blog via a link in an unrelated subject discussion and it has pointed me to some very interesting stuff. I wasn’t aware that there was any serious evidence in the case against MMR but I suppose, as someone with direct experience of the side effects of Seroxat (Paxil), I should probably know better.

      As for the critics, I would say ‘they repeatedly cite “correlation does not prove causation” the way Philip Morris and BAT have done since the 1950s’.

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      1. Paul,
        Thanks for your comment on Ginger’s supplement to my stirring things up post on autism / MMR.

        Its good to see I’m getting iuntelligent visitors.

        Would it surprise you to know most of the hostile criticism came from The Bad Science forum and was orchestrated by one person.

        I admit I have been deliberately provocative but I hyad reason. This group of cyber bullies pose as high minded intelectuals but anyone visiting their forum and posting an opinion differing from theirs is shouted down in the way they have tried to shout me down here. Unfortunately for them I was always controlling the game and all they have done is make my posts more visible.

        I was only ever a front for some NHS people who knew they cou;ld not raise the questions without sacrificing their careers. They, like me, are not claiming proof of a link, all we are saying is there is no proof there is not one, so while it keeps happening there is a case to answer.

        Give Ginger any support you can and remember Little Nicky Machiavelli, we will be off in pursuit of new controversies soon but will be coming bacvk to this topic I’m sure.

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  4. You did not answer my question. Why are you and other who support MMR unwilling to debate. You shout down evrey argument but will not engage in rational debate.

    You posted a number of links; I posted comments saying that one of the links was not useful and did not merit your description of it. That seems a perfectly reasonable response to your post.

    If you have a specific question in mind, it would be helpful if you make clear what it is. This isn’t particularly clear from your post/comment.

    Medical Science is an applied science. Real world, real people, real suffering.

    Absolutely. With that in mind, could you clarify your position re. the uses of pharmaceutical products that ARI and DAN broadly support: in particular, IV chelation therapy and secretin? Also, how do you feel about the allegations that Wakefield carried out unethical research (e.g. paying children at a birthday party for blood samples).

    Unethical research and inappropriate treatment protocols can also cause real suffering, pain and – occasionally – death.

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    1. I have no position on ARI and DAN other than that it is a well built and well presented website that puts a lot of accessibe information in front of people so they can read and make up their own minds. Do you have a problem with people being allowed to make up their own minds and if so why. Context is all important when making comments such as yours Jon, to an Information Technology professional like myself a useful website is one that is people friendly and a valuable resource is one that presents a lot of accessible information.

      As for Wakefield let’s not forget these are ALLEGATIONS. If they are true then his actions were outrageous but we cannot judge without hearing both sides of the case. Your question shows people on you8r side of the argument only want your side to have a voice.

      Which is what makes so many people suspicious. Look at the comment from Ginger, above, a reasonable and polite response from someone actually involved.

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  5. “Jenner’s observation that milkmaids exposed to pox-infected cows developed a resistance to smallpox was attributed to coincidence. Fortunately for today’s vaccine proponents, Jenner’s critics did not succeed in dismissing his observations as merely “coincidence.”

    Not just for today’s vaccine proponents since smallpox has in fact been eradicated due to vaccination programs.

    But Jenner didn’t suceed by simply insisting on the validity of his observation. He proved it. He infected a child with cowpox then infected him a few days later with smallpox which didn’t take.

    He didn’t merely note a correlation, he proved a causal link although a causal link is not necessary to demonstrate a problem. Epidemiological studies can ascertain problems and risks without the precise mechanisms being understood.

    The problem with the “MMR-causes-autism” argument is that an overall view of the evidence so far doesn’t even suggest a reliable correlation. If large scale analyses can’t even detect differences in autism rates beteen MMR vaccinated children and non-MMR vaccinated children then the whole argument doesn’t really have much credibility.

    That’s not to say a link is impossible but evidence so far is overhelmingly against.

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    1. The problem with the autism/mmr debate is that there is no single suspected cause of autism. While Jenner could posit a theory based on observations of a single issue there could be a combination of several factors that in conjunction with mmr trigger the condition.

      I note that there is a considerable anti vaccine lobby building. One case they make is that there are no so many live virus vaccines given in the first few years of life the giving of three in a singe dose causes toxic overload. Again stuidies have proved inconclusive either way. So again we are faced with the medical profession saying “you can’t prove its unsafe therefore it must be safe.” This is totally bogus logic and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. On the whole vaccines are safe and effective, like most of my generation I was vaccinated and I’m still here. But the refusal of the medical establishment to deal openly with this issue only strengthens suspicions.

      In the court case linked to in my main post, the US Federal Court Judge very significantly defines the burden of proof. In cases like this, unlike criminal cases in the English speaking world, the burden of proof is on the defend ant rather than the plaintiff who must only show “reasonable grounds.”

      The danger (people have ben so busy trying to destroy my credibility they have not investigated my agenda and learned what I am doing) is that trust in the medical profession will be eroded if thyese cases keep coming out. There was a family on Lorraine Kelly’s morning show earlier this week who told of their real experience in calm, unsensational terms. They will have won people over.
      I think on the whole medical profressionals at the “coal face” do a damn good job and are constantly shat on by their managers and the self – interested people who run their professions. it would be a disaster if the pig headedness of a few vainglorious senior doctors were to undermine the already damaged trust between ordinary doctors and nurses and the public.

      So should we be assking the hard questions or not?

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      1. In the court case linked to in my main post, the US Federal Court Judge very significantly defines the burden of proof. In cases like this, unlike criminal cases in the English speaking world, the burden of proof is on the defend ant rather than the plaintiff who must only show “reasonable grounds.”

        Nonsense.

        In neither civil nor criminal cases is the burden of proof on the defendant. That’s just as true here as in the US.

        What differs is the standard of proof, again both here and in the US.

        In criminal cases the prosecution must prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

        In civil cases the plaintiff must prove their case against the defendant on the balance of probabilities.

        And the Omnibus Vaccine Hearings are civil proceedings.

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      2. In a civil case for compensation the plaintiff must prove injury, which as far as the court is concerned has been done (general causation) then the defence must prove there was no negligence. What do you not understand about that? Please read properly before commenting.

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      3. No. Proving injury itself is not sufficent. It must be linked, on the balance of probability, to the actions or ommissions of the defendant. And negligence is not a requirement in determining the case…

        REST OF COMMDENT CUT AS IT IS JUST REPETITIVE. SEANIE DOES HAVE A POINT HERE THOUGH, OF COURSE THE LEGAL SITUATION IS MORE COMPLEX THAN I HAVE STATED, WHICH IS WHY IT FILLS SEVERAL VOLUMES TO BE FOUND IN THE LEGAL SECTION OF REFERENCE LIBRARIES. WE JUST DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT HERE AND ANYWAY THE PUNTRERS WOULD GET BORED. AND ONE THING LITTLE NICKY MACHIAVELLI IS SURE WILL PUT THE KISS OF DEATH ON ANY BLOG IS BORING THE PUNTERS.

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  6. I have no position on ARI and DAN other than that it is a well built and well presented website that puts a lot of accessibe information in front of people so they can read and make up their own minds. Do you have a problem with people being allowed to make up their own minds and if so why. Context is all important when making comments such as yours Jon, to an Information Technology professional like myself a useful website is one that is people friendly and a valuable resource is one that presents a lot of accessible information.

    To be blunt, it doesn’t matter how well-presented the information is if it’s not reliable. The ARI broadly supports, and DAN ‘doctors’ generally offer, a range of medical interventions which are known to be ineffective and potentially harmful. It is not appropriate for you to describe this as “a valuable resource”: the information may be well-presented, but it’s still extremely unhelpful.

    I have no problem at all with people making up their own minds (I’ve linked to the ARI site from my own blog posts, though I did not decribe it as ‘valuable’). But presenting a site full of unreliable information as a ‘valuable resource’ does not help people to make up their own minds: instead, it is potentially misleading.

    As for Wakefield let’s not forget these are ALLEGATIONS. If they are true then his actions were outrageous but we cannot judge without hearing both sides of the case. Your question shows people on you8r side of the argument only want your side to have a voice.

    I made very clear in my question that these are allegations. I’m not sure why you think that referring to these allegations – and linking to a video of Wakefield himself discussing the alleged blood drawing – means I only want my ‘side’ to have a voice (I’m very pleased to know that I have a ‘side’ now). How does linking to a video of Wakefield talking constitute my trying to silence voices I disagree with?

    I note that there is a considerable anti vaccine lobby building. One case they make is that there are no so many live virus vaccines given in the first few years of life the giving of three in a singe dose causes toxic overload.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this? Claims of ‘toxic overload’ seem to focus on mercury – and, whatever you think of claims of a link between mercury poisoning and autism, MMR never contained thimerosal or mercury.

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    1. If you are so clear the allegations against Wakefield are only allegations then why ask me to comment? I have neither seen nor heard the evidence. I probably would not comment even after the case because I have no interest in it. What I am interested in is yet another whitewash by the medical establishment.

      On toxic overload, University of California (even the boy scientist Goldacre could not say their Davis medical research department, one of the most respected in the world, is not credible) have done a lot of work on live vaccine side effects. A report published on the Davis website which I linked to, clearly states that while “no evidence of a link between MMR and autism onset has yet been found, this does not necessarily indicate there is no link.”

      One of the theories UC Davis is pursuing is that a cumulative effect of all the live virus vaccines is being compounded by the triuple does contained in MMR. The study is ongoing so please do not infer that I am stating anything I am not here. The work is ongoing but UC Davis are clear MMR has not been vindicated. That can only happen when a cause if found for the onset of autism in children who have recently recieved the vaccine.

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  7. Nicky

    I honestly thought the discusssion on the last MMR thread was very reasoned and civil. Your description of it seems rather overdramatic and martyr-ish.

    For the record, the commonality in the style might be because alot of the contributors came from the Bad science forum where Ben Goldacre had linked your blog. Your hit counter would show where hits are coming from, and no one was hiding the fact. No conspiracy or orchestrated attack, just a link.

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    1. So you are not acting in concert but like the Borg in Star Trek you all think with one mind.

      Thanks to you all, you have helped Dr. Wakefield so much. Let me know next time you guys are burning a witch, I’ll come and retort on it.

      BTW the basis of your Bad Science argument is bollocks. The use of dialectic (questioning everything ad nauseum) can be used to “prove” theoretically at least, that the sun orbits the earth, the moon might after all be made of cheese and all dogs are collies.

      Its the kind of thing that fascinates their year boys at good schools when they are introduced to dialectic. The idea that one skilled in argument can disprove anything seems way cool to that adolescent mindset but in the real world is just a game for intellectual boozers or the kind of people who spend a lot of time in science forums.

      And personal thanks to you Steve, for confirming what we knew. An admission carries so much more weight. You lot are so predictable I knew one of you would take the bait.

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  8. If you are so clear the allegations against Wakefield are only allegations then why ask me to comment? I have neither seen nor heard the evidence. I probably would not comment even after the case because I have no interest in it. What I am interested in is yet another whitewash by the medical establishment.

    If that’s the case, then why did you describe Rimland’s remarks (which don’t mention the allegations that Wakefield carried out unethical research on children) as a “rebuttal of Wakefield’s critics”. If you have no interest in the case, and have not seen or heard the evidence, then how can you be confident that Rimland has successfully rebutted Wakefield’s critics?

    On toxic overload, University of California (even the boy scientist Goldacre could not say their Davis medical research department, one of the most respected in the world, is not credible) have done a lot of work on live vaccine side effects. A report published on the Davis website which I linked to, clearly states that while “no evidence of a link between MMR and autism onset has yet been found, this does not necessarily indicate there is no link.”

    Thanks for the link, but could you clarify what this has to do with toxic overload. ‘Toxic overload’ seems to be used to refer to the supposed effects of mercury (among other things). MMR has never contained thimerosal, or mercury in any other form. I did look at the Mind Centre’s website – but couldn’t find any reference to MMR causing toxic overload.

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    1. I quote Rimland’s rebuttal because he and I both think the current proceedings against Wakefield are a witch hunt. His point was that the medical establishment dismissed Jenner’s observations as coincidence just as modern medicine (and the boy scientist Goldacre) have dismissed MMR / autism cases as coincidence, citing correlation does not prove causation. But if something keeps happening its NOT coincidence.
      Once is circumstance
      Twice is coincidence
      Three times is enemy action. And its happened a bloody site more than three times.

      Toxic overload merely refers to a condition arising from a build up of toxic materials, which might not be dangerous individually but in combination reach a point at which they become harmful. It is used in many contexts, not just in relation to Mercury poisoning. Which is exactly what the words mean to anyone who understands English. Its not rocket science.

      As you are going to ridiculous lengths to twist everything and as you comment without having understoopd or even read what you are commenting on you win Machiavelli’s wanker of the week award. Well done.

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      1. You’re missing a fundamental point here about why so many people dismiss the MMR/Autism link. Their general objection is not that a mechanism of causation isn’t understood. It’s that there is no reliable evidence of correlation.

        It’s true that correlation does not prove causation but that correlation can demonstrate very strong evidence of causation that doesn’t rely on an understanding of the mechanism involved. Sir Richard Doll established the link beteen smoking and cancer, not by lab studies, but by epidemiology. If you can establish a robust correlation an explanation is required.

        But the principal reason that the medical establishment, here and elsewhere, remains skeptical of a link between MMR and Autism is that, on the evidence so far, there isn’t even a reliable correlation.

        There may be many contributing factors (genetic, environmental etc.) but if MMR is a contributing factor we should be able to detect it. It should show itself in the statistics but so far it hasn’t.

        We have countries that stopped using MMR and…autism increased.

        We have countries where MMR vaccination rates dropped and…autism has increased.

        We have countries that have undertaken large scale studies of 10’s even 100’s of thousands of children, some who have and some who havent taken MMR, and the rates of autism in the two groups are…essentially the same.

        Such studies don’t just fail to support an MMR/autism link. They positively suggest there is no link because the results make little sense if MMR is indeed a causal agent.

        That could change. No study is perfect and there may be complicating factors that mask an effect. But the evidence so far just isn’t there.

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      2. You are missing a basic point of human intelligence here. Until we know what causes autism we cannot dismiss any possibility where there is a correlation with another event. Nobody has everr suggested MMR is the only, or even the most frequent cause of autism.

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  9. I quote Rimland’s rebuttal because he and I both think the current proceedings against Wakefield are a witch hunt. His point was that the medical establishment dismissed Jenner’s observations as coincidence just as modern medicine (and the boy scientist Goldacre) have dismissed MMR / autism cases as coincidence, citing correlation does not prove causation.

    You do know that Wakefield is not up before the GMC for doing science badly, right? The allegations include an undeclared conflict of interest, and unethical research on children. Even if Wakefield got the science right (the evidence suggests he didn’t) that would not give him a carte blanche to carry out unethical experiments on children.

    At any rate, I very much doubt that Rimland has any opinions re. the current charges against Wakefield.

    Toxic overload merely refers to a condition arising from a build up of toxic materials, which might not be dangerous individually but in combination reach a point at which they become harmful. It is used in many contexts, not just in relation to Mercury poisoning. Which is exactly what the words mean to anyone who understands English. Its not rocket science.

    If it’s so simple, why did you respond to my question by giving a link to a UCal website that – as far as I can tell – doesn’t even mention ‘toxic overload’. And then call me a wanker because this doesn’t make it clear to me what you mean. Perhaps you could try explaining things more clearly if you don’t want to be misunderstood: toxic overload doesn’t seem to be terribly well-defined even when used to refer to heavy metals.

    As this isn’t rocket science to you, I’m sure you’ll have no problem explaining how MMR would play a role in this supposed toxic overload. Could you answer a few of the obvious questions about this: what components of (particular brands of?) the MMR vaccine are meant to contribute to this overload? What’s the likely mechanism by which this takes place, and causes autism? And can you give references for any good quality articles discussing how MMR contributes to toxic overload?

    You are missing a basic point of human intelligence here. Until we know what causes autism we cannot dismiss any possibility where there is a correlation with another event.

    Right. That makes sense. So until we know what causes autism, we cannot dismiss the possibility that there is a correlation between the increase in autism diagnoses and the decline in the UK circus industry.

    Oh yeah, and to go back to a point from your previous post on this:
    the case that MMR vaccine did not contribute to autism was never convincingly made, we were fobbed off with “well you can’t actually PROVE beyond doubt that it is harmful” rather than the more ethical but less cost effective “we can’t prove beyond doubts it isn’t harmful so we will stop using it until we are certain.”

    Care to comment on how this relates to the ARI? They – and their DAN! initiative – are broadly supportive of autism treatments like secretin and chelation; these treatments are known to be both useless and potentially harmful. What would be an ethical approach to take re. such treatments: should DAN! stop recommending them? And is it ethical for you to link to a site supporting these treatments, and – instead of offering any caution to people reading the ARI site – describe it as “a valuable resource”.

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