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Oh, good, Oprah is going to give Jenny McCarthy a talk show, because she wants your kid to die of the measles.

McCarthy, a famous celebrity from the long-defunct Playboy magazine and much missed MTV channel, has been on a crusade to find an evildoer responsible for her son's autism. She settled on vaccines, because why not. And now she spends a great deal of time on TV explaining that the mercury that has not been vaccines since 1999 is giving all the kids autism, but it can be cured with Chelation therapy, which has so far only killed one or two autistic kids, so good on you, Jenny.

So famous TV empress Oprah Winfrey signed Jenny to a multi-year multi-platform deal that will include a syndicated talk show. The show will be called Finding Someone to Blame When Bad Things Happen.

Alex Pareene (?), Gawker

Date: 2009-05-05 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frogprince.livejournal.com
I gotta tell you, I'm at a bit of a loss as to why this is such a big deal to you. At least a big enough deal to post about it now twice that I've seen.

My only guess is that you must own a good sized percentage of a major pharmaceutical company. Or you have some phobia that measles will come swirling into your room at night and kill you instantly. Otherwise I can't figure out why the personal decisions parents make regarding their childrens' vaccinations would raise such ire.

When you have kids, and the doctor is recommending that you pump your 6 month old baby full of chemicals...and you just don't know for sure that it does't cause autism, tell me then how you feel. Measles has a death rate of 3 out of 1000 cases. Autism is a lifetime of managed care, lost promise and potential, and destroyed lives. At that point I'll take my chances with measles until someone proves to me that these chemicals don't cause any issues. Maybe they don't. Maybe they do. You show me statistics proving one thing and I can find statistics proving another. And when it's all on paper, or all theoretical, or all someone else's kid, it's easy.

When it's yours, it's not.

Date: 2009-05-05 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
Autism is a lifetime of managed care, lost promise and potential, and destroyed lives.

Er, well, no. Not necessarily, it isn't. Autisim is a spectrum ranging from 'a little strange and socially awkward' to wheelchair-bound. Autistics have a range of intelligence levels, from genius to profoundly retarded.

See also: Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor, author, public speaker... and autistic. (http://www.templegrandin.com/templehome.html)

It's simplistic and profoundly insulting to paint autism as a disorder that dooms its sufferers to a lifetime of living in the mental equivalent of a tiny, dark room, unable to provide for themselves even the most basic care. It is certainly not the worse-than-death scenario your words seem to convey. Please stop doing that.


You may also want to read some thorough data on why vaccinations are important (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010978.html#010978). The main post has three good links about the false vaccination/autism connection (in short, the doctor responsible for the 'damning' research, Andrew Wakefield misreported and possibly outright falsefied the data in his study).

Date: 2009-05-05 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frogprince.livejournal.com
Thank you for completely missing the point. Sure, I'm well aware that autism includes a wide spectrum of afflictions. And sure, I'm aware that autistics have a range of intelligence levels. Your comment is immaterial in the context of the conversation.

"It's simplistic and profoundly insulting to paint autism as a disorder that dooms its sufferers to a lifetime of living in the mental equivalent of a tiny, dark room, unable to provide for themselves even the most basic care. It is certainly not the worse-than-death scenario your words seem to convey."

The word "seem" is quite dangerous, isn't it. It is profoundly insulting to misconstrue my words into the worst case scenario yourself and then accuse me of saying them. I don't believe anywhere in "managed care, lost promise and potential and destroyed lives" I said anything like what you insinuated.

And if we want to start throwing around links I'm sure I could google and find about 1000 showing that vaccinations are the most awful thing since the Inquisition. Don't you know that everything we read on the Internet is true? My point is that we don't know. And when you don't know about something that important it makes you pause when concerning your new child's life.

Date: 2009-05-05 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
Your comment is immaterial in the context of the conversation.

No, it isn't, as you are using autism as a boogeyman to illustrate what's wrong with vaccination and using inaccurate statements to do so.

Sure, I'm well aware that autism includes a wide spectrum of afflictions. And sure, I'm aware that autistics have a range of intelligence levels.

Why then did you paint autism with a broad brush that clearly implies you think autism is, on the whole, a sentence to being a babylike leech on society that will take others down with its 'sufferers'? How is managed care, lost promise and potential and destroyed lives anything BUT a worst-case scenario?

Perhaps you should look at those links and try reading them before you start in with the 'but not everything on the Internet is true' trope. Of course not everything on the Internet is true, anymore than everything in newspapers, magazines, or on TV is true. That's why you compare the information you read with what you know, judge the validity of the source based on their history of validity on other matters and professional qualifications, and compare and contrast the information to other information. It's basic research and information hygiene one should do when looking up any topic in any medium.

What sources would you regard as maybe, possibly, potentially valid? The UK Times? (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5913324.ece) The BBC? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6289166.stm) The number of studies (http://www.chem.cmu.edu/wakefield/anti.html) that have failed to find a link between vaccinations and autism? What?

Date: 2009-05-05 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

My only guess is that you must own a good sized percentage of a major pharmaceutical company.

Apart from this ad hominem being absurd (I don’t own a single share of anything), and highly insulting in that you imply that I think profiteering makes the suffering of children acceptable, it is also nonsensical: As I explained here (http://petter-haggholm.livejournal.com/160673.html), I don’t think that the accusation makes any sense.

Or you have some phobia that measles will come swirling into your room at night and kill you instantly.

It’s true that I don’t want vaccine preventable diseases floating around in the environment where I live, either for my own sake or for others, but why is that so strange?

Otherwise I can't figure out why the personal decisions parents make regarding their childrens' vaccinations would raise such ire.

You will notice, if you re-read all my posts, that I have never expressed any ire about the personal decisions of parents. I have expressed a great deal of ire for fear-mongerers like Wakefield and McCarthy who attempt to influence parents to make poor decisions.

[I can't figure out why the personal decisions parents make regarding their childrens' vaccinations would raise such ire.] When you have kids, and the doctor is recommending that you pump your 6 month old baby full of chemicals...and you just don't know for sure that it does't cause autism, tell me then how you feel. Measles has a death rate of 3 out of 1000 cases. Autism is a lifetime of managed care, lost promise and potential, and destroyed lives.

This is the part that gets me worked up about your reply. Measles kills thousands and thousands of children around the world every year, we have the technology to prevent it, people are campaigning to stop the use of that technology—and you can’t see why it upsets me?! It is true that I don’t have children; it is not true that I regard the deaths of countless thousands of children from a variety of preventable diseases as anything less than extremely upsetting.

Beyond that, this part of your post is hyperbole, but contains some truth. It is also true that Measles has a death rate of 3 out of 1000 cases; child rape is a lifetime of terrible psychological trauma. The other analogy between the two statements is that they are both non sequiturs—there’s no reason to connect the two at all, make them a choice, unless vaccines can be shown to cause autism (or child rape).

The hyperbole is highly relevant, by the way. While a few decades ago, autism was indeed a diagnosis given to very severe developmental impairment, the modern diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can, as my friend Ren pointed out, range from the very severe to the almost trivial. This broadening of diagnostic criteria is generally interpreted as the real reason why there are so many more people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder now than, say, twenty or thirty years ago.

Ren is one of them—one of those people with a lifetime of managed care, lost promise and potential, and destroyed lives, as you put it. (I can’t say that either she or I is particularly thrilled by your blanket description of people with her diagnosis.) I’m pretty sure that she’s happy enough with her life and potential that even if there were some reason to believe it correlated with vaccinations, she’d still think preventing the risk of lethal pandemic worth it.

Date: 2009-05-05 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
I’m pretty sure that she’s happy enough with her life and potential that even if there were some reason to believe it correlated with vaccinations, she’d still think preventing the risk of lethal pandemic worth it.

Nailed it.

Date: 2009-05-05 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

At that point I'll take my chances with measles until someone proves to me that these chemicals don't cause any issues. Maybe they don't. Maybe they do.

The problem with the guilty until proved innocent approach to safety is that you can never, ever prove it completely (the old you can’t prove a negative soundbite). To put that into perspective, you can never, ever prove with absolute certainty that toothpaste doesn’t cause autism or that apples don’t cause cancer.

You refer to being told to pump your 6 month old baby full of chemicals, but put that into perspective, too: Vaccines contain a minute fraction of the amount of formaldehyde that your baby’s metabolism naturally generates; the amount of pathogens in even live-virus vaccines (and these are rare indeed nowadays!) is trivial next to the amount of pathogen a baby ingests every time it puts something off the floor in its mouth. And the word chemicals in itself, so often waved around with apparent intent to frighten…a baby is made of chemicals: Amino acids, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, phosphates…

You show me statistics proving one thing and I can find statistics proving another.

If you can find me statistics, from a credible source, showing that the MMR vaccine does increase the risk of autism, I’ll be fascinated. I’ve honestly never heard of such a source. Bear in mind that the chief source of the current MMR scare is Andrew Wakefield (and on our side of the ocean, people like Jenny McCarthy).

And when it's all on paper, or all theoretical, or all someone else's kid, it's easy.

When it's yours, it's not.

I never said that it was easy. I never said that parents are idiots for deciding one way or another. There is a certain truth to what you say, though—it is true that I have less emotional involvement in each specific case and find it easier to read the statistics as statistics.

Is there any reason, though, to think that my lack of emotional investment makes me less able to think objectively about the situation, and more likely to be wrong?

Edited Date: 2009-05-05 04:33 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-05 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] somewhither.livejournal.com
Hello Petter,

I'm not here to get into a great discussion with you on this topic again. I gave you my two cents and a bag of cookies on the topic the first time you brought it up. (I chose to remain silent the second time.)

"the mercury that has not been vaccines since 1999"

As I told you before, that's blatantly untrue. It saddens me that you ignored me, or didn't feel my information was valid, or at least, worth further investigation.

I'm not sure why this topic holds such interest for you. I'll admit, it has felt a little like you're attempting to bait me. That's probably not the case, but regardless...

I don't look forward to your journal posts anymore. I added you in the hopes that I would it would be a venue through which I could get to know you better and we could begin to develop some kind of meaningful connection, but that just hasn't been the case.

You're welcome to post whatever you like to your journal, unfiltered, uncensored, and without fear that you're hurting someone's feelings or offending someone's personal choices. I recognize that. I also recognize that I have the right to click my friends page and find the experience a relatively positive one.

I'd like to make note that removing you from my 'friends' list, is not blowing you off as a friend. I look forward to socializing with you at some point in the future, just not in the context of livejournal. ;)

Date: 2009-05-05 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

"the mercury that has not been vaccines since 1999"

As I told you before, that's blatantly untrue. It saddens me that you ignored me, or didn't feel my information was valid, or at least, worth further investigation.

The year is wrong, and it’s a little too categorical—this should have been posted with a caveat (as it was posted where I found it (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/the_best_snark_at_oprah_winfrey.php), which I forgot). But it’s an explicit quote from Gawker—hardly something I would nominate as an authorative source…

I'm not sure why this topic holds such interest for you.

Because children are dying! I realise that you don’t believe the same things as I do, so of course your conclusions are different. You and I each think that the other is wrong—not stupid or malicious (I presume: I do not believe you to be either), but wrong. I do not agree with your conclusions, but I do not wonder at all that it’s an emotional button for you. Surely, given that you know that I do believe that this movement is causing the sickness and deaths of untold thousands of children, it’s not strange that I get upset! What in all this death and suffering is there not to get upset about? What kind of person would I be if I did not take an interest?

This is, incidentally, why [livejournal.com profile] frogprince’s accusations of heartless profiteering piss me off so: If I come off as cold or angry in this post, it is because I am angry for separate reasons.

I'll admit, it has felt a little like you're attempting to bait me.

Inevitable, but untrue. I’ll admit that I’ve felt a bit more trepidation posting this stuff since you started reading, but if you’ll recall, the very reason I know your opinion is precisely because you commented in stuff much like this that I posted before…and you’ll find that I’ve been posting opinions much like this for years, if you’ll but go through my archives.

I added you in the hopes that I would it would be a venue through which I could get to know you better and we could begin to develop some kind of meaningful connection, but that just hasn't been the case.

Sadly, you are getting to know me better…I mean, I do choose my topics in conversation differently from my topics on my own personal soap box, but the opinions I post here are entirely my own and true. (—The ones in my own words, that is; don’t assume that I whole-heartedly back up everything I quote unless I say I do.)

See, this is why I do not easily make friends…

Date: 2009-05-05 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] somewhither.livejournal.com
"What kind of person would I be if I did not take an interest?"

Well, I don't know... what kind of person are you for not making abundant blog posts about the thousands of -other- ways that mass amounts of children die?

It doesn't say anything about your character either way. Am I a lesser person than you for posting about art festivals or banana bread? No.

"You and I each think that the other is wrong"

I'm not exactly sure what we think the other is wrong about. Perhaps you should re-read the original discourse.

I don't think you're blatantly wrong about anything in particular... beyond some of the misinformation you've posted, which we've already discussed.

I just thing you and I have differing perspectives, and my own shift and grow every day.

If this is getting to know you, then I doubt you and I will ever become fast friends. I appreciate people with strong opinions, even if they oppose my own, but I prefer those opinions be delivered with compassion, diplomacy, and without misinformation from questionable sources being presented to me as fact.

(Ironically, the same above preference prevents me from going 100% either way on the autism/vaccination relationship.)

Take care.


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Petter Häggholm

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