Posts Tagged Autism

Skeptics in the Pub: Brian Deer

MMR and Autism: An Elaborate Fraud

How the Case Against the Vaccine Was Built

Brian Deer

by Brian Deer
When: Thursday, June 16, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool

As the Wirral becomes the latest area of the UK to suffer a measles outbreak in an unvaccinated population, investigative journalist Brian Deer visits Liverpool to speak about how he uncovered the “elaborate fraud” behind the MMR scare.

In February 1998, the Lancet medical journal triggered a global alarm with research proposing a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. The researchers’ leader, Andrew Wakefield called for the vaccine to be “suspended”. But all was not as it appeared to be. Following investigations over a period of 7 years for The Sunday Times, the British Medical Journal in January denounced Wakefield’s research as “an elaborate fraud”.

The story raced round the world. A Harris poll in the United States found that 47% of Americans had heard Deer’s story. The New York Times said his work was “extraordinary.” Now, on 16th June, he comes to Merseyside Skeptics Society to talk about how Wakefield rigged the research linking MMR with autism, how he did it, who paid him for it, how much money he expected to make out of it, and the years-long investigation which finally nailed him. This is one of the big science stories of today.

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Public Opinion On Science: Who To Trust And When?

MSS-member and recent émigré to Canada Chris Hassall takes a look at how public perception of science is distorted, and the role of skepticism in  combating the distortion.

People go about their daily lives making decisions on the basis of beliefs about the way the world works. Their epistemological framework is a complex architecture of foundations and interconnecting supports on which rest concepts held to be “true”. While some beliefs may have little consequence for the person holding that belief, others have the potential to seriously impact the lives of both the believer and, through the actions that those beliefs precipitate, the rest of mankind. When we come to examine issues of such magnitude, we see a difference between the beliefs held by the general public and those which are held by the majority of experts in the respective fields. To understand why this is the case, it is informative to consider two claims that have been made in recent years and the variation in the reception that each has received from the public.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Express yourself: MMR, autism and mitochondrial dysfunction

Yesterday, the Daily Express ran another scaremongering story on the manufactroversy that won’t quit – MMR and autism.

The basis of this story appears to be the upcoming publication of a new edition of Richard Halvorsen’s 2007 book, “The Truth About Vaccines”. Halvorsen, a London-based GP, uses this new edition to reject unscientific claims about the purported link between vaccines and autism.  He takes the time to explain to worried parents that claims of a link are unfounded and that the scientific evidence does not support the vaccine-autism hypothesis.

Nah, I’m only fooling.  He probably just wheels out the same old canards.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Anti-Vax Movement Turns Anti-Bix: Weetabix and Autism

Jenny McCarthy is an idiot.  Even better than that, she’s an American idiot, being idiotic over there in that America place.  That’s not a good thing for America, fair enough – but at least it’s enough to give us that lovely sense of smug superiority that we English enjoy over our formerly-colonial brethren.  ‘Wheat and dairy make kids high,’ she says.  ‘Paediatricians know nothing‘.  And then there’s:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism“. Source: Time magazine, April 2009.

She even released a video to tell us all about it, replete with demonic smile and crazy crazy eyes – originally hosted on (I’m not hyperlinking to them – call me petty), after a wave of criticism/ridicule it was taken down.  Fortunately, this being the internet and all, nothing is ever lost – you can witness the McCarthy rant on youtube for yourself (part 1, part 2).  Go ahead, I urge you, it’s nothing short of astounding.  Oh that Miss McCarthy, she’s such a crazy yankie loon, we’d never get anything like that over here, not us smart and superior, many-sceptered-isle, green-and-pleasant-lands sorts.

So could somebody please tell that to the Daily Mail?  Because, frankly, they’re letting the side down, and showing us up.  ‘I helped my son cope better with autism by changing his diet,’ the headline claims.  The headline claims.  The article itself actually tells a different story. Read the rest of this entry »

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