Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hey, FDR Had Polio. It Can't Be All Bad

Ok, Jenny McCarthy, a paragon of intelligence and scientific inquiry if there ever was one, appeared on Larry King to discuss autism. Her son was apparently diagnosed with autism three years ago, but, get this, he's O-K now.

Sure. Because you know how autism can be cured with a good vegetarian diet and "detoxification." Detoxification is one of the worst examples of new age dietary garbage. As though the world is toxic and good vegan foods are cleansing. Please. Show me the data! Show me the chemical equations showing how asparagus scrubs heavy metals from my flesh. You twits.

McCarthy said that "I believe that parents' anecdotal information is science-based information." Really? You believe that, do ya'? And that is why you aren't a scientist. Anecdotal evidence is the very opposite of scientific or science-based (whatever the fuck that is) information. If we relied on anecdotal information, werewolves, witches, possession, and miracles would all be scientific. And she REPEATS that, twice, just to absolutely drive home the fact that she is not a scientist.

This was especially interesting for me because, as I said in an earlier post, I don't think autism is a thing. It's a pattern of behavior that could be caused by damn-near anything. If her son stopped displaying the behavior pattern, which I can't confirm, he never had autism, in the psychiatric sense. Maybe he just liked acting weird.

Everything McCarthy says seems to indicate that she knows little to nothing about autism. She calls it a global epidemic. I wonder if the young woman from my previous post had anything to say about that. First things first, an it is an epidemic in only a pop-usage of the word. An actual epidemic is a disease, and a disease has a pathogen. In CNN-ese, drug use is an epidemic, but in epidemiology, it's an epidemic only if it has a pathogenic cause. The very vaccines she campaigns against are tools against actual epidemics. Autism as an epidemic exists only in the mind of alarmist news shows.

And even assuming that we can use the word 'epidemic' in the sense she does, the data on which she's likely relying does not indicate a rise in autism, only a rise in diagnosis, which could mean multiple things. We have yet to prove if autism is a thing and if we don't know what it is, how the hell can be diagnosis it? We don't say more people are becoming gay, we just say more of them are coming out of the closet.

She also, like so, so, so, so, so many other parents, reveals herself to know little to nothing about the way vaccines work. They can not have some magical, undetectable effect on the body in such a way to cause vaguely similar symptoms across a large population. If it doesn't cause the same things, it's not the cause. Vaccines can, at the most, cause the illness they're trying to prevent. If they had some other effect, the physiological results would be apparent in the same way we can see them in drug trial patients. These things cannot, I repeat, cannot have an untraceable effect on the circuitry of the brain. We... would... SEE IT. We'd see degradation to the myelin of the neurons. We'd see increases or decreases in neurotransmitters. Damage of the magnitude required to cause autistic behavior does not go unnoticed. And the data support me. You cannot fix vaccine damage because there is no damage to fix.

The show than plays a tape of McCarthy and her son being all cute. This is a disgusting tug at the viewers heart strings. Of course McCarthy loves her son. I'm sure whatever is ailing him has ripped her apart. And big surprise that she, and many other parents with autistic children are lashing out at anything they can to explain why their babies are broken. But this isn't about how much she loves her son. This is about a famous person planting the seeds of illogical fear into a large audience, and for that, she should be ripped apart.

Off subject, but her hair is ridiculous.

She talks about Defeat Autism Now, which itself refers to "autism spectrum." How the hell can you defeat it if you don't know what it is. Why not just call it "Defeat Weird Behavior Now." And again, you do not cure autism. If you cured it, it wasn't autism and we wouldn't have all these damned news shows talking about it. I would wager all the money in the world that you could see similar results with a cheesecake cure. Take kids brought in with autism spectrum and feed them nothing but cheesecake and you'll see similar results to what they're seeing now. And from my perspective, I'd be more worried about the massive seizures he was having as a child as opposed to some nebulous diagnosis of autism. And the seizures he continues to have are more worrying than anything else.

One of the exerpts brought on after the break says that vaccines don't cause autism, but they contribute to autism. He even then says that "nothing's proven." Well, if nothing's proven, shut up. Another expert, a pediatrician mocked McCarthy after she pointed to a list of 36 vaccines and asked if we really need them all. He said "which disease do you want your child to get?" The SciAm blog I linked asks if talking down to her helps the scientific community or makes her more sympathetic. I don't think so. She was being an ass. Her question of "Do we need THEM ALL" relies on emotion and an implication of excess. As though people listening will agree on a gut level "Jesus, that's a lot." It's relying on the ignorance and fear of a population that is distrustful of medicine, doctors, drugs, and shit they don't understand. My answer would have been subtly mocking, but much more straight-forward. I would have just said "yes."

The same expert that supports McCarthy said that we have to analyze the risks and benefits. Yes! Exactly! That's what we have to do! Too bad he than says that the risks of immunization outweigh the benefits, which is totally bunk. He says nothing's proven. The benefits of immunization are proven. Proven outweighs unproven. He's making no sense whatsoever. He also talks about the immune system, implying he says that autism may have something with do with an autoimmune response to the vaccines. Again, where's the damage, Mansley? In all autoimmune disorders, we can see the damage clearly in either scans, samples, or autopsy.

And the Amish comment is way off base. They are a small, closed-off population of less than 200,000. You cannot, in any way, generalize them to a population. One would have to get scientifically verifiable information of a massive group, ranging across cultures and genetic lines, to verify the correlation between vaccination and no vaccination. There is a definite link between autism and heritability, and the Amish are all Germanic, and they marry within their own group. With all that inbreeding, I wonder what other, wacky illnesses they have.

And their final point, the vaccine study; sounds like a great idea, but even assuming we could gather a large enough group, but there are some pretty serious ethical problems. We would need to assign vaccines and placebo on a random basis. We could not only allow parents who are anti-vaccine in because that confounds the study. The participants must be equal. And let's say it's discovered that there is no link between autism and vaccine. We know that there is a link between vaccine and illness, so the kids that got the placebo and die from smallpox render the study ethically impossible. And boy howdy, if you think you've seen parents angry about autism, kids that were killed by lack of vaccine will trigger the lawsuit to end all lawsuits.

Pediatrician zings Jenny McCarthy over vaccines and autism (Scientific American)

No comments: