Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

An underwhelming performance in London

Remember how I warned citizens of the U.K. about an impending visit to their fair island by American apologist for antivaccinationist nonsense and his invitation to give a briefing at Parliament?

Apparently, the whole thing was very–shall we say?–underwhelming. The lameness of his excuses, they limp:

I then asked a question (yay!). Kirby had said earlier in the lecture that autism diagnois rates in California haven’t reduced following the removal of thimerosal from childhood vaccines in California because of a delay between children being vaccinated in their early years and them being included in the surveys of autism prevalence at the age of 8. I asked him to confirm or deny a testable prediction which flows from that claim:

Q: If thimerosal in vaccines is responsible for autism, the rate of new diagnoses of autism in California must decline greatly over the next couple of years as children who received thimerosal-free vaccines reach the age of 8. If the rate doesn’t drop the thimerosal/autism hypothesis must be wrong, mustn’t it?
A: There are other source of mercury, there’s air pollution, and immigration (immigrants being vaccinated in their country of origin and again on arrival in the US, thereby being doubly poisoned, see) and the flu vaccine, a lot of things that complicate the picture.

Q: But those other mercury sources like air pollution won’t have increased at just the right time and by just the right amount to perfectly mask any effect of the sudden removal of thimerosal from vaccines.
A: There are a lot of confounding factors. But that would mean thimerosal alone isn’t the cause.

Does he even realize how lame his excuses for having been such a prominent pusher of the “mercury in vaccines cause autism” pseudoscience sound in light of the epidemiological evidence? Epic fail at Parliament, too, as was the the “Green Our Vaccines” rally:

I know, I know, she got the date wrong, but she got the message right.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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