Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

Doubtbreak 2009

Somehow I missed this when it first aired last week, but…take that, Bill Maher:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Doubt Break ’09
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

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]

42 replies on “Doubtbreak 2009”

*Sorry, Videos are not currently available in your country.*

For those in this same situation I believe this clip is from the Oct 15th edition of the program, last friday. You should be able to find it if you want to.

Stupidity is out to get you too.

In other news – first thing this morning my daughter wouldn’t leave for school until I had filled out her vaccine permission form.

She’s 7.

That clip had me and my two MA’s laughing our asses off. My favorite was the for and against chart. That and “Is it a deadly poison and are we going to run out?”

Perhaps in the same episode, they had the director of the homeland security department on. She’s also in charge of this swine flu vaccine. I thought it was great. She said that what makes her laugh is that the same nutjobs who think the government can’t do shit right also think that the government is organized and evil enough to put brain chips in the swine flu vaccine or other such crazy ass shit.

Also, I think I’ve said this before, but Glen Beck needs to win some kind of inflamatory dickwad award. Awhile ago, IGN or EGM or one of those video game sites ran an article about the top 10 most overrated video games. Many of those games occupied high seats on gaming Olympus, and for good reason. The purpose of the article was to generate traffic for the site. I get the feeling that’s Glen Beck, but he’s spouting lies and misinformation, and the loons who flock to his commentary don’t shred it, they believe that shit.

My wife, who teaches English, logic, and critical thinking classes to high school and college students, thinks that the country is going to hell because nobody gives a shit about critical thinking anymore, and it’s not taught early enough. I could not agree more.


If you’re from Canada, try going here:

Navigate to the October 15th show, and it should be in one of the four clips. Sorry I can’t drill down any further to tell you which clip contains the above segment.

@Fred @Ender @All Canadians
The clip is in the first part about halfway through.

Why is the true so very funny?

Thank you Jon Stewart!!!!

Doesn’t appear to be any problem for the writers on Jon Stewart’s show to come up with good material.

Beck: “I decided not to share whether I am going to get it or not”
Stewart: “Really? You talked about your ass surgery on Youtube, and now your holding back on us? Now you’ve decided its time to be a little more decreet.”

Zack Miller’s teacher wife is correct. Where is the critical thinking?

AoAers are up in arms over Stewart’s non-woo position; they have an artice up over there, trying to convince him his position is wrong. 🙂

“I found a very frustrating video parroting many of the anti-vax campaign’s lies. I’m trying to offer some Orac-inspired illumination, but I’d love some help if any of the readers here are bored.

HEE HEE That video is absurd. How can an educated person possibly listen to Mercola when he uses that kind of imagery?

BTW, check the video at 24 secs in. See that UN logo? I’ve been told the UN does not take kindly to misuse of their logo. I’ll just have to run it by them and find out.

That Jon Stewart is really funny … I mean that guy is a real knee slapper …now here is some more really hysterically funny knee slapping stuff;

ROLFOL! I didn’t think you’d go there Kevin, I really didn’t. Laughing at John Stewart I get, but laughing at a young woman with dystonia? Now that’s some dark comedy. I love it.

But tell me, are we laughing because she’s got an unfortunate neurological condition or because morons across the web are connecting her case to vaccination (without any proper evidence) and acting as if this makes more than a vanishingly small difference to the statistical dangers of vaccines?

Because really I’m laughing at you.

Kevin, there are many issues with the story of that woman. I tis a sad story indeed, but the most basic issue is that it has noting to do with the swine flu vaccine.

I love how people dismiss the idea of protecting people from a disease that has killed children as some kind of uber-risky proposition or worse yet, as some kind of government conspiracy. This isn’t some rare disease we’re vaccinating against, this is something that is closing schools and sending relatives of mine to the hospital!

I am generally at odds with Jon Stewart’s political views, but he is 100 percent dead-on correct here.

Now we know what the opposite of drinking the kool-aid is: drinking the Pasteurized milk.

It seems something Stewart suggested in a clip posted here a few days ago is correct: Beck is a conscious fraud. The only logical explanation for his refusal to say whether he and his family will get the vaccine is that they will, but he wants to keep it a secret so he can continue inflaming his audience without the risk of a charge of hypocrisy so obvious even they could understand it.

My point was that this is not funny.

This woman was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins with dystonia probably due to a reaction from the flu shot given in a grocery store. A grocery store? WTF?

Could this have been a multi-dose vial that was not shaken before drawing out the dose and maybe this woman received much more that 25 micrograms of mercury?

The worry with a multi dose vial is if it is not shaken each time, the contents could settle. It is possible one person out of the 10 (or a few people) could get a much bigger percentage of preservatives (or other ingredients in the vaccine) than the other people. (the other people would end up getting less of course) – even if it was shaken perfectly all 10 times, one would end up getting more preservatives than if one had used vaccine from single dose vial.

Grocery stores? As opposed to say, grass huts in the bush, Kevin? Or, say, a person’s workplace — which is where I’ve got all of my flu shots. (In fact, a typical American grocery store, simply because of the sanitation requirements it must meet to stay open, would be one of the better places to get a flu shot.)

Oh, and has been pointed out already, her case has nothing to do with H1N1, which as of this writing has killed six people so far this year just in my home state, Minnesota (and made hundreds very sick indeed).

Kevin would rather see hundreds of thousands sickened by a disease than risk the *possibility* of a rare reaction to the vaccine for that disease. Sound about right?

(And I’m giving a major benefit of the doubt that the dystonia in question was actually the result of a vaccine and not something else.)

Kevin would rather see hundreds of thousands sickened by a disease than risk the *possibility* of a rare reaction to the vaccine for that disease. Sound about right?

Yep, that sounds like him.

(And I’m giving a major benefit of the doubt that the dystonia in question was actually the result of a vaccine and not something else.)

Don’t you love his gambit of trying to “could have” into “did”? (And that’s generously assuming it really “could have”.)

Meanwhile, another nail has fired from the nail gun of reality into the coffin of the mercury-causes-autism hypothesis:

The research team at the University of California, Davis initially found that children between the ages of 2 and 5 with autism had mercury levels that were lower than other children because they ate less fish, which is the biggest source of mercury that shows up in our blood. However, when the data was adjusted for the lower fish consumption, the blood-mercury concentrations amount the autistic children were roughly similar to those children that were developing normally. The children with autism also had mercury levels that were in line with national norms.

The research findings, which were published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, comes at a time when advocates, including the parents of autistic children, argue that the mercury found in fish, vaccines, dental fillings and industrial emissions are responsible for autism. …


The researchers from the University of California Davis looked at approximately 452 children, including 249 that suffered from autism, 60 who had other developmental problems, which included Down’s syndrome, and 143 children that did not have a disorder. The researchers also examined a wide variety of mercury sources including earwax removal products, fish, vaccinations, nasal sprays, and dental fillings that were made from a mercury-based amalgam.

The autism researchers are still looking at a broad range of environmental factors including diet, household products, food supplements, medical treatments and infections. Other recent studies have also found strong evidence of several genetic causes that are linked with autism.

Of course, the mercury militia folk at SafeMinds are claiming that since the autistic kids were tested post-diagnosis, this doesn’t count. However, you can bet your boots that if it had turned out that the autistic kids had higher mercury levels the SafeMindies would be taking that as proof of their theses.

The AoA reaction in their comments is that blood mercury is the wrong thing to measure for, and the right thing is urinary mercury after a chelation challenge, because the toxins are eating your branes.

I’m a pediatrician spending a lot of time trying to convince skeptical parents to protect their children with vaccines. Stewart’s approach, making the anti-vaxxers look silly, will probably work as well as all of the facts I can muster.

Kevin, until research comes out to show that the woman who started to show symptoms of dystonia is a direct result of a flu shot, I think the connection is tenuous, at best. Also, for your viewing pleasure, a statement from the Dystonia Foundation:

Recently there has been coverage in the news media about a woman developing dystonia after receiving a seasonal flu vaccine. The DMRF is not aware of any information or research showing that the seasonal flu vaccine causes dystonia. As with any medical procedure or treatment option, the DMRF encourages you to discuss the risks and benefits of the getting the seasonal flu vaccine with your doctor.

For those who can’t watch the video, here’s John Stewart’s summary of the pros and cons.


1. Protects you
2. Has been found safe in tests
3. Keeps you from infecting others


1. Government is out to get you
2. Science is out to get you
3. Look out behind you!!!

The Beck thing is annoys me. If the government were not stockpiling the vaccine, they would be apathetic and uncaring and proof that Obama is unprepared. But since they are, they’re out to get you (somehow). Either way, they’re wrong. I think that if this were the previous administration, it would not be an issue for him. And this is coming from a moderate conservative who agrees with him on other points. This looks very much like substituting wingnuttery for scientific evidence. Can we agree that an apple grown by Hitler would be the same as one grown by Gandhi? Same thing here, as cells rarely follow politics. I hope people realize that.

@Roy – keep it up, I’m sure it’s frustrating that you have to spend time on this. I’m a mom spreading the vaccines save lives message to coworkers, friends and relatives (I think some people are sick of hearing me talk about it!). Unfortunately on the H1N1, I think the shot is about a week too late for us. I’m pretty sure my 13 year old son is on day 2 of the flu. The shot is just starting to show up here and probably widely available in a week or so in the schools. I’ll still get him and my other kids the shot, just in case I’m wrong on the dx, but now I’ve got to wait until he’s well again.

A friend posted the video of the cheerleader with dystonia on FB, so I came over here looking for good links & info to post in reply to the anti-vaxers commenting on the post.

Thanks, you folks never disappoint! 🙂

Helena @ 19 – I am so going to have to remember that “drinking the pasteurized milk” is the opposite of “drinking the kool-aid” bit. It’s perfect, and I can’t wait to use it in everyday conversation by referring to someone who is sensible as “probably even drinks pasteurized milk!” Too bad we don’t often refer to people as being sensible sorts, since it’s the other camp that stands out.

I was really happy when I saw this episode last week. Been a big fan of Jon’s since his MTV days, loved seeing him ripping into the fear mongers, and openly saying that the vaccine has been demonstrated to be safe and effective.

That is correct …I would rather see hundreds of thousands of people sick from the flu rather than the reaction this woman has.

If this same reaction occured in a child that was too young to speak, what would we call it? What would it be diagnosed as? How many times has it happened in the past and how many times has the connection not been made?

From the UC Davis study;
lead study author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an internationally known MIND Institute researcher and professor of public health sciences. “The bottom line is that blood-mercury levels in both populations were essentially the same. However, this analysis did not address a causal role, because we measured mercury after the diagnosis was made.”

The study also examined whether children who have dental fillings made of the silver-colored mercury-based amalgam and who grind their teeth or chew gum had higher blood-mercury levels. In fact, those children who both chew gum and have amalgams did have higher blood-mercury levels.

I only hope this woman finds a way to reverse the damage that was done so she doesn’t end up being a miserable useless blogging nut job living at 1800 Moore blvd sucking off the hind tit of the government!

It’s been a couple of years since I last heard Kevin pop up with his ideè fixe about thimerosal in a multi-dose vial settling to the bottom because mercury is heavy. Uh, Kevin, if that were the case thimerosal wouldn’t be an effective anti-microbial and we’d be seeing tons of cases of bacterial infections from contaminated vaccines. Then again, if that were the case most of the laws of physics would have to be repealed.

I just now realized what that “argument” reminds me of: a pro-YEC TV special several years ago where someone claimed that gravity would cause continents to drift to the south, because after all gravity pulls things down and south is down on a map hung on the wall.

“if that were the case thimerosal wouldn’t be an effective anti-microbial and we’d be seeing tons of cases of bacterial infections from contaminated vaccines.”

Maybe thimerosal isn’t effective and maybe “we” are seeing tons of cases from bacterial infections? Who is double checking any of this? How many ailments are not being connected because of the 10 days it took for this woman’s disorder to be connected?

Can you definitely say no?

@Kevin Champagne

Maybe thimerosal isn’t effective and maybe “we” are seeing tons of cases from bacterial infections? Who is double checking any of this?

That would be the manufacturers testing for contamination according to current Good Manufacturing Practices regulations, as well as the FDA conducting random sampling. If thimerosal were not an effective preservative and bacterial contamination ensued, it would be detected in the batch lots, and thimerosal would very quickly be relegated to the shelf of ineffective preservatives. In short, if thimerosal did not prevent bacterial or fungal contamination, it would not be approved for use as a preservative.

That is correct …I would rather see hundreds of thousands of people sick from the flu rather than the reaction this woman has.

Thank goodness that in the real world, we’re not facing this choice. Kevin is still being fairly evil in saying that he would rather have hundreds of thousands of people around the world dying from the flu (and yes, Kevin, they do die in the tens of thousands each year) than have anyone run the (imagined) risk of getting dystonia from the vaccine.

Let’s fantasize for a moment; let’s pretend solely for the sake of argument that “this young woman got dystonia from the vaccine” is actually known to be possible (which it isn’t); let’s pretend furthermore that this particular case of dystonia has actually been confirmed to be caused by the vaccine, rather than that just being a conclusion jumped to by an ideologue. What is the probability of getting dystonia this way? (Again, purely for the sake of argument, we’re having to disregard the answer given by the Dystonia Foundation, which is “none”.)

Out of how many millions of doses of H1N1 vaccine that have been given so far, there is exactly one case of dystonia purportedly resulting from it, which means even if Kevin’s theories were correct he’s saying “Rather than let anyone take a one-in-several-millions risk of getting dystonia, I would rather sentence them to a risk hundreds, probably thousands of times greater, of dying from the flu.”

So even with the false choice Kevin is presenting from the depths of his delusions, he is still selecting a monstrously evil choice. What kind of a sick mind does he have to have to wish death on hundreds of thousands of people just so that he doesn’t have to change his slogan of “VAXINES = ULTEMETT EVUL!!” ?

If this same reaction occured in a child that was too young to speak, what would we call it? What would it be diagnosed as? How many times has it happened in the past and how many times has the connection not been made?

I think it would be called dystonia, Kevin. It might be confused with CP. It looks nothing like autism, if that’s what you’re thinking. See this video and this one.

BTW, is the street address Kevin ostentatiously dropped at 33 an attempt of his to “out” someone? If so, I would say it’s probably time to ban him. That sort of idiocy only shows what a low, reprehensible scum he is; no one who really believed they had the facts on their side would think they had to resort to intimidation to win an argument!

On a similar topic, has this been brought up anywhere yet? I’m calling BS, at least as far as the vaccine->disease connection goes.

Comments are closed.


Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading