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The Skepchick versus Barbara Loe Fisher

I’ve discussed why Barbara Loe Fisher is a hypocritical coward for trying to silence her opponents using the courts. Now Rebecca Watson, a.k.a., The Skepchick, schools Barbara Loe Fisher for in essence pissing on the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

For some reason, my irony meter didn’t register the point that the Skepchick laid down. Perhaps it had already been so completely vaporized by the Loe Fisher’s ranting about wanting a “fearless conversation about vaccines” hot on the heels of having tried to sue Dr. Offit for doing just that.

You know what’s rather interesting, though? Ever since the news of BLF’s lawsuit broke about a week ago, there’s been nothing but a deafening silence from the anti-vaccine movement other than a truly brain dead attempted defense from Ginger Taylor, whom we’ve met before, in which she tries to slime Paul Offit yet again. Hilariously, Ginger concludes:

Personally, I am no fan of law suits, but at this point, I want people under oath when talking about things, because the BS is so thick in this debate, and the accountability for flat out lying so thin, that something has got to put the breaks on the corruption

Actually, I doubt this case would ever go to trial, but if it ever did I’d love to see Condé Nast’s lawyers get Loe Fisher on the stand to ask her about some of her many statements about Dr. Offit–not to mention about some of the NVIC’s activities over the last few years. Now that would be fun to see. Ginger should be very careful what she wishes for. She might not like it if she gets it. Certainly, BLF won’t. Sauce for the goose, as they say, and I’d be willing to bet that Dr. Offit has far less (if anything) to hide than BLF does.

Whatever the reasons for this silence, Ginger’s little rant is about all I’ve heard out of the anti-vaccine movement regarding this lawsuit. Aside from her, no one from the anti-vaccine movement seems to have said anything. It’s been nearly pure silence, except for one woman who hates Paul Offit so much that she’d side with BLF no matter what. From everyone else, including even J.B. Handley, who hates Offit just as much, the silence is deafening. I wonder why.

Perhaps it’s because, although he’s incredibly ignorant when it comes to science, when it comes to money matters, JB is neither stupid nor ignorant, and I highly doubt he’d be stupid enough to sue over something like this, given the thin chance of success relative to the cost. My guess is that he knows a loser case when he sees it. Indeed, maybe the anti-vaccine movement in general knows that this lawsuit is a joke and an embarrassment–because it is.

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]

101 replies on “The Skepchick versus Barbara Loe Fisher”

Well, that’s encouraging to hear. It’s amazing how quickly you find yourself alone when you don’t have any actual facts to back up your position. Stubborn things, facts.

“She Lies” — Me.
The suit will fall flat.
I wish Conde Nast and Dr Offit would jointly countersue.

“Maybe the anti-vaccine movement knows that this lawsuit is a joke and an embarrassment, because it is.”
Or maybe many in the anti-vaccine movement know their bullshit is bullshit while others or conspiracy theorists who think the government is in the hands of “big pharma”.

you know…this latest ORAC epistle makes me think.. perhaps this excuse for a lawsuit SHOULD go to trial. Perhaps with the legal team that can be mustered together by CHOP and CONDE NAST the anti-vacc contingent can be dragged onto the stand under oath… and of course, against a backdrop of decreased contributions to their “cause,” they will have effectively trapped themselves into an expensive round of litigation as well as constructed a stage for exposition of FACT (vindicating Dr Offit /CHOP/ WIRED, etc) versus slime and innuendo. The end result of a large loud revelation of FACT may, in the longer run, actually protect and insulate Dr. Offit and the rest of the scientific medical community from these …. knuckleheads.

Ginger is an idiot who flaunts irrelevant credentials. It isn’t surprising that she alone crawled out from under the rock to cheer the BLF psycho because Handley isn’t stupid when it comes to money matters. When he either sues or threatens to sue people, he makes sure his ducks are in a row (ethics not implied).

I don’t know if this is a stupid question or not. But when I told someone my four year old and 18 month old are getting their vaccinations today they said be sure not to give them acetaminophen. My doctor’s nurse always recommends this very thing.

I try to keep educated on this type of thing, but I have never heard of not giving analgesics before shots. More quackery, or is there something to it?

I think I need something clarified. There is a rare statistical association between certain vaccines and autism but no direct evidence, correct? Sometimes the signs of autism syndrome becomes apparent within a short time after the vaccine is administered (based solely on patient testimony) but there remains no direct evidence of a cause and effect relationship, correct? There are some case studies in the literature that show an association between autism and certain vaccinations that really are only based on the timing of the two happning simultaneously, correct? But the rarity of the event without any demonstrable direct causal relationship between teh two pretty much negates the anti-vax argument, I’d say. But at this point one cannot specifically say that vaccine poses a direct risk as it relates to developing autism, only the very rare association. Is this correct?

This is sort of like coming upon a house that is on fire and seeing fire trucks parked in front. Surely the fire trucks can now be consdered “associated” with the fire but that is obviously not enough evidence to determine that they actually have caused the fire by their mere association of being present at that time. Even though most house on fire have fire trucks in front of them. Correct?

This is a great analogy that shows the flimsy nature of the
anti-vax argument. I think y’all should try using it. My experience is that it works.


I love your analogy. I personally always say that increasing the number of turkeys slaughtered causes the temperature to drop. But mostly I just say that for a good laugh.


In the technical sense an “association” means that the two associated things are found together more often than would be expected by chance. So if we’re using the language of statistics, there are sometimes coincidences between vaccination and autism, but an association has never been reliably detected.

This is entirely distinct from the house on fire analogy – there is an association between a house being on fire and having fire trucks out front. IOW, a house that’s on fire is far more likely to have fire trucks out front than one which is not. Similarly, if fire trucks are in front of a house it’s more likely to be on fire than one without fire trucks.

A closer analogy would be “this house is on fire, a blue car parked in the driveway last week, therefore blue cars cause fires.”

I’m either misunderstanding, or I don’t like it.

Firetrucks in front of a burning house are the result of a real association. Firetrucks are there because the house is burning. No, the house is not burning because the firetrucks are there, but it does work in the other direction.

The same is not true for vaccines and autism. Vaccines are not given for autism, and autism doesn’t result from vaccines. Autism can happen with or without vaccines. Vaccines happen with or without autism. Firetrucks aren’t sitting in front of your house unless there is a report of fire. That’s not coincidental association, it is direct causation.

@Kristen, #6– not a stupid question at all!

From Medpage Today:

“Giving prophylactic acetaminophen to children to prevent vaccine-induced fever reduced the immunogenicity of some common vaccines in two randomized trials, Czech researchers said.”

Oh, crap! I do remember reading that, and then I gave my son Tylenol for his teething pain the night after he got the H1N1 flu-mist spray. 😛 Thwarted by my own forgetfulness! I guess he needs another dose anyway, right?


@Pablo and Scott- thank you so much for helping. I think you’re helping make my point even clearer!

@Perky Skeptic

Thank you so much! I have to leave in five minutes and I didn’t give them any because I figured it wasn’t too important.

Although the little one has an ear infection, so she had some last night (sweet, sweet sleep). I am not sure they will give her shots today (because of the infection), but I’ll trust the doctor on that one, even though it would mean another trip next week (hooray).

I was worried about the advice because this is a friend who is ‘delaying’ some vaccines. Guess she was right on this one.


Interesting. Unfortunately the abstract doesn’t specifically state the statistical significance of the results. And the study doesn’t specifically look at clinical significance, as the researchers pointed out in the article.

So it’s limited, but if replicated and confirmed to be clinically significant, practice would change.

Still, it must be observed that by no stretch of the imagination could this possibly be construed as support for Loony Jen’s blaming of acetaminophen for seemingly all ills.

I was worried about the advice because this is a friend who is ‘delaying’ some vaccines. Guess she was right on this one.

Yes and no. In principle, there is really no reason to give ANYTHING for low-grade fever at any point, including a vaccine reaction. Serious fever, yes. At that point, ibuprofin might be a better choice (especially if there is swelling, since ibuprofin is an anti-inflammatory) but if your child is indicated against ibuprofin (kidney concerns, for example) then you might need to use tylenol, despite the potential drawbacks.

IOW, it all depends.

“I try to keep educated on this type of thing, but I have never heard of not giving analgesics before shots. More quackery, or is there something to it?”

Kristen, you must be new here. This issue has been discussed here before-you can search the archives-I won’t bore Orac’s readers re-hashing old discussions, but there is recent evidence that giving antipyretics in the perivaccination period lowers the body’s immune response. I have other reasons for avoiding Tylenol, which you can read about in the archives…the possible link to autism- probably why your vaccine-delaying friend is telling you to avoid it. Glad to know that word is getting out!

Personally, I don’t even take my kids’ temperatures anymore. The number on the thermometer is meaningless…what matters is how the child is looking and acting. If the child is downright miserable, and not able to sleep, I may consider a small dose of ibuprofen, if a tepid bath doesn’t help, but I NEVER give acetaminophen. EVER. I usually just allow the fever to run its course, let them sleep, and wake them every so often to give small sips of water, so they won’t get dehydrated. Amazingly, the fevers go away all by themselves with no intervention whatsoever.

But when I told someone my four year old and 18 month old are getting their vaccinations today they said be sure not to give them acetaminophen

I’d tell them you used a european drug called paracetamol instead.


there is a video ( or at least was ) on You tube that did a good job of explaining a coorelation fallacy, in regard to increased import of mexican lemons and decreased US Highway truck accidents.

is a simple graph on same topic. The mathmatics of the variables passes simple statistical tests for correlation… but obviously there can be no real cause and effect relationship.

I did hear if you drink alot of lemon juice you do get remarkable health benefits similar to those reported by the “vinegar is health food crowd” …but you have to drink it while driving a commercial vehicle over 40,000 lbs.


Thank you for the clarification. My four-year-old cried for about an hour, but that is normal for her (more out of anger than hurt).

@Jen in TX

Thank you for the sniping sarcasm, it was unnecessary. I did look in the archives and only saw thread comments, at least the first page hits. Tylenol and autism, huh? I’ll log that. When I did a search for that one I saw lots of comments from you, far as I know you are not an authority on the matter.

Another interesting development today. The pediatrician referred my four-year-old to the developmental specialist at the children’s hospital. He suspects PDD, guess the signs are there in retrospect, I must have been ignoring them.

Not too new here, and not a child you can condescend.

Kristen –

Notice Scott’s comment up in #14

Still, it must be observed that by no stretch of the imagination could this possibly be construed as support for Loony Jen’s blaming of acetaminophen for seemingly all ills.

You can guess to whom he was referring (and he posted it before she showed up)

Kristen, no need to be so defensive. I understand you’ve not had a pleasant morning, having just been told that your child is having developmental problems. I really wasn’t trying to be snarky or condescending towards you. My disdain is for those (who really should know better, namely pediatricians and nurses) that see no problem with giving vaccines to children without understanding how and why antipyretic use during that time might be harmful for a number of very legitimate reasons.

Orac, you really must do a better job screening these videos. During the Francis Trial ~400,000 children were vaccinated. Not 2 million as groupiechick asserts. Finally polio was down ~50% before Salk’s vaccine [Epidemiology & Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases 3rd ed. 1996, p76]


I believe the number is closer to 2 million. The Polio field trials vaccinated around 1.8 million.

So, You Lie! Go ahead and sue me.

@sid offit:

wikipedia says this:

“The field trial set up to test the vaccine developed by Salk and his research team was, according to O’Neill, “the most elaborate program of its kind in history, involving 20,000 physicians and public health officers, 64,000 school personnel, and 220,000 volunteers”[6], with over 1,800,000 school children participating in the trial[2]. ”

and encyclopedia britanica online says this:

“Facts about Francis Field Trial: polio research,
as discussed in polio (pathology): The age of the vaccine:
Salk’s vaccine, known as the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), was put to a massive nationwide test in 1954–55. Called the Francis Field Trial after Thomas Francis, Jr., a University of Michigan professor who directed it, the test involved 1.8 million children in the first, second, and third grades across the United States. The…”

Well, Sid, if you want to get picky…per the NIH website

: 632K children were vaccinated with either vaccine or placebo in the field trials in 1954. 1 million other children were used as observational controls. So, we don’t really know HOW many children were vaccinated with the actual vaccine, except the number was less than 632K. So, nearly 1.7 million children participated in the trial, but only about 1/3 got the vaccine. However, the trial found that “The results, announced in 1955, showed good statistical evidence that Jonas Salk’s killed virus preparation was 80-90% effective in preventing paralytic poliomyelitis.”

Who are you going to believe, the Encyclopedia Britanica or me?

The bulk of the 1.8 million were either non-vaccinated observed controls or children receiving placebo.

Epidemiological Reviews
Vol. 21, No. 1
Francis Field Trial of Inactivated Poliomyelitis Vaccine: Background and Lessons for Today:

The poliomyelitis field trial was unlike current clinical
trials of vaccine and other interventions in that its
size was driven as much by logistics and supply of
vaccine as by sample size estimation. Another factor in
the large size was the two designs, which in reality
could not be combined in analysis. A total of 432,217
children were actually inoculated with vaccine at least
once, 209,229 in the placebo areas and 231,902 in the
observed areas.


My son showed signs of autism serrrrrrrrrriously early on, and I never once picked up on it, because “Pff, I was doing the exact same things at his age.” I laughed a lot when I found out I was on the spectrum, too! 😀

@Perky Skeptic

Thank you for the encouragement. As I have said before (don’t want to sound like a broken record, just don’t know if people remember), my son has Autism and my husband has Asperger Syndrome, so we kind of knew this could happen. I guess I was complacent since she is female I assumed she was ‘normal’.

If she is on the spectrum she will definitely need fewer interventions than my son, so I am thankful for that. She seems to be just a little left of normal, as I like to say.

I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was notifying Jen of my daughter’s Dr. appointment, I couldn’t care less about her sympathy. But I thought those on this thread might find it interesting that so many in my family are on the spectrum.

If my for-year-old is that makes three out of five. It is just anecdotal, but makes me think there is definitely genes involved.

Oh, one more thing; I know how it is, my husband was diagnosed after my son. Probably similar to what happened to you.

Who are you going to believe, the Encyclopedia Britanica or me?

I’ll give you a hint, Sid: it’s not you.

“Still, it must be observed that by no stretch of the imagination could this possibly be construed as support for Loony Jen’s blaming of acetaminophen for seemingly all ills.”

LMAO, Scott. “Loony Jen?” Please. I’ve been saying all along that Tylenol weakens the immune system, and that study shows that I was right. Far from proof that it causes autism, but evidence nonetheless.

The reason BLF is getting no love from the rest of the anti-vaccine blogosphere is that they’d like her to go away. The NVIC takes away money that could be going to funding Jenny McCarthy’s vanity disease promoting charity, so they’d be doing GR no favors by pimping the Fisher lawsuit.

“There is a rare statistical association between certain vaccines and autism but no direct evidence, correct?”

It’s not rare. The symptoms of autism are typically noticed when the child is ca. 18 months old, which is when severalmajor vaccinations are given. The problem is that that the age autism appears is the same whether the child is vaccinated or not.
Also, I think it is possible that autistics suffer more adverse vaccine reactions than the general population. Under those circumstances, autistic symptoms might manifest to a greater degree.

The BLF lawsuit was mentioned on the anti-vax yahoo group, Environment of Harm:

by none other than the anti-vax homeopath Sheri Nakken. Thereupon, a hilarious exchange occurred where “Larry” complained about Bowditch’s posting on the lawsuit, referring to Bowditch’s site as a “cess pit”. Another of the faithful, signing as “Dr. Ryan Baker” misread this, imagining that Larry thought EoH was a cess pit. After apologies all round, the subject was dropped, and there was no further discussion of the actual issue.

since autism spectrum disorders appear around 18 months after birth, it is clear that there is a correlation between birth and autism. our first step to removing this correlation is preventing birth. we can sterilize everyone, hand out condoms, provide free birth control pills, make it a sin to have sex etc. the rapid decline in the birth rate should have an equally rapid decline in autism diagnoses. also, think of all the money we’ll save by not having to vaccinate kids! in several years will also simultaneously eliminate all other childhood diseases. in about 40 years we would see the steep decline of adult onset diseases too. if we start today, i predict that after 100 years we will see the elimination of ALL diseases that afflict homo sapiens. imagine a disease free world!

it ought to be easy to find a parking space then too.

The symptoms of autism are typically noticed when the child is ca. 18 months old, which is when severalmajor vaccinations are given.

I’m skeptical even that’s the case. Autistic children are typically diagnosed at age 3. Even age 2 diagnoses are fairly early diagnoses.

At age 18 months, if a child is not talking or socializing, a pediatrician will be most unconcerned. They need specialized screening tools to even begin to suspect autism. Diagnoses at this early age appear to be a little unstable, judging by some recent studies.

Yo, ORAC, I didn’t show up here to lend support to Barbara Loe Fisher, although I believe she can do what she wants to with her spare time, nor am I here to offer succor to P. Offit, ah yeah, right, he also can find ways to amuse himself. No the reason for my late appearance here is to make a once in a lifetime offer to you and your medical buddies to debate the autism-vaccination link with a real live mother of four high functioning autistic children, who happens to have Statistics and Economics undergrad degrees and an MS in IE, but my area of specialty was in Operations Research. My thesis was a Simulation of Ambulatory Care (SUNYAB). If you or your buddies have the testicular fortitude for honest debate of the vaccine-autism relationship, I’m ready.

I intend debate to be in person in a public location, not on some website like this.

mary podlesak:

although I believe she can do what she wants to with her spare time

Ms. Podlesak, if you read the IRS forms of the NVIC you will learn that these are not activities that Ms. Fisher (actually Ms. Arthur) does in her spare time, but that she gets a salary for her activities. It is a modest salary, but still it is her job.

I sincerely doubt you will get a debate. What you can do is to actually present your arguments on this blog. Post the evidence you have with all the supporting data. Remember that there have been several studies on several vaccines done in several countries that totals data on several million children that show no casual link between vaccines and autism. So we are very interested in the evidence you have that contradicts that conclusion.

What are you afraid of? A public debate allows far more people to be exposed to your arguments, especially if they are held in multiple locations, as I plan. If your arguments are so valid, with such reproducible data, then you should jump at the chance to debate a nebbish like me. If you are so confident in the science you shouldn’t be afraid to debate it in public. You know my email. I expect to hear from you.

Ah, the classic crank gambit of “Why won’t you debate me in public?” Of course, public debates, unlike written debates, allow the crank, be she anti-vaccinationist, creationist, 9/11 Truther, or Holocaust denier, to pull the Gish Gallop, which is what I would expect from any anti-vaccine pseudoscientist.

Ms. Podlesak, why are you afraid to post your evidence on this blog? If your arguments are valid, you would be willing to post them on this blob. Just post the journal name, article title, author names and date of the studies that support your opinion. That isn’t so hard is it?

You can even just post the Pubmed ID. What are you afraid of? That we would ignore the Gish Gallop approach? That we would ignore links to random news links? That we would dismiss any and all posts made at Age of Autism?

Post some real science that supports your position, and we will take you seriously. Until then you are an anti-vaccine pseudoscientist.

If you had valid reproducible data from studies honestly, objectively undertaken you wouldn’t be afraid even of a Gish Gallop. You would have the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your superior savoir-faire, contrast your exhalted credentials with my pitiful accomplishments, and lay out for all the world, in an intimate, but televised setting, the irrefutable arguments in favor of vaccination. With a backfield like yours debates should be a cakewalk. Besides, I, ah believe, that some of these vaccines may be getting some bad publicity lately. You and your medical buddies may be forced to debate if only in self-defense, if you have the testicular fortitude. You know my email. I wait for your reply.

Quick google search finds that Ms. Podlesak has four children on the autistic spectrum. Considering that Ms. Kim Stagliano had three children on the autistic spectrum, and only two have had vaccines. Do we see a pattern here?

Ms. Stagliano obviously ignores the genetic factor.

Ms. Podlesak, did all of you children get vaccines? Your oldest had to be at least four years old before the youngest was born (except for the case of twins or triplets), so how do you explain vaccinating the youngest after an autism diagnosis on the oldest if you believe vaccines is the cause?

(of course the big question is why does StagMom still blame vaccines when she has an autistic daughter who has not been vaccinated!)

I have a child who had seizures and a trip to the hospital due to a now vaccine preventable disease. Tell me exactly why a vaccine against varicella, hib, rotavirus, pneumococcal and others is a bad idea. Tell me with actual evidence.

I am not a statistician, but just a stupid engineer. I need it all spelled out for me. Give me the list of papers, and the mathematics that explain how getting the diseases is actually better than the vaccines.

Come on, Ms. Podlesak, what are you afraid of if you post here in just plain text?

Public debates (whether online or offline) only allow the people who have access to the debate to access the arguments and information, often in only the format allowed by the presenters. They are time and location limited, and can be heavily influenced by the attitudes or behaviour of participating and viewing parties. They can be gamed to favour one side more than another, and the audience can be loaded or biased in their self-selection.

Quite why you think that people should dedicate themselves to spending a portion of their own time and effort to debate you – in a place of your choosing – rather than you joining in the debate that is already ongoing and in the style of debating to which the debate has evolved, is utterly beyond you ability to explain.

What are you afraid of? Why are you too scared to join in? Why should anyone pay any attention to your demands?

Get over yourself, a quick search on google reveals that you are more than willing to misinterpret other people posts, re-use the same cut-and-paste ‘arguements’, and are willing to make any assertion without evidence. If there’s one thing the evidence from google shows us, it that the last person anyone should debate is you.

It’s quite obvious that a ‘debate’ would further no-ones interests but your own. You are clearly not interested in a fair debate, you only seek to validate your own opinions.

Now – do you have the honesty and sense of fairness to join in the discussion, or are you going to hide over at AoA to post things you know you wouldn’t get away with here?

Silly woman. Evolutionary biologists do have “reproducible data from studies, honestly and objectively undertaken.” Yet the Gish Gallop works because the audience for such staged “debates” is almost always scientifically ignorant and chosen to be sympathetic to the creationist viewpoint. So, given that the depth and breadth of evidence supporting evolution doesn’t stop the Gish Gallop from working all too often, even the massive evidence against the contention that vaccines cause autism will not be immune to Gish’s methodology.

who happens to have Statistics and Economics undergrad degrees and an MS in IE, but my area of specialty was in Operations Research

But do you have a Bronze Swimming Certificate?

Ms. Podlesak, please post the studies that support your position. Otherwise you are just blowing smoke.

Examples of studies that refute your position (yeah, I know it is a Gish Gallop, but give me leeway… she has posted absolutely nothing, and I have show at some of the data that refutes her insanity!):

Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
Hornig M et al.
PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
*Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Baird G et al.
Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
Uchiyama T et al.
J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
*Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
(Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
D’Souza Y et al.
Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
*Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
Doja A, Roberts W.
Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
*Literature review

Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
Fombonne E et al.
Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
*Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
Klein KC, Diehl EB.
Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
*Literature review of 10 studies

Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
The National Academies Press: 2004
(w w w . *Literature review

MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
Smeeth L et al.
Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
*Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
*Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
Lingam R et al.
Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
*Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
Makela A et al.
Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
*Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
Madsen KM et al.
N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
*Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
Black C et al.
BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
*Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
Taylor B et al.
BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
*Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
Fombonne E et al.
Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
*Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
Davis RL et al.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
*Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
Dales L et al.
JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
*Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
Kaye JA et al.
BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
*Subjects: 305 children with autism

Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
Afzal MA, et al.
J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
*Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
Taylor B et al.
Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
*Subjects: 498 children with autism

Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
Afzal MA et al.
J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
*Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
Peltola H et al.
Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
*Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
Nielsen LL et al.
BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
*Subjects: 472 women with measles

Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
Liu Y et al.
Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
*Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
Baker JP
American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
Schechter R, Grether JK
Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
Goodman MJ, Nordin J
Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217

Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
Bigham M, Copes R
Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
Clements CJ
Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

The Toxicology of Mercury–Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001
Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, Yusuf HR, Shefer A, Chu SY, Rodewald L, Harpaz R.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144.

An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.
J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.

Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.
Zhou F, Bisgard KM, Yusuf HR, Deuson RR, Bath SK, Murphy TV.
Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.

Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309.

Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
DeStefano F, Mullooly JP, Okoro CA, Chen RT, Marcy SM, Ward JI, Vadheim CM, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Davis RL, Bohlke K; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team.
Pediatrics. 2001 Dec;108(6):E112.

Ms. Podlesak, how many kids actually get the influenza vaccine?

Give us real numbers with references, not something you pulled out of thing air. Then tell us how that contributes to autism (since thimerosal was removed from most pediatric vaccines several years ago).

Yes, I did have mute older children but because of my background in statistics, I found it impossible to believe that vaccines could be the cause of their autism. I suspected it for about 5 years. My children’s problems were mild but discrete in comparison to those of the bloggers on AoA. It was at my meeting with my biostatistician professor friend at Yale, a man who worked on vaccine studies himself, where I was told vaccines were the cause of their autism and it was generally well known.

As to debating the issue here, you’ve got to be kidding. You plainly admit that debates both online and in person are a stacked deck and I’m supposed to participate here without the remuneration that you receive?? At least in person it is possible to bring supporters. You could do the same. Here online you guys gang up against me and I don’t have a support group, nor are many people watching. As to your claim ORAC that evolutionary biologists have slam dunked the issue, I say bring the raw data and study citations to an honest debate. I’ll be glad to meet with you. Oh, and by the way, I don’t plan on giving up the fight for a debate. I’m going to get my debates one way or another and I expect to be paid for them, the same way you are.

The renumeration that people recieve for posting here is recognition by others.

It’s true you won’t get that, but that’s because you’re blowing smoke out your ass.

ps: are you REALLY denying evolution? REALLY? Or are you just displaying an incredible inability to engage in reading comprehension?

Where are the papers supporting your position?

This in not evolutionary biology (are you confused?). Just post the papers that support your point of view (by the way, look at the time stamps, Orac is sleeping now, you just get to deal with those of us who live west of him).

Wait, you said “I’m supposed to participate here without the remuneration that you receive??” … what proof do you have that he does this with actual payment? Are you playing the Pharm Shill Gambit? Because that is old and really stupid. Are you actually taking cues from a

By the way, why do you capitalize his entire name? That is really weird.

I was told vaccines were the cause of their autism and it was generally well known

Just like the fact that most national governments are controlled by 9 foot tall shape-shifting lizards generally is well known.

As to your claim ORAC that evolutionary biologists have slam dunked the issue, I say bring the raw data and study citations to an honest debate.

WTF are you serious?

Although I suppose you may have a point in that the “issue” has not been slam dunked among the scientifically illiterate.

Crud, I hit post too soon.. I meant to say “Are you actually taking cues from a college mommy’s boy student like Jake Crosby>”… because, really, that is pathetic.

You don’t have a support group? Aww… does Age of Autism let you down in that respect?

Here is an idea, form a support with actual data! You know, the stuff that science and statistics is built on! Give us your evidence that vaccines cause autism and we will believe it! It is that simple.

Come on! What are you afraid of? That we will laugh? (even harder?).

I’m sorry I miscalculated the American time zones… Orac is still up. I, on the other hand, am logging off.

Public debates can only take place if both parties operate in good faith, accepting scientific evidence etc. Anti-vaccination cranks and other anti-science crowds don’t operate in good faith, and thus nothing is gained from public debating them. The reason for this is that in public debates, it’s word against word, without the possibility of providing evidence (such as research) to refute any lies or mistakes. Also, the most emotional arguments have a tendency to seem most persuasive.

In other words, a public debate with a crank will only lend unwarranted credibility to the anti-science side, making it appear that there are two sides to the story, when there is in reality only one side – the scientific.

If people want to debate science, they can do it in the proper arena – the scientific journals.

Sorry, I went to bed, I’m not paid per diem the way you are by big Pharma or maybe it’s a government operation, whatever, you tell me. In any case, public debates have always taken place between those of radically contrapositional views, ex. Lincoln-Douglas, Chesterton-Shaw. Particularly in the case of Chesterton-Shaw, while the two considered each other friends, they violently disagreed on the most basic premises of life, love and morality, yet people flocked to their debates. They were highly opinionated, articulate and colorful speakers. I should be so lucky!

I shouldn’t be forced to agree with the CDC’s position on vaccination as a preliminary qualification for debate. There have always been multiple views in science, because in order to advance, new research must be done, research that at times changes and rearranges the theories of the past. That’s the ostensible reason for scientific conferences – to share new research and at times that research contradicts the received wisdom.

As I keep reiterating, you know my email. I expect a reply from your bosses. If not, I promise nuclear warfare.

Public debates can only take place if both parties operate in good faith, accepting scientific evidence etc. Anti-vaccination cranks and other anti-science crowds don’t operate in good faith, and thus nothing is gained from public debating them.

This is a point I like to bring up all the time. This is why scientists tend to lose “debates” against cranks. They go in thinking it is no problem because they have reality on their side, only to learn that reality has no bearing in a debate, because anyone can make up anything and pass it off as reliable.

Jeez, we’ve already seen it in this thread. Chris posts dozens of legitimate, scientific publications regarding vaccines and autism. Mary has pointed to…some unnamed biostats professor friend from Yale who says the link is well-known. Well, I guess that’s solved it!

Now, imagine that in a debate setting.
Mary says, “My biostats professor friend from Yale says it’s well-known.”
The rebuttal comes back, “Meanwhile, she relies on some unnamed source with no basis for the opinion.”
She says, “Are you calling my friend a liar? See, the scientists don’t have anything of their own, so they resort to personal attacks.”
Talk about turning the tables!

Although you have to love the theme of, “Barbara Loe Fischer does NVIC stuff in her spare time, but commentors here on a weblog are paid by Big Pharma” that she is trying.

On one hand, I’m really puzzled about the insistance of a public debate. If she were really interested in influencing people, a far more effective approach would be to convince folks like Orac, who are very outspoken critics. Imagine the impact it would create if Orac were to come out and say, “You know what? Mary Podlesak is right – vaccines cause autism.” That would cause a huge wave in the SBM blogs, and the folks at AoA would wet themeselves. So while she can call for all the debates she wants, she could just as well at least try to have some discussion about it here.

Of course, there are some problems with that concern. First it is the question of whether she really is interested in helping anyone. So far, there is no sign she has any interest in doing anything but blowing smoke. Second, there is the question of whether she is willing to actually discuss the issue, as opposed to just go on a rant why she is right. She wants a forum where she can say, “I’m right and here’s why,” as opposed to one where the question is, “What are the facts?”

I’m guessing she isn’t willing to discuss anything here because she is assuming that nothing she says could change anyone’s mind. Because she knows that is the case for her. Of course, it isn’t true. People here could absolutely be convinced, if there were real reason to. Unfortunately for Mary, there isn’t. But if you ask people here, “What would convince you that vaccines cause autism?” they could provide a pretty clear explanation of results that could be observed in the types of scientific studies that can be carried out in this area (for example, “autism rates plummett after thimerasol was removed from vaccines”). But Mary? She probably needs her biostats professor friend from Yale to tell her it was a mistake.

(of course the big question is why does StagMom still blame vaccines when she has an autistic daughter who has not been vaccinated!)

Let me guess: Because if StagMom ever turned around and declared it wasn’t the vaccines, she would instantly be dragged from her pedestal by the entire body of AoA sycophants, tarred, feathered, and (if she’s lucky) run out of town.

Stagliano – like all those of her ilk – has way too much personal ego, social status, tribal strength, etc. riding on her belief system to risk blowing it all with such dangerous questions as “Could I be wrong?” Besides, I daresay she quite likes that pedestal she’s on – makes her feel very special and important in the world.

Travis Bickle, eat your heart out.

Chris at 51 – that was a most impressive “Wall of Cite”. Of course it rolled of the antivaxxer like water off a duck’s back.

Mary doesn’t want a debate, she wants a shouting match.

And while Orac does get snarky when appropriate, he’s focused on objective reality instead of volume.

And wow, threatening nuclear warfare is a great way to encourage debate, huh? 🙂

Mary – it didn’t say debates are a stacked deck – I said they could be stacked. As you are the one that wants to have lone control over the arena, you will be the one that will be in control of most of the stacking.

Given that you’re more than willing to make accusations of fraud and kick backs against people you don’t know purely on the basis of what websites they post on, you are certianly not honests and decent enough to be expected to competently and appropriately select a fair and balanced arena.

Btw conferences can include debates, but they are not debates themselves. Jeez you can even remain factually correct when asking for a debate – how can anyone here trust you after the tricks you’ve tried to pull here?

Now follow Chris’s example and put up or shut up. Stop these silly egotistical demands for a ‘debate’, we have one going right here, so , what are you scared of?

And stop talking to all of us as if we we’re a single person, that’s creepy as hell.

Should read ‘can’t even remain’, rather than ‘can even remain’

Also other spelling errors in the post, but none that are critical.

Hey guys, did you get your Big Pharma checks for the day yet? I think the mailman must be stealing mine; I have never seen one. And to think I went through all that effort to vaccinate my husband, self, and children, too. Humph. /snark

Mary: if you ever bothered to READ most of RI, you would be aware that Orac gets paid by his employer. He also gets some amount for being a blogger for Scienceblogs. However, like the rest of us, he does not get paid by Big Pharma. (and no, we are not sockpuppets of Orac’s, nor are we all the same person. While I have not met Dedj, Chris, Todd W or most of the others, I HAVE met Orac and can assure you that we are 2 totally different sexes). And I’m prettier but he’s smarter. (LOL)

Why would anyone bother to debate you when you won’t even address the research posted by Chris? Where’s your research? A good debate depends on both debaters doing their research. So where’s yours?

Of course is Ms. Podlesak was truly serious about a debate, she would sign up for the next Science Based Medicine conference at TAM 8 next July. She can also present a paper showing all of that gosh darn good evidence she has from some professor friend at Yale (and since Dr. Steven Novella is also at Yale, maybe they have some mutual contacts).

You said:

In any case, public debates have always taken place between those of radically contrapositional views, ex. Lincoln-Douglas, Chesterton-Shaw.

How exactly are political and religious debates in any comparable to scientific debate? The debates you listed were based on opinion, while the discussion of vaccines must be based on data, something that you have failed to produce.

So put up, or shut up.

Wow, quite a conversation has been going on here.

I am wondering where I can get me one of those Big Pharma checks. I would love to stay home and post comments all day, instead of working all night so I can be at home during the day!

With one autistic son, an aspergers husband and a daughter with suspected PDD, the Pharmaceutical companies should be paying me BIG for my loyalty.

In all seriousness, Chris gave you (a very impressive) list of studies countering your assertion of vaccines causing autism. Why did you ignore her? If you won’t argue your point on it’s merits, why should Orac waste his time with you. You are convinced you are right and are very angry, which has made you irrational.

Perhaps I am being selfish, but I would prefer Orac spend his time Blogging so I can continue to increase my knowledge while thouroughly enjoying myself. I love intellectual conversation, it is a welcome diversion from my insanely hectic life.

So put up, or shut up. Prove your point or go away. Or, continue to do what you are doing and I will enjoy the (well deserved) flameing.

Paging Mary Podlesak… Mary Podlesak. Hello, where are you?

Have you decided that your shtick does not work here because we require actual evidence? Come back and play! Show us your evidence. Really, we want you to tell us the actual data that supports your assertion that vaccines cause autism.

Mary has shown that she is more than willing to post her ‘arguement’ across a slew of websites, sometimes cutting and pasting the exact same post across multiple web-sites days apart.

She has no problem posting her extreme – even for a vaxx skeptic – points of view on vaxx-skeptic friendly websites, yet as soon as someone asks here to do the same here, all of a sudden ‘websites like this aren’t good enough’. was good enough for her 9th Jan post.
AoA was good enough for her 5th Jan post.
Her facebook wall is good enough to post her views there was good enough in the summer.

But apparently we – and I’m using the Podlesak habit of chucking everyone in together – aren’t even capable of recognising autism.

Why should anyone waste their time debating a person who has made up their mind what your arguement is for you?

Okay, searching Google for things on topix . com… I found: this post:

I have an MS in Industrial Engineering.

Oh, wow.. is she “backer” from the ScienceBasedMedicine blog. Because I am truly not impressed with her use of statistics (just as I was not impressed with backer’s use of the term, I say term because neither have any clue how the mathematics are applied). Okay, “backer” claims to be male, while she is obviously not. But still the premise holds that they are both claiming something that the data does not support.

Here it is: Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

Yeahbut, that paper is by Paul Offit, and we know he is not credible :-p

It’s a nice write-up, but I would have liked to see a more aggressive conclusion. Something like, “Anti-vaxxers are convinced that vaccines cause autism. However, their specific hypotheses for such links have been tested and all have been found to be non-existent. As old hypotheses fail, new ones are invented, with no consideration of the possibility that the null hypothesis (vaccines are not associated with autism) may be operative. While the scientific has been thorough in their testing of these critical public health concerns, the time is coming when resources need to be turned away from the whackamoler adventures and more toward those who are trying to solve the problem of autism.”

The reason for treating you as if you were the Borg is because is you’re acting like the Borg. Tell me Chris, are you 7 of 9? Don’t look that good in a cat suit? Too bad, neither would I, but then I don’t have aspirations to unquestioning obedience to medical, pharmacuetical or governmental authority with their cooked studies, not worthy of mentioning, and their cooked statistics. Tell me, what governmental or medical organization are you blogging from? Not taking pharma money you say? Would you willingly allow an audit of your income and assets so we could check? You all seem to be very peroccupied with me, one little critic and demander of public debate. You wouldn’t dare contend with me on the sidewalk but here you’re fierce as lions, with me as your trapped prey. I don’t even know your real names. Me, you could look me up in the phone book. I’m no snake. Maybe you all should come out from under your rocks, so we can be sure you’re human and not aliens in human form.

Oh please. I missed the troll ?
Now I’ll have to give back all that money Big PharmaGovt is paying me to roll around the Internet refuting fools and trolls. So, “Mary” what’ll it be ? The “Pharma-Shill” or the “no Evidence” ? As others have shown you the studies, we’ll just go with the “Pharma Shill.”
Dear Mary. nobody, not the least anyone at Wyeth, Schiff, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson or etc give a flying tinker’s damn what you have to say, here, in public or on television.
They really don’t. Countering your blather will not make a damn bit of difference to the pharma industry. No, Mary. Not one whit. The reason why is simple. You, Mary, are insignificant. You’re a fly on the wall, who will die, dry up and blow away within a few hours. The collective activities of everyone like you does not impact the profit margin of even the smallest pharmaceutical company in the least. In short, you aren’t worth it to them to counter, especially when so many people will do so for free.
Yes, free. Gratis, no charge. In some cases, pro bono publico. That’s latin, Mary. It means “for the good of the public.” Hello and Goodbye, Mary. I won’t be bothering with you in the future. Happy trails.

@Mary: Sure. I’d let you audit MY income, if you let me audit yours. I don’t get big pharma money, I DO work for a type of medical organization, as Orac knows. Someone has to work in hospitals, clinics, home care, health insurance, etc. Or do you believe every one of those people is in the pocket of “Big Pharma”?

I don’t have unquestioning obedience. I DO have 2 children, I lived through the 60’s and 70’s, with few vaccines, I have my grandmother’s letters detailing the horrors of dealing with 2 children who had mumps and measles in the same year – and who very nearly LOST one of those children to measles. There are family members in those letters who have VERY autistic type behaviors…and those people only had the smallpox vaccine, if they had any vaccines at all.

I would contend with you on a sidewalk, a room full of parents, or anywhere, since I KNOW I have science on my side.

As for being an alien in human form…well…my husband and children might agree with you, but for different reasons. But I think YOU are just being a troll.

Ms. Podlesak:

Tell me, what governmental or medical organization are you blogging from? Not taking pharma money you say?

Oh, wow! It is the truly unoriginal Pharma Shill Gambit!

Is that, along with the name calling, supposed to substitute for giving us actual evidence for your assertions? What actual scientific evidence do you have that vaccines are the evil you claim them to be? Give us real evidence and stop being evasive.

Of course you can audit my income. Since I have no income and am currently looking for a job (and in graduate school). I had to quit being an engineer over twenty years ago because of issues surrounding my oldest son’s birth, and his other health issues (which include several trips to the hospital by ambulance, special education and over a decade of neurodevelopmental therapy, plus treatment from a couple medical specialists). He still is a cause for concern, and one younger child has mused that he will be taking care of his older brother in the future.

The single income our family has comes from a large aerospace company. Which is probably toxic to you just because they use lots of aluminum.

Actually, I am thinking how I can afford to go to TAM 8 (with at least one of my younger children). But since I am having trouble scraping up the over $1700 to take one graduate class, and then there is hope that my oldest will be able to go to community college soon… I could really use that Big Pharma cash. Do you know where I can apply?

Oh, I just had a great idea! Ms. Podlesak, I would love for you to audit my income. All you have to do is pay for a trip for two to TAM 8 next July. That would include the airfare, conference fees and hotel.

Also, you should sign up yourself and submit a paper to give on the last day. Use that opportunity as a way to get that debate you are itching to do. Keep track of the “Call for Papers” by checking the TAM 8 details at

Also, if those of us who come can bring in our financial details you can spend the weekend auditing everyone. Wouldn’t that be fun?

I wouldn’t allow an audit of my assets, as a student with a form of autism my earnings are embarrasingly low. It’s not within your rights to be allowed to ‘check’ anyway. But thanks for exposing your entitlement complex. It’s nice to know we’re working with people who think they have invasive rights merely to align baseless suspicions.

“I don’t even know your real names. ”

Given how you’ve behaved, that’s probably a blessing.

You’ve made yourself look like a paranoid ar$ehole and a complete prick to boot.

You’ve made plenty of threats, yet we’ve seen no real evidence.

Put up or shut up.

Of course we all know what happens when Ms. Podlesak gives the contact information to JB Handley. He just sends his lawyers.

Perhaps the way for her to get my financial data is to meet her at TAM 8 and insist she hand over the cash to see my financial data.

Though she said:

No the reason for my late appearance here is to make a once in a lifetime offer to you and your medical buddies to debate the autism-vaccination link with a real live mother of four high functioning autistic children,

What a better place to meet Orac, Harriet Hall, Joe Albietz, Steve Novella and the several parents of real kids with disabilities (like Michael Goudeau) than at TAM 8? She can attend the ScienceBasedMedicine conference early on, and then give a paper with her evidence on Sunday.

You wouldn’t dare contend with me on the sidewalk

I don’t know about you folks, but I am trying to envision what this encounter would be like. Since I don’t go around on the sidewalk asking people about their vaccine proclivities, that means the only way an interaction with her on this topic were to occur would be for her to come after me. And I have to be honest, it doesn’t matter much, because I’m not going to have a lot of interest in interacting with some looney on the street who comes up to me out of the blue and starts spewing anti-vaccine nonsense. Depending on how aggressive she is, it could consist of anything from laughing her off to calling the police and having them haul her to the ward.

For some reason, I get this image of Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, with Mary coming up to me on the street saying, “I am the keymaster of Gozer. Are you the Gatekeeper?”

“Would you like some coffee, Mary?”
“Would I?”
“Yes, have some”
“Yes have some”

Tell me, what governmental or medical organization are you blogging from?

What supplement manufacturer or antivaccine group are you blogging from?

Not taking pharma money you say? Would you willingly allow an audit of your income and assets so we could check?

Would you willingly allow an audit of your income and assets so we could check on you?

You wouldn’t dare contend with me on the sidewalk but here you’re fierce as lions, with me as your trapped prey. I don’t even know your real names.

You could, if you so wished, meet at least some of us at TAM8 in July. I have been invited to the New England Conference on Science and Skepticism in April, and I will probably go.

However, as Pablo says, if your behavior here is any indication, I rather suspect we’d all be backing away from you slowly and seriously thinking about calling security.

I have no fact-checked way of guaranteeing who you really are and who you work for. I, as I have already said, am in the phone book. mary podlesak is my married name. My husband is the breadwinner, I am not. That also could be fact-checked.
Without your true name I cannot research you, nor any of your alleged background, whether you are Orac, Chris, Pablo, etc. As far as I’m concerned you are all anonymous. I have no idea if you are who and what you portray yourselves to be. It may all be a cover for you on this blog in order to promote the pharmacuetical agenda of our government, the medical establishment and it’s corporate sponsors. Sorry, it’s nothing personal, but without a real way to check your background you can say anything you want to, I have no way to verify it.

The worst kept secret in the world is who Orac is. And you are still playing the idiotic Pharma Shill Gambit, and failing to present real data.

Total fail.

Once again, without your real name, and Orac’s, I cannot have an honest conversation. This requires an airing in public where genuine arguments could be presented regarding the autism-vaccination connection. Without your name, address etc., I cannot check your background. I’m not the FBI. I don’t have those kind of resources. I also do not have the resources to go to a scientific conference, although I have in the past, in my own fields and in my husband’s.

Ask Handley what Orac’s real name is. He knows it, and has proudly announced it several times on Age of Autism (or Age of Advertising as we now call it!).

The funny thing is that Handley will comment here, but never at that other blog.

Oh, and another thing: you don’t have to be “FBI” to present your evidence. Just post the journal, title, author and date of the papers that support your assertion that vaccines are worse than the diseases. If you want, you can just post the PubMed ID (PMID) for those papers.

“I have no way to verify it.”

Yet, you are fully willing to assume your accusations are true. You take the cowards way out and wave your hands saying ‘I’m only asking’.

You still have failed to justify why you are too scared to post arguements here. A simple google search shows that you are willing to post elsewhere. You have no jutification for not posting your arguements here.

As long as people who are fully willing to make unfounded accusatins and veiled threats, as well as open ones like John Best did towards Ari, and as long as people are willing to collate and mass distribute personally identifying information including work address across known hostile groups as happend recently to the founder of CAoA, there is no real justification for having this debate in a place of your choosing.

You have still not justified why you are too scared to post your arguements here, when a single google search indicates that you are fully willing to post and cross post on vaxx-skeptic friendly websites.

Your recent behaviour is in direct and absolute contradiction to your cries of making this public. It is incredibly obvious that you will be incapable of setting up an honest debate.

After all the sneaky tricks you’ve pulled here, no one is going to be willing to debate with you. You simply cannot be trusted. You have no-one to blame for that but yourself.

You have been found out. Now kindly put up or fu

I have never fully articulated the arguments against vaccination. What appears on other sites is merely a dim reflection of an outline of the arguments. As I have said, if our government, big pharma, and big medicine refuse an honest debate in the public square, I will resort to nuclear warfare. That will not occur on the internet. This actually is an opportunity for you to air your views in public, honestly face forward, rather than as you are like a sniper lobbing hand grenades from behind the cover of anonymity.

You have certainly not held back in your views on other websites. If you want an honest debate, then don’t act like you’ve made up your mind beforehand. Your previous history has demonstrated that you are extremist in your views.

You can find many articles that lay out the ‘debate’. Chris referred you to a large number spanning several years. Deal with it.

“That will not occur on the internet.”

Sorry, but you don’t get to decide where the debate is, that simply isn’t up to you. How very dare you suggest that your way and only your way is the only valid way.

If you want a debate, then join in where it’s already occuring.

As long as you sling insults and baseless accusations around, the more people will dismiss you as the demanding egotist you present yourself as.

You have demonstrated that a honest debate with you will be a waste of time and space.

No-one here will fall for your trick. It’s time for you to stop pretending you have any of the rights you are assuming you have.

I noticed that you didn’t put up.

So fuck off.

Anyway, why would identity matter? Isn’t the data supporting the argument more important?

The fact that Ms. Podlesak focus on identity so much shows the weakness of her data. If she had real data, she would have provided it. She has not done that, instead she has whined about us not showing who we are.

Except some of us know that folks like Handley have sued people, and Offit has had death threats, and phone calls have been made to employers. Look at the content of this blog posting, Fisher is suing two people and an entire corporation because of two words in a news report!

Seriously, Ms. Podlesak, for all we know you want our financial data so you can steal our identities! JB Handley had quite happily squatted on several internet website names (including this Orac’s old site and one with a vaccine researcher’s name). He takes any little bit of information and uses it in nefarious ways. Since you are a known commenter on AoA, we have no reason to trust you.

Earn your trust, give us the evidence that we have asked for. Stop being a jerk and participate in the process of communication.

I do not post anonymously. I have been threatened by government officials in the past, so I know what it means to feel physical danger. When I complained to the police, I was ignored. I have never sued anyone, nor is it possible for me to do so. Only a righteous stand on principles is my defense. If a government official or someone else with a grudge against me chose to do so, they could physically harm me and my family. Intimidation has been attempted against me in the past. Lawyers are so afraid of the government, they will not pursue my righteous claim. Calling me names will not sway my opinions. Personal integrity matters. I will not carry on an adversarial argument with an anonymous poster or imposter.

I see you also have severe reading comprehension issues. Who cares if you use your real name if you fail to produce a real argument with real evidence.

Even with your real name, which you do not capitalize properly (while using all caps for the owner of this blog, you are turning into a troll.

Put up, or shut up. That is all you have to do.

By the way, ask your friends what happened to the SupportVaccination blog. If you deal with the guy who helped shut it down, you are not to be trusted.

We deal in facts, try to produce some.

Mary: if you want to deal with Orac (in his real name), Dr Steve Novella, and others who support vaccination, all you have to do is go to the other blog that has been referenced here many times. I comment there, Chris comments there. But, for some reason, Mr Handley won’t comment there. Jay Gordan, however, will occasionally. But, I doubt you will comment there, since you can’t even give SOME of your evidence here, and over there you will be torn to pieces without it.

And: 1) You haven’t responded to my offer to let you audit MY income if you let me audit yours
2) You haven’t responded to Chris’ list of research articles showing no support for vaccines causing autism
3) You haven’t accepted any offer posted to debate in a forum like TAM 8. What, you won’t go where you might lose because people there want evidence and not allegations?


I honestly don’t care if her name is really mary or not. What matters more is whether she has anything to say. Until that point, there is no reason to bother. If she actually had something to say, to the point where we were having a serious conversation, then we can worry about revealing personal information. But until then, I don’t care.

And because no on the internet knows who you really are, the “mary podlesak” is posting could just as likely be a neighbor or someone on the school PTA who doesn’t like her, and is deliberately making her look foolish.

If google/facebook is correct as to who she is, Mary was in her late 30’s by the time she had her first child, and in her mid 40’s by the time she had her last. Think genetics might have anything to do with her children’s autims? Nah, has to be the vaccines!

“Calling me names will not sway my opinions.”

Yet, you came in here with the assumption that several people – who by your own admissal you do not know – held corrupt and dishonest views. You have asserted – with no evidence or presented logic – that several people – who by your own admissal you do not know – are paid patsies of pharma companies.

You have made veiled and open threats at several points. You have used high falutin’ quasi-religious language to describe yourself and your views throughout.

You have demanded that we surrender extensive personal information to you so that we can disprove an assertion that is yours to provide evidence for. Your only justification for doing so is your own personal suspicions.

You have demanded that we can only become valid in your eyes by doing what you demand, and only what you demand.

“Personal integrity matters.”

Personal integrity usuallu involves respecting other people. You have been nothing but disrespectful, ego-centric, threatening, demeaning and demanding throughout.

“I will not carry on an adversarial argument with an anonymous poster or imposter.”

You best start looking towards your own behaviour then Mary. No reasonable person could expect to behave the way you have and get away with it.

That’s assuming you’re not an imposter yourself.

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