Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine

The perils of engaging the public

People wonder why scientists involved in controversial areas are reluctant to address the public. Courtesy of our favorite band of anti-vaccine bloggers at the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, we see yet another reason why. Yes, AoA’s resident attack poodle Jake Crosby decided to disrupt the Q&A session of a public talk (videocast here) by the editor-in-chief of BMJ, Fiona Godlee:

Throughout the question and answer session, I patiently waited my turn, until finally called on by Dr. Glass (you can view the exchange on the 54:00 of the NIH Videocast):

“Yeah? Introduce yourself?”

“Hi, my name is Jacob Crosby with GW School of Public Health and Health Services. I just want to…you made a number of statements here regarding Andy Wakefield who is not here to defend himself against them, but…there are a couple problems that I…that I saw with Brian Deer’s claims. He claimed that three children weren’t autistic because the have Asperger Syndrome, children 6, 7 and 12, but Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism. He said that the bowel pathology results were fraudulent because they don’t match up with the routine pathology results, which is only the first step in the tertiary diagnostic process. The end result from the routine pathologist’s report…is not accused of fraud, to my knowledge…matches up with what was in the paper. And…furthermore, all the five children – or five to six children – that he claimed did not really regress or have some sort of deterioration after the MMR vaccines…those five children…were all developmentally normal except for one kid who had developmental problems due to an unrelated preexisting condition. And…(people in the background started to mumble)…they all faced developmental regression after the vaccine. So…

At that point – about a minute and a half into my question – I was interrupted by Dr. Glass:

“Give us your question!”

I continued undeterred:

This is how cranks behave. They ramble on, monopolizing precious Q&A time without regard to the rest of the audience, and then, when the exasperated moderator asks them to get to the point, they “continue, undeterred.” In this, Jake reminds me a lot of the Royal Rife guy who “continued undeterred” at the Trottier Symposium last year in Montreal after multiple requests that he get to the point and then, later, more pointed requests that he yield the microphone in order to give someone else a chance to ask a question. I will, however, thank Jake for mentioning Respectful Insolence. I like to know I’m making a difference in a young man’s life.

In the end, from my perspective Godlee was far more gracious and patient with young Jake than I would have been capable of. I’m just not as patient. I’m also not sure how she managed it, but she did, and that’s admirable. Who knows? Perhaps she planted a seed that will later germinate into some rationality and scientific reason. I doubt it, but a guy can hope.

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]

79 replies on “The perils of engaging the public”


HTML nit: I think you need to move your opening BLOCKQUOTE tag one paragraph back, to include the “Throughout the question and answer session” paragraph.

..attack poodle Jake Crosby

Attack poodle? One without any teeth? I’ve come across some vicious poodles, but they all had teeth.

The manners seem about the same though.


Honestly, if you still haven’t gotten to the point of your question after a minute and a half, then you’re DOING IT WRONG. It proves that you either don’t know anything about what you’re talking about, or that you have some type of social anxiety disorder and are having a panic attack (and given the type of shameful and laughably self-delusional talk I routinely see coming from anti-vaccination activists, this strikes me as rather unlikely).

And no, rattling off data points doesn’t count as a question.

I viewed the video…it was even “better” than I thought…Boy Wonder Cub Reporter Crosby starts his harangue at 54:06 into the video and continues his nasty rambling attack on Fiona Godlee for a full three minutes.

I stated it before and I am stating it again Jake does not have Asperger Syndrome. He blogged about his past experiences of being on prescribed zonking medication and receiving special education services when he was “misdiagnosed”. IMO, Jake was probably diagnosed correctly with ADD or ADHD…and when he heard of the disease dejour- autism-he and his warrior mommy had him re-diagnosed with the Asperger Syndrome label and he became the poster boy for AoA.

He is just a nasty kid with an inflated ego fed by the sycophants at AoA.

Wow–I think it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a diatribe as Jake’s “heroic” recap of himself taking on Big Pharma directly. Incredible! Aside from referring to himself in the third person in the title (always a great sign that entertainment will follow), he misrepresents himself at the talk (he wasn’t representing GW–he was representing AoA and hiding that makes him a fraud in my book)! And what is hard to follow is not the logic that Deer’s efforts were anti-fraud, but that Jake has a hard time understanding that a quote that says retracting Wakers’ paper was an anti-fraud measure but was somehow an “anti-Lancet paper,” whatever the heck that means.

Oy! I feel for the kid. He definitely has been twisted by the dark side.

What I find most irritating is the sheer arrogance. This kid really thinks he’s like Woodward and Bernstein times a hundred. You can tell that in his mind, he’s the greatest living investigative reporter today even though he’s already written the conclusion to all of his investigations prior to actually investigating them, and that conclusion is always the same…Communists! Err, I mean Pharma Shills! And he obviously also thinks he’s far more informed about vaccine science than people with decades of training and experience.

And he can’t even seem to write about the event without constantly peppering his piece with editorial comments about nervous laughter, crickets chirping, and backing into a corner as well as doing such a precise transcription on his opponent as to make them seem as though they were off balance even though, speaking as someone who has transcribed hundreds of people, that’s how everyone talks.

It’s just sad. He’s sorta like the VenomFangX of vaccine denial. You know he’s just an ignorant kid who’s been horribly misled by fools but the smugness just makes you want to punch him in the face.

Oh, and my favorite bit: Dr. Glass telling Jake “Well, if we would publish an article by you – we wouldn’t – but if we did, I as the editor would be responsible for my journal’s connections, not you.” That one should have left a mark if Jake had any amount of self awareness whatsoever.

I object to “attack poodle” because standard poodles are wonderful dogs. They are intelligent water retrievers (the cutting of their curly fur is to keep the joints warm while making it manageable).

Unfortunatel dog breeders decided to “play” with the breed and created the “toy poodle.” Those little yappy things are an abomination, especially the one that belonged to my paternal grandparents.

Young Master Crosby would be better described as an “attack toy poodle.”

There is a breed of dog in South Africa called the Maltese Poodle. They are small, yap constantly, and are huge cowards. One Maltese Poodle kept getting out of her owners property. Whenever she saw me she would start yapping, yet if I ran towards her she would turn and bolt for home.
Jake Crosby comes across just like that.


Are you aware that Jake has a disability Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome .

That one of the major areas of concern for those with Asperger’s is communication.

I think it would be in the best interests of all in this debate that you withdraw this commentary.



I think Jake is J.B. Handley’s attack cat… and both are acting out the roles of the James Bond nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld head of the evil SPECTRE and the fluffy white lap cat.

Of course the complimentary comments about Jake’s foray and “discussion” with Fiona Godlee would not be complete without at least one sycophant mentioning God:

“At first it was the parents that came to complain, they did not seem to care because it was not that many parents; and it was after all for the greater good!

At last an actually victim stands before them, and tells them point by point their sins.

It seems to me that Jake is Karma, the Hand of God.

I have prayed hard enough to know that God will not change the natural laws he set forth to govern this Earth (what ever happens in adverse reactions to vaccines), but I have also noticed God does not mind a bit to use miracles when it comes to bringing knowlege and thus hopefully changing the hearts and minds of human beings no matter how twisted, messed up and confused they have become.

Knowledge had come, and now it is their choice, and their sin.

Posted by: Benedetta | September 28, 2011 at 09:44 AM”

Heh. If it takes longer than a minute to ask, it’s not a question, it’s a diatribe.

I think Jake is J.B. Handley’s attack cat
Lilady went there and dissed cats.
Seriously, can you imagine pointing a cat at a target and expecting obedience?

I like the total lack of self awareness. She doesn’t sound tired because shes been talking in circles with a closed minded jackass for the last ten minutes. She sounds “almost disillusioned, as if she was somehow feeling forced to confront the fact that her journal made an enormous blunder.”

Please, please, please tell me that the “GW” doesn’t stand for the George Washington University – I couldn’t bear the thought of my alma mater being home to this jackass……

a few minutes at the “search” function of the GWU school of public health website reveals that the school boasts some kind of affiliation (any affiliation) with a Travis Crosby, a “Crosby MG,” a “Crosby Alfred W” and a “Crosby LE” but no Crosby, Jacob or J.

Oh, he goes to George Washington alright. And his professors are well aware of his representing himself as being from there without clarification of being just a student. They are not happy.

I personally can’t wait to show up at his masters project presentation and ask some questions.

And, Blackheart, if his communication skills are to be taken into account, then I kindly suggest you ask AoA to stop using him as an attack dog and as a reporter. Fair is fair, and his Aspergers is no excuse for stupidity, arrogance, and bullying. He knows what he’s doing; he knows he was trying to sidetrack the discussion. A person with Aspergers who trolls and knows they’re trolling is still a troll and subject to the treatment thereof.

Here’s something that may surprise you. I have Asperger’s Syndrome (I’m not the only commenter here who has it), and I find Jake’s behaviour cringe-inducing.
One of my colleagues at a former client site (I test software) had an appropriate saying: “If you’re going to run with the Big Dogs, you can’t pee like a puppy.” Jake has chosen to run with the Big Dogs. It’s his own fault that he got shown up.

I have a lot of readers who are “on the spectrum” and rely on them to tell me when I’ve gone too far, which, fortunately, is rare. However, unlike Young Master Crosby, when I screw up and it is compellingly pointed out to me (i.e., pointed out in a way that persuades me), I do change course and try to make up for my mistakes.

So it seems Jakey has made a spectacle of himself for the sole purpose of proclaiming his love of self, Wakers and the attention he will get back at AoA. If he had much in the way of goals beyond that, he’s failed.

If we have to do dog analogies, to me Jake walks in, craps on the carpet and is smug about it that he gets attention for crap.

jake’s tactics remind me of michael moore. that sort of in your face style of debate. they throw as much information as possible at you and purposefully try to catch you in a confused and unaware state to make you look dumb, which is what jake was clearly trying to do. it is not a very good format for debate, which is why i detest it so much. i also find it rude because of the aggressive and hostile way it is usually done.

i dont think orac crossed the line at all. this style of attack debate is seen with lots of cranks (most of which dont have aspbergers im assuming). the “dont tase me bro” guy did the same thing at the university of florida. they see open q&a’s as an open soapbox rather than just getting to the point and asking a question.

Does anyone know what Jake intends to do with his degree? It seems to be such a colossal waste of time and money for everyone involved. Because there is such a lengthy public record of his beliefs and his antics, it seems unlikely that anyone involved with public health would give him a job once he graduates.

I wonder how his fellow students and professors feel.

Oh, he goes to George Washington alright. And his professors are well aware of his representing himself as being from there without clarification of being just a student. They are not happy.

I bristled knowing he was a student at GW but left that part out implying he was faculty, or a representative thereof. I’m glad his department has taken notice of this but given his recent AoA post replete with chest-pounding claims of victory, I doubt anything his professors said sunk in.

I personally can’t wait to show up at his masters project presentation and ask some questions.

You’ll have to let us know when or if that happens as I would love to also attend if I’m in town. Although, I wonder if Master Jake will even get that far.

Very scary – although when I was there, there were some pretty weird Objectivists in the mix as well…, wish he wasn’t a GWU student.

I read Jake’s account: Dr Godlee patiently tolerates his presentation while realistically appraising AoA as pseudo-science and honestly stating that she wouldn’t publish his material. Because I also “conversed” with Jake, I must confess that although I felt exasperated by his solipcism and slightly shocked by his atrosious invective hurled cavalierly in my direction I also felt great sympathy for his position and future. While I wouldn’t entirely attribute his actions to his diagnosis ( ASD, ADHD, or possibly another), it is a factor which might make him easier to manipulate, which I think he is.

Orac mentions “planting a seed”- perhaps if enough people do so he may someday hear a similar message from a professor or advisor he admires and a bit might sink in. I wouldn’t count on it. A parent of a young adult with emotional issues once remarked, ” Why won’t he listen to us about taking meds but listen to the guys on the street corner who sell him pot?” Because he *agrees* with them.

I work with students and feel concern for all of them, even Jake. He has managed to get himself into good schools, I imagine “someone” is paying for it, and yet there he goes, throwing opportunity away. Where does he expect to find employment ( with his resume) even if he completes the MPH? I believe his starry-eyed self-protrayal as a journalist clouds his vision of how he is being used at AoA.

So when I was reading the incoherent babbling of Jacob quoted in the article, I was thinking, man, that is some incoherent blabbering. He really comes off as a clueless doofus, and whoever is quoting him is making him look really bad.

Much to my surprise, it was he himself writing that? Is he proud of it or something?

If it were me, I would have at least paraphrased myself to try to make me not sound stupid.

Blackheart, that’s bullshit and you know it. You’re trying to excuse Crosby’s intentional disruption/destruction of the Q&A period by implying that aspies are all dainty little brain-damaged creatures incapable of rational thought, much less deception, much less dirty dealing. As an aspie myself this pisses me off to no end.

In both DSM-IV and the WHO ICD-10 Classification, Asperger’s Disorder is classed as a Pervasive Development Disorder, as is Autistic Disorder, so Asperger’s Disorder is not, strictly speaking, Autism. Both Asperger’s Disorder and Autistic Disorder are Pervasive Developmental Disorders as is Rett’s Disorder. There is no mention of “Autism Spectrum Disorders” in DSM-IV or ICD-10. I am now wondering where the term “Autism Spectrum Disorders” originated, and if it has any useful or indeed official meaning. Does it basically mean, “Pervasive Developmental Disorders not including Rett’s Disorder”? Anyone?

@ Krebiozen:

I would use it colloquially to include all categories *plus* Asperger’s much as I would use SMI to include serious disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar, severe depression. Both are shorthand.

“Are you aware that Jake has a disability Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome .

That one of the major areas of concern for those with Asperger’s is communication.”

NOTE: If you have Aspergers, prepare for any speech carefully.

It’s not like Jake got this condition just as he stood up, is it?

So if he’s a complete dumbass then it’s either because of his incompetence at speaking or, if you’re going to let him hide behind being an Aspie, for not taking the logical Aspie route of preparing to avoid his problem. Which is STILL him being a dumbass.

Krebiozen — Autism Spectrum Disorders is indeed a colloquial term lacking a formal definition; it arose in part out of the need for a term that would satisfy definitions of academic need for service without requiring or necessarily implying a medical diagnosis. (Public school districts have to serve everyone, even those who can’t afford or don’t desire to get their children formally diagnosed.) Most usages include Aspergers. I personally would consider it synonymous with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, since at least that has a formal definition we can refer to.

As far as Aspies and autistics having communication difficulties, this does not put them beyond reproach. Anything anyone says is fair game. It is bad form to make fun of someone for a disability, but you can absolutely argue their opinions and even presentation. The famous Temple Grandin, who has “classical” autism, is noted as a lecturer despite her very substantial communication difficulties. One of her challenges is that if anyone’s cell phone goes off or something else interrupts her, she is not capable of picking up where she left off. She has to go back to the beginning and start over. That’s a pretty big handicap for a lecturer, but it doesn’t mean she can’t give a good talk. She definitely can, with, as Wow said, careful preparation. Just make sure you turn off your cell phone and keep quiet. 😉

What Crosby did was obnoxious. If no one has explained to him proper decorum, then that is not his fault, but neither is it the fault of the speaker nor of the rest of the audience. He took away considerable question-asking time. He probably feels all noble for having said his piece and bothered the enemy, but the people he disrespected the most were the other attendees. I doubt he realizes that, or ever will; it’s anathema to that sort of attack strategy, which depends on a sense of self-righteousness.

I see this sort of stuff a lot at science presentations and conferences(not just an Age of Autism thing). You can always identify the cranks pretty quickly during the Q&A session when they start their long rambling speech about why the speaker is wrong instead of actually asking a question. Usually they never do get around to a question, and will, if allowed, give long rambling speeches in the Q&A sessions for other speakers as well (in some cases going back to the original talk instead of the one the current Q&A session is for).


As a high functioning autistic myself, I have unique insight into the condition. What he did had nothing to do with Aspbergers syndrome. He’s just doing what every other anti-vax nut does the moment they get the microphone in front of them.
Furthermore, I think that it’s sick he’s the “spokesman” for this group. To hide behind Aspbergers for that attack is just plain childish. At his age he should have learned to ask a simple question. I might be long winded when I speak but I know how to make my point quickly. If he can’t then he has no business going to these things and representing anyone.

Jake Crosby’s “questionless question” is a disruption tactic I’ve encountered numerous times when I give public lectures on evolution. I thought that Dr. Godlee and Dr. Glass were inhumanly patient with him – my usual approach is to give the ranter 30 seconds and then ask “Is there a question in our future?”, cutting them off if they don’t immediately get to a recognisable question.

Clearly, Mr. Crosby didn’t have a question he wanted to ask, as he already knows all the answers (something that should make his graduate student career endlessly diverting – for him and his instructors). He’s already concluded that there was a conspiracy to “smear” Andrew Wakefield and he’s not going to let something as trivial as fact stand in the way of him “connecting the dots”. What he wanted was a forum, which – unfortunately – Drs. Godlee and Glass provided him.

Like many others, I reject Blackheart’s appeal to “go easy” on Mr. Crosby because of his disability. As was demonstrated in the video clip, Mr. Crosby is perfectly capable of communicating clearly, even if his ideas are less than clear (a flaw not limited to the Aspergers’ community, I might add). If nobody objects to his non-rational thinking and his offensive behavior, how will Mr. Crosby ever learn to mend his ways?

As for the charges of “attack poodle” or “attack cat”, I see Mr. Crosby as more of a “cat’s paw” – a tool used by others to indirectly do what they don’t want to do themselves. Mr. Crosby’s disability makes him no more vulnerable to this sort of exploitation than others of his age.


Are you aware that Jake has a disability […]
I think it would be in the best interests of all in this debate that you withdraw this commentary.

Correct me if I am wrong, but Mr Crosby is presenting himself as a journalist, and presumably he wants his work to be judged by the normal standards of journalism. Are you saying that lower standards should be set up just for him (and perhaps a medal just for participating)? Isn’t that kinda patronising?

Thanks Denice and Calli,
The reason I mentioned the classification of Asperger’s was because of what Jake Crosby wrote:

Asperger Syndrome was always part of the autism spectrum! When I made this clear to her and that in 1994 – four years before the publication of the Lancet paper – Asperger Syndrome was included as an autism spectrum disorder in both the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and the International Classification of Disease; she had nothing left to say.

I sometimes find myself a bit lost for words when someone asserts something that is utterly wrong. As far as I can determine (digging around in old editions) the term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” has never appeared in the DSM or the ICD, certainly not in DSM-IV or ICD-10.

I won’t claim to have Asperger’s myself (though I suspect I would have been diagnosed had I been born ~5 years later). However, my little brother does. From that background, I can say it’s hardly a “disability” in the same sense that other forms of autism are. Frankly, to even suggest that we should excuse behavior, whether this or “elevatorgate”, on the grounds that the Aspie offender is “disabled” is insulting. For most intents and purposes, Asperger’s should just be treated as a particular personality type like any other.


You are correct – “autism spectrum disorder” (or “autistic spectrum disorder”) is not a DSM or ICD diagnosis.

It was coined by some anti-autism advocacy groups so that they could (in my interpretation) blur the distinction between Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-NOS and autism, allowing them to lump together all sorts of “autism-like” conditions in order to run up the numbers.

In their typical usage, they would describe a person with severe autism (“low-functioning autism” – a term I despise) and then state “Two million children in the US have autistic spectrum disorder.”, implying that all two million are as severely disabled as the person described.

It is a meaningless term. Anyone can make the claim that someone is “on the autistic spectrum” (which apparently ranges from severely disabled to mildly odd) without fear of being contradicted, as there are no diagnostic criteria (unlike the DSM or ICD).


I know people who have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome The atrocious behavior that Jake has exhibited in the past and presently, has nothing to do with his purported diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome.

I have little hope that Jake will ever change and I don’t blame it all on his involvement with AoA. He certainly is old enough and smart enough to understand what is “acceptable” behavior and has made the conscious choice to disregard social mores.

“I have little hope that Jake will ever change and I don’t blame it all on his involvement with AoA. He certainly is old enough and smart enough to understand what is “acceptable” behavior and has made the conscious choice to disregard social mores.”

As a person with Asperger’s I can tell you that they have great loyalty and strong desire to please whom ever they see as their “friends”. So the AOA involvement would be a factor in his behavior IMO.

If he wants to function in the greater society, though, he needs to act like a respectable person. I think he has seen what real journalists act like and what respected people act like, so he needs to cut the apron-strings ASAP, or maybe in this case you could call it the umbilical cord, if he really wishes to function independently. There is no excuse for AOA’s behavior of stringing him along.

“function in the greater society”: it couldn’t be more true!

I speak with my cousins’s** daughter often ( grad student in architecture): discussing her concerns about her impact and presentation, course/ school choices, how to relate to her U, profs, and the wider world she wants to eventually have a place in. It’s all about how she’ll fit into the general picture, developing necessary skills, contacts, and a flexible niche- her interests shaped by what she perceives the field/ society demands. Some of her worries take me back 25+ years… “Will they like this idea?… What’s next?…” She is – btw- brilliant.

Jake has too much confidence in his own merit, expecting to take epi and GW by storm as he imagines he has already conquered AoA. The wide world doesn’t run by the same rules as do cultish enclaves.

** he was preparing her for a career in a field related to his own but died when she was 16. I promised I’d help out.

I think you people may be pissed off that Jake has no qualms about stating the facts to the almighty scientists and even challenging them when necessary (whereas many people might feel intimidated- this quite possibly is a “gift” explained by the aspergers).
He also has an uncanny ability with the details of the case, nasty little details, and as they say, the devil is in the details.

@ A-nonymous; I don’t see anyone “pissed” here, perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on your part. Jake has no qualms about stating his own “facts” and not those that reflect reality, he is also providing his own interpretation (also wishful thinking) of events and again, not those that necessarily reflect reality. His details weren’t very impressive either as he couldn’t even keep them straight himself. I wouldn’t hitch my wagon to the boy wonder if I were you, but maybe that’s just me.

Hello again, A-nonymous! Any chance you will answer the questions I posted here. You seem to have a nasty habit of running away when we ask you to support your claims.

He also has an uncanny ability with the details of the case, nasty little details, and as they say, the devil is in the details.

Ahhh…so you’re saying that Crosby is the devil. I wouldn’t go that far…he’s probably just one of his evil minions.


I think you people may be pissed off that Jake has no qualms about stating the facts to the almighty scientists

What people are primarily irritated about is that he used a Q&A session as a soapbox rather than just asking his question, using up time that should have be used by others to ask their questions and have them answered.

I was at the Trottier Symposium and for a moment I thought you were talking about the Royal Rife guy. Same behaviour. By the way, you were the best speaker at the symposium!

Another drive-by posting, eh?

How about answering Chris’ question…with…you know… some facts?

Poor Jake, couldn’t get his act together as he stammered and corrected himself repeatedly…because his accusations against Brian Deer, the BMJ and a host of others he has accused of wrongdoing, are figments of the collective minds of his handlers at AoA. And, his “triumphs” at public speaking and journalism exist only in his mind and in the collective paranoid minds of the small audience at AoA.

Attack dog, lap dog, errand boy or cat’s paw…he is still an immature nasty brat.


So it seems Jakey has made a spectacle of himself for the sole purpose of proclaiming his love of self, Wakers and the attention he will get back at AoA.

I can’t see how one persons deliberate, and “undeterred”, trolling of the Q&A session of a public talk could possibly be held up for heroic acclaim any more than that of any other clueless troll who ignores all other input whilst regurgitating its antivaxx pseudoscientific dogma all over an internet blog. Then again I haven’t been brainwashed into the sycophantic protocol of an antivaxx cult.

There’s a difference between “having Asperger’s” and “being a tool”. A vast and unsubtle one. That’s just being a tool.

I am dubious of the suggestion, mind you, that the “proper” diagnosis for him would be AD(H)D, mind you – as an ADHD adult myself, I would contend that we, too, are a distinct group collectively possessed of a general capacity not to be tools.


Yes indeed, there is nothing in any of the diagnoses of ADD, ADHD or Asperger Syndrome to account for Jake’s behavior. He’s a perfect example of a coddled-by-his-parents upbringing. His mother is heavily into the woo of the anti-vax crowd as well and IMO, encourages “his” career in “journalism”. He was told by his mom that the vaccines are responsible for his “diagnosis” (whatever it might be), his parents paid for injections of some “curative” substance and they think his behavior is acceptable.

He has an aggressive abrasive narcissistic personality wrapped up in conspiracy theories and the tool of anyone who will pat him on the back and tell him that he is brilliant.

I just read something which I found really funny.

From Jake’s blog
[Posted by: j-insanity | September 29, 2011 at 11:39 AM]

Jake, Orac has written a post concerning this. Many of his commenters have made some pretty libelous comments that are clearly threatening to you and are obviously intended to harm your reputation.
A friend of mine has even written a blog about it with some of the choicier comments listed, in case Orac (the coward that he is) chickens out and removes his article.

The comment links a little blog called “My Socrates Note” (I’m not going to link it)and halfway through the beginning of the intro rant, Gambolputty opines..

For example, they foam at the mouth when someone draws devil’s horns on Dr Offit. They caterwauled and beat their breasts (and still do..and what has it been? 2 years now?) when Age of Autism posted an off-color picture of several “Skeptic” heroes having a Thanksgiving dinner that made allusions to cannibalism. They wailed and gnashed their teeth when someone makes a suggestive comment about a doctor being under the table servicing Dr Offit.

Halfway through the entire whine we get…

Such classy people over at RI. True paragons of society, these.

and a little further on down…

Resident attack poodle. Man, that’s classy, yes?

Oh my poor irony meter.

Gambolputty moves on to how it considers the comments on Orac’s post verge on libel.
Lilady gets first mention…

Not only that, she makes a completely evidence free statement, saying that Mr Crosby doesn’t have Asperger’s Syndrome, that borders on libel (since it is clearly meant to damage Mr Crosby’s reputation).

Next mention goes to Marc, who Gambolputty refers to as a “lickspittle” and responds to Marc’s comment (#4) on Jake representing GWU.

This, too, borders on libel in that it is clearly meant to harm Mr Crosby’s reputation.

But Reuben, (tsk tsk) your comment on showing up to his masters project to ask questions…

Not only does that sound threatening, but Reuben clearly has intent to harm Mr Crosby’s reputation.

So in Gambolputty’s eyes, showing up to ask questions infers intent to harm Mr. Crosby’s reputation.

Oh my poor irony meter.

@ Sauceress: You made my day! I love their defense of Wonder Boy Jake’s latest foibles by attacking Orac, Marc, Chris, Reuben and me and delight that I am in such company.

The lead in to the blog was a classic about the the little cartoons that they consider “humor” and our indignity about the sheer filth and disgust that any website would even consider publishing them.

No, we don’t libel researchers, we don’t start letter writing campaigns to destroy anyone’s career and we don’t encourage people to threaten any of their quack doctors.

Any repercussions to their pathetic careers is an “inside job”…they sow the seeds of their own lack of credibility and their own destruction by their words and their deeds…pathetic.


What I find most irritating is the sheer arrogance. This kid really thinks he’s like Woodward and Bernstein times a hundred.

It’s yet another example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Me showing up to ask him questions, actual ones without diatribes, about his project because he denies the science of epidemiology and is studying epidemiology is not a threat. He threatens his own reputation, credibility, and character with each anti-science and anti-vaccine post he has and will write. As far as his own future in public health, he is his own worst enemy.

If that blogger has qualms about what is written here or elsewhere, why not come over for a chat? We can give them the dictionary definition of libel and let hilarity ensue.

The difference between this comment thread and their echo chamber is that bullshit is not tolerated. Had any of us been threatening to him, the rest of us would have called them on it.

I thought the whole page was hilarious. It’s head too far up it’s own rear end to see that by its own logic, Jake verged on libel against Fiona Godlee.

According to Science Daily, scientists have engineered an autistic mouse upon which to test therapies. This seems a perfect analog for Jake. The autistic mouse that roared squeaked.

(I posted this comment with a link to the SD article but it got held up in moderation and my moderated posts seem to get lost so…)

Autism Spectrum Disorders

The nomenclature around ‘Autism” is quite confusing and DSM V is aiming to bring confusion to an end using …

Autism Spectrum Disorder

New name for category, autism spectrum disorder, which includes autistic disorder (autism), Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

That should clear up some of the misunderstandings about this ‘disorder’ when it comes to eminent research and how it is reported in the press and other media.

We wouldn’t want anyone to mix up ‘Regressive autism’ with Pervasive Developmental Disorders for instance would we ?

@ Sauceress: Just a slight correction. What Jacob said to Fiona Godlee verged on slander. What Jacob and the editors and the posters have written about Fiona Godlee, Brian Deer and anyone on their “enemies list” just doesn’t “verge” on libel…it is actually libelous.

Gambolputty’s knowledge of libel seems to be missing certain vital elements.  It takes more than a statement having the effect or even the intent to harm someone’s reputation to make it libel; it must be made with either knowledge of its falsity or with malicious disregard to whether it has any truth to it.  Not a one of the statements Gambolputty objects to actually matches that description.

It certainly doesn’t apply to the statement that Jake might not have Asperger’s – isn’t Jake’s own account that he was diagnosed first with ADD or ADHD, and only later did someone diagnose him “correctly” with Asperger’s?  Even a reasonable person who accepted everything Jake claims as a fact to be fact could still believe that it was the first diagnosis, and not the second, that was correct!  Especially as many of those who express a belief that Jake does not have Asperger’s are people who do.  They read Jake and his supporters excusing Jake’s various failures by blaming them on his Asperger’s and they say “What he’s calling his Asperger’s is actually his choice to act like a tool!”  That naturally invites the question of whether any of what he calls his Asperger’s actually is Asperger’s.

Even more ridiculous is the claim that it’s somehow libellous to say that Jake did wrong when he claimed he was “with GW School of Public Health and Health Services” (which is how he phrased it, according to his own account.)  I, myself, take it as pretty much settled fact that if you are a student at a school, even a doctoral student, you are not “with” the school, you are “at” the school.  Some might try to argue that, and claim it’s legitimate for someone to say they are “with” an organization when they are merely, in the final analysis, purchasing its services.  But for Gambolputty’s construction of libel to stand, he doesn’t need to prove that a reasonable person might accept “with GW School of Public Health and Health Services” to mean “I’m a student at the school,” he needs to prove that no reasonable person could reasonably take it to mean anything else.  If he acknowledges that there are reasonable people out there who would hear “with GW School” and be misled by it into thinking Jake was representing the school, it demolishes any possible contention of it being libellous to acknowledging Jake’s wording as misleading and deceptive.

As for his claims against Reuben …  well, really, they illustrate nothing so much as the willingness of AoA acolytes to build entire castles in the air out of the tiniest scraps of reality, making do with wishful thinking for the rest.  The one tiny scrap of reality in this matter is that yes, indeed, libel has something to do with harm to the reputation…  but if Gambolputty had any understanding beyond that, he’d never have dreamed of trying to deem unknown statements that Reuben might (or might not) make in the future to be libellous!  It verges on Orwell.  If libel law worked that way, Paul Offit and Brian Deer could sue AoA on a regular basis, every time AoA promises its readers that it will bring “shocking revelations” about one of the two!  If we simply went by past performance, we’d certainly assess it as a high probability that whatever “shocking revelations” AoA is going to purvey are claims that a reasonable person who examined the facts should know to be false.

It’s no secret that Jake often reads RI, dubious comprehension aside, so I’ll address this to him, if he’s reading:  Jake, will you have the courage to inform Gambolputty, “Sorry, you may mean well, but you’re quite mistaken about libel and it renders your advice useless”?  Or are you only willing to question people whose beliefs don’t flatter you?

To all of you who have characterized this young man’s behavior as atrocious, disrespectful, obnoxious: run along before somebody drops a house on you, too.

You have a different interpretation of a pompous, rambling, incoherent speech during Q&A?

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.

You aren’t making a real threat, obviously, but is that your idea of a role model?

@ MikeMa…you are making an assumption about “glinda” who thinks Q&A means Quarry-hunting&Attacking.

I liked the bit where Fiona Godlee could not remember Jenny McCarthy’s name. “Jim Carey’s wife…what’s her name?”
Very cutting.

@ Antaeus and others:

It’s important to remember for Jake and others in this cadre, the castles built upon insubstantiality *are* often more real to them than what they see when they walk down the street or what they learn in everyday life. These ideas are charged with hyper-emotions that obscure their improbablity.

Young Crosby should remember that first and foremost, science is not a popularity contest — your personal hero is not right simply by virtue of being your personal hero. In fact, his personal hero, Dr Wakefield, has shown himself to be a charlatan and a liar.
Secondly, a diagnosis of Asperger’s, whether self-diagnosed or not, does not come with an exemption from criticism. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong — asperger’s or not.

Not only has Jake made poor choices for his hero, he has embarked on the most vicious attacks on his internet AoA forum, with the full approval of its editorial staff.

He has also promoted his hero at his alma mater Brandeis and then turned around to assail the professors at Brandeis who refused to be a part of the Wakefield road show.

His continual and unabated vile attacks published on the AoA website, based on his conspiracy theories against the reporter Brian Deer, the newspaper which published Deer’s articles as well as Editor in Chief Fiona Godlee of the BMJ only confirm that he practices the yellowest of yellow journalism. He along with the editors and other reporters have launched unprecedented attacks on Dr. Paul Offit, the CDC, the AAP and any and all clinicians who make decisions about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

In spite of AoA practicing a strict “moderation of comments” policy, totally vile comments attacking Dr. Offit and other on their “hit list” are printed.

He and others who publish articles gave free rein to the AoA readers to launch an attack Orac and an unsuccessful attempt was made to have Orac lose his position…based on Jake’s unproven allegatons of COIs with drug manufacturers.

In short, Jake has put himself “out there” as the spokesman for the anati-vax, anti-science AoA…yet has the chutzpah to introduce himself as being with GW University-School of Public health…before launching into his tantrum defense of Wakefield and the “false” reporting of the circumstances of his research, the fraudulent documentation of his research, his undisclosed COIs, the offshore corporation set up to hide the financial gain of marketing a single antigen “alternative” measles vaccine and the fees generated for being the expert witness for plaintiffs suing a drug company.

When a “reporter” is so biased and blinded by a childish worship of a charlatan doctor then makes a public spectacle of himself…he is fair game for any and all who judge him by those activities.

I wonder why Jake didn’t describe himself as with Age of Autism? No phrase more truly fits him and his connections. GW is a passing connection while he is at school there but he will be with AoA forever. Silly, devious boy.


To make a case for libel, Fiona Godlee would have to prove that someone takes AoA and Jake Crosby seriously, which is probably impossible. As was true of John Best, Aoa’s impotence is their greatest defense.

@ MikeMa: I wonder how long Jake will be at GW University…being that he is so ill-prepared with his BA in double majors…”History and Health” and “Science, Society and Policy”.

@ Libel-proof: Have you seen the latest of John Best’s rants on YouTube:

John Best in 2012, Take Back Our Country From the Criminals

It seems that Best is asking everyone to write his name on primary ballots for the upcoming Presidential election. I tried to concentrate and count how many times he used the word “scumbags” during the 8 minute rant. Unfortunately, I lost count after 40 times…I was distracted by the only tooth in his mouth and what appears to be his home in a cinder block building.

>It seems that Best is asking everyone to write his name on
>primary ballots for the upcoming Presidential election.

That’s a riot. If we could only get him in a Presidential debate, vaccine rates would go way up.

“That’s a riot. If we could only get him in a Presidential debate, vaccine rates would go way up.”

It would seem that the Republican debates that I have seen are one clown short of a circus. I’m all for Best running for President…if that’s what it takes to get vaccination rates up.

I very much doubt that Mr. Crosby has never been informed that it a considered rude and unacceptable to try to hijack a question period in order to make a speech of one’s own. While people with Asperger’s Syndrome may be slow to pick up social cues, that does not mean that they are incapable of following rules of behavior when informed as to what they are.

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