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A young antivaccine propagandist plans to teach his mad skillz to other antivaccinationists

As hard as it might be to believe, one time over 20 years ago I actually took the Dale Carnegie course and, as part of that course, read his famous book How To Win Friends and Influence People. I know, I know. It’s probably not obvious from my style of writing on this particular blog, but I did, and i tried to take the lessons to heart. The main reason I took the course, however, was because back then my public speaking truly sucked. I was nervous, hesitant, and tended to mumble a lot. That course was the first time I realized that I could be a halfway decent public speaker. Now, over 20 years later, I’m no longer nervous and hesitant when speaking, but I suppose I do still mumble a bit. Oh, well. Some flaws never quite go away, no matter how much we work on them. Since then, I’ve actually had speaking engagements in front of hundreds of people, and they haven’t come after me with pitchforks and torches yet, but then I haven’t tried to speak at an event like the quackfest known as Autism One, where such a result might not be unexpected.

Speaking of Autism One, last week I wrote about just what a quackfest that yearly gathering of antivaccinationists and autism quacks. Although it was a throwaway line, I mentioned that our old “friend” Jake Crosby was slated to give a talk entitled Challenging the Consensus Through Effective Advocacy. I hadn’t planned on mentioning it again, but then last night I got one of those blogging gifts that bloggers dream about every day, a target topic so big, fat, juicy, and full of comedy gold that it makes you want to drop everything else and make it the topic du jour. Now, you might ask why I didn’t take advantage of the topic of Jake’s upcoming talk last week when I first mentioned it. A fair question. The answer is easy. Last week I didn’t have the handout containing the slides for his talk in my hot little hands. Thank you my readers for pointing out that in the interim since last week Jake had given me this most excellent gift. Upon reading the slides, I couldn’t help but think of Dale Carnegie, because Jake’s talk looks like a warped version of Now Not To Win Friends and Influence People, antivaccine version.

The hilarity begins right at the very beginning of the talk, in which Jake promises to show us six things, beginning with “why engaging the other side is so important.” If Jake’s past behavior is any indication, engaging the other side is propaganda. The problem, of course, is that Jake’s just not very good at it. His version of “engaging” the other side basically involves stalking scientists like Dr. Paul Offit (or myself) at talks, waiting for the Q&A, and then basically making an obnoxious ass of himself. Jake also claims he will demonstrate how to “effectively frame the debate.” Of course, there is no real “debate.” It’s a manufactroversy, in which antivaccine cranks like Jake try very, very hard to convince you that there really is a scientific “debate” when there is not. The evidence is so overwhelming that vaccines are not correlated with autism or all the neurodevelopmental disorders and autoimmune diseases that antivaccinationists try to pin on them. Neither is the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which used to be in childhood vaccine until around 2001-2002.

The next two objectives are to “follow the money” and “track down connections.” When Jake “follows the money” and “tracks down connections,” you know hilarity will ensue. You might remember a few years ago, which was the first time I had a little fun at Jake’s expense over his “tracking down connections” between Adam Bly and Seed Media and, of course, big pharma. Of course, back then I was more favorably inclined towards Jake than I am now. He was, after all, still barely out of high school then and had clearly fallen in with the wrong crowd, at least in terms of critical thinking, science, and ethics. Also, back then, I thought he was still potentially salvageable. Four years and and a ridiculous number of screeds against scientists and journalists later, Jake is fully an adult now and doesn’t rate such consideration considering how low he’s chosen to sink. These days, he’s accusing me of having undisclosed conflicts of interest that are neither undisclosed nor conflicts of interest and using the tired old “pharma shill” gambit. He’s even gone so far as to insinuate conflicts of interest and nefarious behavior by a judge. Not a great idea if you don’t have really strong evidence supporting your accusation.

Oh, well, there are fits and starts in developing as an antivaccine propagandist. I do find a false dichotomy that Jake lays down highly amusing:

  • Is the problem that the government is not doing enough?
  • Or is it that the government is doing an awful lot, but to cover up that vaccines are causing the autism epidemic?

I’ll take “None of the above” for $2,000, Alex.

Jake’s characterization of scientific consensus is rather amusing, too. He laments that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines “consensus” using a “small group of panelists” and “closed meetings.” One is tempted to respond: “Scientific consensus”? You keep using that term. I do not think it means what you think it means. A scientific consensus is developed by far more than just committees associated with the IOM. It’s developed by the community of scientists at large studying a problem, and the overwhelming consensus is that vaccines do not cause autism. The IOM reports, such as the most recent one a few months ago, are merely a reflection of that existing consensus, not a mandate. Yet it serves the purpose of antivaccinationists to represent the IOM as some sort of shadowy cabal in the thrall of big pharma dictating the “scientific consensus” from on high. It’s utter piffle, of course, but that’s never stopped Jake before. Nearly everything he says is utter piffle.

Jake saves the best for last, though. If you thought the first half of his talk was pure comedy gold (and it was), then you might want to take a deep breath before diving into the last half, in which he “defines the problem” and tells the tale of his advocacy. Of course, his advocacy seems to involve smearing anyone and everyone who doesn’t toe the line on the now discredited myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism. Most amusing, that seems to include a lot of people ostensibly on “his side.” He attacks what any reasonable person would consider rabid antivaccinationists, such as SafeMinds, the Canary Party and Mark Blaxill. I’m guessing that he’ll rehash his overheated conspiracy theories that he dreamt up when he decided that SafeMinds was far too squishy on vaccines and “stole” the antivaccine Congressional autism hearing away from Jake’s new best bud forever, Brian Hooker. I don’t really want to rehash all that old territory again; so I’ll refer you to a bit of the back and forth bickering between Jake and his former allies. One really wonders how well Jake’s broadsides against some of the leaders of the antivaccine movement who have been at Autism One in the past will go over with this year’s attendees. (Actually, one wonders how well attended Jaek’s talk will even be.) The list of “culprits” on Jake’s part includes Mark Blaxill, Sallie Bernard, Lyn Redwood, Ginger Taylor (oh, goody!), and Gary Kompothecras, the last of which came to me as a huge surprise. He’s a guy we’ve met before, a prominent antivaccine chiropractor in Florida who was affiliated with the father-son antivaccine tag team of Mark and David Geier. Apparently, in Jake’s fevered imagination, Kompothecras told Brian Hooker about the Congressional hearing that got Brian Hooker, and through him, Jake Crosby all hot and bothered. Is it true? Who knows? Who cares? I just like seeing Jake fire napalm-grade burning stupid at his former allies.

All of this brings us to the grand finale, in which Jake explains his methods, in which you—yes, you!—can be just like Jake. He explains how to look for conflicts of interest in obituaries (nice touch!), wedding announcements, Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, news articles, and the like. The hilarious thing is that his handout says that not all publicity is good publicity, particularly if you’re “trying to convince people of a scientific truth.” Of course, Jake’s definition of “truth” is more akin to “truthiness,” not truth, and, besides, there is no such thing as “scientific truth.” There are scientific findings, which are always provisional and always changeable in the face of new evidence. The problem, however, is that there just hasn’t been any convincing evidence that vaccines are in any way correlated with autism. Instead of actually producing evidence, Jake finds it easier to stalk scientists and harass them. He purports to tell his audience how to deal with how speakers might respond, and this is the part of the talk that had me stifling a full-on laugh, particularly when he says that speakers might respond by bluffing, lying, changing the subject, ad hominem attacks, or “ordering you to leave.” Of course, I did none of these things when Jake tried his “technique” on me.

I lost it when I read the slides telling the audience to try to engage with the speaker after the talk and what to do “if you get attacked.” First, Jake says “don’t attack back.” Of course, in my encounter with Jake, he rather forgot his own rule. When I told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about, he called me a liar. Bad boy, Jake. That’s not taking your own advice.

In the end, I guess that Jake wants to create an army of mini-Jakes to harass pro-science advocates and skeptics speaking out against the antivaccine movement, the better to harass them. I can hardly wait the next time I give a talk.

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]

113 replies on “A young antivaccine propagandist plans to teach his mad skillz to other antivaccinationists”

Not quite on topic, but I find myself using the word “manufactoversy” a lot , because it so perfectly describes the tactic used by both antivaccine lunatics and global-warming deniers. Should we all agree to parse it as “manufact” from “manufacture” and “oversy” from “controversy”?

In my sometimes-quixotic efforts against global-warming deniers over at the Wretched Hive (HP), I very often tussle with commenters who use the “both sides of the issue” gambit, as if there were a coherent case against anthropogenic global warming (there isn’t). The tactic gives rise to some of the most obnoxious concern trolling ever.

Jake’s delusion of adequacy is perpetuated by his handlers giving him a platform to espouse his drivel. Deliciously, he uses his talk to attack the very people who have put him there. I’m sure it’s going to go well. Leave it to the AoA illuminati to also pervert Sun Tzu for their own purposes and having it backfire spectacularly. Any wagers on “edits” to Jake’s talk?

As an individual that is forced to rely on PowerPoint Presentations for a number of my meetings, I can say, without a doubt, that those are some of the worst slides I’ve ever seen.

Of course, I’m sure Jake will spin off on tangents & probably not really even follow the outline as presented (and I’m once he gets to the section where he will crap all over his “allies” it should get very, very interesting).

Again, I feel this is a stunt pulled by Jake’s former handlers – giving him just enough rope to hang himself (by putting him front and center in his own discussion forum) and show just how ridiculous he has become – then they can cut the strings & let him go – saying, “well, we gave him a chance & look at what he did to his ‘friends.'”

I wonder how many people are going to attend & I also wonder how many will walk out once he starts attacking people like Blaxill….I wish someone could get a recording of this. It should be comedy gold!

@Lawrence: Isn’t the conference being streamed over the ‘net?

@SJ – OMG, I certainly hope so.

Of course, I would love to ask Jake about his own COIs – isn’t his family well connected to Monsanto?

Does he make this information available publicly, so we can judge for ourselves if he is conflicted?

There is nothing wrong with simplicity in Powerpoint. The key is the way the speaker uses the content in them (and, of course, the message). What I find funny is the random usage of capitalization.

One of the best classes I ever had was taught by a former presidential speechwriter. It was a performance-based class with many short presentations and review of them with the instructor. However, what I most value from the content of the class was that a good speaker tells the audience they are going to make a point, they make that point, and then they tell them they told them to drive it home. Not boring redundancy but thoughtful clarity.

@Lawrence: I tipped off two Chicago news stations about the appearance of Kerri Rivera at the conference, and all of the well-deserved criticism of her MMS product. Here’s to hoping they show up.

@TheTypicalPharmaShill: How about “nontroversy”?

Sebastian and Lawrence, livecast? OMG OMG Christmas in spriiiing!

@BA – I got the impression that it was Young Master Crosby’s slides being mocked, not PowerPoint in general.

I do a weekly blog on my Facebook page and plan to cover and mock the conference in (relative) real time. Friend me up and I’ll tag you. The conference will be taking place on the same weekend as a Finnish Green League convention I will be attending, so my attention may be split somewhat.

Why would a young adult behave as Jake does?

My own hypothesis is that he is envious of successful, well educated people who disagree with him: he would ‘take them down’ and ‘show them’ the error of their ways, replacing them himself. Rather than showing data and evidence to support his own claims. Oh wait, the data he cherishes has been already shot full of holes worldwide.

He picks on scientists, doctors and journalists, occupations to which he aspires, badly. He has probably watched too many movies or television shows wherein the young, upstart reporter ( or scientist) reveals the entrenched corruption resident in high places. In fact, in his little encounter with me, he admonished me for not understanding conspiracies: asserting something angrily, Jake, doesn’t make it true.

He reserves a special place in his twisted little heart for Brian Deer, a guy who actually has uncovered a scandal or two in his many years as a journalist and whose work has produced far ranging consequences. Something Jake couldn’t really understand because it was grounded in data and evidence gathered over years and fact checked.

Actually, Jake has a lot more in common with the alt media honchos I survey rather than his targets- I suppose he has taken a page or several from the Gary Null School of Journalism or the InfoWars Style Manual.

I think it would be hilarious if someone questioned the Questioner himself at Autsim One. At first, I was hoping that one of the minions would show up and make short work of his presntation but perhaps he might find that a new young anti-vaccinationist might have a go at his current attacks on anti-vaxxers like Blaxill or another big fish in their very small pond trying to make a name for him or her self.

I’m thinking that Jake is not presenting his culminating experience research at GW this semester because he’ll be in Chicago. (Got the invite to the other presentations the other day. Jake’s not among them.) Maybe next semester?

You don’t get your MPH if you don’t present, Jake. Better get on it. We’re waiting for you in public health, with open arms, even. 😉

I think it would be hilarious if someone questioned the Questioner himself at Autsim One

You know, I almost wished to go but then, I would prefer a soft-spoken (I’m not) person who carry a big stick (I’m not) fully capable of pointing the flaws in his reasoning….someone like prometheus 🙂


Forgot the webcasting too, a video should be found on the net.


@ Reuben, is it possible that Jake is playing some ‘speshul snowflake’ card and either presenting at a different time or keeping a lid on his to avert any potential disruption?

@ Alain:

But don’t you think that the latter scenario I present is EVEN better?

Jake has been critical of the powers-that-be @ AoA, SafeMinds et al, so a younger up-and-comer knows that Jake is on shaky ground and thus, in order to please higher-ups, tries to take Jake down a peg or two. Or Ms Bernard or another anti-vaxxer he criticises shows up.

At any rate, Jake, like the alt med idiots I survey. attacks the consensus because he cannot be a part of it:
he’s gotten into a programme but can he get out and be employed ? I wonder how his mind set fares at a school of public health.

Similarly, woo-meisters- with legit degrees or not- try to take the short cut, instead of doing the hard work:
criticise the consensus or trump up phoney data to prove your alternative theory and gather a following who admire your carping against the establishment.

They play pretend at scientific debate because they’ve never been in a real one. They create false accolades because they’ve never gotten an actual one.

If you look carefully, you’ll discover that the ‘vaccine experts’ at AoA ( and other hives) are business men/ women, lawyers etc.
Alt media thought leaders are nutriitonists or hold fake degrees ( altho’ Mercola has a real one).

If you can’t make it in thereal world as it is, create your own alternate vision in which to excel and rule.

@Science Mom

It’s possible, but I haven’t heard anything about it. If he ever claims not to be able to give public presentations, we have plenty of evidence against it. If he doesn’t want to present, and someone agreed with him, he’d still have to submit a manuscript.

Just ask Ren, who went to GW for his MPH. The capstone project (culminating experience) and subsequent presentation assures that the candidate knows his stuff. It’s a requirement, and he won’t get out of it easily.

Nice article in the New York Times science section today about Maurice Hilleman, who developed many vaccines and is, as they say, a “forgotten pioneer”. Wakefield is mentioned, but thankfully there isn’t any false equivalence — the vaccines are portrayed as an essentially unalloyed blessing, and Wakefield as a disreputable character.

@Reuben Gaines

Then again, Jake is in a bit of a pickle with regard to the MPH program: if he sticks to his guns and holds firm to what he believes, his chances of successfully completing the program are slim, since his views are firmly entrenched in pesudoscientific nonsense.

On the other hand, if he cows to the establishment and does what he needs to do to graduate, then he compromises on his fervently held ideals. He would be a coward who lacks the conviction to stand firm to what he (erroneously) thinks is science and make the powers that be listen. He would be no better than those at SafeMinds that he’s criticizing.

I’m suspecting that Jake has even more dirt on his handlers, soon to be revealed by Bolen on his blog, hence his invitation to be a presenter at the Quack Fest.

Hi Jake; I know you’re lurking here.

How about explaining why you aren’t presenting your “Culminating Experience” at GWU? Did you apply for a “special accommodation” because you have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.? BTW, what is the subject of your “Culminating Experience”?

How about coming over to discuss your Powerpoint presentation? We would all be happy to provide some constructive criticism.


I realize that but the content should be mocked not the simplicity of the slide content. Not saying anyone was dissing ppt.

@ Todd, if Jake should be so foolish as to use the subject of vaccines for his thesis then I would agree with you. There are many facets of public health that don’t involve vaccines that he would be wise to pursue as his topic. The operative word being ‘wise’ of course. He has shown himself to be a one-trick pony’s arse so we shall see.

I’m with Science Mom about Jake’s thesis, although it would be difficult for the epi-wannabe to find a disease, disorder or human condition that has not already been attributed to childhood vaccines.

We have already suggested the alarming incidence of male pattern baldness and the expansion of the internet causing ASDs. How about the alarming prevalence of ingrown toenails, plotted against medical insurance coverage for podiatry services…and the number of vaccines that kids receive…as the reason for the prevalence of ASDs?

Because I enjoy playing devil’s advocate:

wouldn’t it be interesting if one of Orac’s minions** and/ or an ardent anti-vaxxer questioned Jake ?
I’m sure I could think of a few questions to really rattle him- we psychologists can often do this-
AND I’m confident that other minions might be able to ask a few as well… anti-vaxxers’ queries might be worthwhile too
It might be highly entertaining to compile a little list – just for Jake-

What would YOU ask him if you were there?

** -btw-I live very, very far away from the conference but wouldn’t waste a (probably) beautiful weekend in May hanging around that scurvy group even if I lived nearby.

I kept my project simple. I established a flu surveillance system in a rural community using syndromic and lab-based surveillance. My presentation was well-attended, and I was admonished for trying to use different scales on a graph to show changes. Overall, it went well, and I learned a lesson about trying to pull one over on seasoned epidemiologists.

Maybe he’ll keep it simple too?

Of course, I also recommended reminding people who came in with the flu that the flu vaccine is the best way to avoid being sick with it again. I somehow don’t think Jake would give a recommendation to prevent disease that would include anything to do with vaccines.

If I could ask him a question at Autism One, I’d ask him why he promotes the HPV vaccine (via Gov. Perry of Texas who, in turn, appointed Alex Cranberg, Jake’s uncle, to the University of Texas Board of Regents). I mean, if he’s going to stand there and tell us that sixty degrees of separation are good enough to say someone has a conflict of interest and all, you now? I’d phrase it as “Who’s your uncle, Jake?”

I might ask-( leaving the truly personal questions aside for counselling sessions)-

if he thought that his own personal position, as a self-identified vaccine injured party, PRECLUDES any claim he might make for objectivity when researching vaccines and supposed vaccine malfeasance by individuals,corporations or governments.

In addition, is it not possible that his own biases against vaccines, medicine and pharmaceuticals have been ingrained in him since his earliest memories by his mother who is a staunch advocate for this position- that they are a matter of faith and a portion of his identity- something that cannot blithely be set aside in the interest of independent reportage?

I could go on but won’t. You get the idea.

@ Ren: Is young master Crosby in the exact same MPH-Epidemiology program where you received your degree?

Wouldn’t Jake be required to be up-to-date with all his vaccines (varicella and Tdap booster, in particular)?

I see that Jake is Tweeting again…furiously. Hasn’t anyone tweeted him about his new-found celebrity and linked to Orac’s blog?

Lead story on AoA today, which naturally piqued my interest (I thought the author was referring to my spastic quadriplegic son):

I’m disappointed. The author is dissing the expanding ASD diagnostic criteria and describes in exquisite detail the circumstances of his learning about his son’s autism in these words…

“In 1991, a torpedo blasted the engine room of our little family when doctors confirmed that our 3-year old son Alex was autistic. They said: “The little boy you knew is dead, but a new one has come along whom you will also love.”

The author linked to his Op-Ed editorial. The Dachel bot has posted her Spam and all the usual suspects from AoA have posted:

My post is on the top. Come and join me there (easy sign in).

“Utter Piffle” should be a band name.
:::::now returning to the serious stuff:::::

This is the Jake Crosby who learnt he was vaccine damaged by watching Fox News?


As a Civil War buff since middle school, I thought that was great! How do I link to that on my Facebook page? (no Like option, sadly)

Wow, I’m spectacularly….underwhelmed by Jake’s powerpoint skillz.

If that’s the type of presentation he’s planning on giving for his degree, he might as well pack it up and go home now. I can only imagine what his thesis manuscript will resemble.

I guess to clarify my comment earlier – if you’re going to utilize PowerPoint & don’t want to put your audience to sleep (and given Jake’s style, I don’t know how he’s even going to keep a “rapt” audience engaged for long), you really need to put some effort into it.

Seriously, I design better & more informative PPs in my sleep.

Saw a marvellous Grumpy Cat meme this evening… “You are literally too stupid to insult.” Says it all, really.

Altho’ Jake’s efforts are risible, here’s something that isn’t:

Today at AoA, Julie Obradovic, seeking her second master’s degree in education ( why?), brags about how her prof invited her to speak on a panel to undergrads and graduate students about the “role of skyrocketing illness in children and how it is affecting education and society”.

In her 15 minute talk, she addressed the “problem,.. impact,.. cause and solution”- causation being “mercury, medicine and mankind”. Later, she handled out copies of Blaxsted’s “Age of Autism” book to interested parties. She notes that she received some criticism about the genetic causation of ASDs but wasn’t shouted down or suchlike.

This anecdote illustrates how sh!t spreads.

She will have her second degree this month: she will use legitimate educational achievement to trumpet spurious science. Parents will listen; she will speak and get written up in local newspapers, her advocacy career will be highlighted, etc.

Her proselytisation will go far beyond the confines of a woo-drenched autism conference that preaches to the converted.

Julie O. is going for an administration degree in education…which will put her on track to become a district wide junior administrator or an assistant principal. We can only hope that when she applies for an administrator position, the school superintendent and school board members will “Google” her name to see her blogs that appeared on AoA.


Yes, he’s in the same program, sadly. DC has vaccine requirements for students. I never gave them a second thought. I had to have all my shots to work at the lab. I still do. So I don’t know if DC has an opt out regulation. That’s a very good question, and one that I’m sure Jake would answer if asked.

It grates to hear the blanket statement that autism = damage. Or damaged goods. Last week someone said that to me. I told him that “normal” people, with their need for socialization, their inability to focus on tasks, their inability to see patterns in data and words, their need for constant background noise like music, tv, their general lack of attention to detail and obliviousness to much of the things around them, are the ones who are “damaged” goods. Not that I believe* that myself, but I wanted to make him see things from a different perspective.

*okay, maybe a little, 🙂 but as a blanket statement it would be just as wrong as his blanket statement.

@sebastian Jackson, (12). There are a lot of SJ’s on Facebook. Could you tell me which one so I can take you up on your invite?

So I don’t know if DC has an opt out regulation.

Looks like medical and religious only.

“Looks like medical and religious only.”

Maybe Jake is of a different religion? Or he got a doctor to sign the medical exclusion? Who knows?

One big piece of advice that I have for him as he goes into public health is to be squeaky clean if he plans to continue putting himself out there like he has. It was that squeaky cleanliness that helped me shrug off the whole “EpiGate” thing and had my bosses laughing at Jake when he wrote the 4-page email of accusations.

Cleanse yourself, Jake. Be untouchable, if you can.

Looks like medical and religious only.

Church of the Immaculate Wakefield?

@Dan Andrews: I am the Sebastian Jackson listed as a student of the University of Tampere in Finland. My profile pic shows my long-haired, bearded self.

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth….

Jake comments at AoA that Sharyl Atkisson is a “Real Journalist” unlike Olmsted who is a ” Canary Party Propagandist”.

Oh, I’m really sure Jake entirely and thoroughly understands the difference.

Pardon me whilst I faint.

Jake comments at AoA that Sharyl Atkisson is a “Real Journalist” unlike Olmsted who is a ” Canary Party Propagandist”.

Oh that is rich. I wonder how long and far the AoA illuminati will be able to take the “keep your enemies closer” tact with Jake continually baiting, nay daring them to cut him loose.

I would wonder why anyone would share anything with Jake in confidence. I can’t imagine that anyone with sense would copy him on any internal data, unless they just plan for him to publish it.

@ Science Mom:

You know, a few months back I wondered how Jake was able to keep up his studies because of all of his extra-curricular anti-vax actvities… ha ha.

At any rate, the conference should be highly entertaining for all who aren’t tangled up in the imbroglio, like us.
Let’s see:
there’s the Jake/ Hooker/ Bolen axis
and there’s Blaxsted/Larson/ etc..
so where’s waldo, I mean Andy?

Seems like neither side has bothered to make clear that this Farhi joint appeared in the Style section. It has attracted attention from the usual suspects, e.g., here. Then again, if, as is rumored, Atkisson is negotiating a departure from CBS, perhaps Jake could take a lesson. Oh, wait.

A while back**, I predicted to Jake that his anti-vax belief system might one day sabotage his attainement of meaningful employment in the wide world once he completed his education…
well, it appears that his position isn’t exactly assured in the
antivax meaningless employment department either.

He’s manged to do someting worse than painting himself in a corner..

** Summer 2011?

SJ:Just sent a message to you on the Facebook. Sadly, I’m on here more than I’m on Facebook.

Re:Denice Walker@ #18

I never thought of antivaxers living in an alternate (un)reality,not unlike Second Life.Interesting idea,though.

@ Sebastian Jackson: That’s a new Facebook page for Jake. He’s already *tweeted* about it:

I’m still thinking that Jake applied for, and is getting, a “special accomodation” for his thesis…after all, he has Asperger Syndrome.

@ Denice Walter: Waldo/Andy is a presenter at the Quack Fest; his topic “Defending Academic Integrity and Research”

I’m still thinking that Jake applied for, and is getting, a “special accomodation” for his thesis…after all, he has Asperger Syndrome.

You sure about that? In any of my course, I can have accommodation to do the required task at hand, not accommodation to replace the task with something else. An example:

Sometime ago, I go back at the school where I did my machining course and tell them about my motor coordination problem and I suggested I do all their exercises on the CNC[1] controlled machines but they did not accept my solution preferring instead that I use the conventional machines with accommodation for my disability.

[1]== computer numerical center


That’s a new Facebook page for Jake.

No, it’s an old one (that he never really did anything with). Perhaps he’s thinking about repositioning his social-media presence.

@ Alain: I didn’t state that Jake is trying to replace a “task” (his thesis), with another “task”. “Special accomodation” is offered in the educational setting for students who have physical or developmental disabilities. Students who have motor disabilities frequently have an amanuensis assigned to them, to assist them during written tests.

(Anecdotal, but true story) NY State has Regents Exams, in all major subjects in high school, as well as the SAT Exams for college entry; they are “timed” exams. A few parents of students in highly-competitive school districts (where there are *no average students*), have insisted that their strictly “A Student” teenage children be tested for dyslexia, with the hope of getting an “accomodation” in the form of additional time for taking these “timed” examinations. (It’s hard to fake dyslexia and the kids don’t get that “special accomodation”)

I’ll be looking for an update on when Jake will be presenting his thesis.

@ Narad: Ya gotta wonder what other *dirt* Jake has stored away that will prove to be embarrassing to his handlers and colleagues. Payback is such a b!tch.


Waldo/Andy is a presenter at the Quack Fest; his topic “Defending Academic Integrity and Research”

At first I thought you were joking, but I see it’s true. That really is very funny indeed. I also see he still has FRCS and FRCPath after his name – neither of which he is entitled to IIRC. I know for certain he is no longer a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists as I wrote to them some time ago and asked. That’s just another little delicious sprinkle of dishonesty to add to the irony.

I meant which side is Andy on…

He has already rehearsed his little routine when he spoke recently as Olmsted recounted in one of his Saturday extravaganzas. Could it also be a jab at Deer & Godllee, whose recent efforts involved fraud etc?

The title alone is killer. And FRCS, FRCPath! He’s like the woo-meisters with mailorder degrees who display them at every opportunity.

re Jake: originally wasn’t his diagnosis ADHD or suchlike until die Mutter changed it to Asperger’s. He could go back to the ADHD/ ADD and claim that a public presentation is too much for his fragile eggshell psyche?

Yes, Wakefield is not an FRCPath, and he is not an FRCS either. If you look at his lawsuit against the BMJ you can see that he was challenged by Deer, and promptly ceased using both of these qualifications in the lawsuit.

So you have the classic quack scenario of letters after his name to which he is not entitled.

@ Roger Kulp:

I am, of course, referring to anti-vaxxers as a sub-species of woo-meisters in general:
my metaphor concerns how they approach and react to the world as we know it-
they utilise certain rules and habits of thought that illustrate that they indeed don’t inhabit the same “reality” as most of the rest of us.

There’s derision of SBM and most authorities which are explained away as being corrupt, greedy or evil.

In the case of woo-meisters I venture that this may developed from their earlier aspirations to be part of the “club” – academia, researchers, the establishment etc- but they never got their foot in the front door because they were rejected.

They had been thinking of themselves as brilliant and original- on the brink of making awe-inspiring breakthroughs in research and then- those blackguards- the administration- never let them in! ( You’ll note that many have odd or deficient academic backgrounds)

So the rest of their life has centred upon building an identity that involves being “above it all”- a better scientist than the standard- being critical of authorities and then gathering a group of devoted followers who have similar gripes against medicine, authority and successful people.

Some woo-meisters and anti-vaxxers are people who have medical degreesand other but perhaps never made as big of a splash as they would have liked so they also turn against reality and create their own: that of a brave maverick contrarian against the world!

Jake and his cohorts at AoA -and other dens of anti-vax inquity- live in a mirror world where public health is concerned. They take the advice of other failures and pariahs as holy writ. They use their own set of word definitions and word usage. They have their own set of values and rites of passage into the tribe.

I could go on: I think you catch my drift.

@ Denice Walter: Waldo/Andy is a presenter at the Quack Fest; his topic “Defending Academic Integrity and Research”

Oh, my aching sides. That is rich! Between that and JC continuing to publicly bite the hands that nurtured him so carefully, I may run out of popcorn before the quackfest even starts.

@ Edith Prickly:

If you peruse the Autism One schedule, you’ll discover MANY other divers entertainments- including a boatload of legal presentations ( I wonder why?), discussions of dietary prohibitions/ magical substances to increase your child’s mana/ gris gris/ whatever, various self-serving ego-expansion projects by the usual AoA, TMR, Canaries..

Unfortunately, I am very far away, am otherwise engaged, easily identifiable etc etc. so I can’t go. AWWWWWWWW!!!

Jake, four years ago at AoA, “Discovering I was toxic”. His mommy Nicole hid his *toxicity* from him for years.

Jake, May 2009, Trashing Ari Ne’eman and the ASAN in a letter to Newsweek Magazine. He reveals how his diagnosis evolved:

“…Neurodiversity only adds insult to injury, especially when Ari Ne’eman uses his own experience of first being labelled ADD, then rediagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, to support epidemic denialism. I do not know Ari’s full story, as I cannot speak for him. However, I can give you a thorough run-down on my autistic experience. I was born in 1988; at the age of 2 and a half, my pediatrician referred me to developmental specialists as the result of early developmental delays I had with speech and language.

When I was brought into New York City to see a psychologist at age 3, he predicted I would be diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) when I was older, explaining to my mother that I was on the Autism Spectrum. My young age at that time was probably the reason why he did not give me a diagnosis in writing. That was in 1992, two years before the DSM-IV came out listing PDD-NOS and Asperger Syndrome as a diagnosis as part of a PDD/ASD category.

People like Ari will often use the DSM-IV’s availability to support their contention that there is no epidemic by claiming that the addition of PDD labels as opposed to just classic autism came with the introduction of this manual, causing the growth. Having been associated with a PDD label before that, however, I can tell you that I am living proof that these labels had already existed before the DSM-IV’s introduction. Sure enough, as the doctor predicted, I was diagnosed with a PDD: Asperger Syndrome at the age of 8. Unlike Ari, no one ever mistook me for someone with ADD, although I was diagnosed with a co-morbid Auditory Processing Impairment. To my knowledge, Ari Ne’eman had no early speech or language delays, which is perhaps the reason why he was initially given a different label, NOT a result of greater awareness…”

(Continued Below)

Jake stated…”Unlike Ari, no one ever mistook me for someone with ADD, although I was diagnosed with a co-morbid Auditory Processing Impairment. To my knowledge, Ari Ne’eman had no early speech or language delays, which is perhaps the reason why he was initially given a different label, NOT a result of greater awareness…”

Jake, October 2009, posting a comment about how he reacted to a medication prescribed for his attention disorder:

“…I haven’t been on Ritalin for decades. When I was first put on it which had been around the time I was in Kindergarten, it gave me full-body tics. They were so bad the teacher even complained about it to my mother. The shrink who prescribed it to me insisted that I stay on it, citing some improvement in my attention as a benefit that supposedly outweighed the tics, but they were so awful.

Luckily, a father of one of my friends was a child psychologist and gave my mother an article about how Ritalin can cause children to develop chronic tics who would otherwise not have them. Only then did my mom take me off of it. She then gave a copy to the shrink who prescribed me the drug in the first place, who then “lost” the article. After being taken off Ritalin, my tics continued to persist for another six months…”

“Wakefield is not an FRCPath, and he is not an FRCS either. ”

His fan base doesn’t care. Check that, they care: they add that to the list of “wrongs” that have been done to him.

He knows who is still listening. The rest of the world doesn’t care what he does with fake titles and he doesn’t care about them.

I will note he tried to create a twitter hashtag (#wakefielddebate). Not really a “trending” topic.

including a boatload of legal presentations

“Kevin Barry, Esq. … is on the board of directors of EBCALA. He is a [sic] founder of the Universal Family Church.”

“including a boatload of legal presentations”

Such as this one?

Rolf Hazelhurst, Esq.

“Rolf Hazlehurst, Esq. is an attorney and has practiced law for eighteen years. His son’s case, Hazlehurst v. The United States Department of Health and Human Services was the second test case in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.”

Hazlehurst appealed the Vaccine Court’s decision…and was unsuccessful…

“…..We therefore find no error in the special master’s determination that she could not “place much weight on the preliminary findings of Walker study … specifically the alleged findings of vaccine-strain measles virus in some of the bowel biopsies that were tested.” Hazlehurst, 2009 WL 332306, at *125.


Because we find no error in the special master’s consideration of the evidence, we also find no error in her decision to discount Dr. Corbier’s opinion that the MMR vaccine caused Yates’s autism. By Dr. Corbier’s own admission, his opinion depended heavily on the reliability of the scientific studies purporting to show measles virus persistence in autistic children.

Compensation under the Vaccine Act is limited to those individuals whose injuries or deaths can be linked causally, either by a Table Injury presumption or by a preponderance of “causation-in-fact” evidence, to a listed vaccine. The special master concluded that the Hazlehursts’ evidence failed to demonstrate the necessary causal link, and the petitioners have not identified any reversible error in the special master’s decision reaching that conclusion.


Speaking of fake credentials–Corbier’s resume included the “rock award”. An award which apparently he was the only one ever to receive and for which there is no record.

Someone should talk at Autism One about how poor the “experts” were for the Omnibus. How poor the “science” was.

Scanning the schedule, I am rather taken with the amount of woo that addresses GI issues/ diet :

“Food Fun and Fermentation”**, the GAPS diet, enzymes, glutamate, herbs, mushrooms***, vitamin D, supplements, enzymes, “superfoods”, “culinary” et al.

“Now hold your horses”, you might say,” has anyone ever shown that there is a link between GI and ASDs?”

As I remarked previously: alternate reality, dietary rules, rites de passage,
mirror world, AJW as patron saint …
( which also explains the surfeit of lawyers)

** woo mavens crave the choucroute, yoghurt, miso, etc but not the gin, wine, beer. Pity.

*** simultaneously Narad, Kreb and yours truly think- “what kind?”

What’s inside the GI tract is liminal, neither part of us nor not part of us, the sort of thing that humans tend to imbue with supernatural powers, like hair, blood and fingernails. Before anyone admonishes me, I’m talking about beliefs, not about facts.

simultaneously Narad, Kreb and yours truly think- “what kind?”

Not interesting ones, either from a culinary or an ethnopsychopharmacology perspective, I would wager. It does look as if there might be some promise in medicinal mushshrooms but in autism? At least they probably can’t do any harm.

As I recall GAPS is Natasha Campbell-Smith, who runs a woo clinic out of her living room in a village in Cambridgeshire, and implies she is part of Cambridge academia. She isn’t.

Oddly enough, TACA ( touts a GFCFSF diet – so gluten and casein are taboo and soy is also forbidden.

TMR details the how providing the perfect diet for ASDs can be nearly full time job. ( And then they complain about kids’ odd food choices!) Very little is “kosher” to them.

To follow up on what Kreb notes-) the GI tract as the boundary between inside and outside)- taking in “good” and discarding “bad”- whether it is food, personal qualities or ideas- sounds like the stuff of Kleinian object relations theory or good old fashioned magic.

You may note that in alt med, foodstuffs are often associated with psychological/ emotional consequences- eating meat makes a person violent, sugar makes kids hyperactive etc. These people believe that ingesting the correct substances will “cure” autism or return the “lost” child who was stolen away from them.
Sounds more like magic potions from faery stories.

the GAPS diet, enzymes, glutamate,

The GAPS diet emphasises high-glutamate foods. People are happy to combine it with the ‘glutamate = excitotoxin’ school of orthorexia. Odd.

Speaking of fake credentials–Corbier’s resume included the “rock award”. An award which apparently he was the only one ever to receive and for which there is no record.

Not true — an artillery regiment of which I used to be a member traditionally awarded the Green Rock every Friday at officers’ call to whichever lieutenant had screwed up the worst that week.

(I got it 2x).

Sounds more like magic potions from faery stories.

Humans like telling stories, especially stories that are emotionally charged; we do an extraordinary amount of it. It doesn’t matter if the stories are true or not; we still tend to structure them in ways that fit with those age-old archetypes. Notions of purity and contamination, toxins and purging, bellicose metaphors, the brave maverick doctor triumphing despite opposition, to name but a few that we see in both conventional and alternative medicine.

The GAPS diet emphasises high-glutamate foods.

Umami. Yum.

Well, the story I hear might be characterised as a myth of transformation in which the innocent, trusting, meek young mother is seduced by a corrupt doctor into “destroying” her child with vaccines, antibiotics and standard foods but then she hears the Word from the Prophet and the scales fall from her eyes as she discovers the Miracle of recovering her child ( via woo of choice); then as the child’s lost soul returns, she declares war on SBM and becomes both warrior mother and evangelist in order to rescue other young innocents and children from the wiles of the heart of darkness itself ( a/k/’a SBM) upon which she will wreck havoc in retribution for her own suffering.

Other myths function for woo-meisters ( the Prophet cast out) and the wise child who will minister and teach elders.

You’re quite right lilady, it’s Campbell-McBride, not Campbell-Smith. It’s the fact she calls her clinic the ‘Cambridge Nutrition Clinic’ that irritates me. When I looked up its address using Google maps I found it was a house in a residential street in Soham, a village several miles from Cambridge. She is clearly trying to give her clinic an air of respectability by association. I started watching a video of a talk by Campbell-McBride a while ago, but there was so much complete nonsense in the first few minutes I had to stop. For example, she claimed that salmon contains almost twice as much cholesterol as beef and lamb and dairy fat, when a few minutes research reveals it contains less than even lean beef.

Part of Campbell-McBride’s schtick is the inclusion of oral contraceptives among the factors that disrupt the gut microbiome and destroy future generations. I’m guessing that she added that in the hope of strategic alliance-building with the right-wing anti-sex end of the Alt-Med spectrum, and it’s worked — I’ve seen a number of Christianist theocratic websites promoting the GAPS diet as proof that contraception is The Evil.

It all seems very calculated

I’ve been reading a book about the seven basic plots, and a lot of what we see in the alternate antivaccine world fits, though the tales are mostly incomplete. For example Wakefield would have to be exonerated and the wicked skeptics driven away in disgrace for the story to reach an emotionally satisfying conclusion (like that’s gpoing to happen!). We even see antivaxxers suggesting that this is what will happen – Greg on another thread asked yesterday, “How long do you think it will take for the vaccine-autism denial racket to crumble?” Interestingly Greg also seems more interested in the aesthetic qualities of an argument, and finds it tedious when people throw ugly facts in the way of beautiful hypotheses.

I’m currently having to deal with several TV entertainers I loved as a child being exposed as paedophiles, and now you are telling me that Wasson was duped? I’m not sure how much more disillusionment I can take!

and now you are telling me that Wasson was duped?

“Duped” is a strong word. Someone told him something, he passed it on.
I confess, I’m skeptical about the idea of *anyone* using Amanita muscaria for shamanic purposes. Whatever John Allegro might have thought.
It sounds as if Siberian tribes were happily using it for enebriation, but they were quick to abandon it in favour of alcohol as soon as they had access to the latter, which provided just as much jollification with fewer side effects.

Concerning Wakefield’s false credentials: as far as I can discern, the Autism One anti-vax conference is mainly organized by a couple call the Arrangas, who live in California. And the same couple are running Wakefield’s fundraising from parents who he wants to pay for him to harass the BMJ.

So the Arrangas must surely know that Wakefield has withdrawn his claim to be FRCS from his lawsuit, after Deer challenged him, and they must also know that he is not FRPATH because he never even claimed that in his petition.

So it must be the Arrangas who are tricking their attendees by posting bogus credentials for Wakefield. I think this cannot be oversight. It must surely be intentional.

The hallmark of charlatans, quacks and mountebanks for at least 800 years.


I’m skeptical about the idea of *anyone* using Amanita muscaria for shamanic purposes.

Puharich doesn’t make it sound very alluring, though he claimed it induces psychic abilities (large PDF), which must be handy. I do know it tastes delicious when dried, though I have never eaten enough to notice any effects.

@ Krebiozen:

Sure. Amongst those I survey, there is continuous rancor that the “Orthodoxy’s” “paradigm” is crashing down while they themselves will soon be lauded and applauded as the true innovator and saviour of mankind.

Imterestingly, since the economic downturn, they have become increasingly apocalyptic in their predictions: only yesterday, Adams included a tale of a guy who survived the hostilities in Bosnia: strife and privation is on its way to your doorstep ( similar Gary Null: the west will soon be exactly like Cyprus) and you’d better start preparing.

These Prophets of the End Times appear to be very concerned about sales figures and internet rankings though.

Woo fits the faery tale prototype of a person, lost and alone, in terrible adversity, who is then assisted by magical helpers who show up at critical times, giving useful advice or magical charms which will eventually save the day.

Then there’s that ” And a little child shall lead them” thing but please don’t tell Jake.

strife and privation ARE on their way….
I need caffeine, not mushrooms.

@ Denice

the wise child who will minister and teach elders.

Like a crystal child?

Now it’s frightening. We drop one story to latch onto another.
I’m thinking of a quote from Terry Pratchett:

The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens (‘wise man’). […] In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.

@ Krebiozen

I’ve been reading a book about the seven basic plots

I love this sort of analysis. Could you tell me the authors’ names and title of this book?

OT, sort of:
Actually it’s the above discussion about recreational mushrooms which brought back to my memory some of Terry Pratchett’s fine sentences:

In yet another part of the forest a young shaman was undergoing an essential part of his training. He had eaten of the sacred toadstool, smoked the holy rhizome, carefully powdered up and inserted into various orifices the mystic mushroom and now, sitting crosslegged under a pine tree, he was concentrating firstly on making contact with strange and wonderful secrets at the heart of Being but mainly on stopping the top of his head from unscrewing and floating away.

@ Helianthus:

Why not?
People who are suffering from lowered expectations and self-esteem might spin tales that elevate the situation to something beyond – and better than- everyday life.

Jungians discuss the symbol of the child as a symbol of the self developing ; we are all familiar with the twelve year old J-sus in the temple or young David defeating Goliath. In folk tales, the child sees through artifice ( the Emperor’s New Clothes) and slays the giant ( Jack and the Beanstalk) or kills the witch ( Hansel and Gretel).
These children surpass all the adults around them in wisdom or ability.

It seems to me that some of our woo-bent parents might first believe in unrealistic potential in their child – dashed by a diagnosis of ASD- which they later resurrect to restore their own self-worth. Obviously, their own “new” career as warrior mom factors into the account as well.

I love this sort of analysis. Could you tell me the authors’ names and title of this book?
It’s ‘The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories’ by Christopher Booker. I’m not far into it, but I’m enjoying it so far.

@Krebiozen – thanks for the book title! I’ve reserved it at the library.

@Edith, Krebiozen:

If you’re into books like that, Danse Macabre and On Writing by Stephen King do a nice job for the horror genre.

@Passing Thru – #90

The Arrangas have an interesting relationship with the truth…

(Sorry for multiple blog pimps, but frankly Ed and Teri are worth it)

They’re also notorious for chucking people out of Autism One for asking awkward questions…

Now. It’s pub time – enjoy the weekend!


Heliantus, Edith, Stu,
Ray Bradbury’s ‘Zen and the Art of Writing’ is in my virtual pile of related ebooks to read – it looks good to me.

Hello everyone. Recently, I met someone; someone having a few disabilities such as autism, ptsd, a recent burnout and that someone used to have a phenomenal memory but since the trauma and the burnout, that memory (especially short-term) is never going back. That person always wanted to have a rich career helping other by becoming a medical doctor but on the other hands, that person is slowly realising that he is getting older and there are saner way of helping other (counselling for example). Here’s the dilemma: that person is on disability and not sure to which extends he is disabled but what if he end up recognizing his limitation even if they’re not obvious, stay on disability (instead of getting a job), volunteer in a local hospital and do a course per semester like I described in a recent blog post (which he’ll likely pay around 90$ per month for his course)? Socially, would most normal human being would feel jaleous when faced with such a situation?


Furthermore, a parallel may be made with vaccine freeloader who profit from herd immunity but in the afformentioned case, the person in question is comparable to those having a medical reason to eschew vaccines.


Apologies for the OT comment, but South Africa has decided to roll out Gardasil to schoolgirls. Unfortunately, the anti-vaxx nitwits have shown up in the comments.

I do know [Amanita muscaria] tastes delicious when dried, though I have never eaten enough to notice any effects.

The fresh caps can be eaten without side-effects if you slice them thin and simmer in salted water first (the inebriant element is water-soluble).
My family think this is weird, and friends find excuses to turn down dinner invitations.

The fresh caps can be eaten without side-effects if you slice them thin and simmer in salted water first (the inebriant element is water-soluble).

I am dismayed that this observation did not mention urine.

If you look on the Autism One schedule, Crosby’s slides have mysteriously been removed. Could the conference be on the verge of cutting him loose and banning him? I still have a downloaded copy of his PowerPoint.

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