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July 21, 2005


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I love it when you give RFK Jr. a taste of his own medicine....

...just as long as it's thimerosal-free. Could you imagine RFK Jr brain-damaged?

Foolish question.

You should go on the Daily Show and set the record straight.

What's depressing is you throwing out ALL of Kennedy's points with the bathwater in what smells like a not-so-skeptical reaming of the guy.

I see all the free-market - industry can do no wrong - fanatics love your counter-opinion piece - but that's all it is. There's a lot of ideas in the article you don't touch, for whatever reason.

At the end of the day, if you read commentary from EVERYONE involved (psst, Kennedy isn't alone), there remains some debate over the validity of data on both sides of this issue. Clearly from recent history Uncle Sam is lodged up the pharm industry's colon, making Kennedy's thought process not exactly outlandish.

Why not, instead of railing against Kennedy as some kind of fringe-nut who is 100% incorrect, actually be **skeptical** and ask Uncle Sam to open the CDC data to an independent researcher so the matter can be settled.

I'm skeptical, skeptico.


What’s depressing is that you have apparently not read the numerous other articles I have written on this subject, or the many links to conference transcripts, other blogs and peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Yes it was a reaming. It was satire. I was aping Kennedy’s exact same methodology – taking quotes out of context. Is there some reason you didn’t get this?

I have no problem with data being open, but who do you suggest would be the “independent researcher” – the Geiers? I doubt they would be honest, any more than Kennedy was in his reporting.

Your “pharm industry” comments and old, boring and 100% fallacious. I am sick and tired of this intellectually lazy reasoning and am not going to waste any more time on it with you.

Oh I've read them. I've read theirs too. I think there needs to be new independent research conducted with full access to CDC data. Not by "Vaccines are evil" Geier, but not by pharm industry loyalists, either.

Some of your stuff on certain subjects (Scientology in particular) is quite fun. But it doesn't take long for a real critical thinker to begin to realize you're a critical thinker only when it doesn't conflict with your free-market Conservative (or is that Libertarian I smell?) political views.

The degree of vitriol with which you go after Kennedy isn't "critical thinking", it's slanted paper thin free market loyalty.

Fanning your face in Southern Bell atonishment at the mere suggestion the pharm industry's fear of lawsuit might play some role in American health-policy is about as "critical" as the E! channel.

Some of his points are valid, some aren't. Your eagerness to trash all of his points (with a certain pseudo-heroic cockyness, no less) strikes me as robustly disingenuous.


OK, I’m going to have to ask you to show me exactly where I demonstrate “paper thin free market loyalty” or where I demonstrate I’m “a critical thinker only when it doesn't conflict with (my) free-market Conservative (or is that Libertarian I smell?) political views” in my posts about Kennedy. And I’ll need references to the free market or whatever, not just things you disagree with.

Also, I need you to show me where I am wrong about Kennedy’s piece. I produced a detailed rebuttal of his quote mining. You need to show me more than your claim of “eagerness to trash all of his points”. You’ll need to show me where his point was actually right and mine was actually wrong.

Isn't "Southern Bell" a "baby Bell"? I'm confused.

Oh, he meant southern belle.

I know we aren't supposed to mock bad spelling, especially if we live in glass houses, forgive me. But I really was trying to picture skeptico fanning himself in a telephone company office.

Kennedy's assertions are so *out there* and so unsupported he brings out the most extreme desire to mock him. It's the way human minds work, anything that is very outrageous invokes an urge to mock, and the skeptics here, did check into his outrageous claims and found them wanting, or more like, found them stupid.

I seriously doubt that he can prove his idiotic comment about China, either. (practically overnight millions of Chinese children are autistic) There's a wacko dude on the eoharm list who is saying that he is "emailing China" telling them about the conspiracy.


That amused me too.

In addition, I have never said the pharm industry's fear of lawsuit might not play some role in American health-policy, so that made Karl's point a straw man too.

Yes, Southern Belle. Noticed that after posting but there was no edit function. I pray tell ye bloggers of truth and holy skepticism do forgive me!

I do declare! I do find that young Kennedy boy so fussy! For I am Libertarian (or free-market Conservative) and do loathe to the bone any environmentalist who'd dare suggest imposing regulation on Corporate America!

The people seething over this hated Kennedy's guts long before now. I also bet most of them (you included) stay up late picking apart Moore crapumentaries in fits of selective objectivity.

In the end I'm not yet sold on data for either side, so no, I won't play statistical and google link pattycake with you. Some of what Kennedy says is crap, and I agree his use of hyperbole gives the Simpsonwood meeting and the story an air of menace that may not exist.

But a "shockingly dishonest piece of crap from beginning to end"? No, those are the words of a partisan. An agenda man.

I could provide links all day to claims from both sides that the other is full of crap. That Geier and his sons are hacks, or Verstraeten sold out as he joined Glaxo and dumbed down his data.

But if you were a real skeptic, "Skeptico", you'd want to see access given to the CDC data and fresh third party studies conducted. Instead you dole out absolutism, suggesting Kennedy's entire argument is flawed because of menacing adjectives.

Your post today is more of the same nonsense: La La! The Wall Street Journal supports my argument as do wingnut bloggers! The New York Times does not! Bow before me, for I am purveyor of truth!

You folks should stick to picking on Tom Cruise, scientology and astrologists where the water isn't choppy and your personal politics don't enter into it.


I don’t need any advice about what a “real skeptic” is from someone who makes claims he cannot back up. My posts are not driven by any political ideology, unlike yours – you clearly have a political axe to grind.

Your whole “The Wall Street Journal supports my argument as do wingnut bloggers! The New York Times does not! Bow before me, for I am purveyor of truth!” nonsense (incidentally, completely manufactured verbiage), is just ad hominem – attacking me personally for my perceived political bias instead of offering one shred of evidence to back up a single thing you have written. It’s also a straw man, since I never said there shouldn’t be any regulation on Corporate America. Not even close. I don’t know where you normally go where this line of reasoning works for you, but you’ll have to do better than that here.

I ask anyone reading this to note how the thimerosal-autism believers always resort to this kind of political name-calling instead of real evidence. It’s not a left wing/right wing thing, but the believers (just them, it seems), want to make it so. What else can they do when they don’t have any actual arguments?

Pathetic, Karl. Must try harder.

See you're wrong, I don't believe in a proven Thimerosal link. But I don't believe there isn't one based on your rants or Uncle Sam assurances, either.

My only claims this entire interchange has been twofold:

1. Give access to the CDC data to a third party independent research party (neither anti-vaccination nuts, or pharm industry loyalists, or scientists scared that people will stop vaccinating their kids) to create peer-reviewed research.


2. The absolute vitriol and glee with which you pursue Kennedy, your inability to confirm that any part of his article is even remotely possible, and no balanced criticism of some of the anti-Thimerosal/autism link data, gives me a sense you're grinding a political axe you already had with Kennedy.

I could be wrong on that second one, but I'll bet I'm not.

Thanks for the comments Skeptico. I keep waiting for the themerisol-causes-autism crowd to actually show some good data, rather than make more spurious claims and insults. If there is good and solid data out there that suggests a link, let's see it! For the next year or so, I have some access to pubmed and the rest - I want to use it! Give me something to read beyond hack journalists out of their league and knowledge (as Kennedy does admit - loved that!).

PS - is it just me, or does your feed not work for others? I tried to use it but it comes up invalid all the time (http://feedvalidator.org/check.cgi?url=http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/atom.xml)


But straw man and ad Hominem is OK I suppose? As is quote mining to show the opposite of what actually happened at the meetings? I don’t have to prove anything here, Kennedy was making a string of claims and I showed that he is a liar. He has to back up his claim – that is a key principle of critical thinking, which is what this blog is about. Glad to be able to demonstrate this point, which has no political implications.

Also the above were not your only claims. You also claimed, quite arrogantly, that my articles were biased because of a supposed conservative (or was it libertarian - you have no clue what my politics are, do you?) political position. I take it these accusations have been withdrawn now. Be too much to expect you to say so and apologize, I suppose?

As for vitriol and glee – he deserved it.

I ended my first Kennedy article with:

So does thimerosal in vaccines cause autism? Honestly, I have no idea although I doubt it – the increasing incidence of autism in Canada and Denmark despite bans of thimerosal would appear to falsify a causative link. But I do know that this piece of garbage from Kennedy has not advanced our knowledge. In fact it has probably put us back, as focus will be placed back on thimerosal rather than on looking for what really causes autism

I had no previous issue with Kennedy. In fact, I admired his track record as an environmentalist, which was why I initially took his article so seriously. I read it when it first came out in Salon and my initial thought was that I might have been wrong in my earlier belief that there was probably no link between thimerosal and autism. It was certainly a compelling piece, with news of a secret meeting and cover up, etc. I changed my mind back after looking at the actual evidence. So Karl, either back up your claim that I’m grinding a political axe I already had with Kennedy, or withdraw it.


Thanks for your comments. Not sure what you mean by the feed. I'm pretty sure the RSS link works. Email me if you like (link in left hand column).

"Kennedy was making a string of claims and I showed that he is a liar."

You showed he was a shitty writer who penned a piece with mistakes in it. That "liar", and other such tags come from something else. Something rooted in your politics.

No, the political axe belief stands. That vitriol comes from something other than a quest for honest discourse. I can smell it. Though maybe it's not directed at Kennedy himself.

What's your political affiliation?

Mistakes? Give me a break, they were deliberate distortions. I might be able to accept someone else wrote it for him, but still that makes him dishonest. Either way he deserves everything I gave him.

I am sick of you referring to my “politics” - something that is irrelevant to the facts and that you have no clue about anyway. I am insulted by your comment that you can “smell it”. My political “affiliation”, assuming I even have one, is irrelevant to the discussion and none of your business.

You have essentially called me a liar without any evidence to back it up except your biased opinion. Back that claim up with facts or apologize and withdraw your comment.

So I'm to "back up your claim that I’m grinding a political axe"...


"My political “affiliation”, assuming I even have one, is irrelevant to the discussion and none of your business."

How convenient.

It's completely relevant. Most Libertarians and Conservatives despise pushes for corporate accountability and regulatory oversight - which in the end is a big part of what this issue is about.

It's the same reason men like you sit up late at night deconstruction Mike Moore documentaries but never criticizing doppelganger blowhards like O'Reilly.

You wont' share your political leanings because you know I'm right.

I don't bother deconstruction o'Reilly because (1)I can't stand to watch more than about two minutes of him and (2) it should be obvious to anyone he's an idiot. That kind of pops your theory, doesn't it.

Yet again, I note more insulting accusations but still no evidence. It was your claim, remember? I have no need to prove to you that you are wrong by declaring any political “affiliation”. It is not “convenient” you idiot – you made a claim so you need to back it up. That’s the way science and critical thinking works. This is a critical thinking blog. You are just trying to reverse the burden of proof – you may be able to get away with that kind of fallacious reasoning with others but it won’t wash here.

I am now completely sick of your stupid crap. Back up your allegations with facts, or withdraw them, or I will ban you from this site.

This is an email I wrote to the comedy central. I did that because some people do get a lot of their news from the daily show.
And because I love their show.

Recently, there was a piece on the daily show with Robert F. Kennedy, where the visitor said that most journalists don't read much about science. He is right! Journalists don't and so also Jon Stewart. If he knew science, he would know that what Kennedy is doing is fear mongering and making false claims.

First, there is no evidence of link between autism and thimerosal. The Salon article has been debunked. The treatments such as chelation therapy are sham.

Nobody has been conspiring to hide facts from the American public. Denmark and Canada has banned thimerosal for almost a decade now. If the thimerosal link were true, autism should decline in those countries; which clearly hasn't happened. Vaccines have saved so many lives in the advanced world and are begining to do so in the third world. I am from India, where many kids die of preventable diseases. We need vaccines and people there can't afford thimerosal free vaccines (thimerosal is primarily a "preservative" and is required in multiple-use vaccinations).

I am a big fan of Jon and the daily show. I enjoy the way he skewers the conservative pundits and calls out their spins, lies and bullsh*t. But if he is really a concerned citizen, as he himself said on his crossfire appearance (for example), he needs to make amends for this clear error.


I am concerned about science. I am concerned about spins and attacks on science from either left or right. I believe Jon owes it to us, his viewers to get this straight.

For great rebuttal of Kennedy's stand, read:



Lets see what the daily show team think about this.



Have you bothered to read the links skeptico provides? How are you any better than the dimwitted conservative pundits who mouth their own talking points irrespective of what the other party responds. Why would skeptico or orac defend pharma companies? OK fine, you think because that suits their political agenda. In that case, go and read PZ Myers. He is a liberal. Here are the links:

And while at Pharyngula (PZ Myer's site), do read his political opinions to confirm for yourself that he is no fire-brand libertarian.

I don't know of skeptico's political leanings, and I don't care. We all are interested in good science. We all are opposed to fear mongering tactics. You will find skeptico skewering bad science irrespective of whether it comes from the left, right or the center.

And yes, if you are the one accusing someone, the burden of proof lies on you.

What do political affiliations have to do with science? That is almost as bad as the loons (or are they loonettes?) that claim the scientific results would be different if done by a woman... phooey... see:

Here are some facts:

1) The drop of diseases over the past century were due to changes in sanitation and to vaccination campaigns.

2) The MMR has been use in the USA since 1971... and since the Wakefield paper that was bought and paid for by a lawyer, the rate of MMR vaccination went down and NOW there is a large outbreak of mumps in the UK:
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/mumps_united_kingdom_2005.htm ... add to that the 1989-90 incidence in the USA when MMR uptake was low and measles came back with a vengence killing 120 people:

3) Due to the diligent scare tactics over the past 20 years:
http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm ... pertussis is now returning big time, causing havoc and killing infants:

True, politics was one of the reasons for removing thimerosal from vaccines... but politics does not have much control over infectious diseases.

"Back up your allegations with facts, or withdraw them, or I will ban you from this site."

Yeah, that would make me weepy.

I'll repeat myself. Your polictical affiliation (which you're now refusing to divulge) is completely relevant here. Most Libertarians and Conservatives despise pushes for corporate accountability and regulatory oversight - particularly on the environmental front - which in the end is a big part of what this issue is about.

One more time, what is your political affiliation?

Political affiliations have nothing to do with the facts. It’s just not relevant. Plus, it was your claim, and I don’t have to prove of disprove a thing – you do. These are principles of critical thinking you just don’t get.

You can’t back up your claim and I am sick of your posturing. I will delete any more posts you make here.

Karl, what is your scientific expertise? That is far more appropriate to the discussion. The issue isn't about some accountability crap - it's about lying for an agenda that is damaging to real science. It's about the promotion of pseudo-scientific garbage over real science, and it's about people's lives that will be damaged because they listen to crackpots who probably wear tinfoil hats.

And, please, why not provide evidence instead of spewing the same talking point. Come on - this is about real evidence, and the lies of conspiracy-theory crackpots. Kennedy either lied about the entire report, or he didn't bother to check any facts about it, which means he really is incompetent and has no business acting like he knows what he is talking about. Please provide evidence to rebut the previous links. Surely you can do that?

That is almost sad that you won't answer my question.

I'm eager to see "skeptical" blog posts about American Industry, astroturf groups, and environmental issues. I'm sure, since you're such an apolitical blogger, you must have touched on these issues.

I look forward to your objective, skeptical insight on these issues.

Karl is banned.

I just want to be clear here with everyone, I don’t mind when people disagree with me, in fact I welcome it. However I will not stand for someone ignoring what is posted and hiding behind some specious insulting claim about my political affiliation or anything else not relevant to the discussion. This is an apolitical blog – I deliberately avoid political commentary. There are enough political blogs already, and I don’t wish to put someone off the message of skepticism and critical thinking because their political views happen to differ from mine. That’s why I am especially pissed off by this little prick and his continued insistence that I must divulge my political “affiliation”. If you post a claim here you have to back it up, you don’t get to demand “one more time…” that I prove your claim wrong.

My comments about Kennedy were based on the factual inaccuracies and especially the deliberate distortion of facts to support a point of view. Thank you HCN and Niket. It’s good to know someone else understands what I am talking about.

It is Skeptico blog and he can cover anything he wants. These usually are some of the same topics that are covered in the "General Skepticism" and "Science, Math and Medicine" topics at http://forums.randi.org/ . There is a "Politics" topic there, but for my sanity I avoid it.

That 1:166 autism prevalence statistic, Kennedy cites is total bullshit. As frauds go, this one is truly awe inspiring How do they get away with it? Why are people so credulous as to believe it? By 'IT', I mean that this terrible affliction - 'autism' - now affects 1 in 166 people. Garbage. What they are not telling you is that the vast majority of that spectrum are not head-banging, intitutionalised, non verbal, incontinent and profoundly mentally retarded. Au contraire, they are articulate (preferably on paper), opinionated and intelligent - autistically intelligent to be sure, but that is a bonus. Again ,what they are not telling you is that there are very clear advantages to not being socially wired and therefore not a part of the human herd. As Dinah Murray puts it - normal isn't necessarily wonderful. To an awful lot of herdlike (and let's face it, pathological)behaviour, autistics can say - not applicable. It might be an idea to remember that Stephen Spielberg has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome - occurs in about 1:250 (these are Gillberg's prevalence figures from the National Autistic Society, UK) . In actual fact, if you're getting to 1:166, you include a lot of folks who don't meet all the criteria for Asperger's Syndrome and that will include an awful lot of women who slip under the radar. There is no reason after all why the ratio of males to females in autism is 4:1, yet when you get to the other end of the spectrum, Asperger's Syndrome, it is 9 or 10:1. Are females protected by that second X chromosome? Are they better at imitation? (anecdotally true in my experience).

No one really knows but what is very true is that there is some sleight of hand going on here with the terminology. The autistic spectrum includes classical autism, Asperger's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). On the spectrum, crudely speaking, autism is at one end and Asperger's at the other. So when these folks talk about 'autism' they are talking about a small minority of the spectrum. On one hand the fearmongers lament about the 'epidemic'of autism - now it's 1:166, shock, horror, except that the 1:166 is the entire spectrum, not classical autism. It's a con.

There's a fascinating article about the outcomes of a group of kids diagnosed with Kanner's classical autism and not treated with anything. About half went to university - and yes, it's also known about Asperger's Syndrome that half also go to university. Only one required institutionalisation. I don't have the citation, but then this needs writing up properly with the citations for several articles and some speculation about the reasoning for this legerdemain, notably the agenda of the cure sellers like Buttar and the ABA crowd and the agenda of parents who want to earn megabucks from their autistic kids with a big pay out from Big Pharma. It suits both of their goals if autism is painted as black as possible and as a lifelong, incurable - by implication they mean immutable condition that is going to cost you the taxpayer, billions of dollars if left untreated. if you are going to convince courts that thimerosal in vaccines ate your kids' brains (quoting the Diva) in spite of all scientiic evidence to the contrary, you have to up the pity factor and you don't do that by painting an accurate picture of the autistic spectrum. After all, a recognition that the like of Speilberg is a part of that 1:166 doesn't do much for your credibility.

Yeah well, this needs writing up and since it's a good a fraud as fraud ever get's, I may post "The Infamous 166" to the next skeptic's circle.

Alyric said: "By 'IT', I mean that this terrible affliction - 'autism' - now affects 1 in 166 people. Garbage. What they are not telling you is that the vast majority of that spectrum are not head-banging, intitutionalised, non verbal, incontinent and profoundly mentally retarded."

Exactly... In the local news is a story about a 7 year old who climbed Mt. Rainier. Apparently one of the reasons that he could accomplish that so young (along with having parents who are avid climbers) is that he has intense focus -- which may or may not be part of his Asperger's.

From http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002397548_climbers23e.html is this quote:
"Aidan was physically capable of reaching the Rainier summit a couple of years ago, said Gold, but he and his wife, Julie, waited until they believed the boy had the "maturity of mind" to focus on the climb. Aidan's ability to concentrate on a task stems from a type of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. He spends blocks of time intensely focused on one subject or activity. He folds origami for up to 10 hours each day and has penned an award-winning short story."

Not only the like of Spielberg, but the like of Dan Akroyd who said with his own mouth that he had Asperger's syndrome in an interview on Public Radio, a few months back. One of his huge interests was Blues music.

Hence, the Blues Brothers. No kidding.

He was diagnosed as schizophrenic when he was young.

That's perfect example of where all the older spectrum people are... not that they are all successful and famous, but they had been give different dxs when young.

Even Bill Gates admitted to someone that he had some kind of diagnosis as a kid, not autism or Asperger's, because they weren't around then. If autism wasn't seen as so damning and if autistics weren't seen as so worthless, Mr Gates would be more likely to be up front with his neuro-atypicality whatever it would be called.

Autism Diva is related by blood to one of the geeky Math brains who founded Netscape, they share a great-grandfather, who had signs of Asperger like tendencies.

Lujene Clark and her husband Dr. Clark, bewail the horrors of how their son descended in the nightmare of Asperger's syndrome (a misnomer, they say, because it's REALLY mercury poisoning from a flu shot) at age EIGHT!

They are the No Mercury organization.

These people are in denial.


Karl was obviously baiting you, don't feel bad about banning him. I've been reading you for a while, and honestly would not have good guess on your political affiliation. Probably Social Democrat. Maybe Labour.

Karl's posts will represent the next phase of the thimerosal debate. RFk (and Kirby) will be easily dismissed, but we "really should look at the data some more". It won't end for conspiracy theorists.

By the way, when you were young, could you have imagined being smarter than a Kennedy?

Its actually kind of sad.

Social Democrat... Labour? huh? Wrong country.

It is silly to put a political party on science (and well on anything actually, I am peeved that the two major parties in this country, Democrats and Republicans, are now going to make voters DECLARE a party in this state before voting in a primary... something that is completely foreign to this Northwestern voter. Political parties here are like religion... to be avoided -- oh, this is also one of the lowest church membership parts of the USA).

To make a point of it... there a couple of interesting websites that often take the anti-vaxers to tax. One of them is a polically "conservative" US group: http://www.acsh.org/ ... and their UK counterpart is very "liberal":

Add to that there are people ALL over the spectrum that support the medical science in vaccinations. There is "Every Child by Two" at http://www.ecbt.org/ with Rosalynn Carter (her husband is a former Democrat President), and then there is the Pathguy of http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm (no political stance, just that he is an Epipiscopalian), PLUS there is some creationish nuclear chemist who has written about vaccine benefits (http://www.highschoolscience.com/vaccines.htm ), and conservative Michael Fumento (http://www.fumento.com/suflu.html ) and then there is Bill Gates and his http://childrensvaccine.org/index.htm ... who knows what his political party is? --- who cares?

Viruses and bacteria do not care about politics.

The bare fact is that when the anti-vaccine zealots get their way: The diseases come back to remind us why we do NOT want our kids (or young adults in the case of mumps in the UK right now!) to get the actual diseases:

I have a little boy named Chandler. After his 18 month vaccinations he stopped looking at us and began to become upset very easily. He stopped responding to his name, stopped calling me mommy and no longer engaged with his family or friends. He lost all his speech but for two words. A few months later he was diagnosed with autism.

I met mom who told me to find a DAN doctor and after a good deal of research I did. We put him on the diet he recommended and two days later my son began to look at me again. We had him tested for metals and we found mercury and lead. We began chelation and on the first day he took me by the hand, looked in my eyes and called me 'Mommy' for the first time in 10 months. After new research came out this spring on glutathione, an antioxidant that apparently most autistic children are missing that clears metals from the body naturally, I began supplementing it and Chandler began to speak in spontaneous sentences.

This week he began pointing out the window and saying, "look, look. Airplane." Autistic children don't point.

We have been doing this for more than a year now and because our finances have been limited, we had to do it sporadically. His advances come when we are able to treat him biomedically and during the stretches in between, his progress is slowed.

I share all this to ask these questions:

In light of the fact that there are thousands of children recovering from "autism" when the mercury is being removed from their bodies, shouldn't the mercury/autism theory be taken seriously and researched thoroughly?

All the epidemiological studies on both sides are flawed and compromised to some degree, and the IOM admits that large epidemiological studies would not be helpful in determining the link if indeed there is a subpopulation that is genetically predisposed to mercury toxicity at lower levels than the general public.

Why then are we not doing simple studies to see how many children diagnosed with autism also fit the symptoms for mercury poisoning and how many of them, when tested, actually have mercury poisoning?

Why then is the CDC not studying whether or not chelation therapy in mercury poisoned, autistic children abates the symptoms of autism?

And why, if there is the smallest amount of evidence that mercury in vaccines could be contributing to the mercury burden in some children, is it still in some vaccines domestically and all the vaccines that we send to developing countries?

The CDC and IOM and Orac seem fine to look at broad population studies and genetic analysis for the next 10 or 15 years, but that is not going to help my son or those who come after him.


It is my understanding that the 1:166 number is from CDC study of the incidence of classical autism in Brick Township, NJ.


I found it:

Prevalence of Autism in Brick Township, New Jersey, 1998: Community Report

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
April 2000


"Case definition: The case definition included children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This includes the diagnoses of autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder--not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger’s disorder, based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual--Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria. The case definition did not include children with childhood disintegrative disorder or Rett Syndrome."

"The rate of autistic disorder in Brick Township was 4.0 per 1,000 children. The rate for the spectrum of autism disorders obtained in this investigation was 6.7 per 1,000 children."

It is long and I am to tired to see which is the 1:166 stat. Hope this helps.


Brick Township NJ is one place. Results from one locality can't be generalised - yet another piece of fraud? BTW is there an environmental toxin, such as mercury or lead, that is more prevalent in that locality? I seem to recall that there is not. Not good support for your theory.

Look, autistic kids develop, just like other kids, but they do it differently - and they are never going to be 100% normal - as in 'just like folks'. There is no such thing as cured, because even when the externals look about right, there is that little matter of how the brain works, which is never going to be 'just like folks' - and a good thing too in my opinion. That ability to hyperfocus is an autistic plus. Problem is it's hard to leverage on behalf of anything other than what is interesting to the autistic, not what folks think they should be interested in. of course, that hyperfocus gets a perjorative label - usually something like 'restricted interests'.

There's an article about autistic development patterns (have to find the damned citation!), which makes it pretty clear that a lot of the touted 'cures' are nothing more than development. Personally, I think parental attitude is everything and unlike ABA parents, chelation parents expect their children to improve without dog training. So I think we should all be advertising widely for transdermal chelation, since that cannot work and therefore can't inflict a lifetime of kidney or liver damage on the autistic child. Need something like Buttar's Butter is Better - big billboards with Buttar looking wise in scrubs and a lab coat -that kind of thing.


I make no assertion about whether the Brick Township numbers can be generalized to the entire US or not. I was merely giving you the source of the number because you were concerned that Kennedy et al were making this number up. This is the number that I have heard the CDC refer to when they discuss prevalence rates.

As for the remainder of your post, you seem to be arguing that I shouldn't expect my son to recover to the point that his will be "just like everyone else". To my way of thinking, no one is "just like everyone else".

I am making some big assumptions here about where you are coming from, but it seems that you suspect that I think that recovery short of totally normality is somehow a failure. If that is the case then please allow me to set the record straight.

If you could tell me today that you could look into the future and tell me that my son would be able to have relationships, have a career, live on his own, advocate for himself, recognize and avoid danger, be free of chronic physical pain, be free from the urge to self injure and to have the ability to speak, but that he would have hyper focus or "restricted interests", and seem quirky to most people; then I would probably collapse in tears and praise God that he was going to be ok.

Is it your experience that parents of autistic children who do have any recovery are resented by their parents for not recovering more?

All due respect to the article you mention about biomedical treatment being nothing more than development, which may be true in cases, it is not the case with my son. His gains all correlate with biomedical and sensory integration treatment. During breaks he does not make the same kind of gains.

During the month of January we took him off the gfcf diet because his gut issues had seemed to resolve and because the few times he go a hold of some bread from his brother, he did not fall apart like he did 5 or 6 months before hand. The diet is hard so we thought we would give it a go with out. We just tried letting him have some wheat products, but not dairy. The first week he seemed fine, maybe a bit more frustrated, but only a little bit. By the 4th week he had gone way down hill, had terrible constipation like before and began biting himself. When he viciously bit another child (he is usually not an aggressive boy at all) we put him back on the diet and with in a week he was back to his sweet, happy self.

Supplement breaks have shown us which supplements don't really seem to have an effect one way or the other, and which ones he can't do with out.

This brings me back to my original question. Why is the CDC, NIH, NIMH or any other public health agency studying chelation?? You can say all day long that TD chelation does not work, and I can share my experiences with my son that DMSA and ALA are allowing him to speak, but until they actually study it, parents coming into the issue with their newly diagnosed children have only case studies on which to base their treatment decisions for their children.

So why won't the CDC study it? Why won't they even tell us why they won't study it?

Getting back to Kennedy's China claim: that after introducing thimerisol containing vaccines to China, autism rates there have skyrocketed. Does anybody know where he gets that? I did a little research, and all I've found is that autism simply wasn't recognized in China until quite recently. So, you can't really say the rate went up when you weren't counting it before.


a few references and the note that we should not be cluttering up skeptico's blog with other things

1. Non verbal is not the same as not having anything to say - the problem can be purely physical not cognitive - Dr Morton Ann Gernschbacher


2. Kevin Leitch's blog on 'belief vs research'


3. Ran this to earth on the Diva's site - the article on development in autistic kids


4. Self injury is the sign of extreme stress - can't emphasise this enough. When the stress levels are so bad that a little pain works as a stress reliever, then you the parent had better take a very hard look at what has your kid in such a state. This is where the medical model falls on its face. Don't blame the autism. Self injury is not a sign of autism, is not even confined to autism.

This is my first time reading this blog. I was interested in the exchange with Karl, but was disappointed to seem him banned.

But, be that as it may, I would be interested to learn if Skeptico has ever covered the type of corporate corrruption issues Karl mentioned.

Skeptico, what's your best piece on corporate corruption/crime?

To translate 'A "Skeptic"'s post:

I'm not Karl -- REALLY!

I've never been to this blog before.

But I'd like to hijack the thread the exact same way Karl did because I can't debate the facts.

"This week he began pointing out the window and saying, "look, look. Airplane." Autistic children don't point."



While your comment, "*sigh*" gives me a hint that you take issue with the comment I made about my son's new behavior, it does not give me much to go on as far as what the problem might be.

The context of the comment is that I am really excited that my son has began sharing with me the things that he is excited about, and I am interpreting that as a mitigating of his autistic symptoms.

I have taken a look at your blog before, and I understand that you consider yourself a member of the neurodiversity group (Which I think that parents of autistic children have much to learn from). In that context I think that your comment could mean many things from taking issue that I am even trying to treat him to.. well I don't know what to as I am not a frequent visitor to the sites where that is the discussion.

Can you give me some more information on just what about my comment made you sigh?


(Profanity deleted by Skeptico)

Would you kindly explain why Eli Lilly tried to sneak that provision protecting itself from liabilty for the numerous vaccine injuries they knowingly, willingly caused? Didn't think you could...

Doug Fahey:

Would you kindly provide evidence that Eli Lilly caused “numerous vaccine injuries” as you claim, and evidence that they did so “knowingly, willingly”? Didn't think you could...

Skeptico and Doug,

Here is a 2002 report by lawyers persuing Eli Lilly on what they have found during discovery re: what Lilly knew and when they knew it.


They stopped manufacturing it in 1991, but continue to license it to other drug makers and profit from it.

Here are some statements from the Safty Data Sheet:

"12/8/99 Lilly MSDS regarding thimerosal:

"Primary Physical & Reproduction Effects: Nervous System and Reproduction Effects"

"Effects of exposure include fetal changes."

"Mercury poisoning may occur."

"Exposure in children may cause mild to severe mental retardation... ."

"Hypersensitivity to mercury is a medical condition aggravated by exposure."

CERCLA Hazardous substance? toxic waste disposal."

Continuing my reading of every entry in the blog, I return to Karl's cesspool of propagandizing with inuendo, suspicion, baseless accusations, and zero evidence. I'm guessing he had a folder full of "evidence" that Skeptico's a Communist, too, but he won't show us. People like him simply have no sense of decency.

Thimerosal was recommended to no longer be used by the FDA in 1999. And despite that it's very possible not EVERYONE listened to that recommendation, one can at least expect to see a large drop of its use in the infant vaccines.

And yet, Autistic Spectrum Disorder rates HAVE NOT DROPPED.

Not to mention a lot of autties have parents with an ASD or traits who are often undiagnosed (so they're not in the nationwide statistics so low and behold, these children come out of "nowhere"), have had obstetric complications, prenatal traumas, early childhood complications/infections, and a load of other potentially damaging crap too numerous to mention. Not to mention it's been shown that prenatal Rubella exposure correlates with many earlier Autism cases back in various times of outbreak.

I happen to be one of those autistics who had complications out the wazoo. I think the vaccines should be looked into. But more to quell the parents since they seem to have this dire need to have some THING on which to blame the "half-life" of their child. I'm glad I wasn't diagnosed until later. Such children will no doubt grow up feeling "broken" instead of cherished in some sense. But this paranoia of the parents is spreading like wildfire. And none, it seems, will listen to logic.

This is most frustrating to me. I do not support any "Cure", mostly due to selfishness of my own spirit of self-preservation and the thought of the "what-if" if I had never been born.

Einstein was autistic. And depsite that "Einsteins" are a rare occurrence, I find too much value in us to be wiped off the face of the earth so that parents don't have to deal with us or because they can't possibly imagine how any one of us could be happy as we are.

And RFK Jr. using the Autistic Spectrum as a platform is disgusting. I truly despise politicians. But that's a completely different topic.

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