The utter vacuousness that is David Kirby can be found in the header to his recent confused rant in the Huffington Post. It’s right there at the top of his article, in bold so you don’t miss it:
Memo to those who wanted the autism-vaccine contretemps to just go away: You lost.
If you read that again and think about it, you’ll realize it’s more interesting for what it doesn’t say than for what it does. This is what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say, “Memo to those who said that vaccines don’t cause autism: You lost”. It doesn’t say that because even he realizes that would be false. (Although later, he equivocates like hell. Of course.) Remember, this is the same David Kirby who said, in June 2005
Because autism is usually diagnosed sometime between a child's third and fourth birthdays and thimerosal was largely removed from childhood vaccines in 2001, the incidence of autism should fall this year
Just to be clear – by “this year” he meant 2005. That was two years ago. And newsflash – autism rates didn’t fall. In 2005, or since.
But, note, we Thimerosal skeptics “lost.” Not because we were wrong. But because Kirby insists that the “debate” is going to continue, no matter what the evidence tells him. Yeah. Doesn’t that remind you of the “debate” about whether evolution is true?
The definition of pseudoscience includes not altering your theory when contradictory evidence comes in. The pseudoscientist moves the goalposts and makes ad-hoc rationalizations for why his previously predicted results did not transpire exactly as planned. Want to read Kirby’s version of this? Prepare to be astonished at the chutzpah:
Finally, to all those who are going to post comments about the autism rates in California not coming down, following the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines: You are right. The most likely explanation is that thimerosal was not responsible for the autism epidemic. But that does not mean that it never harmed a single child.
No, of course it doesn’t. But note the new, impossible standard he has just sneaked in. The skeptics now have to prove that not a single child was ever harmed by Thimerosal. He wants us to prove a universal negative. Although even then we all know he’d find something else to go for. (Aluminum in vaccines makes an early trial run in this post.)
Kirby says right there in his post that most likely explanation is that thimerosal was not responsible for the autism epidemic, and yet he still wants the debate to continue. But if Thimerosal was not responsible for the autism epidemic, what reason do we now have for even continuing to debate Thimerosal? Kirby’s motive for writing this post is to gloat that we “lost”, because the debate will continue regardless. That’s his definition of “winning”. The word douchebag to describe Kirby seems a little unkind. To douchebags.
Orac takes apart Kirby’s arguments in more detail. I’ll just mention one point. Kirby makes a big deal because advocates of the mercury-vaccine-autism connection were appointed to a new federal panel on autism. Funny thing, the day before Kirby posted this sorry screed, Orac wrote in a different post, “Expect the mercury militia to milk this connection for all it's worth”. Well it didn’t take long. One day, to be precise. Take that psychics.