Loopy blog competition, and field reports from the GMC

July 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MMR | 40 Comments »

I thought you might be amused by this email nugget I just got from a journalist friend who was covering the GMC yesterday.

it was tragi-comedy at the GMC this morning… really sad to see the deification of Wakefield by all these desperate parents who cling on to him as their hero in absence of any other answer for their children’s problems.

But true comedy was when I was offered, in all seriousness, the stars of 1980s police show – Dempsey and Makepeace – as credible interviewees on the subject by the good doctor’s supporters. Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber, in the flesh, I saw them with my own eyes. Not quite clear what their credientials on the subject matter was – the Jabs woman was most surprised when I politely declined.

You should have come down, you would have enjoyed it, though you would probably have got into an arugment with them and might even have been booed along with Brian Deer and Evan Harris.

But more importantly: we’ve all seen the MMR blogs, by the sensible evidence based medicine posse. But where are the rabid anti-MMR people? Where are the conspiracy theorists? Where are the cranks? Is there anyone out there making interesting threats?

There will be a modest prize for the person who finds the loopiest anti-MMR blog on the internet. That’s right: you can win an actual child.


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40 Responses



  1. Despard said,

    July 17, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I really want that slogan on an adult-sized T-shirt. Come on Ben, update your shop!

  2. Daniel Rutter said,

    July 17, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Those of us who’ve been Healthfraud list subscribers for years have, of course, an unfair advantage in this competition.

    I immediately searched for “mmr” and “autism” and added the magic loony-magnet, “aspartame”, and was led directly to the fiercely independent thinkers at MSG Truth. They’re happy to decry the MMR vaccination, but their chief thesis is that autism is caused by monosodium glutamate.

    And gelatin.

    Which can apparently be found in vaccines, and is ten per cent glutamic acid!

    WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!1!!one!

    Don’t miss their flow chart. It makes everything perfectly clear.

    (It also doesn’t render properly in Firefox, but IE reveals it in all its glory.)

  3. factician said,

    July 17, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Pick me! Pick me!!! There’s this quote among other good quotes:

    “The United Kingdom is a relatively small country. What will its society look like, with 1.2 million autistic adults in its midst? Imagine this as the opening scene of a movie, set in 2037:

    “…The opening camera shot scans a British street, typical and narrow, bustling with activity. As the camera zooms in, it becomes apparent that something is disturbingly wrong. Dozens of adults with blank stares are wandering aimlessly through the streets flapping, drooling, and shouting frequent, unintelligible words. Shopkeepers are concerned for their safety as these over-sized, unemployed adults, mostly men, bang on doors and nearly break windows, searching for food and shelter. Overwhelmed social workers do their best to keep these strong, frightened creatures under control…”

    Taken from sayingnotovaccines.blogspot.com/2007/07/inquisition-of-international-hero.html

  4. factician said,

    July 17, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Oh, for folks who want to find more crazy, type “andrew wakefield is a hero” into the google blogsearch. That’s how you find the real crazies out there.

  5. coracle said,

    July 17, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Man, just reading about the prize instantly wasted about half an hour for me. I haven’t found much, rather surprisingly.

    I did find a rather emotive but unreasoned video and petition. Apart from that there was a fairly pedestrian libertarian rant about it being the government’s fault that MMR uptake fell because they didn’t offer single jabs.

    Disappointing.

    The Nigel Thomas Petition (Youtube)
    The Nigel Thomas Petition (Petition)
    Critical Faculty Dojo (blog)

  6. le canard noir said,

    July 17, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Althoug a little old news now, I must put forward Dr George Carlo and Tamara Mariea with their theories about autism being caused by a lethal combination of vaccines and wi-fi.

    www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/07/autism-if-you-cant-blame-mmr-lets-try.html

    Plus, me and the missus are thinking of having a baby, and winning one might cut out the messing in-between stuff.

    But, that baby is a little ugly. Can we choose another substitute if we win?

  7. Tontine said,

    July 17, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    I think factition (post 3) is doing well here. The apocalyptic description of autism, sustained through much of the post, not just in the extract above, suggests great ignorance of the ‘autistic spectrum’. It is quite simply insulting to people diagnosed with autistic disorders, which run from minor tics through to levels of clear impairment of function in daily life, to suggest that they are some kind of zombie horde.

    The link is well worth visiting…

  8. theholyllama said,

    July 17, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Factition’s movie pitch is clearly leading the field, but [url=http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/autism.htm]Shirley’s Wellness Cafe[/url] is worth a look. A US site, and doesn’t look as though it’s been updated recently, but plenty to get your teeth into. As an aside, it includes a link to [url=http://www.hundredyearlie.com/toxicity.shtml]this toxicity test[/url], where you can find out how toxic you are (and yes, one of the questions is about how many vaccinations you’ve had). Apparently I’m “generally toxic” even though I ticked ‘yes’ on most of the things that they probably think cause ‘toxicity’ but ‘No’ on most of the things they obviously think are symptoms of ‘toxicity’ (hair loss, learning diabilities?!?!).

  9. theholyllama said,

    July 17, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Those links again (not sure what I’m doing wrong):

    Shirley’s Wellness Cafe: www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/autism.htm

    The Toxicity Test: www.hundredyearlie.com/toxicity.shtml

  10. j said,

    July 17, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Macchiavelli‘s still doing us proud, too.

    Do I get to pick the child?

  11. bk said,

    July 17, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Found another video. Listen to the lyrics of the song, it’s awesome. Had a little boogie to it I don’t mind admitting.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC1j4cka_3Q

    I feel pretty sorry for this kid though in all honsety.

  12. Stuu said,

    July 17, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    I have to say, that YouTube video is sick, as are the people that recorded it.

    The song’s pretty catchy though.

  13. gadgeezer said,

    July 17, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    You asked for it – do not follow these links if you are of a sensitive disposition. Seriously.

    David Ayoub on vaccines and mercury as a form of population control: The slide show pdf; the 5 part video downloads (scroll down) or the his Black Helicopers and Social Movement with feminism, illuminati and vaccines thrown in (links to a description at Kevin Leitch the video is 90 mins long). Mercury, Autism and The Global Vaccine Agenda.

    Oldie but goldie – Vaccination – the hidden truth – learn how having measles can transform you into a creative painter in 24 hours or so. Fact.

    Vaccination – Vatican’s Inquisition Revealed at Last!!

    Vaccination 100 Years of orthodox research (basically, all wrong). Scheiber is a star of the Hidden Truth video.

  14. pol said,

    July 17, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Please don’t pile on, and sorry if this is an inappropriate place to post this:

    I am the father of a child not far off MMR age. I’m a badscience fan, and I’d like to think a natural sceptic, but this whole MMR thing hits me, like most parents, where I live and breathe. People are not rational about their children: i’d be quite happy to have the jab myself, but there’s something about bringing a child for a jab that touches a sore point.

    Digging around some of the sites above is upsetting compared to sniggering at Gillian McKeith or Holcroft. I’m damned if I’m going to expose my child to avoidable risk just because I think Ian Thorpe et al are pricks.

    So, can anybody point me to a website where the Wakefield claims are addressed from top to bottom? Might just sound like the converted looking for a preacher, but a link would be appreciated.

    thanks.

  15. coracle said,

    July 17, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Oh good grief. There’s a whole seam of video nasties to be mined. UK CASH FOR VACCINE OPINNION AUTISM MERCURY

    The user’s profile is here: notommr

  16. factician said,

    July 17, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Pol,

    I think for a non-scientist type, reading the transcripts to the recent vaccine suit in the U.S. is probably the most convincing. You can read the entire nauseating thing here: autism.uscfc.uscourts.gov/autism/index.html

    Autism Diva does a pretty good job of summarizing (autismdiva.blogspot.com).

    The gist of it? Wakefield et al are at best incompetent scaremongers. At worst, they’re conniving thieves. There is quite simply no evidence that MMR or mercury cause autism, and there is an awful lot of evidence that they don’t.

    Hope this helps.

    -F.

    (Incidentally, my son is about to get his 18 month jab – for chicken pox – and I’m excited – that’s another illness I don’t have to worry about. He had his MMR 3 months ago).

  17. Anthony said,

    July 17, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Pol,

    If it is any consolation I have had all my children vaccinated with MMR, at the height of the scare. People may not be rational about their children, but it is better to be so.

    Ben’s Guardian article from a while back is a good primer – even though it is a few years old and there is even more evidence refuting the MMR-autism theory.

    www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1103958,00.html

    Also be aware of false syllogisms:

    www.blacktriangle.org/blog/?p=425

  18. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 17, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    “I really want that slogan on an adult-sized T-shirt. Come on Ben, update your shop!”

    your wish is my command:

  19. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 17, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    wow, i have to say, this is real laugh or cry stuff.

    the film at #3 is a definite front runner, but naturally i have a very soft spot for george carlo’s “wifi and vaccines will kill your children synergistically” theory.

    best primer on mmr and autism is mike’s book i’d say. worth reading its amazon page just for the one star partisan mmr-crank reviews too.

    www.amazon.co.uk/MMR-Autism-Michael-Fitzpatrick/dp/0415321794/tag=bs0b-21

  20. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 17, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    this in email from an anon correspondent (not sure whether i keep the baby bib if one of these wins..):

    I’m sure that there are some real moon-bayers out there, such as

    alobar.livejournal.com/2399317.html

    salonesoterica.wordpress.com/2007/07/07/autism-why-the-debate-rages-on-mercury/

    bloggeddownworld.blogspot.com/2007/06/mmr-vaccine-its-link-with-autism-goes.html

    Like the others, but this woman is supposedly a nurse yet she thinks
    that there is thimerosal in MMR.
    bmtnurse.blogspot.com/2007/07/thimerosal-and-you-child.html

    autisminnb.blogspot.com/2007/07/autism-surge-vaccines-it-aint-over-til.html

    We have Auntie Beeb as Goebbels
    criticalfacultydojo.blogspot.com/2007/07/its-truth-jim-but-not-as-we-know-it.html

    Contains an interesting article by Le Fanu from Sunday Telegraph which
    I need to check as it has a bizarre assertion about babies and 5valent
    vaccines.

    www.rescuepost.com/rescue_post/2007/07/doesnt-pharma-a.html

    The stuff about MMR containing thiomersal just won’t go away…And,
    thanks to Denis Campbell we now have a brand new canard that I hope
    will be tattooed on his forehead, engraved on his tombstone and
    branded on his relatives as a Mark of Cain for 7 generations. How can
    one undistinguished, not particularly experienced in the field
    journalist be responsible for a story that has swept the world.
    Seriously, Ben – thanks to The Observer, we’re not going to be able to
    get this one back in the bottle.

    I refuse to link to the blogs that bang on about Shaken Baby Syndrome
    as a misdiagnosis for vaccine-induced scurvy etc.

    But an obvious one that I’m a little squeamish about mentioning
    because of all that she has been through, is Blakemore-Brown.

    thimerosalthoughts-bb.blogspot.com/

  21. Despard said,

    July 17, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks Ben! *buys*

    Some of those links are terrifying…

  22. jrazz said,

    July 17, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Ben Goldacre,

    I would like to know how your anonymous correspondent thought that my blog post on MMR fit the criteria and was worthy of the “award” posted here?

    The Link To The Post

    My post was unbiased and reporting on the lawsuit that was brought up. It had no pro or negative remarks given by me, the author. In fact, I even point out that no evidence has been given to date showing the link between the vaccines that did contain thimerosal and autism.

    Just curious if your correspondent even bothered to read my post.

    j razz
    Blogged Down World

  23. SteveNaive said,

    July 17, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I’d vote for this last one – extraordinary and wide-ranging. I liked this quote
    “Pasteurization of milk is named after Pasteur. This process involved heating milk until ALL the nutrients are boiled away. We are not allowed to drink real milk but the medical Inquisition lets us be vaccinated with diseased calf lymph.”

  24. pv said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:15 am

    jrazz, your article states categorically that the MMR vaccine contains thiomersal. It has quite correctly been pointed out to you that your assertion is false. It has never contained any mercury component.

  25. pol said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Thanks for the links. Both for my own benefit and so I have something to pass on to other people.

    jpmg

    >>Pol:

    Addressing, just for the moment, the question of MMR vs separate jabs.

    What do you suppose are the risks involved in taking your child to a GP’s surgery three times rather than once?
    >>>
    absolutely f***ing awful. Place is a pigsty. Doesn’t mean that when half the media in this country gets its knickers in a collective twist I don’t get nervous enough to ask a question on a science website.

  26. pv said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:58 am

    This thread has been very edifying and prompted me to plough through a load of Brian Deer’s stuff about Wakefield.
    I hadn’t realised that Wakefield and the Royal Free had applied for patents for an alternative “safer” MMR vaccination back in ’96, I think. What with his extraordinary amount of dosh from the MMR litigation fund to “encourage” him to get the appropriate results it’s not to difficult to see what the plan might have been.
    Foul mouthed psycho(logist)Carol Stott, a current Wakefield “partner in crime”, was exceedingly upset with Brian Deer as a result of what his investigation turned up, so I wonder if she might have had some interest in it too. Just wondering!
    So, to recap, that was £430,000 or so for Wakefield and £100,000 for the psycho Stott for expert witness fees. And Wakefield’s patent application for a “safer” MMR vaccination. Not much to motivate them there, then.
    And the anti-vax lobby always blather on about conspiracies. Andrew (sorry, Andy) Wakefield seems to resemble some of his American Evangelist friends in more ways than one.

  27. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 18, 2007 at 1:21 am

    heh that vatican one is certainly a strong contender for the MMR baby bib.

  28. donkey-odie said,

    July 18, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but the original article stated that there are more male children than female ones that have autism. Is this correct?

    If this is right, then has anyone investigated the environmental effects on the XY chromosomes of the father’s sperm of autistic children? It would seem to me that the father’s contribution to the problem of autism would account for this, especially if the ratio of male autistics to females are equal to or greater than 2 to 1. After all, there is only a single Y chromosome in males, but females have two Xs, so if the damage is recessive, the mother’s X might over-ride the damage.

    I know that when my wife was wanting to be pregnant, she stopped drinking coffee and alcohol. I didn’t. Thankfully, we have lovely children, and grandchildren, but my son does have a learning disability – he is an arborist and climbs 100 foot trees to trim them.

    D.

  29. jrazz said,

    July 18, 2007 at 2:43 am

    pv,

    I only quoted the article I linked to. There were no assertions made on my behalf. Read the article from which my synopsis came.

    You do not have to tell me that MMR is thimerosal free, I am aware of this. The FDA is very open about this here in America.

    Maybe if you understood the setup of my blog you would understand the purpose of the post sighted above. I post current events to promote discussion which allows for people to come to their own conclusions based on the facts and arguments of others. (much like we are doing here) My post was unbiased and a synopsis from the linked article on my post. I do not give my opinions, but I choose to ask probing questions to get my readers to think.

    Thanks for the dialogue pv.

    j razz

  30. Mojo said,

    July 18, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Daniel Rutter wrote (#2),

    “Don’t miss their flow chart. It makes everything perfectly clear.”

    They should stop eating cigarettes.

  31. le canard noir said,

    July 18, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Soft target, I know. But still worth highlighting…

    What do they mean ‘despite serious ongoing violence in Iraq? Vaccination is serious ongoing violence against the immune system of these children. Oh yeah, and who brought the measles?

    www.davidicke.com/content/view/6608/32/

    UK GOVERNMENT KNEW THAT MMR VACCINE CAUSED MENINGITIS, BUT SANCTIONED ITS USE ON MORE THAN TWO MILLION CHILDREN.
    ILLUMINATI DRUG GIANTS CONTINUE ITS USE IN “THIRD WORLD” By David Icke

    curezone.com/art/read.asp?ID=30&db=2&C0=735

    David Icke defends his MMR fiasco quack doctor son

    www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s1i21954

  32. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 18, 2007 at 11:11 am

    fly moves with the icke link canard noir, its definitely a three horse race now.

  33. Ambrielle said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I was torn between [b]factician’s[/b] submission and the Vatican story, but anything that mentions an Illuminati conspiracy gets my vote!

  34. jrazz said,

    July 18, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    pv,

    I never blamed the readers. I just pointed out that maybe you did not understand the format of my blog. It would be like me coming here and reporting back on my blog that this place is giving away a baby. Context is king my friend.

    j razz
    Blogged Down World

  35. le canard noir said,

    July 18, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Ben is giving away a baby.

    At least I hope. Otherwise all that googling has been a waste of time.

  36. pv said,

    July 18, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    jrazz said,

    “July 18, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    pv,

    I never blamed the readers. I just pointed out that maybe you did not understand the format of my blog. It would be like me coming here and reporting back on my blog that this place is giving away a baby. Context is king my friend.”

    jrazz, I am a reader. Try looking at your blog through the eyes of a first time visitor – from Mars, preferably.
    Context might be everything, depending on the context of course! Of course if the “context” isn’t obvious… Try presentation.
    As I said, good writers don’t blame the readers.

  37. raygirvan said,

    July 18, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    pv> razz, I am a reader. Try looking at your blog through the eyes of a first time visitor

    I just looked, and agree with you. Re the post in question: if the false detail about thimerosal is being presented as a known-to-be false hypothetical within the scenario offered for thought, then the post fails to make that clear. As it stands, the implication is that the writer endorses it and is using it as the factual basis of the scenario.

  38. pv said,

    July 18, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    factician @50

    “They are deeply corrupt cess pit organisations structured purely to make as much money as possible from the sickness, distress and misfortune of others. Like all Illuminati cartels, they have no empathy with those who suffer from their daily exploitation.”

    That describes the most of the UK press and all purveyors of quackery (Holford etc) perfectly.

  39. Phil A said,

    July 18, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Coracle disappointingly misses the point re ”it being the government’s fault that MMR uptake fell because they didn’t offer single jabs. and in fact misrepresents the thrust of the piece.

    However a more careful reading of the ‘pedestrian rant’ will hopefully make it more obvious that it doesn’t actually refer to MMR uptake falling because the authorities didn’t offer single jabs at all.

    What it did mention was that it is more due to the ham-fisted attempted dragooning of parents, by the authorities in de-licensing the single jabs and making them very difficult to come by that the incidence of measles increased in the general population.

    It was primarily aimed at the BBC’s science stats concerning it’s interpretation of the graphs being, less than what might be described as, ‘best practice’.

    The rise in the incidence of measles was much more a, presumably unintended, consequence of the authorities policy in reaction to Dr Wakefield’s research and the concern it caused than to Dr Wakefield’s actual research. The rise would have been unlikely to happen if the authorities had handled things differently.

    The implication of the BBC report was that the rise was entirely due to Dr Wakefield’s paper and that is not accurate.

    And Ben thanks for the link also :-) The Goebbels (German Minister for Public Enlightenment) reference was humorous, but making a point – if you think the cuddly Beeb doesn’t slant and subtly distort what it reports, from time to time, I fear you are mistaken. Look at the construction and semantic loading of some of their reports. Or the way they cut a recent report on Gordon Brown.

    It’s strange. People often really do see what they expect rather than what is there…

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