Thursday, 4 August 2016

Gish gallop part 3

I am publishing this a bit early since I'll be on a well-earned vacation next week.  I may do some writing while I'm shooshing down a ski slope or basking in the sun under a palm tree with a fruity beverage or hiking through the mountains or relaxing lakeside, but no promises, folks.

With that said . . .

Welcome to part 3 of my 95874-part (apparently) series on anti-vaccine Gish gallops.  {EDIT: This is part 3 of 3.  I can't do it anymore.}  I congratulate you on making it this far.  If you haven't read Part 1 and Part 2, you haven't missed much except for the usual antivax cherry picking, intentional misdirection, hand waving, half-truths, lies, damned lies, and outright fucking lies.  If you'd really like to subject yourself to such balderdash, either A) go back and ready them, B) bash your head against the wall, or C) just head over to Natural News or whale.to.  (all three would probably hurt equally as much).  Bullshit is all Natural News and whale.to publish.  Seriously, I haven't seen one single article on either site that I would call reputable.  It really and truly is all bullshit.

So having smashed several brand new computers while writing my last update and with another brand new computer in hand, I'll now continue slogging through the Gish gallop that is Kelly's Marvelous List of anti-vaccine resources.

When we left off at the end of page 4 (that's right, only 12 more pages to go, folks), Kelly was introducing an article about the Cantalago virus, a mild, self-limiting disease of Brazilian cows and their handlers that lasts about 3 weeks.  In it, the authors describe how the virus may have been derived from a smallpox vaccine strain that escaped into nature.  I hadn't heard of the Cantalago virus, so I was intrigued, and I actually learned quite a bit here (see antivaxxers?  That's called having an open mind.  You should try it sometime).  A bit more antivax-style research (read: a Google search) led me to a fascinating study of  the new virus' history and its genome.  It seems a strain of vaccinia from a smallpox vaccine sent to Brazil from France in 1887 was able to escape and then use cows as a natural reservoir.  The argument that Kelly is making here is, "Look!  A vaccine caused a new disease!  It's bad!"  But I would pose this question: which is worse, a mild and self-limiting disease that lasts for 3 weeks, or FUCKING SMALLPOX, a horrid scourge on humankind that killed 500,000,000 people in the 20th century alone?  What the hell is wrong with these people's brains that makes them completely unable to understand the concept of a risk:benefit ratio?

Moving on.

Starting on page 5, we have Graham Ewing's cesspool article cesspool that antivax activists love to tout.  In fact, it appears as #108 on Ginger Taylor's list of 124 articles that don't in any way prove vaccines cause autism.  I didn't go into detail about this particular piece of shit before, but I will here because what the fuck, I seem to enjoy torturing myself (and, by association, you people).  Ewing quite definitively concludes that "sensory dysfunction and systemic failure, manifested as autism, is the inevitable consequence arising from subtle DNA alteration and consequently from the overuse of vaccines".  Inevitable consequence?  Wow, strong words!  And what evidence does Ewing use to support such a definitive conclusion?  None.  NONE.  He provides no evidence in support of the conclusion, and he consistently proves that he doesn't understand the articles he cites.  Nor does he offer any new actual evidence himself; instead he simply spreads typical antivax lies throughout.  Think what I'm saying is just hyperbole?  Oh ye of little faith.  Allow me to quote from Ewing himself: "Vaccines are not subject to double blind clinical trials despite the evidence of vaccine-drug interactions and perhaps also of vaccine-vaccine interactions."  However, a simple 0.851-second Pubmed search for "vaccine double blind" would have shown Mr. Ewing that there are 2938 hits of double-blind placebo-controlled trials of vaccines and cured him of this particularly mendacious bit of stupidity.

But wait, there's more.

Ewing also states that vaccines aren't 100% effective.  No one actually claims this, though antivaxxers like to say that vaccine advocates claim this (except that we don't).  But to make his point he uses an article from 1977 about the risks of the pertussis vaccine despite vast changes in the vaccine (not all of them good, admittedly) since then.  He also uses the typical antivax argument that 60% of victims in measles outbreaks have been vaccinated.  What he (and all antivaxxers, it seems) continue to fail to understand is simple statistics.  For example, in a typically vaccinated school with 100 students, 90 of them would be vaccinated (approximately).  Say 8 students become infected, 6 vaccinated and 2 unvaccinated.  That means 3-times as many vaccinated are infected, right!  THAT'S SO TERRIBLE!  VACCINES DON'T WORK!  Wait wait wait, no that is not what it means.  It means that 6/90 vaccinated students (6.67%) were infected but 2/10 unvaccinated students (20%) were infected.  See the difference?  Antivaxxers don't.  Plus, the disease tends to be much milder in those who have been vaccinated.  Antivaxxers don't mention that little nugget either.

Ewing also makes wild statements like "In general, vaccines may be influenced by antibiotics" with no support whatsoever other than an article from 1994 about vaccine-related polio in Romania, which has nothing to do with antibiotics whatsoever.  Seriously, that is his reference for that claim.  I have no idea what Ewing was smoking when he wrote this bullshit, but now that I've read it, I want to keep it as far from me as possible.  I also have no idea why antivaxxers include it among their most favourite sources that supposedly prove why vaccines are so horrible.  Actually, yes I do: because they haven't read it.  Or if they have, they don't have the processing capability to realise what utter bullshit it is.

Now I'm going to take a happy little break from this shit while I fix the crack in my desk where my head just hit it 178 times.  I also need to exchange computers.  Again.

. . .

Ok, I'm back.  Still with me?  No?  I can't say I'm surprised.  I'm barely still with me, and I live here.  Be glad you aren't inside my brain with me right now.  Though if you were you'd probably learn some fun new curse words.

Next up is not an article, but a letter to the editor about the purported relationship between the hepatitis B vaccine and diabetes.  Not evidence, just a letter.  Skipped with alacrity.  But don't worry, Kelly gets back to this topic later.  Stay tuned.

Next is an article demonstrating that injecting certain adjuvants can induce lupus-related antibodies.  In mice.  The authors go on to say "Whether this is relevant in human vaccination is a difficult issue due to the complex effects of vaccines and the fact that immunotoxicological effects vary depending on species, route, dose, and duration of administration."  Does Kelly mention this?  Of course not.

I told you she would get back to it.  The next article on Kelly's list isn't an article at all.  Again.  It's another letter to the editor of the BMJ refuting the conclusion of another article.  The original article states "It is unlikely that H influenzae type b vaccination or its timing cause type 1 diabetes in children."  Did you get all that?  Let me explain.  No, there is too much, let me sum up.  Basically the authors of the actual research article in question found no statistically significant increase in the incidence of type-1 diabetes in children after getting the HiB vaccine.  The author of the letter that Kelly cited basically is saying "But yes it does!"  And who is the author of the letter?  That would be Dr. J. Bart Classen, CEO of Classen Immunotherapies which touts that it researches "finding safer ways of using commercially available products including chemicals, drugs and devices" on its website.  Dr. Classen believes the HiB vaccine is causing an increase in diabetes in children despite multiple studies, meta-analyses, and Cochrane reviews which refute him.

NEXT.  I'm getting more and more frustrated with Kelly and her list.  I think I'm on my 9th computer so far today.

Next article we have a group of scientists that induced anti-phosopholipid syndrome (an autoimmune disease) in mice using tetanus vaccine.  Kelly doesn't comment on it, presumably because she doesn't understand a word of the abstract, which is filled with complex sciencey terms like "molecular mimicry and polyclonal B-cell activation" and "monoclonal antibody (MoAb) T-26 specific for TTd and anti-β(2)-glycoprotein I".  Another word she didn't understand was "hyperimmunization".  That's right, the scientists purposefully used a higher than normal dose of tetanus toxoid in order to induce a hyperactive immune response.  Did Kelly mention this?  Of course not, since it completely invalidates the point she tried (and failed) to make.

We have Tomljenovic and Shaw next.  I've discussed them before (see paper #115) and will not do it again except to say that they are rabidly anti-vaccine and this paper is a series of hypotheses which have all been disproved.

A curious paper detailing an increased risk in multiple sclerosis after Hepatitis B vaccine is next.  "Fatally flawed" doesn't begin to describe this mess.  First, they describe the trial as prospective, which it most certainly is not.  When authors don't understand the research terminology they use, that's strike one and two.  Strike three is when they identify 438 eligible cases but only include 163 of them, but then do the main statistical analysis on 11 of them.  ELEVEN.  Strike 4 is the refutation of this study by the author of a study which found the exact opposite.

Another study trying to link the hepatitis B vaccine to MS comes up next, though the author states (and Kelly quotes), "Hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood.  However, the Engerix B vaccine appears to increase this risk, particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis, in the longer term.  Our results require confirmation in future studies."  Confirmation, however, has not been found.

More hypotheses are next.  "Hepatitis B vaccine might be followed by various rheumatic conditions and might trigger the onset of underlying inflammatory or autoimmune rheumatic diseases. However, a causal relationship between hepatitis B vaccination and the observed rheumatic manifestations cannot be easily established."  That's it.

I can barely even comment on the next one without smashing yet another keyboard, but I'll try.  Sigh.  Here goes.  It's Tomljenovic and Shaw again, and this time it's 2 case studies of teenage girls who died unexpectedly after getting the HPV vaccine.  Sounds pretty damning, right?  Well, no.  The 19-year old girl died 6 months afterwards.  Her autopsy was negative, but the authors curiously say it "allegedly revealed no evidence of neuronal loss or neuroinflammatory changes", which sounds strangely accusatory.  The 14-year old was found dead in the bathtub, and the autopsy again showed no underlying brain inflammation, but it did show ischemic encephalopathy (damage due to lack of oxygen), exactly what one would expect in someone who drowned.  But but but but the authors re-examined brain specimens and found evidence of anti-HPV antibodies in the girls' brains, indicative of vaccine-induced cerebral vasculitis, inflammation of the blood vessels.

DAMNING EVIDENCE!

But perhaps you've heard of Johns Hopkins?  Duke University?  Vanderbilt University?  Columbia University?  Researchers from those institutions reviewed this article and found, well, I'll let them explain: "On review, the CDC-CISA working group identified scientific concerns with the article, primarily, interpretation of histopathology and immunopathology methods.  These concerns negate the authors’ conclusions and significantly limit any interpretation of the results shown in the paper."  Basically their methodology was shit, their interpretation was shit, and their conclusions were based on said shit.

And now, good grief, is an article by, oh my, Burton Waisbren, who has published several articles on, ugh, chronic Lyme disease, and, *sigh*, how MMR causes autism.  I can't even.  I won't even.

We're making progress here, folks.  We're on page 6 now!  Only 10 more . . . to . . . go.

Next is an article from the Medical Hypotheses journal.  Yes, it's just a hypothesis.  Skipped.

I have no idea what Kelly thinks the next article proves, except that self-limiting diseases are self limiting.  Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease causes enlarged lymph nodes and fevers, it has an unknown cause, and it goes away by itself.  This is a case report of a girl who was diagnosed with KFD after getting two vaccines.  It went away.  That's really it.

I think my favourite example of cherry picking and not understanding the science is next.  This is an animal study with baboons, which were immunised with either the whole cell pertussis vaccine or the acellular vaccine, which is known not to be as good as the whole cell version (it does not last as long or protect as well).  Animals which got the acellular vaccine did NOT get the severe disease, but they still were colonised with the bacteria and were able to transmit the infection to other animals.  The baboons that got the whole cell vaccine were also protected but cleared it faster.  Where the abstract says "Baboons vaccinated with aP (pertussis vaccine) were protected from severe pertussis-associated symptoms", Kelly annotates "(NOT TRUE)".  Really?  Is she calling the authors liars?

Anyway, the point Kelly is making here is that animals (and by extrapolation, people) who get the acellular vaccine (which is everybody these days) can spread the infection to others.  OH  NO!  TERRIBLE!  And I agree, that is rather terrible.  But do you know who else can spread it?  UNVACCINATED PEOPLE.  The difference is that the ones who get the acellular vaccine won't get the severe life-threatening disease, unlike unvaccinated people.  Kelly and her ilk try to make it out that only people who get the acellular vaccine can spread the disease.  BZZZZZZZZZT wrong, Kelly.  They essentially become asymptomatic carriers.  The unvaccinated become symptomatic carriers.

I've only gotten through 7 pages, and I'm going to stop.  I skipped down a bit and found a bunch of case reports, "aborted fetal cells" scaremongering, SV40 scaremongering, vaccine shedding scaremongering, XMRV stupidity (it's a lab contaminant and cannot infect humans), and half a page of whale.to links.

But then a quote on page 13 caught my eye, and I thought I'd share it here:
Pure bloody evil - blatant conflicts of interest endangering the health, safety, health rights freedoms, rights to individual informed consent to treatment and individual rights to refuse treatment.
These corrupt bastards are nothing but vaccine industry whores and pimps and we the people won't stand by and let them forcibly inject us all. This will create a revolution of people demanding their full human and health rights freedoms not being told what to do by the corporate whores and pimps and the revolving doors to Governments and the web of deception and conflicts of interests/corruption all through it like sewer pipes.
And there you have it, folks.  This is what these people think.  We are "pure bloody evil" and "corrupt bastards" (well, they're half right) for pushing vaccines.  I don't think anything else really has to be said.  Kelly decided to put this in her "educational document".  This is supposed to be science?  Seriously?

I literally cannot say anything as damning as they say themselves.

And with that, I am done with Kelly and her list.  I apologise for putting you people through this bullshit.  If anyone needs spare computer parts, I think I have a few memory chips and various cards and boards that aren't completely smashed to bits.  There seem to be several "Q" and "BACKSPACE" keys scattered across my floor too.

38 comments:

  1. I for one, would like to thank you for risking irreparable brain damage in going through and debunking all the anti vax'science'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just to say that there is some forward progress:

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB277

    and folks are leaving the state to avoid it:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_30077494/californias-vaccine-law-opponents-moving-home-schooling-avoid


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect Senator Pan's philosophy on those folks is "Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out."

      Delete
    2. This is indeed a step in the right direction, IMHO. As a parent, I totally understand the "parental rights" concept, in terms of parents being responsible for making decisions on behalf of their minor children. But we need to understand that there's a limit to those "rights," when our personal choices begin to substantially impinge on the rights of others.

      We don't have the "right" to jeopardize the health and safety of all the other kids at the school or in the neighborhood by exposing them to easily-preventable diseases, any more than we have the "right" to deprive others of finite medical resources by demanding futile somatic support for a child's body because we refuse to accept the reality of death.

      Delete
    3. On a more positive note, I'm sending my good wishes to Doc and the whole Bastard family for a super-fun and relaxing vacation! You deserve it! :)

      Delete
    4. And that sir is my opinion as well here in the great state of CA. I don't want my eventual grandchildren (that requires my children to mate doesn't it...never mind) to live in a place where the unvaccinated run wild.
      Have a great vacation. You certainly deserve it!

      Delete
  3. I think your computers will enjoy being away from you as much as you will enjoy being away from them. Enjoy your vacation! You and your family deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. so, two questions:

    does the self limiting three week pox also confer immunity to smallpox?

    do you mean my increasing body aches are because of my hepB immunization instead of my lifetime of two rather physically demanding careers carried out at the same time?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Doc, you should have written it at a library. Smash a computer? Move over a desk and bam a new one to smash!
    Connor

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just jumping in here to praise the use of a line from The Princess Bride, my favourite movie!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I spent a couple of days addressing antivax claims back in January. Wading through the ignorance is not for the faint of heart. It was worth it though as some people contacted me privately to say that my calm, polite, well-supported refutation of the antivax claims swayed them from "undecided" to "I should talk to my doctor about catching up on my/my kid's vaccinations."
    That's a long way of saying that you're probably doing some good even if it feels like you're swimming upstream.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I noticed you included the word ugh in reference to chronic Lyme disease - could you explain this to me? I am very interested in your opinion on chronic and late stage Lyme. I have a form of Autonomic Nervous System dysfunction and a lot of the people in the Dysautonomia "community" ended up getting diagnosed with late stage Lyme and are undergoing hardcore treatment for it. I don't know a great deal about this other than there is a lot of controversy surrounding the diagnosis and that not all doctors acknowledge or treat it. Why is that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because evidence supporting its existence is nonexistent. http://m.fasebj.org/content/24/11/4175

      Delete
  9. so what you're saying is that the scientific community is trying to prove a negative on it?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Doc,

    I suppose you've got 9 or so computer like this one:

    http://www.apple.com/imac/

    May I recommend getting this one instead:

    http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/index1.html

    Along with a 2KM length fiber optic Thunderbolt cable to hookup a Bluetooth enabled monitor. Put The computer as far away from your desk as possible (2KM Thunderbolt cable help very much for that purpose) and finally, get a truckload of Bluetooth enabled monitors, keyboards and trackpads. Hook monitor to Thunderbolt cable and enjoy your fit of rage... It'll be cheaper compared to those 9 iMacs.

    Al

    Ps. I can dispose of those spare parts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci, Alain. Very thoughtful of you.

      Delete
    2. Go with a PC. Much cheaper to replace after several smashings.
      Connor

      Delete
    3. Uh, guys, just get a barebones with networking.

      Delete
    4. He's a friggen surgeon; at that payscale, the Mac Pro is just the right tickets for plug & go play with minimal computer issues (FYI: I used to have tri-boot Mac laptop with the third OS being Linux from scratch because both Gentoo and funtoo were too unreliable for my needs).

      Now, always read my comments between the lines, both Mac were example choice. There are other iMac lookalike windows running computer who are as close to expensive as the iMacs. Need I have to mention that?!

      Al

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. yeah, my laptops cost almost as much as Macbooks. of course, mine are rated to survive being dropped.

      Delete
  11. You know, you're preaching to the choir. The folks you want to convince probably don't read this blog; if they do, they don't have the fortitude to read and parse your (admittedly brilliant) screed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think I'm gonna follow your lead and take a vacation too, Doc. This series has been such an exhausting and frustrating read. When you do get back, would you be so kind as to post something that might restore my faith in humanity?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. don't you mean something to restore our faith that humanity will invariably do something stupid and !#%^ itself up?

      Delete
    2. I'm looking to buy an island on Mars.

      Al

      Delete
    3. No, Ken, I meant something actually somewhat heartwarming for a change (not that Doc can just make those up and the way he makes it seem, those cases are few and far between, but I'm hoping if he has one stored he'll publish it soon).

      Alain, hopefully that would be far enough out of antivaxxers' reach :p

      Delete
    4. how's this: a couple days ago, the national news ran a story of a bride who was walked down the aisle by the man with her father's heart.

      Delete
    5. Oh yeah, saw that on the news earlier this week! Made me smile, thanks for reminding me :)

      Delete
  13. Sen. Richard Pan should be in jail for fraud. I'm from Cali., and everyone knows that Pan doesn't even live in the district the he was suppose to be representing. If you're a struggling pediatrician the best way to make money is to go into politics: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article24913978.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How very libelous of you.

      Delete
    2. Not to mention completely irrelevant to the topic under discussion.

      Delete
    3. when has that ever stopped an antivaxxer?

      Delete
    4. Oh, I just looove the "everybody knows" trope.

      Delete
  14. Interesting article that mentions anti Vax hero Wakefield attending a conspiracy theory cruise. He knows he needs to pander to the nuts.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/a21919/conspiracy-theory-cruise/?mag=pop&list=nl_pnl_news&src=nl&date=081716

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have an acquaintance who sees a naturopath, and has only had her kids partially vaccinated...because they needed to go to camp, so "risking a few vaccines was worth it for the social benefits." I rolled my eyes at that one.

    So when my kid was 16 months old, and had a febrile seizure during a viral illness and 103F temp, she asked me if the kid had recently been vaccinated. Because, you know, vaccines cause *everything.* I remarked that the kid had been scheduled for a few shots about 48 hours before the temperature set in, and the seizure happened.

    She then spent 10 minutes giving me the antivax rant, and how could I be a good parent if I let me kid have any more shots after this "incident," and that I should be more responsible with my child's health, etc., and that I should immediately take the kid to see the naturopath, because herbs, vitamins, and tea would fix everything.

    I finally cut her off with,"Well, the appt. *had* been scheduled, but due to some snow, and the fact that *I* felt sick, we cancelled the appt, and the kid never got any shots. Whatever virus spiked the fever was obviously already in there, and starting to cause illness *before* the appt. was cancelled. Even if the kid had received shots, I'm aware that correlation doesn't always mean causation, and especially with toddlers, coincidence and sticky fingers tend to mean a lot more." A few choice comments regarding naturopaths came out, and we haven't spoken since then.

    People are so fucking stupid when it comes to their faithful beliefs w/o any proof at all. :\ And as scary as a single febrile seizure was, there were zero after-effects, and the kid has had the rest of the necessary shots w/zero problems (other than not getting the coveted balloon.)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Doc, I applaud you. Having read through the previous stack of bovine fecal matter, I (like you) hoped this batch would have some new information. Alas, we were both disappointed. But the information is there for those on the fence. The innate fear caused by telling an un(der)-educated person that vaccines cause autism creates a knee-jerk reaction. Logic, patience and information are the only cures for their condition. Thanks for providing all of the above.

    Hmm...drawing parallels between disease vs. vaccine and antivax propaganda vs. actual science. Wonder what the percentage of immunity to said propaganda can be claimed when presented facts?

    ReplyDelete

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