Remember the "Good Old Days", when the only people who suffered from mercury-induced insanity were those who had been exposed to a significant amount of it? Today, through the medium of the Internet, we have thousands of virtual mercury-poisoning "victims", not to mention those additional thousands who have lost their minds from worrying about mercury poisoning. I refer, of course, to people like:
And many, many (many) more...
When I first started blogging on the autism-mercury non-connection, I had no idea how deep and how wide the madness extended. It was like stepping through a black hole into an autism-mercury "alternate universe" (without the inconvenience of being ripped to shreds by tidal forces or compressed in the singularity).
In this alternate universe, post hoc, ergo propter hoc ("After this, therefore because of this") is the "Gold Standard" for causality and anyone can be an expert on anything they want, just by saying they are. For example, an MBA can be a "scientist" (see also here and here) despite a complete lack of education or experience in any scientific field. In the autism-mercury alternate universe, the burden of proof is not on those who make a claim, but on those who dispute that claim. In many ways, this universe is as upside-down and topsy-turvy as Wonderland - and that seems fitting, somehow.
How else can you explain the slavish devotion among the autism-mercury cabal for such thoroughly discredited "scientists" as Mark Geier, Hugh Fudenberg, and Andrew Wakefield (see here as well)? In their universe, these people are legitimate scientists - in our universe (where different physical laws hold sway), they are laughable, incompetent, inept or unethical. Perhaps all four. How else can you explain how a work of fiction ("Evidence of Harm") written by a journalist can be held up by autism-mercury proponents as a work of scientific significance, if not "revealed truth"?
The alternate universe hypothesis also explains why the autism-mercury cabal insists that a single poorly-designed, questionably run study that supports their "side" is more than equal to five or six well-designed, well run studies that refute their position. No less an expert on the autism-mercury alternate universe than Sallie Bernard has been reported to believe that:
"She doesn't think the evidence proves thimerosal causes autism. But she does think the evidence points in that direction."
Apparently, in the autism-mercury alternate universe, one points 180 degrees away from the target. In this universe, a recent review of published studies showed that the better the study design, the less likely it was to support an autism-thimerosal (and therefore autism-mercury) connection. However, in the autism-mercury alternate universe, even simple math - like counting - has different rules.
Fortunately for those of us who live in this universe, mercury doesn't appear to cause autism here. At least, the data doesn't point that way.