Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Field Guide to Quackery and Pseudoscience – Part Two

Thanks to some helpful readers for pointing out that I missed a few "Generally Shared Characteristics" of pseudoscience and quackery. Here they are, along with some others I found:

Straw Man: - Not a character in “The Wizard of Oz”, but another logical fallacy. A “straw man” argument is one that doesn’t address what the opponent said, but rather a position that is easier to argue against. This is a popular strategy by pseudoscientists and quacks because they have no actual data to argue with. The basic strategy goes something like this:

In my…”discussions” with various supporters of the mercury-causes-autism movement, I have often had people say to me, “Why do you find it acceptable to put poison [i.e. mercury] in children’s vaccines?” when I say that the data does not support the hypothesis that mercury causes autism. This is a classic straw man.

Rather than address my argument that mercury does not cause autism, they have tried to make it seem that I am arguing in favor of putting mercury in vaccines. This would be much easier to argue against, except that I never said it.

Inversion of Proof: - In the real scientific world, the people who propose a new hypothesis are the ones who are responsible for “proving” it. The pseudoscientists and quacks prefer to take an easier route – they ask you to prove them wrong! This is a great time-saving (and money-saving) technique. As an interesting twist, as more people have become aware of who is responsible for providing the data, the pseudoscientists have taken to claiming that saying their pet “theory” is wrong is the assertion that requires proving!

Special Pleading: - When all else fails, quacks and pseudoscientists fall back on their final line of defense: special pleading. They argue that the reason that scientific studies of their claims fail to find any evidence of it is that “regular” science is incapable of detecting the effect they claim. It may be that the energy field they claim cannot be measured by current techniques, or that standard double-blind studies are “incompatible” with their “theory”. Whatever the excuse, it all boils down to claiming that the reason science finds no evidence of their claim is because of a failure of science, not because their claim is wrong.

Now, it is entirely possible that there are forms of energy that we cannot now detect, just as Isaac Newton had no way of detecting radio waves. However, Newton did not make any claims about radio. And for energy forms that we can detect, it is unlikely that amounts below the current level of detection can have any significant effect at the macroscopic level. Likewise, clinical effects that grow smaller and smaller as more patients are studied are likely to be non-existent. It’s not the science that fails – it’s the pseudoscience.

False Dilemma: - A popular trick in pseudoscientific and quackery “debates” is to creat a false dilemma – the claim that there are only two (or possibly three or four) alternatives when, in fact, there are many more. The classic example is the statement, “You’re either with us or against us.” While this may have a certain resonance in political situations, it has no place in science.

A more typical example of the false dilemma in pseudoscience is to state that since one possible explanation of a certain phenomenon is what they claim, that their hypothesis is the only explanation. This, of course, is rarely the way things are. A good example of this is seen in the assertion (by a certain mail-order lab favored by autism “alternative” practitioners) that finding a certain organic acid in the urine is a “marker” for “yeast overgrowth”. They say this because it is not seen in (the small number of) normal subjects (that they tested) and is seen in people with “yeast overgrowth” or “dysbiosis” (how this was determined is not clear).

Even if we grant them the presence of this organic acid in “dysbiosis” or “yeast overgrowth”, there are many more choices than the one we are given: organic acid = yeast overgrowth. Other possibilities that readily come to mind are yeast colonization (without “disease”) and eating yeast-containing foods. They haven’t even shown that the absence of this organic acid indicates that there is no yeast overgrowth. They are stuck on the horns of their own false dilemma.



Types of Pseudoscience and Quackery

Clearly, no mere book or blog could ever hope to give an exhaustive – or even extensive – listing of all the myriad types of pseudoscience and quackery. The best that I can hope to do is provide descriptions of the major groups, the equivalent of Families in organismal systematics. Still, this should suffice to allow identification of these groups in the field. Further refinement of identification can wait until the specimen is back in the laboratory.

Scientific Creationism/Intelligent Design: - This is a pseudoscience that actually precedes the development of what we now call science, so it seems fitting to list it first. Despite the name, it’s not good science – it’s not even bad science – it’s just religion dressed up in a lab coat trying to look like science. Fortunately, recent legal challenges have ended with the judge agreeing on this point. Once you strip away the jargon and double-talk, Scientific Creationism and Intelligent Design (ID) are both reduced to the following:


God did it.

Although this may be a comforting thought to people who like to believe in that sort of thing, it fails utterly as a scientific hypothesis. For one thing, scientific hypotheses need to be falsifiable - this means that there should be a test that can be performed that could potentially show that the hypothesis is wrong. That’s how real science works: you make a hypothesis – a model of how you think the world (or a small part of it) works – and then think up ways to test that model.

If the hypothesis “passes” the test, then you keep testing it in different ways until you have satisfied the doubts of your scientific peers. If the hypothesis “fails” the test, then it has to be either modified or discarded. There is no room for sentimentality.

The problem with a supernatural explanation of natural phenomena – and attributing the diversity of life on Earth to God or a “Designer” is definitely supernatural – is that there is no way to test it. There is no test that could ever show that a supernatural being that cannot be seen, felt, heard, smelled, touched, weighed or measured doesn’t exist. As a result, supernatural explanations are outside of science.

Both types of creationist pseudoscience rely heavily on the False Dilemma fallacy. What they do is emphasize the areas of evolution that are incomplete or controversial and pretend that those “flaws” mean that evolution is not valid. This, of course, ignores the mountains of data that support evolution, but that’s how pseudoscience works.

Having – in their own minds – demolished evolution as a theory (or as “only a theory”), the creationists then assert that the only other option is Creationism – or Intelligent Design, as it now calls itself. This is the false dilemma – the claim that there are only two choices: evolution or creationism. Leaving aside for a moment the claim that they have “refuted evolution” by finding “flaws” in it, the idea that creationism would be the only remaining choice is ludicrous. This makes as much sense as saying that, having proven that I don’t drive a Chevrolet, that my car must be a Toyota.

Another part of their faulty reasoning is the idea (usually unstated, but implied) that because evolution can’t explain everything, it can’t explain anything. A variation on this sorry theme, often stated by its chief pseudoscientists, is that since they can’t understand how evolution could explain the complexity of life on this planet, that it can’t. This last one is less a failure of evolution as a theory than it is a failure of their imagination or understanding.

Demonstrating that they don’t understand physics any better than biology, many supporters of ID have argued that evolution is a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. For those whose recollection of the Law may be a bit fuzzy, the Second Law states that the entropy (degree of disorder) of an isolated system can only increase. This is a law proven every day by my desk and lab bench. But, more to the point, ID supporters have argued that life couldn’t have evolved from “simpler” forms, since that would have resulted in less disorder.

True enough, a cat has more “order” than a bacteria, due to its greater complexity (primarily in the form of tissues, organs, organ systems). The reason that this does not violate the Second Law is that a cat (or a bacterium) is not an isolated system. Biological organisms reduce entropy within their bodies by taking in less complex food and converting it into more complex tissues. However, the overall entropy of the system (in this case, the solar system) increases. We biological organisms create a local decrease in entropy by greatly increasing the overall entropy of the larger system – primarily by degrading high energy foods into lower energy waste products.

Finally, in their most recent court struggles, the creationists (now known as Supporters of Intelligent Design) have resorted to a unique form of special pleading. Rather than just say that science can’t be used to understand “Intelligent Design” – which would have seriously undermined their effort to get ID taught in science classes – they tried to get the “official” (i.e. legal) definition of science broadened to include ID.

Of course, by the time they got the door open wide enough to squeeze ID into science, it would have been wide enough to fit just about anything (including religion, of course) into the “broadened” definition of science. It didn’t work as a legal ploy, but it certainly made for good theater as a pseudoscientists with legitimate scientific credentials said – with a straight face – that astrology should be considered science.


Something for Nothing – Free Energy and Perpetual Motion Machines: - One of the great truths of life is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, often abbreviated as TANSTAAFL. This is especially true in physics, where this truth has been codified as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (already briefly discussed above). However, one of the invariable truths of human nature is that wherever there is a law, someone will try to break it.

You’ll note that I said try to break it – physical laws are not only self-enforcing, they are, in fact, unbreakable. Try violating the Law of Gravity – step out of a second-story window and see how long you can break it. The ground will act as the law enforcement agency for that particular law. Still, human nature being what it is, there are people who are convinced that they can “beat” the Second Law – and they’re usually looking for investors to help them do it. A group of people investing in a scheme to break a human law would be committing “racketeering” – a group investing in a scheme to break physical laws are “losing their money”.

The number and variety of schemes to get “free” energy is amazing – the US Patent Office probably has wastebaskets full of them (see: USPTO Models, Exhibits and Specimens). Although the details vary, the fundamental facts remain disappointingly similar – these “machines” are supposed to generate more energy than is put into them. This goes by a variety of names – “over unity” (efficiency great than 1.0 or 100%), “perpetual motion”, “free energy”, etc. Not one has ever been successfully tested, but millions have been sold.

But you don’t have to wait for the test results to come in to know that these “free energy” machines won’t work. They can’t. You just can’t get more energy out of a system than it contains. That’s the common-sense explanation.

A slick variant of the “free energy” pseudoscience are those devices that claim to “help your car burn gasoline more efficiently” or, even better, “run your car on water”. Current internal combustion engines are pretty close to their best efficiency the design is capable of, so even a major redesign of your engine will not appreciable improve its efficiency. Certainly, “lining up the molecules” of the gasoline in the fuel line will not measurably improve efficiency, even if the hardware store magnets used in the device could actually do that. The same goes for devices on the carburetor or special air or fuel filters. The best way to improve your car’s fuel efficiency (apart from buying a more fuel-efficient car) is to keep it in good repair.

As for running your car on water, that isn’t going to happen. Internal combustion engines work by changing higher energy chemical bonds into lower energy bonds. They take carbon-hydrogen bonds and carbon-carbon bonds and turn them into the lower energy carbon-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen bonds. The excess energy is released as heat – and heat is what runs the engine. Water has hydrogen-oxygen bonds, which are lower-energy and thus stable. Mixing water with air – which is what your car’s engine does with its fuel – does not give any options for forming lower energy bonds. Air is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, a little carbon dioxide and argon. No opportunities for lower energy bonds with that lot.

So, if someone offers you the “investment deal of a lifetime” involving “free energy” (or one of its variants), just remember this: you would have a better chance of making money playing the lottery.

That’s all for now. In the next installment I’ll cover “life extension” and “psychics”.

‘Til then.


Prometheus.

121 Comments:

Blogger Theo said...

You forgot to mention conspiracy theorists and their love of false attribution, stacking the deck, burden of proof… the list is endless.

16 January, 2006 06:31  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Their forms and bag of tricks are extensive, but oh-so-predictable.

Nice article, btw, Theo.

16 January, 2006 08:41  
Blogger Fore Sam said...

The proof is here about mercury and autism. It was given to us by Geier, Haley, Deth, Bernard, Holmes, etc., along with the thousands of parents who are curing their children by removing the mercury. Your stating that the IOM disagrees with their proof doesn't make the IOM truthful. The IOM is lying, you know it, I know it but those people who only hear about autism in the mainstream media don't know it. Your demonstration that you did well in logic 101 also does not alter that proof. Dishonest science is what I call junk science and that is what we hear from the IOM, CDC and studies paid for by drug companies that are only designed to let them avoid lawsuits. So, assign all the logical fallacies you want to the truth but it still won't alter the fact that those who cure their children with chelation are the ones who know the truth. If Geier, Deth et al. weren't accurate, it would stand to reason that nobody could be cured with chelation and methyl B-12 would be useless. Since we know that is not the case, this proves all your sophistocated arguments invalid.

16 January, 2006 10:25  
Anonymous HCN said...

Who are these "cured" children? Where are they being documented?

All we have is your say so... and, sorry, that is not enough.

16 January, 2006 10:25  
Blogger Fore Sam said...

The Autism Research Institute is documenting as many as care to be documented. It is not just my say so. You can also check the Yahoo group Autism-Mercury and talk to lots of them.

16 January, 2006 11:13  
Anonymous TheProbe said...

Foresam said:

"If Geier, Deth et al. weren't accurate, it would stand to reason that nobody could be cured with chelation and methyl B-12 would be useless. Since we know that is not the case, this proves all your sophistocated arguments invalid."

That is fantastic circular reasoning.

As for the claim that chelation CURES Autism, I suggest that you consider that chelation is used in cases of lead poisoning to stop further nerve damage. It does not reverse the damage already done. Why should mercury be any different? Please explain using some form of logic supported by facts and have your explanation cosistent with high school chemistry.

16 January, 2006 11:55  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

The proof is here about mercury and autism...

Where?

It was given to us by Geier, Haley, Deth, Bernard, Holmes, etc., along with the thousands of parents who are curing their children by removing the mercury.

1. Cites, please? If you don't have them, you're effectively mute. We need access to the data, not what your say so says about your memory of the data.

2. I saw a little about Deth, before in an argument on Skeptico. His experiments to "prove" the danger involved nerve cells in a petri dish, working against the data that says the thermasol wouldn't reach those cells in a human body. Additionally, he didn't have any data that his cure worked: Just a bunch of testimonials that were probably cherrypicked.

3. The human body naturally removes most toxins. It wouldn't be able to function, otherwise. If mercury caused autism, it would go in, do its damage, and either A) form a strong chemical bond with something that renders it effectively inert, or B) leave. Removing the mercury would be like removing the bullet from an injured man: It might help, but it's not going to patch up the hole it caused during entry.

The IOM is lying, you know it, I know it but those people who only hear about autism in the mainstream media don't know it.

1. I don't listen to mainstream media. They're too often on the side of quackery and pseudoscience. From what I've seen, they're on your side. Show me the raw data. Nothing else matters.

2. I don't know anything about the IOM. Even if I did, I doubt I'd care. (At least not until I vote or whatever.) Government organizations are irrelevant. Show me the data. Nothing else matters.

So, assign all the logical fallacies you want to the truth but it still won't alter the fact that those who cure their children with chelation are the ones who know the truth. If Geier, Deth et al. weren't accurate, it would stand to reason that nobody could be cured with chelation and methyl B-12 would be useless. Since we know that is not the case, this proves all your sophistocated arguments invalid.

1. Even if you're right, your arguments would still be fallacious: It's not our fault you choose to try and convince us with propaganda techniques, distractions, and evasions. Convince us with, you know, SCIENCE: Double-blind control studies. Proper statistical analysis.

2. Prove to us those children had autism and were cured of it. Double-blind control studies. Not testimonials.

The Autism Research Institute is documenting as many as care to be documented. It is not just my say so. You can also check the Yahoo group Autism-Mercury and talk to lots of them.

Does this involve double-blinded control studies? If not, it's a waste of time to look, since any apparent improvement could have dozens of other explanations, like natural improvement, regressive fallacy, confirmation bias, and dozens of others.

16 January, 2006 11:56  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Fore Sam,

Take a look at Part One, under "Conspiracy Theories".

When you stop and think just how many people it would take to sustain the sort of conspiracy that you accuse the IOM, CDC, FDA, and who knows who else of, you may get some glimmering of an idea of why it's not a believable hypothesis.

How about some evidence? And, please, don't trot out the Infamous "Simpsonwood Transcript", with it's six juicy bits culled from a 268-page transcript (and taken out of context, of course).

Finally, even a parade of kids who have been "cured" of autism does not demonstrate that [a] their autism was caused by mercury or [b] that chelation cured them. Sorry, science just doesn't work that way. Keep reading - I'll cover why that doesn't work in a posting coming up soon.


Prometheus

16 January, 2006 12:03  
Blogger ebohlman said...

It is of course possible to have compound fallacies. For example, alties promoting their "cancer cures" very frequently combine the strawman fallacy with the false dilemma by judging the performance of conventional cancer treatment based on the performance of chemotherapy alone. This ignores the fact that most treatable cancers are actually surgical diseases; their "arguments" substitute stereotypical therapies for typical ones (strawman) and assume that stereotypical therapies are all that conventional oncology has to offer (false dilemma).

16 January, 2006 12:19  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

That's one thing that makes it entertaining (or tedious, depending on how you get your kicks) to dissect these people's arguments: There's always another layer of fallacies.

Even if they were right, they've got so much bull[corn] on top of the hypothetical data, that they don't know how to convince anyone. They only know how to persuade non-critical thinkers via logical fallacies and propaganda tactics.

16 January, 2006 12:29  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

I had a dream that I could create an instant and well-watched controversy by contriving a beligerent, illogical antagonist and having a debate with him/her. This extremist weeble-wobble would keep getting witch-slapped and yet would gladly bob back up for more. Nothing would ever be learned by said extremist because learning isn't desired. Rather, the weeble-wobble would figure he's like the Velveteen Rabbit in that if he gets loved enough, he can become real in the end.

So, Prometheus, if you would simply pronounce your love of Fore-Sam, we'd all be spared the babble from the resident extremist. That is, you did create him, right? He's not real, right?

16 January, 2006 13:01  
Anonymous HCN said...

This reminds me of when I was first finding out that my first born may have some damage due to his neonatal seizures. Out about that time was a bunch of "Better Baby" stuff, which included showing your infant a bunch of flash cards (late 1980's).

As I was scouring the library for information I came across a series of books called _What to do with your Brain Damaged Child_, _How to Multiply Your Baby's Intelligence_, etc by Glenn Doman. So I checked them out and found it was just a long drawn out advertizement for his "institute" in Philadelphia. In this place they teach the parents how to do "Patterning"... for a PRICE, along with selling them a bunch of equipment.

As it turns out the "institute" would not allow any researchers in to check to see if the claims were valid. It is explained here:
http://www.srmhp.org/archives/patterning.html

Also, much of the references about it, and how it really did not work (and did cause some joint problems in kids) is explained in the excellent book by a parent who tried it for her son with cerebral palsy: _No Time for Jello_ by Berneen Bratt

This covers everything. From being the desperate parents... to spending the vast amount of money and TIME, all the way to finding out that improvements are always credited to the "institute", and problems are always the parents' fault for not doing it right. At the end of the book she has a chapter on the science of why it did not work (part of her research to get her teaching degree).

It is also echoed in Usenet from one of the former "Doman Babies". Her comments are here:
http://groups.google.com/group/misc.kids/msg/20c1c4b9b1ab4ac8?hl=en&

The parallels to the Mercury Mania are incredible.

16 January, 2006 13:08  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Considering that it's often very difficult to tell the difference between a real altie and a parody of one, my suspicions could go either way.

16 January, 2006 13:10  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Dear Readers,

The problem with doing a parody of "alt-med" promoters/supporters is that it is so terribly difficult to make it clear that one is doing a parody. Parody and satire work by going "over the top" - taking an aspect of reality and inflating it beyond all reason until it is funny.

Unfortunately, as Bronze Dog already alluded to, "alt-med" is already so far "over the top" that there is usually insufficient "head space" to go any higher. As a result, parody and satire of "alt-med" look just like the real "alt-med".

Master Cubbins, as fascinating as your proposal is, I can save myself the effort of creating a "beligerent, illogical antagonist" because there are already so many real ones out there, lining up for the chance to be slapped down again and again.

I am reminded of the famous "Punch and Judy" shows (now far too politically incorrect) - no matter how badly they get slapped, they're always back for more. It must be a deficit of learning.

Anyway, I would like to make it clear that I have not, and will not in the future, construct a "virtual antagonist" to slap, whack or generally abuse on this or any other blog. And besides, who would notice one more "beligerent, illogical antagonist" in the crowd if I did invent one.

Thanks for the laughs guys, I need them!


Prometheus

16 January, 2006 13:50  
Blogger clone3g said...

Special Pleading? Do you mean something like a "stealth virus" that can't be detected by conventional science because it's, you know, Stealthy!

http://www.s3support.com/ProgressiveMedicine.pdf

16 January, 2006 14:08  
Blogger Orac said...

Prometheus,

Sorry for apparently leading "Fore Sam" to you from my link on my blog. He's clearly drunk the antivax Kool Aid in a big way. Note how, whenever challenged for evidence, all he can do is wave his hands and point to dubious studies by Geier and Haley and keep repeating that it has been "proven" that chelation "cures" autism.

On the other hand, he is an excellent example of much of what you 've been talking about.

16 January, 2006 17:06  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Orac and Prometheus;
Would Orac's statement above qualify as an Ad Hominem argument?
Can either one of you show me a safety study on thimerosal?
Will either one of you take Jock Doubleday's $20,000 challenge?
Would one of you inject your own kids with thimerosal after you had them tested and they showed up with the APO-E4?

16 January, 2006 19:08  
Anonymous JB Jr's conscience said...

Dear Fore Sam,

I would take the Jock Doubleday challenge, but I'm not a doctor. I don't understand why Jock old boy needs the challenger to be a doctor?

Stunts don't prove science. Stunts are stunts. But if I had a newborn baby today I wouldn't worry about it being injected with a thimerosal containing vaccine. If I lived in a third world country, I'd be grateful for the vaccine for my child. There's no reason to fear thimerosal. That fear has been manufactured very carefully, by people like you. For shame.

16 January, 2006 20:14  
Anonymous HCN said...

Anyway, since you asked, from:
http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#tox , the answer to your question is "yes". Just follow the links... though I'm not sure www.pubmed.gov goes all the way back to 1931.

Ah... the infamous Jock Doubleday challenge. You don't mean this one do you?
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/gentlebirth.htm

Here one Usenet are comments from a couple of doctors who were willing to do it:
http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.health/msg/ab381cc58f6dc948?hl=en&

http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.health/msg/e70842f6717e3fdb?hl=en&

More from Usenet:
http://groups.google.com/group/misc.health.alternative/msg/28f6ff5f29b47284?hl=en& ... and
http://groups.google.com/group/misc.health.alternative/msg/9fe8874e79b59bbc?hl=en&

... and the goalposts just keep moving!

You might want to check this:
http://autismdiva.blogspot.com/2005/09/thimerosal-phobia.html

16 January, 2006 20:22  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

Re: ad hominem - it is only if you're h. sapiens. I have to ask because as an undergrad I calculated the time required for an individual monkey (out of a group) to bang out Hamlet on an old typerwriter without typos. Come to think of it, we didn't take into account changing and aligning the sheets of paper and we didn't allow for any breaks. Rather inhumane of us I guess.

Having never heard of him, I had to google it to believe it was Jock and not Jack.

16 January, 2006 20:28  
Blogger clone3g said...

Fore Sam: Would one of you inject your own kids with thimerosal after you had them tested and they showed up with the APO-E4?

Maybe, maybe not. How would that prove or disprove that thimerosal causes autism? Is the AOPE-4 allele more common in autism? Are APOE-4 carriers immune to autism or Alzheimer's as long as they avoid thimerosal containing vaccines? How exactly does apolipoprotein E genotype confer susceptibility to mercury toxicity?

16 January, 2006 20:45  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Clone;
Everyone is immune to autism as long as they avoid mercury. Those with the APO-E4 can not excrete the mercury. I saw one reference to a study that showed it was very common in autism but never saw the study.
To the person who doesn't like stunts;
Do you suppose the people in China are happy going from zero autism in 1999 to 5 million cases now thanks to our thimerosal laced vaccines?
And HCN; Do you really expect anyone to listen to autism diva?

16 January, 2006 21:12  
Anonymous HCN said...

"Do you suppose the people in China are happy going from zero autism in 1999 to 5 million cases now thanks to our thimerosal laced vaccines?"

Where is this documented? (this has been asked before, but it is never answered... they either change the subject or move the goalposts)

Actually lots of people listen to Autism Diva. Also, lots of people listen to Peter Bowditch. Did you notice that he found out pretty quickly that the Jock Doubleday challenge was bogus?

16 January, 2006 21:51  
Blogger clone3g said...

Fore Sam: Those with the APO-E4 can not excrete the mercury. I saw one reference to a study that showed it was very common in autism but never saw the study

Oh, OK, if you say so. No idea why that would be on a biochemical basis though? Just something you picked up along the way and parrot as fact. I don't think Boyd understands it either so don't feel bad. So you saw one reference to a study and that's good enough for you? If you decide to think for yourself at some point you may want to read the actual study. Here's one to get you started: No association between the APOE gene and autism

17 January, 2006 05:11  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

I should have said no SANE person would listen to MS Diva.
Without looking at Clone's study, I'll first ask who paid for it. Whatever it says can't change the fact that those with APO-E4 can't excrete the mercury.
The thing about engaging in sophistry to prove a point is that you are missing the element of truth. You can engage in all the fancy arguments you want but the truth will trump whatever crap you come up with to try to hide the fact that mercury has poisoned babies. My son has already proved you wrong in everything you say by virtue of his improvement with chelation after not progressing one iota since the age of 10 months. I probably violated some rule of argument by stating that fact but since I threw my logic textbook away 35 years ago, I don't give a damn. That fact, my friend, is the Ace of Trumps.

17 January, 2006 07:19  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Without looking at Clone's study, I'll first ask who paid for it.

Logical fallacy/propaganda technique: Appeal to motivation. We could easily ask who paid for the studies you're referring to. What makes good science is protocols. If the study is flawed or falsified, it'd fall apart upon independant replication. That's what the peer review process is all about.

You can engage in all the fancy arguments you want but the truth will trump whatever crap you come up with to try to hide the fact that mercury has poisoned babies.

We aren't hiding it. We aren't using "fancy" arguments. The logical fallacies committed by you are of the playground sort. You haven't shown us that mercury or thimerosol (remember, compounds are different from their constituent elements. Remember that when you use table salt.) causes autism. We're giving you the opportunity to demonstrate it. You simply aren't taking it. You're the one engaging in sophistry in an effort to avoid doing research. You've already come to your conclusion, and you're doing everything you can to rationalize it.

My son has already proved you wrong in everything you say by virtue of his improvement with chelation after not progressing one iota since the age of 10 months. I probably violated some rule of argument by stating that fact but since I threw my logic textbook away 35 years ago, I don't give a damn. That fact, my friend, is the Ace of Trumps.

1. Just because B happens after A doesn't mean A caused B.

2. How do we know he didn't make any improvement before the treatment? Your perception and/or memories might have been discolored by the practitioner. Additionally, your perception of improvement might have also been discolored. You are not a god. Unless you're willing to provide us records, we have little reason to believe in the accuracy of your memories or perceptions.

3. How did you measure his progress?

4. Here's a clincher I think you'd be unable to answer: What would it take for you to admit you're wrong?

I've already told you the sort of thing it would take for me. If you feel like providing it, send me a direct link to a study. Not to a Yahoo group. Not to some altie website that supposedly has the study. (Last time someone did that to me, the study was 404.) To the study itself.

Stop the evasions and show me the data.

17 January, 2006 07:43  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

The data is at my home. Come look at videos of my kid and see him now. The data is known as truth.
You can solve the problem or engage in sophistry to try to deny it. I'm solving it. What are you doing?

17 January, 2006 08:18  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

All together now! "The plural of anecdote is not data!" If you want to say otherwise, please present convincing arguments why we should accept cherrypicked, filedrawer effected, subjective non-measurements.

You haven't done any controls. You haven't done any blinding. You haven't even established a method of measuring improvement. You seem to be working on the a priori assumption that your perception and memories are infallible. I'm not buying into your enthymeme claims of godhood, quite similar to what Decartes did with that Cartesian Circle of his.

And a question I'd like you to answer:

What would it take for you to admit you're wrong.

If you can't answer that, it means you're not worth arguing with. I've already answered it. I've painted a bullseye on my worldview, and yet you refuse to take a shot.

17 January, 2006 08:35  
Anonymous moving goalposts said...

I have a rejection letter on the Doubleday challenge - from a leading DAN doctor no less. For a temporary period the criterion that the challenger must be an MD was lifted and extended to journalists. I accepted the offer and then received a letter, from the famed DAN physician, stating "we" could not knowingly inject anyone with such a "hazardous" substance as thimerosal!

They always back down on these challenges one way or another.

17 January, 2006 08:52  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Dog; I'd have quit the chelation after a few months if there wasn't noticeable improvement. I don't have any studies nor to I care be involved in one. I just have a greatly improved child. Do you think I like getting up in the middle of the night to keep the chelation on schedule? I don't have to satisfy anyone's demand for scientific principles while I remove the mercury from my kid's brain. If you choose not to believe me, it's your loss.
Goalposts; You're lucky that DAN doc saved you from your own brash stupoidity.

17 January, 2006 09:19  
Blogger clone3g said...

fore sam: Without looking at Clone's study, I'll first ask who paid for it

The authors were looking for an association between APOE and autism because of a known interaction between APOE protein and Reelin, a protein that appears to be reduced in autistic cerebella. It was funded by NIH and NAAR, in case that matters, but they weren't investigating a relationship between APOE and mercury excretion. (Of course it's possible there was a hidden agenda.)

Whatever it says can't change the fact that those with APO-E4 can't excrete the mercury

It isn't a fact and whatever you say doesn't make it one. The lack of an association means that the distribution of APOE isoforms is similar for autistics and the general population, in which case an association between APOE and metal excretion is irrelevant even if you could prove one. APOE-4 is associated with Alzheimer's but some of that research was funded through NIH so we can't really go by that, right?

17 January, 2006 09:29  
Blogger clone3g said...

You're lucky that DAN doc saved you from your own brash stupoidity.

More comedy gold!

17 January, 2006 09:32  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

I'd have quit the chelation after a few months if there wasn't noticeable improvement.

Compare: Descartes argued that his own clear and distinct perception was a guarantor of truth. This would be so because God, who cannot be a deceiver, would not allow Descartes to be mistaken about that which he clearly and distinctly perceived.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_circle

Get out of the circle of sophistry, Mr. Decartes. You're wearing a hole in the rug.

FIRST establish a method of measuring improvement. THEN measure it. You haven't told us how you measured his alleged improvement.

Goalposts; You're lucky that DAN doc saved you from your own brash stupoidity.

Funny. You bring up a challenge, dare people to accept it, and then you applaud the cowardly challengers backing out.

17 January, 2006 09:33  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Bronze Dog; I'll leave with these comments before Prometheus throws me out. Improvements included the disappearance of constipation, normal walking and running after noticeably dragging one leg all his life, receptive language near normal with the ability to follow commands, some speech after having none, eye contact after virtually none and it keeps improving, normal and appropriate laughter, cessation of head banging, cessation of unprovoked screaming, learned some sign language and learned to count to at least ten. That's just off the top of my head for a child whose doctor described as a vegetable. I couldn't disagree with the doctor's assessment. This kid is much better off in many ways but we still have a long way to go. After another year, I may have a better guess as to whether chelation alone will do the trick.

17 January, 2006 12:56  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Well, then, we're finally getting something. Those do seem to be improvements.

Now, how do you intend to prove it was the chelation that did it, instead of some other factor you might not even be aware of?

17 January, 2006 13:09  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Fore Sam,

To begin with, I don't "throw people out" unless they become abusive or post copyrighted material. I haven't had to do that yet and I hope that you weren't planning on making me have to.

Secondly, I'm not sure why you bother reading or posting on this blog. I hope that I have made it abundantly clear that I am not swayed by tender anecdotes or inspirational stories when it comes to scientific matters. Why you think that your N=1, uncontrolled, untested "my child is better because of chelation, damn you!" story is going to change how I think is a complete mystery to me.

Seriously, unless you just enjoy getting your blood pressure up into the danger zone, you should either take your story to where it will have some traction or try and "get with the program" on this blog. You're not convincing anyone here, so maybe you should go somewhere that your particular approach would be more effective.

Don't misconstrue this to mean that I want you to leave - far from it! Every minute you spend on this blog is a minute you don't spend trying to convince some desperate parent that they should try chelation on their child - and I value those minutes. It's just that I would feel terrible if you had a stroke or heart attack from the frustration of beating your head against the wall of science.

I must ask these questions once a week - but here I go again!

[1] If you are convinced that chelation helped your child, why is it so important to convince me?
[2] If you are trying to "get the truth out" to desperate parents, why are you posting here, where you can be guaranteed of a well-crafted rebuttal (by the other readers, if not by myself)?
[3] If you're trying to shut me up, why do you keep egging me on?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself. I don't need an answer.


Prometheus

17 January, 2006 13:42  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

The only time I've seen skeptics "throw people out" involved said people bypassing language filters, hacking, refusal to engage in civil discourse (see the one about language filters, but it mostly involved in malicious, demonstrable efforts to derail the topic with ad homenims to keep people from discussing the actual issue), spamming, and flooding. And they usually just get warned a lot and then suspended the first few times

Alternative medicine websites, however, seem to ban anyone expressing the slightest doubt or asking for the science. Not only do they ban them without warning, they erase each and every post made by that person.

17 January, 2006 14:04  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

OK, one more comment, not that I expect it will be the last word.
Your calling what I do to help my kid quackery and pseudoscience is a feeble attempt to dissuade people from believing the truth about mercury. Like I said to someone here, I'm holding that trump Ace, the improved kid. None of this is a hazard to my blood pressure because I'm enjoying the sophistry that can't dislodge the truth. I've had lots of these discussions.
While you refer to my story as N-1, it's really thousands of us who tell the same story. Sure, the studies aren't done and the proof is being debated (due to the coverup to guard against billions in lawsuits) but those of us who aren't willing to wait for someone like you or Orca to tell us it's OK are proving we're right before it's too late to help our kids. A lot of us will have kids who can get jobs and get laid instead of spinning around in circles in an institution. You can keep blogging about the science while me and lots of others are producing that proof that you need. It isn't bad science; it's just new science, or more correctly, old science with a new use since chelation has been used since the 1940's. The thing is that if parents who are new to all of this listen to you, they ain't curing their kids while if they listen to me, they might cure their kids. So, every once in a while, I might stop in here just in case any of those new parents are listening to you. Ciao.

17 January, 2006 16:39  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Barking at thunderstorms... Since you're performing the same fallacy, I might as well copy and paste from a comment I made on Skeptico:

You're commiting the post hoc fallacy. I remember a JREF forum goer who described it quite well: He had a dog who barked at thunderstorms. Why? Apparently the dog seemed to think that it scared away the thunderstorm. It barked, and then (eventually) the storm went away.

Well, you're barking at a thunderstorm AND mocking me for suggesting that there are other explanations for why it went away. Additionally you don't seem to care that there are other explanations: You'll just keep on barking.

I've had lots of these discussions.
While you refer to my story as N-1, it's really thousands of us who tell the same story.


And thousands who tell a different story from the same process. Some children have even died as a result of chelation.

You can keep blogging about the science while me and lots of others are producing that proof that you need.

You mean double-blind control studies and statistical analyses that filter out other known explanations for improvement? Where?

A lot of us will have kids who can get jobs and get laid instead of spinning around in circles in an institution.

This, from Mr. Decartes, in his Cartesian Circle. You haven't even considered the possibility that there might be a different explanation, have you?

The thing is that if parents who are new to all of this listen to you, they ain't curing their kids while if they listen to me, they might cure their kids.

But you haven't even ATTEMPTED to rule out other explanations for the improvement. If you're right, double-blind control studies of the cure should be no problem. The only explanations I can think of for you to keep running away from the bare minimum standards of logic are:

1) That you're afraid the results will show that the treatment doesn't work, and that you got lucky with a placebo that could have threatened the life of your child, not knowledge.

2) You're too lazy and apathetic to understand the children's playground fallacies you've committed, AND too lazy and apathetic to push for something as simple as a double-blind control study to convince me. I've painted that bullseye over my belief system. You again refuse to take the shot, apparently because you're just satisfied getting your kid out of danger, and care nothing about demonstrating your claim.

If you have a third possible reason, please speak up.

Otherwise, I'll remain convinced that you're just like all the other altmed people I've encountered: Not willing to lift a finger to prove that they didn't get more than a cherrypicked lucky shot. And yet, they expect me to fork over my time, money, blood, sweat, and tears to the quacks because that got that lucky shot.

17 January, 2006 17:18  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

A spectator comes in to a targeting range and sees someone shoot a bullseye dead center. "That was a lucky shot."

Shooter: "No, I'm a better marksman than the average person!"

How do I solve this dilemma? Take the shooter to a controlled target range with countermeasures against cheating, and pit him against an average person. Endless rematches are allowed.

It's that simple. None of fore sam's repetitive "No it wasn't!" necessary. No unfalsifiable sophistry like phantom conspiracies, subjective solipcistic realities, or Platonic eidolons necessary.

If he keeps winning the competition, it means he's a talented shooter.

That's what peer-reviewed double-blind control studies are. There's a lot of words in that phrase, but it's an astoundingly simple concept. A sixth grade girl understood it and debunked Therapeutic Touch with the simplest of tools. No sophistry involved.

(Will provide a link, later.)

17 January, 2006 18:00  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Best has left the building.

Oh yes, the 'your kid's gonna be spinning and my kid's gonna be banging Brittney'-type comment convinced me of his identity since he played that one out using his real name many times before. This guy's a piece of work and a true Rescue Angel from GR.

Woe be the kid if he grows up gay. Depressing.

17 January, 2006 20:11  
Anonymous HCN said...

Woe indeed to that child! Especially if he grows up and starts asserting his own personality.

Bronze Dog said "A spectator comes in to a targeting range and sees someone shoot a bullseye dead center. "That was a lucky shot."

Shooter: "No, I'm a better marksman than the average person!""

I once heard a similar story in regard to choosing studies to support positions.

It seems the kingdom's Army was looking for some good shots. So an officer was riding down the countryside and saw a barn with a target attached to it... with lots of holes in the bullseye. So he stopped and found a nearby farmer. He asked him who put the holes in the target. The farmer said "I did that!".

So the officer gave the farmer his weopon and asked him to shoot at the target on the barn. The farmer shot, and completely missed the barn! He asked the farmer why he admitted to being the one to put the holes in the bullseye.

The farmer replied... "Oh, it is much easier to shoot the holes in the target when you are standing next to it, and to THEN hang it on the side of barn!"

Does that sound like a familiar tactic?

Oh, shoot... I misremembered it! I found where I saw the story on Usenet:
http://groups.google.com/group/uk.people.health/msg/e06768ee86baef34 ... which is:
BEGIN QUOTE
An officer in the Russian army was traveling through a rural
area when he passed by a barn covered with bulls'-eyes. In
the exact center of each bull's-eye was a bullet hole.
Amazed at this demonstration of marksmanship, he found the
farmer and asked if he had shot the holes in the barn, which
the farmer admitted.


Wasting no time, the officer recruited the farmer. Better fed,
better clothed, and in all ways better off than he had been on
the poor farm, the farmer was finally led triumphantly to the
rifle range by the officer. A dozen balls later, the farmer
had yet to hit the target at all, much less come anywhere near
the center.


Stunned, the officer demanded to know how the farmer could be
such a phenomenal shot at home but so hopeless in the Army.
The farmer replied, "You have it all backwards. It works much
better if you shoot first and THEN paint the bull's-eye!"
END QUOTE

Funny how these stories are changed from one person to the next. Kind of like "I heard that so and so's kid got injured with the HepB vaccine" turned into "I heard from a couple whose kid was injured from a HepB vaccine lot that KILLED 64 kids!" (see Kevin Leitch's blog on the "Chelation Death").

17 January, 2006 21:03  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

A+ for tenacity. I'm serious.

A comment I just deleted from mine:
-------------------------
Fore Sam said...
If you paid attention, Mr scientist, your kid might be banging Brittney too. And I hope he does. Sorry, I didn't wish to bother the other blog with your unscientific comments.

1/17/2006 11:55 PM
------------------------

I apologize to all innocent bystanders for my unscientific comments. I'm going to find my veleteen rabbit. g'nite.

17 January, 2006 21:57  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Well, no posts from fore sam between the time I shut down for the night and got on this morning. Normally those sorts of people are entertaining for me, but it was really wearing thin. I suspect he's going to miss the entire point of the sharpshooter analogy, and keep touting that lucky shot.

Fore sam, you might be interested to know that there are some football predictors out there.

Homer: [looks at predction.] "Ooooo."
Lisa: "Dad, those are a scam."
Homer: "Huh?"
Lisa: "They mail out thousands of those, half predicting one team to win, and half predicting the other team. After several games, some of people have gotten nothing but wins."

"The Simpsons" isn't exactly sophistry.

18 January, 2006 06:03  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Well, I've ended my part of the conversation on Barholomew's blog. Painted a picture of the sort of world he would have to believe in for the "politics" of "Big Pharma" to stop all double-blind control studies of chelation.

18 January, 2006 17:37  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Master Cubbins,

I must admit that I was not surprised to hear that "Fore Sam" was John Best - the writing style is distinctive, no matter what pseudonym he puts it under.

I was a bit disturbed (but, again, not surprised) that Mr. Best feels that his son's greatest aspiration should be to have sex with Britney Spears. After all, Britney is currently 24, and I believe Mr. Best's son is 3 or 4. That would mean that, by the time Mr. Best's son is, say 18 (still way too young to be sexually active in this parent's opinion!), Britney would be 38 or 39. Not exactly a May - December relationship, but at least May - mid-September.

As an aside, has anyone else noticed that many of the GR members and their apologists seem to have difficulties understanding some of the basic social conventions that underpin polite society? Take Mr. Best, for example. He can attempt to excuse some of his appalling behavior as part his Crusade To Save Children (I am reminded of that horrific statement from the Vietnam War - "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."), but how does gratuitous sexual crudity fit in to that "model"?

I'm sure that there is a pattern here.


Prometheus.

18 January, 2006 22:30  
Anonymous HCN said...

I also disturbed by the fact that people put their trust in Andy Cutler who is a chemical ENGINEER! He has absolutely no training in biochemistry.

What Jim Laidler says about Andy Cutler

19 January, 2006 00:11  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

HCN; Thanks for sharing Clark's and Laidler's convoluted logic. Good ad hom's by Laidler. Following his logic, it would be impossible for me to teach myself how to break par without spending thousands on golf lessons. I would also not be able to teach myself how to handicap horses which would allow me to take about 10 years off from working. It stands to reason that no person could become expert at anything without sitting in classes and paying someone to tell you you had learned enough. Gee, why should anyone read books at all.
Since my degree is not in Math, I can't tell prometheus that 24 and 9 equals 33 not 38. I'm also not a reading instructor so I can't explain to him that Brittney Spears was Cubbins notion not mine, and that the references to her were not necessarily about her but about any desirable young woman. The hundreds of people I helped with their golf games will be disappointed to learn that they should have paid some other expert to help them break 80. All the people who made thousands at the racetrack based on my advice should just give it back because I don't have a degree in horse handicapping.

19 January, 2006 03:07  
Blogger clone3g said...

Fore sam: Following his logic, it would be impossible for me to teach myself how to break par without spending thousands on golf lessons.

Wow, you taught yourself how to hit a little ball and bet on the ponies all without a formal education? Somehow that compares to a chemical engineer teaching himself all about medicine? By your logic a truck driver should be able to log a few hundred hours on MS Flight Simulator and get a job flying a 777.

I guess if you value your child less than your Callaways credentials are unimportant.

FORE!!!

19 January, 2006 06:04  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

I couldn't resist. Since Fore Sam isn't listening, I'm get back to having fun. From Bart's blog:

Fore Sam: BTW, you know my stake in all of this nonsense. Do you mind telling me what your interest is?

It's completely irrelevant to the issue, and evasive to ask, since appealing to motivation is a propaganda tactic. Saving children. Just like both anti-war and pro-war people both want to save lives.

Fore Sam: [Ramblings about CDC and IOM]

I don't care about the motivations of the CDC, IOM, AMA, FDA, NIH, WHO, the pharma industry, and so forth. I assume that they, along with all the quacks, crackpots, con artists and so forth are ALL foxes trying to get into the henhouse. That's why I have thousands of fox-detecting cameras in the form of the peer-review process. Heck, the peer-review process helps make the foxes fight among themselves.

Fore Sam: "I'm going to fire on the target range and hit the golfball on the green."

About time you got to performing double-blind control studies, rather than repeatedly shouting for me to accept a pre-existing hole in the side of your barn, which may or may not have had a bullseye painted around it. Be sure to tell me how the study goes. Oh, and when you get it published, send me a link that leads directly to it. I don't feel like searching the entire Pacific Northwest for Bigfoot, based on your word that he's there.

19 January, 2006 06:05  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Clone; Poor golfers seem to favor Callaways because they think the larger head will make up for a lousy swing. I think it slows the club speed. The point you so conveniently missed is that kids are recovering by following Cutler's protocol. I believe Laidler tried it for a short time and quit instead of paying attention to someone whose results prove he knows what he's talking about.
Bronze; Playing the "propaganda tactic" card doesn't beat that trump Ace. I'll give odds you knock Wakefield for not disclosing his alleged motivation.
I see your learning curve on politics is a slow one. If the peer review process includes review by those who made the mistake of putting too much mercury into kids, that sad fact corrupts the process.
I suppose you think it was OK for the Senate to have 47 members invested in Pharma stock while they voted to give them a "Get out of lawsuit card". Now, can we be enlightened about your interest in this topic?

19 January, 2006 06:50  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Appeals to motivation, and how the peer review process filters it out:

Pharma company: "Royal Flush"

BronzeDog: Wow. Wasn't expecting that. It's rare enough, let's playback the security camera footage to make sure he didn't cheat.

*BronzeDog, lots of layman spectators, sleight-of-hand experts, and veteran poker players watch. No one spots any cheating.*

Conspiracy theorist doesn't watch the video. "He cheated! He wanted to win, so he cheated to win the pot! Video-watching is sophistry!"

BronzeDog: How could he cheat? We have a publicly viewable video that anyone can look at to point out the cheating method. Show me in the video where he cheated.

Please note, fore sam, I could just as easily say the same thing about you. I don't have any way of preventing you from "cheating", so why should I trust in your results? For all I know, you've got a phantom financial stake in chelation. But I won't stoop so low as to actually insinuate it. If you could perform a DBCT and get it published for peer review, my suspicions would be eased and rendered moot. All I'm asking is for is a routine check of your sleeves.

19 January, 2006 06:53  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Bronze; Playing the "propaganda tactic" card doesn't beat that trump Ace. I'll give odds you knock Wakefield for not disclosing his alleged motivation.

Of course not. Motivations are rendered moot when it comes to the peer review process.

Playing the "propaganda tactic" card doesn't beat that trump Ace.

1. A spade is a spade. A propaganda tactic is a propaganda tactic.

2. What trump ace? You mean the already existing bullet hole in the barn in your backyard, which may or may not have had its bullseye painted around it? How can you prove to me it wasn't a lucky shot? How can you prove to me it's not cheating? How can you prove to me it was skill?...

The answer has been repeated a bazillion times: Double-blind control studies. (In other words, going out to the targeting range and having your performance recorded and measured.) Why are you so resistant to doing that simple task? Why are you afraid to prove your marksmanship wasn't a fluke? Why do you keep insisting I take your word for it?

I see your learning curve on politics is a slow one.

Don't change the subject! The peer-review process renders politics moot, anyway. Duh. Any child should be able to grasp that, especially with my very simple card analogy.

If the peer review process includes review by those who made the mistake of putting too much mercury into kids, that sad fact corrupts the process.

How?! Tell HOW it corrupts the process! You've been running away from that question this whole time, you coward.

I suppose you think it was OK for the Senate to have 47 members invested in Pharma stock while they voted to give them a "Get out of lawsuit card".

HELL NO! I almost think Senators shouldn't be allowed to own stock.

Now, can we be enlightened about your interest in this topic?

SAVING CHILDREN! DUH! I suppose next you're going to insinuate that I'm a terrorist sympathizer for being against the war. Or call me a Communist for being against the free enterprise of con artists.

Do you have anything to contribute to the topic, or do you just have McCarthyist suspicion and innuendo that anyone can belt out about anyone who disagrees with them?

19 January, 2006 07:30  
Blogger clone3g said...

fore sam: Poor golfers seem to favor Callaways because they think the larger head will make up for a lousy swing.

Well if your comments here are any indication of your accuracy, I recommend the croquet mallet.

The point you so conveniently missed is that kids are recovering by following Cutler's protocol.

Is that your point? I'm sorry if I missed it because I know that can be frustrating. I'm afraid I don't have your gift for reading between the lines.

Oh that's right, we're supposed to take your word for it. You should try that at the track sometime when your horse doesn't place.

19 January, 2006 07:42  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Expansion on the "Trump Ace" topic: Why do you expect us to take your word for it that you even have the ace?

19 January, 2006 07:47  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

If doctors who put too much mercury into kids are part of the peer review process, they risk damage to their reputations by agreeing with any study that shows the mercury harmed kids. Scientists employed by the vaccine makers and universities funded by Pharma should also disqualify themselves. The CDC is more concerned with the integrity of the vaccine program and herd immunity and must maintain the public's trust. It's a politician who takes contributions from Pharma who appoints the head of the CDC. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Please explain why it was suggested that mercury be removed from vaccines in the USA but not in third world countries. Is it OK to risk poisoning babies in other places? Since Autism is less than 1% with the 1 in 166 number, is that <1% considered an acceptable risk for the sake of profit? Do you think you're saving Chinese children by vaccinating them and watching their autism rate skyrocket in the process? Maybe you were the guy who advised the Chinese to put on their Government website that autism was caused by bad parenting. Perhaps that was just a ploy by Pharma to help maintain profit margins while the Chinese figure out what really happened to all their kids. I hope some of this helps you understand how the peer review process is corrupted.

19 January, 2006 07:52  
Blogger clone3g said...

Bronze Dog said: Why do you expect us to take your word for it that you even have the ace?

Well none of us have it so it stands to reason that he has it. Geez, where are your deductive reasoning skills? :-)

19 January, 2006 07:58  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Adapted from Harvey Birdman episode, "Blackwatch Plaid", and upfront an admitted appeal to ridicule:

fore sam: Oh, no! My office has been burgled! Robbed! Purloined! Ha-ha... Loin... *buzzes on the intercom* Everyone, get in here! "Someone has stolen my baby-grand piano!"

BronzeDog: *thinking* "Was there ever a piano in here? I don't remember seeing it."

fore sam: "Of course there was! You can still see the dimples in the carpet where it stood, right next to the 40 foot tall gold Buddah. How dare you accuse me of never having a piano!"

BronzeDog: *Starts looking for dimples. Never finds any, since no one will point out their location in the giant office. Continues thinking,* "Now, I'm pretty sure I've never seen a 40 foot gold Buddha in here."

fore sam: "Of course there was a 40 foot Buddha in here. How dare you accuse me of never having one. And keep your thoughts to yourself, BronzeDog!"

Later...

BronzeDog: "Uh, sir, can you show me a photo of the piano and gold buddha? And have you considered you might have just misplace-"

fore sam, interrupting: "BronzeDog! I can't believe what I'm hearing!" *gets in BronzeDog's face.* "Do you support the thief?!"

BronzeDog: "N-no, I just want to make sure there isn't another explanation."

fore sam: "Well, I don't want to hear any more of this photograph stuff. All you need to see is my empty office to know that my stuff was stolen."

[End appeal to ridicule]

Response to fore sam's answer to the peer-review process to come later.

19 January, 2006 08:15  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

If doctors who put too much mercury into kids are part of the peer review process, they risk damage to their reputations by agreeing with any study that shows the mercury harmed kids.

Who says they have to agree? The peer review process is about finding objections. If they can't find a legitimate criticism of a study, it'd be very damning to them. Any illegitimate criticisms would stand out to anyone who read the article. If they remain silence, they're damned. If they make an illegitimate criticism, it's publicly viewable, and will be obvious. If they make a legitimate objection, the experiment is modified to address the objection and performed again. This is medical science 101.

Cowardly attempt to change the subject to organizations irrelevant to the point.

1. I don't give a flying [frell] about the CDC.

2. Car manufacturer: My car's good! It performed well on all the tests! Test it yourself!

Close-minded Cynical Conspiracy Theorist: You're just saying that because you work for the car company and want to make money! There's absolutely no possibility you joined because you like making quality cars! I'm going to just sit here and complain, rather than perform the tests you did, to see if they actually came out that way. My truck's better, and you'll just have to take my unrecorded, subjective experience as gospel. And ignore my double-standards.

Please explain why it was suggested that mercury be removed from vaccines in the USA but not in third world countries.

Rampant paranoia on your part. They'd rather dispell your fears to get you to vaccinate than try to convince you that thimerasol is safe, because you don't respond to evidence. Kind of in the same line of why some places still ban cell phones around gas stations, despite the Mythbuster's repeated inability to blow up a room full of gasoline fumes with one.

Is it OK to risk poisoning babies in other places?

Is it OK for me to risk a child's death from hypocalcemia as a result of chelation based solely on your word and innuendo?

Since Autism is less than 1% with the 1 in 166 number, is that <1% considered an acceptable risk for the sake of profit?

Once again, you're assuming that a risk exists. Prove it. [Stooping to your level] Or would testing that and finding no risk cut into your chelation stock prices? [/Stooping to your level]

Do you think you're saving Chinese children by vaccinating them and watching their autism rate skyrocket in the process?

Show me the "skyrocketing" autism rates. I'm not going to take your word for it that they are. Show me the evidence.

Maybe you were the guy who advised the Chinese to put on their Government website that autism was caused by bad parenting.

No. I'm a part of the Illuminati who's busy suppressing aliens, therefore you should ignore my argument that space flight to our planet would be impractical, because such an argument is in my selfish interests. I'm also a Communist, so you should ignore my argument for why Communists should have free speech, because I'm only working for my selfish interests. I'm also gay(not really), so you should ignore all my pro-gay-marriage arguments because I'm protecting my selfish interests. There's also no possibility whatsoever that I could be disagreeing with you because you're wrong. I disagree with you, therefore, I MUST have some sooper-sekret shadowy stake in the outcome, since I couldn't possibly be altruistic but mistaken.

Quit that cynical, unfalsifiable sophistry. Stop avoiding the arguments by changing the subject to the arguer. You haven't been presenting any data at all. All you can do is accuse, accuse, accuse. I've told you what it'd take to convince me, but you won't even try to do what it takes. All you want is a soap box where you can bash people as evil because they disagree with you.

Appeal to Motivation: My teacher hates me! That's why he gave me a bad grade! It had nothing to do with me failing to show my work!

That's all you can do: I MUST be evil because I disagree. I'm evil, therefore I disagree. You don't even know why I disagree, do you? Have you considered that I might disagree because I don't like blind faith?

19 January, 2006 08:50  
Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

I see the China claim's being repeated.

Of course, even a cursory investigation of papers on scholar.google.com will indicate that there are several papers, from China, about Chinese people with autism ...

... dating back to, in at least one case, 1987.

(If someone wants, I can dig up the links again. I'm feeling a *tad* lazy right now, though. But it's certainly easy to verify.)

19 January, 2006 09:05  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Sure, if you use the wrong kind of EDTA you have a problem. Tell me about problems with DMSA.
Do you wear a top hat and tails while you're tap dancing?
The 1 in 166 used to be 1 in 10,000. I know, better diagnosis. Yuh, and when the 3 legged horse lost the race, it was the jockeys fault.
You have loys of questions about China but I didn't detect any answers. I think the tap shoes were making too much noise so I might have missed them.

19 January, 2006 09:22  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Funny.

Better diagnosis = Keeping better records. Can't record something if you don't see it for what it is. You can't keep track of the number of horses finishing the race if bad recognition ability prevents you from seeing them.

Before you get to it:

Expanded definition = Widening the goal posts. I've heard some definitions of autism are so broad, being merely geeky makes you qualify. It certainly had my mother concerned for much of my life. The expanded definitions help doctors to understand all the different flavors of autism, while allowing crackpots to equivocate.

"There are more cars on the road."

"But the number of cars is the same."

"No, I mean cars, as in automobiles. Here's the number of car-cars from 1970, and here are the number of car-automobiles from 2000. The second number is clearly bigger."

19 January, 2006 11:06  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

You can't miss that 3 legged horse.
Maybe the Chinese used to just shoot those misfits. Chinese? Yuh, there the people who live in that country whose name makes you start tap dancing.

19 January, 2006 11:38  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

You can't miss that 3 legged horse.

Are you trying to say they were blind to autism? Have you ever considered that some autistics might have been diagnosed with something else? Some forms of autism might have just been labelled "bad kids" and "ultra-geeks."

Maybe the Chinese used to just shoot those misfits. Chinese? Yuh, there the people who live in that country whose name makes you start tap dancing.

I don't know much about China, and I'm not about to blindly accept what you say is going on over there.

Stop making up fantasy connections between me and them. I'm not the subject. They are not the subject. The subject is autism and chelation. Stop trying to change that. Address our arguments! Don't just hand-wave them away as "sophistry."

Do what it takes to convince us. Perform a the most basic of modern medicinal research: A double-blind control study. [Stooping to your level] Why are you so opposed to research? [/Stooping]

19 January, 2006 11:52  
Blogger clone3g said...

Well professor, this has been a most educational program. We have the handy field guide and "fore sam" has provided countless illustrative examples to support the curriculum. The field trips to the links and track were an unexpected bonus. Highly rated!

19 January, 2006 11:52  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

[More Stooping] Fore Sam, are you in the pay of Big Pharma? You're so rediculous and evasive, it makes me think that you're a working as big parody of the honest people who believe that chelation cures autism. You're avoiding providing DBCTs because you want to repress the studies by making us skeptics perform an illegitimate argument from silence. You're probably working will all the other apparent nutbars in order to make it look like all the believers are absurd and evasive. [/More Stooping]

Kind of like that joke hypothesis of mine that McCarthy was working for Soviet counter-intelligence: While he was distracting the public by blacklisting everyone who's ever whistled Das National, real Communists were sneaking around below the radar.

19 January, 2006 12:37  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

If DBCT's are all you'll listen to, you know I can't help. I think one is starting; it might have been based in Arizona. But, hey, I'm just an old English major, golfer and gambler. What do I know about science? I read what's out there and opted for chelation over Audio Integration Therapy, Dolphin therapy, ABA and whatever else as what seems to be my son's best shot. I don't want to look back in 30 years if I live that long and be kicking myself for not chelating while I'm still waiting for the AMA to decide if it's useful. Cutler calls it a 50-50 chance. It's not like I'm betting the house on a 99 to 1 shot. Not taking the chance means life in an institution starting a few short years from now. What would you advise?

19 January, 2006 13:17  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

If DBCT's are all you'll listen to, you know I can't help.

If the DBCTs are out there, you can find them. If not online, at the periodicals section of your library, where you can search, and provide volume, issue, and page numbers. Log off and go look for them. Stop making flimsy excuses and DO something. If I was conspiratorially minded, I'd say that your silence and sloth are an attempt to make me assume that all chelation advocates are equally silent and slothful when it comes to research. All the previous ones I've encountered did the same thing.

I don't want to look back in 30 years if I live that long and be kicking myself for not chelating while I'm still waiting for the AMA to decide if it's useful.

Stop bringing in these irrelevant institutions. I don't care what the AMA says, and neither should you. You should care what the DBCTs say.

What do I know about science?

Apparently not enough to comprehend something as simple as the Pepsi Challenge. The only difference between a DBCT and the Pepsi Challenge is that the guy running the Pepsi Challenge probably knows which can is which. In a DBCT, the guy handing out the drugs and placebos doesn't know, so that his bias can't influence who will recover. This is what I mean by filtering out bias and "politics."

That's also a defeatist attitude. Science is not some ivory tower concept that quacks make it out to be. It's open to everyone. Anyone can read a publication. I don't like elitistism in the form of credentials because talking too much about credentials is a smokescreen: It's changing the subject from the experimental data to the experimenter.

Since you don't have any links to a DBCT in that post, Strike one.

19 January, 2006 13:36  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Additionally: If the treatment doesn't work, don't waste time or money on it UNLESS they're doing research. If they aren't conducting DBCTs, I would doubt their honesty. If they were really trying to prove their research, they'd get a grant and perform such a test.

The fact that they try to persuade people with testimonials is VERY suspicious in my view, just like the cherry-picked testimonials (actors?) in AOL commercials. If they honestly wanted to prove AOL was better, they'd demonstrate a controlled test for speed, and compare themselves to their competitors, item by item, uncensored.

19 January, 2006 13:46  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

I think the $30 a month it costs me to chelate is worth it. Cutler doesn't charge anything for helping us lazy, slothful parents.
Obviously, I don't care what the AMA says since they caused the epidemic and won't own up to it. You don't have an ASD kid, do you? Why waste time looking for DBCT's when Deth, Cutler and others have told us all we need to know? Our kids are getting better by listening to them. None of our kids got better by listening to pediatricians tell us there's no known cause or cure. If I start studying biochemistry, that's just more time I can't spend on the golf course. I don't think my learning the science is going to make me smarter than Cutler so I'll just do what he tells me.

19 January, 2006 14:28  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

I think the $30 a month it costs me to chelate is worth it.

Wouldn't you rather know? Wouldn't you like to be able to convince me?

Cutler doesn't charge anything for helping us lazy, slothful parents.

Wait... So, who was it you were paying the $30 to?... Nevermind. I don't need to know. Until he conducts a DBCT, we don't even know if he's helping at all. The kids might be improving naturally.

Obviously, I don't care what the AMA says since they caused the epidemic and won't own up to it.

Good. I don't care. You don't care. Let us never speak of them again.

You don't have an ASD kid, do you?

No. But if I had one, your lack of desire to prove it could convince me to skip it. Testimonials like are a dirty trick, and you don't even know it. It's a specific type of biased sampling.

Why waste time looking for DBCT's when Deth, Cutler and others have told us all we need to know?

How do we know they're telling the truth? How do they know what they know?

Testimonials aren't convincing me anymore than those AOL commercials: They could easily be cherry-picking the good ones and don't advertise all the bad ones I hear from friends and family.

None of our kids got better by listening to pediatricians tell us there's no known cause or cure.

1. What makes you think that anyone got better as a result of chelation? It could be a case of natural improvement, and without a placebo group you can't tell the difference between doing nothing and chelating. That's the whole point of DBCTs.

2. They're researching it. Your money could be better spent on that research, rather than feeling good about thinking you're doing something useful.

If I start studying biochemistry, that's just more time I can't spend on the golf course.

Golf is more valuable to you than spending a few hours learning how to properly read a study?

I don't think my learning the science is going to make me smarter than Cutler so I'll just do what he tells me.

Hello, defeatism.

19 January, 2006 15:13  
Blogger clone3g said...

Happy Gilmore said: I don't think my learning the science is going to make me smarter than Cutler so I'll just do what he tells me.

Yet somehow you feel qualified to urge other parents to chelate immediately. The topic here is Quackery and Pseudoscience. I don't think you are quack or pseudoscientist but you are assisting both. A magician's assistant may not understand the magic but she is part of the deception.

19 January, 2006 15:26  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

The $30 is just what it costs for the DMSA, ALA and supplements and ice cream to hide the pills in.
The only testimonial I can offer is a cured kid (maybe). While it isn't proof to you, the fact that he never improved in over 7 years with all sorts of therapies and school until I started chelation is proof enough for me. I don't think divine intervention caused it and there were no other chemical variables.
If you never played golf, you won't understand but since autism kept me from playing the game for 5 years and helped to cost me a shot at the Senior PGA Tour which I still might get, yuh the golf is more important to me. I never wished to be involved with autism but I am trying to do what's best for my kid. Andy Cutler is his best chance not me trying to become more knowledgeable than a graet and benevolent scientist who is helping our kids.
Defeatism would be listening to the pediatrician who offered to help me find an institution to keep him caged for 80 years. Realism is listening to those who know more than I do about the subject.

19 January, 2006 15:31  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Additionally: I don't need to know anything about metallurgy or psychic forces to see whether or not Uri Geller can bend a spoon under controlled conditions.

If, however, he could bend the spoon, THEN I might need that knowledge to figure out how he bent it.

The only thing you really need to know to review a test is a handful of cheating methods, and the ability to see whether or not the treatment group has bigger recovery numbers than the placebo group.

19 January, 2006 15:33  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

The only testimonial I can offer is a cured kid (maybe). While it isn't proof to you, the fact that he never improved in over 7 years with all sorts of therapies and school until I started chelation is proof enough for me.

Lots of people complain about defective PSPs. I got a very good one. No battery trouble. No dead pixels. Does my one good PSP negate all the bad ones?

The real way to test quality control: Take a lot of PSPs off the assembly line and test them. Large numbers reduce the chances of dumb luck.

19 January, 2006 15:35  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Through all of this verbiage, a lot of energy has been expended by those who claim that the people who cure autism are the quacks and pseudoscientists to deny the opposing view. I maintain that those who cure autism are the real scientists and the quacks are those who keep putting the poison into babies that we remove.
Maybe one of you will have that rational thought sink in and decide to join the side of helping kids. Poison should not be injected into infants in any ammount.

19 January, 2006 18:09  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

I don't KNOW they're quacks, and if I'm wrong, it'd be very easy to prove otherwise.

I can't prove they're quacks, and I don't have to. I'm not denying the opposing view: I'm pointing out your repeated failure to support them, despite how easy that action would be.

Your repeated failure to discuss the issue (beyond shouting your unsupported conclusions), combined with the same repeated failure on the part of other commenters is what makes me suspicious of the practioner's quackery.

Your silence is what's denying the issue.

Poison should not be injected into infants in any ammount.

Is it okay for them to breath it in? Because, you know, deep sea divers occasionally got oxygen poisoning, back when they had pure oxygen in scuba tanks. Pure oxygen + 100 feet of depth = DEAD.

"Toxin" is a weasel word, like "chemical." Everything's toxic in the right dose. Even vital things like oxygen and water. Ever heard of hyponatremia? It's caused by overhydration.

"Toxin" should be reserved for things poisonous in very small amounts. You haven't done anything to show that thimerasol fits the description.

On the "mercury" nonsense: It's very deceptive: Do I complain about us putting poisonous chlorine and explosive metallic sodium into our children whenever someone pre-salts potato chips?

You also have yet to do anything to show us that thimerasol is poisonous. Shouting it over and over doesn't prove it.

20 January, 2006 06:31  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

China, zero autism in 1999, 5 million cases 7 years after the introduction of thimerosal laced vaccines. What else do you have to convince a jury it's something else?

20 January, 2006 07:39  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

1. Show me where you got that as-yet-unsupported data. I'm not taking your word for it. Direct weblink, or periodical, volume, issue, and page number.

2. I don't have to convince the jury. I just have to point out reasonable doubt. You're the one claiming that thimerasol is dangerous. The burden of proof is on you. You have to provide more than your say-so.

2. You're the one claiming that chelation cures autism. I need more than your useless smokescreen testimonial game of "he saids" versus the "she saids" I've been restraining myself from saying.

20 January, 2006 07:48  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Unfortunately,neither one of us has to convince a jury because Pharma bought protection for their criminal poisoning from Bush and Frist. Not much different than Al Capone paying off cops to leave the speakeasy's alone, just higher stakes.

20 January, 2006 09:25  
Anonymous anonimouse said...

fore sam,

Why don't you and your pals at GR who are drumming up business for the chelation doctors and trial lawyers (after all, your patriarch Handley IS a venture capitalist - maybe you're all pawns in his business building game) limit your discourse to safe places like the Evidence Of Nothing mailing list.

Because you're seriously not contributing anything to this discussion.

20 January, 2006 09:55  
Blogger clone3g said...

Fore scam: China, zero autism in 1999, 5 million cases 7 years after the introduction of thimerosal laced vaccines

A word of advice here, instead of saying zero cases, you could say something like "a marked increase" which would be more difficult to disprove. Not that anyone has an obligation to disprove your absurd statements, but how difficult would it be to find an 8 year old autistic in China?

20 January, 2006 09:59  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Anonimouse;
You would've needed lots of convincing that the world was round. Poisoning babies is more serious so I hope you and your cohorts learn it now. I don't want your children to suffer.
Clone;
Zero autism before 1943 is also accurate despite ND's ascribing ASD to some brilliant people who they feel like claiming as their own. I'm sure you can find lots of 8 year olds there with ASD since our drug companies didn't just poison the newborns. They sold the stuff to anybody that hadn't already been poisoned. No wonder you can't get a job as an Eli Lilly salesman.

20 January, 2006 11:00  
Anonymous anonimouse said...

By poisoning babies, do you mean untrained doctors giving children potentially lethal drugs like EDTA through IV? You know, the kind of thing that can make a heart stop and kill someone? Or toxic levels of vitamins that cause significant liver damage?

Because if you are, we're on the same page.

20 January, 2006 11:57  
Blogger clone3g said...

Fore Scam: You would've needed lots of convincing that the world was round

I'm pretty sure you would have a hard time convincing anyone that the world is round.

20 January, 2006 12:13  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Fore Sam,

I see that you have decided to stay, after all. How nice!

If it wouldn't be too much bother, could you please show us where you got the numbers on autism in China? At this point, even a web-site would be helpful - it would at least be a place to start looking for the truth of this matter.

Not that I think you're a liar - let's make that clear from the start - but I'm not willing to buy the "zero to five million in seven years" story without at least a little documentation. So how about it, can we see where the numbers came from? Pretty please?


Prometheus

20 January, 2006 13:13  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Prometheus; I was going to cut and paste it for you but I can't figure out how to do it in these popup windows with no "file" on them. I saw the numbers on EOHarm in something Liz Birt was working on before she died. Sorry for the computer illiteracy, they didn't have these contraptions when I went to school.

20 January, 2006 13:39  
Anonymous HCN said...

It is okay, many of us can manage to cut and paste from it.

But here is what you do:

1) Go to www.pubmed.gov

2) put in the search windows the terms "autism china"

3) You should get about 2 pages of cits. One of the more recent ones is this one: Autism and mental retardation of young children in China.


and from 1997 (the time period you say there were NO autistic kids in China) is: Teaching receptive naming of Chinese characters to children with autism by incorporating echolalia.


There is another cite from 1987 that is titled "Infantile autism in China", but there is no abstract.

There seems to be very little information available. When you do find the information from the EOH group, make sure you get the cites to the PRIMARY sources. This means nothing that has been filtered through a journalist, activist or anything with a slightest hint of bias. Acceptable original sources would be census and educational surveys from China.

There is one paper that compared a recent survey with one done in 1987. Its abstract is here: A cross-sectional study on prevalance and risk factors of disabilities in aged 0-6 years children in Beijing, China ... which has this note:
"Compared with data from a countrywide study in 1987, the overall disability rate had a mild decrease (16.36%) with the most (56.85%) appeared in HL" ... they are claiming a DECREASE in disability rate!

20 January, 2006 14:39  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

I just went out for some Chop Suey and chicken fingers and the cook told me that's because they shoot the disabled babies. Sorry, he doesn't have a website.

20 January, 2006 16:26  
Blogger clone3g said...

Tao, K. ( 1982). The problems of diagnosis and classification of infantile autism. Journal of Chinese Neuropsychiatry 2:104

Tao, K. ( 1987). Brief report: infantile autism in China. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 17 ( 20):289-296

Chung, S.Y., Luk, S.L. and Lee, P.W.H. ( 1990). A follow-up study of infantile autism in Hong Kong. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 20:221-232

20 January, 2006 17:03  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

Fore Sam, did you really just say that or did someone co-opt your handle as a joke?

/unfortuately I already know the sad truth.

20 January, 2006 18:06  
Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

In case clone's efforts are too subtle, let me help hit it home with a hammer: those papers are from last century.

20 January, 2006 18:08  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Clone; Those papers were discredited as bad diagnoses.

20 January, 2006 18:26  
Blogger clone3g said...

Did you read that in your fortune cookie?

Listening to Outkast in your Jetta doesn't make you a Gangsta

20 January, 2006 18:50  
Anonymous Gray Falcon said...

First of all, Fore Sam, please back up your dramatic claims with a reference. The Internet is not a context where you take someone at their word alone.

Also, observing these posts, one can see that another common, but not defining, feature of pseudoscience is the fallacious appeal to fear. Note Fore Sam's repeated use of the word "poisoning."

The appeal to fear is sometimes unavoidable, especially in situations where there is a definite threat to life and limb, but to create fear of a threat, before determining if it is real, is not only poor logic, but in some situations, grossly unethical.

20 January, 2006 18:56  
Anonymous HCN said...

Or when faced with information that directly counters his unreferenced assersions he counters with a very bad (a possibly racist) joke... and then a blanket (unreferenced) statement comment about the papers being discredited.

Classice pseudoscience reaction. Ignore, dismiss or refuse to believe evidence that shows they are wrong.

20 January, 2006 22:01  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Fore Sam,

OK, so you can't cut and paste - that's fine. How about typing out where you found the information on Chinese autism numbers?

I must admit that I grow impatient with your excuses and stalling - and your sophomoric attempts at distraction with humor (and humor in poor taste, at that). Do you have a source for your numbers or are you just repeating what someone said in a "blog" posting somewhere?

And if you want to say that a paper has been discredited, you should at least have the guts to put down where you saw that it was discredited. I've checked MedLine, BioSys and Web of Science and can't find anything about those papers being discredited or called into question.

As I've said before, anything I can do to keep you away from parents looking for answers for even a few minutes is worth it to me. So, if you want to waste your time throwing accusations and unsubstantiated Bigfoot-type rumors, you just go right ahead.

If, on the other hand, you have something legitimate to say, feel free to put that in, too.


Prometheus.

21 January, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Prometheus;
I didn't mean to send you on a wild goose chase. It's my faux pas for trying to use humor in talks with with those who have none.
Papers from the 1980's would pretty much be invalidated by all we have learned about autism since then. While establishing that my assertion of zero autism could have been an error, they don't negate the rise from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 166. The drug industry could sell their genetic theory of autism with those numbers without causing anyone to question it. While some self diagnosed Asperger's sufferers want to claim better diagnosis accounts for the rise, I'll still counter with my 3 legged horse that could not possibly be missed. The severe autism contained in that 1 in 166 did not exist before the early 1990's which happens to coincide with HepB on the day of birth along with the Hib, etc.. When that 3 legged horse grows a fourth leg after chelation, that also can not be missed. Someone will put the study together with that awful(sarcasm) anecdotal evidence. The ARI will be the most likely writer. Until then, we can watch these kids vegetate or we can help them with whatever methods are available. Again, I won't hold my breath waiting for the medical profession to admit their error and help the kids they poisoned.
Don't like that word "poison"? My son doesn't like it either. Since it's in his brain, not yours, that makes his opinion more credible.

21 January, 2006 08:54  
Blogger clone3g said...

Try to remember this John: The absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence

21 January, 2006 09:22  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Fore Sam (AKA John Best?),

Let me help you stick to the point.

Where did you get the information that there have been 5 million cases of autism in China since the introduction of thimerosal-containing vaccines?


That's the information I would like from you, and darned if you haven't done everything in your power to avoid providing that information. If I were a cynical person, I'd say that you didn't have any source for that number but rumor and speculation.

That's what I'd like to see in your very next post. If you don't provide it, then we will all have to assume that you made the number up.

After you've done that, perhaps you could explain how "...all we have learned about autism since then [the 1980's]." invalidates diagnoses of autism made in the 1980's. If anything, the diagnostic criteria for autism have gotten looser since the 1980's, so a diagnosis from the 1980's or 1990's would still be valid today.

And please, finish what you've started before trying to introduce new claims. Your simple assertion that what you say is true does not make it true - or even possible.

So, how about it? Are you up to the intellectual challenge of telling us what makes you believe that 5 million Chinese children have become autistic since the introduction of thimerosal-containing vaccines?

Or will you just sulk behind your smokescreen?


Prometheus

21 January, 2006 11:47  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Prometheus;
As I said, I can't figure out how to put it here. EOHarm Yahoo group message #19,809 from 12/30/05, fourth paragraph in Liz Burt's letter to Senator Enzi. Obviously, I can't ask where she found the information.

21 January, 2006 13:10  
Anonymous HCN said...

If it is a Yahoo group message, it does not matter if you can't post the URL since most of us do not belong and cannot go check.

Actually you can ask where she got the information. Just go to the EOHarm Yahoo group, pull up the message and ask other participants where the original data came from. Someone else may know.

You may need to post the studies that have been listed here that show the exact opposite of the claim, and see exactly how far it goes.

21 January, 2006 16:37  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Re: "5 million Chinese children with autism"

I spent a while trying to track down the source of the "5 million" and came up with the following:

[1] No news agency (e.g. AP, Reauters, UPI) has published a news story (i.e. not an editorial written by UPI's senior editor for mercury-causes-autism, Dan Olmsted) about autism numbers in China in the past 5 years that mentions numbers in the millions.

[2] Of the few websites, weblogs etc. repeating this number (and some earlier ones using a figure of "1.8 million") that cite a source, all give either RFK, Jr's "Deadly Immunity" or David Kirby's "Evidence of Harm" as the original source.

[3] Since Kennedy and Kirby both got the bulk of their information from SafeMinds and Generation Rescue (and others of that ilk), it seems likely that someone in that crowd gave them the figure. And since the information does not seem to have ever existed outside of this insular environment, it seems most likely that the number was "made up", although it may also have originated as an "estimate".


Bottom line - there is no data supporting the claim of 5 million (or 1.8 million) new diagnoses of autism since thimerosal-containing vaccines were introduced to China. This appears to be another "urban myth".


Prometheus

21 January, 2006 18:35  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Maybe the whole thing is a myth. Maybe all these autistic kids just don't feel like talking.
A bunch of the people who are trying to cure autism are going to a conference in China this summer. Maybe they will have more info. for us when they return. I have tried many times to find more information about China but it doesn't seem to exist. I heard the 1.8 million number long before RFK's article and I only read Kirby's book to check for accuracy. I don't suppose you'll tell us why you are so opposed to the truth about thimerosal?

21 January, 2006 19:39  
Anonymous Gray Falcon said...

Obviously, Fore Sam missed my point the last time around. I was not objecting simply to his use of the word "poison", but his substitution of loaded language for evidence. If you think that isn't a big deal, just imagine going to court where that is an acceptable substition.

By the way, I do have Asperger's syndrome. I don't mind if you refuse to count me as autistic (at least not classically so), but if you do, you also forfeit all right to use the "1 in 166" statistic, which includes pretty much anyone even near to the spectrum.

21 January, 2006 20:47  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Gray Falcon,

Don't feel too bad, Fore Sam is missing a lot of points these days. For instance, after finally admitting that he can't find out where the "5 million autistic children in China" number came from, he asks me why I'm opposed to "...the "truth about thimerosal"!

Fore Sam,

I am trying to find out the truth about thimerosal and autism - you're the one throwing out bogus numbers and spurious claims, not me. I assume that the rest of your positions are as well thought-out and supported as the one about the rise of autism in China.

It also seems a bit "after the fact" to go to China to gather information about autism prevalence after proclaiming to the world that the number is "skyrocketing". Most people think that you should find out the facts first, before you tell the world what you imagine them to be.

Here's a novel idea! Why don't you wait until someone actually finds out what the autism prevalence in China is, and then come back and tell us all about it. With documentation. You'll pardon me if I don't take your word - "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!"

I can't deny that it's been fun tearing your arguments to shreds, but it hasn't been much of a mental exercise. You can't seem to muster even a minimal amount of data to support what you claim. And when finally pressed to the wall about a claim that you were so terribly emphatic about, we find out that you have no idea where it came from. How disappointing!


Prometheus

21 January, 2006 22:00  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

You can only tear and argument to shreds validly if your position is truthful. Since we know that it is untrue that mercury does not cause autism, it is I who have torn all that you say to shreds.
Sophistry does not cure autism. Chelation does. Your sophistry only serves to increase stock prices for those who poisoned the babies.

22 January, 2006 04:41  
Anonymous andrea said...

Bronze Dog said...
All together now! "The plural of anecdote is not data!"



That is the best quote I have seen in days! Thank you.
andrea

22 January, 2006 07:51  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Since we know that it is untrue that mercury does not cause autism...

We don't know that. That's one of the topics you keep running away from. If it's true, you can at least try to prove it, rather than pluck numbers out of the void.

---

Summary of the entire argument:

Skeptics: Show us the evidence!

Fore Sam: Evidence is sophistry! Here, I'm going to run away from the issue more and use my scaremongering politician-like tactics to try and paint you evil for questioning me, just like McCarthy did for free-speech advocates by labelling them Communists.

---

Sorry, Fore Sam, but hand-waving every argument away as "sophistry" is just your way of immunizing yourself from legitimate arguments. I'm truly beginning to think you're deliberately avoiding honest discourse. We aren't engaging in ivory tower sophistry. Your fallacies are playground/politician level, and should be obvious.

If there is an effort to suppress chelation as a cure, or thimerasol as a cause, you're doing them an enormous favor: You're making all the pro-chelation people look like raving scaremongers.

23 January, 2006 06:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fore sam uses the word "sophistry" because he thinks it makes him sound all educated.

24 January, 2006 15:51  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Don't you mean edumacated? ;)

25 January, 2006 05:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophistimicrated!!

Why do I have an image of Father Mulcahy from *M*A*S*H* saying Sophistry? Sophistry? Sophistry?

Or Sylvester Cat: Shufferin' Shuctosh Shtop all your Shophomoric Shophistric Sholiloquizing you Shnivelling Shimpleton.

25 January, 2006 07:14  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

What I found really annoying about it was its use to avoid very simple points. I suspect, however, it was primarily used as an excuse to avoid discussing dissenting points.

Think it was on Interverbial's blog: Found one entry for common fallacies of the mercury/autism crowd: Appeal to elitism: The implication that somehow one person's argument is inherently more correct than another's. That's pretty much what Fore Sam was apparently saying about his anecdotes: His anecdote is better than any and all negative anecdotes.

And our efforts to point out that elitism and set up countermeasures against such bias (DBCTs) were "sophistry."

25 January, 2006 08:45  
Blogger clone3g said...

Anecdotes can be very attractive to a parent when the "medical establishment" has very little to offer when it comes to treating autism. Good science takes time and no one wants to waste precious time while their child grows older and still autistic. Throw in a sense of urgency like "If you don't get the mercury out while they are young your child will be lost forever" and it's easy to see the attraction.

How many parents swore (swear) secretin cures autism only to find it offered no benefit over placebo in several DBCTs? I wonder if there are any secretin zealots recanting their anecdotes? Where are all of the recovered secretin kids?

25 January, 2006 09:28  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

Lots of comments that don't address the crux of the matter. Cured kids can not be argued with. Tell me how chelation cured them if it wasn't by removing mercury. Just answer that question because all of your other BS is irrelevant.

26 January, 2006 07:49  
Anonymous HCN said...

John Best posting as Fore Sam said "Cured kids can not be argued with. "

Except that we have not seen these "cured" kids. Just you stating that they exist is no proof they actually exist.

So we cannot tell you how chelation cured them if WE DO NOT HAVE THE DATA.

As for now, the data and evidence that is available shows that chelation is only good for heavy metal poisoning, and the type of chelation used is dependent on the level of REAL heavy metal in the body. That is because chelation is actually risky and can be very dangerous.

ALSO... the data and evidence shows that even after chelation is used to treat REAL heavy metal poisoning it does not repair the neurological damage. It only stops the continual deterioration.

So until you can show us real evidence, you have nothing to argue with. The plural of anecdote is not data.

26 January, 2006 08:37  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Fore Sam, why don't you stop assuming your conclusion and prove to us that those kids were cured?

All we have are your unverified, uncontrolled, unblinded just-so stories, and an apparent assumption that somehow your positive anecdotes of apparent success are inherently superior to any negative anecdotes.

It's called "appeal to elitism". It also rests on an apparent, unstated assumption of your perfect perceptive qualities. As far as we know, your "success" might have been a result of natural improvement via hormones or something. You claim to KNOW it wasn't anything else, but you haven't told us how you filtered out alternate explanations. I am not taking your deityhood for granted.

26 January, 2006 09:22  
Anonymous Fore Sam said...

You guys still can't answer my question. Calling parents liars by insisting they conform to any test you deem essential is ridiculous. If a parent thinks their kid is normal, who are you to argue with them?

26 January, 2006 11:23  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

Calling parents liars by insisting they conform to any test you deem essential is ridiculous.

#1 Straw man. We aren't calling them liars. I suspect they're mistaken, but I only suspect.

#2 The test is very basic and very essential. Until you perform it, there's no way of knowing how they recovered, stifling research into cures.

If a parent thinks their kid is normal, who are you to argue with them?

I'm not questioning the children's improvement (at least not yet). I'm questioning the cause of that improvement, since there are people who chelated their children to no effect. You don't seem to be interested in doing anything to show that it was chelation. You seem to be perfectly content to leave that up to faith that your collections of "he saids" are maaaaagically superior to the negative "she saids". Once again, that's called "appeal to elitism."

Tell me how chelation cured them if it wasn't by removing mercury.

Prove to us that it was the chelation that cured them in the first place. That is the issue, and that is what you remain silent about. "Does it work?" is a more fundamental question that "How does it work?" You're assuming from the outset that chelation is responsible for the improvement.

26 January, 2006 11:42  
Blogger Bronze Dog said...

A little more:

If a parent thinks their kid is normal, who are you to argue with them?

A slightly different appeal to elitism to point out: Parents are human. They aren't perfect, and they could very well be mistaken about what caused the improvement, or even about the existence of an improvement. Becoming a parent doesn't render a person immune to confirmation bias, the regressive fallacy, faulty memory, post hoc fallacy, and the myriad other forms of psychological trickery we can perform on ourselves. To claim otherwise is hubris.

I don't know if they're performing those mistakes, but I'm not going to take someone's word for it that they aren't. I want to see countermeasures to mistakes, rather than assumptions of their impossibility.

26 January, 2006 12:49  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Fore Sam,

Can you point out in what decade the mean prevalence rate of autism was ever 1 per 10,000?

I was not the 90s, 80s or 70s. The first autism epidemiology article dates to 1966, but it didn't show 1 per 10,000 either.

I could almost swear that I have told you this in the past.

26 January, 2006 14:06  

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