Saturday, July 08, 2006

We interrupt this blog for breaking news...

Extreme Humiliation - A New Sport for the Mercury-Autism Crowd?

Kathleen Seidel, in her Neurodiversity website, has broken what may be the "story of the year" about the "dysfunctional duo" of Geier and Geier (the subjects of many posts on this humble blog). The story is told, with great skill, by Kevin Leitch on his Left Brain/Right Brain blog.

In a nutshell (which is where Geier, Sr. belongs, it would seem), in an opinion handed down on 6 July, 2006, pertaining to a lawsuit alleging that the thimerosal in RhoGam caused a young child's autism, District Court judge James Beaty addressed the qualifications (or patent lack thereof) of Mark Geier, MD in excruciating detail. Kevin covers the published legal opinion thoroughly, but there were a few aspects that I personally found too delicious to pass by.

On page 9 of the opinion, Judge Beaty discusses how Mark Geier has testified in "about one hundred cases before the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program" and how his testimony, since 1995, has "...either been excluded or accorded little or no weight based upon a determination that he was testifying beyond his expertise." He then proceeds to enumerate those humiliations in a footnote. Ouch! To have your personal failings summed up in a footnote - how humiliating!

Judge Beaty then describes how Mark Geier "...relied on a number of disparate and unconnected studies, including the findings of Dr. Haley [more about him later] and Dr. Lucier, to reach a piecemeal conclusion..." That one's going to leave a bruise. And it just happens to be what I've been saying about the mercury-autism cohort for some time - but Judge Beaty said it so much more eloquently.

Not content with just saying the obvious, Judge Beaty then methodically dismantles Mark Geier's case for thimerosal causing autism, study by study. He even takes the time to dismantle the Hornig "Rain Mouse" study and - my favorite - the Holmes/Blaxill/Haley baby haircut study (see here and here). It's like we're the same person! He then restates what he has made so painfully obvious:

"It is also significant in the review of his methodology that Dr. Geier could not point to a single study that conclusively determined that any amount of mercury could cause the specific neurological disorder of autism."

Bang! Another hickory stake through the heart of that undead spirit, the shade of mercury-autism.

And in yet another painful restatement of reality, Judge Beaty concludes:

"Moreover, Dr. Geier's conclusion that the peer-reviewed literature he has relied upon supports his theory [more properly termed a "hypothesis" or even "ridiculous obsession"] that autism can be caused by thimerosal is flatly contradicted by all of the epidemiological studies available at this time."


Bang, bang! Yet another stake through the heart!

In a footnote, Judge Beaty points out that irrational public statements can come back to haunt a person:

"Dr. Geier has also exhibited some bias against health agencies that have criticized his methodologies on other issues to the extent that he has publicly accused the Centers for Disease Control ("CDC"), the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatricians, and the National academy of Sciences of deceiving the American public as to the dangers of mercury and has specifically called the CDC a 'rogue organization' "

And it keeps getting better! Judge Beaty sums up his assessment of Mark Geier's ability to be an expert witness on the ability of thimerosal to cause autism thusly:

"Thus, while Dr. Geier's presentation of the literature as part of his methodology might at first glance appear convincing, the disconnected literature he presents does not add up to the opinion and conclusion that Dr. Geier is offering."

He then rips into the Geier and Geier dumpster-diving (VAERS database) studies in a most thorough fashion. Having dismantled them, he concludes that he need go no further in discrediting Mark Geier's testimony and then, like an encore after a virtuoso performance, he proceeds to shred Mark Geier's qualifications in general. He criticizes the elder Geier's diagnostic abilities, points out that he is neither a pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist and brings up the painful (to Mark Geier - I found it delightfully ironic) fact that Mark Geier failed his pediatric genetics board examination.

After all that, there wasn't much else that could be said about the thoroughly discredited Mark Geier, unless Judge Beaty wanted to comment on his taste in ties.

And Mark Geier wasn't the only person getting a solid dose of ego-spanking in this opinion. Boyd Haley, who should be eternally grateful that he didn't come fully into the spotlight in this case, also got his measure of ego-trauma. In a footnote (which makes it even more humiliating, somehow), Judge Beaty describes the contributions of Boyd Haley, PhD, MCDU (Mad Child Disease Unapologist) thusly:

"...Dr, Haley's report does not state an expert opinion that thimerosal causes autism, rather just that he has a theory about how such a thing could happen." [emphasis in the original]

Were I Boyd Haley, I would be glad to have been accorded so little notice and thus have escaped a more detailed humiliation. However, the ego of this "great scientist" must smart a bit after being dismissed so casually.

So, all in all it was a happy outcome for the forces of reason and honesty. It also may be a foreshadowing of things to come when the massive (and long-delayed - by the plaintiffs) class-action vaccine lawsuit reaches the put-up-or-shut-up stage later this year.

I'll have the popcorn ready for that one!


Prometheus

7 Comments:

Anonymous andrea said...

You said, "After all that, there wasn't much else that could be said about the thoroughly discredited Mark Geier, unless Judge Beaty wanted to comment on his taste in ties."

By this, were you referring to Geier's taste in neckwear, or those with whom he associates?

Great post either way. Thankful am I that I have learned to swallow my hot beverage of the hour before reading! (Prevents a lot of screen-cleaning from insufficiently-contained outbursts of laughter.)

andrea

08 July, 2006 09:05  
Blogger clone3g said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

08 July, 2006 09:23  
Anonymous Camille said...

Thanks Prometheus. This was a fun read. It is encouraging to see the forces of justice act on behalf of reason and sanity. And the extrme humiliation of Pappa Doc is just icing on the cake, isn't it? Somehow I think that Doc Geier wouldn't even notice that he'd been soundly paddled.

08 July, 2006 10:52  
Anonymous Skeptico said...

“In a nutshell (which is where Geier, Sr. belongs, it would seem)”

And

“After all that, there wasn't much else that could be said about the thoroughly discredited Mark Geier, unless Judge Beaty wanted to comment on his taste in ties.”

ROFL

Great write-up. I love the idea this is a new sport.

08 July, 2006 14:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Beatty learn how to find the truth from Lance Ito?

08 July, 2006 18:45  
Blogger Flea said...

Prometheus,

I have a family and a job and I have been scanting both by blogging. Good for you man. Welcome back and give 'em hell!

Flea

09 July, 2006 06:08  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Fantastic piece, Prometheus. A smackdown of monumental proportions.

Also good to see you blogging again.

10 July, 2006 08:19  

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