Not an epidemiologist and definitely not a lawyer

Honestly, I didn’t know that “echoey” was a word. It is. I had heard it before, but I never really had to use it. Anyway, let’s get on to what’s on my mind.

Have you ever heard of totalitarianism? It a term commonly used by anti-vaccine and anti-science activists to describe those of us who advocate for vaccine requirements to keep us all safe. Like with most other terminology that is complicated and multi-faceted, they get it wrong. Totalitarianism is when the government wields absolute (“total”) control over the lives of its citizens. We see examples of these kinds of governments today in some of the dictatorships that still dot the globe. Totalitarianism is different than authoritarianism in that authoritarianism has one party (or person, or small group) in power, with very little to no opposition. Totalitarianism is when the government, no matter what kind of government it is, controls all. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

You know who wants a totalitarian state? The kid. Follow me on this one. In his latest rant, the kid talks about wanting the courts to decide whether or not The Lancet re-publishes the already retracted, fraudulent paper from Wakefield et al. I’m not joking. Go over and read it. He wants The Lancet to re-publish it because in Crosby’s Labyrinth matters of science should be settled by the courts, i.e. the government. Can you imagine?

The kid even went and emailed the ombudsman at The Lancet, complaining like a little girl with scraped knee that Wakefield’s paper should be un-retracted. His logic?

“A paper remains retracted by your medical journal on the basis of findings since overturned by a High Court Ruling. It is long past due that that paper, “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” by Wakefield et al. be fully restored to the published record.

A 2010 judgment by the General Medical Council was the basis for the Lancet’s retraction…”

Was it the 2010 judgment that led to the retraction of the paper? Nope, it was the fraud. The judgment just confirmed what everyone saw coming for years. Like with other things, the kid gets causality all jumbled up. He thinks that the editors at The Lancet saw the GMC judgment and went, “Hey, we need to retract this.” Not so. They saw the evidence put forth by Brian Deer since about 2004 and decided that the GMC finding was the final straw. Wakefield et al did not stand up to scrutiny anymore, and it should not be part of the evidence in evidence-based medicine. Take away the GMC finding, and the paper still doesn’t stand to scrutiny.

But that doesn’t matter to the kid and his team. They want the courts to rule:

“I must say I am very puzzled as to how there are not sufficient grounds to overturn this retraction when the GMC findings it was based on have been overturned by the High Court. As you can see from the quotes in my previous email, the ruling judge explicitly stated in his findings that the GMC was wrong to deny that the patients described in the paper were consecutively referred. He also struck down the GMC’s findings that the investigations described in the paper required ethical approvals that were not obtained, which the Lancet also cites as its basis for keeping the paper retracted. So how can this retraction stand without remaining in contempt of the High Court?”

I tried to keep myself from laughing. Why? What’s so humorous? He wants The Lancet to un-retract a fraudulent paper based on a court decision, a decision that didn’t order The Lancet to un-retract it. He actually thinks that not un-retracting the paper makes The Lancet be in contempt of court. It’s hilarious!

Again, it’s par for the course for anti-vaxxers. When the science doesn’t support them, they turn to the courts, the government. They want totalitarianism when they can’t have a democracy of rationally-minded people looking over evidence and weighing it appropriately, scientifically. If it were up to them, we’d have creationism instead of biology in school, validating their views instead of reality.

The kid should stick to, uh, whatever he’s doing right now because neither epidemiology nor law are his forte.

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