Look to your left, Mr. Bateson

It has always been very funny to me that anti-vaccine types who believe, desperately, that thimerosal causes autism (because mercury) are quick to blame the MMR vaccine for autism as well. MMR never had thimerosal in it, so it must be that it causes autism some other way. Anti-vaccine activists bend over backwards to find evidence that fits their theory, not the other way around. One such piece of work is Tony Bateson, he’s been looking for autistic children who are unvaccinated:

“WIth Britain’s annual birth rate of 600,000 upwards this meant that 60,000 a year for forty years, 2.4 millions may not have had paediatric vaccines! Astonishing then that I could not find even a handful of unvaccinated people who were autistic out of that vast pool.”

He reiterates this demand for unvaccinated autistic children in comments on science blogs:

“Of coourse it is extremely difficult to find an environmental cause for autism when an enormous barrage of dollars is directed towards frustrating that search. For my small part I have relentlessly searched for autistic people who are not vaccinated without ever finding one who is unequivocally so. I do not mean just amongst my neighboours and acquaintances I mean amongst hundreds of autistic families I know (I was Vice Chairman of the UK National Autistic Society and knew hundreds) and as a prolific writer, broadcaster and website owner, I made contact with thousands. Just where are the unvaccinated?”

And here:

“Autism is decidely not congenital. Autism is not present in unvaccinated peoples nor in the unvaccinated population of the UK.”

Such conviction to his beliefs. He must truly believe it.

And on Left Brain / Right Brain:

“For heavens sake where do they all come from? Look it is simple – there are no autistic people in populations where there has been no vaccination! Over three million kids have not been vaccinated in the UK where vaccination is optional and parents have chosen not to vaccinate. More than ten years of aggressive searching in this group has failed to find autistic people! Like the Amish, like Homefirst there are no autistic people in this group.

Let the vaccine lobby explain what the prevalence of autism is in unvaccinated groups. That is the only evidence worth having. Wake up America.”

The only person who needs to wake up is Mr. Bateson. He writes for Age of Autism, right? Kim Stagliano, who writes and is an editor at AoA has a child who is not vaccinated and is autistic. So, there you go, Mr. Bateson, that’s one. Shall we continue?

One of the reasons why we scientists and reasonable people can say without a doubt that autism is not caused by vaccines is because we’ve compared rates of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. To do so, we required to find unvaccinated with autism, otherwise we wouldn’t have a rate of autism in that population. (Zero divided by any number throws out an error in any statistical package… And in math, you cannot divide zero.) Mr. Bateson could go to any of those researchers, email them, and just ask for the numbers of unvaccinated autistics. In a perfect world, the fool would just pick up those papers and look at the tables.

But that would be a reality-shattering proposition for him, I suppose. Like any other anti-vaccine activist, he comes off at the kind of person who would crumble into a heap of goo at the sight of evidence conflicting with his reality.

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9 thoughts on “Look to your left, Mr. Bateson

  1. You have to understand why people like Mr. Bateson are given platforms to guest blog and post comments on Age of Autism.

    – He fits right in with the editors and the “contributors”, who, like him, are science illiterates and who, like him, in their own unique ways, are anti-vaccine zealots.

    – As a “guest blogger”, he fills space on AoA…because Dan and his crowd are basically lazy, who live off the advertising income from ad space sales, from quack organizations and businesses that sell quack treatments.

    You’ll notice that *few of them (with the exception of Mrs. Parker and Twyla), ever venture off AoA to post comments on science blogs. They know, they get their kishkes handed to them by posters who actually know science.

    Anne Dachel’s canned Spam comments and Harold Doherty’s single drive-by posts, don’t count.

    If Bateson ever met a totally unvaccinated autistic person (as verified by a blank Vaccine Record), he’d claim that it was the vaccines given to that person’s grandparents or parents…or fourth cousin-twice removed…which caused the person to “become” autistic. Such is the nature of these totally irrational anti-vaxxers.

    • Lilady, I suspect he’d blame vaccines given to the mother or, more likely, surreptitiously given to the child.
      Such are the ways of paranoia.

  2. I see I repeated the link in the article in my moderated comment. I’ll just remove it and just keep the other one (there are quite a few at LBRB):

    Years ago he would come to LBRB and make those claims. Then several would tell him about Stagliano’s youngest and others, there were even a couple of parents of unvaxed kids that were autistic. Bateson would then move the goal posts. He would say he himself had not met them, then that he had not seen their medical records, and finally the criteria was that they had to show up at his front door with their medical records.

    See also: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/09/13/thimerosal-in-vaccines-did-not-cause-an-autism-epidemic/comment-page-2/

    • Oh my, I see that I did point Master Bateson in the direction of the GR survey which included unvaccinated autistics and yet he bleats on years later. I’m afraid he’s not helping the anti-vaxxers look any better.

      • While the internets often do not forget, sadly, Mr. Bateson does have a cheesecloth memory.

  3. While a statistical package would indeed throw an error on a division by zero, mathematically, it is not impossible to do so.
    One would do so in certain complex mathematical problems involving infinity.
    Needless to say, those are vanishingly small numbers of equations.
    Notable is the fact that such equations would never be utilized in epidemiology, hence it’s merely an academic matter.

    As for the individual you’ve mentioned, he’d likely proclaim any real evidence, such as the papers you reference, are somehow magically tained by the Grand Conspiracy of the Space Aliens (my usual disparagement of most consipracy theories). It’s always far easier to point a finger and shout “Blame, blame, blame!” than to actually review cold, hard facts.
    That’s one of the reasons the ancient Athenians never permitted the idiot to vote. Only the well educated property owner and professional could.

  4. Years ago he would come to LBRB and make those claims. Then several would tell him about Stagliano’s youngest and others, there were even a couple of parents of unvaxed kids that were autistic. Bateson would then move the goal posts. He would say he himself had not met them, then that he had not seen their medical records, and finally the criteria was that they had to show up at his front door with their medical records.

    See: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/01/21/another-hit-job-from-aoa/comment-page-1/

    and: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/09/13/thimerosal-in-vaccines-did-not-cause-an-autism-epidemic/comment-page-2/

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