It’s your monster, you deal with it

One thing I try to do is not to alienate people to the point that they’ll outright hate me. Even my so-called enemies get some measure of compassion from me. When I have a falling-out with a friend or colleague, I try to make things better. More than anything, I try to show some goddamn integrity when people turn on me. “Oh, you’re coming at me with the same stuff I came at you? Fair enough.”

This is not true in the world of the anti-vaccine activists.

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How much more should we waste on this?

Another day, another study dispelling the myth that vaccines cause autism. I’ve often wondered why scientists at world-renowned institutions spend valuable time and money trying to appease people who see monsters under their beds. Do they do that at home, too? Do they look under the bed each and every night for decades, just to appease the kid? I wouldn’t. There would come a time when I look the kid in the eye and say something like, “Look, kid, there is nothing there. There are no monsters. There never were. There never will be. I don’t care how much you want to believe in those monsters to explain away your life or your situation. We are not discussing this anymore. Period.”

Of course, real life is not at all like that. In real life, we need to appease people, especially people in power or people who are very, very outspoken about their perceived wrongs. So, yet again, we have another study that concludes that, hey, vaccines don’t cause autism.

Big, fat surprise.

But, really, how much more do we need to focus on vaccines as the causative agents of autism? Ten more studies? Five? Fifteen? And how much more money do we throw at the dragon? A million dollars? Ten million?

The people who are anti-vaccine don’t care for those questions. They want us, the scientists, to repeat the studies, repeat the lab tests, and re-analyze the data until they get the answer that they “feel” is the right one. They feel that their child regressed immediately after the vaccines, so the vaccines are to blame. They feel that their child wouldn’t be “lost” had they not vaccinated their child, so the vaccines are to blame.

And so on, and so forth. So where does it end? When do we, the adults in this conversation, tell them, the anti-vaccine groups, that enough is enough? When do we tell them to stop looking for monsters and look for programs and services to help their kids be all that they can be?

Today? Tomorrow? When?

There are monsters under your bed, in your closet, and just about everywhere else

There’s this kid who is studying epidemiology. He means well by trying to learn a discipline where you get to learn how event B coming after event A doesn’t mean that A caused B. But that’s not how his brain seems to work. In his mind, there are monsters everywhere. There is nothing that happens by chance in his world. Everyone is connected, and everyone is against him.

When he wasn’t allowed in to harass his target of choice, he claimed that it was because Big Pharma considers an enormous threat. Here’s his explanation of why he was not allowed in (CFI is the “Center for Inquiry”, a skeptic group based in Washington, DC, where the kid goes to school:

“CFI’s pharmaceutical ties run deep. Dr. Jonathan Tobert – retired Merck scientist who developed the first statin drug – sits on CFI’s board of directors. Prior to his appointment to the board, he had already supported the organization for 30 years according to CFI’s website. For 24 of those 30 years, he was employed by Merck until retiring from the company in 2004 to join an FDA panel through that ever-revolving door between government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. CFI president, bio“ethicist” Ronald Lindsay, headlined a recent conference with bio“ethicist” Arthur Caplan, director of the Penn Center for Bio“ethics.” Caplan chaired GlaxoSmithKline’s bio“ethics” advisory panel for three years and is vehemently opposed to vaccine choice.”

That’s right. Merck and GSK tremble at the thought of this kid. It doesn’t stop there, however. The conspiracy goes all the way to the White House.

When a PhD who is the father of a child with autism and has done research on autism was named to a federal committee on autism, the kid went off on a rant about it. Aside from all the ad hominem attacks, his rant included a conspiracy theory that the White House named the person on some twisted logic of ties and associations.

Perhaps not everyone is a monster in the mind of this kid. He absolutely worships the man whose fraudulent study brought about the fear of the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine. He worships this fraudulent man so much that the kid now sees an elaborate conspiracy behind a recent legal finding against his deity:

“Amy Clark Meachum, the judge who threw Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s case out of district court by essentially saying that BMJ, Fiona Godlee and Brian Deer can libel him all they want since they are from the UK, is married to a lobbyist named Kurt Meachum of Philips & Meachum Public Affairs.

According to Texas Tribune Lobbyist’s directory, Kurt Meachum’s client, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, earned him $10,000-$25,000 in 2011 alone. What is the significance of this? Family physicians give many vaccinations as a considerable part of their practice. But that’s hardly the beginning of the story.

In 2010, the Texas Academy of Physicians sponsored a talk given by none other than Pharma Front Group President and Founder Alison Singer at a vaccine industry conference no less. Her group, “Autism Science Foundation,” was founded for the expressed purpose of discouraging vaccine-autism research. Despite telling parents to vaccinate recklessly at the 2010 Texas Immunization Summit, Singer split the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine in three separate shots for her second daughter, who does not have autism, unlike her first who received the combined shot.”

See that? The judge’s husband works for a PR firm that had the Texas Academy of Family Physicians as his client. The Texas Academy of Family Physicians had Alison Singer of the Autism Science Foundation as a speaker in 2010. And, because the Autism Science Foundation is a “Pharma Front Group” in this kid’s mind, then the judge ruled against the deity because…

Because…

Well, I really don’t know. How do that many degrees of separation represent a conflict of interest? Did Big Pharma pay money to Alison Singer in 2010 to speak to the Academy to influence their PR person to tell his wife to rule against the deity, when the [expletive deleted] deity didn’t file the suit until 2012?

Is that how it works?

It must be tough to live in that fearful little mind.

But that is the modus operandi of this silly little boy. He sees conspiracies and conflicts of interest and associations everywhere. They’re probably under his bed and in his closet.

When the disgraced son of a former politician wrote an anti-vaccine article and then the article was retracted (as it was full of misinformation), the kid saw a conspiracy.

When a reported at TIME magazine rightfully called his deity a fraud, the conspiracy behind that article went all the way to the United Kingdom.

And when CBS and the Huffington Post began publishing stories about the irresponsibility of anti-vaccine writers, the conspiracy there was that Big Pharma is making editorial decisions at those outfits.

And the motivation behind THIS blog post? I’m sure he’ll find out that Big Pharma paid the daughter of the wife of an immigration lawyer who represented my groundskeeper who did a hell of a job with my lawn… And that’s why I’m writing this. 😉