February 10, 2010

Two Degrees Of Jenny McCarthy

This just in from Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy:

Dr Andrew Wakefield, whose vacctivist shitstorm-causing article was just formally retracted by The Lancet after his data was discovered to be fabricated and his research methodology was found by a British professional panel to be unethical, is the target of a highly coordinated, no-holds-barred, all-expenses paid, media smearing campaign, wherein a "kangaroo court" was manipulated by Big Vaccine and the Medical Establishment to prevent the publication of Wakefield's new, explosive study, which involves fourteen monkeys, and which shows that vaccines do too cause autism.

Now if only Jenny weren't so busy challenging the peer-reviewed medical journal system and writing forewords for authors whose publishers buy ads on DT, she could tell me where to find that underrated masterpiece, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, on Blu-Ray. Seriously, that was even better than Cat In The Hat.

I just realized that both of those movies were based on books written by a doctor. This can't be a coincidence!

A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys [ageofautism.com via @dadcentric]

9 Comments

"written by a doctor"... awesome.

It always annoys me that around when she was working on being the blondest blond chick on 90210, I was working on a university psychology statistics course where the professor's mantra was "correlation does not imply causation".

Clearly your statistics professor brainwashed you into not being able to understand the real world.

How do I know? Jenny McCarthy didn't play the blond chick on 90210. That was Jennie Garth. And if you don't know simple FACTS like that, how is Jenny McCarthy supposed to trust that you understand THEORIES like correlation/causation, evolution or gravity?

Oh, sweet, sweet irony: a guy who became famous by literally talking out of his ass (Ace Ventura!) is now the spokesman for the anti-vaccine movement.

"There is no question that the publication of the monkey study will lend substantial credibility to the theory that over-vaccination of young children is leading to neurological damage, including autism."

We know this because Dr. Wakefield doctored his results in his previous survey.

I love studies where we know the outcomes before they're done. I'm curious why he hasn't published already since the outcome is already known?

But the "correlation does not equal causation" crowd needs to read the data too. Because "correlation does not equal causation" is not the same statement as "correlation can never equals causation". I.e. just because there is a correlation doesn't mean it's the cause. But at the same time just because there's a correlation does not mean it's not the cause. You're just the anti-Jenny McCarthy.

so absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?

I'm not anti-Jenny McCarthy; I just don't have much confidence in her as a source of authoritative scientific information.

The real problem, and it will unfortunately continue until the medical community is able to make real research and treatment progress and coalesce on the approaches to dealing with ASD, is not correlation/causation; it's the universal vs the individual or anecdotal.

Every parent of an ASD kid is forced to become an "expert" on the medicine and research surrounding their kid's condition. They're asked to rely on--psychologically, to cede control of their family's and kid's lives to--doctors who may not have answers or be able to produce positive enough results. So parents are left to each other to seek support, on-the-ground anecdotal advice from other ASD parents, and they're driven, understandably, to search for help or certainty when the mainstream medical community's unable to provide it.

And they have to do all this while raising a kid--exhausting and tough enough in the best circumstances--who is exhibiting some degree of atypical behavior or development. Which could be putting it mildly.

So I don't doubt that Jenny McCarthy or any parent isn't the expert or frontline observer of their own kid. But it doesn't necessarily follow that that expertise is scientifically transferable to my or other kids.

Yeah man. I really feel for these people. They're desperate, scared and angry--they're parents who have something wrong with their kids, something for which they have no good answers.

But that doesn't mean that they're not also doing harm. It's a religion, and that's painfully obvious when they start evoking conspiracy theories.

Says McCarthy et all: "For the past decade, parents in our community have been clamoring for a relatively simple scientific study that could settle the debate over the possible role of vaccines in the autism epidemic once and for all."

They're probably not going to get that. Live isn't that simple, as much as we might want it to be. I'd be scared and angry, too if I were them. But I hope I wouldn't go on a crusade encouraging other people to do harm to their children, while instilling false hope. This is the problem many of us have with the anti-vaccine crowd: They're not doing good, they're causing harm.

I also tend to agree with the over-sanitary/rise of asthma/cancers idea. Autism? I shouldn't think so, though, given how early its symptons display.

Autism has been found to be caused by more women having children later in life, meaning over 30. Just like Jenny.

Physician, heal thyself!

to daddytypes:
(please excuse my grammar, English is not my fist language)
Evidently you are a parent of vaccinated children, you probably done your research and with your partner taken the decision to vaccinate your children, you must have analyzed the pro's and con's and decided that this was the best for you guys. On our neck of the woods we have done the same and decided to not vaccinate our son, my wife breastfeed him for 2 years and 8 months, no doctors, no pediatricians , no ear problems ,no allergies, just a regular healthy kid, he is now 3 1/2 years. On the other hand, at the place where i used to work, a coworker lady did just the opposite, bottle from the very first minute, all the vaccines and everything else in the medical book, and her daughter was perfect, no problems ,very healthy, the point I'm trying to make is that, as long as we take an educated decision about an issue, we will be able to live better with the outcome of it, so, you have done your homework, so do we.
by the way,just today .. Dr. Scott Reuben, a former member of Pfizer's speakers' bureau, has agreed to plead guilty to faking dozens of research studies that were published in medical journals.in what's being called the largest research fraud in medical history.
peace
Jorge

Thanks for the comment, Jorge. I assume your self-education includes studying on the risks and effects of the debilitating and potentially deadly childhood diseases vaccines are designed to prevent, such as mumps, measles, scarlet fever, and polio. And that you mitigate your kid's risk of contracting these diseases by not exposing him to a largely unvaccinated population. You can coast by on the herd immunity, at least until enough people decide they prefer the risk of horrible diseases that no one's seen in generations to some hypothetical and scientifically discredited risk of vaccine-related neurotoxins.

As for the complete non sequitur about Reuben, maybe you could provide a link, too, since his fraud and his completely fabricated studies involved pain medications and anti-depressants--including Pfizer's Celebrex, Merck's Vioxx, and Wyeth's Effexor--but had absolutely nothing to do with vaccines or even pediatric medicine:

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

If your point is that Wakefield is only the 2nd most far-reaching medical research fraud of the last few years, though, I will agree with you for now, at least until we see how devastating and longlasting the anti-vaccination myths he instigated turn out to be.

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