• Jeni has a blog, Andrew is a liar.

    by  • 2/8/2009 • science • 7 Comments

    Jeni Barnett opens her ignorant, uninformed, cake hole again with an article MMR and Me;

    I am not a scientist, I would not claim to be a scientist. When tested on the contents of the MMR vaccine I told the truth. I did not have the facts to hand.

    She’s not a scientist, and she didn’t have the facts handy, but she told The Truth when she was asked. Facts apparently have nothing to do with The Truth.

    I find it interesting that the vitriol that comes out of the pro MMR lobby is precisely why Allopathic medicine is struggling. Most of us who seek alternatives allow others their position but often the ‘others’ have a real problem allowing us ours.

    Medicine is struggling? They’re only struggling to understand the willful ignorance and venom that is spat at it. It does get tiring to hear about how science is killing babies and they’re doing it just to make money for Big Pharma… how is that allowing them their position? The lies that the anti-vaxxers tell are shocking and despicable. Science demands real facts, and that is what is so unreasonable?

    Most of the comments seem rather reasonable, likely thanks to the attention of Bad Science more than her regular listeners.

    If members of the medical community – of which, I hasten to add, I am not one – seem vitriolic, I’m not surprised. If I heard you confidently talking nonsense and trashing what I do for a living, without any actual knowledge of what I do, and justifying it simply as ‘opinion’, I’d be livid too. — Robby Elson

    There are a handful of nuts posting comments too, that are just too horrible to believe, including accusing Ben Goldacre of being a shill; that he got a writing award in 2005 from “a Glaxo man.” No link or evidence is presented for that, but I guess gut instinct is just fine.

    Perhaps I should opine on the Clothing Cabal and their profit driven motives for keeping us from the cold in winter. What’s wrong with a little hypothermia, anyway? Haven’t you ever considered the chemicals they use in the manufacture of winter coats and gloves? … It would be a great analogy except for two things: hypothermia and frostbite aren’t contagious and you will be arrested for child endangerment if you let your little ones out of the house in January with only shirtsleeves for clothes. Those are the rather unfortunate differences with the anti-vaccination movement. — kinzuakid

    Oh, and the germ theory denialists show up…

    The measles/MMR propaganda that is hurled at us on a regular basis needs to stop! I would urge parents to start doing their own independent research, not just on MMR but the whole vaccination theory, which is based on the false germ theory and the false antibody theory. — Magda Taylor

    More people confuse the cold virus with measles…

    My daughter is not vaccinated and she is extremely healthy. she is 3 and has rarely ever had a cold for more than 2 days. I made an informed choice and stand by my choice not to vaccinate. — TM

    A rather biting comment from Bob Calder works presents a suggestion that this sort of lunacy should be allowed as it might vaccinate the populace against crazy…

    Thank you Jeni for having the courage to say what you truly believe. If more people were exposed to random blathering, perhaps they would develop the thinking skills necessary to reject blather. I believe the skeptics should not urge you to keep quiet. They should encourage every imaginary causal fairytale to be published in order to help people develop the ability to filter nonsense.

    From Pharyngula, there’s the story of Andrew Wakefield, who appears to have falsified data in a 1998 report that claimed a link between vaccination and autism. His paper was published in the Lancet and has been often quoted and sourced. It appears that the paper had a rather large success in convincing people not to vaccinate their kids;

    Despite involving just a dozen children, the 1998 paper’s impact was extraordinary. After its publication, rates of inoculation fell from 92% to below 80%. Populations acquire “herd immunity” from measles when more than 95% of people have been vaccinated.

    Last week official figures showed that 1,348 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales were reported last year, compared with 56 in 1998.

    The infection rates for measles are growing at an alarming rate, perhaps because the vaccines were working. There are lines showing dramatic increases in infection and in death due to opting out of vaccinations, and that alone is excellent reason to proceed with the course of vaccination.

    In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated

    This from The Times (UK) in an article titled ‘MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism.’

    • So, 12 kids in the study who ‘caught’ autism from the shot.

    • All but one are apparently incorrect based on records.

    • In many cases there were real medical reasons to not vaccinate.

    There’s a whole lot more stories on Wakefield’s questionable ethics from Brian Deer who did an interesting piece on Wakefield’s practice and this study.

    Nine months before Andrew Wakefield and London’s Royal Free hospital medical school unleashed a global scare over the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, they filed, on June 5 1997, the first of a string of patent applications for theoretically vastly profitable products which could only succeed if MMR’s reputation was damaged. These included a purported safer measles vaccine – a potential competitor to MMR – and treatments for bowel disease and autism. All were based on claims that measles virus in MMR was at fault

    Where’s your Messiah now, hmmm?


    7 Responses to Jeni has a blog, Andrew is a liar.

    1. 2/8/2009 at 12:46 pm

      It is true that Dr Ben Goldacre won a Science Writers Award. What is less well known is that the shortlist included CAM-sympathetic journalists such as Jerome Burne who was the co-author of Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs with Patrick Holford. Apparently, Jerome Burne has never quite recovered from not winning the award that he coveted so much.

      We’ll add you in to the coverage on the Jeni Barnett and Ben Goldacre MMR LBC issue.

    2. Pingback: Jeni Barnett and the LBC Radio MMR Vaccine Segment: Updated with links of blog coverage « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

    3. xinit
      2/8/2009 at 2:46 pm

      In the event it’s unclear, the Messiah I refer to is that of the anti-vaxxers; Wakefield.

      The award site http://www.sciencewritersawards.co.uk/science/past/2005/index.htm lists the judges, and I’m not seeing anyone there who’s obviously a Big Pharma employee; mostly writers and editors. Had the CAM-friendly one won the award, I can imagine how they’d crow about it being a big victory against science…

    4. 2/8/2009 at 11:40 pm

      I’ve done another round-up post — who is saying what about the Deer articles on Wakefield in the London Times. I’ve included this post.

      11 years on, Wakefield Manufactured Data showing MMR-Autism Link?

    5. 2/20/2009 at 4:33 am

      It turns out journalist Brian Deer made it up:-
      “Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation”:

      And he was helping the US Justice Dept sink 4500 US kids claims for vaccine damage compensation – what kind of normal journalist does that? Ans: none.
      “US Federal Court, US Justice Dept & The Sunday Times – More Questions Than Answers”

    6. xinit
      2/20/2009 at 2:26 pm

      Clifford… neither of those links you post seem to include any real information at all. They read like standard, unscientific, non-critical, anti-vaccination tripe.

      “ChildHealthSafety will in addition be publishing further scientific evidence from published papers showing clear evidence of the direct causal association between vaccines and autism. ”

      There is no scientific causal association yet, so this would be impressive. I’m not holding my breath, mind you.

    7. 2/20/2009 at 2:55 pm


      Your opinion noted. Other can read the information and form their own. Here is a working version of the second link – the previous one is not working:-

      You are changing the subject from Brian Deer being the complainant in the UK GMC proceedings and not being able to substantiate his denials by publishing his correspondence with the GMC without showing he is. Understandable as he is the original complainant and is trying hard digging himself in deeper on various blogs.

      On the new subject, the vaccine court has already decided cases of a causal association between vaccines and autism so you can breath out now [and there will be more]:-

      “AUTISM – US Court Decisions and Other Recent Developments – Itís Not Just MMR”

      So it is unsurprising parents in the USA are nonplussed by the latest decisions in the Cedillo and other cases.

      And you can of course always take a look here as can others to make their own minds up:-
      “Explaining Vaccines Autism & Mitochondrial Disorder”

      The expression “scientific causal association” is not the appropriate terminology. The assessment of adverse drug reactions is a clinical assessment and medicine is not science, albeit some engaged in research activity endeavour to apply the scientific method to medical research.

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