First of all, a kind of follow on from comments on my last post - Thanks to John H and DT:
There's been a discussion on JABS about echinacea, a herbal supplement which is supposed to boost the immune system and help prevent colds and minor ailments. I tried it once - I told my boss I was feeling a bit under the weather and she recommended it. I didn't feel any better, and once it made me throw up. Still - I suspect it works among those who go for the woo approach (and, while I liked my then boss a lot, she did have "woo" tendencies). Nothing really to worry about though.
However, this particular discussion started when a new poster pointed out a study showing that echinacea, in some people, could cause bowel problems. Could this, given that the Wakefield crew believe that MMR causes bowel problems and those bowel problems cause autism, also cause autism?
Now, I suspect this to be a wind up, but the JABS lot went mental. I'll repost DT's comment on my earlier post, as it says it all really…
But instead of countering the hypothesis with a bit of science based critical analysis and common sense, the jabbers have taken the line of:
- Echinacea is natural! So it is obviously harmless! (Suba)
- North American Indians use echinacea and I haven't heard they have rates of autism of 1:150 (Suba again, Lola and Aasa)
- No-one would give kids echinacea (John Stone, ignoring the fact that plenty would, and the OP specifically talked of the transmissability in breast milk)
- I never gave my son echinacea, so it cannot have caused his autism (John Stone again)
- Remember that it is only vaccines that cause autism, nothing else could possibly do it! (actually that's not in this particular thread, but that's what they think)
- But herbs harm people less than conventional treatments which kill millions of people (Truthseeker)
The fallacious and mind-numbingly stupid and predictable arguments they are trotting out has quite put me off my lunch. All we need now is for Cyberpussy to tell us how Roy Meadows is embroiled in all of this.
Another new(ish) poster - "NikkiC" then chimed in, I suspect simply playing "Devil's Advocate", pointing out that if the JABS regulars were prepared to take the leap of faith that Wakefield suggested, from bowel problems caused by measles vaccine to autism, why was it such a problem to make the leap of faith from gut problems caused by echinacea to autism?
Again, the JABS nutters weren't prepared to argue this with science, or with reference to papers showing the safety of their favourite herb. Oh no. John H sums up their responses to that in a comment here:
You could argue that:
- so is hemlock but it will kill you. To paraphrase a lady contributor "Suba is a twat"
- so there is a causal relationship between taking echinacea and alcoholism is there because there is certainly a correlation in the US Indian population
- maybe the kids got homeopathic doses of echinacea - the less they got the more it would affect them (err maybe)
- ditto. As that lady constantly says "John Stone is a twat" as well.
- words fail me - but you are perfectly right.
- ask Truthseeker to name the millions who died from conventional medicine (OK a tough task, just name what they died from then). As a certain lady says "TruthSeeker is a twat"
Hey - I may not have many readers of this blog, but I like the ones I do have!
What I love about this particular JABS exchange is that if you take the word "echinacea" out, and substitute "MMR", it's exactly the argument that the JABS nuts are trying to push as their whole agenda. There's no real evidence for either being a cause of autistic spectrum disorders, yet they're passionately arguing for one, and getting really nasty arguing against the other.
There's no negotiating with fucking nutters.