Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Excellent piece on the dangers of anti-vaccine wingnuttery

An excellent piece today in The Guardian on the dangers of anti-vaccine lies. Those hateful people like Stone, Jake Crosby, Jenny McCarthy, Meryl Dorey et al should give it a good read, then think about their actions, and the number of children they're helping to doom to an early death.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Astounding quote mining from John Stone at AoA

John Stone's latest Age of Autism latest post contains a spectacular piece of quote mining.

The story is a piece rubbishing the search for genetic causes for autism, and starts off by criticising a BBC story which covered a link discovered between a genetic condition and ADHD. I must admit, I also felt that the story as reported by the BBC and in other places claimed greater things than the study actually showed, but that didn't immediately invalidate the whole search for genetic causes of conditions for me.

However, Stone then goes on to pull this quote from a Daily Telegraph opinion piece by Steve Jones - professor of genetics at University College London;

"In other words, our chances of being born with a predisposition to a common illness such as diabetes or heart disease are not represented by the roll of a single die, but a gamble involving huge numbers of cards. Some people are dealt a poor mix and suffer as a result. Rather than drawing one fatal error, they lose life's poker game in complicated and unpredictable ways. So many small cards can be shuffled that everyone fails in their own private fashion. Most individual genes say very little about the real risk of illness. As a result, the thousands of people who are paying for tests for susceptibility to particular diseases are wasting their money."

Stone uses this to suggest that all research into genetic causes of disease and conditions is a waste of time. What Professor Jones goes on to say, however, is nothing of the kind.

"Not all the news is bad, however. Some genes, even those that have a small influence, hint at what may be going wrong in the case of a particular malady. Several of those behind a certain age-related blindness that runs in families are involved in the immune system – an unexpected finding that hints at what its cause might be, and where to start looking for a cure.

Even so, many geneticists now think that the constant pressure to sample thousands and thousands more people for a myriad of unknown genes that have a tiny effect may be misplaced. Instead, we would be better off abandoning the scattergun approach, and reading off the entire three thousand million DNA letters of a much smaller number of individuals, healthy and unhealthy, to see in detail what might have gone wrong.

Professor Jones is simply arguing that we're going about the search for genetic causes the wrong way - that genetic causes are more complicated than was at first thought, and we should change approach.

Not quite what you're suggesting, is it John?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Callous Disregard price countdown...

Andrew Wakefield's useful (if you need to prop a door open) tome of lies and bollocks is now at $10.60 on Amazon.com. According to Google, that's £6.67 (UK cover price £17.40) at today's exchange rates. Anyone want to bet when I'll be able to pick up a copy for a penny?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Excellent resource

Thanks to Dr Anthony Cox, I've been pointed towards this excellent vaccine resource;

There's a comprehensive history of vaccines, a great section explaining some common vaccine myths / lies, and all kinds of interesting, well explained, um, *stuff*.

Next time someone chucks up a vaccine myth - point them towards this. It won't change the view of the lunatic fringe - the AoA morons, John "Cock" Stone, John "Pigfucker" Scudamore etc - but it's a great resource for nervous new parents.

Tell your friends.