Tuesday, 31 May 2011

JB Handley and John Stone in foot shooting incidents

Both John Stone and JB Handley have recently posted feeble defences of the Elizabeth Birt Center's recent "study" claiming to link vaccine injury to autism.

Stone's post (here) tries to argue that Dr. Paul Offit's statement that children who may have autistic symptoms do not necessarily have a diagnosis of autism is wrong, and surely if a child has an autistic symptom, he or she is autistic, and has hence been compensated for autism.

Handley tries arguing the same thing, in an evidence free, personal attack on Dr. David "Orac" Gorski - here.

Handley says:

Let me repeat myself, Dr. Gorski, the kids ALL HAVE AUTISM.

Err, no JB, they don't, they don't have a diagnosis of autism - and this is an important point.

Let's imagine that Handley and Stone are correct, and that an autism-like symptom constitutes autism, and warrants a diagnosis of autism. Well, then yes, the vaccine injuries compensated for show a much higher prevalence of autism than in the prevalence in the wider community - which anti-vax groups variously put at somewhere between 1 in 50, and 1 in 100. Sounds bad, eh?

But wait - We then need to apply those new "Handley/Stone Criteria" across the whole of the population. Anyone with any autistic trait now has a diagnosis of autism, thus pushing the rate up - hypothetically to as much as 1 in 25 or 1 in 33 - more than likely, around the same prevalence as that found by this "study".

What's this though - 1 in 25? AUTISM EXPLOSION! One might go as far as to say "AUTISM EPIDEMIC!!" I can see the hysterical headlines now, from the likes of AoA:

In 2005, autism rates were 1 in 67 - today they're 1 in 25! What's happening to our kids? It can only be the vaccines!!

Yes - Handley and Stone have shot themselves in the foot by finally managed to demonstrate that increases in rates of autism are down to, yes, changes in diagnostic criteria - and are both arguing for more changes in order to increase the apparent autism rate.