David Kirby – the ultimate goalpost mover

I don’t need to cover this latest nonsense from David Kirby about vaccines and autism as Orac has already done so nicely.

However, I would like to point out a few examples of why anti-vax is a prime example of denialist argument.

For one, Kirby is such a promiscuous goal-post mover, I’m floored. This is the guy that said he’d remove himself from the debate if thimerosal were vindicated. Well, that’s proving more and more impossible, as are his expectations:

Finally, to all those who are going to post comments about the autism rates in California not coming down, following the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines: You are right. The most likely explanation is that thimerosal was not responsible for the autism epidemic. But that does not mean that it never harmed a single child.

But if thimerosal is vindicated, or shown to be a very minor player, then what about other vaccine ingredients? And what about the rather crowded vaccine schedule we now impose upon families of young children? And what about reports of unvaccinated children in Illinois, California and Oregon who appear to have significantly lower rates of autism? Shouldn’t we throw some research dollars into studying them?

You can answer that, no, we shouldn’t, because the vaccine-autism debate is over.

But I am willing to wager that it has only just begun.

Oh for the love of … you’ve got to be kidding me? You spend the last decade suggesting the entire epidemic is caused by this stuff, but now that the hypothesis has been thoroughly smashed, you’re going to find a dozen other things to blame about vaccines, all similarly based on no science? This guy kills me. He is right though, the debate will never be over. There are fundamental aspects of vaccination that will always make people crazy and paranoid, and lack of any evidence of harm will never stop these people from making false accusations against one of the most effective medical interventions ever developed. The key is learning that this is the usual evidence-free anti-vax nonsense, and making sure it’s ignored for the crankery that it is. We’ll probably never overcome the natural inclination of parents to want to avoid injections in their kids for an abstract benefit (or a benefit that may not be directly for their child). But we should be able to learn what kind of specious arguments will be made against vaccination, and dismiss them out of hand.

Second I’d like to point out what I think is the most idiotic question I’ve seen asked in a while:

Among the “factors” to be studied are family history, events during pregnancy, maternal medications, parental occupation, ambient pollution around the house, and “a child’s vaccination history,” the paper reported.

Oddly, the study will not look at the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. According to the FDA and the Institute of Medicine, the last batches of thimerosal containing vaccines for infants and immune-globulin given to pregnant women expired in late 2003 (except for the flu shot, which is still given to infants and pregnant women).

The new study will only study children born from September 2003 to August, 2005.
But the question remains, and I think it’s legitimate: If an association between vaccines and autism has been completely “ruled out,” then why are we spending taxpayer dollars to study autistic children’s vaccination history?

Maybe because vaccination history is part of a patient history? Maybe because you cranks will cry foul if they don’t? Maybe because they want to continue to accumulate evidence showing that the anti-vax movement is wrong? What a moron. I get what he’s implying. It’s a conspiracy! Secretly we worried about his idiotic hypothesis that has been repeatedly disproven, that’s why scientists will continue to study vaccines. Otherwise why would we bother to study a variable like a patient’s medical history in a study of autism? Sigh.