Jun 21 2010

Age of Autism Witch Hunt

I am out of town this week on a special project – more details will follow when I have the green light to start promoting it. So my posting will be a bit erratic this week.

Just a quick post for today. I want to point out that Age of Autism, the anti-vaccine propaganda blog of Generation Rescue, has really gone over the top in their witch hunt against anyone who dares try to educate the public about vaccines and correct the constant flow of misinformation that comes from the anti-vaccine ideologues. Their chosen method of attack is alleged conflicts of interest – and it is truly a witch hunt.

The core features of a witch hunt are that the accusation of guilt is treated as being equal to guilt, and that the rules of evidence of so fluid and vague that even “spectral” evidence is accepted – anything that creates even the impression of guilt.

The target of their latest smear is my colleague David Gorski, in a post by the truly clueless Jake Crosby. David saw this one coming, and even tried to head it off by telling Jake, both privately and publicly over at SBM, that his information is incorrect or at least misleading. Jake, apparently, is uneducable.

Jake is running a particular witch hunt known as the “pharma shill gambit.” The game here is to find any tenuous connection between a scientist and a pharmaceutical company and then try to pull the Jedi mind trick on readers and convince them the connection is a genuine conflict of interest. Jake would have his readers believe that because David is employed by Wayne State University, and because Wayne State received research grants from Sanofi-Aventis, and Sanofi-Aventis manufactures vaccines – therefore David indirectly receives money from the vaccine industry, and this is an undisclosed conflict of interest (which he has already disclosed, but explained is not a conflict). Got it?

Keep in mind, David does not get research grant money from Sanofi-Aventis or any pharmaceutical company. He has not received any pharmaceutical money at all in 14 years – somewhat unusual for an academic medical researcher. He has never done vaccine research. He has never been paid to consult for vaccine, lecture about vaccines, or express an opinion about vaccines. He is squeaky clean.

But according to Jake – everyone salaried by every university that has ever received money from any pharmaceutical company that has ever produced a vaccine – is a shill for the vaccine industry.

It would be laughable if these clowns were not actually using this kind of spectral evidence to conspiracy-monger and scare parents away from a safe and effective health care measure.

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