Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Winning Hearts and Changing Minds

The concept of anti-vaccine education month was a good one. The problem is that I learned quickly that those propagating the bad information have no interest in education. They are True Believers. They know, really know, the facts and anything that does not match their view is obviously part of the conspiracy.

I found myself spending hours of time replying to several anti-vax activists that don't understand science. They don't want to understand science. To them, science is the stack of lies that oppose the truth- the truth that only they and a cohort of conspiracy-blinded goofballs understand.

How can you bend that? When I come to the table I ask that someone is willing to keep the discussion framed with science. I don't care about anecdotes, opinions, or testimony. I want hard numbers, large trials and appropriate controls. When those experiments are performed, the alleged significance of their claims dissipates.

The anti-vax true believers are like any group where reality does not match what they want to believe. You can compare them to those that see 9-11 as an inside job, those that claim Monsanto is poisoning the food supply with GMO, those that want to teach creationism in schools, those that know there are alien saucers in a government lab. Although the evidence of this stuff is not compelling or reproducible, they believe it, and if you don't, you are part of the conspiracy to suppress it.

And each one of these cases requires a carefully-orchestrated conspiracy involving millions of coordinated scientists and government agents. None of them ever crack. None of them ever breaks ranks on moral grounds. Those that do are allegedly killed (I just got that one yesterday- apparently whistle blowing doctors end up dead with a big MERCK corkscrew in their heads).

The wall of the vocal anti-vaxers took the shine off of anti-anti-vax month pretty fast. As a conspiracy group of true believers they are an impossible nut to crack.

It is much easier to scare than to educate. The anti-vaxers are masters of scare tactics and scientists are not the best educators. When you try to educate and cross that line sincerely one is met with vocal resistance. No wonder scientists and physicians are perceived as arrogant by these people. Who wants to engage them in an intelligent discussion when it can't possibly happen from their misguided retarded platform?

So I'm going to draw to a close anti-vax education month five days early. There are others doing this better than I am anyway. Those like Science Mom, Orac, Steven Novella, and many others know the specifics much better than a plant biologist with a hankerin' for the scientific method.

I'll get back to my normal rants and I've been saving them. Yesterday I went to Wal Mart for the first time in years and had a horrible experience and seeing Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform is like seeing your favorite uncle in a girl scout uniform. Lots of other stuff to comment on.

20 comments:

Wendy said...

Aww come on Kevin. The real reason you are quitting is there is no science…

Kevin M. Folta said...

It is comments like that which elegantly support my contention beyond anything I could post on a blog.

Wendy said...

Well do you have any science that proves vaccines work? Or are not harmful? Or don’t cause autism? No. There aren't any. Any study you bring up is done by the vaccine manufacturer. ..the fox guarding the henhouse...so what it comes down to is your religion, your faith, your belief system. You are a religious extremist when it comes to vaccines Kevin….you worship at the vaccine alter…if you want to believe dead virus and heavy metal and other assorted filth confer immunity who am I to try and convert you. Talk to me after your mandatory swine flu shot full of squalene about how to cure your upcoming autoimmune disease…

Roxanne said...

I think that you do not have to understand science to get something out this vaccine/anti-vaccine forum. You simply have to have an open mind.

Debating with you Ms. Wendy is like mental masturbation.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Wendy,

You painfully suffer from the arrogance of ignorance. It is easy to be pious and affirmed when you ignore reality and shun evidence. You call my trust in reproducible hard evidence religion? Guess again! Religion and faith are belief in something that is not supported by science, something that is true because you decide it is. That's not me. Science is on my side.

I've shown you specifically two examples of how vaccines work. You refuse to believe them. That said, why should I produce 10,000 more? I can, but why waste my time?

That's the other difference. I will change my mind when the evidence points that direction. You never will. You haven't so far.

That's the anti-vax movement. Anti-vaxers PREDICTED that autism rates would dive when thimerisol was removed from vaccines. They didn't. Now you need a new villian, a new conspriacy, a new strawman to support your bogus contentions.

Sorry, but this is boring. I'm happy to discuss science. You don't want that. You only want to hear the stuff that supports your retarded frame of reference and I am not going to give that to you.

At least until the evidence is there. But it isn't, and I'm not holding my breath.

Wendy said...

As usual you do little to no searching of a subject before you speak. In this article are some great charts for you to look at although I’m sure you will criticize them somehow as not to disrupt your deeply held religious convictions.

Thimerosal and Autism Rates: A Minnesota Perspectivehttp://www.ageofautism.com/2009/07/thimerosal-and-autism-rates-a-minnesota-perspective.html

Then of course there is this study but I’m sure you will say it’s not from the ‘right’ journal

Autism Rates Drop After Mercury Removed From Childhood Vaccines
Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Neurology / Neuroscience; Pediatrics / Children's Health; Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 03 Mar 2006 - 0:00 PDT
An article in the March 10, 2006 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons shows that since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the alarming increase in reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders (NDs) in children not only stopped, but actually dropped sharply - by as much as 35%.


I think there would be a larger decrease in autism if thimerosal had been completely removed. One flu shot has 25 micrograms of mercury. You would need to weight 550lbs for that to be safe using the gov’t’s own standards…

And last but not least, this study makes it clear why either of you can see this…


http://www.ktvn.com/Global/story.asp?S=10981098

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A study involving more than 6,000 American women suggests that blood levels of mercury are accumulating over time, with a big rise noted over the past decade.

Using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a researcher from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that while inorganic mercury was detected in the blood of 2 percent of women aged 18 to 49 in the 1999-2000 NHANES survey, that level rose to 30 percent of women by 2005-2006.

"My study found compelling evidence that inorganic mercury deposition within the human body is a cumulative process, increasing with age and overall in the population over time," study author and neuroscience researcher Dan R.. Laks said in an UCLA news release. "My findings also suggest a rise in risks for disease associated with mercury over time."
The findings come on the heels of a widely publicized report, released last week by the U.S. Geological Survey, which found that 25 percent of fish sampled from U.S. rivers and streams have unsafe levels of mercury.

Environmental sources of mercury include coal-fired electricity plants and contaminated fish, which tend to accumulate the toxin in their tissues. According to the news release, chronic mercury exposure has been linked in studies to a higher risk for autism, mental impairment and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

The UCLA study found evidence linking inorganic mercury in the blood to tissues known to be targets for the toxin, such as the liver, the immune system and the pituitary gland.

Laks also found a connection between levels of the pituitary hormone lutropin and chronic mercury exposure, which he said might help explain mercury's link to neurodegenerative disease. Inorganic mercury can also accumulate in the brain and stay there for years, according to the news release.
Overall, "these results suggest that chronic mercury exposure has reached a critical level where inorganic mercury deposition within the human body is accumulating over time," Laks said. "It is logical to assume that the risks of associated neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases will rise as well."

The findings are published online in the journal Biometals.

More information

Find out more about mercury at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Anonymous said...

I say, please, please, please get as many vaccinations as you can. Especially the delicious new swine flu one. We need to clean up the gene pool and this is the fastest way to get rid of morons. Thank you so much. Your efforts are richly appreciated. And I dare you to leave this comment up.

wmfinck said...

If swine flu vaccinations get rid of morons, Kevin Folta should get in line twice!

Kevin M. Folta said...

Sweet Anonymous, you don't need to dare me to leave your post in place. I'm glad to do so. The internet is not only a forum, it has memory. Someday we'll look back and see the error of your ways. Science always wins.

The haters are out! All because I present facts that conflict with your belief.

Meanwhile the real problems leading to childhood disorders persist, and you are batting around tired and disproven rhetoric.

Wendy said...

Holy cow its getting heated in here!! You are right Kevin science wins! When I look at a thimerosal bottle and it has a skull and crossbones on it...I know enough 'science' to not inject it inside me and think nothing will happen. You would think a 'scientist' would know basic science like that too but....I guess not. Stay in school OK...maybe take a toxicology class...

Kevin M. Folta said...

Wendy,

I have more hours of training than I'd ever care to enumerate. Certainly my understanding of pharmacokinetics and phamacological fate (principles of toxicology that I'm sure you understand) enforce ideas of thresholds for relevance to biological systems, along with what dose-response relationships mean.

I can't even begin to engage higher order discussion of topics such as toxicology with you, and it is not because of my lack of training and background. It is because YOU do not have this training and adhere to wild conspiratorial principles with no basis in fact.

I know you want to be confrontational, but in order to be truly provocative you have to base your argument on logic and evidence. You'll find a lot of dim bulbs out that that buy the poison you sell. Unfortunately for you, such unfounded claims will never impede scientific progress or find audience in a legitimate forum.

Wendy said...

Is there no evidence thimerosal or mercury can damage you? Are you kidding me? You can't find anything in all the classes you have taken to help you realize toxic chemicals are toxic? What are you saying? Toxic chemicals are toxic everywhere but in humans? How much mercury do you think is safe to inject?

Kevin M. Folta said...

Again, your comment illustrates your abject ignorance of biology and basic scientific principles. There is a skull and crossbones on cyanide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide... ALL are present in your cells, circulate in your blood and in some cases mediate cellular signaling processes. These "toxic" compounds are not "toxic" at the levels presented. Same with ethyl mercury. There are thesholds, time courses, conjugation, compartmentation and literally dozens of other attributes of metabolism that dictate what we think of as toxicity.

So to answer your question, no, toxic (your definition) chemicals are not always toxic. It is a question of concentration, length of exposure to that concentration, metabolism, and many other facets.

Wendy said...

So again I will ask...how much thimerosal do you think is safe to be injected inside babies? I hope this is not too complex a question for you.

Roxanne said...

Wendy,

Do you drink water, eat food, partake in a little wine ingestion? You can find trace "toxic" elements in those. Why don't you stop eating and drinking, I dare you.

Wendy said...

HUH? What are you talking about? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Gosh I wish I was a scientist...maybe then I would understand the comment. Should I rephrase the question?

Kevin M. Folta said...

Wendy, we'll revisit this question you posed.

"So again I will ask...how much thimerosal do you think is safe to be injected inside babies? I hope this is not too complex a question for you."

First, do babies get flu shots? It does not matter much, but the dilution of the 25 ug depends on body mass. For argument, 25 ug diluted in a standard infant puts its concentration in the nanomolar range (less than 10 nM). That's barely relevant and is has a half life of three days.

So how much is safe to inject? I'm not about to go dig up the ancient papers on ethyl mercury tolerance in animals, but I can assure you that nM effects are not going to be seen (except by some that can't publish it in a decent journal or have anyone else repeat the work).

Wendy said...

First, do babies get flu shots?

Yes, at six months along with 5 or six other vaccines….

It does not matter much, but the dilution of the 25 ug depends on body mass. For argument, 25 ug diluted in a standard infant puts its concentration in the nanomolar range (less than 10 nM). That's barely relevant and is has a half life of three days.

So how much is safe to inject? I'm not about to go dig up the ancient papers on ethyl mercury tolerance in animals,

Isn’t it odd these studies are not repeated as to have a bunch on hand for you mercury lovers to reference? The only safety study I can find on ethyl mercury is one done in 1929 when Eli Lilly asked KC Smithburn to test it on men dying from meningitis…the men died but not from mercury so its safe…wonder why that one wasn’t repeated…does that make it not valid if its not repeated and cited? Seems to me you said that…OH yes look right here!!!

but I can assure you that nM effects are not going to be seen (except by some that can't publish it in a decent journal or have anyone else repeat the work).
August 29, 2009 8:37 AM

Really Kevin, these studies should be repeated if you are going to base your belief system on them...


This study shows damage in nanograms…I know I know…it won’t be the right journal….but anyway…at least some scientist is trying…

Thimerosal induces neuronal cell apoptosis by causing cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor release from mitochondria.
Yel L, Brown LE, Su K, Gollapudi S, Gupta S.
Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA. lyel@uci.edu
There is a worldwide increasing concern over the neurological risks of thimerosal (ethylmercury thiosalicylate) which is an organic mercury compound that is commonly used as an antimicrobial preservative. In this study, we show that thimerosal, at nanomolar concentrations, induces neuronal cell death through the mitochondrial pathway. Thimerosal, in a concentration- and time-dependent manner, decreased cell viability as assessed by calcein-ethidium staining and caused apoptosis detected by Hoechst 33258 dye. Thimerosal-induced apoptosis was associated with depolarization of mitochondrial membrane, generation of reactive oxygen species, and release of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) from mitochondria to cytosol. Although thimerosal did not affect cellular expression of Bax at the protein level, we observed translocation of Bax from cytosol to mitochondria. Finally, caspase-9 and caspase-3 were activated in the absence of caspase-8 activation. Our data suggest that thimerosal causes apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells by changing the mitochondrial microenvironment.

After the mercury is removed from the hep B vaccine, 12.4 nanograms remain….My son’s teacher just told me her premie 4lb daughter was given a hep B vaccine at birth with 12.5 mcgs of thimerosal in it. Without her consent. Guess who is on the spectrum?

If we look at (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140) we will find .5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury Kills human neuroblastoma cells…

There is no safe amount of mercury injected. Kids born 1992 to 2003 received 237 mcgs in standard vaccines…before they were 15 months old. And its a mystery why 1 in 150 is autistic...Criminal.

Why don't you masturbate on that Roxanne...

Kevin M. Folta said...

It is good that at least you are trying to cite some science here, let's start with that. All of the studies you cite are from thimerisol in tissue culture. That is comparing apples to oranges. I don't have time to dig up the paper, but cells in a dish are not cells in a body and they behave differently.

You state that from 1999-2003 that kids got 237 ug of mercury. Not true. They received 237 ug of thimerosal. Thimerosal is not mercury. Even the breakdown product is ethyl mercury and that is not mercury. Plus, this is given over time and does not bioaccumulate.

You say that 1 in 150 is autistic. That means 149 are not. They got the same shots. If thimerosal CAUSES autism as you contend, then why aren't they all autistic?

No belief system, just interpreting the evidence as it is presented. When some study, somewhere, in a real journal shows a reproducible link between 25 ug of thimerisol and autism, then I'll be happy to report that too. I'm not holding my breath.

Wendy said...

That is comparing apples to oranges. I don't have time to dig up the paper, but cells in a dish are not cells in a body and they behave differently.

Remember that when you want to bring up old animal studies on ethyl mercury.

You state that from 1999-2003 that kids got 237 ug of mercury. Not true. They received 237 ug of thimerosal.

OK ok thimerosal is 50% mercury...sorry.


You say that 1 in 150 is autistic. That means 149 are not. They got the same shots. If thimerosal CAUSES autism as you contend, then why aren't they all autistic?

Because we are all different everyone has a different toxic tipping point....

Maybe this will help you...not holding my breathe...you are so inDOCTORnated....

[Internal FDA email
former FDA scientist Peter Patriarca

[thimerosal report] will raise questions about the FDA being asleep at the switch for decades, by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products. We must keep in mind that the dose of ethyl mercury was not generated by rocket science: conversion of the % of thimerosal to actual micrograms of mercury involves 9th grade algebra. What took the FDA so long to do the calculations? Why didn’t he CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations while rapidly expanding the childhood immunization schedule?]


Someone actually answered that very astutely this past May.
[Roger Brenier of the CDC’s national immunization program, received the email. In a recent interview he explained why the cumulative amount was never figured.

“Vaccines tend to be evaluated on an individual basis, the requirement for safety and efficacy on an individual basis. This holistic view of safety was not part of the review.”]