Telegenic Blondes

Jenny McCarthy believes that MMR vaccines’ preservatives caused her son to be autistic, and that her changing his diet cured him. She has written best-selling books in which she advances these claims, and appears in front of millions of TV viewers at every opportunity to make the case. And apparently a lot of parents believe her, such that vaccination rates have fallen in the US, and lots of babies (including those whose parents choose to vaccinate them, based on information obtained from more credible sources than former Playboy models and TV personalities) are at increased risk as a result.

Sigh.

It’s not that complicated. There’s this thing called science. And it has a specific process you go through to evaluate claims like this. And the scientists have done it. And Jenny McCarthy is wrong.

There was a decent op-ed by Michael Fumento in the LA Times this morning talking about this: The damage of the anti-vaccination movement. So go read that, even though it will probably make you angry. And if it doesn’t, I bet this will:

Aaaahhhh!!

Anyway, if I’m going to subject you to telegenic blondes trying to indoctrinate you with their views about science, let’s close on a more positive note: ZOMGitsCriss on the evidence for evolution:

30 Responses to “Telegenic Blondes”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    For the past decade, parents in our community have been clamoring for a relatively simple scientific study that could settle the debate over the possible role of vaccines in the autism epidemic once and for all: compare children who have been vaccinated with children who have never received any vaccines and see if the rate of autism is different or the same.

    http://www.generationrescue.org/wakefield_statement2.html

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    JBC, you seem to be a little confused:

    apparently a lot of parents believe her, such that vaccination rates have fallen in the US, and lots of babies (including those whose parents choose to vaccinate them, based on information obtained from more credible sources than former Playboy models and TV personalities) are at increased risk as a result.

    Apparently not… because

    Baby vaccinations are at or near record high levels.

    Sept. 4, 2008 — Childhood vaccination rates are at or near record highs, the CDC announced today.
    http://www.children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20080904/childhood-vaccination-rates-high

    and if you don’t believe that you can go check the data, 2009 is similar:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/imz-coverage.htm

    However, adult vaccination rates (i.e. flu shots) are down, but that is hardly Jenny’s fault. It is mostly a functions of your screwed up health system:

    The report identified several key reasons why adult vaccination rates remain low in the United States despite the recommendation of medical experts, including:

    •Limited access: Most adults are outside of institutionalized settings, like the military or colleges, where vaccines can be required;

    •Limited care and insurance coverage: Primary and preventive care for adults is limited, particularly for the uninsured and underinsured;

    •Limited financing for immunizations: Many adults have medical insurance that does not pay for vaccines and their administration, so out-of-pocket costs may be prohibitive for many individuals;

    •Misunderstanding and misinformation: Many adults are misinformed about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines; and

    •Limited research and development: Vaccine research, development, and production have been limited in the United States for decades.

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100205/New-report-finds-low-adult-vaccination-rates-in-US.aspx

    Sigh.

    It’s not that complicated. There’s this thing called science. And it has a specific process you go through to evaluate claims like this. And the scientists have done it.

    “Sigh.” indeed.
    Your patronizing tone does not help. In fact, it is not so clear that the “scientists have done it” (e.g. http://www.lies.com/wp/2010/02/05/telegenic-blondes/#comment-183853 ) However, it is clear that the marketers have done a fabulous job, regardless of what the “scientists” say. I’d encourage you to review some of the science papers that don’t get as much news coverage as does the “telegenic” Jenny: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    JBC, you seem to be a little confused:

    apparently a lot of parents believe her, such that vaccination rates have fallen in the US, and lots of babies (including those whose parents choose to vaccinate them, based on information obtained from more credible sources than former Playboy models and TV personalities) are at increased risk as a result.

    Apparently not… because

    Baby vaccinations are at or near record high levels.

    Sept. 4, 2008 — Childhood vaccination rates are at or near record highs, the CDC announced today.
    http://www.children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20080904/childhood-vaccination-rates-high

    and if you don’t believe that you can go check the data, 2009 is similar:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/imz-coverage.htm

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    However, adult vaccination rates (i.e. flu shots) are down, but that is hardly Jenny’s fault. It is mostly a functions of your screwed up health system:

    The report identified several key reasons why adult vaccination rates remain low in the United States despite the recommendation of medical experts, including:

    •Limited access: Most adults are outside of institutionalized settings, like the military or colleges, where vaccines can be required;

    •Limited care and insurance coverage: Primary and preventive care for adults is limited, particularly for the uninsured and underinsured;

    •Limited financing for immunizations: Many adults have medical insurance that does not pay for vaccines and their administration, so out-of-pocket costs may be prohibitive for many individuals;

    •Misunderstanding and misinformation: Many adults are misinformed about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines; and

    •Limited research and development: Vaccine research, development, and production have been limited in the United States for decades.

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100205/New-report-finds-low-adult-vaccination-rates-in-US.aspx

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    Sigh.

    It’s not that complicated. There’s this thing called science. And it has a specific process you go through to evaluate claims like this. And the scientists have done it.

    “Sigh.” indeed.
    Your patronizing tone does not help. In fact, it is not so clear that the “scientists have done it” (e.g. http://www.lies.com/wp/2010/02/05/telegenic-blondes/#comment-183853 ) However, it is clear that the marketers have done a fabulous job, regardless of what the “scientists” say. I’d encourage you to review some of the science papers that don’t get as much news coverage as does the “telegenic” Jenny: http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

  6. jbc Says:

    Knarly,

    I didn’t realize you were an antivaxxer in addition to the 9/11 truth thing.

    Sorry if I offended, but no, I won’t be retiring the patronizing tone with respect to Jenny McCarthy’s activities. She’s wrong, and it’s obvious that she’s wrong, just as it’s obvious that there wasn’t some huge conspiracy to bring down the WTC via controlled demolition.

    I think it’s interesting that you’re able to persist in believing such things in spite of the available evidence, but I think it’s interesting because of what it says about the human reasoning process as it plays out in your individual case, not because I think either of those conspiracies is worth spending additional effort investigating.

  7. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    You… you linked to a site selling her book. It’s not even an outside link, that site is selling it. Sorry, credibility failure. -100.

  8. Smith Says:

    Pssst…Check the Board of Directors in the About Us section.

  9. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Right. I am taking that as a good natured, ironic joke.

  10. enkidu Says:

    Jenny McCarthy.
    Enough said.

    My neighbor would probably be alive today if he had been vaccinated for H1N1. Vaccines save lives.

    I am sorry for Jenny and her child, but autistic people can lead very fulfilling lives. We know several people with autistic children, some mild, some severe. My wife and I just watched a HBO movie on Temple Grandin (an autistic woman who helped design more humane – and more efficient – cattle slaughterhouses).

    Regardless, as the mercury came out of the vaccines, the autism rate continued to climb. I think autism is more likely to be a ’caused by’ a much broader set of environmental toxins in combination with genetic factors. Maybe mercury is part of it, but swearing off vaccines and encouraging others to do so is bad medicine.

  11. shcb Says:

    This subject doesn’t interest me that much so I’m a little ignorant here but why was the mercury in there in the first place? Is it needed? A byproduct? Poor manufacturing? Is there still mercury in vaccines?

  12. jbc Says:

    It was used (though its use has now mostly been phased out in the US) as part of the mercury-based preservative thiomersal. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal_controversy

  13. shcb Says:

    so the problem has been fixed but these people are still afraid of something that no longer is a problem and may have never been a problem because… don’t answer, I know the reason.

  14. jbc Says:

    They’ve bought into the conspiracy theory, and now their personal identity is bound up with seeing themselves as crusaders on a noble mission. They’re happy to continually come up with new, more elaborate versions of the conspiracy to explain away conflicting data, as long as it lets them avoid admitting error. So okay, if it wasn’t the mercury, it must be something else. But they strongly suspect that it’s _something_ having to do with vaccinations that has caused their kids’ autism, and their degree of certainty appears to be inversely correlated with their possession of credentials as actual scientists working in the field.

    In this respect, they are not unlike global warming denialists. :-)

  15. Smith Says:

    This is going to end well.

  16. knarlyknight Says:

    Fascinating response JBC.

    First Error: “I didn’t realize you were an anti-vaxxer…”

    Reason: It’s a false assumption. I believe vaccinations have provided an enormous public good, far outweighing their negatives. Period. (You should not assume I am an anti-vaxxer because my posts revealed your patronizing comments to also be fallacious, e.g. you suggest that parents are vaccinating their kids far less now – but the CDC says that US vaccination rates for children are at or near record levels, since you did not defend your position at this point I will assume that the CDC is right and that you, JBC, are wrong.)

    Second Error: “…in addition to the 911 truth thing.”

    Reason: Lazy attempt to impune by association, rather than to deal with the information presented. Besides, since your first assumption was wrong in that I do favour the general social health policy of vaccinations, your making that link actually serves to malign the pro-vaccination camp (at least in this forum of 911 Truth deniers.)

    Third error: “She’s wrong, and its obviuos that she’s wrong…”

    Reason: She may be wrong on many things, and may come to a wrong / unsupportable general conclusion, but that does not mean she is wrong in all the details, especially important details. Consider that Guilliane Barr Syndrome is real. Swine flu vaccines in the 1970′s were an exception in that they did more harm than good. I don’t know if she talks about that, but is Jenny she wrong to suggest that caution is warranted and people should become informed about the precautions (i.e. at least read the warings provided by the vaccine manufacturers)? Here are some Jenny site quotes where she may be right:

    “Questioning the safety of vaccines is a taboo topic in the United States and many other countries.”

    You yourself proved that point JBC.

    “Do not vaccinate if your child is taking antibiotics.”

    “If your child has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, stop vaccinating until you learn more.”

    “Always ask to see the vaccine insert, and never accept a vaccine that uses the preservative Thimerosal (mercury). For a complete list of vaccines with Thimerosal, see the FDA’s website here. Note: most flu shots today still contain Thimerosal.”

    Fourth Error: Let’s save time & summarize.

    Reason: Your reply contained nothing but simple-minded aspersions and vague assertions.

    So we agree that vaccines are good. I give vaxs a qualified thumbs up and am interested in protecting my health health by closely watching what the medical megalith says (i.e. skepticism and greater scrutiny were the lessons to be learned from the thalidimide tragedy). You seem to be the cheerleading squad, and were I to cast aspersions I’d suggest it’s akin to your religous affinity to AGW, but that is not a fair comparison is it JBC, because of course you know you are right about AGW too because it is what “all” the “good” science says.

    To contrast you and me again, when I see righteous group think my instinct is not to join in but rather to look to see if there are places where people are blinding themselves, or being blinded by others. Why? Mostly just cuz it’s interesting.

    For instance, the statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that mercury is no longer in childhood vaccinations:

    AAPs position about mercury in vaccines is not accurate.

    In the letter to ABC the AAP wrote: “No mercury is used as a preservative in routinely offered childhood vaccinations.”

    Mercury is still in 16 vaccines including 5 pediatric vaccines such as 3 flu shots, the HEP-B and the DtaP.

    At best, this is similar to saying:

    “No caffeine is used in coffee as a preservative.”

    It is in there, just not as a preservative. Parents are not concerned if mercury is in there as an adjuvant, or as manufacturing residue, or as an inexpensive antibacterial –they just want to know if it is in there. Not stating that mercury is in 5 vaccines used for pediatrics is considered, by many, as deceitful.

    What could have been written is something like “Mercury has been removed from many routinely offered childhood vaccines.” Or “Childhood mercury exposure from vaccines has been reduce by 65%”

    From point # 5 on the alternative vaccination schedule at http://www.generationrescue.org/vaccines.html

    And of special note, this blurb on the Danish vaccination schedule: http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/danish.pdf

  17. shcb Says:

    :-)

  18. Smith Says:

    For some reason, I cannot stop laughing at shcb’s response.

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    It was a good response.

  20. shcb Says:

    Of this I am relatively certain, either JBC or I have been fed a line of shit and we bought it hook line and sinker, but neither of us is prone to be a conspiracy nut, we’re just being lied to. That and if I could string together a couple more earthy sayings into that statement I’d have the makins of decent country western song.

    BTW, that was a hard comment for me to make, brevity doesn’t come easy to me.

  21. NorthernLite Says:

    I just want to add that I think I’m totally in love with that ZOMGitsCriss girl.

    Wow.

  22. shcb Says:

    One night with her would probably kill me… oh well, what time should I show up honey?

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    Careful shcb, she might not be vaccinated.

  24. Smith Says:

    Is that a problem for her or shcb. ;-)

  25. shcb Says:

    trust me, my heart would give out long before any pesky bug did me in, I probably wouldn’t get my pants off before I was doing a Fred Sanford “I’m coming ‘Lizabeth!” (pun intended)

  26. knarlyknight Says:

    NL (and everyone else),
    Watch this, it’s hilarious:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_4D2qUbXuw&feature=player_embedded

  27. Smith Says:

    I guess that was his Waterloo.

  28. NorthernLite Says:

    I watched that live knarly, that guy is a piece of shit and I can only hope the Conservatives keep using Bush/Rove tactics because we all know how that ended up for them.

    Only the problem for the Conservatives here is that we have a system of government that enables us to hold our government more to account. These guys will one day be sitting in the House getting grilled over their conduct and cover ups, much like Tony Blair just went through. While George Bush was out golfing.

  29. knarlyknight Says:

    Smith :-) I’d say he was flushed down the loo.

    NL – I just can’t imagine what kind of people would vote for that sort of scum.

  30. NorthernLite Says:

    Apparently he only won by 17 votes in the last election. Should be a good race to watch next time.

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