Avian Flu and Burning Witches

By streiff Posted in Comments (107) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Human nature abhors the unexplained and the unexplainable. In the past, man turned to religion to answer questions like "why do bad things happen to good people" and "why do innocents suffer," today a large number of people turn to science.

One of the consequences of a society moving from worshiping God to worshiping science is that the priesthood is filled with infinitely more charlatans with no way for the lay person to begin to sort them out. Instead of merely producing heretical texts that may or may not gather a following today's priesthood produces "science" that influences public policy and kills people. Where Elmer Gantry is an object of derision the scientific fraud is often revered.

Read on.

Autism is a terrible affliction. It affects about 1.5 million Americans. The symptoms typically manifest themselves in the first three years of life and, as a father of three, I can't imagine the pain of watching your toddler slip away into a world you can neither enter nor fully comprehend. There is no known cause and while there are therapies that can mitigate some of the symptoms in some patients there is no cure. There is no physical test to diagnose autism, diagnosis is accomplished via Diagnositic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition or DSM IV.

There doesn't seem to be a preference for ethnicity, income, race, or geography, those markers that would set off epidemiological alarm bells. Males are about four times as likely as females to be diagnosed with autism but that is a common feature of the diagnosis of learning disabilities.

Any parent confronted with this awful situation immediately asks why my child? Was it something I did? Was it something someone did to me? In earlier times some might have treated the affliction as retribution for their own sins. Some would have regarded it as force majeure, an Act of God beyond the ken of mortals. Or they might have looked around for an unpopular person, maybe aesthetically challenged, declared them to be a witch and burned them. In today's world we don't accept the very real mathematical phenomenon of chance, the Law of Truly Large Numbers. We demand to find who is to blame and we demand that they pay money out the wazoo. Essentially, we burn witches.

Enter junk science. Stage left.

In 1997 the Food and Drug Administration promulgated a fairly straightforward and sensible rule. All makers of pharmaceuticals had to disclose the presence of mercury in their products. Most, if not all, manufacturers of vaccines used thimerosal as a preservative. It contains mercury. It was further discovered that the total mercury dose administered according to the recommended regimen for childhood immunizations exceeded the EPA standard for mercury exposure (how the EPA arrived at their own personal standard independently of the National Academy of Sciences and CDC is another story entirely). In a flash the ideal villain was created.

Since virtually all the children stricken with autism had received their childhood vaccination series we now had the epidemiological link that had previously eluded researchers.

It was the wonderful nexus of an incurable condition, helpless children, evil corporations (Big Pharma), unknown risk (previously undisclosed presence of mercury), a known toxin (mercury), an unacceptable level (above EPA standard), unpreventable by even the most diligent parent (try not getting your kid vaccinated), and vociferous advocates.

Some diligent soul discovered that the additive thimerosal was not required by the feds and hence the manufacturers were not shielded under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The rush was on. To the cry of "there's gold in them thar shots" rang out and the lawyers were unleashed.

No amount of research has been able to stop the fearmongering. So where does this bring us? It brings us to the sad fact that there are exactly two manufacturers of flu vaccine in the world: Chiron and Sanofi Pasteur. Glaxo makes a limited amount of additive free vaccine but without thimerosal the shelf life is very limited. It also brings us to the point were twenty states, including New York and California, forbid the use of vaccines with even trace amounts of mercury.

As the prospect of avian flu looms on the horizon we have the possibility of a double whammy. Not only may there not be a suitable vaccine for H5N1-derived influenza but if there is a vaccine as much as half of the nation would have difficulty in receiving a dose because that vaccine will probably be made by Chiron and will overwhelmingly use thimerosal.

So, for all our obeisance to science we are barely a step removed from witchburners. In this case the victim was not some vaguely threatening crone but an industry and the inquisitors were neither Dominicans nor Puritans but a battery of barely qualified charlatans and highly competent attorneys.

If I could change our court system in one way I would make it so that any sort of medical related lawsuit would be required to pass an independent medical review before being presented to a jury.  It is FAR too easy to convince a jury, which is usually comprised of scientifically ignorant people, that correlation equals causation.  

Why do people think that living under high tension wires is bad but living across the street from them is OK?  

Why do people think that cellphones will cause cancer?

Why do people think that because one area happens to have a high rate of cancer that means that the area MUST cause cancer?

The flip side of your point is that many people refuse to give their children immunization shots because they fear that the shots will cause nasty things like autism or cancer.  They have no real understanding of the science but it just "feels" right.  

I always take issue with this "worshipping science" and "scientific priesthood" garbage.  

It is negative attitudes towards science like that, that create and perpetuate the fetid swamp of ignorance that breeds popular misconceptions like the "mercury in vaccines causes autism" one.  By creating mistrust and unfounded skepticism toward science and scientists in a credulous public, this attitude divorces people from the credible sources of evidence and information that mainstream science can provide.  

This problem of the layman's mistrust of science is then exacerbated by an ignorant press intent on presenting both sides of an issue in the interests of some theoretical "fairness" or "balance" when in reality there is no such parity between competing claims.  This happens all the time with such manufactured "debates" as evolution vs. ID, global warming, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, mercury in vaccines causes autism, and other widely held popular misconceptions.  This "debate" that treats legitimate science as only one side of a coin with pseudoscience, gibberish, and hog-wash presented as a legitimate alternative view on the other side of the coin is what brings charlatans selling cures for autism like chelation therapy to the fore.

Second thing is, thimerosal is covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as it is considered a component, and not a contaminant, of the vaccine.  

"On October 11, the U.S Court of Federal Claims (the Court) ruled that thimerosal-related injury claims are subject to the Court's jurisdiction pursuant to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, as amended."

And yes, the influenza vaccine has been added to the VICP as of July 1, 2005, so thimerosal containing influenza vaccines would be covered by the VICP as well.  The VICP protects the manufacturers from litigation and compensates those who are injured as a result of vaccine administration.

The primary cause of the small numbers of vaccine manufacturers is not the fear of litigation.  It is that vaccine manufacturing is bad business.  Vaccines have to be produced, for the most part, in living organisms such as chicken eggs, E. coli bacteria, human or insect cell cultures,...  These systems are "dirty", "filthy", "smelly" things in terms of producing a pure pharmaceutical or biological to administer to human beings.

Also, you need to produce a new influenza vaccine every year to deal with new strains of virus, which makes influenza vaccine manufacture particularly unattractive.

Small molecule pharmaceuticals are a much more attractive and profitable business than are vaccines.  They are easier to produce, easier to purify, command higher margins, and represent a larger portion of the overall pharmaceutical market:

2 billion in vaccine sales

250 billion in pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical companies have abandoned vaccine production because of the low profit margins, the difficulties of production, and because of industry consolidation that has reduced the number of players in the market.

I appreciate and agree with your address of the charlatanry regarding mercury in vaccines causing autism.  And I share your concerns about inadequate numbers of vaccine manufacturers, but in this case the scientists and lawyers are the ones being burned as witches.

This problem of the layman's mistrust of science is then exacerbated by an ignorant press intent on presenting both sides of an issue in the interests of some theoretical "fairness" or "balance" when in reality there is no such parity between competing claims.  This happens all the time with such manufactured "debates" as evolution vs. ID, global warming, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, mercury in vaccines causes autism, and other widely held popular misconceptions.  This "debate" that treats legitimate science as only one side of a coin with pseudoscience, gibberish, and hog-wash presented as a legitimate alternative view on the other side of the coin is what brings charlatans selling cures for autism like chelation therapy to the fore.

I wonder where he got the idea that there was a "scientific priesthood."

that there is a truth that can be confirmed by evidence and experimentation, and that claims that have been disproven by evidence are not valid.  

What sort of religion would that be?

I appreciate and agree with your address of the charlatanry regarding mercury in vaccines causing autism.  And I share your concerns about inadequate numbers of vaccine manufacturers, but in this case the scientists and lawyers are the ones being burned as witches.

We should live in such a world. Asbestos litigation -- indeed, half the products liability suits in this country -- would disappear if we got rid of the lawyers pressing psuedoscience and the peer-reviewed scientists who get a case of the greeds and testify to whatever their client tells them.

of the scientific priesthood is evident in each and every post you make.

It is negative attitudes towards science like that, that create and perpetuate the fetid swamp of ignorance that breeds popular misconceptions like the "mercury in vaccines causes autism" one.  By creating mistrust and unfounded skepticism toward science and scientists in a credulous public, this attitude divorces people from the credible sources of evidence and information that mainstream science can provide.

Gee, unfounded skepticism. Gasp! Mistrust! Ohmigod, "a credulous public". I see the Inquisition coming.

This "debate" that treats legitimate science as only one side of a coin with pseudoscience, gibberish, and hog-wash presented as a legitimate alternative view on the other side of the coin is what brings charlatans selling cures for autism like chelation therapy to the fore.>

That's right. When you possess the TRUTH why put up with pesky people questioning it. Unless you believe inquiry is part of the scientific method. Of course if you did then you wouldn't be a scientist because inquiring shows you are too stupid to understand science.

I got the vague impression from your diary that you understood that thimerosal has not been indicated as a cause of autism.

I must have misread.

but stupid.

than colorful imagery.

If you are going to suggest that believing in science is just another form of religion than you are saying that believing in ANYTHING is just another form of religion.  If you believe that the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow that is just another form of religion.  

By calling it "scientism" people are able to conjure up a belief that science is just another belief system based on nothing more than faith.  This makes it easier to argue that religous arguments are based on the same reasoning as scientific ones.  

Science as religion is nothing more than an attempt at putting science and religion on equal footing when the truth is that they have nothing to do with each other.  

"in this case"

did your white derriere not comprehend?

And is it your contention that asbestos does not cause mesothelioma?  Or merely that people who abuse the court system are the fault of scientists?

That blindly believes in its own infallibility, despite numerous historical instances of having been demonstrably fallible. It would be the kind of religion that its priests had the only access to enlightened knowledge, and that thence must the unwashed public come, lest they be ostracized. It would be the kind of religion that would not even brook the consideration that alternate sources of knowledge may exist, and would bristle with childish angst every time one of its sacred decrees was questioned, strongly implying that all those who did not bow at their altar and repent of their disbelief were deserving of eternal condemnation.

It would be the kind of religion, in other words, where you would expect their priests to say the kind of stuff that we regularly hear from you on this message board.

FTR, I'm not discrediting the value of science, but I am cognizant of its limitations, and the points where it passes from science into the religion of "science," practiced and proselytized by its inquisatorial priests (that's you.)

Perhaps, for an enlightening moment, you could print out your comment history, and read them side by side with the pronouncement of any 15th century vicar you can find, and you'll understand the point.

my first impression, and ask:

How did you come to the conclusion that thimerosal does not cause autism?

Did a particular religious tradition inform your view?  A revelation perhaps?  Some mathematical calculation?  Was it put to a vote somewhere and "thimerosal does not cause autism" was the winner?

Or, did perhaps some scientists do a little inquiring, conduct a few experiments, and come up with evidence that indicate that thimerosal does not cause autism?  Which was then confirmed. Again, and again, and...

Have you converted to scientific religiosity because you've accepted this scientific evidence?  Or have you just acknowledged reality?

That's not to say that they are 100% correct, merely that at this time the overwhelming evidence, and the opinions of the majority of people trained to collect and evaluate such evidence supports the contention that thimerosal does not cause autism.

You have been warned, time and time again, about your attitude toward religion and religious people on this board. You are free to hold your beliefs and to disagree with the religious, but if you do not immediately cease and desist implying (or right out saying) that religious people are stupid, uninformed and superstitious, your posting career here will be at an immediate end, despite the many valuable contributions you have made in the past.

If you literally cannot help yourself from responding in this manner, then it would behoove you not to read such posts at all.

This is the same load of nonsense we get when lefties are called on dumping a load of talking points into a thread. "You have to answer my objections! If you don't, it just proves you're afraid of being exposed, because I'm right. Politics is about open debate, etc."

Science as religion refers to when scientists leave science, and believe in things they can't prove. There's faith involved (blind and fanatical faith, in many cases), it's a religion.

in fact an evasion of the truth.

Did your education include Comparative Religion? If not you really ought to take advantage of such a course before venturing out into this realm. If you did, you need to grab your textbook and brush up.

Your post is nothing more than deliberate conflation. Streiff wasn't taking this tack with DITR's specific point, but rather was making his own point about science in general and their (sometimes) unwillingness to have their basic assumptions questioned.

This bears zero similarity to behavior on a polical board.

I'm going to post twenty times a day suggesting that all true conservatives are isolationists, with lengthy quotes. That's OK, right? I mean, you're not the sort of tyrannical priest-king who would stifle honest inquiry into the nature of conservatism in favor of your own private orthodoxy?

His name is TheLoneWackoBlog. He's survived here for a remarkably long time.

Science can and will be abused by folks that try to answer unanswerable questions using it.  That said, this constant beating of the drum to try to convert scientific knowledge into some sort of religious faith and then saying "ha, it's just a belief like mine, equally valid or invalid for all purposes as my faith in the Great Pumpkin" makes my head hurt.

Gotcha. Look, I'm a little irate right now, because using obvious cranks like the no-vaccination people to somehow bring in the subject of scientific overreach (Dawkins preaching that everything is controlled by genes, one of my college bio profs explaining that out free will is only an illusion and everything deterministic, etc.) is the original conflation. As a Christian, I'm perfectly happy to see the parenthetically aforementioned smacked down for being out of bounds, but as a molecular biologist, I'm rather annoyed that when this subject comes up here, it inevitably seems to turn into a broad attack on scientists.

to know that is not what is being said. Really. You have to know better.

on feminism... Wait we already have one of those, too.

From time to time, we get some folks who come in here and poke sticks at religious people. This inevitably ruffles some feathers.

Then sometimes, we have folks who poke sticks at some aspect of "science" that they may or may not agree with, which may or may not be a part of "hard" science or "theoretical" science, and the feathers I see fly are always more numerous and furious. This is how these perceptions are created.

Again, this is not about whether we should waste our time constantly knocking down liberal talking points on a board where we have to pay for our bandwidth, it has to do with the more basic point about how some folks behave in regards to their "science."

what everyone is saying, and quite frankly, DITR's tone sometimes leaves something to be desired.  However, I have run repeatedly into the whole "well, your belief in science is just that, belief" enough times to think there are plenty of people who think exactly that, at least about the issues they care most about, logic be damned.  I agreed particularly with Flyerhawk's point about "scientism."

demonstrated the fallibility?  And who, pray tell, subsequently changed their view of reality upon demonstration that the previous view of the world was wrong?  Thus indicating that they never maintained their own infallibility, but merely arrived at conclusions based on the current data in hand.

"It would be the kind of religion that would not even brook the consideration that alternate sources of knowledge may exist, and would bristle with childish angst every time one of its sacred decrees was questioned, strongly implying that all those who did not bow at their altar and repent of their disbelief were deserving of eternal condemnation."

What does that (alternative sources of knowledge) have to do with thimerosal, vaccines, or autism?

"Eternal condemnation"?  NO!  We believe in eternal damnation and we call it graduate school.

"FTR, I'm not discrediting the value of science, but I am cognizant of its limitations, and the points where it passes from science into the religion of "science," practiced and proselytized by its inquisatorial priests (that's you.)"

OK, here we are talking about a hypothesis:  thimerosal causes autism, how would you propose to evaluate such a hypothesis?  

Would you use science in this case?  Or is there some other body of knowledge you find to be more useful in evaluating such an idea?

And if you did use science would you accept its evidence?  

What if the evidence was overwhelming one way or another?  What if, as a result of your experiments, you could be certain with 95% to 99% cetainty?  And that numerous others, whom you do not know and have never met, using different experiments and different approaches, on different continents at different times confirmed your results with a similar degree of certainty, to the point that, there was no longer reasonable doubt that you were correct in your conclusion?

What then would you do, how would you react, when people who do not have the training, and have done no experiments, start telling you that you and all of those others are wrong?  And then proceed to cite evidence that is irrelevant, inaccurate, or wrong?

It's a religion now to be able to recognize the difference between correct and incorrect?

Give me a break!

"It would be the kind of religion that its priests had the only access to enlightened knowledge, and that thence must the unwashed public come, lest they be ostracized."

I'll give you my key to our Chambers of Secrets Harry Potter:

Key

a lot of it is online so that anyone who wants it can get it, the rest is available to a large extent in your local university library.  Trust me, Vandy will have a nice collection of journals.

"Perhaps, for an enlightening moment, you could print out your comment history, and read them side by side with the pronouncement of any 15th century vicar you can find, and you'll understand the point."

I've read enough of them side by side with yours,  Thomas', and several others to know that there is some similarity.  I attribute this fervency to certain quirks of personality rather than to religious zealousness.  Unless you believe that rejecting "Bush lied people died!" on sight is also a religion now too?

I think I understand Streiff's objection a bit better.  The problem I see, Leon, is defining what science can and cannot answer, and thus what becomes blind and fanatical in belief.  For instance (and not, for the love of all that is holy, to start one of those nightmare threads) the evolution debate swirls around whether or not the science is valid.  Folks that advance evolution as science are pilloried for merely advancing a blind belief.

I will simply not walk down this road with you. Not anymore.

Others may, if they have the time, inclination, and blood pressure medication handy, but not me. And, for all I care anymore (at least for the purposes of this site), they can come down on either side that they wish.

But they can not engage in personal insults against the other side.

And they invariably do.

reflect on the elements of religion, e.g. creation, fall, redemption, salvation, you find them all embodied in the way science is treated. Just as you found them in Marxism.

If science were always a body of knowledge and not a religion, once again speaking specifically of some people and not all, then a challenge to a scientific belief would be met with at least curiosity and not an adamant refusal to even consider it. That is exactly the reaction you'd expect to get from me if you asked me to doubt transubstantiation. In religion the reaction should be expected. In science it shouldn't.

If you want to carry it farther. Compare the postings of DITR, in particular, with Gnostics.

Where did I say anything about religious people being stupid?  In this thread or any other?

Did I call one, or several, posts about intelligent design stupid?  Yes.  But I think there is only one where I attributed the stupidity of the post to the possibility of it's author being stupid and that was based on things expressed in the post which absolutely were not religious in nature.

More the pity.  I see no need to stroll the minefield myself today.  But I did feel the need to clarify my position, and the underlying motivation for my opinions on this thread.

Just because you didn't use the word "stupid," doesn't mean that the clear and unmistakable implication of your post was that those on the other side are stupid. For instance, saying that they inabit a "fetid swamp of ignorance," and that their arguments are "gibberish" and "hogwash," and that not only are their arguments wrong, but so vacuous as to not even constitute the opposite side of a debate - well, you get where I'm going.

and where did I say that those characteriztions applied to religion or religious people?

Challenges to science using science should provoke curiosity, to the extent they are new or viable challenges.  A challenge to the conclusion that the earth is round, for example, would no longer excite curiosity.  A challenge that the theory gravity is incorrect based on a religious text coupled with some out of field scientific gleanings immediately advanced to the level of policy consideration from the government would also not be likely to excite scientific curiosity, but rather scientific hostility.

In this case it didn't apply specifically to religious people. It seems that this is just your habitual way of disagreeing with people who are on the other side of a debate with you, regardless of the issue? Frequently, this is religious people.

In either event, it doesn't necessarily matter. It's abusive and unnecessary - and further discreditory to your cause (which I can't pin down in this particular argument).

pretty well that those are flimsy strawmen.

But, on the other hand, an unproven scientific theory, like global warming (due to human activity rather than natural climactic cycles) is elevated to public policy by virtual acclamation. The proof. X of the leading scientists say it is so. Finito. The College of Cardinals has spoken.

Read theory of gravity as ID and you get my point as well.  As for global warming as the byproduct of human activity, as DITR asked Leon, what other means do we have to determine the validity of global warming than science and scientists?

Streiff, I'm not trying to say there is no such thing as a person or scientist who treats science as faith.  It's actually perfectly fine to do so (faith being unprovable and up to the individual conscience) but it becomes idiotic when they then use this faith in science to extend real science further than the evidence will allow.  I feel the same way about folks who try to use religion to answer questions that appear, to me, the legitimate arena of science.  There is one, there is the other, they may talk about the same thing but not in the same way.

"...and further discreditory to your cause (which I can't pin down in this particular argument)."

That litigation is not responsible for the small number of vaccine manufacturers in this country.  In particular, that litigation over thimerosal causing autism is not responsible for there being 2+1 influenza vaccine manufacturers in this country.

And, that kicking sand in the face of scientists and casting doubt on legitimate and widely accepted scientific evidence, such as the evidence that thimerosal is not responsible for autism, leads to doubt about scientific fact in the collective public mind which does us all a disservice by creating the sort of environment where pseudoscientific quacks and charlatans can prey on a public who cannot recognize the difference between legitimate and trumped up scientific claims.

And, that Streiff was being unfair in laying responsibility for quacks peddling mercury as cause of autism on scientists.

"Frequently, this is religious people"

No, frequently it is on some matter of science and my arguments are about the science involved, not the religion.

Have you ever seen me argue Biblical interpretation or translation?  In this regard you are far more prone to argument with religious people and occassionally it turns a bit testy.

We'll continue this discussion in private. Check the email you have on file here.

As for global warming as the byproduct of human activity, as DITR asked Leon, what other means do we have to determine the validity of global warming than science and scientists?

The fact is that they can't determine the validity of a future occurrence in a system they 1) don't understand and 2) can't model with any degree of rationality. Charitably, it is their best guess.Yet governments are deferring to their collective judgment. And if anyone (see Lomborg, Bjorn) questions the validity of the science they are attacked.

Again, this is not science. This is the action of something between a cult and religion.

Drop me an email if you would. Apparently, the address I have is no good.

I can, apparently, receive email from you, but not reply directly to your email.

Nevermind, in any case. We've had the discussion before.

anyone object to my assessment of the state of the vaccine industry?  

Rather than to my personal character flaws, and "religious" belief in using evidence in support of scientific "beliefs".

you have to recognize that many of the disputes over science that appear here, or in the popular press have been resolved to some degree of certainty in the respective fields of science.  

Therefore, rejecting an old argument with no new evidence presented is not "an adamant refusal to even consider it".  It is a gruff retort to an argument once considered, found lacking, and thus rejected.  Similar to calling "Known Fact" around here.

other than ignoring the fact that scientists were behind the research linking autism to vaccines, or that scientists are involved in pushing it still today? No. I have no objection.

If the science indicates the possibility or probability of human involvement, discretion would seem to indicate taking protective action.  Scientists attacking each other over their science sounds like how the game has always been played.  Science, to me, a non-scientists, says there might be human-caused global warming.  By my read, a pretty good probability.  So as someone interested in policy, I make decisions based on that read.  That's all I can do.

if there was, in fact, empirical evidence to begin with. I don't advocate recalculating Pi. I don't advocate reconsidering gravity. But that isn't the case in the most contested areas. The fact that evidence has been discarded does not mean the evidence is wrong, it simply means the influential members of the field refuse to reconsider anything that will call into question their past work.

Cruddy science is being used by abusive lawyers. We should be so lucky as to have that happen. In this case.

And is it your contention that asbestos does not cause mesothelioma?  Or merely that people who abuse the court system are the fault of scientists?

  1. Pray, tell: What sorts of asbestos cause mesothelioma? What's the incidence rate? How much asbestos, of the total amount of asbestos out there, causes mesothelioma? When was it produced? How much of that came into direct contact with human beings? In what way? Does solid asbestos, absent any other event, cause mesothelioma? How direct must the exposure be? For how long? How must the exposure occur?
  2. No, but I believe in joint and several liability. Enablers should be punished, too. Scientists aren't a magic priesthood exempt from the damage they cause.

Oh, wait, that's right. Scientists are better now. They're not human, not prone to doing terrible things for a thousand reasons. What was I thinking.

I mentioned earlier that science and faith deal with two entirely different aspects of our lives and that they have little relation to each other.  

There is one area in which they overlap, politics.  

The Scientific Community knows, with a high degree of certainty, that the Earth is currently warming.  This is straight observation.  That same Community is far less certain of the causes of that warming.  There is a great deal of debate about that warming and no one can say what the truth is at this point.

But that does not stop people from using scientific observation for political purposes.  These people, who are more likely than not to have little or no scientific background, push their agendas based on selective use of scientific findings.  

But that doesn't have anything to do with how the scientific process works.  Science will, eventually, figure out what's going on with our athmosphere.  It may be too late to save our species.  It may turn out to be much ado about nothing.  But at some point science will figure it out.  Just because people abuse science for their own purposes does NOT mean that one must follow science as a religion.

Pronounced atheist is not, no matter your other problems with religion, compatible with "Christian."

until you get here:

These people, who are more likely than not to have little or no scientific background, push their agendas based on selective use of scientific findings.  

It seems to me that 99% of the politically driven science is by mainstream scientists, global warming and the "obesity epidemic" prominent among them.

Mostly because streiff is right.

and I'll stop if you'll stop.


Thus, it [the folkish philosophy] by no means believes in an equality of races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated, through this knowledge, to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will that dominates this universe. (Hitler 1943, 383)

The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise. (Hitler 1943, 383)

What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, . . . so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe. (Hitler 1943, 214)

And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord. (Hitler 1943, 65).

"[T]he task of preserving and advancing the highest humanity, given to this earth by the benevolence of the Almighty, seems a truly high mission (Hitler 1943, 398).

Courtesy, The Comissar.

that most "mainstream" scientists are politicians first and scientists and 10th.

Exhibit A for this claim - The Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nothing -- not drop one -- was anything other than pagan. I don't say this as a Christian; I say it as a student of religion. Those are easy. The word "folkish" -- I forget the German addendum for Volk -- is the key part, given the connotations of the word in German.

Read Mein Kampf sometime.

Read Hitler's words on the Catholic and confessing churches.

Keep trying.

of Hitler, or of religion, but this sounds a little similar to something I read once.

 "Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise."

And you are still missing my point only to make it.

that unequivocally point to his identification as a christian:

"We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity... in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people."

speech in Passau, 27 Octover 1928

"It will take Christianity, as the basis of our collective morality, and the family as the nucleus of our Volk and state, under its firm protection....May God Almighty take our work into his grace, give true form to our will, bless our insight, and endow us with the trust of our Volk. "

1 Feb. 1933, addressing the German nation as Chancellor for the first time

"The National Government regard the two Christian Confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality. They will respect the agreements concluded between them and the federal States. Their rights are not to be infringed.... It will be the Government's care to maintain honest co-operation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith. The Government of the Reich, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attach the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and are endeavouring to develop them"

23 March 1933  speech to the Reichstag

"The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc, because it recognized the Jews for what they were... I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the church and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions"

26 April 1933

"The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavour to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren ), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of to-day."

26 June 1934, to Catholic bishops

"No, it is not we that have deserted Christianity, it is those who came before us who deserted Christianity"

26 Aug. 1934

speech at Koblenz, to the Germans of the Saar

The list of citations goes on.

 

Wow by Shadx

Wow, the anti-Christian bigotry of the RedState trolls has increased to the point that they're trying to claim Hitler was preaching Christianity.

And the moderators are still tolerating it.

Think it's time to find a new site.  Cheers, all.

have missed by my count not one, not two, but three successive points.

Cheers.

A great number of speeches to a largely Christian country doesn't do the trick. I'll give you a free hint: Read Mein Kampf. Or his diaries. Or indeed, anything he said or did that wasn't for public consumption. Then ask whether the National Reich Church was Christian.

Oh, no, wait, this is like Bush using God in his speeches, isn't it?

You think "Providence" means "Christ," and a generic belief that the Universal Will is guiding him to the head of the Volk means he humbly accepts Christ as his savior.

Did you know Muslims are really Jews? Seriously.

I seem to be the only one taking Dissension's point - which is that simply because one claims to be a Christian (scientist) does not make one a Christian (scientist).

That said, it does give the lie to the contention that scientists are an objective, monolithic body of objective truth seekers, does it not? That at least some scientists are worthy of criticism?

Just not the ones you like?

But streiff was right.

I'm holding back far harsher words.

Read mit brennender Sorge.

it was just quotes? I don't really understand why it is so important that he was or was not christian. People who argue that Hitler was a christian therefor christianity is evil are just mistaken (as are those who make similar argumetns against Islam), but people who want to deny that there is long history in Christianity of anti-semitism (whether you include hitler or not) are just ignoring history.

Back to hitler for a moment, even if he wasn't christian; that he appealed to christianity to defend and jusitfy his actions against the jews to the German people should be a sign that Christians in germany where open to that.

"...which is that simply because one claims to be a Christian (scientist) does not make one a Christian (scientist)."

Exactly! Additionally there is the fact that disregarding the established rules of behavior and standard practices necessary to be considered a member in good standing of the group, gets you a deserved hostile response with respect to using the groups authority to advance your own agenda.

(This is not to say that neither group will brook dissent, merely that there are ways to, as well as ways not to dissent.) (A running theme for this thread?)

"That said, it does give the lie to the contention that scientists are an objective, monolithic body of objective truth seekers, does it not?"

Scientists are definitely not a monolithic body, they are in large part objective and seeking truth, but they all become attached to their own work and research and try to convince others of its accuracy, quality, veracity, etc. as well as feeling personally challenged when someone disagrees with their work.  

But when the vast preponderance of them agree on a certain topic, you can be fairly certain that that is where the evidence is pointing.  And the only way to prove that that opinion is wrong is to provide the appropriate evidence.

"That at least some scientists are worthy of criticism?"

They're all worthy of criticism.  But when 90% or more of them agree on a certain scientific topic.  You should have in your pocket a very substantial peice of evidence saying they are wrong.  Given new evidence most will either accept it, explore it and test it, or disregard it because it has no bearing on their own particular little niche.

"Just not the ones you like?"

I like the majorities, because I don't gamble.  You can go around betting on the underdogs constantly, or you can handicap everyone with even odds, but I can't be expert at everything I'm curious about, I have enough trouble keeping up with my own little backwater of science, so I take the opinions of large percentages of experts with considerable authority.

You know that everything Hitler did is contrary to the spirit of Christianity, including but not limited to his anti-Semitism. The way you chose to make your point is bitterly insulting to me as a Christian. I'll repeat my suggestion that you read Pius XI's encyclical letter. And that's the last I'll say.

I did not mean to offend. I would say however that there are plenty of actions done in the name of an abstract theology (as all religions are) that run counter to it; that does not mean the people taking those actions do not belong to the group. Many would argue that various pogroms run counter to Christian spirit, it was still done by Christians.  I realize the effect of WWII is much mor epersonal becuase it is so close historically, but I don't see why in an objective fashion the same analysis would not hold true.

Whatever the case, whether Hitler was a Christian, was not a Christian, claimed to be a Christian, pretended to be a Christian,...

Should his actions, in direct contradiction to some/all of the major precepts of Christianity, have any effect on our opinions of the overwhelming majority of Christians who have nothing to do with Hitler or his views?

So some guy with an MD, or a Phd, or both says thimerosal causes autism, the rest of the community says:  no, he's wrong, here's the evidence that shows why...  (And guess what?  Bobby Kennedy is not a scientist.)

There are Nobel Prize winners who believe that HIV does not cause AIDS.  Guess what?  They're kooks!

Should the rest of science suffer indictment just because we too contain the requisite peppering of kooks that all groups of humans seem to have?

The vast majority of scientists are not kooks, or, properly, as you like to say, they are not all kooks of the same kind or in the same way.  Therefore, when the vast majority are in agreement on some topic against a small minority it's a pretty safe bet to stick with the majority.

That the media portrays these disputes in a he says vs she says fashion only makes it more difficult for the average person to figure out who the kooks are, which I mentioned upthread.

then there are christians.

Isnt it true that:

1. a high percentage of german society moved far to the left before wwii due to their philosophers that were hostile to faith and that even the churches were more nominal in that they did not accept the Bible as authoritative much like the dying, so called mainline churches in the us today.

and

2. That hitler constructed more of a pagan cult of personality version that selectively borrowed from scripture.

Wouldnt you agree alapert, that most of the progress in this country has been undergirded and led by christians and or judeo-christian values? Even jefferson thought those values were the best man had come up with.

Are you suggesting that scientists are frequently charlatans, but clerics are not?  Sadly, I think charlatans who seek political power find religion and politics to be an easier road than becoming professional scientists.

I worry about anti-science attitudes like this.  First I simply do not believe that science and religion are enemies, and I think generating that polarization is pure politics.

Secondly, if America turns away from science and engineering, and lets its young people fail to achieve in these areas, we will be in deep trouble someday, a second-rate power in a competative dangerous world.

  1. I have no idea; I'm not even sure what 'left' would ahve meant in Germany. I highly doubt german philosophers ahd all that much influence on a 'high percentage of society', they never do.
  2. Cult's of personality are not limited to pagans, it is a common feature of clergy followings in all religions, and borrowing from scripture selectively is certainly a consisten part of christianity across time and space.

I also would add that I think most of our progress is due to our grounding in the greek philosophical traditions more so than the judeo-christian religions. As Jefferson spearheaded a direct rejection of the English church, I'm not so sure he really saw those value as the best man has come up with; and even if he thought they were the best at that date he viewed society as a progressing organism that had the ability to improve over time. Thus, there is no reason to believe he thought they were the best values that could be.

But DITR's original reason for starting this subthread was to point out the inanity of calling Hitler Christian because he claimed to be, or at least said things in speeches that could lead to the conclusion he was one.  Nobody here, as far as I can tell, is advocating either Hitler was truly a Christian or that his works were motivated by faith.  DITR was arguing by analogy that calling all works science by self-proclaimed scientists is equally fallacious.

and I really didn't intend to start trouble with that one.

I'm glad several people from both sides "Grokked my point" though.

I said:

"Even jefferson thought those values were the best man had come up with."

see TJ quotes verifying the accuracy my statement.

http://www.eadshome.com/Jefferson.htm

that his reference to the doctrine of jesus was a way of separating from the church as it developed right? (he even called Calvin an Atheist, much like you call hitler one).

Basically, he saw the trinity as a pervertion of the doctrine of jesus and often took to calling those christians who believed in it (which I imagine is most) to be asthiest.

"The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823

and Jefferson's separation of same. I also know that his "inalienable rights" were bestowed by the Creator, and not by enligtened men, whether Greek or other extraction. And I also know that churches built most of the universities in the US.

So even TJ, an unbeleiver or deist, respects the values. And he was by no means the only founder and wasnt even in the US when the constitution was written.

And it is in the Bible, both OT and NT, which teaches the free will of of man to follow God without coercion, as well as the moral absolutes upon which our law is based. After the fall, moreover, God separated man into nations as a check on the exponential rise of evil.

I think the key to our unprecedented success and moral use of power is directly due to the fact that our system best approximates the original plan for free men interacting with each other subject to Gods law which unleashes mans potential creative powers.

The whole dynamic of free men having to accomodate other free men with the least possible distortions from a necessary government (necessary due to the fallen nature of man), produces the miracle that is america.

Judeo-christian principles, not the church per se, is the key. Thats why people of all faiths become good americans. And I dont think its any accident that a system that seeks to approximate gods truth works best.

So many systems seek to change mans nature rather than minimizing the negative aspects of his nature explains why we excell.

Its a miracle for us to be able to at once be sop free and prosperous and also produce enough wealth to defend ourselves from tyrannies that enslave their peoples soley for the purpose of megalomaniacl conquest.

as is the story of most of mans history

To discount the vital importance of our values and our faith to our success would be to use ones head merely for a hatstand. The whole idea of minority rights together with majority rule is a judeo-christian concept.

And faith also separates us from Europe in that we are willing to fight for the survival of humans, ie precious  creations of God.

The fact is that most americans in 1776 thur today were and are believing Christians. And we are the greatest nation in history by any sane measure. And that fact cannot be disputed. And so when supposedly intelligent, educated people try to explain away the importance of something so vital as religious belief and at the same time scoff at belivers as superstitious neanderthals, all the time insisting upon living among cavemen, one begins to question the credentials of such people in such denial.

The lefts problem is its exaltation of equality over liberty and its failure to recognize the EQUAL FREEDOM that exists. Jefferson envisioned an aristocracy of acheivers. Christ himself spoke more than anyone of the consequences of ones actions, as he spoke of HELL more than anyone in the Bible.

The main reason for this is envy.  Coupled with elitist detachment from the hard work that produces the wealth to supprt an idle intelligensia and the ability of the elites to insulate themselves from the consequences of their insane ideas and the policies thay propose.

They move to the suburbs. They criticze the police and armies that keep their heads from getting chopped off.

Some young christians imagine a better world can be constructed, feel guilty for undeserved affluence in America and then are brainwashed by the elites who reject God and his moral absolutes and embrace vanity to be their own god as the serpent in the garden promised. But they cant change man for his flaw is inside him. And so their attempts to make the world in their image, the utopia they imagine, is the road to serfdom as they must continually coerce behavior.

With no god, mass murder is acceptable.

Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century was greatly influenced by the nietsche and other elites.

and yes, the eites do have a profound effect of culture and did in germany.

 

can appreciate? Aval, this is one of the best thinkers my side has. Would love your opinion of same.

http://www.crosswalk.com/news/weblogs/mohler/1365406.html?view=print

would do you well.

It seems that all you want to do here is construct your own strawman and demolish it. Have fun.

Yes, I think at least as many scientists are frauds as clerics or any other profession. The fact that we have at least two federal agencies and several IG offices devoted to investigating scientific fraud should be a clue that, contrary to popular belief, you aren't dealing with the creme de la creme of society. You're dealing with geeks trying to out-geek each other and they are as willing to lie and cheat to do it as anyone else.

While we have been conditioned, via Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Faye, etc. to question our clergy we are actively discouraged from questioning our scientists. If you do you are called anti-science.

I worry about anti-science attitudes like this.

Nice try. See above. Are you really sure you have the basic literacy to participate in this conversation? Or are you just being anti-literate?

Secondly, if America turns away from science and engineering, and lets its young people fail to achieve in these areas, we will be in deep trouble someday, a second-rate power in a competative dangerous world.

Again, try reading before shooting your mouth off.

he didn't miss your point at all. Leon got your point. A lot of us got your point.

is your first impression I hope your "science" is better than your reading comprehension.

This is your argument not mine have fun beating your strawman here.

His historical view of Jefferson's task seems sound, though I disagree with some of his conclusions that come from the primacy he palces on post-Jesus Christianity. I also wouldn't say Jefferson was a post-modernist; my guess his use of tha tterm is either a misunderstanding of what post-modernism is or a non-technical use of the word. Jefferson was clearly a modernist in thought.

"I also know that his "inalienable rights" were bestowed by the Creator, and not by enligtened men, whether Greek or other extraction"

A direct link can be made between his derivation of 'rights' and greek philosophy. He specifically disavowed the conituous link between it and Christianity (though he would claim to be representing the original view of Jesus). So to say that it comes from the Christian tradition is misleading unless you are willing to say that the Christian tradition stopped developing when Jesus died.

"And I dont think its any accident that a system that seeks to approximate gods truth works best."

I don't disagree, but this is not just Christian in naute but Platonic.

"The whole idea of minority rights together with majority rule is a judeo-christian concept."

How do you figure? I don't see that in judeo-christian thought at all.

"And we are the greatest nation in history by any sane measure. And that fact cannot be disputed"

I think it can be disputed. By what measures are you thinking? Personally, I don't think our strength relative to the world today is tronger than the Greeks or Romans were at their prime relative to their worlds.

"And so when supposedly intelligent, educated people try to explain away the importance of something so vital as religious belief and at the same time scoff at belivers as superstitious neanderthals"

Are you reffering here to Jefferson again; because that describes his view of believers pretty well.

"and yes, the eites do have a profound effect of culture and did in germany"

As an elitist, this is reassuring; as a student of history though i view this really skeptically.

Sorry I don't have more time to spend on this right now, hopefully I cna come back to this weekend.

Thank-you for that polite response.

But getting back on topic, I think the problem is not so much charlatanism among scientists as it is charlatanism among the pundits and media personalities who articulate science to the people.  In most cases, these people have no scientific training or expertise.  You got to the BBC, and there is Alex Kirby pontificating about climate change.  You go to Newsweek and there is Steve Levy (an English literature major) telling us all about computer technology.

that is the case at all.

There are a certain number of Robert Kennedy Jrs who publicize this nonsense. But they get their information from real scientists. Some of them prominent. One of leaders of the mercury=autism thing is the head of a medical school.

So let's not just blame the stupid laypeople.

But being wrong is not the same as being a charlatan.  Scientists argue and disagree, and some of them are pompous and self promoting.  But what other process do we have to, for example, find a valid theory for the rise in autism cases?

I'm not really disagreeing with the body of your post, I am reacting to the opening paragraphs.  Worshiping science?  Infinately more charlatans in science?  I just don't agree with that sentiment.

My own training is in science, and I know too many people who are dedicated passionately to uncovering truth, teaching the young, and solving important problems.

the thimerasol theory.  They have pretty clearly ruled out the MMR relationship one, which was pretty much junk science, but the thimerasol relationship is still being studied, and may have some merit, although I suspect it won't-mostly because the gene research is producing far more results.

But the whole mercury theory has produced a lot of snake oil treatments which is pure junk, and tends to appeal to desperate parents.

That said, my personal experience isn't too keen on the thimerasol link-given that my 8 year old son has an autism spectrum disorder.  Looking back, I can honestly say signs of the disorder were present long before he got his first immunization.  Also, neurologists will check for mercury and other heavy metals, because a high exposure to heavy metals (like lead) can mimic symptoms of autism.  My sons mercury level was perfectly normal, as were all the others.

But I just wanted to point out that the science hasn't determined yet that the thimerasol link has no merit, and legitimate science is still studying this issue.  So far the early evidence seems to indicate there isn't a link, and probably one of the best ways to study further is whether or not the rate of autism goes down, now that thimerasol is no longer an additive in vaccines.

By the way thimerasol was never an ingredient in the MMR vaccine, so when discussing junk science, science and studies related to the causes of autism, those two issues are seperate studies.

France.

Your points are well made and well taken.

and it's a real problem. And it isn't just scientists, it's anyone with a technical specialty, including lawyers, tax accountants, and central bankers.

We live in an era where we depend on scientists to do things that we don't understand. We lack the knowledge to even begin to hold these people accountable. As a consequence, they've got power. And there really isn't anything we can do about. They hold the key to the mysteries of the universe, like priests did in pre-modern times. How do you know your doctor is any good? Or the pilot of the plane you're about fly?

When it comes to something like autism or climate change, all we can do is repeat things that make intuitive sense to us, unless we are specialists in the field we really have no basis to make any kind of informed judgment.

A few things help--a basic knowledge of probability and statistics (since it turns out that probability and statistics are pretty counter-intuitive) an an understanding of the scientific method.

But basically, we're at their mercy. And we don't like it. So we follow the advice in our horoscope and chant.

A jar of mercury was one of my favorite acquisitions as a apprentice to the Science-hood.  The vapors of which have not pushed me to madness, yet.  But the years of themerisol in my contact solution may have.  Yes, I do things very few understand.  And the holy grail of my sect is the Navier Stokes completeness problem. one of the Millennium Prize challenges.  If that makes sense, your of the cloth.

To address your feelings of helplessness, a clarification: there is the accepted Science-hood, and there is the Cults.  You can not convince the a cultist he is wrong.  And it could take a generation for a pet cult theory (or theorist) to die off.  Especially theories that gain acceptance, but are virtually unprovable.  Geology is a famous example, until the data from spreading oceanic ridges became available, there were long standing popular theories, totally wrong.

You mention climate change, which began at a Cold War nuclear powered military base on the

Greenland ice shelf, Camp Century.  It provides the first accurate paleoclimate record showing the rapid changes in world climate.  That is only forty years ago, showing climate change to be a very young science.  Oh the unholy alliance between science-hood and the military-industrial complex!

But here I propose a test, real results from any scientific endeavor should have a component that communicates the result in such a way as to alleviate the skepticism arising from complexity or obscurity.  If it does not, it probably has not been accepted by the whole church, and is a product of the cults.  Down with the Cults!

-- perficio --

are all declared Jewish, tracing their lineage from Abraham to Jacob renamed Israel to the Tribe of Judah in both Protestant & Catholic Bibles.  As for the Jewish Bible, its in accord with the Jewish prophets & oracles.  Hitler certainly did not recognize the prophesied Savior of the Jews & mankind, Jesus, as his Lord or Savior.  He hated all Jews & so stated.

He simply tried to seduce Christian & non-Christian alike.  To seduce non-Christians, appeal to the many secular religions... patriotism & other isms.  To seduce Christians, appeal to them as one of them & quote the Bible.  Liberal Democrats do it all the time!  

Then they, too, actually rule contrary to biblical tradition...exalting abortion, homosexuality, the State, and freedom from the religion of others (especially Christian).

I didn't know what it was called. I learn so much here, but I tell you, we have some real beauts around here wearing me out lately. Am I too nice and trusting? My wife used to say my naivete and good nature and longing to teach and learn is part of my charm.

But I wonder  sometimes if these liberals can really be this dumb or if they are playing games.

How you Hawg? sooey right?

in NH or Seattle

Alas, the laity does not really know how to distinguish between the established church and the cults. They (perhaps I should use we) simply lack the training to make an informed choice. And the cults are especially appealing when science offers little. So many people read their horoscopes. Other go to Mexico for the herbal cure for Alzheimers. So fine, down with cults.

But the bigger problem, which I'm not explaining very well, is the basic conflict between science and democracy. Climate change is a scientific and a political problem. Only science can tell us the answers, but in a democracy, it is up to the people to decide what to do. How can they (we) possibly make that choice? First, we know that they won't want to do things like use less fossil fuels or make any real sacrifice--certainly not over the long term. The old solution was representative government, but now the problems are of such complexity that I fear that solution is beginning to break down. And the incessant political pressuere from the people doesn't help.

I think the best example of what I'm trying to get at is Ibsen's play Enemy of the People.

As I stated at the beginning, I'm not of the cloth--my field is political philosophy. I'm trying to think of my role in the metaphor of scientist as priesthood. Perhaps the priesthood of old has split the job--science got all the good parts, and us poor philosophers got whatever was left. Or perhaps we can be Jeremiahs.

we need to do a much better job with science education. Not just F=MA science, but how science works.

Why do people think that living under high tension wires is bad?

but... they wear magnets for better health.  

Do electro-magnetic fields know if they are being used by concerned health aware modern folks or being emitted by careless profiteers?  Maybe some studies should be federally funded...Electro-magnetic motivation?  nahhh.

Cellphones cause cancer because they are implements of evil, everyone knows that evil causes cancer.  

Thank goodness for trial lawyers!  The cellphones our diabolical business interests, interested only in white colonialism and grossly unfair profit, dump in Africa cause male african sexual organs to fall off, or so I am informed, it is only the threat of litigation that limits cellphone damage in the US to, the much harder to prove, cancer and bad karma.

concerning the greek influence.

Will respond to the rest later. You raise great issues in a very thought provoking way, and I want to think about it and respond when Im at the better computer at the office on sunday

see what you think of the below which I have not read yet myself, but will

http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_print.php?cdate=2005-06-01

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/30/tem_1030bible.html

http://www.garynorth.com/public/department57.cfm

"and probably one of the best ways to study further is whether or not the rate of autism goes down, now that thimerasol is no longer an additive in vaccines"

This will indeed tell the tale with great certainty.

Denmark and Canada both prohibited the use of thimerosal in vaccines in the 1990s.

Neither has seen any reduction in rates of autism even though none of their children have been vaccinated with thimerosal containing vaccines for the last decade or so.

the same percentages of increase that we have seen in the US.

As I said earlier, the genetic link studies seem far more promising at the moment, and I strongly suspect autism is mostly genetic in nature, although there is still not a scientific explaination yet for the dramatic increase in diagnosis.  Better diagnosis hasn't accounted for the increase either.

Autism is an epidemic that goes widely ignored by everyone but those whose lives are touched by it.

There are other epidemics as well.

I have nothing to offer but more research.

Children have autism.

If there was something killing our children at a rate that high, there would be panic.

Autism is fastest growing developmental disorders, and we still don't know much about it-what causes it, or if there is anything that can be done to prevent it.  

Treatments (legitimate ones) are expensive.

More research is an important component, but too many people don't even have a clue what it really is or how it is treated.  Many school districts are clueless on what to do with kids on the spectrum.  

Probably one reason why I agree with you on the junk science aspect of this epidemic-there are too many people out there who play off of a parents fears and hopes, and they really just suck the money out of the family, money that could be better spent on other treatments-even if those treatments don't come with the same promise as the junk.

"there are too many people out there who play off of a parents fears and hopes, and they really just suck the money out of the family, money that could be better spent on other treatments-even if those treatments don't come with the same promise as the junk."

which I probably didn't make clear.  It is my frustration with people who try to sell BS cures for autism, or other disorders, like chelation therapy to desperate parents who just want to do their best for their children.  They perpetuate this myth that mainstream science is intentionally ignoring the causes and treatment of autism and try to sell things that are at best dubious, and at best ineffective.

 
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