Autism goes to court: Part 2

(Cross posted at Say Anything: Reader Blogs.)

Let me lay this all out on the table right now. People who insist on claiming that vaccines cause autism make me so mad I could cuss. Without fail they manage to be irritating, irrational, and emotionally manipulative. I do not like people who resort to emotional manipulation. I find them particularly despicable when they are manipulating people who are already under a lot of emotional stress, in this case parents caring for their autistic children.

The Cedillo v HSS case is nothing but one big guilt trip. I don't do guilt trips. My favourite blogger to read when it comes to autism, Orac of Respectful Insolence, sums up this case very well, The Autism Omnibus: When you don't have scientific evidence, tug on the heartstrings!
The Autism Omnibus is now officially under way, having begun with the first test case, that of Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Omnibus proceeding is the culmination of the legal cases brought to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by nearly 5,000 families who "feel" that their children's autism was in fact caused by vaccines. Most, but not all, of the plaintiffs blame the mercury in the thimerosal in childhood vaccines, despite there being no good evidence to support such a link, so much so that both David Kirby, whose book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and The Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy popularized the bogus "science" of the alleged mercury-autism connection is backpedaling furiously, to the point of ploys as ridiculous as blaming mercury from crematoria in California, forest fires, and pollution from China. Meanwhile, even the most diehard of the mercury militia, a man who used to say routinely that autism is a "misdiagnosis" for mercury poisoning, our old "friend" J. B. Handley, is racing Kirby away from the thimerosal hypothesis, now obfuscating his former clarity of vision with fuzzy combinations of heavy metals, live viruses, antibiotics, and "toxic loads" as "causes" of autism. In essence, the mercury militia, realizing that it's backed a scientific loser, is quickly shifting the goalposts in order to make their ideas about the environmental "causes" of autism into conveniently unfalsifiable hypotheses.

Unfortunately, thanks to the low bar of evidence required in the Autism Omnibus hearings, the mercury hypothesis may not be a legal loser.

And there's the crux of the matter. Scientific research has repeatedly failed to find a link between vaccines and autism so people are moving to the courts where they don't have to meet the rigorous standards and the intense scrutiny of the peer review process and nosy know it all bloggers who know how to read, how to think critically, and how to use Google.

Any way, see Orac's comments on the first day of testimony. Here's a link to the transcript of the first day of testimony.

Autism Diva, an autism blogger I really ought to start reading, blogged the first day of the case, Cedillo v HSS vaccine hearing

Testimony in this case is scheduled to go on for sometime. You can keep track of it all with case transcript and audio.

(Autism goes to court: part one)


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