Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Delusional Nonsense

As a scientist concerned about the rampant disinformation being put out on the web, and as someone very concerned about scientific literacy and the education of children to be scientifically literate, I feel I must blog about the travesty of disinformation being put out by Ben Stein and the Discovery Institute.

I interrupt my regular blogging to post the obligatory links of Ben Stein's movie aka the crappy Creationist movie (oops I mean expelled the movie aka Intelligent Design or ID movie) Expelled to the Expelled Exposed web site. PZ Myers has many of the details.

Evolution is one of the scientific theories that there is the most evidence for. The largest amount of evidence is in the DNA of living organisms. Every bit of the DNA that has been analyzed so far is completely consistent with evolution and with common descent. Just as DNA testing is extremely reliable for determining relatedness of children to their parents, it is also reliable in determining relatedness of more distant relatives. Even very distant relatives to humans, such as E. coli.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I am Kathleen

I am Kathleen

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. Benjamin Franklin

Kathleen Seidel over at Neurodiversity has been subpoenaed by the lawyer representing Lisa Sykes in her lawsuit against Glaxo-SmithKline, Wyeth, Inc. and Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

I see this as an example of the typical bullying behavior that many NTs exhibit toward ASDs. It is an action designed only to hurt, not to derive any benefit from. Ms. Seidel doesn't have any information that would be of any actual use in the lawsuit. This is a purely punitive action to try and hurt her. I see this as the worst type of behavior. It is only destructive and can have no positive effects. It is always easier to destroy than to create. It is very unfortunate that our society rewards such destructive behaviors. Bullies such as Mr. Shoemaker can only do their dirty work against small groups. Divide and conquer. Bullies from the Mercury Militia have made death threats against vaccine researchers. This is just more of the same. It may have the imprimatur of being "legal", in the same sense that everything is "legal" if you are not caught. Being "legal" doesn't make it right.

Normally I blog about nitric oxide physiology and its connection to autism spectrum disorders. Most of those blogs are about a year ago. My research indicates that low NO is the real cause of the symptoms of ASDs. Low NO does explain every symptom of the ASDs. My most recent blog on ASDs and nitric oxide discusses the resolution of autism symptoms with fever. It is clearly due to higher NO from iNOS. I don't like getting involved in politics because that involves trying to get other people to do things. I prefer to focus on what I can do. I know that is the typical ASD mind-set. Situations like this are upsetting to me because I perceive an injustice which can only be corrected if people who are NT can be convinced to do "the right thing".

This subpoena is clearly an injustice. When I observe an injustice, I begin to think about what I can do to stop the injustice and to prevent the injustice from ever happening again to anyone else. A number of lawyers have blogged about how this incident is an injustice. So far, none of them (to my knowledge) have done anything to stop this injustice and to prevent an injustice like this from happening in the future. It would seem that our legal system is not set up to do things like that, and the people who control the legal system (that would be lawyers) don't want to change the legal system to prevent injustices like this from happening because that would limit the power that they have over non-lawyers.

With great power comes great responsibility. If the legal profession is unwilling to be responsible with the power that society has granted it, then society must take that power away from it.

I am beginning to understand why NTs are so hard for ASDs to communicate with. NTs have a very strong "theory of mind", that matches the "theory of mind" of the other NTs. This "theory of mind" greatly facilitates communication between NTs, however it also greatly limits the types of things that can be communicated or even thought about. Anthropomorphic feelings about emotions, feelings, motivations, wants, needs, desires, etc. these are the "currency" of the NT theory of mind. Facts and logic are much more difficult for NTs. For NTs, anthropomorphic feelings usually "trump" facts and logic. The opposite is true for ASDs. ASDs can accept this (because it is factually correct). NTs can't accept this because they have a "theory of mind" need to feel that their "theory of mind" is based on facts and logic. NTs simply can't accept that some of their most basic assumptions are based not on facts and logic, but on arbitrary feelings they have no control over. This is obvious in some individuals, Creationists for example. All humans have it to some extent, NTs simply have it to a somewhat greater degree. The "theory of mind" of NTs has a lot of hysteresis. Once something is "believed", an NT has a hard time changing that belief even in the face of evidence the belief is false. I am not saying this to be disparaging of NTs. I think that all humans are on the NT/ASD spectrum. There is an inherent trade off of "theory of mind" for "theory of reality". My research indicates that much of that trade-off is programmed in utero. That is what I am working on right now.

I happen to know a lot about the false mercury causes autism idea because I spent a lot of time reading the literature about it. I blogged about it a year ago, there is zero evidence to support a mercury connection to autism and much evidence to show there is no connection. More data has come out since I blogged about it, all of which makes any connection even less likely. The Faroe Islands study on autism showed that even in 750 individuals with mercury levels over 60 nM/L in cord blood there is no excess of autism. The false "mercury causes autism" idea is wasting a great deal of time and resources that could be put to better use. It has already caused the deaths of multiple children. It has caused multiple children to be chelated multiple times. Chelation by succimer is known to cause learning difficulties (presumably via brain damage) all by itself. That mercury does not cause autism is not at all a close scientific all.

It is clear to me that Mr. Shoemaker sent the subpoena solely to injure and intimidate Ms. Seidel. By doing so I think he has committed malpractice. Ms. Seidel was attacked because she posted information about Mr. Shoemaker's financial involvement in the business of the "mercury causes autism" litigation. A "business" that Mr. Shoemaker has made a lot of money at. It is understandable that Mr. Shoemaker would be upset when his shady business dealings and business plans are disclosed. However Mr. Shoemaker's business dealings have nothing to do with Lisa Sykes in her lawsuit against Glaxo-SmithKline, Wyeth, Inc. and Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation. The actions of Mr. Shoemaker in issuing the subpoena are mean spirited and contemptible. Ms. Seidel has no connection to the case, had no role in what ever "caused" the autism of the children in the case.

In my opinion Mr. Shoemaker has breached his duty to Ms. Sykes by using her lawsuit as a vehicle to attack Ms. Seidel because of her exposure of his unrelated business dealings. The media circus Mr. Shoemaker has generated surrounding the litigation he is pursuing for multiple clients makes settlement for any particular one of those clients less likely. In his business of vaccine litigation, a media circus may increase the ultimate legal fees that he gets; it does not serve individual clients.

In my opinion the Hannah Poling case was clear malpractice. Why was it included in the Autism Omnibus when it was a table injury? Only to bolster the Autism Omnibus, not to provide relief to Ms. Poling as quickly as possible. The obvious reason is to get increased legal fees, not provide relief for his clients.

The breath-takingly foolish and inane attempted continued use of the Geiers as "expert witnesses" after multiple courts have rejected them as bogus is now understood. The Geiers and Mr. Shoemaker are business partners. The court cases are simply a vehicle for the Geiers and Mr. Shoemaker to make money from fees. The "facts" of the case don't matter. The "credibility" of the Geiers as witnesses doesn't matter. It is not a surprise to me that Mr. Shoemaker is unethical. Birds of a feather flock together. I am not a lawyer, but I am a scientist, and the Geier's published work verges on fraud. The treatments they have subjected children to are quackery and injurious with no basis in physiology to be helpful. Clearly they don't care about the children being subjected to these treatments. Clearly they don't care about children who will be injured as vaccination rates fall.

To me they are complete slimes. The equivalent of war profiteers. Merchants of death who foster wars so they can sell weapons not caring when women and children die. The equivalent of the merchants who egg on a crowd to burn witches so they can profit by selling torches. Merchants who encourage lynching so they can sell rope. People who profit from the misery that they cause. If I believed in Hell, beyond a doubt these people will end up there.