Friday, April 04, 2008

Autism troubles in law and blogs

PZ Myers:
The Sykes family has my sympathy — they have an autistic child, and that has to be difficult. My sympathy is limited, however, by the fact that are lashing out seeking to blame someone, have bought into the thimerosal hysteria, have hired a bottom-feeding shyster to sue various pharmaceutical companies, and said unethical ambulance-chaser is now using the power of the subpoena to harrass and intimidate bloggers who aren't at all involved in the case, but have simply written about the absence of a thimerosal-autism link.

They have subpoenaed Kathleen Seidel of the Neurodiversity blog for, well, just about anything they can think of. She isn't involved in the trial otherwise; she is a knowledgeable person with no special inside information on either the Sykes or the drug company, but has only written critically about the case as an outsider. For that, her reward is that a lawyer with a history of attempts to use bad science in legal cases wants to silence her.

There's more on the case at Pure Pedantry and Overlawyered.
It is an uncomfortable situation. You have grieving parents, angry and focused on what they believe is wrong. On Wednesday, CNN had on the actress Jenny McCarthy, who has an autistic child. She was angry and firm on stating that vaccine causes autism. A fact. That parents have seen it happen, and anecdotal stories are scientific evidence. Facts.

You have an upset parent, that is hard to deal with. For many telling them, "No, anecdotes are not evidence. They are flawed, actual research and measures need to be taken. And they have, and it counters those anecdotes." You are going to have your ass chewed for saying it. It is true, but it is not going to be appreciated.

But it has to be said, repeatedly. The real causes need to be found. Hopefully these parents can come to see this. For the sake of their and other kids.

1 comment:

Liz Ditz said...

Thanks for commenting on this.

I am one of the 100+ bloggers mentioned in item 5 of the subpoena.

I am keeping a running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams. I've added your blog.