Anti-Vaccine Charities — Is there any Quality control on Charities?

By Darcy Cowan 11/10/2011


I haven’t really been writing much lately, for this blog at least. Much that is due to simple procrastination but earlier this year my free time was spent doing something equally stimulating.

Back in July I submitted a complaint to the New Zealand Charities Commission, which they (allegedly) are currently investigating, about the Immunisation Awareness Society (IAS). This is a charitable organisation that disseminates anti-vaccine information, while at the same time denying that they are anti-vaccine.

Grant has recently done an excellent post on some of the nonsense put out by IAS representatives, go have a read if you’ve not seen it yet.

My complaint focuses on the fact that to be a registered charity an organisation must fulfil a charitable purpose (makes sense). The particular legislation outlines these purposes as:

“the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community.”

In my complaint I detail how the advancement of education is not met by the IAS, that they are anti-vaccine and that they therefore do not constitute a benefit to the public. As they do not relieve poverty nor advance religion this effectively should remove them from the arena of “Charity”.

To answer the question posed in the title, theoretically – yes there is quality control over charities. Part of the mandate of the Charities Commission is to:

“promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector”,

“monitor charitable entities and their activities to ensure that entities that are registered as charitable entities continue to be qualified for registration as charitable entities”

and

“inquire into charitable entities and into persons who have engaged in, or are engaging in, conduct that constitutes, or may constitute, a breach of this Act or serious  wrongdoing in connection with a charitable entity”

In large part my compliant is based on this previous post about the IAS, cleaned of snark and updated with a few references. In addition I dismantle a few of the “Educational” posts on their website to show how the information they promote is factually incorrect and geared towards convincing parents not to vaccinate their children.

In particular I look at This post that attempts to link NZ vaccines with Thimerosal and thereby to Autism even though both links in this chain are fictitious. Next I go over This post which is a copy of a submission to an FDA committee by Roberta Boyce founder of the anti-Gardasil website truthaboutgardasil.org, predicably criticising the Gardasil vaccine for being some sort of secret plot to make people sick and sterile. Okay maybe you couldn’t have predicted that. Finally I take apart yet more claims about the “Toxic” ingredients of vaccines, similar to another of my previous posts. Then I cover potential and actual damage caused by anti-vaccine sentiment (like the Auckland Measles outbreak).

I have no doubt that the IAS will rail against this complaint claiming that I’m trying to suppress free speech (nothing of the kind, they can continue their activities without being a charity) or that I’m attempting to smear them (no need, their output speaks for itself) or that I’m a henchman for the Immunisation Advisory Centre (no affiliation, but if they want to throw some money my way…;-)).

I’m hopeful that this complaint will at least get the Charities Commission to pay attention to the IAS and it’s output. Like I said I’m not interested in shutting them down, upholding free speech means defending those you don’t agree with (or something, I’m hazy on the details. People tell me it’s good). The issue I have is that these guys are essentially receiving a government subsidy (in the form of tax exemptions) for spouting inaccuracies.

Finally I have to give enormous thanks to Simon Clendon who kicked me into action after my post on the IAS philosophies and took on the task of editing the brain dump that resulted. He also made a bridge to the nice people at the IMAC who provided some extra info (still no affiliation just a few emails).

For those who want more on how I deal with the IAS misinformation I will repackage the various sections of the complaint as follow-up posts (tagged “IAS complaint”). Plus, I went to all that work, might as well eh?

If you want to read the full complaint in all it’s damning detail and mind numbing depth you can find it in PDF form Here, I’ve also got a snappy snip url: http://snipurl.com/iascomplaint. Go on, you know you want to. Tell your friends.

There are also a few supporting documents at that address as well, just to make finding them easier. If this inspires you to make your own complaints then go for it, the more the merrier, probably. I’m sure you needn’t go to as much trouble as I did (though if you want to, it’s fun. Plus by now the IAS has continued to march ahead with new misinformation).

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Filed under: Medicine, Psychological, Questionable Techniques, Sciblogs, Science, skepticism Tagged: anti-vaccine, antivax, Autism, Education, gardasil, Health and Medicine, HPV vaccine, IAS complaint, Science, Science and Society, Vaccine, Vaccines


0 Responses to “Anti-Vaccine Charities — Is there any Quality control on Charities?”

  • Fantastic work! I’ve been very involved with Stop the AVN and what they have been doing in Australia (even though I’m a kiwi), and I have been wanting to do something about the IAS for ages. Please let me know if you need any help researching stuff or whatver, and good luck with the Charities Commission!

  • Thanks Kate, I was inspired by the “success” with AVN in Oz last year.

    I’m sure the next series of posts will generate some controversy, so feel free to jump in if they do. It’s been a bit quiet around here anti-vax wise lately though.

  • Great work Darcy.

    “I’m sure the next series of posts will generate some controversy”

    I wouldn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that antivaxxers often complain that scientists suppress conversations about vaccines yet it is on the antivaxxer sites that they “edit out” views which disagree with their own, while on sites such as sciblogs we encourage uncensored discussion (so long as it remains within rather liberal bounds of civility).

  • The CDC’s What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations? page is also useful.

    Michelle Rudgley has (finally) replied, but opted to do so on the safe confines of her blog—on which no-one can comment, thus blocking any real engagement or discussion. I may attempt some sort of reply of my blog later if I’ve time. Certainly some of her remarks directed at me are remiss. She also repeats her false “useless” claim… but more on that later, I guess. (Time permitting, of course!)

  • First link in Darcy’s article. Sorry about that – I didn’t include it as Darcy had linked it and I didn’t want to links to trip off the spam filter! (Rudgley actually did write an earlier “reply” of sorts – a list of cut’n’pastes on Erwin‘s Facebook page, but the likes of you and me “aren’t allowed” to engage with people there! I did for a little bit, then Erwin banned me for being someone with different views to his, as I explained in the comments after my article.)

  • Kudos Darcy. I hope the complaint goes well and that the bureaucracy can be convinced that attempting to misinform the public about important health matters is neither educational nor beneficial to the community.

  • “What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?”

    It would be an absolute disaster, as it would cause the medical-pharmaceutical industry to grind to a virtual halt. Let me explain: the profits from the drugs used to deal with the wide-spread harm caused by vaccinations are a main source of revenue for the medical-pharmaceutical establishment; hence the relentless push to raise vaccination rates and to squash dissent. A healthy population is after all not profitable, only sick people are. Hence the importance of promoting ill-health by means of vaccination programmes, to maintain a wide customer base. Injecting babies and children with toxic biological and chemical agents works wonders in this regard. .
    Never mind that vaccines are useless as far as preventing diseases goes, as long as they create chronic ill-health the the medical-pharmaceutical establishment can thrive on. The IAS must be shut down, because the more parents wake up to the fact that vaccination is a dangerous fraud, the more vaccination rates and hence profits will drop as children’s health improves. The the sacrifice of children’s health and intelligence for the greater good must obviously continue. If vaccination stopped, the economy would collapse and thousands of doctors, nurses and others would be out of a job. People like Dr Andrew Wakefield are also an obvious threat in that they undermine parents’s confidence in vaccination. It would have been far better to burn him at the stake instead of just deregistering him, thereby elevating him to celebrity status in antivaxers’ eyes. People must be programmed to do what they are told rather than be left to do their own thinking, which only causes trouble. After all, healthy unvaccinated children provide a control group which shows up vaccinated children for the sickly lot they are. Harsh measures are called for, to keep the wheels of the sickness industry turning. I therefore wish to express my gratitude to Sciblogs for their dedication to fighting the rising tide of informed parents who are asking far too many questions for their own and the medical-pharmaceutical establishment’s good.

  • Erwin, when does anyone say that IAS should be shut down? I explicitly state that they could continue it their endeavours without charitable status.
    Or are you responding without reading?

  • Great initiative Darcy. I hope more people provide supporting complaints.

    We should recognize that these people get a subsidy which effectively comes from us the ratepayer. Freedom of speech should not mean we financially support them.

    The Commission could well do something. I note they have nocked back a few “charities” lately. The Greepeace case got attention but there were a number of others. Mainly using the advancement of religion clause which imagine would be an easy one to manipulate – and one that has been given a free ride in the past.

  • Goodonyer mate, Darcy. As one of the complainants whose activities led to the cancellation of the Australian Vaccination Network’s Charitable Fundraising Authority, let me express my admiration for taking this on. I and my colleagues here in Oz will help in any way we are asked.

    One tip: follow the money. Let me tell you more via private email.

    best wishes.

  • Erwin’s a good example of how disconnected from reality some of these people get. Thanks Erwin.

  • “Freedom of speech should not mean we financially support them.”

    What about part of my taxes being used to finance a medical intervention I consider child abuse and a crime against humankind? As far as I am concerned, people who are gullible enough to believe in this fraud should be made to pay for vaccination out of their own pocket. It’s bad enough for vaccination to be an organised medical-pharmaceutical criminal enterprise without governments being involved in it. But I forget that governents are organised criminal enterprises in their own right.

  • gday Darcey

    my attempt to contact you via the contact button above bounced. Can you contact me at [edited to remove personal info] pls.

  • Here is confirmation for what I said in one of my posts:

    Preventative Health Linked to Brain Damage
    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    (Natural News) The nation of Finland has now openly admitted that the swine flu vaccine “conclusively” causes narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder that makes people uncontrollably fall asleep. The Finnish government, in acknowledging this link, says it will pay for “lifetime medical care” for 79 children who have been irreparably damaged by the swine flu vaccine.

    Remarkably, even though the link between swine flu vaccines and permanent neurological damage in children is now openly admitted by the Finnish government, there is absolutely no talk about halting the utterly unscientific ritual of injecting children with flu vaccines in the first place.

    Both the government and the vaccine industry continue to push the fabricated fairy tale that “vaccines are safe and effective,” meaning they harm no one but help everyone. Yet the truth is practically the polar opposite: Vaccines harm countless millions of children each year in ways that are usually never linked to vaccines (mild mental retardation, suppressed immune function, learning disabilities, etc.).

    Vitamin D is safe, effective and affordable. It’s available without a prescription and could save literally billions of dollars in national health care costs for just pennies per day per person. So why won’t the medical establishment promote vitamin D? Precisely because it would cost the industry billions of dollars in lost profits from all the sickness and degenerative disease that is prevented by vitamin D.
    http://www.drhotze.com/flu-vaccine-linked-to-brain-damage/

    The medical profession would also rather let people who are in intensive care with serious infections die than give them life-saving intravenous vitamin C. That’s evidence-based science as practiced by medical doctors: when appropriate treatment is withheld or inappropriate treatment (e.g. administering fever-lowering drugs) is given, patients die.
    I know of a hospital where – most convenienty, especially now that we are concerned about carbon footprints – the cemetary is right next to the hospital. Maybe this should be made common practice, especially given the large number of people killed by the sickness industry.

    The American Medical System Is The Leading Cause Of Death And Injury In The United States
    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/medicine/usamed.htm

    So where and why is medical science failing and why are you people not addressing this issue, rather than harrassing the Immunisation Awareness Society which is trying do reduce the horrendous and wide-spread damage caused by the needle nuts when they practice their 200-year-old medical superstition?

  • I’m sorry Erwin, natural news does not count as a reliable or reputable source of information.

  • Erwin,

    If the swine flu vaccine caused narcolepsy in Finland then why aren’t their similar cases in other countries? If this spike in narcolepsy is limited to Finland then perhaps their is a geographical or genetic contributor? Or perhaps they have a different vaccine from other countries perhaps there is something wrong with that specific vaccine. One problematic vaccine does not automatically mean all vaccines are hazardous.

    With regards to your quoting of the “American Medical System Is The Leading Cause Of Death And Injury In The United States” article thanks for the reminder about that hideous piece of pseudoscientific propaganda. Of course deaths occur in hospitals. Occasionally it may be due to careless errors but in most cases it is due to the fact that the patient has suffered an injury or disease that medicine cannot treat. While you and other supporters of pseudoscience use this article to “show” that natural medicine is “better” than conventional medicine, until I see evidence of homeopathy being reliably used to treat a heart attack, or reikki treating a severe asthma attack or psychic healing cure a severe infection, I’ll stick with conventional medicine, thank you very much.
    And even when medicine cannot cure a disease it can still usually offer treatments which prolong life or at least provide effective palliative care.

    Furthermore, the first page of this study erects a huge strawman by suggesting that:

    “Medicine is not taking into consideration the following monumentally important aspects of a healthy human organism:

    (a) Stress and how it adversely affects the immune system and life processes
    (b) Insufficient exercise
    (c) Excessive caloric intake
    (d) Highly processed and denatured foods grown in denatured and chemically damaged soil
    (e) Exposure to tens of thousands of environmental toxins.”

    Most doctors these days, including my own, are very well aware of all of these factors.

  • Michael, I’ve seen some recent(ish) stuff on the narcolepsy thing and will be posting about it soon.
    Short version: It’s not the vaccine.

    As far as the iatrogenic argument goes, I have a guy that shows up occasionally to make this claim. I always ask him to account for the benefits of medicine not just the draw backs so a proper assessment can be made. He never does. I suspect erwin would deny there are any benefits to medicine.

    [edit: just looking at my notes and the narcolepsy stuff is not specifically about the Norway cases so I mis-remembered that]

  • I’ve seen some recent(ish) stuff on the narcolepsy thing

    On a possibly related note, my review of Offit’s book, Deadly Choices, has a paragraph on Berkovic’s work on Dravet’s Syndrome (towards the end).

  • Well the charities commission has deregistered plenty of other organisations, so here’s hoping!

  • “Well the charities commission has deregistered plenty of other organisations, so here’s hoping!”

    If you are hoping to sink the AVN I’m afraid you will be disappointed, because the AVN’s functioning isn’t dependent on charities. Lots of parents are however waking up to the fact that vaccination is a massive fraud. I therefore predict that the AVN will be around at least until the day when the vaccination racket finally grinds to a standstill, an event which in my opinion is about 200 years overdue.

  • Non sequitur much Erwin? AVN? you mean IAS. Shut down? De-registering is not the same thing and I specifically state that’s not my goal. Nor does the commenter mention this.

  • Erwin, no right minded charity would give money to the IAS. And Darcy isn’t trying to shut it down with this action (as he *very clearly* stated – more than once).

  • To Katie, Darcy, Simon, Michael, Grant, Coran, Ken, Reasonable Hank & Lee – a few questions to ask all of you is who do you work for and what vested interests (especially Katie B) do you have in connection with vaccine companies/pushers and what gives you the idea that vaccines are safe?
    I consider Erwin Alber to be credible and some of the language
    you people use seems rather immature to me.

    From a mother with a vaccine-damaged child.

  • Hi Mischele,
    I’m sorry to hear about your child. I am the daughter of a polio-crippled father.
    Why on earth do you think that because I support vaccines I have a “vested interest”? I have absolutely nothing to do with the medical or pharmaceutical industries. I work in TV production!! If you consider Erwin to be credible, do you agree with him that vaccines cause homosexuality?

  • Mischele Rhodes,

    May I reply in kind?

    who do you work for

    Self (independent computational biology consultant/scientist)

    Who do you (or your husband) work for?

    and what vested interests (especially Katie B) and do you have in connection with vaccine companies/pushers

    None – neither do most university research groups or government-funded research organisations. (If you investigate you’ll find that funding to research groups cannot direct the outcomes the research is to have. The same can’t be said of some individuals [e.g. Wakefield] or some private institutions. Researchers who step over that line in universities and government-funded research institutes have signed their career away – Wakefield is an example.)

    Do you have any vested interests and do you have connections with any anti-vaccine, ‘pro-choice’ organisations or the ‘natural health’ industry?

    and what gives you the idea that vaccines are safe?

    Peer-reviewed research results, etc.

    What gives you the idea that that vaccines are unsafe?

    I consider Erwin Alber to be credible

    Erwin has a long list of—I’m trying to be polite here—‘unusual’ claims. To add to the one Katie mentioned, I’ve seen him claim vaccines contain mind-control devices – a claim he has re-affirmed on these pages at sciblogs.

    What would you offer as support that he is credible source of information?

    some of the language you people use seems rather immature to me.

    You are most welcome to substantiate your claim that I have done this with a quote taken from the comments above. (In their correct context, of course.)

  • Mischele,

    I work as a manager and a lecturer in chemistry at a polytechnic. My research background is in chemistry and most of that research was funded by the government through funds such as the Marsden or directly through my employer. About 15 years ago I spent one year in Finland doing research funded by an American company looking at basic research around the design of drugs which might be used to treat conditions which involve the overproduction of collagen in the body. There were no ethical issues around this research and if there were I could speak about them because I didn’t sign a confidentiality agreement.
    At present the small amount of research I do is funded by my employer and looks at the nutritional value of various natural plant materials. I see human health as best supported by good nutrition and exercise but recognise that these cannot cope with everything the world can throw at us, and as such support the judicious use of drugs, vaccines and other medical treatments.
    My support of vaccines is based on reading the scientific and popular information about them and a consideration of the evidence to support the various positions.
    At this point in time I am not convinced vaccines are 100% safe, I don’t think anything is, however, I am convinced that their benefit outweighs the rare side effects that may occur. I would like to see more research done in this area, but while people such as Erwin Alber muddy the waters by claiming that vaccines have no benefit, and contains mind control devices (a previous exchange with him resulted in this claim) little progress will be made.
    With regards to claims that vaccines cause severe disabilities, I haven’t seen any reliable evidence to support this. In early childhood many health issues can arise which are not caused by vaccines, but because they arise within close proximity to a vaccine being administered I think they are incorrectly linked to vaccines.
    I am sorry to hear about your child, but would be interested in why you blame vaccines for his or her disability.

    With regards to previous comments being immature, perhaps one of the other bloggers can point you to some of Erwins more outrageous and insulting comments. Also please note that Erwin is allowed to comment here, yet if one of us ventures onto his site and posts even a slightly challenging question he bans us.

  • Katie B

    “If you consider Erwin to be credible, do you agree with him that vaccines cause homosexuality?”

    The last time I saw that ploy used was 20 years ago and it was used by a creationist to claim that evolutionists “believed” in evolution because they wanted to be homosexuals.

    “oooh, beware the scary homosexuals”

    I’d be tempted to laugh if it wasn’t so sad and absurd.

  • they arise within close proximity to a vaccine being administered

    Michael will mean occurring close in time not physical proximity. (More formally, he’ll have meant temporal proximity.)

    That one thing happens after another doesn’t mean the first must be causing the the second. It raises the possibility the first might cause the second, but it takes more that just one-before-the-other to show that it does.

    FWIW, I gave one example earlier – see my earlier remark about Dravet’s Syndrome.

  • Michael – why do you feel the need to put words into my mouth I never said? I challenge you to quote the exact words of where I said that vaccines cause homosexuality. I never said they did. I simply asked whether vaccines or their ingredients may be responsible for changes in sexual orientation and said that I considered it possibe, based on this article:

    Mercury causes homosexuality in male ibises
    Environmental pollutant radically changes birds’ mating behaviour.

    Joseph Milton

    Published online 1 December 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2010.641

    Mercury affects the mating behaviour of white ibises.Winfried Wisniewski/Minden Pictures/FLPA
    Exposure to mercury pollution could be hitting some wild birds’ reproductive prospects hard by causing males to pair with other males.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101201/full/news.2010.641.html

    In response to Grant, vaccines obviously contain mind-altering substances, which means they can be used – and in my opinion are being used – for mind control purposes. It is also possible, even probable, that vaccinaton has been used, or is being used, to inject babies with microchips.

    You people are in my opinion making the mistake of believing that vaccination is disease prevention. It isn’t. Vaccination is a form of biochemical warfare against civilians. The problem is that most people are too besotted by pseudo-science to realise it.

  • Erwin,

    Note the quote marks around the quote I mentioned about vaccines and homosexuality. They came from Katie B’s post. If you object to the quote take it up with Katie not me.

    However, using your own words
    ” I simply asked whether vaccines or their ingredients may be responsible for changes in sexual orientation and said that I considered it possibe, based on this article”

    The article you mention talks about environmental mercury poisoning in Ibises – poisoning due to persistent exposure. Extending this to imply a similar effect from vaccines – many of which do not contain mercury is just silly. And in those that did contain mercury, the levels were so low and there was not persistent exposure. You a pushing the bounds of reality.

    Erwin Alber said “vaccines obviously contain mind-altering substances, which means they can be used – and in my opinion are being used – for mind control purposes. It is also possible, even probable, that vaccinaton has been used, or is being used, to inject babies with microchips.”

    Well that about sums it up doesn’t it how different our positions are.

    “The problem is that most people are too besotted by pseudo-science to realise it.”

    The irony of that statement just burns

  • You’re just trolling, Mischele. I see that you haven’t returned. Are you disappointed that no one here is being paid by the “vaccine companies/pushers”?

    Here’s a question for you: are you associated with the noforcedvaccines.org web site?

  • Simon, if you lot were paid by Big Pharma, at least one could still credit you with intelligence, as evil people, though misguided, are not necessarly stupid. If as you say you are not paid by Big Pharma, your support of vaccination obviously means that you are suffering from delusional insanity, an affliction which seems the norm among those who believe in this fraud.

  • Michael – if mercry was able to cause a 6000% increase in autism, I feel it is not very far fetched to consider the possibility that mercury and other ingredients responsible for the autism epidemic may also cause a switch in sexual orientation. The trouble is that because nobody is investigating, a link is unlikely to be found. Look at SV40: the contamination of the polio vaccine wasn;t discovered until millions of people had been injected with this useless and dangerous vaccine.

  • (Excuse me for lowering my standards slightly, briefly.)

    Erwin writes: “The trouble is that because nobody is investigating, a link is unlikely to be found.”

    Now there’s a joke.

    There has been an enormous amount of research into this – so much so that people have rightly pointed out it is/was detracting from positive studies working towards the actual causes. (Vaccines aren’t linked to autism. There is also good reason to consider there is no ‘autism epidemic’ either.)

    If people are worried about mercury uptake, one of the studies (that I covered two years ago now) looked to find the main sources of blood mercury (in it’s various forms) – it’s not vaccines.

  • Erwin, keep it civil and refrain from the name calling or you’re out.

    Mischele, this is the guy you find credible and think our behaviour is immature?

  • – if mercry was able to cause a 6000% increase in autism

    That’s a very big “if”, Erwin, given that there’s no evidence to support such a statement. (As Grant has pointed out… )

  • I admit that it’s probably not just the mercury, but the combination of neurotoxic ingredients in vaccines that has caused the increase, Alison. The medical establishment is fully aware of the role of mercury in this public health fiasco, but has decided to deny everything and admit to nothing. In all fairness, I must say that if I was responsible for a health disaster of such magnitude, I would also be tempted to lie about it.

    Dr Kenneth Stoller MD said it rather well:

    “We live in a world ruled by corporate interests and agendas that are not in the best interests of the citizens of this planet. The type of mercury used in vaccines has never been safety tested by the Federal Government for toxicity in humans. This is an unconscionable oversight failure at best, and at worst it is an example that we have left consensus reality to be created by liars, cheats, killers and the junk scientists they employ.”

    Dr Kenneth Stoller MD

    Autism, Vaccines, Mercury and the Culpability of the American Academy of Pediatrics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36_qz2beMaE
    ****************************************************************************
    The truth behind the vaccine cover-up
    Russell L. Blaylock, MD
    http://www.vacinfo.org/man1714_1726.pdf
    ****************************************************************************

    Please explain why the above two MDs among a number of others are scathing about vaccination and the medical establishment in general. Dr G Lanctot MD, Canada, also resigned like Dr Stoller because she could no longer reconcile what the medical profession gets up to with the profession’s supposed guididing principle of “First Do No Harm”.

  • Erwin,

    You’ve tried to shift the goalposts (first sentence), only to then try re-assert your original claim (second sentence).

    As I pointed out earlier, the ‘mercury’-autism link has been well explored; there is no evidence indicating that mercury (in it’s different forms) would cause autism – the evidence points away from this. Your statement “but has decided to deny everything and admit to nothing” is false and amount to a conspiracy theory. There’s no way to tell the research community to shut up like that, it’d be worse than herding cats.

    Continuing on, holding up just two MDs out of how many on this planet (millions?) isn’t going to count for much. What matters if is the balance of the research done. It’s the science that matters, not if a few doctors choose contrary views.

    In terms of the cliché “don’t shoot the messenger”, that a few doctors, like those you cite, garble the message doesn’t make the message (science) wrong.

  • I know we’ve discussed Dr Blaylock on another thread at SB. He can be as scathing as he likes, but the fact is that this general scathingness appears to be based on personal opinion & is not research-based (whereas the research data are firmly on the side of those who support vaccinations). And in any case, as Grant says – two out of how many?

  • I guess Grant and Alison have beaten me to it but my first thought with Erwin’s last post were “two doctors out of how many” are scathing of vaccines?

    I wonder how many doctors are also creationists, UFO enthusiasts, smoke cigarettes, beat their partners etc?

    There seem to a lot more than two MD’s who support homeopathy yet don’t even know it contains no active ingredients. That doesn’t make homeopathy work, nor does it contradict the mountains of evidence that shows it doesn;t work. Ditto for vaccine denialists.

  • How many doctors support vaccination yet don’t have a clue what’s in vaccines, Michael? Homeopathy works whether one believes in it or not. It’s the reverse with vaccinations, which are ineffective whether one believes in them or not.

    How about having a go at debunking this rather interesting though rather shocking article?

    Dead Babies and Stillbirths Reported to the FDA After Vaccination – Mothering Magazine
    Posted on November 2, 2011 by The Refusers
    http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/dead-babies-and-stillbirths-reported-to-the-fda-after-vaccination-mothering-magazine/#comment-1062

  • Hmmm… So, homeopathy works, does it? Tell me, Erwin, would you rely on a homeopath to treat severe chest pain? What about cancer?

  • I know of two cases of shingles cured with homeopathy, one in myself, the other in a friend who had severe chronic shingles which did not respond to medical treatment.

    Homeopathy also works in babies and animals, which lays to rest the myth that the effectiveness of homeopathy relies on the placebo effect.

    The roof of the pudding lies in the eating. If you have or know someone who has shingles, I suggest homeopatic treatment. You will then see for yourself whether homeopathy works or not.

    Then again, if it works you may just write it off as a coincidence,”because everyone knows that homeopathy is a fraud”. just as you are likely to dismiss vaccine injuries as a coincidence “because everyone knows that vaccines are safe and effective”. So much for “evidence-based science”.

    Has anyone taken the trouble of looking at the article about dead babies and stillbirths after vaccination? Any comments? The silence is rather deafening.

  • I browsed the content at the link Erwin provided and noticed something peculiar by it’s conspicuous absence ie any attempt to relate the numbers to events in the general population.

    The first part of the article is focused on infant deaths – but never seems to try to see how the reported deaths are related to the general population. For all that the article writer knows receiving vaccines at this age is protective. I’m not saying it is just that there is no way to determine anything by looking at the VAERS data in isolation like this.

    It’s not that I’m rejecting the possibility – just that no conclusion can be reached at all, it’s almost meaningless.

    The author of the article seems to be Steven M. Rubin, Ph.D. and for an epidemiologist, he makes an excellent computer scientist.

  • you haven’t answered my question, Erwin? Would you use homeopathy for severe chest pain? Or cancer?

    Incidentally, if homeopathy works in babies & animals then I would expect to see evidence from randomised controlled trials supporting that claim…However, I do believe there was a case in Australia last year where parents treated their 2-year-old’s severe eczema with homeopathy. The child died. The parents were found guilty of manslaughter: http://www.smh.com.au/national/parents-guilty-of-manslaughter-over-daughters-eczema-death-20090605-bxvx.html

  • And a more recent case: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_726129.html

    What I really don’t get is how parents such as these can see their children getting worse & worse, & yet still persist with an obviously ineffective treatment (& yes, EA, I just know you’re going to quote-mine that one). In the first example, baby Gloria was malnourished & her body was covered with infected sores from the eczema, when she was finally admitted to hospital.

  • Erwin,

    So much for “evidence-based science”.

    Indeed, there’s no evidence-based science coming from you. (You’re only offering anecdotes.)

    You’ve been told before that there are studies of homeopathy showing it’s effect to be placebo-only. Doesn’t this leave you ‘writing off’ evidence?)

    Bottom line message I’m trying to get across? — look at yourself first.

    (Also, isn’t homeopathy getting a long way off-topic?)

    I’ve had a two-minute glance at the linked article you provided.

    It’s flawed for failing to take care of basic things. (Which is a polite way of saying it’s terrible analysis and hence it’s results are meaningless.) I haven’t time to cover this properly, but for starters :-

    – As you’ve been told many times, VAERS is a database of reports, not a database of cases. The article incorrectly infers/implies the data are cases without determining if they are or not.

    – Why on earth didn’t the author do the trivial correction for the different spans of age groups used themselves?

    – The data from VAERS does not establish the cause of the reported effects and cannot, yet the article only considers vaccines as the cause. Several of the things pointed out seem to have obvious alternative explanations, but no attempt is made to even point them out, never mind check them.

    – The article makes claims about “spikes” and “surges” without any attempt to show if these are in fact meaningful.

    These are too basic errors for anyone to be calling this analysis.

    (That said, it might be useful in a class on basic statistics as a case example for students to point out errors they shouldn’t make, though.)

  • That said, it might be useful in a class on basic statistics as a case example for students to point out errors they shouldn’t make, though.
    Now that is a Really Good Idea; might just use it for that purpose myself!

  • Erwin,

    Shingles is a disease that comes and goes of itself, so it is easy to use it as evidence of proof – keep drinking the “magic” water long enough and eventually the shingles will disappear.
    But what about answering ALison’s point – where are the homeopathic cures for chest pain and cancer? What acute asthma, septicemia or any other disease that does not come right by itself?

    “The roof of the pudding lies in the eating.”

    So true, but one should not consider anecdotal information as evidence. Hundreds of studies have been done on homeopathic remedies which show that the remedies tested have no more than a placebo effect.

    And another thing to point out which is often overlooked by proponents of homeopathy – IF experiments showed that a single homeopathic treatment worked, say for example, at treating shingles – that does not automatically mean that every other homeopathic treatment works.

  • Ooops, sorry Grant for bringing up homeopathy – it does seem to have diverted the conversation.

  • I find it a bit rich that you pathetic lot want to deprive the IAS of its charity status, while the medical-pharmaceutical mafia is funnellng millions of tax-payer dollars into its coffers under the false pretense that vacines prevent diseases. Nigerian e-mail scams pale into insigificance.

  • Fancy meeting you here, Erwin. Just a thought – why are you necromancing this thread? There are more recent posts on vaccination that you could join.

  • I just noticed your comment saying that you wouldn’t think I would use homeopathy if I had cancer, Alison. The answer is yes, I would – along with other natural healing methods, such as black salve. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYbGJZziU8g

    I would certainly NOT go for chemotherapy or radiotherapy because anyone with even a half functioning brain would realise that chemicals and radiation (including mammograms) don’t prevent, but promote cancer.

    The word science comes from the Greek and means ‘to know’. Obviously, modern day so-called scientists are not scientists at all because they live in some time-warp akin to the Dark Ages, which is why the term pseudo-scientists is appropriate. It’s however in my opinion not so much that they are beset by ignorance, but that they are now serving the forces of evil.

  • I really shouldn’t but…. Erwin,

    Does “black salve” have chemicals in it? Because I thought these insidious “chemical” things only promoted cancer?

  • Erwin’s ‘black salve’ is a dangerously caustic substance that can do fairly extensive damage to tissues exposed to it. It can burn off superficial skin cancers, but does not work on other (internal) forms of cancer, nor would there be much point in using it on melanoma. There’s information at the following link – warning for the squeamish: there’s also a graphic photo of someone who used the stuff on her face – http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/eschar.html

  • Erwin is like a throwback to the Middle Ages. Black salve indeed.
    I’m just reading Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall”, set in Tudor times, and various characters have been carried off by the plague and the survival rate of infants is appalling. A good reminder of just how awesome modern medicine really is. Not perfect of course, but it really seems to me that the concerns of Erwin and the antivaxers are very much a First World Problem.

  • Yes, it’s been said many times that vaccines (and modern medicine) are a victim of their own success. Modern people just can’t imagine these diseases were all that bad.