Reply To: Vaccine contaminants and safety

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Dr Edd

@Paul Barbara – don’t start icing that self-congratulatory cake just yet! I was preparing a response about the Kenyan vaccine controversy at the weekend, but then I noticed that the conversation had quickly moved on so I let it go. I’m glad you’ve wound the clock back however, because we have unfinished business on that topic.

First a quick note about the unreliable authority you’ve just cited. The lead author of that paper is John W Oller – a linguist who specialises in communicative disorders. To quote a reviewer: “Oller is not an immunologist, epidemiologist, virologist, microbiologist, or anything else that has to do with real vaccine science.”

Notably, he published a book on Autism which argued that it was a consequence of (guess what?) vaccination!. The book has a foreword by none other than the notorious Dr Andrew Wakefield! Here’s an excerpt from the petition to get him sacked from the University of Louisiana for damaging their reputation.

The scientific community has overwhelmingly concluded that vaccines do not cause autism, but Dr. Oller, who does not have a background in immunology, epidemiology or toxicology, continues to push an agenda  based on false premises and conspiracy theories. In his most recent book, Autism, he even has Andrew Wakefield, the discredited physician who launched the autism vaccine scare, write the foreword.  Not only has Wakefield had his medical license revoked, his original paper retracted from the publisher, and his theory widely discredited, he was found to have fraudulently presented his data with the plan of financial gain.

Oller’s ideas aren’t just his own – they are directly affiliated with the University. He uses his University website to promote his books, his theories, and links to his blog, where he adamantly makes claims that toxins in vaccines cause autism.

By promoting this dangerous idea, Oller is threatening the credibility of the University of Louisiana and its Department of Communications.  Because of his position, he also threatens student education by passing off his conspiracy theories as actual research.

No credible academic institution should support a theory that has the potential to lead to widespread disease. Tell University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Department of Communications to publicly denounce Oller’s statements about vaccines and autism and to ensure that he doesn’t spread his ideas to students.

I italicised a phrase which I think is particularly germane to the present argument: “passing off his conspiracy theories as actual research“. He got academic tenure in virtue of his work on linguistics (so he’s obviously an intelligent guy!), and subsequently abused that position to publish nonsense on topics in which he has no training or expertise – only a shedload of ideological conviction.

Oller recently published a paper arguing that the Bible is literally true (or in his terms, a “True Narrative Representation”). Ahem. He prioritises truth by “revelation” over sceptical inquiry. ‘Nuff said.

Anyway that’s just some preparatory background … wait till you see what’s wrong with the content of his paper on the vaccine controversy in Kenya! I won’t reproduce it here, but there’s a wonderful demolition of his claims on Skeptical Raptor.

That’s enough giggles for now. I’m pretty busy with other things, but I’ll aim to post more about the actual tests and the developments in Kenya tomorrow. Till then, sweet dreams. 😉