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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Joel A. Harrison’

John Stone and the “Best of Age of Autism”: Wrong About Everything

February 23, 2017 2 comments
JoelHarrisonEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch another article in their Expert Commentary series featuring guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper, John Stone and the “Best of Age of Autism”: Just Plain Wrong About Everything.


by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

John Stone is listed as the UK Editor for Age of Autism, a daily web newspaper. He is author of numerous articles posted on Age of Autism as well as an active writer of comments, not only to Age of Autism articles; but to articles on other websites, including this blog I have written a number of commentaries on John Stone and his antivaccinationist views, but after seeing Stone’s article “Paul Offit’s 10,000 Vaccines and the Milgram Experiment, ” now being posted for the fourth time, I just had to get out my pen and pad once more.

In his article, Stone discusses four topics:

  1. Using the Milgram Experiment as an explanation for why doctor’s vaccinate
  2. Profits made on the manufacture and sale of vaccines
  3. Paul Offit’s oft out-of-context quoted by antivaccinationists “10,000 vaccines”
  4. The Cutter Incident

In my paper, John Stone and the “Best of Age of Autism”: Just Plain Wrong About Everything, I show that not one of his claims has any validity; but, rather, clearly display many of the flaws in Stone’s thinking as well as other antivaccinationists, including: poor scholarship, a deficient understanding of scientific thinking and methodology, deficient knowledge of immunology, microbiology, and epidemiology, deficient understanding of basic economics, the illogic of false analogies, as well as a lack of common sense, plus a blatant hypocrisy.

Stone’s knowledge of the Milgram Experiments appears to be based only on one article he found in a popular magazine and on a movie clip. Based on his writings on the Milgram Experiments, it does not appear that he even bothered to read the original articles, and isn’t aware that it wasn’t the Milgram Experiment; but Experiments. If he had accessed the original articles, he would have found the study procedures and results to be quite different from the description in Psychology Today. Different enough to make him guilty of the False Analogy Fallacy, a logical fallacy that occurs when applying facts from one situation to a substantially different situation, precluding the ability to draw a logical conclusion (Rational Wiki. “False analogy”)

Stone repeats the antivaccinationists’ trope of 10,000 vaccines, ignoring context and a clear display of lack of common sense. As an analogy, imagine a 15 – 20 minute lecture or 2,500 word article about research into potentially almost limitless energy. The last sentence states: “Our research indicates we could theoretically put 10,000 gallons of gasoline in your car tank.” The average gas tank holds probably up to 25 gallons. Given Stone’s lack of common sense, I assume he would take the 10,000 gallons literally. Most rational people would understand, even without context, that the 10,000 gallons did not refer to actual gallons of gasoline but to the energy/mileage equivalent. The physical impossibility of giving 10,000 vaccines at once to an infant or anyone together with the exponential leap from the current 17 vaccines, there not even being remotely so many microbes that vaccines would ever be developed for, says it all.

He continues to display faulty reasoning, actually a display of hypocrisy, when attacking the profit motive behind vaccines. He and other antivaccinationists seem to have NO problem with the purveyors of complementary and alternative medicines making profits, so it seems that the making of profits is only unacceptable when selling something Stone and other antivaccinationists disagree with. Of course doctors get paid for giving vaccinations. Should they give them for free? As a further display of his ignorance, Stone doesn’t seem to be aware that the profit margin for vaccines pales in comparison to other pharmaceuticals and that the amount doctors make on administering vaccines is, at best, marginal. In fact, some doctors take a loss on vaccinations.

Finally, Stone goes back 60 years in time to the Cutter Incident where approximately 200 people, mainly children, were paralyzed from an inadequately killed vaccine and thousands more exposed. Stone is either unaware of or intentionally ignores that this incident led to ever-increasing safety regulations and surveillance of vaccines. If one were to use Stone’s approach to medicine, since many beneficial medicines and interventions had problems years ago, much of modern medicine would be rejected. In fact, historically, one can find problems with much of modern technology. Is Stone’s approach even rational? And, again, Age of Autism chooses to repost Stone’s article as an example of “The Best of Age of Autism.”

And there you have John Stone and the Best of Age of Autism in a NUTshell!

Read Dr. Harrison’s full article, John Stone and the “Best of Age of Autism”: Just Plain Wrong About Everything, click here.  

Please note: The opinions in this article reflect the views of the author who is not an employee of Every Child By Two and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every Child By Two.  Dr. Harrison volunteers his time to provide in-depth, well-researched analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.  His articles are summarized here on Shot of Prevention with links to the full response on the Every Child By Two website.

Attacks on Journalist Brian Deer Based on Poor Scholarship and Unethical Behavior

December 14, 2016 Leave a comment
journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch another article in their Expert Commentary series featuring guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper,

Ad Hominem Attacks on Brian Deer: Antivaccinationists’ Poor Scholarship & Unethical Behavior

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

In a series of articles in The London Sunday Times, investigative journalist Brian Deer uncovered numerous problems with the case series presented by Andrew Wakefield in a 1998 article published in the British medical journal The Lancet. Almost immediately, antivaccinationists began an ongoing series of ad hominem attacks against Brian Deer. The purpose of my latest article is to show that ad hominem arguments not only represent a false logic; but a desperate act by those incapable of logically and scientifically supporting their position. And not only are they a desperate act; but a clear display of unethical behavior, attacking the messenger rather than the message. In addition, my article demonstrates that even the ad hominem attacks resorted to were wrong and, thus, one more example of the poor scholarship displayed by antivaccinationists.

Carroll writes: 

Don’t reject an argument just because you don’t like the arguer or you question his motives.

The ad hominem fallacy occurs when one mentions things about a person in an attempt to show that the person’s argument is flawed. An argument stands or falls on whether its premises adequately support its conclusion. . . Personal characteristics, associations, past history, motives, and the like of the one making the argument are irrelevant to whether premises support a conclusion.

No argument is refuted by showing that the arguer is flawed or biased. Good people with good intentions can argue fallaciously and bad people with evil motives can argue cogently.

In an article posted on Age of Autism by J.B. Handley entitled “Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Is Brian Deer The Fraud?”, I respond to Handley’s key claims about Brian Deer, showing that not only are they irrelevant to the validity of Deer’s reporting; but clear indications that Handley doesn’t know what he is talking about, that is, with no evidence he bothered to research his claims.

Since Handley refers to writings by Martin J Walker and Wakefield also refers to him in his book “Callous Disregard”, I thought it appropriate to include Walker in this paper, to show that Walker’s writings clearly display poor scholarship, poor understanding, and poor footnoting/referencing. In other words, Handley and Wakefield’s referring to Walker’s writings, rather than conducting independent research, is a clear example of the blind leading the blind. Read more…

Can Infants Really Handle 10,000 Vaccines At a Time? Dr. Harrison Explains

March 24, 2016 85 comments
journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch another article in their Expert Commentary series featuring guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.  His articles are summarized here on Shot of Prevention with links to the full response on the Every Child By Two website.

Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper,

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

A recurrent concern among parents is that the mounting number of vaccines now administered to babies is a major challenge to the infantile immune system. Leading advocate of childhood immunizations, Dr. Paul Offit, has sought on numerous occasions to reassure parents by emphasizing how robust and effective babies’ immune systems are at responding to the daily threats from the enormous number of bacteria and viruses they are exposed to. He has illustrated this by showing how – in theory – a baby’s immune system could cope with the number of epitopes (parts of a microbe recognized by our immune system) represented by 10,000 vaccines at one time. While 10,000 seems like a lot, as Dr. Offit explains, even this number is small compared to the capacity of our immune system and, yet, it is exponentially greater than the epitopes represented by all the vaccines given to children.

Well-organized, well-funded groups have sprung up trying to persuade parents of the alleged dangers of vaccines. Their arguments are mistaken, confused, lacking in scientific rationale and logical cohesion. There is one claim, based on one statement/sentence made by Dr. Paul Offit, repeated umpteen times all over the blogosphere, that I think encapsulates their flawed thinking. This claim takes one sentence out of context, ignoring the entire lead in to it. However, even without the context, antivaccinationist’s use of it contradicts common sense. Rather than doing their homework, they amplify each other in a near hermetically sealed self-reinforcing closed circle.

I believe that there is not a single book or paper that I couldn’t find one or two sentences that I could take out of context in order to prove any point I wish to. The purpose of this paper is to once again explain how our  immune systems work, how vaccinations fit in the picture, and to show just how flawed antivaccinationist thinking is. Read more…

Debunking John Stone’s “DeStefano Rides Again” and the CDC “Whistleblower”

January 12, 2016 2 comments
journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch another article in their Expert Commentary series with links to in-depth articles available on the Every Child By Two website.  This series features guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Dr. Harrison volunteers his time to provide in-depth and expert analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.  Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper, Debunking Antivaccinationist John Stone and the CDC “Whistleblower”: A Review of John Stone’s “DeStefano Rides Again: GSK Rotavirus Vaccine Study Loses 80% Of Cases And 18 Deaths”

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

I’ve written several articles for Every Child By Two. Each of them shows clearly the poor scholarship, deficient science, and often lack of common sense contained in articles written by antivaccinationists. The bottom line is they don’t know what they are talking about. If people are to decide on whether to vaccinate their children or not, it should be based on scholarly, well-grounded science, and reflect basic common sense, not claims made by people who are deficient in these.

John Stone is the UK editor for the online blog, Age of Autism. In a recent article, Stone writes: 

Frank DeStefano, the CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety and the lead author at the centre of CDC whistleblower William Thompson’s allegations about destroying MMR/autism data, is involved in another case of apparently hiding data, this time involving intussusception and death, in a newly published paper concerning the safety of GSK’s rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix.

Last month, Representative Posey revealed to Congress that Thompson told Dr Brian Hooker in a taped telephone conversation regarding the DeStefano MMR paper that:

Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four coauthors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can.

The new CDC based study of GSK’s Rotarix vaccine by Haber et al., of which DeStefano is senior author and therefore responsible for research integrity, admits a small association with the serious condition of intussusception (an intestinal obstruction secondary to the inversion of one portion of the intestine within another). The paper states that from February 2008 to December 2014 the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) “received 108 confirmed insusceptible reports after RV1” (Rotarix). However, a careful review of the database reveals no less than 565 cases for the period. The paper claims to have excluded only 4 reports as unconfirmed (making a total of only 112). (Stone, 2015a; reposted 2015b)

In an Addendum posted a day after the reposting of his article, Stone writes:

I took this article down for 24 hours to consider the points made by “n davis” and “n davis is correct”. I had overlooked the fact that the paper selects US cases only – that there are only a trickle of cases from the US against a relative flood from abroad – and this is basis of massive selection bias, particularly in relation to deaths. It also shows that the US reporting system while always vastly inadequate is wilting. Pharmaceutical companies are required by law to forward reports from abroad where they come to their attention: there is nothing in n davis’s claim that these reports were unavailable to DeStefano – anyone interested in the safety of the vaccine to US children or any other would have considered all of the reports. (Stone 2015c)

Summary

Read more…

Dr. Harrison Explains Why Teresa Conrick of Age of Autism is Wrong About Genetic Research and Autism

January 7, 2015 1 comment
journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch the third article in their Expert Commentary series that will be permanently housed on the Every Child By Two website and referenced here on Shot of Prevention. This series features guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who volunteers his time to provide in-depth and expert analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.

Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper, Wrong About Genetic Research & Autism: Teresa Conrick’s “Dear America, You Are Being Bamboozled” which critiques the poor scholarship and science displayed by Teresa Conrick in an article she wrote as the contributing editor to Age of Autism.

According to Dr. Harrison, Conrick’s post on Age of Autism on July 23, 2014,Dear America, You Are Being Bamboozled Again About Autism and Genes, should raise a number of red flags regarding her scholarship, basic understanding of science, common sense, and perhaps, even her ethics. Conrick’s article claims that a recent study, looking at genetics and autism, published in the journal Nature Genetics, by Gaugler et al. titled “Most Genetic Risk for Autism Resides Within Common Variation,” reflects an “onslaught of studies and articles to try and persuade [people] that AUTISM is a genetic ONLY disorder,” and that the study denies the role of any environmental or toxic exposure.

Dr. Harrison reviews the Conrick article in great depth, explaining the many deficiencies in her review of the Gaugler et al. study.  He even questions whether Conrick read the full study, or if she simply drafted her commentary off the press release that accompanied the study. In this most recent exposé by Dr. Harrison, he adeptly explains how Conrick’s contradictory statements illustrate her lack of understanding of the complex science of and relationship between environment and genetics.

Click here to begin reading Dr. Harrison’s latest expert commentary,

Wrong About Genetic Research & Autism: Teresa Conrick’s “Dear America, You Are Being Bamboozled”.

Check out Dr. Harrison’s previous articles as well, to include;

You can read Dr. Harrison’s complete bio and mission statement here:

Dr. Harrison’s Biography and Mission Statement

Be sure to subscribe to Shot of Prevention to receive future updates when Dr. Harrison publishes future articles to the Every Child By Two Expert Commentary series.

Please note: The opinions in this article reflect the views of the author who is not an employee of Every Child By Two and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every Child By Two.  Dr. Harrison volunteers his time to provide in-depth, well-researched analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.  His articles are summarized here on Shot of Prevention with links to the full response on the Every Child By Two website.

Dr. Harrison Explains Why Lyn Redwood of SafeMinds is Wrong About Genetic Research and Autism

November 5, 2014 213 comments

journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch our new Expert Commentary Series which will be referenced here on Shot of Prevention with links to the in-depth articles that will be permanently housed on the Every Child By Two website.

This series will feature guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.  Dr. Harrison’s passionate desire to combat false vaccine information is evident in his introductory bio and mission statement:

“Outbreaks of totally unnecessary vaccine-preventable diseases have been occurring as a consequence of misinformation and disinformation from anti-vaccine advocates who don’t understand science, don’t apply critical thinking, display poor scholarship….

I decided to devote time combating the misinformation and disinformation of the anti-vaccinationist by showing the level of poor scholarship, irrational, unscientific, and sometimes even lacking common sense claims made by anti-vaccinationists. My approach is quite simple. I will use accurate direct quotes from their articles and show, using accurate direct quotes from other articles and documents, together with clear explanations of scientific method, etc. that they literally don’t know what they are talking about. Each of my articles will contain detailed footnotes, including page numbers, and references with the URL/hyperlink to any papers available on the web.”

The idea for this new Expert Commentary Series was inspired by one of Dr. Harrison’s previous articles which was printed in The Open Vaccine Journal and featured here on the Shot of Prevention blog on May 16, 2014.  This article systematically debunked the claims regarding the dangers of vaccines made by Andrew Wakefield in his book “Callous Disregard.”

Today’s submission, written exclusively for Every Child By Two, is a review of Lyn Redwood’s ArticleScience as a Means of Social Controlposted by SafeMinds on August 23, 2013.

In his article, Dr. Harrison counters a series of arguments made by Lyn Redwood regarding genetic research and autism.  Redwood’s piece echoes the sentiments of another article she located on the internet which she believed validated her instincts that “science is being used as a means of exonerating industry and/or government for culpability by blaming the individual for having the poor luck of bad genetics.”  Dr. Harrison’s critique of Redwood’s premise is both thorough and quite insightful.

We are pleased to present this article, Wrong About Genetic Research & Autism, Lyn Redwood’s “Science as a Means of Social Control” as the latest piece in our Expert Commentary Series and we look forward to future articles by Dr. Harrison.

Please note: The opinions in this article reflect the views of the author who is not an employee of Every Child By Two and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every Child By Two.  Dr. Harrison volunteers his time to provide in-depth, well-researched analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.  His articles are summarized here on Shot of Prevention with links to the full response on the Every Child By Two website.

Wakefield Was Wrong About Vaccine Safety And Dr. Harrison Proves It

Since I first began contributing to Shot of Prevention I’ve had many opportunities to realize that people who support immunizations are genuinely concerned about the welfare of others.  Everyone from healthcare providers to public health professionals, and immunization coalition members to epidemiologists all commit themselves to educating others about the importance of timely immunizations.  They also play a key role in refuting the misinformation and negative accusations that continuously cause people to question the value and safety of vaccines.

When we look at immunization education challenges, there is no doubt that some of the most prevalent misconceptions about vaccines are the result of the work of one man – Andrew Wakefield.  Many people would agree that Andrew Wakefield’s “callous disregard” for scientific integrity has had ripple effects on immunization rates and disease outbreaks.   Not only have his professional dealings been questionable and heavily criticized, Wakefield has also been stripped of his medical license.   Yet, as an author of a book entitled Callous Disregard, Wakefield continues to promote his misguided agenda in an effort to defend himself and persuade others to question the benefits of vaccines.

Fortunately, organizations like Every Child By Two, work hard to dispel the myths that he has helped create.  And fortunately, Every Child By Two has the support of many devoted immunization advocates – people like Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH. 

As a retired epidemiologist, Dr. Harrison has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.  After reading Callous Disregard, he felt compelled to refute each and every point that Andrew Wakefield attempted to make about vaccine safety and his article was ultimately published in a peer-reviewed online open-source medical journal.

JoelHarrisonHe explains: Read more…