Friday, December 31, 2010

One Year Ends, Another Begins

So, we've reached that arbitrary date where we mark one year as ending and another beginning. For many, this is a time for new beginnings, to turn over a new leaf. People make resolutions to accomplish some task or change some behavior. Even though a lot of these never see fruition, the intention is good.

With the idea of newness in mind, I thought that I might rename this blog. It started out simply to give people a place to post their comments that were censored by the editors at the Age of Autism blog. Gradually, I've posted articles on other topics, like using libel laws to censor critics, medical ethics, alternative medicine and so on.

While I will definitely continue creating "Censored on..." posts for people as requested, "Silenced by Age of Autism" doesn't really fit what this blog has become. The only problem is that I don't really know what to call it.

So, I throw it to my readers. What should the new name for this blog be? Post your suggestions in the comments below, and if I see one I like, I'll use it. Be witty. Be whimsical.

To help get ideas a-flowin', here are some of the topics that I think will figure prominently in my writings:
  • autism
  • vaccines (and, of course, anti-vaxers)
  • medical and research ethics
  • alternative medicine
  • censorship
  • other topics of a skeptical nature as the muses dictate
I'm bad with names (just look at the oh-so-creative current name of the blog) and would really appreciate the help.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Whether you celebrate the commercial holiday known as Christmas or the religious holiday of the same name, or don't celebrate either, have a great day! I hope your time is filled with family, friends and (to be cliché) good cheer. Wassail to all.

Now, stop reading this blog and be with people.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Tis the Season

Every December, there is something that is on a lot of people's minds. Of course, there's wintery weather, for those in cooler climes. Preparing for time with family ranks pretty high. For those of a religious persuasion, and even some who aren't, there are all the decorations to take care of, trees to set up and malls to visit. Lots of stuff going on.

But I'm not talking about any of those things. No, there is something else that figures prominently in many people's thoughts:

Charitable giving.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Censored on The Search for 1 in 100 Elderly with Autism

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The Search for 1 in 100 Elderly with Autism, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Eyes Have It

That bastion of science-y wonder has stumbled upon an incredible discovery. Teresa Conrick, at the Age of Autism, discovered something absolutely amazing, that apparently no one else has learned before. She did some in-depth investigation after noticing a peculiar change in her daughter. You see, Teresa's daughter's eyes were blue when she was born, but they gradually changed to a "brownish green".

This puzzled Ms. Conrick so much that she decided to look into just why her daughter's eyes could have gone from "beautiful blue" to apparently less beautiful brownish green. Anyone familiar with AoA will not be surprised at what she discovered. The cause?

Mercury!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Age of Autism's Bully Pulpit

I shouldn't be surprised when I read some vile comment from an Age of Autism follower about someone who dared to challenge their ideology. I mean, I've written about this before, like back in May, in June, mentioned it in October and again in November. They have a history of underhandedness, attacking the people rather than addressing the content of the criticism.

Well, they are at it again. This time, the focus of their ire is a skepchick, Elyse.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's All In Your Head

I saw on my local news last night a brief story about a new study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the brains of individuals with autism. The idea was to identify regions of the brain that may behave differently in those with autism as compared to those without autism, with the ultimate aim being to provide an objective means of diagnosing the disorder.

Currently, autism is diagnosed using questionnaires and subjective measures, like the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) or the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI). These tools rely on questions asked of the parents, as well as a clinician's observations of the child's behavior. The subjective nature of the ADOS and ADI open the diagnosis up to some variability, depending on the biases of the clinician and others involved. The result is that there can be slight differences in the diagnostic scores between observers.

This new study may change that.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Communicatalyst: Jump-starting Communication of Science

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to a friend who is starting up a new blog, Communicatalyst. Written by Allison Coffin, PhD, it is:

the blog about how to communicate scientific concepts to the public, and to other scientists, and about why we should care.

She has two posts up so far, introducing the topic of science communication and what frame of reference to use in one's approach to an audience. I recommend checking it out and seeing what she has to say. And if you like it, spread the word!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Censored on Why Was this PSA Rated X?

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Why Was this PSA Rated X?, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Autism in Certain Minnesota Populations

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes (quite a misnomer, as there are significantly more than 10K lakes), the land of sky-blue waters. Many people have the idea that Minnesota is a frozen wasteland, where people wear parkas year round and say "Ya, sure" a lot. The movie Fargo went rather far in perpetuating these myths. Well, I guess I can't argue with the "Ya, sure" bit, but the weather in Minnesota can be downright brutally hot in the summer. Overall, though, the seasons are pleasant and bearable if you know how to dress for them. It has a thriving music and theatre scene, as well.

The people are generally nice, too. But there is something about the population that most out-of-staters (and possibly even some Minnesotans) might not know. Minnesota is home to a rather significant Somali community.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am Bonnie Offit!! - Followup

There has been quite a response to JB Handley's ill-conceived rant over at AoA, titled Is Paul Offit's Wife Internet Troll/Autism Father "Sullivan"?. Quite a number of bloggers have taken up the "I am Bonnie Offit" mantel. A list of them can be found over at I Speak of Dreams.

Almost all of the responses have mentioned many of the same points, as summarized by this comment that, amazingly, made it past the editors at AoA:

I am Bonnie Offit!!

Yes, It's true. I am, in reality, the wife of Dr. Paul Offit. JB Handley, one of the heads of Generation Rescue and Age of Autism, has put forth a challenge to blogger Sullivan, accusing him of actually being me in a post titled "Is Paul Offit's Wife Internet Troll/Autism Father 'Sullivan'?" In response, other bloggers, like Orac and Kev Leitch have tried to claim that they are me, but don't be fooled. I've finally decided to come clean, to keep Sullivan from unwarranted attacks.

How did this all start, though?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Toward an Historical Understanding of Autism

After researching a bit for my last post on a statement by Dan Olmsted that autism didn't exist before 1931, my curiosity was piqued regarding DeSanctis' and Heller's descriptions of progressive dementia in children, which they termed dementia praecocissima and dementia infantilis, respectively. They came up with these terms in 1906 (DeSanctis) and 1908 (Heller), well before the development of Merthiolate (a.k.a. thimerosal or thiomersal) by Eli Lilly around 1927 and its later use in vaccines in 1931.

Why the interest in these disorders?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dan Olmsted: No Autism Before 1931...Historical Illiteracy in Action at AoA

Dan Olmsted, at Age of Autism, is apparently upset that his book isn't selling too well or that rationally minded individuals who lean left on the political spectrum don't buy the "vaccines cause autism" myth. Why do I say this? Because he has a verbose spewage of blather over at AoA titled "Why Progressives Don't Get Autism" in which he complains about how it's only the conservatives (e.g., those found at Fox News) who buy the lie. Apparently, he hasn't read the Huffington Post and seen their anti-vaccine articles. Or maybe he doesn't think they're progressives.

Whatever. My interest isn't really in his political maunderings. Rather, it is in a brief statement he makes a bit over halfway through:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Do We Do This?

Last night, I received an e-mail from Liz Ditz at I Speak of Dreams, letting me know that a fellow blogger and anti-quackery champion had died unexpectedly. That man was Free Speaker, at the Age of Ignorance blog.

I can't say that I knew him, really. I'd seen some of his posts around various blogs and read a few of the posts on his blog. But I cannot say that I knew him or that he was a friend. Sadly, I did not take the opportunity to forge that. About all I know is that he and I had some similarities, such as our reasons for starting our blogs.

And as I thought of his passing, and others' responses to it, I wondered, "Why do we do this?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vaccine Awareness Week: If Vaccines Work...

"If vaccines work, then it shouldn't matter if I don't vaccinate my kid."

That argument, or some variation thereon, is fairly common among anti-vaccine folks and the parents who fall for their propaganda. The thinking is something like this: vaccine proponents claim that vaccines work; if they work, they must be 100% effective; if they are 100% effective, then my kid getting sick won't affect anyone that's been immunized; therefore, why should it matter to anyone else what I choose for my child?

There's a couple problems with this line of reasoning.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vaccine Awareness Week: I'm not Anti-vax, I'm Pro-Safe Vaccine

This whole Vaccine Awareness Week has got me to thinking a bit about some of the arguments that anti-vaxers make. I wonder just how they reason things out. What is it that resonates so strongly in their minds that they don’t simply question vaccines, but go so far beyond reason and rational thought? They can look at the very same things that those of us who accept vaccines view as amazing advancements of medical science and instead see all manner of bogeymen. Every last thing to do with vaccines, if you believe many of them, is the epitome of all that is vile and evil. The really incredible thing, though, is that even while they have a knee-jerk reaction to reject any and every vaccine, they insist that they are not anti-vaccine. Rather, they say that they are “pro-safe vaccine.”

As I thought about this, I realized something: I, myself, am not anti-vaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vaccine Awareness Week: Getting the Word Out

Thanks to the efforts of Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher, today, November 1, 2010, marks the beginning of Vaccine Awareness Week! In case you missed National Immunization Awareness Month back in August, our lovely anti-vaccine pro-safe vaccine crusaders have given us another week!

I am joining a number of bloggers, including Orac at Respectful Insolence, the lovely folks at Science-Based Medicine, Dr. Steven Novella of NeuroLogica and The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe fame, among others, to get the word out about vaccines.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Age of Autism's All About Debate...Except When They're Not

The primary reason that I started this blog was because, for reasons unknown to me, I was banned from ever commenting again on the Age of Autism blog. I took a serious look back at the comments that I had posted and perused their commenting policy and, apart from getting slightly off topic on a thread, couldn't see where I had violated the policy. When managing editor Kim Stagliano stepped in to warn everyone that we were getting off topic, I apologized (though I think that that post, along with a few others in the exchange, never saw the light of day).

I even sent a polite e-mail to Ms. Stagliano asking what I had done to warrant being banned from commenting over there. The only response I got was an auto-reply. I continue to wait in vain.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recall of Hyland's Teething Tablets

Okay, I know this is totally unrelated to my usual subjects of Age of Autism, vaccines or censorship, but this really raised my ire. You see, I signed up to receive e-mail notices from the FDA on warning letters, recalls and enforcement reports. These satisfy my interest in keeping an eye on what kinds of foods and medical products have issues. This has the added benefit of letting me know when to toss out something that poses a risk to me, in case I miss the announcement on the local news.

Today I received a brief notice that FDA is recalling Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vaccine Awareness Week

As some of you have probably already heard, Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher (of the misnamed National Vaccine Information Center) have decided to declare November 1-6 "Vaccine Awareness Week". Well, I'm going to try to join the fun that Orac at Respectful Insolence suggested, along with Science-Based Medicine, Neurologica and whatever other blogs join the fun.

During that week, pay attention to Twitter, as well, with the #vaxfax hash tag.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Censored on Do Reliable Thimerosal Estimates Exist?

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Do Reliable Thimerosal Estimates Exist?, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Newsflash! Vaccines Cause Autism...If You're Scientifically Illiterate

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted are displaying their science illiteracy again over at Age of Autism in an article entitled New Study Shows Vaccines Cause Brain Changes Found in Autism. The article extols the virtues of a newly published study by Laura Hewitson, Brian J. Lopresti, Carol Stott, N. Scott Mason, and Jaime Tomko - Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study. The abstract can be found here and the full text can be found for free here.

So, is this study as amazing as Blaxill and Olmsted would have us believe?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doctor's Data Inc. Uses Legal Threats to Silence Criticism

I know the title of this blog is "Silenced by Age of Autism", but I have, in the past, spoken up in defense of free speech in other venues, as well, such as Simon Singh's libel case in the U.K. and how the English libel laws affect everyone. The need has arisen, once more, to venture away from AoA's censorship and talk about another recent attempt to us litigation to silence critics. Please bear with me, as this is a long post.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Censored on Autism Genome Project Phase 2

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Autism Genome Project Phase 2, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Will Wonders Never Cease?

I've been checking the comments section of the Age of Autism article David Gorski’s Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn’t Tell You the past few days to see how things have developed. Imagine my surprise this morning to see not one, not two, but three comments that go against the general ideology of AoA!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Censored on Olmsted on Autism: Day in Court

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Olmsted on Autism: Day in Court, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Censored on Rate of Childhood Peanut Allergies More Than Triples

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Rate of Childhood Peanut Allergies More Than Triples, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kim Stagliano: "We Don't Censor, We Editorialize"

Liz Ditz of the I Speak of Dreams blog alerted me to some items from Age of Autism's Facebook page:

At AoA's Facebook page:

RJ: Stop removing comments that oppose your views, that is called "censorship":

Age of Autism: No, it's called editorial. We have made a conscious decision on our content - and we're clear in our moderation guidelines. Your next snipe will escort you out the door.

Kim

More at http://counteringageofautism.blogspot.com/2010/05/sure-theres-no-sniping-on-aoa.html:

"We have mdae editorial decisions that affect our moderation, yes. And because of that, we have avoided the cesspool of sniping and autism denial on so many other sites." --Stagliano on Age of Autism's facebook page.

Well, that's certainly interesting. For those who are interested, AoA's commenting policy, as of May 19, 2010, 1:12pm EDT is:

We reserve the right to delete any comments sent to us at our discretion. Reasons include, but are not limited to:

• are abusive, off-topic, or use excessive foul language
• contain racist, sexist, homophobic or other slurs
• are solicitations and/or advertising for personal blogs and websites
• are posted with the explicit intention of provoking other commenters, writers or the staff at Age of Autism

It would appear that censoring editorializing comments that do not agree with the party line but are otherwise respectfully written, non-advertising and not intended to provoke other commenters, writers or staff at AoA fall under the "not limited to" portion of their policy.

What does it really mean, though, to "editorialize" something? Well, a quick search at Dictionary.com came up with this:

1. to set forth one's position or opinion on some subject in, or as if in, an editorial.
2. to inject personal interpretations or opinions into an otherwise factual account.

Alright. So, it is okay for people who read the blog and agree with their stance to post comments with personal interpretations or opinions, but not okay for those who disagree with their stance to post their interpretations or opinions. In other words:

to examine (as a publication or film) in order to suppress or delete any contents considered objectionable

Hey! That's the legal definition of "censor"!

What strikes me is that not only do the editors of Age of Autism censor comments that disagree with their views or point out errors of fact, but they do not apply their commenting policy equally. When people who support the AoA majority viewpoint post comments that are offensive, off-topic, use foul language or contain racist, sexist ("whore" is a favorite there) or other slurs, those comments do not get "editorialized".

In the end, Kim, you and your cronies at Age of Autism do censor comments. You can call a skunk a rose, but it would still stink.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Censored on How to Actually Save the Vaccine Program

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article How to Actually Save the Vaccine Program, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Correction

So, I need to make a bit of a correction to a comment I made on April 2. I'm not bothering to copy this to Age of Autism, since it'll never see light there, but I did want to at least admit when I was wrong...well, sorta wrong.

In the AoA article I was responding to, Jake Crosby wrote:

Thorsen was the second highest listed co-author from the university that led the Danish study on the MMR.

For the thimerosal study, he specified "from the university department".

Now, I took this to imply that Jake was saying that Thorsen was second-highest listed co-author overall, which has been the general (incorrect) position of Age of Autism. Minor reading comprehension fail on my part.

However, it seems that Jake is taking a slightly different tack. Rather than second most important author overall, Jake is saying that he is second most important author from the university (or department, in the thimerosal case), as if that somehow makes the argument stronger that Thorsen had significant influence on the studies.

I'm not sure if Jake just doesn't understand scientific research, if he's playing off the AoA schtick or something else. Because, when it comes down to it, his argument is even weaker than the AoA route, despite being more grounded in fact. I guess this would be best illustrated with an example, from a lay perspective though it may be.

Suppose that several labs are collaborating on a study. There would be the main lab of Dr. Smith, at the University of Veritasia, where the primary investigator (Dr. Smith) is employed and where the majority of the work and analysis is being done, but they also involve Dr. Jones' lab at Gruntville University. The extent of the Jones lab is that a research assistant and the lab tech performed a little bit of bench work, say, creating some growth media that were then sent over to the Smith lab. Due to their work, the RA and tech get credit in the paper's author list, even though their contribution was minimal. In the resulting paper, they could be listed alphabetically or by how much they contributed to that part of the work. One would be the "highest-listed co-author from Gruntville University" and one would be second-highest.

However, in the grand scheme of the paper and the results drawn from the study, they are not particularly important. They don't have any influence on the data analysis. They don't have any influence on the conclusions. In short, they don't have any real influence on the validity of the study.

So, I was wrong about my specific complaint against Mr. Crosby. But regarding his protestations against Thorsen, the question remains, "So what?"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Censored on PBS - Pharmaceutical BS

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article PBS - Pharmaceutical BS, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War - Some Thoughts

Last night, April 27, 2010 at 9pm EDT, PBS ran their episode of FRONTLINE titled "The Vaccine War". The show introduced the issue involving vaccines and a purported autism connection, covering some of the arguments against vaccines, arguments suggesting a causal connection and detailing the medical and scientific evidence against such arguments. Orac at Respectful Insolence has a pretty good summary up, so I won't rehash what's already been done.

Overall, it was a very good program, which is to be expected from FRONTLINE. It had a decidedly pro-vaccine slant to it, again, to be expected, since they were reporting factual information and reality, rather than the emotional rhetoric, misinformation and outright distortions found from such folks as JB Handley and Jenny McCarthy at Generation Rescue/Age of Autism and Barbara Loe Fish at the NVIC. There were several shortcomings I felt should have been addressed, however:

* A parent brought up the question of why we give HepB vaccine at birth. The program never really addressed some of the reasons behind the recommendation.

* While the program pointed out that Barbara Loe Fisher was involved in the creation of the VICP and Vaccine Court, they should have pointed out how she, and others in the antivaccine community, is pretty actively against the program and court, now. Some even call for its elimination, which would lead to devastating consequences (longer, costlier court processes with higher standards of evidence for those claiming injury and the likely elimination of vaccine production in the U.S.).

* The social and political tactics of the antivaccine movement should have been mentioned, such as Wakefield's failed attempt to use libel law to silence Deer, Loe Fisher's failed attempt to use libel law to silence Offit et al., "outing" bloggers to their employers, censoring dissenting comments on their blogs, and other sundry underhanded tactics.

While the interviews allowed the antivaxers to portray themselves as somewhat out of touch with reality, the truly dark side of how they operate was not exposed. That, really, is the one down side. Otherwise, as I said, it was a good episode. If anyone missed it and would like to watch it, you can do so online here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Censored on Olmsted on Autism: Gone Gary Gone

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Olmsted on Autism: Gone Gary Gone, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Show to Watch - FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War

Quite a number of years ago, in 1993, the PBS program Frontline took on the scam known as Facilitated Communication (FC), a technique by which a facilitator supposedly helps children with autism communicate via a keyboard, but in reality completely author the messages produced. FC had become quite popular in the autism community because now the children were supposedly composing poetry, writing essays and telling their parents, "I love you". However, it came under scrutiny when allegations of physical and sexual abuse began surfacing. The resulting fallout ruined many families, as parents faced jail time based on the messages written by the facilitators. Frontline exposed the sham in their episode "Prisoners of Silence" (Here is Part 1 of the program).

Tomorrow, they will delve into the autism world once again, this time focusing on "The Vaccine War". The episode is scheduled to air tomorrow, April 27, 2010. Others have already commented on the press release and video clips, so I'll just let them give you a taste of the preview. If Frontline's past reporting is any indication, this will certainly be an episode to watch.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Censored on Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Victory for Free Speech

Those interested in free speech and rational critique of ideas probably already know about Simon Singh's case in the U.K. Singh was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association for some comments he made suggesting that the practices they promote are, well, bunk. An initial ruling by Justice David Eady appeared to be a major setback to Singh's case. However, he appealed and won the right to defend his comments as statements of opinion, rather than statements of fact.

Well, it appears the BCA has decided that it can no longer prevail and has dropped its libel suit against Singh. You can read more about this at Sense About Science.

While this is a major victory against the BCA's attempt to censor scientific criticism, the British libel laws are still in place. If you have not already done so, join the effort to revise the law to end the practice of using the legal system to censor critics. These laws don't just affect those living in the U.K.; they everyone, everywhere, thanks to libel tourism.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Censored on Chicago Tribune Buys Award With CDC’s Help

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Chicago Tribune Buys Award With CDC’s Help, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Censored on The Wakefield Inquisition: Case Series Insanity

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The Wakefield Inquisition: Case Series Insanity, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

JB Handley on Censorship

Over at Respectful Insolence, Age of Autism's JB Handley made an appearance. In one of his comments, he explained why comments are censoredmoderated at Age of Autism. He had this to say:

And, Orac, the reason they screen posts at AoA is so that parents of children with autism have a safe environment to talk within. If they wanted debate, they can come to your lovely blog, so we all serve our little purposes, keep up the good work.

Now, I have not received any word back on why I have apparently been banned from commenting by Age of Autism. I guess my comments, which are all copied here, created an "unsafe" environment. From what I've seen of the treatment of new commenters over there, I don't think the parents need any manner of protection.

In fact, take a look at some of the comments that followed Handley's over at Respectful Insolence. There are parents of autistic children who feel quite insulted by Handley's patronizing explanation.

Here's my translation of Handley's statement:

And, Orac, the reason they screen posts at AoA is so that people that like to promote their near-religious belief that vaccines cause autism have a safe echo chamber to talk within. If they wanted reality, they can come to your lovely blog, so we all serve our little purposes, keep up the good work.

At any rate, you heard it from Handley himself. If your comment is censored, it's because you are a threat to the safe, warm fuzzy environment for parents of children with autism who cannot handle disagreement.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Censored on NYT's Gardiner Harris Wears White and Black Hats

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Age of Malware?

I just tried to access Age of Autism blog to see if there are any stories there from which to be censored.  Imagine my surprise when I got the following message from my network:

This web site (http://www.ageofautism.com/ ) has been blocked because it has been determined to contain malware and is a security threat to your computer or the [Employer Name Redacted] enterprise network.
Very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Censored on Hormone-infused Nasal Spray Found to Help People with Autism

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Something You Won't Get at Age of Autism

This morning, I read a brilliant comment by Calli Arcale on a thread over at Respectful Insolence.  It is a very poignant post that highlights not only the double-think that many people against vaccines practice, but also includes a personal, uplifting account of dealing with autism and that there is hope without turning to untested and dangerous treatments like chelation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Big Libel Gig in the Skye

Okay, so it's in London's West End, not the Isle of Skye.  What, you may ask?  Why, The Big Libel Gig.  If you happen to be in the U.K. on March 14, you may want to consider getting tickets to this.  See the link for details and help support libel reform.

Followup: An E-mail to Kim Stagliano

A little over a week ago, I sent an e-mail to Kim Stagliano, managing editor of the blog Age of Autism, asking why my comments were not appearing.  Well, here's what I've gotten in response to my inquiry:

* chirp * chirp * chirp *

Yep.  Crickets chirping.  Not a single word beyond the auto-generated response I shared in my previous post.  At this point, I can only assume that my e-mail was simply deleted.  However, I invite Kim to prove me wrong.  Send me a response, Kim, and let me know how I have trangressed so as to have my comments never again appear on Age of Autism.

This blog is far too new and I am much too obscure to get Ms. Stagliano's attention.  Instead I will encourage anyone who is reading this blog to make comments over at Age of Autism and, should your comment not be approved, please copy it here.  But please follow their commenting guidelines: avoid insults, stay on topic, and post legitimate criticisms or thoughts.  In other words, don't be a troll.  If enough people start posting there and get censored, perhaps we can show the world just how hypocritical the folks at Age of Autism are.  We might even get them to change their ways and stop censoring.  I won't hold my breath, though.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Censored on The Wakefield Saga: 2004 All Over Again

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The Wakefield Saga: 2004 All Over Again, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on Connie Howard of Vue Weekly: Well, well well: Wakefield a Witch-Hunt?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Help Fight Legal Censorship and Libel Tourism

If you are reading this blog, you probably have an interest in censorship issues.  Well, right now, there's a fight going on in the U.K., a long-overdue attempt to reform that country's libel laws.  What brought this to the fore and has garnered so much attention is a libel suit against Simon Singh, who is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association over a statement he made a while back.

This case is important, because it doesn't just affect Simon.  It affects everyone who writes anything online.  If you think that you are safe, keep in mind that if anything you write ends up being distributed in the U.K., you can be sued there.  It is a haven for libel tourism.  The U.K. libel laws can basically function as a means of bullying people into submission; wealthy plaintiffs can sue critics into silence and submission.

So what can you do about it?  You can sign a petition.  Right now, they have about 17,000 signatures.  They need 100,000.  So go to the petition and sign it.  If you do, let me know.

Censored on J.B. Handley: Show Me The Monkeys

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article J.B. Handley: Show Me The Monkeys, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on The End of Science History

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The End of Science History, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An E-mail to Kim Stagliano


This past Sunday, I sent an e-mail to Kim Stagliano, Managing Editor of Age of Autism, to inquire why my comments have not been appearing on Age of Autism:

Dear Ms. Stagliano,

I have noticed that none of my recent comments on Age of Autism have been allowed to appear in the comments section.  I'm curious why.  My comments have been respectful and, after my initial appearance with the OSR comments, I have been on-topic.

Please let me know why my comments are not being allowed through moderation.

Sincerely,
Todd W.
 Thus far, I've only received an automated reply:

Hi and thanks for emailing me. Due to the volume of emails I receive,
I am not able to respond individually to each email. Please accept my
apology. If this is an AoA submission, you will hear back from me.
Thank you.
 
Kim Stagliano
 
-- 
Kim Stagliano
Fall 2010 Debut: "All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa." from
Skyhorse Publishing, my "Kimoir."
www.kimstagliano.blogspot.com
www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-stagliano
www.ageofautism.com
I'm not holding my breath to receive a reply, as I suspect that my e-mail will just be ignored, though it would be interesting to know if they have any valid reason for suppressing my comments.  If I get a response, I'll post a followup summarizing it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Censored on A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on Olmsted on Autism: Enjoy It While It Lasts

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Olmsted on Autism: Enjoy It While It Lasts, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on Kim Stagliano on The GMC Hearing: "The Censorship of Autism Treatment"

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Kim Stagliano on The GMC Hearing: "The Censorship of Autism Treatment", please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on David Kirby: The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article David Kirby: The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on The Lancet Retraction

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The Lancet Retraction, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

Censored on Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA, as well as what name you posted under.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Purpose of This Blog

Recently, I've tried engaging in dialogue with some of the folks over at Age of Autism, a blog purporting to be a news source for autism and supporting the autism movement. The bloggers there and commenters frequently cry out about how autism science is being censored (it's not). The curiously hypocritical thing, though, is that they heavily moderate their comments, seldom allowing comments that offer a critical or dissenting opinion.

The purpose of this blog, then, is to provide a forum for people to copy their Age of Autism comments. If you have posted comments at AoA in a respectful manner and have been silenced by their moderators, please copy your post here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.  If there is not already a blog post here for the article you commented on, please let me know via the e-mail link in the About Me section to the right, and I will create a new post where you can copy your comment.  


The next time someone talks favorably about Age of Autism, point them here so they can see just how much they're missing from the larger picture.
 
Please respect the integrity of this endeavor and keep your posts solely to copying your Age of Autism comment here in the above format. Posts which are blatantly contrary to this blog's endeavor (e.g., swearing, insulting or otherwise jerk-like behavior, etc.) will be removed.