Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Censored on Rate of Childhood Peanut Allergies More Than Triples

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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.


More at

"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 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

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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

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