Monday, July 23, 2012

Facts, More Facts, and Persistent Facts

On an almost daily basis, I'm reminded of the John Adams quote "facts are stubborn things", and I am reminded of how accurate those words are.  Facts tend to get in the way of opinion, they shatter falsehoods, and they destroy dishonesty.  However, it seems often when facts are presented, those who find their opinions to be threatened merely ignore the facts rather than accept them.  This is often true with anti-vaxxers including Lowell Hubbs, because even after showing him evidence that disputes his statements, he refuses to accept reality.

Let me give an example.  Mr. Hubbs continues to make claims that the Amish are not vaccinated and that they don't get autism.  He has made these statements in the past, even though I showed him evidence which absolutely destroys that baseless claim including several different articles which served as sources.  Do you think Mr. Hubbs would drop the assertion that the Amish don't vaccinate?  Do you think he would back down from the claim that Amish children don't get autism? Do you think he would go back and modify his websites and blogs to remove any statements which make claims that the Amish don't vaccinate or that they don't get autism?  If your answer was no to any of the above questions, give yourself a gold star.

In fact, Mr. Hubbs continues to believe the Amish are autism-free, and he is still making claims about how they aren't vaccinated even though there is no legitimate evidence to support these claims.  Even if either of those two statements were true it still does not in any way suggest vaccines cause autism.  It is a classic misunderstanding of correlation and causation, and Mr. Hubbs is deliberately trying to blur the line between the two in order to support his worldview.

If someone actually has a desire to learn the truth about the Amish, there are more than enough sources that exist to prove that they do in fact vaccinate.  These include the articles mentioned above, news reports, and even studies. In fact, in one study it was found that 84% of Amish households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations and another 12% of Amish households with children reported that some of the children had received vaccinations. Only 4% of these households reported that none of the children received vaccinations.

That same study found that when it comes to older members of the Amish community who knew their own vaccination status, 90% reported that they had in fact received vaccinations as children. When broken out by age and looking at only respondents aged 45 years or less, this number swells to 96% which is actually higher than the general population in some cases. Does that sound like the Amish don't vaccinate?

As to the original author that made the claims about the Amish (Dan Olmsted), even he has had to backtrack and admit his reporting was "anecdotal" rather than scientific, and he seems to have backed down from his suggestions that a perceived lack of autism within the Amish community had a relation to vaccines. Of course he is still beating the drum trying to claim the Amish have a lower rate of autism (which very well could be true due to environmental and genetic factors) and he is still trying to confuse correlation and causation as all good anti-vaxxers do, but it does appear to some degree he is avoiding the "vaccines cause autism" nonsense primarily because he cannot support that hypothesis with any available data or research.

This is one of the primary issues I have with anti-vaccinationists. Even when presented with data that clearly shows their statements and opinions to be wrong, they simply ignore the data and continue to make the same false statements in the hopes they might be able to get away with it. It is one thing to form a hypothesis when you don't know the facts, but when the facts are in and when they seem to contradict your original opinion, it is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty to continue down the same path as if the facts don't matter.

Let's be clear - the Amish community isn't limited to one small group nor is it isolated to one area of the country. There are at least 25 states in the US with Amish populations, there are various subgroups and sects, so it stands to reason that what may be the case in one Amish community may not transcend across all. It would not be fair to make a blanket statement that all Amish communities vaccinate nor would it be fair to claim that none of the Amish are autistic, because the truth is there are both vaccinated and un-vaccinated Amish just as their are Amish children who have autism.

If anti-vaxxers really wish to be honest and if they are sincere in their desires to learn about the root causes of autism, they would be well advised to stop repeating fallacies and instead focus on what we really know instead of merely what we want to believe.


  1. What? Not more incorrect and misleading information? Imagine that.

    And you Costner, are using articles written and connected to one, Ken Reibel, at Autism News Beat; one of the knowingly most dishonest vaccine misinformers ever known; next to the likes of Gorski? The same Ken Reibel that ended up defeated in every article debate I have gone up against him on? The Ken Reibel that shrivels away at the slightest contest of real facts and science?

    And with one phone call to this pediatrician Strauss, and its settled; right? The majority of Amish vaccinate and they have the same rate or nearly the same rate of autism as the general population; case closed.
    Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, a pediatrician at the CSC; the said cryptically-named Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg,

    Strauss, along with Dr. D. Holmes Morton, MD, authored a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which described a mysterious seizure disorder that resulted in mental retardation and autistic behavior in nine Amish children.

    Wow, and how many thousands and thousands of Amish are there? And this is the same thing as the profound ASD known caused by vaccines? They are so ignorant that they think there is no difference? Really?

    And you call this kind of a pro-vaccine, biased, and mindless rambling proof of the numbers on anything in regard to the Amish? Wow. Doesn't take much on your end to be proof, does it?

    Take a LOOK. Here the article states:

    “We know autism when we see it, but we don’t go actively into the Amish community and screen for ASD.”

    Strauss adds that the Amish have a high prevalence of genetic risk factors and are protected from others. The low rate of idiopathic autism “might have more to do what genetic structure of population than lifestyle, environment or diet.”

    So what’s up with Olmsted? Did a UPI reporter fabricate a story, then pass it off as true? Science blogger Prometheus offers three possible explanations:

    Mr. Olmsted didn’t look all that carefully for autistic children, having already concluded that there wouldn’t be any.

    Mr. Olmsted found autistic children, but didn’t count them - either because he either didn’t feel that they had real autism or because it conflicted with his forgone conclusion.

    The Amish families - being somewhat suspicious of “outsiders” (not without good reason) - didn’t confide the details of their family medical issues with Mr. Olmsted.


    Why My Practice Has Virtually No Autism, Dr Mayer Eisenstein

    This video was shot during a recent presentation at the American Medical Autism Board's Second Annual Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders in Troy, Michigan - March 2010.


  2. Mr. Hubbs I'm not going to let you post comment after comment which is nothing more than a cut and paste from the very same article that this post debunks.

    The truth is the statements made by Olmsted and Eisenstein don't hold up to scrutiny. That isn't an opinion Mr. Hubbs, that is a fact. Anyone who is capable of reading has access to data which confirms that not only do the Amish vaccinate, but they also do in fact experience autism.

    This is not some massive conspiracy - it is just reality. If you took the time to objectively research these issues and if you included all sources in your review, you would already know this. Instead, you form an opinion and you seek out information to support it even if that information has long since been discredited. That is why you aren't a credible source and why you are nothing more than a biased anti-vaxxer.

  3. Lowell, I'm flattered by your attention. I'll try to write more often. Maybe I'll even bake you a cake with a file inside.


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