The Age of Autism: Presentation and Book Signing
I DO NOT SUPPORT AGE OF AUTISM
Edited for my glaring mistake. (Reversed names)
I felt it was needed to place that disclaimer at the top as I know the title could lead one to believe I support them. I went for the sole purpose of planting the seed of doubt in parents who may have been on the fence. I had 3 invites on Facebook to go, so I took the opportunity even if it meant my sanity (lol, just kidding!).
Dan Olmstead started by talking about Occam’s Razor. For those that don’t know, Occam’s Razor:
is a principle which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects.
Of two equivalent theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simpler one is to be preferred.
To put it short and succinctly, they believe that mercury is the simpler explanation. I don’t think they read the actual principle, as you will see later on in this piece. They compare Autism to Crop Circles to make their point of Occam’s Razor. That because genetics is complicated *They showed a slide of the complexities of genetic research into Autism* that it is more like the theory that Aliens created the Crop Circles. However, they equate Vaccines and Mercury to the two drunk guys in a truck creating them. (Note: I thought that was pretty funny that they called themselves two drunk guys.)
They then went into the fact that Kanner was the first case studies. They gave two theories why these were the first case studies:
- That Kanner was such a genius that he finally recognized the disorder.
- That Kanner was witnessing the first ever Autistics.
They, naturally, would believe the second. However, I propose a third theory. That there was literature on the subject dating into the 19th century which did in fact show Autism, but with no actual label placed on the characteristics. (Note: Again. They didn’t read the actual principle of Occam’s Razor that the least assumptions is the accepted one.) They go on to state that by the 1930s there had been in all of human existance been 100 billion people roughly. That if there were that many people, then surely we would have seen the 1 billion some-odd Autistics. (Hrm.. Could it be that before 1900 that life expectancy was less than 40 yrs of age? Or that many of the disabled were put into institutions? Or they went on to have happy adulthoods like happens even today?)
When it came down to it, they didn’t just blame vaccines, but mercury in any form. They started out explaining mercury and arsenic as treatments for syphilis. Then said how the researchers into syphilis treatments went to making biological weapons during WWI. Then when the war was done, that’s when they came out with thimerasol and ethyl mercury that was used as an antifungal in plants and trees. I think we all see where this is going. Mercury was put into antifungal form for crops and lumber, then of course, thimerasol in the first inoculations.
They then showed us how 8 of the Kanner 11 had been exposed to the mercury. Most of it is pure conjecture, but I do agree that the two parents that worked with the antifungal powder (one they can prove researched it, which is more than they could say for the others) could have easily brought it home. But this assumes of course that the first 11 were the first 11 in existance. The whole basis of their book and argument (as said by them!)
They then went into incidence rates rising. Lots of charts to show when incidence rates rose. Some more to talk about prevalence with special interest spent with Brick Township, NJ. It was all rather boring by this point to me. Same old arguments.
(This was a question during the end of the presentation and not part of the actual Q&A.)
Person 1: “Didn’t they take thimerasol out of vaccines?”
Blaxill: “No! It’s still in the flu vaccine which is given to pregnant mothers and babies as young as 6 mos.”
Me: “That’s not true. The one before age 2 does not contain thimerasol.”
Blaxill: “Yes it does.”
Me: “No it doesn’t.”
Person 2-5: “<I’m feeding your ego>
All the while, I have my hand raised. Blaxill keeps pausing at it, then turning to call on someone else. Eventually, Olmstead sees my hand and asks me. Sadly, I only got two questions in, but they were:
1. How can you say there was no Autism prior to Kanner when Dr. Down (of Down’s syndrome fame, 19th century) wrote about very distinct Autism characteristics?
- There may have been characteristics, but you can’t say that it was Autism because they don’t present particular cases.
- Europe was in the industrial revolution and this was the first time Down’s was reported.
- It might have been Fragile X and comes from the same time.
(Basically, just because it looks like Autism, smells like Autism, and quacks like Autism doesn’t mean it’s Autism. It could have been Down’s and Fragile X babies showing Autism characteristics. And it’s quite possible that Down’s and Fragile X started because of Europe’s introduction to the industrial revolution.)
2. Can you turn it to slide #26? Which one is it? You had numbers, can you switch it? Describe it and we’ll know what you’re talking about. The one with prevalence from around 1950 to present day.Yes? (Me getting annoyed that he wouldn’t switch it for those WITHOUT photographic/cinematic memory!) What do you say is the reason for the rates changing? I noticed the incidence rose after DSM revisions (~1984 and ~1995).
No. We went with current DSM criteria. (Well how are we supposed to know that if you refuse to go back to the slide and show us your data?)
At this point, he cut me off saying he needed to get to other people’s questions. I had several other questions:
1. What is your explanation for the rate “increasing” even with no thimerasol?
2. What do you think of the survey out of England that shows rate of Autism in Adult Men to be roughly 1%? (Not including anyone who had mental health or were institutionalized)
3. What do you think you’re doing by saying Autism is either defective or sick? What do you think how you affect those on the Spectrum by characterizing it like that?
4. Why do you think that Autism is just seen as “quirky” and “antisocial” adults? Do you realize there’s a lot of us who weren’t diagnosed until adulthood who are significantly disabled?
5. What’s your explanation for the same data being shown in Asperger’s studies as Kanner’s studies done roughly at the same time? Or the text that shows Asperger describing Autism in the early 1920s?
The dinner afterwards ended up me talking with Olmstead, a close acquaintance and another “Warrior Mom”. I finally got some of them to concede that at least in my family, it does seem to be genetic. Olmstead asked what my dad did, I can only assume to figure out how I became AS and my brother ASD.
I didn’t get home until 11am. I couldn’t calm down until 1am. And I woke up at 7am. While that’s plenty early for most, it’s not for me. So I’m leaving you all here. Hope you enjoy my wrap up of last evening.