Following in the footsteps of other alternative types, such as Patrick Holford, Dr Joseph Mercola has joined the fray. Holford has previously exhorted his followers to sign a petition in support of Dr Andrew Wakefield (see breathspakids for more detail) and Joseph Mercola’s fellow medic-with-an-interest-in-nutrition Dr John Briffa has also indulged in some MMR scaremongering of his own (Briffa’s original post), which I covered here, here, and here [note: the first of my blog posts includes links to many other blogs covering Briffa’s views].
Andrew Wakefield’s Lancet paper has been retracted by his co-authors, the testing he relied upon for his findings turned out to be flawed due to uncontrolled contamination (see leftbrainrightbrain for more), Brian Deer reported serious issues with Wakefield’s work – interpreted by the NeuroLogica blog as meaning that “Wakefield either deliberately faked data, or he is such a sloppy researcher that he manipulated data to suit his biases” – in the Sunday Times, yet still he is supported by some in the AltMed community.
Mercola claims that:
I have enormous respect for Dr. Wakefield, as in my opinion he is one of the most well-respected academic researchers on autism in the world. This latest attempt to smear his name, in which freelancer Brian Deer said he “changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism,” has been called out for what it is: fraud.
Dr Wakefield is not one of the most well-respected academic researchers on autism. Certainly not in terms of respect from fellow academics and scientists. I don’t see the article reporting on Wakefield’s manipulation of data as being an “attempt to smear” – I see it as investigative journalism turning up some very interesting, and very worrying, information regarding seriously flawed scientific research.
The article Mercola republished on his website also includes the canard that:
The Times also did not mention as part of the story that an investigation into Wakefield was triggered by a complaint from Brian Deer himself, meaning that his article was a report on the hearing into his own complaint.
See LeftBrain/RightBrain for more on this allegation here. It has been made clear to all parties that Deer’s role is that of informant rather than complainant – and Brian Deer has gone so far as to publish a letter confirming this on his own website here [PDF].
Sadly, there will always be people willing to believe the kind of bullshit peddled by AltMed practitioners writing on vaccination. Like those commenting on Mercola’s article, for example:
To be sure, there are always AGENT PROVOCATEURS either being paid by organizations, and govs specifically with roles that are designed to confuse and discredit—shame, but that is how our gov and their owners play the game. So long as the masses are in the illusion, they will continue to win… TRUST should be first with your family, loved ones, self, etc…. GOV should be last on the list and in ‘trust’; with quotes of course.
This comment reminds me of other conspiracy theorists – the masses are in the illusion, only a few know the truth. The majority of people, according to conspiracy theorists, are Sheeple. Only they [the conspiracy theorists] are insightful enough to see the vast conspiracies going on all around us. How very arrogant. How very ignorant. How very reminiscent of that Photon in the Darkness post.