Chili’s and the National Autism Association–one more thing

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything more about Chili’s and their outstanding decision to back away from providing a donation to the antivaccination front group called the National Autism Association (NAA). Since I made that promise to me, and not to my readers, I get to write about Chili’s again with few consequences. Well, other than spending some time this evening in writing this last post, I promise, about Chili’s. I might choose to write something about the NAA again in the future, because they are kind of reprehensible, as you will soon see.

As I pointed out yesterday, the NAA is much more than just an autism advocacy group that lies about vaccines. It also promotes horrifying treatments for autism such as chelation, which has shown to not be effective. And many of the practitioners of chelation therapy are miscreants and other kinds of low lives. As I’ve mentioned previously, simple math, at the level a third grader would understand, indicates that it make take millions of doses of vaccines to be toxic, and only then if the patients kidneys had failed so nothing would be cleared from the blood. So, NAA is encouraging the use of chelation therapy, which does have risks, to fix a problem that we KNOW doesn’t cause autism, and, in fact, doesn’t even exist in the first place.

They could have just made the same claim that magical water cures autism. Oh I forgot, they are sponsored by Boiron, a homeopathy manufacturer.

© 2014, Skeptical Raptor, LLC. Yeah, I went here for lunch in Los Angeles.
© 2014, Skeptical Raptor, LLC. Yeah, I went here for lunch in Los Angeles.

 

But, before I could finish off my decidedly scrumptious and satisfying Padron margarita at Chili’s (yup, I went there on 7 April, just to show my loyalty), I read this quote from Wendy Fournier, President of the NAA:

“It was obvious that the comments [Chili’s was] getting were a fight about vaccines. Everybody was all heated up and wanting to boycott. It was bullying. It was orchestrated by a small number of people who wanted to deny assistance to families that we serve through our program.” She said that the statements on the NAA website about vaccinations and autism are the views of parents who “are entitled to their viewpoints without being attacked.”

Really Ms. Fournier? It was bullying? According to my American English Dictionary (with all apologies to half of my readers who are from other countries, but according to my English English Dictionary, it’s the same), bullying is “using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Well certainly, no one was exhibiting any superior strength. Well, I did read a lot of ad hominem screaming and yelling from antivaccination cultists on the various Chili’s threads. Like threatening people with harm. Or threatening to tell their employers. You know real bullying from the antivaccination forces. 

And it was not orchestrated by a small number of people. In fact, some of the biggest names in autism research, people who actually care about real science looking for real causes and real cures (as if an autistic child needs to be cured of being awesome), thought that the NAA shouldn’t receive a donation from Chili’s. And no Ms. Fournier, no one is entitled to their viewpoints if those viewpoints end up in harming little children. Because the NAA website, which probably was pretty high on the Google hits for autism, might have led a parent to decide to forgo vaccinations, because your website promotes a vicious and deadly lie. There is not one, tiny, little bit of evidence that vaccines cause autism. Unless you believe that your buddy, and I’m getting to that, MrAndy Wakefield, is not perpetrating a fraud.

The sophistry of the “vaccines cause autism” crowd is leading to outbreaks of diseases and deaths to little children. Yes Ms. Fournier, you’re entitled to your ignorant point of view, but you are going to be “attacked” for it. Not by calling you names. Not by physically threatening you. That’s for your people and their twisted little minds. No, pro-science pro-vaxxers rely upon evidence and science to make their case, and to show that your “viewpoint” is nothing more than an invention. A delusion. 

Ms. Fournier tries to make it appear that there are several sides to the discussion, and that all points of view are equivalent. It’s just a debate. Except for the fact that the pro-vaccine side has evidence that far outweighs the denialist side. Unless, you want to count Andy Wakefield’s fraud as evidence. Nope, even then antivaccination troops have nothing.

No, I’m not done. Because there’s so much more. 

Wendy Fournier, bullied antivaccination President of the NAA, is going to be a panelist at the Give Autism a Chance Summit. OK, that sounds good, because we really do care about autism, something that seemed to go over the head of Ms. Fournier and her cult during the discussion about Chili’s withdrawing its support.

Wait. I bet you clicked on that link to the panel and said, “WHAT THE HELL?” Or something like that. If you didn’t click on the link to the “summit”, please do. I’m not going anywhere.

Yes, the panel includes Rob Schneider, a third rate actor who might actually have a worse career than Jenny McCarthy. They must have been desperate. Or he was cheap headliner. I might be overrating him at 3rd rate. 

But the worst person on the list is Mr. Andy Wakefield. If you know nothing of the antivaccination lunacy, then your education should start with the perpetrator of one of the greatest scientific frauds, Andy Wakefield. Some of the most dangerous outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases can be laid at the feet of Wakefield. Ms. Fournier belies any trust that she might think she should get in claiming that her organization is not antivaccine by associating with Wakefield. Of course, if she’s there to make a citizen’s arrest of Wakefield, then all will be forgiven.

I might have been mistaken that Wakefield was the worst person on that panel. Actually, the President of The Autism Trust, which is sponsoring this “Summit,” is Ryan Parmenter. Mr. Parmenter was one of the individuals behind a horrifying spectacle–a video that told the story of the brutal murder of Alex Spourdalakis, a 14 year old severely autistic child, that was documented by an antivaccination cabal called the Autism Media Channela group of apologists that insists that Mr. Andy Wakefield isn’t a fraud and liar. In fact, the video by Mr. Parmenter allowed Wakefield to exploit this child’s death for his own benefit. As if that’s not enough, the video seemed to excuse the murderers, who happened to be Alex’s mother and his caretaker, because they found it too difficult to manage Alex.

So Wakefield blamed vaccines for making Alex autistic, which means the mother and caretaker were innocent. 

I don’t want to spend time documenting the foul deeds of all of the panelists, but let’s just say that right there, in one location, you can find some of the most dangerous individuals pushing the antivaccine lies. It’s like the Wannsee Conference (sorry Godwin, but it was just too ironic). I would be horrified if my name was associated in any way with that group. Unless I was there to serve arrest warrants, that would be cool.

So, whatever infinitesimal amount of credibility and goodwill Wendy Fournier had about her claimed innocence about vaccines, is now utterly bankrupt. She is consciously associating with the gang that is not only antivaccine, but they blame murderous actions of parents on the stress caused by autism which is caused, in their small minds, by vaccines. 

Now I’m back to being a little angry at Chili’s. I’m just one guy with a good education who reads a lot. And I found out all this antivaccine nastiness in Wendy Fournier’s background. Maybe Chili’s PR staff ought to go back to business school and learn how to do due-dilegence, because you kind of suck at it. Of course, we bullied you into seeing the facts. Oh wait. I’m just one guy with a good education who reads a lot that posted a couple of things online and on your Facebook page. 

OK, I promise this is the last post I make about Chili’s. Unless they decide to contribute to Wakefield’s defense fund. Or I change my goals for this blog and start writing reviews for margaritas. Cause Chili’s makes one fine margarita.

I need to write about something else. Maybe evolution. GMO foods. The search for Sasquatch. 

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!