Skeptical Raptor's Blog hunting pseudoscience in the internet jungle

Vaccine deniers think the murder of Alex Spourdalakis is acceptable

Alex-spourdalakisI do not want to be that guy that invents a conspiracy, because I am not that guy. But as the tin-foil hat crowd are known to proclaim, “just connect the dots.” Well, I will reluctantly follow their advice and connect the dots. And it’s going to be hard to not feel nauseous as we do follow those mysterious dots.

Sharyl Attkisson, a 15 year veteran news reporter for CBS, has been a shill for the antivaccine groups who think that vaccines cause autism (for which there isn’t one femtogram of evidence). She has penned a report that linked vaccines to autism because of DNA transfer from the vaccines to human cells, exhibiting all of the disreputable “false balance” type of reporting that seems to be commonplace in scientific journalism (and she is not even close to being scientific). 

In that article, she claimed that human DNA in vaccines may incorporate themselves into human genes, express themselves, causing autism. This was based on research published by Helen Ratajczak in a low impact factor journal (63rd out of 85 journals in the field). Wow.

Dr. Ratajczak and her sycophant, Attkisson, seem to have no clue how hard it is to incorporate foreign DNA into the human genome. And they seemed to believe, with no evidence whatsoever, that the same exact DNA sequence exists is in all vaccines, and it somehow all incorporates that DNA sequence over and over through all of human cells. If it were this easy, gene therapy would be the hottest disease-fighting tool on the planet, because just get some healthy DNA, inject it into someone who has Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, voila, we’re done. Doctors and Big Pharma could sit in their big chairs, light up cigars, and celebrate how easy it is. Apparently, some other researchers thought this was bad science. 

My sarcasm aside, it isn’t happening. Even viruses which propagate by hijacking the host DNA, do not infect every cell, but just a tiny percentage of your cells. And viruses have evolved over 4 billion years to do that. A shot that may or may not contain a few strands of human DNA certainly isn’t going to create mass havoc to the the DNA of the patient. Not even close. I guess that Attkisson believes in the special magic DNA that’s been placed into vaccines by the corrupt Big Pharma stooges.

So, you see, this is what Ms. Attkisson is pushing–bad science, false balance. And, to be honest, she is a proponent of the the “Vaccines cause Autism” movement. She is a fan of MrAndy Wakefield, whose fraudulent paper, alleging a connection between MMR and autism, was retracted by the Lancet, the journal that originally published it. Oh, and most of his co-authors recanted their authorship once it was clear that Wakefield committed this fraud. Attkisson is a repulsive and enthusiastic advocate of the antivaccine movement. And it appears that she’s in bed with the Age of Autism, a group that is obsessed with vaccination (and the discredited and debunked link between vaccines and autism), while rarely showing any real concern for autistic children. 

And those are the dots that connect to a report by Attkisson on CBS This Morning, an American morning news show. The story is about the brutal murder of Alex Spourdalakis, a 14 year old severely autistic child, that was documented by an antivaccination cabal called  Autism Media Channel, a group of apologists that insists that Mr. Andy Wakefield isn’t a fraud and liar.

I would rarely talk about a murder of a child on this blog, except this is an awful case, where the the dots connect from the vaccine deniers directly to an chilling justification of the murder of a child. The story, difficult to watch, is part of a documentary about Alex, who seems to be having emotional issues that are claimed to be caused by gastrointestinal issues (cue Wakefield). There was no evidence that gastrointestinal issues caused the behavior issues. It could just be a symptom of ASD.

Horribly, the documentary shows Alex being restrained, though if a child is removing IV catheters or becoming a danger to himself or to hospital staff, it may be acceptable under nearly any hospital’s rules. Protecting the patient and staff is their duty, and yes, restraints are necessary. Lacking any other information, it’s hard to know the truth, but it certainly adds to the drama and manipulation to make you feel sympathy towards the murderers.

Eventually, as a result of claimed pressure from trying to deal with Alex, his mother and his caretaker killed Alex, and they then attempted suicide. Apparently, Alex’s mother is excellent at murdering innocent children but pathetic at killing her own worthless self (yeah, I’m indignant).

The story is maddening, because the news story seems to justify the killing of a child (read that again, an innocent child), because he was autistic. Or difficult to handle. Or the mother was obsessed with the Andy Wakefield’s gastrointestinal disorders cause autism myth. The way Attkisson presents the story seems to indicate that “oh poor mother, it’s so hard to handle your child with autism spectrum disorder, so we understand why you had to do it.” Except, there are thousands of children born with severe autism spectrum disorder every year, the vast majority of whom are not murdered by their parents. It isn’t OK to murder a child no matter what your whiny excuse you or your antivaccine apologists claims to exist.

Murder of children is simply immoral, and no matter how the antivaccination stooges, like Sharyl Attkisson and her benefactors at Autism Media Channel, try to make this sound like it’s “OK”, they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Andy Wakefield, the narcissist that he is, used poor Alex’s condition to appeal for money

This group, fronted by Attkisson’s despicable false balance reporting, insists that vaccines cause autism, instead of discussing how we can treat it with real scientific medicine. This group even pushes the dangerous Miracle Medical Supplement, a bleach-based enema that antivaccine nuts think will cure autism (and frankly dozens of diseases). Like diabetes, or paralysis for polio, autism isn’t curable. But it’s manageable without resorting to the murder of a child.

The vaccine denialists excuse all kinds of stomach-churning behavior. One group thinks that parents who are accused of shaking their babies to death are innocent because the child’s death is actually caused by a vaccine injury. Exactly on what planet are children with broken bones, bruised organs, and snapped necks are caused by a vaccine? Please, I’d like to see the peer-reviewed evidence that shows that those type of injuries are caused by vaccines. 

I have stated, partially in jest, that a significant portion of the antivaccine movement are, by definition, child abusing felons. It’s bad enough that they want their children to become ill, or die, because of vaccine preventable diseases. But it becomes horrifically immoral when they excuse murders, whether from a delusional belief that vaccines break bones, or that it is too difficult to raise an autistic children.

The immorality of these people, including a reporter from CBS, is beyond my ability to tolerate. I am physically ill reading these stories how the vaccine deniers excuse murder and abuse of children. 

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