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Theodore Dalrymple
The Virus of Hysteria « Back to Story

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Well written review. I'm sure the cranks will be along any time now...
Hooray, the Theo Dalrymple that I can agree with. The sceptical anti-junk scientist. How about recycling that article on water fluoridation that you had published in the UK press some years ago and really upset the bedlamites?
In the case of MMR it wasn't that parents didn't want their children vaccinated it was that they wanted the choice of having them done one at a time.
AIDS in the 1980s shows what will happen when GAIA (God) make her revenge to ignorant beliefs -- there will be gnashing of teeth! AND more money spent than necessary viz GFC etc!

What is surprising is the similarity with close gardens of the APP world. Where the virulence of an attack is also denied by the anything goes mob! AND the free for all believers do not have to pay!
From Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

"Another autism case wins in vaccine court" -

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr. re-opens the vaccine-autism controversy" -

Kennedy also writes that pro-vaccine researcher Dr. Horsen has been accused of fraud:

"A central figure behind the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars...

"The discovery of Thorsen's fraud came as the result of an investigation by Aarhus University and CDC which discovered that Thorsen had falsified documents...

"Thorsen's partner Kreesten Madsen recently came under fierce criticism after damning e-mails surfaced showing Madsen in cahoots with CDC officials intent on fraudulently cherry picking facts to prove vaccine safety."

Bradford, vaccines still contain mercury, even according to the FDA. In fact, the recent H1N1 vaccine contains more mercury than allowable by law.
Whether in salt form or not, aluminum is still a neurotoxin. Two-month old babies now receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum from their vaccines — 50 times higher than safety levels! Not that there is any "safe" level to speak of.
And don't forget squalene.
Cow's pus is pretty benign compared to all this.
Iain, every vaccine does not contain mercury and aluminum. Thimerosal has been absent from schedule childhood vaccines since 2001. Some vaccines contain alum, and aluminum salt, which is not the same as elemental aluminum. Nobody is injecting cow pus directly into anybody's bloodstream. It takes a fevered imagination to believe that vaccines are used to cull the human herd. You are a loon.
"The author correctly draws attention to the similarities between the anti-vaccination movements in modern America and in Victorian England. "

Let's not forget that this problem started because of a British medical researcher's fraudulent claims about the connection between vaccines and autism.
You're on a hiding to nothing here I'm afraid. Since every vaccine contains mercury, aluminium, and a whole cocktail of contaminants, and given that the very basis of the thinking behind vaccination is unproven and absurd (pus from a cow injected into our blood? Leeches and blood-letting spring to mind), you are supporting one of the most lethal eugenics programs ever devised. I advise you to hear what people like Eustace Mullins or Russell Blaylock have to say - otherwise you are simply regurgitating the party line, and you are capable of more than that. The root word "vacca" of course refers to cows - this is a program to cull and subdue the "cattle."
The anti-vaccination scare is very similar in style, spread, and motivation to the anti-nuclear power movements.

Yes, making noise is the first priority of advocates, even before thought.
They call the Koran "inimitable" and so should Dr. Dalrymple's writings be described. Were he to argue against vaccinations, I would, without hesitation, agree with his views.
Dalrymple neglects to address the phenomenon of vaccines required, or slipped in as though required, for diseases children are unlikely to contract -- hepatitis, AIDS, etc. Who can blame parents for being skeptical of vaccines in general when specific ones seem so unnecessary?
With self-promoters like Wakefield around to dupe scientific journals into publishing their stuff, we can hardly blame the media. In fact, the media has been quite vocal of late informing lay-people that Wakefield's research was bogus.

On this one, Mr. Dalrymple, I'm with you 100%.
The media must carry a great deal of the blame by the way they publicise bad research as if it were gospel. I remember when whooping cough immunization was being blamed for cases of fits or brain damage, the papers had scare headlines which frightened the wits out of some parents, and as a result, uptake of immunization declined. There followed a sharp increase in whooping cough, and some babies died. I did not notice any headlines then such as "Irresponsible reporting to blame for infant deaths."
Dr. Dalrymple, you write "modern vaccine scares are generally not the consequence of genuine problems. They are the result of unproven scientific hypotheses given echo, and magnified and coarsened, by campaigners." In fact, they are partly the result of a genuine problem: The fact that modern doctors, especially med school professors, are terrible researchers. They are unable to solve actual problems, such as what causes autism. So autism gets worse and worse. The failure of medical researchers to solve pressing problems quite reasonably leads the general public to stop believing them.
Unfortunately, governments are sometimes in league with big business and other influential interests. It's pretty obvious, for example, that directors and executives of big banks are not treated the same way as the rest of us. (If we lose vast amounts of money, whether ours or someone else's, government rarely hastens to reimburse us from public funds). Nutrition is another sensitive area: Western governments have flocked to the banner of the "cholesterol bad, carbohydrates good" movement although (as Garry Taubes' book The Diet Delusion, also published as Good Calories, Bad Calories, has shown) the scientific evidence points, on the whole, in the opposite direction. Then there is climate change...

It is too much to expect ordinary citizens to distinguish accurately between those cases in which their governments are actually lying to them, and those cases in which they happen to be telling the truth according to their lights.

Your statement condemning Dr. Wakefield’s Lancet study is incorrect. ‘The experimental group was completely without a control group.’

Perhaps you need to be reminded (or informed) of the definition of a consecutive case series.

From US NIH National Cancer Institute

Consecutive Case Series
“A clinical study that includes all eligible patients identified by the researchers during the study registration period. The patients are treated in the order in which they are identified. This type of study usually does not have a control group.”

If you (as a doctor) get the basic definition of a scientific study wrong, I suggest anyone reading your book review should be extremely wary of the scientific validity of your conclusions.

Michael Belkin
I believe strongly in vaccination. The only caveat I have is that for an infant to have a barrage of vaccines at one time may cause problems. From my experience, I prefer that the shots be given in more individual doses.
I expect we'll see many screeds like this one from Dalrymple, trying to whitewash the crimes from bad medicine, and worse vaccines. This fact-less op-ed shows that some "diseases" are coming back, yet only in California where the influx of legal and illegal immigrants has gone up exponentially over the last 20 years, exposing Americans to people whose health is suspect, and no vaccinations. Worse, Dalrymple tries to shame Dr Wakefield, when in fact he has been shown to be absolutely right, and the Lancet and all the other apologists for criminal vaccinations to be the liars, because the only link to the huge spike in autism coincides with the increase in vaccinations and most with deadly toxins built into them. just like the exposal of the mythical global warming. And that cervical cancer vaccine turned out to be not just false, but deadly also. This is especially so when giving it to young teenage girls, when parents learned that vaccine is only good if the recipient is having sex. I have read many enlightening stories from Mr Dalrymple, but this polemic is shameless attempt to whitewash an industry that many doctors working in the vaccine and pharmacy industries have admitted that there are serious problems with the drugs, and new court cases continue to show the miserable failures of the materials not just vaccines but drugs overall. What a Shame! Another whitewash of a greedy industry !!
Sir, I have always admired your erudition and knowledge, but this time your position is very disappointing. Paul Offit is a callous hypocrite with serious conflicts of interest. Wouldn't trust him further than I could see him. Wakefield by contrast, is a gentleman (I've met him) and no fraud, guilty, in my humble opinion, only of some minor bumbling errors of misjudgment. His only crime, that of daring to question the current medical orthodoxy on vaccinations. His book, "Callous Disregard", has been banned in the UK, for one reason contains the truth. As the Economist famously wrote upon the death of John Mortimer, "Every true-born Englishman knows the law is an ass." I think you should read Wakefield's book and you would learn a lot about the corruption and collusion by Big Pharma of Her Majesty's Government. As for the so-called anti-vaccine hysteria in the US, there exists ample evidence that something is very rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark. Children are our canaries, and we are in for another "Silent Spring" if we do not address the legitimate safety concerns of a diverse and intelligent cadre of parents. If you would be so kind as to read "Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Health, and our Children," published on Feb. 28th 2011 and available already on, you will learn that there is ANOTHER side to this story. This is a serious controversy that will not go away no matter how much the media, government and drug companies try to ridicule and silence the concerned voices of these many earnest and brave people. Sir, with all due respect, you are guilty of being a little too glib on this issue.
In Canada and the U.S.A. in the 1920's and on into the 1940's the cult of the Jehovah's Witnesses were calling vaccination "the most barbarous practice.." and called upon American citizens to "forever abolish the devilish practice of vaccinations" and accused "Boards of Health endeavour to start an epidemic of smallpox, diphtheria or typhoid that they may reap a golden harvest by inoculating an unthinking community for the very purpose of disposing of this manufactured filth". Parents changed their childrens' schools to avoid what they were convinced was a spiritual and physical threat and obtained forged vaccination certificates to protect the children. I had two cousins who contracted polio as children in the 1940's because their father was a devout Jehovah's Witness.

Then in 1952 vaccination was allowed. I have wondered often how these parents were able to reconcile themselves to what they had (probably unwittingly) done to their own children and the others that their children infected. I don't imagine that C. J. Woodworth gave it much thought.

The quotations are from Consolation 1937 and Awake 1946.
Insightful, and learned as usual, but I doubt that Mr Dalrymple would adopt an "all or nothing" approach to vaccination. The terrible diseases of his childhood are worth vaccinating for, even though there are risks. Ebola virus needs a vaccine. Whooping Cough is again causing misery in Australia too. But let's not be bullied and duped into accepting every vaccination, that comes along, just because some people think it a good idea. The case for gardisal is a case in point. I am not yet convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks, and feel a little suspicious of all the politics and the ideology of sexual libertarianism wafting around its roll-out. A good science education and informed consent would help us approach vaccination rationally.
"It is as if they had lost all historical memory and could not imagine that things were ever any different."

This is the core of the problem. This is one of the major failings of our educational system, from schools to parents. The idea that children can complete their secondary education without the knowledge of the horrors faced by previous generations is a crime against civilization.
Is Dalrymple incapable of writing a poor article on ANYTHING? Congrats.
Well said T.