I knew it couldn’t last. No matter how hard I tried to disguise myself, someone would eventually discover that I’m part of the ‘Mercury Militia’. I tried all kinds of subterfuge to remain hidden, but alas, to no avail. A cunning sleuth has discovered my deception and 'outed' me.
(That was sarcasm, BTW)
The first comment on Prometheus’s post What You Want is What You Get was by Bazooka Joe (sorry, no link), who linked me and my blog to the ‘Mercury Militia’, and inferred a couple of other points. The comment has now been deleted from Prometheus’s blog, as has my reply below:
Since you permitted Bazooka Joe’s comment, I hope that you will allow me the courtesy of a reply.
"They [linked to Generation Rescue et al, with the clear implication that ‘they’ refers to the ‘Mercury Militia’] have started blogs; here's a list:
Ian's blog, ashadeofgrey, has focused on reprinting Manny Cassanova's minicolumn research, including grant proposals and unpublished data.
So you see, it's no wonder that people like Kirby use the term, blogger, with derision. Effective blogging is not what the mercury militia do well."
The implication is that I am part of the mercury militia? Um, Bazooka Joe, can you show me any evidence where I’ve stated that mercury and/or thimerosal and/or vaccines cause autism? For the record, I’m Ian Parker, not the ‘Ian’ who sometimes comments on Kev’s blog (and maybe elsewhere), if that helps refine the search.
Regarding ‘reprinting’ Dr Casanova’s research, if you read his research you’ll find that I’ve added interpretations that go beyond what he has written, after first explaining his hypotheses from a body of work regarding minicolumns covering the period from 2002 to 2006. As for referencing the grant proposal (it sounds like you consider this pejorative), why not? I’d suggest that Dr Casanova’s reputation is as much on the line in his proposal (which has been widely distributed) as it is in his peer-reviewed published work. Besides, it included some cool illustrations.
As for ‘unpublished data’ (two papers), I know of other researchers (as in other than Dr C) who have also reviewed the same information, and the latter paper will be published shortly. FWIW, Dr Casanova forwarded me the papers because we correspond, and he knows of my high level of interest in such matters. I asked permission before I used them in my posts. The first paper is a hypothesis work, and fully referenced. The latter is now in review. The fact that some of this paper’s findings are now in circulation linked to his name (sans refutation) conveys a certain level of trust. When the paper is published, you are free to read it and compare it to my post to see how much original thought and interpretation, if any, that I have added.
I also write about subjects other than the three minicolumn posts, including some posts about ToM, autism and evolution (I waited for Prometheus to write this one, but…), and a variety of other subjects, including my daughter. If you’re interested (I somehow doubt it – if you were I doubt that I would be writing this) you can find them under ‘Blog Archive’ by clicking on the little triangular buttons on the right of the window and then following the links.
Regarding "Effective blogging is not what the mercury militia do well", while temporarily suspending disbelief that I’m part of the mercury militia, I’ll leave it to the people who read my blog to determine that. If they don’t like it then presumably they won’t come back.
As a final thought, I find it interesting that ‘we members of the mercury militia’ are often accused of ignoring peer-reviewed science, and yet my posting about peer-reviewed research is being used to indict me?
María Luján and Wade Rankin, were also mentioned - among others - in Bazooka Joe’s comment, and both tried to reply. Eventually Prometheus deleted both of our comments and added his own thoughts as follows:
I think you and Ian Parker should take your discussion off this blog, since it seems to be related to your personal differences of opinion. You're both welcome to post comments here, but only if you stay a bit closer to the subject."
I realize now that approving Bazooka Joe's comment was a mistake, which is why I allowed Ian Parker to have a go. I do not intend to allow every aggrieved party a chance to vent their spleen at Bazooka Joe (or to allow him to reply to all of them in turn).
I have removed both Bazooka Joe's original comment and Ian Parker's reply. I suggest that anyone who feels a need for "satisfaction" find a more suitable venue (how about http://www.mudwrestling.blogspot.com ?)."
So, based on Prometheus’s comment, apparently Bazooka Joe seems to feel that this is unresolved. Meanwhile, I am curious as to why I was included in this ‘drive-by shooting’? I’ll leave aside the 'reprint' reference to my three of 23 posts that discuss the work of Dr Casanova, as I think I answered that sufficiently above, at least until someone takes another shot. As for the quality of my blog, as bad and/or ineffective as it is, if you're reading this then I've sucked you in one more time. And I'll resist the temptation to go pejorative and make comments about 'reading comprehension'.
Anyway, I’m presuming that being a member of the ‘Mercury Militia’ requires something more of me than walking upright and drawing breath (I do both, BTW). My assumption is that the term ‘Mercury Militia’ refers to those who believe that ‘thimerosal’ or ‘mercury’ injected during vaccinations has ‘caused’ their child’s autism. This definition could probably be extended to include the MMR causation hypothesis as well. I would suggest that a further qualification would be that one would not only believe the above but also be relatively active and adamant in discussing the matter, but for now let's take the more relaxed definition. If anyone wants to propose another definition, feel free.
I did a quick search on my blog, looking for some key words. I mention ‘mercury’ (excluding NotMercury, the blogger) in four posts. In the Respect Meme I indicated the following:
"A related issue is that some ‘wrap themselves in the flag’. On one side, some autistics view a disagreement with their ideas as a challenge or an attack on all of those who are autistic. "If you disagree with me then you don’t respect autistics". The mirror image on the 'all autism=mercury poisoning' side is "If you don’t agree with me then you are abusing children". Er, no, on both counts."
"Respect is very relevant to the autism discussion. I would suggest that from the point of view of the neurodiversity community, respect – and the perception (and in a lot of cases the reality) of the absence of respect - is one of the driving reasons behind their participation in the debate. I would suggest that the ‘autism = mercury’ parents also see the debate – in their case with the government and with many in the scientific community – as a respect issue, and also lack respect for the ND point of view as well as for many of its proponents. And for the majority of parents and caregivers, the respect issue revolves around government and support agencies not providing the amount of care and support that is required to improve the quality of life and accommodation of those touched by autism (i.e. not respecting what they see as the conditions required to respect the right to proper and adequate support)."
In Moderate Does Not Mean Neutral, I wrote:
"Having said that, I also oppose poorly conducted science, which I believe does not serve anyone well. Exploring a reasonable hypothesis that does not have mainstream support is not poor science. Exploring hypotheses without using the scientific method and without having the goal of arriving at replicable results that can withstand peer review is poor science. Some on the treatment side have conducted poor science, and I believe that the result has been an overstatement of results and a damaging loss of credibility that may slow the ultimate search for answers. I also think that the ‘all autism = mercury’ approach has hampered other research that may find other causes, and I disagree with those that take this one-size-fits-all approach to autism research."
(You may want to pay particular attention to that last sentence.)
"We do not chelate our child, and to be honest, the process scares me. For the record, my daughter has some potential heavy metal issues (not mercury) that showed up on a mainstream test (discovered by accident – we were testing for essential minerals and ticked the toxic panel as an afterthought). Our approach has been to monitor this and try to naturally rebuild the Bear's detox system rather than use chelation. But I do not oppose others using chelation as long as they have clearly dealt with other bio-medical issues first, have tested their child and found the presence of heavy metals, and are careful to conduct chelation under qualified and experienced supervision and with regular testing/monitoring performed by reputable labs to ensure that no harm is being done."
(I think this is one of only two spots where I mention chelation, BTW)
"There is a history of extremes targeting moderates to turn situations into a clear black vs. white, ‘us’ vs. ’them’ issues, eliminating any room for diversity of viewpoints or compromise. It is easy to caricature or ridicule an extremist opponent (e.g. ‘all autism = mercury’ is downright silly), but it is harder to ridicule a moderate interventionist approach backed by replicable medical tests and following a moderate educational approach based on what many would consider common sense."
In Demeaning Words I wrote:
"Second, it is not intended as a personal attack on JB Handley or his objectives. One may agree or disagree with his views (I personally do not agree with his view - if I perceive it correctly - that all autism is the result of mercury poisoning), but that is not the subject of this post."
And finally, in Autism – It’s Not Always A Natural Variation, I wrote:
"This logic does not support the conclusion that no autism is purely genetic (75% could still theoretically be purely genetic - or more if the 60% concordance rate is too low). In fact, it supports the conclusion that autism in a significant number of cases involves at a minimum a degree of genetic susceptibility. It does not prove or disprove that the 'second hit' is thimerosal or mercury. It does not argue for or against chelation. It does not suggest that autism originates either in the womb or after birth. It does not suggest or refute the possibility that autism is curable, or that a cure is or is not desirable."
This paragraph also contains my only reference to thimerosal.
Finally, I use vaccines once:
"But I also see a discussion that is increasingly polarizing, in which accepting that others have different views is giving way to an advocacy that rejects other viewpoints as unenlightened, wrong, or not yet at their level of "awakening". This used to be a hallmark of the more activist element within the anti-vaccine crowd, but is also becoming increasingly apparent in the "autism is natural variation" crowd too. It is one thing to oppose some of the more contentious attempts to cure autism, e.g. chelation, or lupron (which IMHO is just nuts), or to reject the concept of treatment for oneself. But as this challenge to the more contentious bio-med practices is morphing into a more direct challenge against even mainstream accepted methods of investigating and potentially treating autism, I think it is time for more moderates to join the debate."
(The other spot where 'chelation' is mentioned)
So, based on the above, what exactly is it again that marks me as being part of the Mercury Militia?