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Friday, April 24, 2009

Jim Carrey Talks Out of His Ass

Yeah, remember this scene?

It's being reenacted over at the Huffpo, only not as intelligently. 

Jim Carry decided to weigh in on the whole vaccine issue, since he's such a huge expert. Now, I've heard from other parents who are confused as to why I call this anti-vaccine, so I'll explain. Jim Carry's technique is what's known as concern trolling.  

He pretends to be on the side of vaccines with concerns, but the intent is really to get people to stop using vaccines. Some of his concerns are hyperbole. Some of them are outright fabrications.  No matter how many times he and Jenny McCarthy and their ilk say they're "not anti-vaccine," it's a lie. Repeating the phrase doesn't make it true.  

Apparently back in February, CNN commentator Campbell Brown said:

"As a mother, with a second child on the way, I believe this is vital to the safety of our children and must be said. The verdict is in. There is no connection between vaccines and autism. And it is time that all of us get our children vaccinated."

Seems a reasonable enough statement to me. But what do I know, I'm just a highly educated mother. It's not like I'm some famous Canadian actor or something.  

Carry's take on it:

But with all due respect to Ms. Brown, a ruling against causation in three cases out of more than 5000 hardly proves that other children won't be adversely affected by the MMR, let alone that all vaccines are safe. This is a huge leap of logic by anyone's standards. Not everyone gets cancer from smoking, but cigarettes do cause cancer. After 100 years and many rulings in favor of the tobacco companies, we finally figured that out.

Firstly, calling the Omnibus decision a "ruling against causation in three cases out of more than 5000" is disingenuous. What actually happened is that the lawyers representing all those claims found their three best cases, their three most clear-cut slam-dunk cases to represent the three most popular theories on how vaccines could cause autism. The three theories were:  thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism, the MMR vaccine causes autism, or that the MMR vaccine causes GI problems (ie Wakefield's leaky gut theory.)

Not only did they present their three best cases, they didn't have nearly as much of a burden of proof as they would to scientifically prove MMR causes autism. They only had to show "50% plus a feather," meaning it was possible that the MMR could cause autism in the way they outlined, not that it was probable, not that it was the best theory around. They failed. The courts ruled that none of the three theories were at all plausible, and in fact “The evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners’ contentions.”

So, Mr Carry, put a fork in it. It's done. Campbell Brown is right. 

But no, he goes on to claim that "no one without a vested interest in the profitability of vaccines has studied all 36 of them in depth." That's  a cruel thing to say to researchers who work to try and save the lives of children. If profit were the only motive, we'd have fewer vaccines. Medicines to try and treat infections are far more profitable.
Anyway, he goes on to smear anyone who works for the CDC and the AAP along with anyone who ever took research money from a pharmaceutical company.  And, of course Dr Paul Offit, because he once worked on a Rotavirus vaccine, which means he's tainted for life and unable to articulate any opinion on vaccine safety. 

Not only did I forget to wear my tinfoil hat, which I think is a requirement to truly understand this vast government conspiracy to vaccine injure children, but it overlooks the obvious and clear profit motives of vaccine opponents. Seriously. Wakefield anyone?  Geier?  
Carry also moves the goal posts and throws ADHD into the mix with autism as something that vaccines supposedly cause. That's handy, because if you add enough conditions in there, you'll eventually find a few that haven't had vast amounts of research done showing there's no connection to vaccines. 

Carry keeps up with the "too many too soon" argument, confusing children with dogs and some condition they supposedly get, claiming that since the US gives children more vaccines we must somehow be injuring them. (Except that we don't have a higher rate of autism than countries that vaccinate less often.)  Too many too soon is still an anti-vaccine argument, especially when you don't define which are too many and how often is too soon. The net effect is that parents will vaccinate less "until we know the answers,"  and we'll lose herd immunity on all vaccines. 

Then he tries for the "vaccines are full of poison" argument. He contends that vaccines are full of "aluminum, mercury, ether, formaldehyde and anti-freeze." Ugh. 

Ok, ethyl mercury has been removed from all vaccines except for the flu shot and trace amounts from manufacturing.  Aluminum? I really don't get tired of this one. Hello, you get exposed to so much more aluminum just from eating food. Opponents argue that "yeah, but you don't inject it into your body!" The aluminum in breast milk goes straight into a baby's blood stream from their natural open gut system. Formaldehyde is in our bodies, too. It's in the food we eat. It's everywhere. 

Ok, and ether and antifreeze? Please! There is not antifreeze and ether in vaccines. This part is straight Ace Ventura ass talking. 

For the love of  children, Mr Carry, please go back to making movies. You really are miscast when you try to play Dr Carry, Concern Troll.  Orac is so right when he calls him Fire Marshal Bill. You should his post on this, btw. It's brilliant. 

Fixating on vaccines as cause harms our children. It takes away from real research and it encourages parents to not vaccinate, which increases the risk that all of us will be exposed to vaccine preventable illness. 


  1. I second Casdok, excellent rebuttal of Carrey. I wish HuffPost would give some of us equal space to post. :-) Well, we'll both have to keep up the good fight in the comments area, huh?

  2. extremely well written!! If only people would look past the media attention/celebrity hype etc....If only people would just talk to their doctors. If only people would THINK for themselves instead of being led by the nose by the idiots that run Genrescue and people like Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy...If only....

  3. Talk to their doctors? Perish the thought. In this culture we're all better experts than mere doctors! Why, we've got our University of Google degree to give us all those scary links.