Friday, 1 April 2011

John "Cock" Stone again tries to spin the facts...

Anti-vaccine wingnut John Stone

…in the manner of a clown with some cheap plates from QD Stores, but, as ever, ends up with them crashing around his feet in the manner of an incompetent buffoon. How apt.

He's moaning about Brian Deer again, and how his word has been taken as "the truth", whereas, as he sees it, Mr Deer has conducted a;

seven year campaign against Andrew Wakefield

Yes, Stone, that's called "investigative journalism". Unlike you, who simply writes down any conspiracy theory you can come up while you eat your rusks (or whatever other soft foods you're still allowed) at breakfast.

With no sense of irony, Stone accuses Deer of an

ignorance of basic medical protocol

Which is a bit rich coming from a man who still thinks it's OK to take blood from kids at a jelly and ice-cream party in the name of research.

Anyway, the spark that's ignited his ire this time is a programme on Radio 4 entitled "Science Betrayed", which examines Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent and fucking evil scaremongering. (My synopsis - the official version is: "Dr Adam Rutherford investigates the case of medical misconduct that led to the MMR scare." - much the same thing.)

Stone goes on to accuse the BBC of leaving out all his imagined conflicts of interest, castigating the presenter for not being a medical doctor (maybe not but he's an editor at Nature, has a degree in evolutionary biology and a PhD concentrating on the genetics of the eye. For balance, Mr Stone is an self-proclaimed expert on Mozart), complaining that Mr deer wasn't challenged about any of the points raised (why should he be? - Wakefield has been found fucking guilty, and admitted most of the charges), and then starts bleating on about red baby books - which (apparently) Mr Deer (nor Stone) has seen, and so might exonerate Wakefield.

Before I rip Stone a second arsehole by pointing out all the scientific and legal facts presented in the programme, not one of which he addresses, can I suggest this; If the data in the baby books might show that Wakefield didn't make up the timelines for autism in the kids in his study, and the parents of the kids concerned are so grateful to their beloved Saint Andy, then why the fuck don't they just give him the books, he can show he was right all along, and can sue Brian Deer's arse off for libel and defamation of character? Just a thought.

Anyway, that's just an aside. Let's have a listen to the programme, and pull out some choice lines that for some reason Stone doesn't try to refute:

found guilty of… four counts of dishonesty

Does Stone refute that? No.

… about a dozen counts of causing vulnerable young children to undergo invasive, risky procedures that were not warrented…

Hmmm. No refution of that.

then he was found guilty of buying blood from children at a birthday party

Nnnnope. Still no denial.

…ordering tests when he didn't have the proper medical qualifications

Nope. Still nothing from Stone.

All pretty damning stuff. The recording's only a minute in!!! Four serious medical misconduct charges in a minute, yet Stone conveniently ignores them. Still, let's go on.

A couple of minutes in, Wakefield expresses surprise at the findings, as, apparently do his legal team. I notice they've not overturned any of the findings yet. Still… maybe we'll find out why.

Anyway - now, onto Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ, and one of Stone's personal demons at the moment. After all, he's accused her of every kind of conflict of interest under the sun, without once refuting any of the actual points raised by the BMJ. She rightly points out that the GMC panel wasn't set up to, and didn't have a remit to investigate fraudulent behaviour - merely medical misconduct. (As if that wasn't enough to have Wakefield metaphorically strung up).

Dr Rutherford then goes through the history of the Lancet paper, with a description of the findings, and mentioning Wakefield's infamous press conference, and the disclaimer ("no association proved") in the paper. It's pointed out that Wakefield still clings to this disclaimer as an "I didn't do it guv" get out clause - despite his advice to avoid the MMR jab at the press conference.

Let's go back to Stone's piece for a moment - has a denied the truth of any of this so far? No.

OK - about 7 minutes in comes the revelation about the legal aid money, Wakefield being a "hired gun" to find a link, the letter from Wakefield and Barr stating the link between MMR and disintegrative disorder, which was written two weeks before any children were selected for the study.

No - still no refutation from Stone.

Wakefield then flannels around about his massive conflicts of interest (which Stone ignores) while he's confronted with statements he and Richard Barr have made which clearly indicate that he was actively seeking a link between MMR and autism.

Given conflicts of interest are Stone's forté - you'd expect him to pick up on this. But he constantly ignores it, in favour of vague "GlaxoSmithCline advertise in the BMJ and so the BMJ can't be trusted" statements.

Anyway - enough of financial irregularities - what's next for Stone to ignore? Oh yes. Making results up.

"The pathologists original reports indicated no serious gut inflammation in any of the twelve children, contrary to the central point of the Lancet paper."

Surely Stone can claim that this isn't true? Oh. No, he can't. Presumably because it is.

Autistic symptoms didn't match up to MMR timings - Wakefield claims that he didn't see GP records, only the Red Books. In the paper, Wakefield states that he'd checked developmental records from parents, health visitors and GPs.

Now, Stone starts to bluster;

While referrals are generally made with accompanying communications between GP and consultant it is not normal practice for GPs to forward all the patient’s notes.

Do you not see, Stone? Wakefield, in the paper says he checked developmental records from GPs. Whether passing on full notes is normal practice or not, he specifically stated that he'd checked developmental records from GPs. Do I need to say that again? He specifically stated that he'd checked developmental records from GPs.

Brian Deer then makes some interesting points about red books. These are a record of a child's general health, and a record of vaccinations, height and weight, any hospital visits etc. My daughter's got one. Health visitors and doctors do not, as Mr Deer points out, write in diagnoses of behavioural problems as a matter of routine. Reliance on red books for a study of this importance is so incompetent as to be laughable - yet this is what Wakefield is now claiming.

Stone writes;

The developmental records, Personal Child Health Record or Red Books, are routinely brought by the parents of young children to medical appointments of every kind and contain much essential information.

Yes, you cock, but that's a bit disingenuous, isn't it? They are routinely taken to any kind of doctor's appointment, but doctors don't routinely write detailed diagnoses in them.

Now the programme goes on to describe how UCL offered to fund a massive project to replicate the work done in the study - but Wakefield wasn't prepared to take part in that study. This claim is made by Professor Mark Pepys, who Stone claims has conflicts of interest, being part funded by GSK. Ok Stone, if that's the case, and Professor Pepys never made that offer to Dr Wakefield, why doesn't he fucking sue? It's a pretty damning claim, isn't it? Or could it be that Professor Pepys, as a reputable scientist, has paperwork showing it to be true? I know where my money is - and it's not on the three legged donkey lining up in the 3.15 at Newton Abbot that you seem to be wagering everything on.

Stone, like the donkey, is short of legs to stand on. What a cock.