Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hostility in the autism world and Brian Deer's foot-in-mouth problem

One of the facts of the world of autism that is missed by people who don't follow the daily debates is how much hostility exists. Take this recent post on Left Brain Right Brain, a popular site for all thing neurodiverse. There are over 280 comments on this thread. If you read the comments you are treated to a "rational" discussion with comments like these:

"Rant on kiddies"

"I don’t think Doherty’s spending much time doing any serious thinking"

Now I think he’s a crap human being.

"Jesus you people are stupid."

"And, as for your behaviour of capitalising my ‘Distinction’ grade, are you really that f**king jealous that I did so obviously better in my studies that you seem to have done? Very childish, Harold. You really are being very childish."

The irony of that last one is almost off the charts.

But my favorite one is by one Brian Deer. This would be the journalist that wrote the recent articles accusing Dr Wakefield of altering the the data in his study. Given the number of comments under this name I am guessing that he is the real deal, otherwise the owner of the site would have deleted the comments.

Mr Deer wrote the following in reply to a comment by someone questioning his recent stories and role in the Wakefield case before the GMC:

And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.

When called on his comment he responded with the following:

Well, actually Joseph, I didn’t intend that observation as an insult. I made it as a shorthand way of raising an issue that I believe may reasonably be raised.

I genuinely think that the three individuals I was criticising – and I know who all three of them are – do need to question whether their personal behavioural issues are indicative of a better explanation for their children’s issues. Certainly a lot better explanation than MMR.

The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.

I think that comment tells you all you need to know about his character.

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