Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why [Insert Cause here] shouldn't be on the IACC

From the dueling lists department comes two different takes on why rival organizations should not be on allowed to be represented on the IACC.

In the right corner from Left-Brain Right-Brain is Sullivan weighing in with 6 reasons that Generation Rescue should not be included on the IACC.

In the left corner is Jonathan Mitchell from Autism's Gadly weighing in with 5 reasons that neurodiversity should not be heard by the IACC.

So, who has the better list? Lets put it to the judges and find out. Each valid argument will be awarded up to 1 point, each bogus one will be awarded no points.

Starting with the right corner -
  1. Generation Rescue’s position is already represented on the IACC.

    That isn't really the point of representation, is it? It you look at the roster for the IACC you will see that several government agencies not only have their position duplicated by other agencies but they also have multiple seats themselves

    Zero points

  2. Just because there are multiple organizations, doesn’t mean that the IACC has to include them all.

    Yeah, uhm, isn't this the same as the first reason?

    Zero points

  3. This would lead to even more wasted time.

    I have to agree that the more members on a committee the longer it takes for anything to get done. But at the same time the point of the committee is to represent the various confliciting interests.

    Half point

  4. Generation Rescue has clearly demonstrated itself to be anti-science.

    This statement is just plain silly - Generation Rescue is very much a science based organization. Just because you disagree with with their position doesn't mean that they are anti-science.

    Zero points

  5. They don’t want their voice heard, they want to be able to outvote the scientists.

    If they want to outvote the "scientists" doesn't that mean their opinion runs contrary to what these "scientists" believe. And if that is the case wouldn't that mean that a vote against them would be making their voice heard?

    Zero points

  6. They are rude.

    If we excluded everyone who could be rude then there wouldn't be anyone left talking.

    Zero points
Moving on to the left corner -
  1. The combating autism act which the IACC grew out of was passed to prevent and cure autism.

    This is true but that doesn't mean that the entire purpose of the organization should be to cure autism.

    Half point

  2. They already have representation on the IACC.

    They do have Stephen Shore and Alison Tepper Singer who for some reason felt that she was entitled to keep the seat from Autism Speaks when she resigned. And the new Autism Science Foundation does appear to be climbing into bed with the ND folks.

    One point

  3. Foreign non American taxpaying ND's are encouraged by the autism hub to write about the IACC.

    While this is true in general the author of this list (Sullivan) is a US resident so he is allowed to have an opinion, even if it expressed on a UK site.

    Half point

  4. They are anti-science in terms of promoting science that will cure and prevent autism.

    This is a good point - the ND movement is against finding a cure for autism and in some cases against looking at the genetics of autism. If you take these two items away there isn't a whole lot that the IACC can focus on.

    One point

  5. They are rude.

    See above - Zero points
The final score is 0.5 to 3.0 - the winner of the better list contest is Autism's Gadfly.

Tune in next time when we compare the ND's "Top 5 stims and how they make me a better person" to the Age of Autism's "Top 10 places that the doctor can shove their vaccine", it should be a doozy.


  1. Ummm, MJ, GR ARE anti-science. The guide is the fact that they believe in an unproven statement and seek to undermine science in the process of their fight to blame thiomersal/thimerosal on Autism. Ignoring the evidence against such an idea is anti science. You'll find that is the core of Sullivan's argument and it's right.

    As for the claim that only Americans should be communicating with the IACC - that's completely wrong. The IACC (if they are to do their job properly) should be taking input from all countries and not just their own. Isn't America wanting to be a world leader on everything? They won't achieve that without input from the UK and indeed Australia. Being xenophobic about it (as Mitchell is doing) does not help anyone - on either side of the fence.

    Point that I noticed - it seems that Mitchell is actually mimicking the LB/RB post. I didn't realise that until I say this reflection. Thanks for that.

  2. Phil, I think you misunderstand Generation Rescue's position. They are not "ignoring the evidence" but rather they disagree with the conclusions that are being drawn from the data.

    That is how the scientific process is supposed to work - you are allowed and even encouraged to question the interpretation of the data as well as any conclusion. Doing so does not make you anti-science.

    As for residents of other countries contributing to the IACC - I have to agree with Jonathan on this point. This has nothing to do with xenophobia and and everything to do with who is paying the bill. The money that is being spent here is being provided by the US taxpayers so we are the ones who should determine how the funds are spent.

    The bottom line for me here is that if other people want a say in how the research dollars should be spent then they should be directly contributing to money that is going to be spent.

    In this case though, as I said above, I believe that Sullivan is a US citizen so he would have the right to comment.