The Dramatis Personae of the Autism Science Drama
Please start off with the introduction section.
I have now added a section on the most important persona, namely Paul Offit.
Others will be added when circumstances allow.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Paul Offit betrays his serious aversion to honesty

The trouble with authoring a big book is that unless you are painstakingly conscientious (or unreflectingly honourable anyway), you could in any one of the thousands of sentences unwittingly betray an unworthy mentation you would prefer to keep hidden. Let's now take a look at Exhibit A, namely pages 57-59 of "Autism's False Prophets".
You can click on this weblink below, then click the "look inside" picture of the book, and then use the search box to find the word "paternalism".

You can then read pages 57-59 of his masterwork. Note halfway down page 58 where Dr Offit quotes the words of Richard Horton:
"The public is entitled to know as much as possible."

Now note how Paul Offit deals with these words. Does he express any agreement with the concept? No, not the slightest. Does he instead express any disagreement with the concept? No, not the slightest agreement or disagreement, or approval or disapproval is expressed by Dr Offit. Or does he present any argument against Horton's claim that "the public is entitled to know as much as possible"? No, not the slightest (and almost certainly because there is no defensible argument that could go there). One does have to wonder whether he could be feeling shy of saying what his actual attitude is here. But, in what looks to me like an attack of writer's panic at those Holy Words of Honesty shining embarrassingly out of his page 58, he also fails to hide his true attitude in these pages, as I will now explain.

Offit immediately follows Horton's quoted words with the word "But...". That doesn't exactly come across as a ringing endorsement. But it gets worse. That "But" is the first word in a sentence which contains two brazen falsehoods. Firstly it refers to "Wakefield's history of holding press conferences". Here Offit is misrepresenting Wakefield's one press conference on Crohn's disease into a "history of holding press conferences" in the plural. Secondly, it refers to "ignoring the warnings of an accompanying editorial". But it was the very same Lancet editor Richard Horton who commissioned and published that editorial which Offit is here blaming him for "ignoring". Not satisfied with a double falsehood in his first sentence, Offit then goes on hypocritically to declare that "The loss of public trust that followed was entirely predictable." But wouldn't a more honest accounting for loss of public trust be that so many people involved have failed to honour Horton's principle that "The public is entitled to know as much as possible"?

Offit provides the final coup-de-grace to his own credibility with the way that he avoids commenting on Horton's message but immediately sets about a vitriolic condemnation of its messenger in the several hundred words that follow it. And also precedes it with a pageful of more dis-enthusiasm against that messenger.

It is impossible for any sane person to study these pages without seeing that Offit has some major personal problem with Horton's concept that "The public is entitled to know as much as possible". Offit fails to make any direct comment on it, no approval, no agreement, no argument against it, but instead that "But" and two falsehoods immediately following on as part of an extended raging expression of utter contempt for the messenger.

So now we can only conclude that Paul Offit does not work to the principle that "The public is entitled to know as much as possible." Which raises the question of what he thinks we should not be told. And of what point there is in reading a book written by someone who prefers that we should only be told a censored account of the scientific evidence.

Via the link at the end here you can see my account of some of the extreme falsehoods deployed in Offit's book, and his book's outstandingly peculiar system for hiding which of his assertions are completely unsupported by any citations of evidence. These falsehoods are deployed in such a way as to prevent readers identifying what caused and is continuing to cause the stupendous autism catastrophe, and such as to prevent the victims from obtaining the chelation treatments they desperately need.

And yet the medical establishment and their various blogging enthusiasts proclaim Offit as the High Priest wonderful hero of autism science writing, and this as supposedly the most truly excellent book (since Mein Kampf?).

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