Ginger Taylor holds a master's degree in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University that Dr. Gorski thinks she should not mention so much. She is an autism mom with a really messy house because she believed that those pretending to serve man kind actually were and spent way too much time trying to get them to look at evidence that a generation of children are being severely injured by over vaccination and pollution. She blogs at Adventures in Autism, where she will be absent for a bit in order to clean up her life after all the time and energy she has wasted on posers who don't give a shit about sick children. Her current projects include praying to God to take away her bitterness and anger, and playing Farm Town with her sons where her blueberries are at 23%.
Her article on the AoA site is what can be summed up as a general complaint at the lack of concern and appropriate response to a letter she wrote to several professionals. She has posted the exchange on her blog HERE. She has mentioned responses to this exchange by people who weren't originally addressed in the original letter. Well, to that, I'll have to remind her that when something is posted onto the internet, it becomes part of the public domain, of a sorts. Yes, one can claim copyright laws, but once published publicly, everyone can see it and everyone is allowed to comment.
And so, this individual, who happens to be autistic, will comment and examine Mrs. Taylor's words.
Okay, first we have the usual story: child gets vaccines as per doctor's orders, child is diagnosed with autism, mother believes the vaccines caused her child's autism and feels betrayed by science-based medicine.
May I point out that Mrs. Taylor has a Master's in Clinical Psychology? This means that not only has she gone through the undergraduate program, but she has also gone through the graduate program. The next level in post-secondary education is doctorate, however, that is for people aiming for certain jobs, research and interests. An undergraduate degree develops critical thinking skills, the ability to take information and apply it to different situations and be able to argue one's stance. A Master's degree means that a person has written a thesis and successfully presented a valid argument. Someone working towards their doctorate degree would then present work that is potentially publishable in peer-reviewed journals, and then begin on, well, doctorate work. The particulars of this system may differ in the various departments, however, in every department, an undergraduate degree depends on the ability to do appropriate research, make the right documentation and present critical thinking skills. Also, I might add, that university libraries are not reserved for just current students, but are open to every person in every field to do research and expand on information. This means that should Mrs. Taylor wishes, she can go to her public university library, do research and have the skills to properly cite and document the information.
Let's look at the sources of information that Mrs. Taylor has read about autism:
Vaccine package inserts, a few studies, AAP/CDC web sites, a few media accounts
Hmmm, I can't help that she doesn't mention which studies and which media accounts she has been reading. Given that she refers to the question of whether "autism, an autoimmune disorder where in the immune system attacks the central nervous system" being caused by the Hepatitis B vaccine, I can't help but suspect that she did not read any official documentation about autism, or even looked it up in the DSM-IV-TR. If she had done so, as someone with a Master's in Clinical Psychology would be able to do since even an undergraduate in Psychology would be able to do so, then she would know that autism is NOT an autoimmune disorder, but is considered to be a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that is neurological.
She then refers to her pediatrician not looking over highlighted vaccine inserts and the lack of response from the American Academy of Pediatrics, apparently using her experiences as evidence that the entire field of health professionals are inconsiderate of parent's concerns regarding vaccines.
Mrs. Taylor then cites David Kirby's Evidence of Harm. I point out here that Mr. Kirby is a journalist; it's his job to sensationalize every little thing that may turn out to be a selling story. So, at best the information that he provides is ignorant and at worse is downright lying.
From what I can tell from the research that Mrs. Taylor has been doing, the data in which she is using is also quite dated. Meaning, that the way the industry ran many many years ago is not necessarily the way in which it runs today. For example, safety protocols are always being re-applied, processes are updated and knowledge is constantly being discovered. I can't help but notice that many studies that are being quoted are quite dated and therefore are incorrect in today's context. Not that she mentions very many studies or where she is getting most of her information, as an academic should.
However, the rest of her post is largely her grievances over individual science journalists and bloggers whom disagree with Mrs. Taylor on 1) the definition of autism 2) the probable cause of autism and 3) the treatments and supports that autistic people need. Apparently, some of these people have viewed her as yet another of the crowd that believes mercury/vaccines cause autism and have treated her un-courteously and condescending, causing her to be very angry and frustrated. She excuses her public display of behavior with
And that anger apparently began to push me over some line somewhere, because today, three weeks later, I just don't care about giving myopic, immature, biased and unprincipled "science writers" the benefit of the doubt or a hundred more chances any more.
As she reports, Mrs. Taylor "asked them to do some self-evaluation. Demanded really" and the response was the following:
The response from "them" to my challenge that their dismissals, their insults, their lack of insight into themselves, their inability to self-correct and refusal to examine and address "our" concerns might be the problem, was to dismiss me, insult me, demonstrate an extreme lack of insight into themselves, display an inability to self-correct and to refuse to examine and address my concerns.
They responded to my accusations of failing to live up to the standards of their chosen industries, by failing to live up the standards of their chosen industries.
I called them biased, and to prove me wrong, they showed me their bias.
Giving Mrs. Taylor the benefit of the doubt, I followed her link to the letter she posted and sent to Lori Kozlowski. At the beginning, it seemed like a very reasonable response to Mrs. Lori Kozlowski's article. However, the letter slowly becomes what can only be described as an attack at the science-based medical community at a whole, based on the actions of a few skeptics and critics of the vaccines-causing-autism manufactured "controversy". Mrs. Taylor, in presenting her arguments, fails to present proper documentation for her sources and barely acknowledge or even consider the scientific data that has been gathered since the first time that these concerns were addressed to scientists in 1998, over ten years ago. When she does acknowledge the studies that have been done for her and others benefit, she does so to remark on supposed behavior of the scientists involved and does not even address the findings, never mind treat the subjects in a professional manner befitting of her academic status.
Instead, in her letter to a few of the journalists and skeptics, she makes a comparison of science with religion, calling on scientists to have a religious experience in their fields, forgetting that the nature of science is not to be about the individual, but rather about the entire population as a whole, and that scientists may not even be religious. Actually, it's very likely that the majority of scientists are not religious and such a demand for soul searching and conversion to faith-based studies is quite inappropriate for the field.
I am not going to address the issues concerning the studies, because I am not a scientist. Nor am I a journalist, or a science journalist/blogger, whose job is to write about the latest science news in an attempt to relate said news to the general public. However, as an individual, I can see the harm and immense cost (that would have to cover entire continents to be done properly as has been stated) in attempting to do some of the studies demanded, not to mention irresponsible to put so many people at risk of disabling and even fatal diseases. However, if they want to argue the specifics of such a study, they should address this and work with scientists to achieve a reasonable compromise, since previous scientific studies in the past have not satisfied people such as Mrs. Taylor.
Now, looking at Mrs. Taylor's conduct, in the entire letter, I did not see evidence of an objective academic who was using her critical thinking skills and acting in a professional manner in addressing other academics. I did not see the level of maturity expected for her age, the professionalism expected for her profession, nor the proper documentation for citing and the thorough research that is necessary for a Bachelor's degree, never mind for a Master's degree.
Returning to the entry with Mrs. Taylor's documentation of the exchange, she continues to respond subjectively to the responses that she received to her very subjective letter, and thus "proves" to herself and the rest of her reading public how dismissive the scientific journalism community and the science-based medical community is towards concerned parents. However, I may point out that no where has Mrs. Taylor demonstrated that these few individuals that she addressed actually represents the entire fields she attacks, nor has she demonstrated the objective skills and professionalism that these few apparently "lack" in their responses to, not professional or academic literature, but a personal letter.
Neither does Mrs. Taylor frame her concerns in the contexts to actual data gathered within the last ten years of studies that does address her concerns, rather dismissing the data as being made up information based on the fact that pharmaceutical companies fund the research, and with no regard to the actual scientific processes that renders funding sources as being irrelevant. Instead, Mrs. Taylor fires off her questions towards journalists and science bloggers without citations and references other than to her own blog and once to a newspaper article, and does not even a proper give a frame of reference.
To her credit, one of the responses that Mrs. Taylor was blunt and perhaps a tad unprofessional (to which Mrs. Taylor response with a barrage of questions, forgetting that such studies are easily accessible through university libraries and that in all science-based studies, there have been no indication of autistics having any unusual levels of health difficulties, including autoimmune, seizures and gastrointestinal issues, than the general public), in; however, the rest of the responses she received that she displays shows journalists responding appropriately to questions about their articles, their writing practices concerning science news, and a plain all-out attack on themselves as professionals. At one point, Mrs. Taylor urges Lori Kozlowski to quit journalism, as well as Ginny Hughes when she politely and nicely asks whether any of Mrs. Taylor's readers would be interested in a poll that might actually be in their favor.
In general with her letters and responses, Mrs. Taylor declares that not only is the LA Times "dying", but "...morality, honor and wisdom in scientific journalism is dying" due to the actions of the journalists to favor science-based medicine. She finishes her entry with one last jab at the original target, Chris Mooney, who was the author interviewed in Lori Kozlowski's article profiling his book, claiming that he and other scientists were trying to sell their "view of science" and that she "was their audience".
Not exactly Master's degree material, Mrs. Taylor, and not very professional of you, should you be wanting to present yourself as better than your opponents.