Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Autism Insanity: The It's Gotta Be Genetic Model of Autism

"It's crazy that in this debate, we're still debating whether autism numbers are actually going up or not, which is insanity to me. It's people desperately clinging to this belief that autism is genetic, that it's always been with us at this rate, that we're just better at counting it, better at diagnosing it."

David Kirby, 'Evidence of Harm' revisited, Part 2, The Bloomington Alternative, January 10, 2010

Kirby has hit the nail on the head with this remark from his interview with Steven Higgs at the Bloomington Alternative. Teresa Binstock identified the "It's gotta be genetic" mindset of understanding autism and funding autism research over a decade ago and little has changed since then.  The failure to challenge an entrenched almost cult like belief that autism is genetic, it just has to be genetic, has cost another generation years of potentially productive autism research and possible treatments and cures. The same "autism is genetic" cult followers, having held back environmentally focused autism research,  then point to the absence of scientific study results identifying environmental factors in causing autism as proof that autism is genetic. Sounds like insanity to me.

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Anonymous said...

Odd that you are pushing another that is trying to implicate mercury in vaccines and you'll claim to want to find the truth...

British Medical Journal review
In May 2005, Evidence of Harm was reviewed negatively in the British Medical Journal. The reviewer described Kirby's book as "woefully one-sided", and wrote: "In his determination to provide an account that is sympathetic to the parents, Kirby enters into the grip of the same delusion and ends up in the same angry and paranoid universe into which campaigners have descended, alleging phone taps and other forms of surveillance as they struggle against sinister conspiracies between health authorities and drug companies."


Wondering if you'll actually post this, or will you try to frame this to your advantage (again).

Unknown said...


There is no mention of mercury in my comment at all. There are any environmental causes or triggers of autism that have been suspected but largely ignored. I do not always post your comments simply because your comments about autism are often ill informed, knee jerk and tend to focus on your obsessions rather sticking to the topic.

There is a long standing and serious debate in autism circles about the role of genetic factors which are not doubted to play a role in causing autism and environmental factors. For decades public health authorities have favored research into the genetic factors only and have almost entirely ignored environmental factors NOT JUST vaccine issues.

The IACC has acknowledged only recently that environmental factors probably play a role in causing autism. Kirby's comment reflects the fact that there are those who still cling almost religiously to the belief that autism is entirely genetic when they try to explain the astonishing increases in autism diagnoses.

In future please try to get away from YOUR vaccine obsession when you comment here. Update your knowledge of autism issues. Do some homework.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


You refer to Kirky and an article that stated:
Five years after the publication of his book on autism and mercury in vaccines, David Kirby finds much of the ongoing debate on both subjects rather tiresome. Before dismissing the notion that the connection between the two has been debunked, he pauses. He only wishes the public discourse were focused there.
and who now is frustrated because
Mainstream science won't research what it should -- such as environmental mercury, mitochondria-damaging insults or live virus infections -- because it is terrified of implicating mercury-containing vaccines.

So after Kirky was debunked, he is now alluding to "environmental" mercury....And you tell me to get informed?

Unknown said...

Cherniak I am aware of what Kirby has written on vaccines and autism, so is the entire world.

My comment here today is based on his remarks about autism increases not about his past commments about vaccines.

You are obsessed with the vaccine issue I am not. My comment is about the rates of autism increase, possible environmental causes of which many have been offered, the focus of autism research on genetic to the exclusion of environmental factors in autism etc.

Even Dr. Tom Insel the current IACC, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in the US has stated that environmental factors are probably involved in causing autism.

Please broaden your autism knowledge, do your homework and try to avoid reducing all discussions to your vaccine obsession.

Celeste Jean said...

Environmental issues do need to be researched more. Lots of things need to be researched more, but it seems to me that lots of money (not to mention time) is just thrown into the studying genetics pool. I find that frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cherniak, for the inadvertent chuckles about David Kirby being "debunked." That buzzwords is a reverse barometer indicative of the user's limited knowledge range.

Was it Fitzpatrick who wrote that entertainingly overwrought BMJ review of "Evidence of Harm," which attacked the messenger rather than analyzing the science?

Mercury is a neurotoxin, and little is known about its conversion in the human body. Me, I'd prefer the precautionary principle but sadly the government bureaucrats are more interested in skewed statistics than investigating individual biology.