Skeptico reads the Simpsonwood transcript so that you don't have to (unless you really want to)
He's also managed to get me to write one more time about this whole affair, even though I had said that I was going to try not to discuss this particular topic again for a while.
The Simpsonwood Conference was the conference that RFK Jr. opened his article making such dire insinuations about, claiming that it was primarily a strategy meeting to discuss ways to cover up the alleged link between mercury in vaccines and autism. I have discussed before how RFK Jr. used highly selective quoting to make what was in reality a discussion among scientists about the data for and against the hypothesis that thimerosal in vaccines cause autism and determining what studies should be done next seem very dark and conspiratorial when it really was neither. However, for reasons of space (and because there were so few examples of any excerpts that I could find that sounded even slightly conspiratorial), I only cited one example. Now, Skeptico utterly demolishes RFK Jr.'s treatment of this conference. In fact, after reading Skeptico's piece, I've been forced to change my opinion. Before, I just thought that RFK Jr. had simply let his bias and his close contact with Lujene Clark and other mercury-autism activists during the preparation of his article lead him astray. After reading Skeptico's take on the matter, now I reluctantly have to conclude that it is more likely that he was being downright dishonest in his treatment of the entire issue of the Simpsonwood Conference.
But let Skeptico explain it in the money quote from his piece:
When I first read Kennedy’s piece, I was shocked that there had apparently been some kind of cover up about thimerosal. It seemed I would have to re-examine my previous views on the subject as all good skeptics should when new evidence appears. And that was even though I have full knowledge of studies in Denmark and Canada that show autism rates increasing even though thimerosal has been banned in those countries for years. Even though I knew this, the article still sounded convincing. So I can well understand people reading this article and believing it and being livid with the vaccination industry, the CDC and everyone else involved.
But I now know Kennedy’s article is a shockingly dishonest piece of crap from beginning to end. Dishonest and manipulative. He starts with sensationalist language to imply there is something wrong going on, softening up his readers for what comes next. The scene set he, frankly, lies about what happened at the meeting. (Either that or he didn’t read the transcript – your call.) And in the absence of evidence to back up his claim, I suggest Kennedy also made up the bit about the Institute of Medicine whitewashing any embarrassing results. Kennedy wrote his alarmist piece in the knowledge that very few people (in reality – virtually zero) would bother to read the lengthy transcript to find out what actually happened. It’s nothing short of shameful from someone who I had previously believed to have the highest integrity. My only question is, why? Perhaps he’s just losing it, I don’t know.
But, as I said before and as Skeptico also points out, you don't have to take either of our words for it, although Skeptico made a very compelling case for intentional distortion of the contents of the transcript by RFK Jr and his making an unsubstantiated claim that the CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to "whitewash" any thimerosal/autism link. Fortunately, if you don't believe us, you are perfectly free to download the complete 11 MB PDF file of the transcript and see for yourself, and I highly encourage you to do so, if you have the stomach for it (or a case of insominia that this transcript could help with).
Just be sure to drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated colas before you start reading.