The Grand Debunk continues with chapter 5, starting with this claim and moving methodically through each subsequent false and/or deceptive claim. Let’s dig in:

1. FDA calculated, for the first time, the amount of mercury infants were receiving in routine vaccinations and discovered that the cumulative amount far exceeded the threshold considered safe by various government health agencies.

To make this statement, one has to willfully ignore all the research into the safety of this preservative used in vaccine doses. One also has to ignore the difference between ethyl and methylmercury (the former is easily removed in the body) and that the form of mercury in thiomersal is not the same as metallic mercury in a thermometer, not to mention the fact that thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines over two decades ago, despite no consistent evidence of its harm in vaccine doses. In addition, one of the primary proponents of the idea that mercury in vaccines causes autism, Mark Geier, had his medical license suspended partially due to giving out incorrect diagnoses and conducting chemical castration without informed consent. One would think that the moral high ground would be clear, but giving out wrong diagnoses is clearly medical malpractice. One of these same citations loves to indicate high-profile cases of ethylmercury poisoning, while conveniently ignoring that the doses were far in excess to all the ethylmercury present in all the vaccines even when it was a commonplace preservative before 2001. The authors are quite hostile to the conflicts of interest of the US authors into the safety of thimerosal; however they neglect to consider that physicians from other countries also have the ability to conduct their own scientific studies and reviews to independently discuss the safety of thimerosal. Remember, national health agencies, just like any other employer, are going to employ people who have the best CV for the job – even if that means they work for the US CDC. Ultimately, the antivaxxer strategy used here is lying by omission. Moreover, we have been able request non-thimerosal containing immunizations anyway for many years.

 2. If common features between the injured children emerged, they could further investigate them to identify exactly what was causing the damage – a vaccine, a particular vaccine ingredient, a combination of a vaccine and specific medical conditions, or even something unrelated to the vaccine itself. However, this line of investigation has never appealed to the medical establishment.

The problem is this is also completely untrue. The epidemiological studies for COVID vaccine myocarditis came out very quickly after the reports of myocarditis from Israel initially came out. I can actually, join in the call with other cardiologists, to request that such research be done more quickly next time. However, “never appealed” is a very specific statement, and this research alone demonstrates it is wrong. The mechanism of COVID vaccine myocarditis has now been worked out to likely at least come from a mistake in the body’s release of cytokines (one of the molecules responsible for inflammation). Common characteristics of patients getting intussusception after an older rotavirus vaccine were worked out. Neuropathy (nerve pain) after COVID vaccine has a body of research behind it. It may be lost upon the authors, but the vaccine researchers generally don’t want bad side effects for themselves or the children in their lives either. What is a legitimate point of discussion is how to get this research done more quickly and thereby, more quickly produce actionable information for the public.

3. A “safer” research approach, then, would be to fund research that would look for, and find, non-vaccine factors responsible for the adverse reactions blamed on vaccines

This is an exceptionally conspiratorial line of thinking. It is true that pharmaceutical companies prefer for their products to receive positive press and positive research. The companies after all, are indeed after sustained profits – and this description of them is correct in the book. They are obligated to produce profit for themselves and shareholders. However, the book fails to consider that it is well within the abilities for organizations not controlled by pharmaceutical companies, to conduct research. Mainstream physicians join everyone else in celebrating the removal of medications that are ultimately found to have more harm than benefit. Many of them also agree that regulators need to be more separate from the pharmaceutical companies that they regulate. This is not a difficult viewpoint to take – but, the antivax ecosystem always then leads the reader to lower quality research to mislead the audience. Again, the moral high ground should be clear – when you don’t like the research already provided, find a way to design better research or have superior scientific reasoning. After following and writing about the antivax ecosystem for a long time, Science Based Medicine has yet to observe members of the antivax ecosystem doing this. Their central dispute is that nobody wants to conduct research critical of vaccines when the factor(s) being researched are intrinsic to vaccines. Yet, there are examples of vaccines that were investigated due to safety concerns. One is the Hemophilus influenza vaccine, which was temporarily recalled in 2007 due to a suspicion for bacterial contamination, although further review found no bacterial contamination. Moderna recalled a batch of COVID vaccines from one particular manufacturer after contamination was suspected. A particular H1N1 vaccine batch set was recalled due to suspicion that it was not as potent as originally advertised. It should not be hard to figure out why even vaccine researchers themselves don’t want to give themselves RSV vaccine associated enhanced respiratory disease, or COVID vaccine myocarditis. This is why work is always ongoing to search for vaccine side effects and when possible, make things better.

4. Genes alone, as it turns out, can explain only a tiny fraction, if any, of the huge rise in the autism rate

There are whole professions dedicated to the genetic and environmental factors contributing to autism. Between these two studies alone, 245 new genes were discovered that are linked to autism. There is also spontaneous mutation – when genes change due to mistakes in the copying of those genes (or degradation over time). Some genes are clearly documented to do this. There are yet other professionals who have looked into the environmental factors associated with autism. When the narrator of this book clearly has an agenda, they will omit any research they like to fulfill that agenda. Personally, I prefer to consult professionals actually trained in the field, to tell me the ultimate causes of autism. The hardliners in the antivax ecosystem also always gloss over the simple observation that people with autism are not looking to be “fixed” or “eliminated”; they can lead full and complete lives just like those humans who don’t have autism. Moreover, the earliest changes in the brain consistent with autism have actually been detected before childbirth – while I don’t expect the general public to know this particular fact, it is hopefully obvious that vaccines cannot travel back in time to cause something before they existed.

5. Retrospective observational studies are relatively inexpensive and easier to perform. In addition, they have one more distinct feature that is crucial to the discussion that follows: Their results can be rather easily “adjusted”

It is in fact relatively simpler to perform retrospective studies, but they have clear limitations that are taught to students of medicine and epidemiology. One form of the adjustments that the authors claim to protest is p-hacking, but people who share the authors beliefs routinely engage in this type of study “adjustment”. In addition, studies done by mainstream epidemiologists are always criticized for their conflicts of interest, when studies funded by Childrens Health Defense for example, never receive that kind of negative attention from the authors (despite there being clear logical fallacies that wouldn’t even pass the authors own tests). The major techniques of research falsification are actually well documented, and I encourage the reader, if interested, to specifically read into this topic to learn how to spot falsification. It is exceptionally conspiratorial to say that the entire ecosystem of vaccine researchers is conspiring together to put out only research that is supportive of vaccines. I challenge the reader to try and get a group of physicians together to agree on what to order for lunch! The book authors clearly have not attempted to create and lead an international research collaboration – this process is described mildly as herding cats. I was part of a research study on vaccine myocarditis, and it was months of work just to get the official permission to get the study started, and we weren’t even giving people any medicines in a randomized clinical trial (this was just a retrospective observational study). Physicians and basic science researchers in this process are generally not very nice to each other when finding each others mistakes – they get caught all the time and errors are fixed. They almost get it right by the end of this chapter, saying “no conspiracy is necessary”, but then go on to imply that there are ongoing worldwide conspiracies in vaccine research.

I can easily join with the public in criticizing vaccine research failures such as the Cutter incident (which specifically was a failure in a particular batch processing but not an indictment on the overall effectiveness of the vaccine), but I encourage the reader to also be aware of much more serious kinds of vaccine falsification, like actually making fake vaccines, actually destroying vaccines, and antivax healthcare workers fraudulently injecting patients hoping for vaccination with saline. The authors of this book and organizations who think like them have a complete lack of awareness that their actions inspire people to do things like this. The most important take-home point for the reader, to address this point of the book, is that the retrospective observational study is not the only format of study available to a vaccine researcher. A vaccination can be tested multiple ways before finding out it is safe or might need to be retired. One should also be wary of an antivaxxer’s choice of the “moving goalposts” tactic – which means that as soon as one of their conditions is satisfied, they claim that another condition needs to be satisfied before they will agree that a vaccine is generally safe and effective. For a dedicated antivaxxer, the number of safe vaccines is, will be, and always has been, zero.

6. Even when researchers formally declare that they have randomly allocated subjects – for example, in selecting members of the control group in a “case-control” study – we have only their word for it.

One side of the coin is – people who commit randomization fraud before the FDA, in a clinical trial, do actually receive prison sentences and get permanently debarred from ever producing a clinical trial for them again, like what happened in the 1995 Biocryst attempt to produce a psoriasis drug. It is easy to join in public criticism of researchers who commit this degree of fraudulent research. While the true incidence remains unknown, there is still no evidence however, that this type of conduct is widespread. The other side of the coin is that statisticians and data monitoring organizations actually have several levels of protections against this. First, humans are very poor random number generators. Even a simple look through of fraudulent patient randomization assignments, may reveal lots of patients with the same birthday. Different sites being monitored by Institutional Review Boards can be flagged for protocol violations. Certain universities may develop risk scores to specifically determine if fabricated vital signs were present. Date tests can reveal a high number of data entries just on the weekends. Statistical tests can reveal number preferences, which may indicate a human was trying to enter numbers into a database rather than experimentally determine values. So, the research analysis and statistics community have many tests at their disposal to police randomized clinical trials. We do not only have to rely on the researcher’s word. If the reader is interested in formally studying this topic, s/he is encouraged to do it systematically by obtaining a research degree.

7. As such, the institutional (or business) entities in charge of allocating research budgets set their own criteria and priorities, which, of course, align with their agendas and interests. Thus, as one might expect, research money is directed toward studies that are consistent with, or at least do not oppose or contradict, the policies of the funding body.

Yes, generally research funding organizations have missions, constraints, budgetary constraints, and rules they wish for researchers to follow if they want to request funding. However, the implication that negative research cannot be published has a truth that is more complicated. Even mainstream researchers are calling for more negative research to be published (meaning research that says that something does not work). One of the most famous modern day examples of this is Merck – they could technically sell lots of hydroxychloroquine for COVID, but even the manufacturer, who should be “protecting their interests” according to the authors, explicitly warns against using hydroxychloroquine for COVID. This is despite the incessant pleas of ultra right wing physician organizations like America’s Frontline Doctor’s to the contrary. If you attempt to submit a research project to a funding organization that is trying to encourage a different type of research, your project proposal is guaranteed to be denied. That’s not censorship, despite what certain media pundits will try to tell you – the rules were transparent, and you, the researcher, refused to follow them.  The consequence is that you get ignored. Those rules are applied equally to everyone. Drug companies don’t publish all their negative research, but we have research that shows a huge percentage of drug candidates fail their clinical trials. In this source alone, ten different clinical trials failed – and it clearly wasn’t censored.

8. A spokesperson for the health establishment will patiently explain that the vaccine topic is extremely complex, and the average parent simply cannot make sense of it at all.

As usual the truth is more complicated. There is general consensus now, that being patronizing to your patient is something that should be relegated to the history books. However, it remains correct that thoroughly understanding vaccine research requires a high degree of proficiency in many specialties, not limited to organic chemistry, biochemistry, epidemiology, statistics, public health, virology, microbiology, immunology and infectious disease. It is not humanly possible to just suddenly be proficient at these subjects by looking at Youtube, Paul Thomas, Jen Margulis, Bob Sears, or Rumble videos. There is a gold standard of what sincerely learning a foreign subject to a level of proficiency high enough to debate actual professionals looks like – and that is the World Science Festival. I invite the reader to focus attention on Brian Greene, the host, whose specialty is physics and mathematics. He actually prepares well enough for debates to be able to debate people who actually professionally trained in science fields other than physics and mathematics, and has an excellent command of the techniques of standardized scientific debate. Just in the same way as I would never dare to stroll into an architecture studio and suddenly proclaim I can design the new bridge, or stroll into a particle accelerator and say I know how to do the experiments better than the physicists, if I were new to vaccines, I would never dare to stroll into a infectious disease physician’s office and say I know better than they do. This isn’t a demand for the cessation of debate – this is a request to approach vaccine science the same way one would approach any new subject, with an appropriate mix of curiosity and humility. Physicians actually welcome reasoned debate according to the rules of standardized scientific debate – however the authors of this book don’t actually want that. It should not be controversial to state that parents with no training in medicine do not suddenly know better than the experts in vaccine science through reading this book. However, this is not meant as an insult – this is a request to approach vaccine science with the same humility and curiosity as any other new topic. If a parent wants to understand the science as well as a professional, there is nothing stopping the curious mind. I encourage anyone interested in learning vaccine science to go for it, but do it properly. The pathway to do it well is very clear and the same for all interested – and it contains no shortcuts. Sincere discussion with your pediatrician is welcome at all times.

9. Madsen 2002: MMR Vaccine and Autism/ CDC conflict of interest and  “What stands out in the Madsen 2002 study, quite astoundingly, is that the raw data plainly contradict the study’s conclusion. The Danish data, presented in Table 2 of the paper, actually show a 45% higher risk of autism in MMR vaccinated children, compared to the non-MMR-vaccinated. Suspiciously, after the researchers manipulated the data, the trend was reversed to indicate an 8% lower risk of autism in the MMR-vaccinated children. To repeat, while the raw data imply a higher risk of autism among MMR-vaccinated children, the study’s final results indicate the opposite.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. First off, epidemiologists from different countries are going to collaborate and sometimes have employment in more than one organization. That’s been a thing since the earliest days of epidemiology, and occurs in multiple disciplines outside even outside of science. People who work in the same field are naturally going to want to collaborate professionally when there are shared interests. The authors think they have a “gotcha” here, but they most certainly do not. Next, the authors used an old antivax trope, that if only they could see the raw data all the time, they would be able to produce studies that support the antivaxxer narrative. The current mainstream medical position is that the association between MMR vaccination and autism is either zero or so small as to be practically speaking, indistinguishable from zero. Here’s why – I actually read the study. First off, there are several more modern studies (of which this is one) that refute any relationship between MMR vaccines and autism. Antivaxxers keep on trying to recycle this claim because they think some people can be duped. Next, the calculations shown in the study are only suspicious if you have no idea what you are looking at. They criticize that there is an 8 percent lower risk of autism in the MMR vaccinated children. They then fail to read the fact that the authors specifically mentioned, that they have tight confidence intervals (high confidence in the statistical result) demonstrating the two groups being compared are not statistically any different. If the editors want to be seen as having any credibility at all analyzing studies, they shouldn’t be making such a simple mistake. Let’s next look at the study and the table they are referencing:

Measles Mumps and Rubella Vaccination and AutismThe only pair of numbers up top that differ by 45% are the 53 and 77, which are numbers that delineate the number of children diagnosed with autism, versus the number of children with other autism spectrum disorders. Both were in the unvaccinated group. Let’s be real here – the authors can’t even distinguish the vaccinated from the unvaccinated groups correctly when reading a study. These two points alone should trash their claims.

10. And, of course, there wasn’t a single word about the awkward fact that the study didn’t actually investigate the question the media claimed it had definitively answered: Could “too many vaccines” be causing autism?

News media incorrectly describing scientific research papers is a genuine problem and a valid criticism. However, the reader should also be aware that the antivax ecosystem has been complaining about the number of vaccines for several decades without any evidence that it is “too many”. This particular claim is discussed in detail here, author credits to Skeptical Raptor. One can also logically think through the study here, without complaining about the conflicts of interest and directly thinking through the core claims.

11. The antigen is just one of numerous substances inside a vaccine vial. Vaccines typically contain a host of other ingredients that serve various functions, such as preservatives, stabilizers, adjuvants, and more. Some of these ingredients are known to be highly toxic (aluminum, mercury) or carcinogenic (formaldehyde). The adverse biological effects this conglomeration of biological and chemical ingredients could potentially have on an infant’s body have never been studied in depth, not individually and not in combination.

Except, they have been studied in depth and in combination. The antivax ecosystem here is trying to scare people by scaring them about chemicals. In reality, a chemist (such as myself, a BSc in Chemistry/ Biochemistry) could tell you that we are all made of chemicals. If chemicals didn’t exist we wouldn’t exist. Also, the dose makes the poison – even air and water can damage the body in large quantities. Formaldehyde is naturally produced by the body as well as by certain plants that we eat (pears for example) (citation Lehninger’s Biochemistry). The pear contains more formaldehyde than exists in all the vaccines added together. It doesn’t matter which pear brand. One can get toxic effects from formaldehyde, from repeated workplace exposure – but clearly the vast majority of the population does not work with containers of the stuff. Pure mercury is never placed in vaccines – thiomersal does exist these days, but only in the multi-dose flu vaccine which a parent can ask to be replaced with a single dose flu vaccine. Mercury and thiomersal are not the same thing. Aluminium adjuvants have been studied quite exhaustively. Two sources on this exist here and here.

12. In order to assess the strength of the immune response elicited by vaccines, whatever that actually means, one must include the adjuvant in the calculation in one way or another. Similarly, it is not unreasonable to assume that other vaccine ingredients may also affect the level of antigenic stimulation induced by the vaccine. Yet, despite the key role adjuvants play in the strength of immune response to vaccines, they are not even mentioned in the paper.

There is a simple principle of vaccine regulation here – despite the exhortations of the authors and their colleagues, every vaccine component does not need to be tested every single time a new vaccine is made with that adjuvant or excipient. An introduction to vaccine adjuvant science is here. The next principle to think of, at least in relation to aluminium adjuvant, is that it has been in vaccines for around 50 years. The phase 3 clinical trials do exactly what the authors claim isn’t being done – test complete vaccines including their adjuvants. It took vaccine science to figure out that some vaccines just don’t work without adjuvants.

13. The trick, it seems, was to assign controls who were at least as sick as their matching cases, just with different diseases. If that’s the case, considering that the Gardasil vaccination rate was slightly higher in the control group, it seems that the study’s raw data indicate that Gardasil probably is a risk factor for autoimmune disease. But the authors, delivering on their employer’s promise to make customers’ products look good, masterfully buried this result under heaping piles of deceptive statistics.

The core premise here does have a little bit of basis in reality – in that autoimmunity after exposure to HPV proteins has been demonstrated theoretically in animal models and through some basic science projects. This cannot be eliminated entirely, as proteins have a limited number of basic building blocks which repeat some of the time (to build the basic structures of proteins). So, the prospect of entirely eliminating molecular mimicry is probably biologically impossible. However, unlike the viewpoint espoused by Yehuda Shoenfeld, such links must then be tested in the real world with some version of clinical studies. Lets pretend for a minute that the Grimaldi study is too tainted by conflicts of interest to be believable. The other question to ask yourself – if you were able to get a straightforward blood test in the future that predicted your autoimmune risk after HPV vaccination, would you then consent to HPV infection and all its consequences, if your test came up that you had that gene? Full informed consent would actually discuss this perspective as well. We do have a study from Denmark in 2022 describing autoimmune markers found in patients with suspected neurological symptoms but not in those without neurological symptoms (after HPV vaccine). However, much larger, earlier population studies, done with better statistical methods, support there being no overall link. This likely means one of two things – there are so many recipients of HPV immunization that the overall rate of people experiencing these sorts of complications may be a nonzero number, but it is very very tiny. It is also plausible that the genetic predisposition to autoimmunity was already there but some people happened to have it show up after this immunization. The benefit to the individual man or woman in the reduction of anal, oral, and cervical cancer, though, is extremely clear. Also, remember that carrying autoimmune markers by itself does not imply a clinical diagnosis of autoimmune disease, as some autoimmune markers against nerves are actually markers of nerve repair. Read the next paragraph if you want the more detailed molecular explanation, and click here if you want a very detailed deep dive courtesy of Ed Nirenberg –

L1 protein is the main surface protein of the HPV virus, and it is slightly different between the many different types of HPV virus. The modern HPV vaccine typically carries 9 different L1 proteins, to help women be immune against most types of HPV that actually cause human disease (although the lack of some variants is a recognized deficiency of this vaccination). There are also several interior proteins that form the inside structure of the virus. The claim that keeps getting recycled is an incorrect interpretation of the known biochemistry of this virus – the authors repeatedly reference Shoenfeld’s claim that there is molecular mimicry, between body proteins, and the L1 protein of HPV, on the basis of comparison of protein structure (specifically the amino acids themselves). The bits of protein being compared between HPV L1 and the human body are short – the pure act of protein comparison is legitimate, and a commonly used technique in my world (the chemistry/ biochemistry lab). However, the Shoenfeld group fails to realize that their technique should also yield molecular mimicry between the HPV proteins not included in the vaccine versus the body. It should be straightforward to see here, that if a protein is not included in the vaccine, it cannot place the human recipient at risk of molecular mimicry. Also, the claim that HPV vaccine causes brain or nervous system injury in mice, literally does not directly carry over to humans (mice experiments are a reasonable starting point but their findings do not necessarily extend directly to humans).

14. The McKeever 2004 study demonstrates how researchers whose work could potentially provide valuable clues to advance understanding of serious and unexplained medical conditions – the soaring allergy rate, in this case – are quick to dismiss obvious conclusions if they are harmful to vaccines’ reputation.

One can reach this conclusion if the authors just read one study and fail to read any others. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has looked into the relationship, by reviewing all the major studies looking at allergy and its relationship to vaccines, and there is none. There are also professional allergists and pulmonologists looking into the immune mechanisms of allergy and asthma. I don’t know about you, but if I want to hear about a completely new topic, I prefer hearing about it from people who study it professionally as a starting point.

15. No matter how contorted or fallacious a study may be, it will receive full support from the medical establishment as long as it supports the vaccine safety dogma.

In the antivaxxer ecosystem, there has yet to be one prominent figure, who thoughtfully analyzes the results of a study that goes contrary to antivaxxer dogma. Again, one would think that the moral high ground would be obvious, but it is not. One only has to do a quick search on Pubmed and Google to see all the vaccine candidates that failed or otherwise had their approval withdrawn.

16. At the BMJ,” he writes, “we did several studies where we inserted major errors into papers that we then sent to many reviewers. Nobody ever spotted all of the errors. Some reviewers did not spot any, and most reviewers spotted only about a quarter.

The peer review process actually deserves reform for many reasons! Most mainstream researchers know at least one thing they want to change about peer review and this is one of those things. This is one of the small number of statements that is accurate in this book. We can agree on criticizing legitimate shortcomings of peer review.

17. Do you know who funds most vaccine safety research? Are you familiar with the process used to allocate medical research grants?

Being a physician is not a competition to see who can memorize the most things. If you want to seek out someone with this talent, seeking out a lawyer is more appropriate. A physician is generally not going to have the funder of every journal article they ever read, memorized. However, we are quite capable of making decisions on conflicts of interest and discussing journal articles in a group. If this is a concern the reader has, they are welcome to discuss it with their physician. Most physicians have a general idea on research grant allocation but only those who actually had to create research grants in medical school, will have the most detailed information. A lack of memorization alone is not sufficient to make a physician suboptimal.

18. Would you expect pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to fund vaccine safety studies that could potentially find serious faults in the vaccines they manufacture, license, and recommend to the public?

This is not the gotcha Mary Holland thinks it is. It only takes a brief Google or Pubmed search to find all the funded studies that resulted in vaccine withdrawal or stopping a vaccine candidate.

19. Are you aware that studies published in leading medical journals which ostensibly confirm the safety of vaccines suffer from serious methodological flaws and are fraught with authors’ conflicts of interest?

The definition of conflict of interest here, is very important. Based upon the author’s statements above, they believe anyone who works with the CDC, even peripherally, has a conflict of interest. The authors have no better solution for the massive amount of funds required to research a vaccine well and bring it to market following all US FDA regulations. The circle of people who are qualified enough to be a vaccine researcher for the CDC is small – this is why the same names come up again and again. The author can’t even read a data table correctly on the MMR study above, but thinks this counts as a methodological error. With the lack of ability to even have a rational definition of conflict of interest, the author’s viewpoint is clear – no study speaking to vaccine safety is acceptable. It would be against their financial interest to say anything good about vaccines. This is not a rational position for a scientist to take. Even the editor, Mary Holland, exhorts the reader to always be ready to overturn a paradigm.Overall, this chapter attempted to show that epidemiological studies are purposefully biased. Due to all the points addressed above, the authors actually succeeded in a separate goal – burying their heads in the sand. If the authors combine an exceptionally conspiratorial view of the world with either a poor understanding of the actual vaccine papers or a total lack of effort in actually reading those papers, they can come to any conclusions they like. We have standardized rules of scientific investigation and debate for a reason – one of the biggest reasons is to eliminate a place where malicious actors may make false claims or falsify research. Just one point that stands out – the authors sincerely believe that vaccine trials will always get “rubber stamped” if they support the safety dogma. A big problem with that line of thinking – vaccine and new drug trials fail all the time. The authors didn’t even try to look at these studies. All are welcome at the table of vaccine debate, and in fact, despite the exhortations of the authors, the debate occurs amongst professionals in the field, all the time. The admissions price to the debate is the same for everyone though – one needs to have a good working understanding of the basic scientific principles governing the field (or at least give an honest attempt to achieve that good working understanding). The methods and techniques in vaccine science research are standardized for patient safety, and the authors are not permitted to invent their own rules on a whim. The point about the Madsen article is worth revisiting here – the mistake the Turtles authors made in their discussion is so fundamental that it is generally corrected in college level science courses (and maybe even high school). That they make no attempt to honestly engage with the merits of the article is very telling as to their true intentions. They just gave an entire lesson on epidemiology in Chapter 4 – one would think they would be competent enough to at least try to read vaccine research articles with logical reasoning by the next chapter. They appear to have fallen asleep at their own lesson.

Thus endeth the debunk of Chapter 5.

The complete series


  • Frank Han

    Frank Han, M.D. is an academic board certified pediatrician/ pediatric cardiologist. He splits his time between cardiac imaging (Nuclear, CT, MRI, and echocardiography), inpatient cardiology, and outpatient cardiology. He primarily cares for cardiology patients of all ages with congenital heart disease, and is dedicated to educating pediatric residents and medical students. Dr. Han first became aware of and interested in the incursion of pseudoscience into his chosen profession while completing his pediatric residency at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and saw it explode during the COVID pandemic. He has since focused his efforts on spreading the joy of science literacy and teaching patients how to take charge of their own health while navigating the tricky online world of medical information. Dr. Han has no conflicts of interest to disclose and no ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He can be found on Twitter as @Han_francis. The comments expressed by Dr. Han are his own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of OSF Medical Center, or the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Posted by Frank Han

Frank Han, M.D. is an academic board certified pediatrician/ pediatric cardiologist. He splits his time between cardiac imaging (Nuclear, CT, MRI, and echocardiography), inpatient cardiology, and outpatient cardiology. He primarily cares for cardiology patients of all ages with congenital heart disease, and is dedicated to educating pediatric residents and medical students. Dr. Han first became aware of and interested in the incursion of pseudoscience into his chosen profession while completing his pediatric residency at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and saw it explode during the COVID pandemic. He has since focused his efforts on spreading the joy of science literacy and teaching patients how to take charge of their own health while navigating the tricky online world of medical information. Dr. Han has no conflicts of interest to disclose and no ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He can be found on Twitter as @Han_francis. The comments expressed by Dr. Han are his own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of OSF Medical Center, or the University of Illinois College of Medicine.