Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mercury Militia versus Neurodiversity, an ironic war between two adversaries

Lately, I have been reading the multiple blog entries by those in the neurodiversity camp protesting the subpoena of owner Kathleen Seidel, by one of the lawyers involved in anti-vaccine litigation for one of the members of the mercury militia. I was also reading a blog by someone who calls themselves Axinar who was blogging about this ongoing feud. I really have no comment on the subpoena one way or the other as I don't really know all the details as I do not know whether or not this attorney is really just trying to harass Ms. Seidel as some proponents of neurodiversity seem to believe. I have also been reading the famous John Best's vitriolically profane diatribes on the matter also. He seems to want nothing less than the electric chair for any member of neurodiversity.

What I am more interested in commenting about is the irony of the whole situation. Those in the mercury militia and neurodiversity seem very much alike to me in many respects.

Those who belong to the mercury militia, particularly people like Best, J.B. Handley and others who are part of the organization Generation Rescue have it all figured out, or at least so they think. The answer is really easy. Autism is just another name for mercury poisoning. Autistic people are not really permanently damaged, they just have too much mercury floating about in their brains from vaccines, pollution from coal burning plants dental amalgams or other mercury-containing sources. The solution we are told is easy. Autism is curable through a treatment called chelation where chemical agents bind to the mercury that is in the autistic's brain and removes it. When this occurs they are cured, problem solved. A vexing problem which scientists have been researching for a few decades has an easy answer that those working in these labs and receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer and private sector grants were apparently too moronic to think of. If we only listen to JB, and the rest of the generation rescue entourage. Autism will no longer be a problem, everyone with the condition will be cured by chelation.

Those in neurodiversity have their own easy simple solution. Autism is not really a disability, at least not a medical one. It is only a societal disability in that society is too prejudiced to accommodate these people who are only just wired slightly differently. These same scientists, and organizations like autism speaks who are so despised by the mercury militia are equally abhorred by those who advocate neurodiversity. They are just wasting their time. If society would only make the necessary accommodations for these people, would stop being so bigoted and would only forget their genocidal ambitions to cure autism, autistic people would no longer be at a disadvantage. They would be able to do everything that the neurotypical can do, problem solved.

These groups have much more in common then they ever dreamed of. This is why both opposing camps have so much animosity towards autism speaks and other neuroscientists and geneticists struggling so hard to find answers for this baffling disorder. What a bunch of cretins these geneticists and neuroscientists who are working their asses off for nothing are!! All this work and money flushed down the toilet. After all, two groups of people have these easy solutions that make their jobs and their grants utterly superfluous. one group says that if chelation is done all this is unnecessary. The other says, societal acceptance will solve everything. If either side is correct, these scientists will be out of a job.

As the few regular readers of my writings and the few fans I do have know, I don't agree with either camp. But I can't help getting a kick of the irony of how similar the two organizations are.

One organization spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in USA today and other newspapers just to convert lost souls who are first learning that their 3 year old child has this condition.

Neurodiversity, as I have mentioned before, are not unlike christian missionaries, trying to find lost souls, disaffected by society to convert to their viewpoint.

Is it possible that both groups manage to get members on one side or the other because both provide easy, albeit different, answers to this problem?

I wonder who is wasting time, the geneticists and neuroscientists who are trying to find some real answers for autism, hoping that they can find a real cure once and for all or these two groups of people so diametrically opposed to each other but ironically enough so similar in so many respects.

In some ways I envy the two groups. My life has been made so hard by this disability. I have had to accept many times that my tears for toasted snow of having a better life have not been answered. These two groups in their convictions know that things could be so much easier if only people would be converted to their positions. Autism would never be a problem for anyone.

I feel though I must be realistic in assessing the situation. I do not believe there are quick fixes or easy answers to autism, so I am going to have to be frustrated. However, my frustration can be mitigated slightly by laughing at the humor of the similarities between these two warring entities.


Judith U. said...

No easy answers for us either...

Axinar said...

"The vitriolically profane diatribes of John Best, Jr."

You think we should suggest to him he change his blog name to this?? :)

jonathan said...

You think we should suggest to him he change his blog name to this?? :)
Nah, he hates autism so i guess he will stick with the current name of his blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, it sounds like you have neurodiversity all figured out too - as a strawman in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there.

I don't think there's equivalence in the positions, which I could elaborate on if I wanted to, and that of course could be seen as my bias. But consider simply that the ideas of the mercury militia are ideas about the nature of reality. Neurodiversity on the other hand is more of a position statement or a political view, i.e. the social model is more important than the medical model. The validity of this view doesn't depend that much on medical realities. There is a social model in Down's syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, blindness, deafness, etc., and the validity of said model does not depend on causation. Of course, some specific ideas of members of the neurodiversity movement may be proven incorrect and be undermined, but the position statement as a whole is still a perfectly valid political position to have in the end.

jonathan said...

No, Joseph, neurodiversity is much more than a political position. It is offering, in my opinion, false hope and unrealistic expectations to it's adherents. I would state this for the social model of disability of the other conditions you named too. It is saying that they are not deficient or broken in any way, so there is no need for any autistic people or down's or cerebal palsy etc. to worry. They could be just like anyone else. Maybe i am rehasing the post but neurodiversity is just as unrealistic as the mercury militia and certainly the medical realities are these conditions are disorders or diseases and until medical technology is invented that can correct or mitigate these defects the medical model of these disabilities is certianly a reality and no societal change will really mitigate these conditions.

Anonymous said...

I would disagree that neurodiversity says that, although obviously there's no organization that dictates what neurodiversity is. Everyone has their own take.

But I would suggest that the opposite of neurodiversity is not the mercury militia, as you seem to argue. The opposite of neurodiversity is your view really.
Whereas to neurodiversity proponents, the social model is more important than the medical model, to you the medical model is more important than the social model. It's as simple as that. The mercury militia, as Larry would say, is nothing but a side-show, albeit a side-show in your camp really.

Liz Ditz said...

Thanks for commenting on the Seidel subpoena.

I am one of the 100+ bloggers mentioned in item 5 of the subpoena.

I am keeping a running list of responses to the Seidel subpoena at I Speak of Dreams. I've added your blog.

As to your characterization of the neurodiversity movement--well, first of all, I'm a neurotypical person, and a mother of neurotypical kids--more or less. However...

I paraphrase the Mercury Militia view as follows: "I had a perfect child. I was robbed of that perfect child by [x; x=mercury or vaccines]. I deserve a perfect child. I do not want the child I have."

I paraphrase the neurodiversity view (upon reflection, it may be the autism acceptace view), as "My child, like every other has specific strengths and weaknesses. I need to have the best picture of my child's strengths and weakness, and given that: How do I marshal my parenting, and my child's education, to make the most of his strengths? How do I marshal my parenting, and my child's education, to remediate, to the extent possible, his weaknesses? How do I marshal my parenting, and my child's education, to accomodate his weaknesses?"

Another axis on which to place the Mercury Militia vs. neurotypical camps: the acceptance of reality and the scientific method. The Mercury Militia rejects the scientific method on any number of levels ("I don't care what the evidence says, my mother's instinct knows!; "All that data is just false, planted by Big Pharma", "Toxins are you know, toxic (unless they are in homeopathic preparations)"; "Anybody who disagrees with me is in the pay of Big Pharma" and so on....), while many in the neurodiversity/autism acceptance crowd...well, accept the scientific method, evidence from well-conducted experiments, and longitudinal/epidemiological evidence.

My daughter has (pick one, they are the same to me): dyslexia or specific learning disability--reading. While she is well-remediated and doing well in college, she has a residual disability, requiring accomodations to "level the playing field", just as a person with 20/400 vision has a disability, and requires accomdations (corrective lenses) to level the playing field.

jonathan said...

Hi Liz thanks for your response an albeit such an utterly cliched one. Also thanks for adding me to your blog though I realize you don't like my views on neurodiversity.

I won't comment any further on all of your tired cliches except to say that the comparison of the person with the 20/400 vision to someone who is autistic is so poor. The person who gets glasses and can have their vision corrected to 20/20 or at least closer to 20/20 than before has something that really helps them function better in society. I don't believe there is any such thing for autism and if people who are so stuck on neurodiversity have such a thing they have, to the best of my knowledge never suggested it and if they have it and are not telling anyone they are being truly selfish to all these people who need help with autism that would be equivalent to the help an optometrist or ophthalmologist could give to someone with a visual impairment.

John Best said...

Hi Jonathan,
I'd actually prefer death by baseball bats so some paid executioner doesn't have all the fun. And, I was going to name the blog "Neurodiversity Sucks" but it was already taken.

Once you realize that neurodiversity is nothing but propaganda, and you accept that some kids have already been cured, then you can understand my anger at their lies.