The Instigator
MikelaC2596
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Man-is-good
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

vaccines may cause autism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Man-is-good
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,210 times Debate No: 24429
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (4)

 

MikelaC2596

Pro

I believe vaccines are responsible for many autism cases. I invite an opponent to dispute this. Some definitions need to be clarified, any uncertain phrases can be discussed in the comments, but the most important definitions being:
Autism Spectrum: a range of conditions including autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), characterized by. Social difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, and in some cases, cognitive delays.
Vaccine: A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease
Man-is-good

Con

I accept this challenge and would like to challenge Pro to prove her case, as she holds the burden of proof and responsibility for showing how "vaccines are responsible for many autism cases". Note however that such a burden of proof is modified by a link to the scientific method, in verifying this theory:

The link of the scientific method to Pro's case is that Pro would need to demonstrate empirical evidence for her theory that is sound and reliable and adhere to the steps of the scientific method as well. As stated, a scientific theory is well-substianted and empirical evidence derived from experiments in studies or forays should be provided, along with knowledge. After all, conclusions can be made based on prior knowledge on the matter. I will briefly explore the scientific method in te next round.

As for my introduction, I'll post one definition as a refinement. My opponent defines the autism spectrum but I will narrow down the definition to just Autism:

Autism (1):______________________________________________________________________________
"Autism" means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Autism does not apply if a child's education performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance, as defined in subrule 41.50(2). A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after the age of three could be identified as having auitsm if the crieria in the first sentence of this subrule are satisfied. This term includes all conditions described by the term "autism spectrum disorder," which adversely affects a child's educational performance.

Proposed State of Iowa Educational Definition:
Accepted only as Educational Description______________________________[1. http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu...]________________________________________________________________________

Scientific Method: a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.
Empirical: derived from or guided by experience or experiment___________________________________________________

I wish my opponent good luck. This is a new debate for me, after such a long period of time.:)

(1) A new definition is being formulated in response to the vagueness of the definition of autism and other related diseases in the spectrum.
Debate Round No. 1
MikelaC2596

Pro

Thank you, Sir, for accepting the challenge. And good luck to you.

For all those who've declared the autism-vaccine debate over - a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism.

The article in the Journal of Immunotoxicology is entitled "Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes--A review." The author is Helen Ratajczak, surprisingly herself a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them.
this is not the only evidence of a connection. Ratajczak also looks at a factor that hasn't been widely discussed: human DNA contained in vaccines. That's right, human DNA. Ratajczak reports that about the same time vaccine makers took most thimerosal out of most vaccines (with the exception of flu shots which still widely contain thimerosal), they began making some vaccines using human tissue. Ratajczak says human tissue is currently used in 23 vaccines. She discusses the increase in autism incidences corresponding with the introduction of human DNA to MMR vaccine, and suggests the two could be linked. Ratajczak also says an additional increased spike in autism occurred in 1995 when chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.
Why could human DNA potentially cause brain damage? The way Ratajczak explained it is: "Because it's human DNA and recipients are humans, there's homologous recombination. That DNA is incorporated into the host DNA. Now it's changed, altered self and body kills it. Where is this most expressed? The neurons of the brain. Now you have body killing the brain cells and it's an ongoing inflammation. It doesn't stop, it continues through the life of that individual."

Ratajczak's article states, in part, that "Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis [brain damage] following vaccination.
Man-is-good

Con

Thank you for providing your arguments, Pro.

The first thing I shall note is that my opponent has plagiarized her argument from an a CBS article-- “Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review”[8] by “failing to put a quotation in quotation marks” and/or “copying words and ideas from someone else without credit” [1]. For this, I ask voters to deduct points of conduct from her, though it remains for me to refute her “argument”.


Moreover, my opponent has provided such an article as the only proof for her case. I will be trying to refute it and make my own arguments in regards to other aspects of the theory. Moreover, I will be addressing Helen V. Ratajczak's own article first and then the excerpt Pro has provided.

Rebuttal to Ratajczak and my opponent______________________________________________________________________


Since both the article—and my opponent's case—hinges on Ratajczak's article as proof for their stance, I will take time to deconstruct her argument—to the best of my ability. This will also serve as my general arguments as I refer to the three common arguments for Pro's position, in contrast to my specific rebuttal to the article—and to Ratajczak's statements.:)


Helen V. Ratajczak's article-- “Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes—A Review” [2] is, as its title stated, a presentation of the wide range of proposed links; while it certainly does not challenge the genetic base of autism, the article speculates on the causes—whether “by a defective placenta, immature blood-brain barrier, the immune response of the mother to infection while pregnant, a premature birth, encephalitis in the child after birth, or a toxic environment”, as well as theories related to the vaccine and pertaining to metabolism, and etc. Ratajczak's article thus, not as implied by Pro's arguments, is not necessarily groundbreaking and presents an overview of previous theoretical claims that have been shown to be discredited and false.


Ratajczak, in perhaps a reference to the popular theory-- that the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system, notes that it is possible that the immune system's performance may be compromised by such. Evidence however is contrary [4]; studies have already demonstrated that, while particularly sensitive and weak at such an age, as stated by Ratajczak, the immune system is still capable of generating protective responses and is not overwhelmed by vaccines [3]. Other factors, whether the lack of relevance of the extent of susceptibility to infections by vaccinated and un-vaccinated children that suggest no true suppression of the immune system (that would, otherwise, create a discrepancy), the irrelevance of such a matter compared to the factor of genetic variation (which something Ratajczak herself writes about the “genetic component” of autism), and so forth also undermine both Ratajczak's and the theory's statement.


Moreover, she refers (again, this is not a comprehensive rebuttal to the section devoted to vaccines) to both information about Therimosal and mercury poisoning, extending her review to sources of metal and so forth. Ratajcak's own statement, which refers to the theory that “thimerosal, an ethylmercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system”, of the harm of thimerosal, can be viewed as odd: thimerosal itself has been poorly documented, in terms of its effects on humans, and whatever can be accrued about its toxicity was derived from reports of poisoning by accidental exposure or intended suicides [7]. Thus, it is somewhat odd to read Ratajczak's statement on the effect of Thimerosal on the immune system.


Like many proponents, Ratajczak also relies on the similarities of autism with mercury poisoning induced by exposure to Thimerosal: she writes of similarities in psychiatric disturbances, neurobiological structures, and so fortht that enable her to state that “due to the extensive parallels between autism and mercury poisoning, the likelihood of a casual relationship is great” (p. 70). Unfortunately, it should also be noted—from my rough research—that such similarities, while not non-existent, are glossed over by dissimilarities. It is true that mercury is neurotoxic as Ratajczak writes—and perhaps responsible for stimulating such effects; however, Ratajczak, in attempting to establish –or imply a casual relationship, fails to mention the fact that “children with mercury poisoning show characteristic motor, speech, sensory, psychiatric, visual, and heads circumference changes...fundamentally different...or absent in children with autism” [4] or distinguishable aspects absent in children with autism. Apart from the distinction between the repetitive behaviors (stereotypes) and the more varied findings of mercury poisoning, one may also note the discrepancy.


As for the final matter, the posited metal metabolism disorder, which rests solely on supposed high concentrations of “heavy metal...in the blood and urine of autistic subjects”, is unfortunately refuted by the fact that the very authority that Ratajczak sources—Bernard--fails to explicitly provide references to anything in literature “that reported an abnormal body bruden of mercury, or an excess of mercury in hair, urine, or blood” [9], even in a paper that seeked to establish a link or association between the two variables. Thus, with both a biological implausibility and failure to manifest as a sympton, the concept that Thierosmal is responsible for autism is largely discredited.

As for an actual response to the article and in regards to the Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine “These changes [suggested by an examination of the continuing prevalence of autism] could contribute to increases in incidence of autism. Another change was....vaccine” (p. 71-72). This is what is alluded in the excerpt of the article. Unfortunately, a simple causation-correlation fallacy can be seen there: while the two variables may occur, in trends, at the same time, she has not set any evidence to imply a link of causation between the two, and neither has she given evidence to corroborate her speculation. In fact, one can dispute her later speculation: how could the homologous recombination turn the cell into an “altered self” (it should still be human DNA making human proteins) and yet, how would produce an autoimmune disease? As one response to such an article details [5], numerous conditions—arrival into the neural system and undergoing homologous recombination at a detectable scale, would need to be fulfilled, making her statement highly implausible.

It is also unfortunate that my opponent has chosen this article to represent her view. Note that while the concept of a link between vaccines is uphold, in its variant forms, Ratajczak however, does support the very notion that factors in coalition procure such a result, writing that “It is possible that autism results from more than one cause, with different manifestations in different individuals that share common symptoms” (p. and even suggesting an incorporation of the theoretical cause(s) explored—environmental agents, the chiefly genetic component, conditions explored therein—the blood barrier, pregnancy, and so forth. My opponent has named only one cause of autism that is viewed, even here, as secondary to other aspects; in essence, there is a difference between what my opponent emphasizes as a chief and sole cause and what her argument supports as being only one force in understanding the theoretical cause of autism.


And with that, I rest my case. I also remind my opponent that she should restate her case while rebutting mine in the final round.

For the background and sources, see: http://www.debate.org...
























Debate Round No. 2
MikelaC2596

Pro

MikelaC2596 forfeited this round.
Man-is-good

Con

My opponent has deactivated her account and forfeited her final round, effectively not only situating the decisive vantage onto my side with her preous arguments refuted and her only source dismantled.

While there were a few things of note, I would like voters to simply note that I was attempting to refute both the "argument"--the posited new discovery and turn in thinking that would somehow substantiate the premise of my opponent's position, as well as her "source"--the review. I critiqued and tried to deconstruct the overview of a connection between the adminstration of a vaccine and autism with the use of credible sources.

I may admit my argument was odd but it was an exercise in flexibility in merging a general refutation of the three main hypotheses in the aforemntioned position and a critique of the overview. I should note, in a few implications that were glimpsed over, cursorily, in my rebuttal: the synthesis of multiple theoretical causes is largely unfounded, and the methodology in which such causes have been deemed valid are flawed given the extensive evidence against each premises and underlying assumptions, that, as mentioned by a member, is enough to have largely grounded the scientific community's opinions in opposition to Pro's position here.

I thank my opponent for the debate despite my dashed expectations.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
Peanut Gallery - anti-vaccine nutters are a literal danger to society. On the whole they are either deceitful pedallers of this anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-health claptrap, or are ignorantly and blindly supporting it.

My only hope for you personally is that you took Pro on this debate as some sort of devil's advocate, intellectual challenge.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
And unfortunately, I forgot to include that fact in my arguments, but eh....
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Thrasymachus, thank you for giving such advice. Although I did not mention that--which should have been, I will be trying to show the number of studies conducted that did not illustrate the link.
Posted by Thrasymachus 4 years ago
Thrasymachus
From gallery: the evidence here is so decisively in favour of CON that it is a bit hard to evaluate arguments etc. CON could also have noted all the massive RCTs and meta-analyses done showing no association between MMR and Autism, although given the a priori case is so weak reasonable people could reject it 'out of hand' without bothering to conduct the studies.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Opinions from peanut gallery - autism rates rose as they changed the definition.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
lol, Penn and Teller have a good episode on this.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
And if voters and my opponent cannot read what I wrote, then feel free to copy it onto a Microsoft Word document.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
I do not know how that large space happened to be there....
Posted by MarconiDarwin 4 years ago
MarconiDarwin
Since you invited comments from the peanut gallery, I'd say that you have chosen an irresponsible position to defend. So when you cite evidence, please cite the details of your citations especially the date.

I was asked in another debate to refrain from commenting, so this is about all I can say.

Good luck.

For the rest of you, who have your minds made up: http://bit.ly...
Posted by vmpire321 4 years ago
vmpire321
I have read up on this...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Oryus 4 years ago
Oryus
MikelaC2596Man-is-goodTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. Unfortunate... Though I think we all know which way it would have gone even if there had not been a forfeit....
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
MikelaC2596Man-is-goodTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It seems Pro closed her account.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
MikelaC2596Man-is-goodTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 4 years ago
airmax1227
MikelaC2596Man-is-goodTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF