Deficient Science, Hypocrisy & Bogus Arguments: Two Articles by Age of Autism’s Anne Dachel

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
Posted: September 30, 2015

Anne Dachel
“Dachel Media Update: Willingham
Wanders Into Waldo”
Age of Autism
August 10, 2015

Anne Dachel
“Dachel Media Update: Forbes’ Emily
Willingham Has Made Up Your Mind”
Age of Autism
August 11, 2015

Executive Summary

Over the past several decades, a number of bloggers and organizations have claimed that vaccines and/or their ingredients cause a number of disorders, foremost among these is autism. The results of their efforts have been a decline in vaccine coverage and a rise in previously rare childhood diseases resulting in unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations, long-term disabilities, and even death.

Anne Dachel is a regular contributor and Media Editor for Age of Autism. In two recent articles (Dachel, 2015ab), Dachel criticizes several articles by Emily Willingham, a science writer at Forbes (2015ab). As this paper will show, from Dachel’s own articles it is clear:

  1. Dachel literally doesn’t understand epidemiology and causal inference.

  2. Dachel displays poor scholarship in claiming that vaccine supporters rely solely on epidemiological studies, missing the numerous references to animal and other research types.

  3. Dachel is hypocritical in criticizing epidemiological studies while promoting/advocating for an epidemiological study comparing never vaccinated to vaccinated.

  4. Dachel resorts to a typical logical fallacy, ad hominem attacks.

  5. Dachel is hypocritical to imply, with NO credible evidence, that Emily Willingham is a “pharma shill“ by stating “Emily Willingtoworkforpharmaaham's version is below.” while she proudly refers to her own for-profit sponsor.

  6. Dachel’s approach is great propaganda for the uninformed; but not a valid scholarly approach. In neither of her articles does Dachel actually address what Willingham writes. Dachel could have directly critiqued each of the points Willingham made, including specific information from the writings she mentions; but she didn’t. Instead, Dachel refers to writings that Willingham may or may not have read. Using Dachel’s approach one could critique just about any article by throwing in a reference to another article or book without giving any details.

  7. Dachel, like many antivaccinationists, takes the approach that people are guilty until proven innocent or, perhaps, guilty with no possibility of proving innocence. However, it is a basic American principle to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

In my articles published by Every Child By Two (Available here ), I have reviewed and critiqued several articles posted on Age of Autism and SafeMinds, one of Age of Autism’s sponsors. Each of my reviews has clearly highlighted the poor scholarship, deficient science, and, often, lack of common sense used by the authors of those articles that render their opinion void of any credibility This article, which reviews some of Anne Dachel’s articles on Emily Willingham is yet another example that adds hypocrisy to the growing list of antivaccinationist flaws.

If people, especially parents are to decide on whether or not to vaccinate themselves and their children such decisions should be based on science and logic (critical thinking) and not belief systems deficient in both.

Read Dr. Harrison's full article as a PDF version by clicking here.

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