Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

More Nonsense from Dr. Jay Gordon

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on October 15, 2009


Dr. Jay Gordon is a pediatrician to a particular subculture of pseudoscientific celebrities, such as Jenny McCarthy. He lends his MD cred to this community. He also appears, in my opinion, to be a shameless self-promoter – one of those pop professionals (Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil) who has sold his soul for some easy celebrity.

Regardless of his motivations, he has been spouting arrogant nonsense about vaccines for years, essentially arguing that his clinical gut feeling and anecdotal experience trump the actual science. This is exactly the wrong approach to science-based medicine.

In a recent open letter on his website, he adds to the anti-vax chorus advising not to get the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. It’s almost as if this crowd wants to maximize the morbidity and suffering from this somewhat preventable disease. I know this is not literally true, but their ideologically motivated and confused actions will have the same effect.

Gordon starts his letter with, of course, some anecdotal evidence from his practice, admitting that he is seeing many cases of flu-like illness over this summer, but:

They all felt miserable, and they are all feeling just fine now.

The implication here is that H1N1 is not that bad. In an average flu season, 30,000 Americans die from the flu. By all accounts, we are in for at least a very heavy flu season, and H1N1 has been killing more young and otherwise healthy people as well as pregnant women (while the regular flu tends to kill the old and infirm). Again we see Gordon perfectly willing to substitute his own anecdotes for hard data.


Dr. Jay Gordon: Will you please stop claiming you’re not an antivaccinationist?

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on February 20, 2009

I knew it. I just knew it.

I just knew that when I finally decided to come back from my absence from this blog that something very unpleasant and sad would be waiting for me. True, there had actually been one very nasty thing that I simply had to deal with a few days ago, but that was a particularly vile and despicable human being who, believe it or not, was not John Best. That is not the case here, although the misinformation being pushed is truly disturbing.

Not surprisingly, what awaited me upon my decision to come back was posted earlier this week on that repository of antivaccine propaganda, The Huffington Post. Also, not surprisingly, what awaited me had been penned by everybody’s favorite pediatrician to the stars’ children (especially antivaccine activist Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan), namely Dr. Jay “Whatever You Do, Don’t Call Me Antivaccine” Gordon, the man who’s been known to parrot the worst antivaccine canards, who penned the foreword to Jenny McCarthy’s latest paean to antivaccinationism and autism quackery, and, who, most recently, invaded my alma mater with a kinder, gentler version of his nonsense.

I know, I know, Dr. Jay is “not antivaccine.” How do I know? He tells us so ad nauseam whenever it is pointed out that he is the chief physician apologist for the antivaccine movement, of course! Usually he tells us either with outrage or with a hurt, puppy dog demeanor at the perceived injustice of being called out for spewing his nonsense. I’ve even bent over backwards to try to give Dr. Jay the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity. Indeed, I do believe that Dr. Jay believes he is not antivaccine. Unfortunately, what he believes and reality are related only by coincidence. That includes vaccines, and that also includes his self-delusion that he is not “antivaccine.” If you don’t believe me, get a load of Dr. Gordon’s reaction to the recent decision in the Autism Omnibus, in which the special masters roundly and utterly rejected the arguments of the plaintiffs in the first three test cases (more about that on Monday, unless something more current demands my attention by then). I’m tellin’ ya, the dude is closer to sounding unhinged than I’ve ever seen him, and that anger shatters for me any claim by him that he is not antivaccine. If you think I’m being too harsh, then check out his two posts on HuffPo, “There Is No Proof that Cigarettes Cause Cancer” and The Vaccine Court Was Wrong.

Even I never would have expected something so unscientific and just plain dumb from Dr. Jay. As much as I think Dr. Gordon is probably a nice guy who cares about his patients, being nice does not excuse one from being taken to task for advocating dangerous pseudoscientific nonsense. Unfortunately, he managed to live down to my expectations and then start digging. With a backhoe. Let’s take a look at his first bit of idiocy: