Kate Tietje and the 7 signs of an anti-vax quack

Measles word cloud

Kate Tietje, who writes under the nom de quack Modern Alternative Mama, professes herself shocked by the outcry to the execrable piece Five Reason Measles Is Better Than Autism, her “most controversial post of all time.”

Yesterday I wrote about the factual errors and neuro-bigotry in the piece (WTF, Kate Tietje?). Today I’d like to show how Kate’s response illustrates the 7 cardinal signs of an anti-vax quack.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”If you agree, join me. If you don’t…leave quietly.”[/pullquote]

1. Striking contempt for basic knowledge

Since Tietje believes herself qualified to opine on vaccine safety, you might imagine that she would have formal education in immunology, science and statistics. You would be wrong.

Kate, like most anti-vaxxers is a walking, talking illustration of the Dunning-Kruger effect. That’s the paradox that those who know the least actually believe they know the most. She is so lacking in basic knowledge that she is literally incapable of realizing just how ignorant she is about the topic.

2. Fact resistance

Kate isn’t merely evidence resistant; she is fact resistant. It doesn’t matter what the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control or anyone else tells her about the fact that the association between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine has been thoroughly debunked by a plethora of studies, nor that the seminal study “proving” the association was fabricated by Andrew Wakefield in an effort to promote the profitability of own version of the vaccine that was in development at the time. [Correction: Edited to remove an erroneous claim that I made about measles death rates].

3. Embrace of blatant lying

In regard to the piece, Kate claims:

It was written because of all of the people who have said, “I’d rather my children have autism than die of the measles.” That’s an unfair and wrong comparison, that blow measles way out of proportion. Death rates from measles are quite low in developed countries.

Since the measles vaccine DOESN’T cause autism, no one is claiming that they’d rather have their children get autism than measles.

4. Privileging intuition over facts

Kate believes that vaccines cause autism because that’s what her intuition tells her, facts be damned.

5. Outsourcing blame

As the population has fallen prey more and more to autoimmune disorders, chronic illness, and disability, they’ve been told, “It’s just a new variation of normal! It’s genetic! There’s nothing you can do! Accept it and love it!”

There’s no denying this is happening. There’s no denying that rates of allergies, autism, autoimmune disorders, learning disabilities, obesity, and more are rising exponentially. But if the powers-that-be redefine all of these things as “normal,” then no one has to answer for it or do anything about it.

For every untoward occurrence, Tietje never thinks to ask, “What went wrong?” Instead she demands to know: “Who did this to us?”

The fault always lies with a conspiracy, in the case of vaccines a conspiracy so large as to encompasses nearly every scientist, doctor, and public health official in the entire world.

The truth is, that post hit people hard, in their core belief systems. These people believe the lies that the doctors and pharmaceutical companies have sold them. It isn’t their fault. Basically, they’ve been “gas-lighted.”

That’s not what gas-lighting means. According to Wikipedia:

Gaslighting … is a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Gaslighting involves empirical facts, NOT feelings. Gaslighting means insisting that the lights are bright when they are actually dim. Giving greater weight to scientific evidence than the perceptions of the scientifically illiterate is not gaslighting; it’s SCIENCE.

6. Desperation for adulation and self esteem

For Tietje, like most anti-vaxxers, it has precious little to do with vaccines or with children.  She view the combination of self-education and defiance of authority as an empowering form of rugged individualism, marking out her own superiority from the pathetic “sheeple” who aren’t self-educated and who do follow authority.

I feel sorry for all of these people. These children deserve *better.* I want them, and all children, to be the best versions of themselves…

I know that there are possibilities to achieve health, to really HELP people, that exist outside of what the mainstream says is possible. They deny it angrily, they call it magical thinking. Yet I’ve seen it work…over and over.

7. Isolation is critical to self-regard

If you agree, join me. If you don’t…leave quietly.

Kate can’t be bothered to convince anyone who disagrees because she cannot tolerate anyone who does not praise her. She spent yesterday banning and deleting anyone who dared to present scientific evidence because she cannot abide proof that she isn’t knowledgeable, uniquely insightful and special.

Kate Tietje is merely ignorant and deluded; she’s hoping against hope that by wiping away real scientific evidence she can prevent her gullible followers from realizing it.

158 Responses to “Kate Tietje and the 7 signs of an anti-vax quack”

  1. Emma
    August 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m reading her Five Reasons Measles Is Better Than Autism article.

    “When a child gets autism? There’s no easy bouncing back. A bowl of chicken soup ain’t gonna solve this problem (though soup can help to heal autism).”

    …SOUP can help to heal autism. Uh, okay.

    • Tigger_the_Wing
      August 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

      It’s weird how she thinks she can have it both ways, and no-one will notice.

      Either autism* is a lifelong, debilitating and devastating disorder that destroys families, or it is easily ‘healed’ with food.

      Which? It can’t be both!


      *Well, her meaning of the word, which seems to have no real-world application.

  2. DavidPatrick
    August 22, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    She is not “merely” ignorant and deluded. She’s a scammer, a con artist. She SELLS people products and the ideas that deliberate harm to kids is a viable “perspective” on life.

    She’s a child abuser.

  3. Nick Sanders
    August 21, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    The people who follow her are revolting. This is from a post on her page where she called for an “honest and respectful discussion”. I was later banned for “spamming” after I posted multiple studies to refute her posts of crappy studies.


    • Amy
      August 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      She wants to talk to a teacher who’s been teaching 15+ years??? HELLO!

      It absolutely IS wider parameters for diagnosis. I remember WAY more kids from my childhood who had no diagnosis and were just weird’ quirky, and if I’m being honest, more likely to be the target of bullying based on their weirdness. My first year teaching I had several students whose diagnosis was “non-verbal learning disorder.” Nowadays that’s part of ASD; fifteen years ago it was its own thing. As was PDD-NOS.

      Also, Dr. Amy’s anecdata, while admittedly just anecdata, involves an ADULT child– not that much younger than I am myself. He was around 15+ years ago.

      • BeatriceC
        August 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

        I will back you up on the observation that kids who would not have had a diagnosis when I first started teaching absolutely would have had one when I quit teaching, and that was only a 10 year span (in k-12 education, anyway).

    • Amy
      August 21, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

      I’ll be banned really soon, no doubt. Holly now claims she is also a teacher with two decades experience working, and I quote, “closely with special ed and resource.” She isn’t experienced enough to know that “special ed” and “resource” are the same thing. And she’s disagreeing with NUMBERS.

      Meanwhile, Kate herself is mad because I reminded her of a nasty post she made not too long ago telling “semi-crunchy” mothers like myself that we’re not special.

      • Nick Sanders
        August 21, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

        Are my posts still up, or have they been deleted?

        • Amy
          August 21, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

          They’re still up. Someone told MAM to ban/delete you, and she replied that she’d already blocked you. So she can’t see your posts, but they’re still there. She’d have to un-block you in order to delete each one.

          • Nick Sanders
            August 21, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

            Mmm, delicious irony. Serves her right for posting studies one by one, then reporting me for spamming when I did the same thing.

      • Nick Sanders
        August 21, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

        More on topic? She’s proud of “working closely” with special ed teachers? I spent several years attending an entirely special ed school, but I guess since I don’t fit her mold of a non-verbal, hand flapping, diaper-wearer, my experiences aren’t valid…

        • Sarah
          August 22, 2016 at 2:45 am #

          What exactly is this close work? Do they look to her to decide what counts as really autistic?

          • Amy
            August 22, 2016 at 11:00 am #

            No. Actually, special ed classroom teachers don’t diagnose either. They can administer the tests if they have the right training, and score the tests, but the diagnosis is made by an MD, PhD, or EdD,

            If you work in a public school, you’re “working closely” with special ed teachers, so touting that as some sort of credential isn’t all that impressive.

      • Amy
        August 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

        AND…..she just put up a new post saying that people go nuts over blog posts she’s written. That we shouldn’t judge people by their online behavior.

        In the school where I work, we have a social health curriculum whose implementation is the responsibility of the guidance department. The way it works is that once a month on average, all of the class periods are shortened by about 5-10 minutes and the extra time is used for a presentation and follow up discussion in small groups in homeroom, with peer educators facilitating in the lower grades and teachers facilitating in the upper grades. Once or twice a year the lesson is specifically about the ramifications of online behavior. Last year we had an assistant DA do a talk about legal consequences of what you post online.

        Bottom line: you can’t just whine that you don’t want people to judge you by what you put online. Because if that’s all they see, that’s what WILL form the basis of how they know you. If you make a blog post bashing people for being not crunchy enough, or a post about how autism is worse than the measles……you can’t turn around and claim that you’re a nice person who “just wants the best for everyone.”

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          August 21, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

          How ironic! People on the spectrum that you talk about online are *real people.* They have thoughts and feelings, just like you. If you’re rude to them — imply that they are damaged (vaccine injury!) and that a potentially fatal disease is preferable to their struggles — they have to read it and likely struggle with it emotionally. They’re not some online robot.
          Not being able to see the people on the spectrum that you write about so unfeelingly and feeling desensitized does not give you the right to be mean to them. It does not give you the right to treat them as some all-purpose “bogey-man” to frighten mothers into buying your books and taking your advice.
          If you truly have sympathy for real people besides yourself, Kate Tietje, you would offer a public apology to those whom you endlessly demean.

          • Nick Sanders
            August 22, 2016 at 2:10 am #

            The self centered arrogance of that post is astounding. “Oh woah is me! I’m popular so people think they can hold me to some sort of standard!”

          • MI Dawn
            August 22, 2016 at 8:03 am #

            No, no, no, Dr Amy. *Kate and her followers* are real people. Everyone else isn’t real, they are just puppets of Big Pharma. And that goes double for pro-vaxxers and people with autism. So we owe *them* an apology, but she doesn’t owe anyone an apology, right?

        • Sarah
          August 22, 2016 at 2:43 am #

          So basically, I should be able to say whatever I like with no consequences or comeback, and you don’t even get to have an opinion because internets? What a fucking scrote.

        • Roadstergal
          August 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

          “Once or twice a year the lesson is specifically about the ramifications of online behavior.”

          (Just popping by to say that sounds like a very, very necessary class. 🙂 )

  4. Heidi
    August 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

    My question is where does Kate find the time to blog and Facebook all the time? Surely with all those children that don’t even leave a few hours a day to go to school, and I’m sure one at least still a baby based on the fact she admires the Duggars, she would barely have time to shower, let alone homeschool, breastfeed, make tinctures, do “research,” grocery shop, cook all those healthy, organic meals from scratch, do cleaning and housework, etc. I imagine they believe housekeeping and childcare is primarily a woman’s job. I don’t know how sacrifices aren’t being made at her children’s expense.

    • Chi
      August 21, 2016 at 2:13 am #

      It wouldn’t surprise me to find that she already has her eldest daughter doing the lion’s share of the housework in order to properly prepare her for her ‘true place in life’ (as believed by Christian fundies)

      • Mishimoo
        August 21, 2016 at 6:18 am #

        Exactly what I was going to say because that was my experience, as well as my best friend’s experience along with others raised in that type of home. It’s not healthy, it’s not fair, and it’s not what children should be expected to do in our modern society.

    • Amy
      August 21, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      I swear I’m not trying to be mean or snarky here, but *based on her own admission of how filthy their house has been in the past* I don’t think cleaning even gets done.

      I’m not saying my house is a bastion of cleanliness. We got home from vacation the night before last and there is a lot of vacuuming and dusting to be done, and my husband didn’t clean the bathroom once during the week we were gone. But I’m not online running not one but at least three blogs (“Modern Alternative” health and pregnancy, in addition to mama) claiming I’m the perfect parent and showing you how you can be too.

      I would also bet money that a lot of non-meals get consumed as almost nobody has time to cook three delicious, organic, healthy meals from scratch every day unless they do literally nothing else. I’m really into cooking from scratch myself, and as a teacher, I get those stretches of summer vacation where I can pretend I’m a SAHM. Dinner gets made from scratch *almost* every night, but not every night– sometimes I funk out and we get takeout. Breakfast gets made from scratch every once in awhile, but most of the time it’s yogurt, granola, or cereal, or the kids make eggs for themselves. Lunch? Leftovers and sandwiches, if we even remember to eat it.

      • BeatriceC
        August 21, 2016 at 11:50 am #

        My allergies force me to make everything from scratch. I don’t get a whole lot of other options if I want to keep breathing. It’s hugely time consuming.

      • Heidi
        August 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

        I found her schedule from 5 years ago with only 3 kids. There was about an hour dedicated to school, if they were in the mood or if she didn’t need to run errands. Now I don’t know how old her children were then, so maybe they weren’t school age yet, but she’s got two more now and some of them have to be school age by now. She also supposedly cleaned her kitchen and did other cleaning chores all in the same 30 minute time block, which seemed implausible. I only got one and he’s 8 months. I might get my kitchen clean in 30 minutes if baby complies! Although most the time, I get interrupted a few times. Maybe some of her tinctures are natcheral sources of methamphetamines?

        • J.B.
          August 21, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

          Mmm, but if she is truly a devotee of the Duggars, she makes the kids do all the cooking, cleaning and educating themselves. Homeschoolers Anonymous has some disturbing stories (about lived experiences.)

          • Heidi
            August 21, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

            You are probably right. I was kind of thinking her children would be too young to help out, but you know, they probably are too young, but that probably doesn’t stop her.

      • Chi
        August 21, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

        I remember a little while ago, she posted some photos of her kids, specifically her youngest who was still a baby and she caught a LOT of flak from people for them because in the photos the floor was absolutely FILTHY. I’m talking the kind of grossness you probably wouldn’t let a pig wallow in, let alone a young baby.

        I’m talking food remnants, odd black marks and it was clear a vacuum hadn’t been run over it in some time. But she got all defensive saying it ‘wasn’t normally like that’.

        And let’s not forget her previous house in which the basement was covered in toxic black mold. She claims it was from the washing machine flooding or some such, but she fails to recognize that mold needs time to grow and if they’d used a hefty dose of bleach after the flood it wouldn’t have happened.

        She’s a charlatan who likes to portray this image of a ‘perfect’ dutiful Christian wife who is also edgy and ‘awakened’ because she shuns most things mainstream (I notice her disdain for modern life doesn’t extend to the internet and social media). But in reality she’s a fraud and I feel REALLY sorry for her kids if they ever catch something serious from the unhygienic conditions they’re living in because she’ll probably slather them in essential oils and then try to pray it away.

        Cos let’s not forget it took her a week to get her baby’s broken arm tended to, and she took him to a chiropractor first.

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          August 21, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

          My neighbor has a horrible gum ball (sweet gum) tree. The roots get into my sewer about once every five years. I have had straight feces on my basement floor from the drain. Guess what, no mold because we f**king cleaned it up

          • Heidi
            August 21, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

            Have you tried Zep? Our sewer got roots in it, and after the plumber cleared them out, we pour Zep down our toilets every 3 months to kill the roots.

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            August 22, 2016 at 9:36 am #

            No I haven’t. I will have to try that

        • Heidi
          August 21, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

          I’m sure her gross floors were to strengthen their immune systems!

        • BeatriceC
          August 21, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

          There are times when I want to take a picture but don’t because there’s something in the frame that I’m embarrassed about. I have four birds. They make messes. It’s a never ending struggle and I’m always up to my eyeballs in bird poop. Right now I wouldn’t take a picture of my living room because a certain macaw was mad at me for putting her in her cage before she wanted to go back so she threw her food and bits of chewed up wooden toys at me, and they landed all over the place. I’m working on it, I swear. (It’ll be cleaned up in the next 20 minutes or so. I’m taking a break.)

          • Chi
            August 21, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

            The thing is you’re aware of that. And you do still clean regularly even if things are just going to get messy again.

            She was unashamed of the fact that her floor was filthy and looked like a vacuum hadn’t touched it in weeks.

          • Heidi
            August 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

            What I find so infuriating is that she markets herself as some sort of Super Housewife/Stay at Home Mom but “alternative” style (she seems very far from modern and pretty far from what I consider alternative but whatever). She even gives recipes for DIY cleaning products. My house, while not filthy, has seen better days since the birth of my son, but I am not claiming to have a perfect household either and I’m definitely not selling products based on that. If I was going to make a blog, it would be about staying afloat and hacks to have a clean enough house!

        • Heidi
          August 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

          If she was almost anyone else, and also wasn’t so smug about how much better she is than mainstream parents, I would feel bad for her. I’d think, this poor woman is in over her head, maybe is suffering from depression, and could use a helping hand.

        • Eater of Worlds
          August 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

          This is just so people have the info. Chlorine bleach is no longer recommended to take care of mold. For one it’s only rated as a surface cleaner, so if you have mold on tile you’re fine. If you have it on grout or wood, chlorine wont help you because it doesn’t penetrate. Additionally, chlorine bleach is 90% water. Once the chlorine evaporates you’re left with water, allowing mold to spread further. Basically, you have to scrub the mold covered surfaces (like the framing) with some sort of more specialized crap to get the roots of the mold then seal it, otherwise you are just spreading mold.

    • Azuran
      August 21, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      I think it’s just a facade.

      Obviously, there is no ‘research’ going on. Alternative health people just go on other alternative health sites and write what they see. So it probably takes only 1-2 hours to prepare her posts of the day.
      I also doubt she does what she preaches. I’m sure they don’t eat and do all the stuff she claims everyone should do. She probably also have a cleaning lady, and I bet she uses normal cleaning products.

      Most people who can manage to be a SAHM will have a partner that make
      enough money to support their family. So she’s probably not rich, but
      not poor either by any standard and doesn’t actually ‘need’ the money
      from her blog to live.
      I’d guess that she probably though being a SAHM was somewhat boring, unrewarding and that she didn’t get any recognition or had no personal achievement of her own. Hence she became MAM because she needed to be seen and have something else in life.

      • Irène Delse
        August 22, 2016 at 1:59 am #

        Or she has a cleaning lady *and* she makes her use only vinegar and soda. Based on the confidences of the woman whom my mom employed at her house, a lot of people are comfortable making the household help do things the hard way.

  5. Azuran
    August 20, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    So, MAM is apparently trying to pretend nothing ever happened and keep on her merry way by posting new unrelated ‘health’ posts on her facebook. But the people are not ready to let her get away with it, the comments are priceless.

  6. Amy Tuteur, MD
    August 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    According to Wikipedia:

    “Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities … by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”

    • Marie Gregg
      August 20, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

      Is she using the royal we?

    • demodocus
      August 21, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      *eyeroll* of COURSE modern medicine and science aren’t perfect, but they’re a heck of a lot better than the alternative. Pun intended.

    • Sarah
      August 21, 2016 at 9:28 am #

      Yes. The controversy is because of faults in the behaviour of others. It is literally impossible that it could be because Katie is a filthy bigot.

    • Tigger_the_Wing
      August 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

      So, according to her, the ‘best version of myself’ wouldn’t be autistic? In other words, wouldn’t be ‘me’ at all?!

      What a nasty person she is.

      If she is being the ‘best version of herself’, bless her cotton socks because that certainly isn’t a version I’d aspire to, thank you very much.

      I prefer to think about what I can do to make things easier for other people, not how I might change them to make things easier for me.

  7. Amy
    August 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    She’s now on her personal page complaining about all the “hate.” How “mean” everyone is. And she doesn’t understand why this anti-vax post in particular drew so much ire compared to the others. Someone commented that it’s because the post “hit a nerve.”

    Well, yes and no. It hit a nerve only in the sense that you’re saying it’s better to risk your kids’ LIVES than to “risk” their developing autism (of course that’s stipulating that the MMR vaccine even causes autism, which we all know it doesn’t). She and her followers really don’t get how horrible that is to those of us who are close to people with autism, or have autism ourselves.

    • Ramtamtam
      August 21, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

      It certainly hit a nerve for me, my comments are still up, because she has no clue about autism. She is disrespectful to people with autism and their families and the professionals who have spent decades on reseach, the way she presents autism as something you just need to “cure” to reveal the true child/person within.

  8. BeatriceC
    August 20, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    I’ve always wondered if the changeling in old Irish terminology was actually severe autism.

    • Gene
      August 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

      What an interesting thought… Many diseases and congenital anomalies feature prominently in legends and fairy tales.

      • BeatriceC
        August 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

        I heard the changing legends from my grandmother’s Irish relatives as a child. A while back my brain sort of wandered to those stories, and I’ve wondered about it ever since. There’s no way to actually prove it, but there are a few eerie similarities, not the least of which is a perfectly normal infant suddenly changing so dramatically around 12-18 months old. The timing is intriguing.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      August 20, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      Or not even severe autism. By employment history, if nothing else, my autism is “mild” yet baby me would have fit a lot of the “changeling” stereotypes: colicky, didn’t interact well, acted kind of strange. Heck, if offered the explanation “you’re a changeling” to explain why things were so strange for me, I probably would have believed it.

    • Mishimoo
      August 21, 2016 at 6:21 am #

      I read something about it that linked the two, but I can’t remember where. The suggested treatment of a suspected changeling is at best, going to change a child’s behaviour due to abuse and at worst, was socially sanctioned infanticide.

    • Stephanie Rotherham
      August 21, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      My mother often jokes that I’m a changeling, because I’m so different compared to the rest of my family.

      (I’ve never been diagnosed with anything, but I’m starting to question that; I’ve got some anxiety that should probably be treated if I ever hope to be independent, and some mild sensory processing problems, at the very least, and since I loathe that self diagnosing fad, I won’t say I’m on the spectrum, but I don’t think my brain is exactly neurotypical)

      • corblimeybot
        August 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

        I kind of hear you on self-diagnosis, but I honestly think a lot of people do it because it’s pretty hard to be officially diagnosed with autism spectrum stuff as an adult. It’s difficult and expensive to access professionals who can do it. Harder still if you’re a woman.

        I think it was Juniper Russo at Back From Nature who didn’t have a single clue she was on the spectrum until her children started getting diagnosed, and their pediatrician said she should look into diagnosis herself. Edit: Link to her piece about that http://www.backfromnature.org/2015/03/i-gave-my-child-autism.html

  9. Nick Sanders
    August 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    And she’s doubled down:

    • momofone
      August 20, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

      Whoa. The shit is deep there. I only lasted a few minutes before I had to come up for air.

      • Chi
        August 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

        What gets me is that they call us big pharma sheep and yet they hang on every word she and her cronies spout.

        Clearly they need to go back to school and learn the definition of irony.

  10. Amy
    August 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    She doesn’t have a background in anything related to autism or other learning disabilities either. She home schools her kids, so it’s not like they’re coming into contact with a lot of kids with a variety of learning styles and abilities. She doesn’t know how inclusive classrooms work, about programs like Best Buddies or Special Olympics, about the extensive training ALL teachers undergo (at least in my state) to make sure we can meet our students’ needs.

    And she also doesn’t see the end result of all those programs, all of the young adults with autism who are doing well and leading productive lives.

    • August 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

      Bloggers like her drive me bonkers. She yammers on about wanting to “help” people, but I’ve never seen any sign she gets out from in front of the computer and actually puts her brain, heart or muscles to work DOING anything for others.

      I don’t care where she lives; there is someone within 10 miles who needs help – with daily life skills, with learning the dominant language, with earning a high school diploma or GED, with applying for a job, with becoming literate, with caring for their young children.

      Until she actually DOES something for someone else, she should stop throwing stones at everyone else.

      • Chi
        August 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

        But she DOES help people! She sells them essential oils and things and stuff! Her products make their lives BETTER!

        Never mind the fact that they’re probably just overpriced placebos.

        (note: sarcasm about her helping people. I think she’s a waste of space and oxygen. It would baffle me that she has so many followers, but then I remember how many rabid Trump supporters there are and…-shrug-)

        • momofone
          August 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

          Don’t forget that she’s raising organic wonder-children! I’m sure she can’t imagine a better gift to the world!

          • Chi
            August 20, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

            I really do feel sorry for her kids. She’s homeschooling them so the odds of them receiving anything resembling a decent science education is slim to none.

            Truthfully they’re probably going to be next generation charlatans because that’s all they know.

          • Amy
            August 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

            If her blog posts and Facebook “likes” are anything to go by, she’s also both an unschooler and a fundamentalist Christian who rejects anything approaching real science as ungodly. So I’m going with “none.”

          • LeighW
            August 21, 2016 at 11:05 am #

            How do people who “unschool” expect their children to have any type of career when they’re adults? How can there possibly be enough jobs in their religious communities to support everyone?

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

            It can be done, but it’s an enormous amount of work. I’ve occasionally done “unschooling” with my kids for short stretches when they couldn’t be in school for medical reasons. However, I put at least three times the amount of hours into it than I would have if I used a traditional curriculum. I had a set of topics that needed to be covered, and found ways to cover those topics within activities they were interested. For example, we needed to cover the concept of energy waves (late elementary level). We went to the beach. We got in the water and felt the waves as they moved towards the shores. We observed how much energy the waves had. We noted the difference between big waves and small waves. Then we chatted about the more academic stuff once they had the physical experience to draw from. Another example: we’ve traveled a lot. They got a lot of math computing miles traveled, miles left to go, computing gas milage, money spent, etc. There’s a lot of history that can be covered while traveling too. But always, in the back of my mind, was the set of topics that needed to be covered, as I searched for how to incorporate those topics into what we were doing. It wasn’t easy, but it was fun, and the kids did learn a lot.

          • Dinolindor
            August 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

            Pretty sure that’s not what’s meant by unschooling. That’s homeschooling, and I’m pretty sure there’s a big difference between the two.

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

            Actually that’s exactly what unschooling was conceived to be. It was supposed to be a way to teach the child through the child’s own interests, by sneaking in “real education”‘when they didn’t think it was happening, on the theory that children learn better when they are interested in something. It’s far more work to do right than a traditional curriculum, and many people take it as a lazy way out, and you get what most people now think of when the topic is mentioned.

          • Dinolindor
            August 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

            But as you say above, the term has been bastardized. I just think we should be wary of sticking to the original term that differentiated between homeschooling paths when there is that much insanity also using the term. Do you really think how you approached teaching your kids while out of school is the methodology MAM is using for her unschooling? I could easily be wrong here, but I associate “unschooling” with people who are incredibly mistrustful of “the system.” I don’t think I’m in the minority in associating unschooling with that type of ideology – and at the same time seeing the merit in various ways a family can approach homeschooling.

          • Wren
            August 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

            That may be the ideal of unschooling, but judging from the posts on the topic in places like mothering it sure ain’t the reality.

            I’ve always kind of viewed the unschooling stuff as what many good parents just do with their kids anyway. When mine cook with me we have covered reading (the recipe), measuring (maths), multiplying or dividing the recipe if needed (more maths), keeping things safe (including some great biology discussions on food poisoning), touched on chemistry and physics for the actual cooking part and my favourite part for them to learn: how to clean up after yourself. Travel, shopping, driving someplace new using a map or directions and loads of other activities can sneak in learning. I still don’t think that could or should take the place of school for my kids given all that I personally do not know.

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

            Right. And as I said previously, the concept has been badly misused. I’ve done it in temporary situations (traveling for medical care when regular school was impossible and not room in the schedule for sit-down lessons on any sort of consistent basis). I was confident in my knowledge for elementary and middle school age kids and did a lot of work in the background to make sure I was getting all the required topics worked in. I also a teacher (middle school and community college level math), so I had a bit of an advantage. Even then, I relied heavily on my teacher friends in other subject areas when I ran into issues. I recall a lot of late night phone calls that were basically “I have to cover X and we are doing Y and Z in the next few days, how can I work this in? Of course, not everybody has those sorts of resources and the willingness to admit when they are in over their heads. And again, these were temporary situations when there were no better choices.

          • LeighW
            August 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

            I was about to say the same thing.

            That’s just good parenting.

          • Azuran
            August 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

            But isn’t unschooling basically letting your kids do whatever they want and learn whatever they want to learn on their own and never push then (gently or not) to learn a certain subject?

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

            Nope. It’s supposed to be a way to teach through the child’s own interests and real life situations. The concept, of course, has been bastardized, just as so many other things have been.

          • guest
            August 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

            The core of it is that the child chooses what they want to learn, and when, and most of that learning occurs through activities they child enjoys. So if your child says they want to learn how to cook, you don’t give them books about food philosophy or nutrition to read, but you go into the kitchen and learn by doing. *Properly* done, the adult guiding the learning works in information about food safety and nutrition. But if your child never wants to work on math skills, there’s a danger that they will never learn them if the parents are overly rigid about the “child chooses” part. Some children will express natural curiosity in all the standard areas of learning, but others won’t. Personally, I think that approach works best *in combination with* traditional schooling.

            The dangers of unschooling are mostly to do with parents being unqualified to teach what the child is interested in, particularly as the child gets older, and I also think it gets used as a way to shield children from challenging ideas without having to do the work of traditional homeschooling. That’s not really unschooling, just using unschooling as a cover for denying children their right to an education. But not every unschooler will be doing that. I *don’t* think it gets better results than traditional schooling most of the time. There are some children that will be better suited to this approach, but the majority do not need it to reach their full potential.

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

            To add on to this, and going back to “properly done” and the math example. “Properly done” means that you work math into cooking even if the child doesn’t seem initially interested. Measuring stuff out, multiplying a recipe by a factor of two or three, or one half, or whatever. Science gets worked in when you bring up concepts of thermodynamics and chemistry involved in cooking and baking, and the list goes on. It’s never brought up as “education”, but simply part of what’s involved in the activity the child chooses.

          • guest
            August 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

            This. And see, I would never do well because I hate math so much that I wouldn’t think of working it in as often as I should. That doesn’t mean no one can do it well, but there’s not certification or training process to help people ascertain whether or not they can really do it well, so I think it’s risky. But it CAN work out great, and I use the basic premise as a model for my weekend/evening interactions with my kids.

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

            I taught middle school math for a decade. I can turn practically anything into a math lesson. 🙂

          • Amy
            August 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

            And of course, “properly done” unschooling by that description happens even in traditional public schools in the form of elective classes, extracurriculars, and “choice time” at the elementary level.

          • Carolyn the Red
            August 22, 2016 at 9:34 am #

            It’s called emergent curriculum, and is mainstream in lower grades (at least in Ontario). Every kindergarten talks about it.

          • Inmara
            August 22, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

            Thank you for explaining how unschooling differs from homeschooling! I see an inherent danger in this approach, and it’s never getting children to discipline themselves to work on things they’re not so excited about. Without this skill they’ll never be able to work ANYWHERE, and even if they undertake some personal business or such, there will be mundane things to be done more often than expected. Heck, I love my job, but every day I have to deal with some tasks that I’d like to put aside (and I procrastinate too much anyway). If I hadn’t been taught to do things orderly and timely, I wouldn’t last in any position for very long.

          • Roadstergal
            August 22, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

            There’s that danger – and then there’s also the danger that the kid will never learn about something they might find they actually like. I HATED math as a little girl, but learned it because I had to – and I grew to love it, and ended up a math minor who keeps her toe in a lot of stats. If I had been ‘unschooled,’ I never would have been exposed to this whole lovely area.

          • August 25, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

            In theory, the kids learn to start their own businesses by developing the skills to be independent learners.

          • Fleur
            August 21, 2016 at 1:29 am #

            Yup. I’ve absolutely no problem with homeschooling in general but there’s a certain type of parent who says “I homeschool my kids because the school system just turns out cookie cutter kids who never question anything”, when what they really mean is “I don’t want my kids going to school because they might get exposed to other ideas and start questioning MY beliefs”.

          • Chi
            August 21, 2016 at 2:15 am #

            Because if they start questioning their parent’s beliefs they might actually realize how batshit insane and backwards their parents actually are?

          • demodocus
            August 21, 2016 at 7:57 am #

            i know a man whose mother was quite explicit that this was her reason for homeschooling (i’ve known him since he was 16) All his kids except the toddler attend public school.

          • cookiebaker
            August 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

            I had an acquaintance years ago who enrolled her son in a “charter school” and she went on and on about how the learning was child centered, the kids choose their curriculum, and how much better this learning method was and on and on and on…

            Towards the end of the school year I asked how it went. What kind of advanced subjects did he show interest in? She said she wasn’t going to enroll him again. The kids played video games all year, and never cracked a text book.

            So much for letting pre-teen boys choose their curriculum!

          • BeatriceC
            August 21, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

            Oh, but it can be done. I’ve used video games as the source for lessons in the past. The lessons are a hit, but they’re a shit ton of work to put together.

          • cookiebaker
            August 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

            I agree that it can be done; I’ve met a lot of great and dedicated homeschooling parents, but from what I understand, the kids got to make all the decisions, so they were playing your average, mainstream shoot-’em-up type of games for months on end.

          • August 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

            If you look at the original John Holt stuff, the idea might be…

            Say that you have a kid who’s really hates maths and is really struggling with it. However, they love music so why not use that to teach fractions?

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
      August 20, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      She’s an ignorant twat waffle. But the most ignorant dummies seem to have the loudest opinions, don’t they?

  11. AA
    August 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    I read a longform article on teh web that was linked to by a commenter here. The article was about a woman’s experience planning to do a vaginal delivery w/ no epidural, in the end she delivered via c-section. when her labor was not going well, she described wanting a c-section like you do when someone offers you a glass of water at their house, but you turn it down, but in reality you really want that glass of wate.r

  12. Charlotte
    August 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Apparently the article is written by a contributor called Jaclyn, not by the blog owner Kate.

    • Clorinda
      August 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

      But Kate is firmly behind the author and keeps standing up for each and every point.

      • Charlotte
        August 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

        Sure, but I think giving correct attribution is quite important when criticising such nonsense. You look a little silly if you can’t get their name right… (I totally agree that the article is nonsense etc)

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      August 20, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      I know that.

    • Angela
      August 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

      It’s Kate’s blog, though. I would assume that a posting on a blog would be backed by the blog owner. She hires those people to write posts for her.

  13. Clorinda
    August 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    The thing I keep pointing out to people about autoimmune issues is before discovery, we have no clue HOW many people had it. And with the incidence of diseases that could and would kill the healthy as well as any immunocompromised, the immunocompromised didn’t last long enough to have symptoms collated and studied much so few of the autoimmune diseases were known then. Type 1 Diabetes? Once it hit, you were likely dead with a couple years max. Asthma? Any respiratory disease coming along could kill you. Eczema? When did they understand the differences in skin conditions and stop lumping a lot of them under leprosy? Not until they found that leprosy itself was an specific infection and other skin conditions weren’t. Rheumatism and arthritis have been known for centuries but it was many things lumped together until doctors could parse out the differences.

    Most people with any of these or any of the ones we’ve discovered in modern times would have been labeled as “sickly” if they had obvious symptoms and hypochondriacs without. Some of the “sickly” (like Teddy Roosevelt) overcame their childhood issues enough to have a public life. Most just lived with a relative until they died – the weak and sickly aunt or uncle so they were less likely to pass on the autoimmune conditions tied to genes.

    Same with food allergies. Of course, the details weren’t known but I found news articles from the 1890s talking about skin prick testing, elimination diets, etc.

    So the argument that these are on the rise and we’ve never had these before is a specious argument.

    • Hannah
      August 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      Ugh, this is something I really wish people would get through their heads. Anything past roughly 60 years ago, and I would have been dead of kidney failure by age 20 with nobody knowing why. Now, not only have I gotten to live to 28 (so far), but I will most likely have a normal lifespan, AND I get to know why (lupus). Yes, I’m ‘living with it’, the way Teitje so derisively states, but, well… the alternative is to kill myself, so I think I’ll pick the option she looks down on. It’s so much nicer for me.

    • Angela
      August 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

      Yes yes yes. I’ve had these same thoughts.

      What is it with all these “alternative” people thinking that everyone who lives mostly mainstream is so sickly? (Or living off of McDonald’s food and Tylenol?)

      • Fleur
        August 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

        My favourite is “you can spot people who’ve been vaccinated because they all have glazed eyes”. I freely admit to glazing over when I’m talking to antivaxxers. Do vaccines appear to cause frequent yawning too? If so, I think I’ve solved the mystery.

        • Ramtamtam
          August 21, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

          Frequent eyerolling is also a common vaccine injury.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

      Yup. All of this.

      Heck…..don’t any of them read any classic literature? We just got back from a trip to Atlantic Canada, so my brain is full of Anne of Green Gables. People had rheumatism, cattarrh (sp?), consumption, gout like you wouldn’t believe. Some people were just generally skinny and sickly no matter how much food was available, and died young– this was attributed to “weak constitution.” And this was only a hundred years ago!

      Go back further and almost every historical figure had kids that didn’t survive to adulthood for one reason or another, or the historical figures themselves died young. Henry VIII was 56, and the two wives of his who weren’t beheaded or died in childbirth lived to 51 (Catherine of Aragon) and 42 (Anne of Cleves). George Washington, who was rich and privileged, was 67, younger than both my parents (who only recently retired and continue to work part time and lead productive, active lives). Bonnie Prince Charlie was 68. While Paul Revere lived to age 84, his wives died at ages 37 and 68, and only two of his eleven children outlived him. These people had natural births, no vaccines, no antibiotics, and ate a 100% natural, organic diet. I think we can also presume that they all got sufficient exercise. (And based on what Tietje publicly admits, it’s a good bet that their living quarters were cleaner, too.)

      Meanwhile, my two grandfathers lived well into their seventies, and my two grandmothers lived to 89 and 92.

      • demodocus
        August 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

        Henry also lost all 3 of his acknowledged sons young, 2 as teens and 1 a few weeks after birth. And the shear number of stillbirths or miscarriages Katharine and Anne Boleyn had is rather scary.

        • Amy
          August 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

          Yup. Katherine had, I think, six kids total, not counting miscarriages, and only Mary survived.

      • Erin
        August 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

        My maternal Grandfather died of TB aged 29 leaving behind a wife of 25 plus 3 kids (4,3 and 18 months).

        Strangely enough TB was the only vaccine I had as a child after my convulsions.

      • Clorinda
        August 20, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

        I have one ancestor who had 10 children, 5 lived long enough to have names, 3 survived to have children of their own and 2 survived her (one of those survivors was actually named after one of the other siblings that died before age 3). She lived into her 80s. By the culture of the times, the fact that they acknowledged 10 children meant that they were all born breathing, the five without names likely died within minutes of birth before a priest could christen them.

      • cookiebaker
        August 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

        I love Anne of Green Gables books! The books frequently mention vaccine preventable diseases and many losses, deaths and near misses. Anne’s first baby died after a long, difficult labor. She almost died after her 4th or 5th baby. Her and her husband both nearly died from pneumonia. Her childhood friend died of TB (called galloping consumption.) The minister’s wife had buried a 3-month old baby.

        It really makes me grateful for vaccines, modern medicine and obstetrics!

        • Amy
          August 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

          Little Joy– within hours of birth! And she almost died after number 5. But….number four (Walter, who did end up getting killed in WWI) had a prolonged fever that almost killed him. And Diana’s sister almost died of croup (which can be prevented or mitigated through the DPT or flu vaccines).

          Then there was the brain-injured neighbor who was his mean cousin’s doppelganger, and everyone thought he was the mean cousin for something like twenty years.

          Speaking of which…..off to go drink some raspberry cordial we bought in PEI 😉

          • cookiebaker
            August 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

            I thought Walter was the 2nd? I thought he was after Jem and before the twins, Nan and Di. I might have to re-read the series. I cried when he died. You’re right, it was after Shirley she nearly died, so he became Susan’s little brown boy. I wonder what they fed the baby for that first year? She was likely too sick to breastfeed.

            I’ve always wondered what raspberry cordial tasted like. Visiting PEI is on my bucket list. You’re so lucky!

          • Amy
            August 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

            The twins were definitely older than Walter, but all four kids (Jem, Walter, twins) were pretty close in age.

            The stuff we got from Cows (PEI ice cream place, kind of like Ben and Jerry’s) is like carbonated and sweet raspberry juice. It may or may not have been enhanced with vodka. (Hey, PEI is all about potatoes, and vodka is made from potatoes, so this is totally authentic, right?)

        • Sullivan ThePoop
          August 21, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

          How about Gone with the Wind where Scarlet’s husband died from measles

    • BeatriceC
      August 20, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

      Then there’s people like MrC. He’s autistic. He’ll be 63 in a week. He was born in 1953, 2 years before the first polio vaccine came out 10 years before the stand-along measles vaccine came out, 14 years before the stand alone mumps vaccine came out, and 18 years before the MMR came out. The only vaccines he got as a child were small pox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and, when they were available, both versions of the polio vaccine. And he’s still autistic. He also got the measles and mumps as a small child (doesn’t remember if he got rubella, though given his field, he’s had to have some vaccines as an adult, and again, he doesn’t recall which ones). Since he’s autistic anyway, he’d have much preferred if the vaccines were available before he had the chance to get the actual diseases. It would have saved him some childhood misery.

      • Sarah
        August 21, 2016 at 9:35 am #

        I’m afraid this is literally impossible. Autism didn’t exist before the measles vaccine. You are a formula shill and I claim my $5.

        • BeatriceC
          August 21, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

          lol. He doesn’t always do sarcasm well, but given the vast differences in our ages, we of course were given vastly different vaccines on different schedules. We were talking about this stuff the other day and he says to me totally deadpan “yup, this is why I’m autistic and you’re not.”

      • Tigger_the_Wing
        August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

        My husband was born in ’55, I was born in ’57. We both got small pox, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio vaccines. I also got BCG; after my paternal grandmother died of TB when my father was a young teen, he caught it too and was within days of death when his life was saved by those new-fangled antibiotics.

        At the time, they didn’t know how effective they’d be, so my siblings and I were vaccinated with BCG as infants, and throughout my childhood there were annual visits to the TB hospital so that he and my mother could be checked out.

        Thanks, modern medicine – by saving my autistic father’s life, you allowed him to have autistic daughters, autistic grandchildren, and autistic great-great grandchildren.

        And what about the diseases for which there were no vaccines?

        Measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough… my childhood was punctuated by disease, and I had frequent ear infections because of my lowered immunity (thanks, measles – the gift that keeps on giving…) and am fortunate that I didn’t lose my hearing. Misery is right. And I was lucky – some of my classmates, and those of my siblings, didn’t survive.

        (We know where my father got his autism – from his father. Although we just blamed it on his being Welsh.)

        • BeatriceC
          August 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

          There’s a huge age difference between me and MrC. I was born in 75. I only “got” to experience chicken pox. That was more than enough misery for me.

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            August 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

            I agree, and it is immensely frustrating that neither the UK nor Ireland will vaccinate against it. My daughter (whose partner is a mere eighteen years older than her) got shingles when she was just five.

            The vaccine is only available, privately, to the over-sixties and people like me with immune problems (it cost me €200). I tried to buy them for my grandkids, but there is a shortage (whether deliberate or not, I cannot say).

    • August 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Honestly, I bet a lot of people with severe or recurrent eczema died young because of staph skin infections (says the woman who is watching a small rough skin patch on the side of her mouth like a hawk since Mel’s body seems to enjoy getting impetigo).

      • Clorinda
        August 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

        Chicken pox vaccine was still “newish” when my oldest was born. After seeing what sorts of skin infections could come from scratching herself bloody because we had to work on the right combination of therapies before it was under control, we thought – “yeah. EXTRA good idea to get that one.” Some parents in an eczema support group I’m in have posted pictures from their poor child’s severe eczema plus chicken pox episode.

    • Gene
      August 20, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

      There is an interesting book called “Intern” written by Dr X (anonymous). It mentions a few of those illnesses. He writes about a little girl named Bibble with diabetes who was just waiting to die. And a three year old with leukemia. Both died. And he was very matter of fact. There was no treatment.

      He also describes measles (and measles encephalitis), tetanus, meningitis, Rh incompatibility, etc. And many of those kids died.

      • Tigger_the_Wing
        August 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

        Good point about the Rh incompatibility – thanks to the Man with the Golden Blood (Australian James Harrison), I was given anti-D after each of my first three pregnancies and have five surviving children (I didn’t need anti-D after the twins; both are Rh- like me).

        In the past, many Rh- women only had one child and miscarried all subsequent pregnancies or lost the baby shortly after birth.

        • Gene
          August 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

          My aunt was sensitized when pregnant with my oldest cousin (she’s in her mid 30’s). Her second child almost died due to Rh incompatibility. She was unable to have any more children.

          It wasn’t that long ago…

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            August 22, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

            Not that long ago, indeed.

            My eldest is in his mid-thirties; he was severely jaundiced after birth, so I probably already had some antibodies circulating from a previous miscarriage.

            But he wasn’t as sick as another baby on the same ward whose mother hadn’t been given anti-D after going to term with a still-birth.

            I believe that women are now routinely tested for being Rh- and given anti-D during pregnancy, not just after delivery as we were in the eighties.

    • fiftyfifty1
      August 20, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

      “The thing I keep pointing out to people about autoimmune issues is before discovery, we have no clue HOW many people had it. ..”
      “Same with food allergies.”

      Well, we do have some evidence for celiac sprue at least IIRC. They tested blood samples that had been frozen for decades and found that sprue really was more rare then.

      • Clorinda
        August 20, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

        I agree that some things probably are on the rise. Don’t know all the mechanisms behind it. But it is the denial that food allergies and autoimmune issues existed before vaccines that bugs me.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          August 20, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

          There is at least some evidence that allergies are increasing due to conditions being too clean (the hygiene hypothesis). If this is true, then the contribution of vaccines is that vaccines have become more specific and had fewer antigens included over the years, possibly meaning less non-specific immune stimulation and possibly more allergies. In other words, if there is any effect (and there likely isn’t), it is probably not “too many too soon” but rather “too few, too late”.

          • Amy
            August 20, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

            Yup. And of course it’s all inter-confounded. Cleaner means safer and healthier overall– less food poisoning, fewer infections, fewer deadly infections. The price we pay for that may be more allergies and auto-immune diseases.

            But I, as I’m sure most people here do, have many, many friends and relatives with allergies and auto-immune diseases, and the ones whose opinions I know are all happy we have better hygiene and modern medicines.

          • Sullivan ThePoop
            August 21, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

            I think we will eventually find a way to overcome the problem. Maybe by killed parasites.

          • guest
            August 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

            I have a recently diagnosed auto-immune disease that is currently not controlled well. I am still happy for better hygiene and modern medicine. I’ll take the pain I have today with medicines to hopefully treat it than hoping my children survive and no one dies of a preventable illness or infection.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

            The “hygiene hypothesis” has been majorly misinterpreted.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        August 20, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

        Was that in similar populations, though? The incidence of celiac sprue varies in different races, probably related to how long the particular race has been exposed to wheat.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 21, 2016 at 8:34 am #

          Yes, it was the same population. IIRC it was blood samples collected by the American military for some other reason around WWII.

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            August 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

            How similar, though, are members of the American Military? Don’t they have recent ancestors from all over Europe and other places? The prevalence of gluten tolerance varies quite a lot from one European area to another.


          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

            The WW II vets, yes, were mostly (but not all) European-ancestry.

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            August 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

            And the prevalence of cœliac disease varies from one part of Europe to the other. On average, it’s about 1% across the whole region, but it varies quite a bit between countries. Of course, that could be an artefact of diagnostic differences between countries; it is thought that as many as 80% of people with cœliac disease are undiagnosed (I didn’t get my diagnosis until my mid-thirties).

      • Nerdsamwich
        August 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        Could it be that modern medicine is allowing more sufferers to survive to pass it on? That’s got to be at least a good-sized factor in the prevalence of such things.

        • Amy
          August 20, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

          Not if you don’t believe in evolution! (She doesn’t.)

          • Nerdsamwich
            August 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

            When the question is one of objectively-verifiable reality, does it matter what you “believe in”? (It doesn’t.)

          • Nick Sanders
            August 27, 2016 at 3:18 pm #


          • Nerdsamwich
            August 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

            Yeah, that’s unfortunate. However, it doesn’t matter to the facts in question. Whether or not you believe in disease, it’ll still kill ya. There are graveyards filled with the children of faith healers.

        • Nick Sanders
          August 20, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

          OT, but I love that you have an 8BT avatar.

          • Nerdsamwich
            August 27, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

            And it’s indicative of the frustration engendered by having to share a community with idiots who think their “beliefs” matter one bit when it comes to objectively-verifiable questions.

          • Nick Sanders
            August 27, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

            Black Mage is definitely a good choice, then. I get lots of stabbity urges from them, too.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        August 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

        Allergies have a increased since the advent of good sanitation. We have a whole arm of our immune system for parasitic infections, but parasitic infections are extremely rare in developed countries.

        • Tigger_the_Wing
          August 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

          They did an experiment in Australia, giving people with cœliac disease some hookworms. At the end of the experiment, none of the participants wanted to part with the worms – they were so happy to be able to eat whatever they fancied.

          So it may well be that in earlier generations, those with a less extreme version of sprue survived because they also had hookworms, and the advent of vermicides was bad news for us.

          However, until scientists identify and can replicate the protein excreted by the worms, which reduces the gut inflammation caused by the reaction to gluten, the only way to treat cœliac disease is either to avoid gluten (as I have done for over twenty years), or get a package of fresh internal pets every four years or so.

          • Roadstergal
            August 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

            The trials have so far all been very small (low-n) and shown barely any difference between treatment and placebo. I’m open to the idea, but I’m highly skeptical helminth infection is the wunderdrug it’s touted as.

            (The biggest benefits have been seen in utterly unblinded uses – and we all know how messy those can be.)

            There’s a lot of animal work, but the animal models of inflammatory bowel disease are problematic. The ones that are most like human disease are still not a lot like human disease, and the ones that are cheapest and easiest aren’t in the least like human disease (DSS colitis, in particular – cheap, easy, fast, and just nothing like IBD).

            There’s a cottontail tamarind model that’s probably most like humans, but nobody uses monkeys flippantly in research, so not much has been done with it.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

            I have to say, that sounds a little too weird, even for me. (I do not have celiac, just sayin’.)

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            August 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

            Me too, and I do have cœliac disease, and greatly miss a lot of the foods I used to eat.

            I wouldn’t be eligible for trials anyway, not with my EDS etc.

            My guts are just horrible to me.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      August 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

      Think about when Grave’s disease was first diagnosed. It used to be pretty normal for people to have thyroid goiters in certain areas. Then they found that supplementing with iodine reduced the number of goiters substantially. Although, rarely some people would still get goiters. Doctors started noticing that these people had different symptoms like rapid heart beat and weight loss. Before then when it was pretty normal to have goiters no one thought to even look to see if they were different. This was one of the first autoimmune disorders fully described.

    • Irène Delse
      August 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

      Good point. I could have died several times during childhood, thanks to asthma. And later I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism, something that, left untreated, would have slowly weakened my organism and probably led to a semi-invalid condition.

  14. sdsures
    August 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Tjetje claims that “autism can be healed”:

    “Healing autism involves intensive intestinal healing, expensive supplements, and plenty of time and patience, but it certainly can be done.”


    • Inmara
      August 20, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Google GAPS diet. You’ll be appalled of what some quacks insist on doing to autistic children, in some cases (when diet causes diarrhea, vomiting and nutritional deficiencies) it’s not much better than infamous MMS aka bleach enemas.

    • Jayne M Junemann
      August 20, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

      i mean, if they think it can be healed then the fact they think it can be caused by vaccines should be irrelevant shouldn’t it?

    • Amy
      August 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

      How would she even know? Didn’t she prevent autism in her kids by not vaccinating them?

    • Clorinda
      August 20, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Healing the gut is the answer to everything: autoimmune conditions, autism, even cancer and the “clean eating”. I read posts about “Have you experienced any of these (list of 20 – 50 generic symptoms common to everything from the common cold to cancer), then you have (insert diagnosis which may be a real one or a fake one loosely based on a press release about a new one-off study 10 years ago)! And then the pitch is those same things – their diet, supplements and this book to guide you.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      August 20, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

      Hmm…expensive supplements that Tjetje sells, by any chance?

  15. demodocus
    August 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Clearly, she’s also not a philosopher. Ideas should be challenged. The one about MMR being a problem has been shown over and over to be false, but she keeps banging on. Maybe she’s the brain in the vat and the rest of us are figments of her imagination?

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