Sunday, June 8, 2014

PETA doubles down on crazy

I recently wrote about a pseudoscience campaign from animal rights extremists PETA that claims dairy products both cause autism and causes problems when consumed by autistics. That post came from links provided by neurologist and skeptic Steve Novella who broke the story on PETA's autisim campaign.

Well, PETA just responded to what Steve wrote and is trying to justify their fear mongering campaign with what they describe as "anecdotal evidence."

Here's the meat of PETA's response, with the juicy bits in bold.

PETA’s website and campaign serve to provide parents with potentially valuable information, albeit mostly anecdotal, from families’ findings—for example, just this week, the editor of Autism Eye magazine, Gillian Loughran, who has a 14-year-old son with autism, contacted us in support of our campaign and wrote a letter to the editor on our behalf (see below). Until such time as there is a large study into whether there is a dairy-autism link (and one we hope will not be funded by the dairy industry), it seems unwise to overlook a growing body of anecdotal information supporting that removing dairy and gluten from the diet of a child with autism may improve the child’s sleep, behavior, and concentration.

As Novella wrote, there are plenty of good studies that already exist showing no link. PETA did something noble in admitting that they are using anecdotes to support their view, but then had the audacity to argue that anecdotes are a valid form of information - and powerful enough to overturn empirical evidence.

By the way, in case one is curious, Autism Eye Magazine is an pseudoscientific publication run by award-winning journalists who cherry pick information to persuade people that autism is caused by stomach and immune system issues. They don't seem to be anti-vaccine, but as an award-winning journalist myself I can see they are no authority on links between milk and autism.

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