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    Claims Require Evidence, Not Hyperbole
    By Kim Wombles | July 28th 2012 10:31 AM | 66 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Kim

    Instructor of English and psychology and mother to three on the autism spectrum.

    Writer of the site countering.us (where most of these

    ...

    View Kim's Profile
    One of the things I emphasize to my students in composition classes is that claims require evidence. All claims in a paper should be backed by evidence. Not simply stated and assumed true. Not propped up by fallacies. Backed by evidence.

    Writings relating to autism (like many topics) are often evidence-free. One of the ways we can back claims up is to offer examples. To back up my claim that writings related to autism are often evidence-free, I'm going to dissect a recent post at io9 about how autism is changing the world for everyone, not because of my opinion on the major claim itself, but because the evidence we use for claims is so important. In addition, this has the added bonus of illustrating textual analysis for my students.


    George Dvorsky's article at io9 kickstarts with a claim: "How Autism is Changing the World for Everybody," but not the direction of the claim. How is not immediately offered. One might think, given the language of the major autism organizations who fundraise for research that the "how" is by the increased medical and educational costs or the need for an increase in spending on transition training, job training, assisted living. Autism is a condition that is recognized by problems in communication, socialization, and narrowly defined interests, according to the DSM. And in the DSM it isn't called a condition--it's a disorder.


    Given the increase in autism diagnoses, the rising costs of special ed, and the lobbying for insurance coverage for autism treatments, parents and professionals might rightly assume that these are some of the "hows." After all, according to Peter Bell of Autism Speaks, 500,000 children with autism are due to become adults in the next decade. That's a lot of young adults who've previously needed a range of services to access a free and appropriate education. It's reasonable to ask if those needs are suddenly going to disappear once a high school diploma or certificate is issued.  Is transition into an independent adulthood assured? A recent study shows that "One in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college or technical schooling nearly seven years after high school graduation."

    There is an obligation when making claims to offer evidence, not generalizations, not fuzzy sentences that don't offer substance. In the above paragraphs I've provided numbers as evidence. I've provided sources for you to go look at. You can question and should whether I've given you good evidence and you'll have to make a decision based on the evidence itself. For example, you might be an individual in the autism community who immediately cringed when I cited Peter Bell and Autism Speaks as a source, and you may want to dismiss the 500,000 upcoming young adults because you hate Autism Speaks. But you have to remember--it's not the person making a claim--Peter Bell is making a claim there--it's the evidence for the claim. 


    You can go dig deeper and see if those numbers hold, and then you can assess whether I've left sufficient evidence for my unstated claim that Dvorksy's claim about how autism is changing the world is insufficiently supported. Is my main claim completely laid out? Not quite, but there is enough for readers to infer.

    Is autism changing the world for everybody? The CDC (again, numbers) has recently upgraded the numbers on autism, saying that 1 in 88 kids have autism. However, this is an estimate based on information from four years ago on 8 year olds who are now 12. No one knows what the incidence of autism is in children being born now, in adults over the age of 50, or in adults between 18 and 34, for example. Instead, there is an estimate based on 14 sites that is an average of their estimates.

    Depending on who's doing the talking, either there's a tsunami fixing to hit us or professionals have just gotten better at counting. On one hand, there's an anti-vaccine site insisting it's a tsunami, and on the other hand, a scientist whose expertise is in biology and who has spent a great deal of time becoming well-informed on the science of ASDs saying it's a combination of factors: widening the criteria and getting better at finding individuals (which backs what the CDC says and almost all mainstream scientists). Is this an appeal to authority by suggesting that Emily Willingham's essay on the autism rise is more credible than Age of Autism's? Yes, but it is a reasonable appeal to authority, not a fallacious one, where the "authority" in question is speaking on things outside his or her realm of expertise.

    Before even looking at the content of Dvorsky's essay, his claim is already being actively assessed, autism and the idea that autism is changing the world for everybody has been examined. Is it, either way--a dreaded tsunami or a better accounting--changing the world for EVERYBODY? Claims must be defended. I tell my students they can say some without much evidence, but to say NONE, MOST, ALL (and perhaps even many), evidence is required, and the more absolute the claim, the more evidence is required.

    Having dissected the title, it's time to move to Dvorsky's essay: "There's not much doubt that autism, along with Asperger Syndrome, is finally becoming accepted as a normal part of the human fabric." Is there really "not much doubt?" Is this true everywhere, some places, many places, across all cultures, some cultures? This sentence is a claim even though Dvorsky offers no evidence to back it up. How do we know it's "becoming accepted as a normal part"? Just because numbers of autistic individuals appears to be increasing doesn't mean they're being accepted as "a normal part of the human fabric." What we can see and say is that there are more self-advocacy groups for autistic individuals and that they are advocating that they are not disordered, but simply differently-wired (see ASAN, for example)--again offering evidence for a claim that is offered with a lack of absolutism.

    Dvorsky then attempts to minimize the naysayers: "Even if some people still see autism as a condition that needs to be "treated," it's increasingly obvious that people on the autism spectrum are finding ways to succeed in our neurotypical-based society." This is two separate claims: one is that only "some people" think autism needs to be treated. Autism Speaks raises roughly 50 to 60 million a year, with 40% of their monies going to research (see Autism Speaks' website for its 990s--again offering evidence). That's more than "some"--indeed, one could argue it's many. One could bolster that claim by pointing to other national autism associations and organizations like Autism Society of American and the National Autism Association who also raise funds for research into treatments. One could argue that this evidence counters Dvorsky's "some" quite capably.

    Onto the second claim, "it's increasingly obvious that people on the autism spectrum are finding ways to succeed in our neurotypical-based society." To whom? What evidence? Remember the recent study showing 1 in 3 young people with autism never having held a paying job? What about the longterm employment rates for all adults with autism? The National Foundation for Autism claims a 90% unemployment rate for all adults on the spectrum. It's essentially a meaningless claim. No evidence is offered. 

    He continues, "Not only that, but autistic people are changing the nature of our society as well — in many ways, for the better." Not only what? In two sentences, he's made three vague claims and backed none of them up. Now we have two more claims--that people on the spectrum are changing our society and that it is for the better. 

    As his first evidence, he points to artist Stephen Wilshire and the drawing of his at the top of the article. There's no doubt Wilshire's art is incredible, but how is that "changing the nature of our society," especially for everybody? Let's see if he's got more evidence.

    His evidence that "autism has come to impact so significantly on mainstream culture" comes from talking to two people he labels experts (disclosure--I am facebook friends with both these individuals) and to "other people whose lives have been touched by autism." So, proof by anecdote and two appeals to authority by labeling the two named individuals experts. No actual autistic individuals talked to--who might be in the unique position to discuss how they feel they're contributing to society and steering it in positive way, making it better, since this is Dvorsky's claim. Are talking to a few people sufficient evidence for his sweeping claim? 


    Remember, my issue is not with the claim itself, or the person making the claim, but the evidence offered. Do I think autistic individuals contribute positively to society? Absolutely. My son volunteers full time. That's an absolutely positive contribution. But what about those individuals who are so disabled that they reside in care facilities and require constant care? If the value of a person resides in his contribution to society, that belief robs those individuals of value--value which I believe resides not in what one can do, but in simply being. By focusing his claim on autism to those who are savants or highly capable autistic individuals, Dvorsky gives a skewed presentation of the autism spectrum and makes things harder for individuals who are simply average or who are severely impacted.

    For his two experts, Dvorsky may simply have reached out to two people he knew, rather than casting a wider net. How he chose his experts is not clear. Steve Silberman is a writer for Wired and is writing a book on neurodiversity--he covers autism topics for the magazine and is active in the autism community. Does that make him an expert qualified to speak on how autism is changing the world for everybody? What makes a person an expert? I'd say it allows him to make claims, but that without evidence to back those claims, the appeal to authority may not be sufficient. Andrea Kuszewski is a professional, "a consultant and behavioral therapist for children who are on the autism spectrum, and an expert in finding alternative learning strategies for gifted kids." There is sufficient reason to accept, based on her credentials, an appeal to authority as being valid--if indeed, Kuszewski makes claims within her field of expertise. But does she make claims that back Dvorsky's main claim or does Dvorsky draw vaguely on his conversations with these two individuals to make his sweeping claims without actually offering evidence?

    Instead of offering specific ways in which autistic individuals are changing society, Dvorksy punts: "Through our conversations with Silberman and Kuszewski, it became clear that autism has played a significant role in crafting much of what we consider to be modern culture — from the music and books we read, to the technological devices we all take for granted. The acceptance of radically different ways of thinking, it turns out, can be seen as an integral part of a rich and diverse overarching culture." 

    What specifically did they say that allows Dvorsky to make such a sweeping claim? We don't know.

    Are the traits which make for good inventors ones found in autistic individuals? Let's see.

    Attention to detail. Check.

    Ability to focus for long periods of time on a solitary pursuit. Check.

    Is that all autistic individuals? Maybe not. Which details are attended to? Irrelevant ones or relevant ones?

    Do you have to be challenged both in social skills and in communication (requirements for an autism disorder) to be interested in machines, able to focus on them, take them apart and put them back together or to build new things? I think that a reasonable answer to that question is no.

    Not every engineer or scientist has Asperger's or autism. Not every artist is autistic, either. Not every autistic individual is a savant.

    Will traits in the autism community overlap the neurotypical community? Yes. Is it a continuum? I think it's reasonable to say that it is--scientists such as Ami Klin recognize the broad autism phenotype and how traits appear in autistics' family members to a lesser degree.

    Dvorsky then claims through another individual, a writer for Gawker, that the inventor of facebook is on the spectrum, among other individuals in the technology field. This is offered as evidence for Dvorsky's claim that autism is changing the world for everybody in positive ways.


    Having gone through his article, we have the evidence for his claim. Is it sufficient and of good quality? Can we safely say that there have been individuals who have been on the autism spectrum who have made significant contributions to society and changed it as a consequence? 


    It's a reasonable argument that there are autistic individuals in technological and scientific fields who have created technological advances that have shaped society. For example,Temple Grandin has certainly changed the way slaughterhouses function in the world and has made an enormous contribution on that front. She's also helped to bring autism awareness to the mainstream and been a tremendous positive force.

    If that were all Dvorsky were attempting, to say that it's important to be aware that autistic individuals have an important role to play in society, are an asset to society, then that would be fine. Evidence of that wouldn't even really be necessary.  What he appears to be doing, though, throughout his essay, is to redefine what it means to be autistic--to confine it to those who are less impacted or who have savant skills by listing a number of prominent individuals he says are autistic.

    There is abundant evidence that the majority of autistics do not have savant skills, and it is a disservice to all those on the spectrum who don't have "amazing" abilities, but are instead like most people--good at some things, not so good at others, and bad at a few things. 

    Wouldn't it be better to be trying to create an environment and a society that appreciates the individual as he or she really is instead of attempting to impose restricting, inaccurate and potentially damaging stereotypes on people with autism? Expecting autistics to be whizzes at technology or art or into science fiction is no better than assuming that all autistics are in corners rocking and incapable of accomplishing the perfectly ordinary task of living their own lives on their own terms.

    Hyperbole and fluff-filled sentences might sound nice, but they do not replace evidence to back up claims. Bold claims require strong evidence, an evidence that can only be found in a careful, scientific examination. Why should we care what one writer on a website has to say if it's not backed with real evidence. Sure, it sounds good, and it's something parents of autistic children really want to hear-- but it doesn't make it true in and of itself. And any discussion about autism ought to actually involve autistic individuals themselves, not conjecture, not armchair diagnostics, but real conversations with the actual individuals, and some statistical evidence to back the sweeping claims.






    Comments

    Kim:

    In fact, I agree with many of the statements you make in this post. I had several reservations about Dvorsky's post, and thus didn't promote it with links on Twitter and Facebook as one might expect me to do. I felt that my ideas were misrepresented in some ways, and that some of Dvorsky's assertions were unwise, like saying that "Rain Man" painted "an overly severe depiction of the condition." It certainly wasn't "overly severe" for many people.

    I do have to quibble with this statement, though: "Steve Silberman is a writer for Wired and is writing a book on neurodiversity--he covers autism topics for the magazine and is active in the autism community. Does that make him an expert qualified to speak on how autism is changing the world for everybody? What makes a person an expert?"

    Though I would never claim to be an "autism expert," I'm a journalist who has been covering autism in depth since 2001. That makes me a journalist with a serious, long-term commitment to this subject. My job is to talk to experts, not to be one. In the past two years alone, I've spoken to a very wide range of autism experts in great depth, from psychologists to parents to self-advocates. That group includes a very wide range of perspectives, from Lorna Wing and Judith Gould (who first conceived of autism as a "continuum"), to Uta Frith (who translated Asperger's original paper), to Ari Ne'eman and many other members of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, to Mark and Gloria Rimland (who helped Bernard launch the parents' movement, to Steve Edelson of ARI, to Geri Dawson and Peter Bell of Autism Speaks, to Tony Attwood, to dozens of parents of autistic kids, to many, many, many others. They are the real experts, in each their own way.

    There's an obvious rabbit-hole here in selectively choosing experts: What makes you, Kim Wombles, an "autism expert"? Because you have a blog? To that question, I would say: YES, in fact, you are an expert in very significant ways, if not in all ways. I would consider you a trusted source on, say, the evolution of the online autism community. But I would not come to you to talk more than casually about the structure of the autistic brain (as I might Eric Courchesne) or the early history of the Autism Society of America. I consider every parent an "expert" on raising their own child, even if I don't agree with all their opinions about autism. You don't need to have a medical degree to be an expert on raising an autistic kid -- or an expert on being one. In fact, having a medical degree might blind you to certain aspects of experience in the rich world of autism; thus we need a broad patchwork of expertise -- even of experts who vociferously disagree with one another -- in examining any aspect of that world. That's what I am working daily to create.

    Thanks for your contributions to this community.

    kwombles
    Steve,
    In large part this is an exercise for my students, so when I ask the question if you are an expert, it is not that I am saying you are not--I am asking my students--and readers--to evaluate carefully what an expert is. 

    I would not claim to be an autism expert. I would claim to be well-versed in the science of autism (as it is an area I spend considerable time reading and writing about), I would claim to be an experienced parent of autistic children, and experienced with educating at least my children (having homeschooled), but I would not, when writing about autism science or about parenting, ever expect to be believed based on the fact that I claim to be well-versed and experienced.

    The problem with the term expert in this essay is that how that determination was made is not clear; it is being used as an appeal to authority by the author, and then he fails to relay how your expertise has led to the conclusions he claims to have gained from your conversations.

    In addition, it's still not enough to claim expertise by virtue of length of time in covering autism--Sharyl Attkinson and Dan Olmsted have been writing about autism for many years, as well, but they are far from being experts in it.

    The important takeaway for my students and for those interested in critical thinking and evaluating is that the claim of expertise is really never enough--the strength of a claim will always, always rest in the quality of the evidence provided for it. 

    Thank you, as well, for your advocacy of autistic individuals and attempts to bring autism issues to mainstream readers.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    By the way, clicking my name on these replies will take you to one of my own blog posts on the Public Library of Science that demonstrates my approach in action.

    Kim:

    I hear ya.

    Steve

    Thank you for helping me and others to learn.

    Oh dear, seems another person complaining about pro-autistic opinions is doing some pot calling kettle black. Well since you care about evidence and avoiding hyperbole I shall use your own techniques to point out how little real evidence and how much real hyperbole you are using.

    "the need for an increase in spending on transition training, job training, assisted living"
    Let's talk about one of those groups. Autism Speaks isn't providing any of that. It's researching mainly in to the elimination of all autistic groups, which include my own kind. 4% of their budget is spent on helping autistic children with such assistance. Whinging about a lack of assistance is hypocritical.

    " Autism is a condition that is recognized by problems in communication, socialization, and narrowly defined interests, according to the DSM. And in the DSM it isn't called a condition--it's a disorder."
    The DSM's parent body is also bleeding members from the gills for such farces like this, implying difference is the same as disorders that it can be vaguely linked to. There are prominent critics of the DSM V challenging every part of it so setting up your credibility by trying to rely on that is like standing on a fifty foot spire of sand. You're gonna fall down. And we do know you are referring to the DSM V because you state 'Autism', right? Not a single hint of 'aspergers' which is dissapearing.

    Narrowly defined interests for example, that's a very good way you NTs try and take something normal about autistics, having hobbies, and pathologize it by giving it a medical description

    "That's a lot of young adults who've previously needed a range of services to access a free and appropriate education"
    That's a lot of young adults that you assume need any such help when a lack of discrimination would in fact work wonders for the majority HF autistic

    "No actual autistic individuals talked to--who might be in the unique position to discuss how they feel they're contributing to society and steering it in positive way, making it better, since this is Dvorsky's claim. Are talking to a few people sufficient evidence for his sweeping claim? "
    Well no actually. Since you're using only a few people making random claims. First let's not get in to the fact that you were quoting Peter Bell, part of Autism Speaks, a widely despised organisation by autistics An offhand claim from him about 500,000 autistics entering adulthood cannot be trusted. Nor can an unlinked claim you make of 90% of autistics being unemployed. All that is doing is fuelling the fires of resentiment of NT discrimination against all autistics, the able and the disabled. And as for no autistic individuals, the support in the comments section below in your victim's article is pretty damn full of smiles. You have no right to complain. You don't ask a single autistic. In fact you make the single most idiotic mistake of claiming most of us are highly disabled. Don't spit in my damned face.

    "Given the increase in autism diagnoses, the rising costs of special ed, and the lobbying for insurance coverage for autism treatments"
    That autism diagnosis which seems to have its criteria applied to anything, pejorising difference and calling it the same as disabilities that don't even deserve to be called autism because they have been proven to be unrelated to each other. E.g. fragile X.

    "parents and professionals "
    And not autistics. Which is always how cute that this is always the case when people are bashing on neurodiversity. But oh please, bring in the token sellouts if you must. Since you just complained about Dvorksy not asking autistic individuals your comment comes across as plain hypocrisy, which is just the whole of this article in miniature.

    "What he appears to be doing, though, throughout his essay, is to redefine what it means to be autistic--to confine it to those who are less impacted or who have savant skills by listing a number of prominent individuals he says are autistic."
    And do you have any evidence to back up the claim that only autistics with 'savant skills' are capable of such things? Or did you ignore the part where a normal aspie child was brought in to a supporting field and his talents flourished in the article you were arrogantly dismissing? Savantism is just an attempt to try and ignore away the potential of those HF autistic and aspie children that lay dormant within by saying it is extremely rare and, ironically, providing no proof that it is indeed rare at all.
    As long as you keep calling these HFA and aspie children, the real majority of the autism diagnosis, autistic, then you are lying in our faces when you imply that this high functioning group is somehow marginal or unimportant

    Exactly what woo is being tackled? Because the woo seems to be come from your pseudoscientific cloak attempting and failing to say that 'evidence' is against Dvorsky. Why do you complain about evidence when you clearly ignore Dvorsky's and produce only baseless claims yourself? Why complain?

    Gerhard Adam
    First let's not get in to the fact that you were quoting Peter Bell, part of Autism Speaks, a widely despised organisation by autistics An offhand claim from him about 500,000 autistics entering adulthood cannot be trusted. Nor can an unlinked claim you make of 90% of autistics being unemployed. All that is doing is fuelling the fires of resentiment of NT discrimination against all autistics, the able and the disabled.
    What are you babbling about?  The 500,000 claim wasn't considered absolute in any sense and was attributed exactly as stated.  No one is requiring that it be trusted.  Instead you begin by making accusations and claims that are far worse than your own accusations by claiming they are "widely despised" and that it fuels "the fires of resentiment".

    In short, your comments are the ones that are making wild claims without evidence.  Even if you disagree with the 500,000 claim, there is nothing in the original article or in the CNN piece that claims it as anything more than a comment by Peter Bell.  You are certainly free to disprove it, but you've elected not to do that.

    This is just an example of how your post is merely a rant to express a variety of opinions that you feel no compulsion to support with evidence.  In general, it serves as a perfect example of the hyperbole being referred to in the original article.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "What are you babbling about?"
    I know you make childish comments all throughout this comment but could you at least try and hold back from the cliched personal attacks?

    " The 500,000 claim wasn't considered absolute in any sense and was attributed exactly as stated. No one is requiring that it be trusted."
    Looks like someone is trying to ignore that it was said like one :B

    "Instead you begin by making accusations and claims that are far worse than your own accusations by claiming they are "widely despised" and that it fuels "the fires of resentiment"."
    Do you know anything about autstic people? Then you would know Autism Speaks was widely despised. That you say this is a wild claim tells me you still know nothing about them. And if a 90% unemployment rate for autistics doesn't fuel the resentment autistics have against employment discrimination then you're just in denial. God, it's another NT trying to tell me what I think, just like Autism Speaks. Get off your high horse.

    " In general, it serves as a perfect example of the hyperbole being referred to in the original article."
    Look, I used those two points to explain how wombles was hypocritical. Now you're just parroting about things.

    Gerhard Adam
    Do you know anything about autstic people? Then you would know Autism Speaks was widely despised. That you say this is a wild claim tells me you still know nothing about them.
    ... and this tells me that you aren't interested in the actual context or information.  Instead you wish to invoke an emotional response and judge the data based on who says it, rather than whether it is accurate or not.

    Since when does being despised automatically disqualify the data?  Since when is the validity of data dependent on knowing autistic people?  or knowing anyone?
    God, it's another NT trying to tell me what I think, just like Autism Speaks. Get off your high horse.
    That's funny.  All you have to do is debunk the data, or accept it.  No one is telling you what to think.  No one is even telling you to accept the provided data.  However simply ranting about how you don't agree doesn't change anything.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "That's funny. All you have to do is debunk the data, or accept it."

    Or I could just decide to ignore the claims that you stubbornly try to call data. And if you think that telling me to accept random claims or be wrong isn't telling me what to think then you're just disingenuous too.

    "Instead you wish to invoke an emotional response and judge the data based on who says it, rather than whether it is accurate or not."

    It's easy to portray something as an emotional response by cutting off everything that is said around it. It's called selective quotation.

    "Since when does being despised automatically disqualify the data? Since when is the validity of data dependent on knowing autistic people? or knowing anyone?"

    Since when is data six words derived from a CNN article several years ago? And when are you going to stop parroting misleading quotes about autistics and then decide to call it data?

    Gerhard Adam
    ...you think that telling me to accept random claims or be wrong isn't telling me what to think then you're just disingenuous too.
    Talk about selective interpretation.  I didn't tell you to accept the claims, nor did I say you were wrong.  I said that if you wanted to dispute the numbers then you would have to provide evidence as to why they shouldn't be considered legitimate.  If you elect to not do that, then so be it, but don't complain.

    As an anonymous poster, you don't get to determine what's true or not simply by saying so.
    And when are you going to stop parroting misleading quotes about autistics and then decide to call it data?
    Since you obviously haven't seen fit to refute the data, then I have to assume there is nothing to refute or you think I should just take your word for it.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Talk about selective interpretation."

    'Selective interpretation' doesn't mean any interpretation that doesn't help your case.
    You were trying to defend this author's use of 500,000 as a serious piece of evidence by saying he didn't mean that.

    And I have never heard of 'selective interpretation' before because selecting an interpretation isn't wrong. Selective QUOTATION is what people rage against, and that's what you're doing.

    "As an anonymous poster, you don't get to determine what's true or not simply by saying so."

    I see you are just ignoring my points to take potshots And just to deflate your ego: As ANY poster you can't just say what is right or wrong. Saying otherwise is argument from authority.

    This is one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen put forward as a textual analysis. You break all of your own rules regarding evidence, put words in Dvorsky's mouth, make claims about his personal relationships with his sources, misrepresent both Peter Bell and Autism Speaks by pulling quotes from a third party (CNN), and thoroughly make a mockery of your own profession.

    As an autistic I disagree with your views, but as a fellow composition teacher, I refuse to engage with you on that front until you stop being a bad example to your own students. My homepage has my full criticism of your self-important, pedantic nonsense.

    O.K....the start of this post explains that this is a teaching example for students. I thought teachers jobs were to be pedantic..but hey, that's just me. The problem is, you dissected a post that was positive about autism. Did you speak poorly of autism? No. Did you say "Boo! Autism and autistic people?" No. You said...

    "I'm going to dissect a recent post at io9 about how autism is changing the world for everyone, not because of my opinion on the major claim itself, but because the evidence we use for claims is so important. In addition, this has the added bonus of illustrating textual analysis for my students."

    Therein lies your great error in judgement. It was a positive article!! Therefore, because you dissected it(as an example of why using evidence for claims is important)...you are now the spawn of Satan..an awful writer, anti-autiste..you should be ashamed of yourself! Gosh! Even other composition teachers won't engage you-(yet invite you to come to their homepage to read their full criticism of you?) Because you see Ms. Wombles, ANYTHING written in a positive light about autism-is true.EVERYONE knows that!!.It isn't necessary to check facts or cite sources or anything. What would possibly be the point? It isn't like it could be damaging to other people on the spectrum could it? Don't you see by many of the comments-evidence is NOT important! Not when an article says all kinds of nice stuff. All the comments against you PROVE you are just a big old meanie.
    But, that is just my opinion-and it really has nothing to do with the content/point of your piece. Neither do many of the comments here-

    Please stop using sarcasm to create a strawman. It's pretty pathetic.

    For starters, he didn't check facts, he forwarded hearsay. 500,000 autistic adults coming of age is hearsay. 90% of autistics are unemployed without the actual source of the statistic is hearsay.

    And to be honest I have no idea who you think you are, but he wasn't at all analysing the article at all. He casually took whatever points he needed and changed them to suit his own conclusions. That isn't evidence, that's manipulation

    kwombles
    I think you may not understand hearsay. Quoting a news article which quotes someone from the leading autism organization is not hearsay. It should certainly not be the end of the line in terms of seeing where these numbers are coming from, but it doesn't make it hearsay. 

    If you are going to dispute the number, then the onus is on you to show that in fact 500,000 children with autism will not in fact become adults in the next 10 years.

    If you don't like the 9 out of 10 number, show me where it's wrong. You are providing no evidence for your claims.

    I am, in fact, not a he, which is abundantly obvious, if you had taken the time to read the bio or even look at my name.

    Feeling the need to name call and deride an individual doesn't move your claims forward or make your response substantive. 

    "For adults with autism, Autism Speaks has found that 9 out of 10 either are unemployed or underemployed, regardless of their IQ or education level."

    "Autism Speaks projects that 500,000 children with autism will become adults over the next decade. According to a study published in Pediatrics by Autism Speaks Family Services Committee member Paul Shattuck, Ph.D., only 55.1 percent of young adults with autism held paying jobs during their first six years out of high school, the lowest percentage among the disability categories he examined. Even more concerning was the fact that youths with an ASD had the lowest rates of participation in employment and the highest rates of non-participation across all disability categories."http://www.autismspeaks.org/advocacy/advocacy-news/adult-employment-new-allies-come-board 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    ".Quoting a news article which quotes someone from the leading autism organization is not hearsay. "
    I don't think you know what the word hearsay means. A random quote of 500,000 unbacked by any evidence is hearsay. Even more insipid is that you claim the biggest organization must also be right. It's just more ignorant fallacy.

    "If you are going to dispute the number, then the onus is on you to show that in fact 500,000 children with autism will not in fact become adults in the next 10 years."
    No, the onus is on the person to prove something, not to disprove it. You're working backwards. You don't understand logic.

    "
    "I am, in fact, not a he, which is abundantly obvious, if you had taken the time to read the bio or even look at my name."
    I am autistic. Your gender matters as much to be in a conversation about this egregious farce of an article as your skin colour. I couldn't care about your stiff social codes. I think that's a fair trade when you don't seem to care about the truth, or honesty, or in fact logic.

    ""For adults with autism, Autism Speaks has found that 9 out of 10 either are unemployed or underemployed, regardless of their IQ or education level.""
    I don't need to post anything else. Autism Speaks has proven again and again that it really doesn't care about autistics or the truth. Parroting their statistics doesn't help your case at all. ONLY using them for statistics and 'proof' when they have been shown to be untrustworthy is dishonest and only proves that I am talking to someone who doesn't get it.

    kwombles
    Instead of focusing on evidence, you're letting your bias against AS get in the way. You assume they generated numbers out of thin air, for what good purpose?
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=64 
    Shows that in 2008-2009, 336,000 students were being served in the US school system--that's just the ones who were under IDEA. 500,000 is a reasonable assessment of autistic students aging out of the education system in the US over the next 10 years.


    You claim in another response that I used a CNN article that was  "several years" old. The article is from April 16, 2012.


    You've offered no evidence that this is an "egregious farce of an article," only evidence that you are focusing on Autism Speaks as a source and ignoring the remainder of the article.


    My gender might not matter to you, but getting things correct should matter.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    "Instead of focusing on evidence, you're letting your bias against AS get in the way"

    Instead of possiblt understanding why people have problems with AS, you assume I must have bias. I assume this is because you think AS MUST be a good thing, and anyone who says otherwise must be deluded, or wrong.

    Your subsequent statements support this conclusion:

    You bring up a text saying 336,000 are being served by the school system. Well, how is that 500,000? Does the phrase 'exaggeration for effect' mean anything to you? Even then the number of autistics doesn't matter because I am autistic and I am plenty fine being autistic too. The way the original source portrays it, and indeed this text, they say it like it's a bad thing. The assumption is that all 500,000 need support, which is designed to induce panic.

    "You've offered no evidence that this is an "egregious farce of an article," only evidence that you are focusing on Autism Speaks as a source and ignoring the remainder of the article."

    And you have just shown that you are hyperfocusing on my criticism of Autism Speaks. When you say 'you are obsessed with autism speaks' I can hear shakespeare in my head saying "methinks the lady doth protest too much"

    kwombles
    Yes, I totally wrote in my piece that Autism Speaks was the bee's knees and deserves no criticism whatsoever and then anyone who thinks it does is "deluded."
    You have a nifty way of not actually offering any substance whatsoever.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Claims require evidence, not hyperbole.

    When you try and counter what someone said don't exaggerate their arguments in to a straw man.

    kwombles
    Didn't. You wrote that I thought anyone who disagreed with AS was deluded, which is a brilliant example of hyperbole, by the way. 
    I employed sarcasm in my response to you. SARCASM. Maybe you've heard of it?


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. If I thought your sarcasm was stupid don't be surprised if I disregard it.

    Also calling a spade a spade isn't hyperbole. Now quit on your obsessive adventure to 'feel' right by pushing another autistic around and shut your mouth.

    kwombles
    Loaded remark--making the assumption that I'm not only pushing an "autistic around," but that I'm pushing another around, which I'm not. You either do not understand the definition of words or you're hyperbolic. You pick.
    And my response to your demand that I shut my mouth is an emphatic no. 

    I'm not the one who came onto this comment thread and made a series of claims but failed to offer evidence for them. I'm not the one who came into this thread and acted like an ass repeatedly.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    "making the assumption that I'm not only pushing an "autistic around," but that I'm pushing another around, which I'm not."
    And your reason is 'because I SAY so'. You can't just call something a loaded remark and then say it's untrue because you so want to believe it is. Either deal with the evidence or stop living in denial.

    " You either do not understand the definition of words or you're hyperbolic."
    All or nothing, black-and-white thinking.

    "I'm not the one who came onto this comment thread and made a series of claims but failed to offer evidence for them. I'm not the one who came into this thread and acted like an ass repeatedly."

    Someone's just bleeding in to tepid denial and snide backbiting now. You should be ashamed of yourself. Claiming you don't hurt an autistic whilst snarking at them. It's the lowest of the low.

    kwombles
    "Someone's just bleeding in to tepid denial and snide backbiting now. You should be ashamed of yourself. Claiming you don't hurt an autistic whilst snarking at them. It's the lowest of the low."


    Yup, I think you just about covered your actions pretty well.  


    The lowest of the low--for "snarking" at an anonymous poster? That's hyperbole. It's also bullshit.


    You know what's lowest of the low? Shocking disabled individuals into compliance like the JRC does. Putting autistic children into full body restraints and locking them in closets like some schools are doing. That's the lowest of the low.


    What else is the lowest of the low? Bus monitors, drivers, teachers, and aides beating autistic students. Parents murdering their disabled children.


    Compared to that, even you being an ass isn't even on the top 1000 of lows.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    ""Yup, I think you just about covered your actions pretty well. "

    Oh stop already with the pathetic tactics. I mean come on. I directed it at you Kim. And even now you rely on cheap turnarounds. Stop proving that you're a bully.

    "Compared to that, even you being an ass isn't even on the top 1000 of lows."

    Abusing Autistic people is the lowest of the low. And you're really denying that you're doing it even as you try to pin your faults on me. It's pathetic.

    kwombles
    So let me get this straight. You can come on as anonymous poster, write ad homs and engage in trollishness, but if I respond to you in any way, I'm "abusing" an autistic person. Dude, you have serious issues, not the least of which is being full of crap.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    When in doubt just resort to calling people a troll when your argument has completely collapsed.

    And hey you imply I have personal issues! And another outright insult. You are really just being pathetic.

    Gerhard Adam
    I don't think Kim implied it.  I'm pretty sure she came right out and said you have issues .... and I think she was being quite constrained in that assessment.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "and I think she was being quite constrained in that assessment. "

    Quit restrained about an insult without basis. Well I mean, you have already proven to be ganging up thugs

    Gerhard Adam
    LOL ... you can't even fake having hurt feelings without still displaying your blatant hostility.

    But, trust me.  You would know if I were being a "thug" and I can assure you that you really wouldn't like it one bit.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "you can't even fake having hurt feelings without still displaying your blatant hostility."

    Stop trying to read minds.

    "You would know if I were being a "thug" and I can assure you that you really wouldn't like it one bit"

    Ah and blatant, barely cocealed threats.

    Gerhard Adam
    Even then the number of autistics doesn't matter because I am autistic and I am plenty fine being autistic too.
    So what are you suggesting?  Are you suggesting that there is no problem to address? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    I'm saying don't make a problem where there isn't one. And if there isn't a problem in one bit and a problem in another, why call it all Autism?

    Gerhard Adam
    Why wouldn't you?  Are you arguing that somehow a disease is different based on how sick you get from it?  Are you arguing that injuries should be called something different based on the degree of incapacitation that occurs?

    I don't understand why you would concern yourself with a label like that.  Certainly we don't need a dozen names for a dozen gradations of a condition.

    BTW ... I certainly hope you're not the same anonymous poster that just posted to Kim about sarcasm.
    Mundus vult decipi
    " Certainly we don't need a dozen names for a dozen gradations of a condition."

    On the other hand calling fifteen different things the same thing is even more criminal and absurd. Which is what you're doing. Try stuffing the ol' spectrum hypothesis as much as you want, it doesn't work. Stop trying to escape the facts. Autistic is a junk grouping.

    " Are you arguing that somehow a disease is different based on how sick you get from it?"
    Piss off. Don't bring in a diseased metaphor again you eugenicist.

    "you arguing that injuries should be called something different based on the degree of incapacitation that occurs?"
    Yeah a scrape isn't a gash if you haven't noticed. Way to look completely insane.

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, it's good to know that we don't need to classify different forms of asshole.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Well, it's good to know that we don't need to classify different forms of asshole."

    How childish can you be? Is this it? Can't prove me wrong so you just go for personal attacks? That's the sign of a a pathetic, worthless human being with no sense of shame.

    Gerhard Adam
    So, if you attack me then it's just you defending your view, but if I attack you then I'm a "pathetic, worthless human being".  Yeah ... nice double standard.

    I stand by my claim.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "So, if you attack me then it's just you defending your view, but if I attack you then I'm a "pathetic, worthless human being"."

    Stop complaining about double standards when you keep using them.

    Gerhard Adam
    If you can demonstrate where I attacked you, then you might have a point.  Until then, you're the only one displaying a perpetual hostile attitude, and then get even worse when you're called on it.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Oh come on! :D

    Here you are:
    "Well, it's good to know that we don't need to classify different forms of asshole."

    Stop being in denial already.

    Gerhard Adam
    You can't be that stupid.  I made that comment after you called me a "eugenicist" and "insane".  Perhaps you thought you were being complimentary?  Stop your bullshit already.  It's obvious that you can't handle the simplest discourse.

    You're an anonymous poster that is acting like an asshole and you got called on it.  Get over yourself.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "You're an anonymous poster ."
    irrelevant detail.

    " I made that comment after you called me a "eugenicist" and "insane"."
    You made a comparison between being autistic and being diseased. That's absolutely justified. What isn't justified is backbiting. Stop whinging when the rules of engagement don't suit you.

    Gerhard Adam
    Wow, you really do have comprehension problems.   I quite clearly never compared autism to a disease.  It would have to be a pretty biased reading to draw that conclusion from the question I actually posed [which dealt with how we classify things].

    However, this demonstrates that you are being less than truthful, since in one post you claim to be autistic and that you're fine with it, and yet you display this hyper sensitivity to a question that had nothing to do with autism.

    Let's also be clear that your anonymity is not an irrelevant detail.  It is very relevant since we have no way of knowing anything about your basis for posting, or even whether you're the same individual from post to post.  In addition, it is simply an assumption on our part that you are lying about being autistic.

    So, if you can't see any of that, then you are in way over your head in this discussion.  In short, it simply seems that you are hyper-sensitive to issues that you claim you aren't and then you don't have sufficient focus to articulate the issues beyond ranting that everyone is being abusive.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Let's just point out quickly that nothing you say has a quote or points to any evidence. Then let's just remind ourselves that you have already been called out for being a vicious bully.

    "I quite clearly never compared autism to a disease."
    No, you did. You drew a comparison between this:
    " Are you arguing that somehow a disease is different based on how sick you get from it?"

    And it was based on this comment:
    "And if there isn't a problem in one bit and a problem in another, why call it all Autism?"

    Quit lying. It's again, pathetic.

    " it is simply an assumption on our part that you are lying about being autistic."
    Eventually even you pointed out that everything you claim has no evidence.

    "ranting that everyone is being abusive."
    Sorry mate but both you and kim HAVE been using insults. Again, you're in denial.

    Gerhard Adam
    Like I said ... hyper-sensitive.  Of course your argument is bullshit, because I noticed that you didn't take my second comparison [of an injury] to be insulting to autism, so your faux hurt feelings are due to selective interpretation.  As I said, only the most biased reading would have drawn that conclusion from my comments.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Of course your argument is bullshit, because I noticed that you didn't take my second comparison [of an injury] to be insulting to autism"

    Are you retarded?
    "you arguing that injuries should be called something different based on the degree of incapacitation that occurs?"

    And then I replied with this:
    "Yeah a scrape isn't a gash if you haven't noticed. Way to look completely insane."

    Again pathetic.

    Gerhard Adam
    Of course, a reasonable person would have pointed out why such comparisons might not be appropriate, or why you felt they were of a different degree or kind.  Instead you opted for the insulting route and now you're reaping the benefits of that position.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Instead you opted for the insulting route and now you're reaping the benefits of that position."

    A troll always rationalized their abuse after the fact. This is a just world fallacy, and you are a sick man.

    kwombles
    "Are you retarded?"  

    Unacceptable. As the mother of an intellectually disabled son, I'm telling you that it's one thing to note someone behaving like a troll, one thing to call someone an ass, but it's entirely unacceptable to use that term and act like you have the moral high ground. You do not. 


    Your comments have ignored the majority of the original post, have consisted of anecdote, fallacies, insults, and assertions that you are being attacked and "abused." You have instead focused on irrelevancies and overused the word pathetic.


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    I am part of a group who is regularly called retarded! I AM ON THE RECEIVING END. Do NOT lecture me on that point.

    " have consisted of anecdote, fallacies, insults, and assertions that you are being attacked and "abused.""

    And yet you don't prove that I have used fallacies, haven't proved that my comments were just insults, have relied too much on ignoring anecdote and continue to ignore your abusive comments above. PATHETIC. Don't like the word? Stop ACTING PATHETICALLY

    Gerhard Adam
    BTW .... I don't know where you got that I'm a "bully", but you're the only one that used that term, and it was against Kim.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW ... sorry about the typo:
    In addition, it is simply an assumption on our part that you are lying about being autistic.
    This should have said:
    In addition, it is simply an assumption on our part that you are NOT lying about being autistic.
    That one is my mistake.
    Mundus vult decipi
    kwombles
    Ain't that the truth?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Using sarcasm as a strawman? How? Sorry you viewed it as pathetic-I thought it was kind of witty. But hey-we all perceive things differently.
    I thought Kim was a girls name-so sorry Mr. Wombles for calling you Ms. in my last post!! If you ARE a Mr.
    "He forwarded hearsay" Holy crap!! He/she went and made a statement about what NAFAR says and then had the absolute gall to say-Look! Here is where they say this!! Did Mr./Ms. Wombles say that he/she agreed with it? Gosh no! He or she was just saying that you need to cite where you are pulling those ideas from!! Because when you make grandiose claims-or any claim really...cite it. If someone cites something-read it. Check your info...whether you agree with it or not. Sounds like critical thinking.
    "I have no idea who you think you are, but he wasn't analyzing the article at all."
    Firstly, most days I'm me-Kat. Secondly...drum roll please YOU ARE RIGHT!!!! she WASN'T analyzing the article!!! Very good!!! She was using the article to show WHY "The evidence we use for claims is so important" I.E.-the author (Dvorsky) was making some big claims without backing them up!!! She/he cited to places that did not agree with those claims...see what he/she was doing here? Now,she/he could have picked an article like "Everyone loves baked potato's"..now that is a HUGE claim..Does everyone like baked potato's? I know that I do...but some people may not...Now-if she had dissected THAT particular post(i.e. found baked potato hate groups and cited them)..she would have had baked potato lovers commenting all over the place! "How dare you put down potato's!!" "You mean cruel wretched potato hater!!' Do you get it now??

    " "The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything.
    Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this,
    and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands." Oscar Wilde

    Gerhard Adam
    To the anonymous poster previously [the display is getting too narrow]:
    You posted [to me]:
    Are you retarded?
    Then, a short bit later to Kim, you posted.
    I am part of a group who is regularly called retarded! I AM ON THE RECEIVING END. Do NOT lecture me on that point.
    Now here is clear evidence of your problem.  On the one hand you wish to chastise Kim because you're on the "receiving" end of such statements, and yet you have no problem using the same statement against others.  Please spare me the rationale that because you're autistic you're somehow more entitled to use the term than others.  I don't accept that kind of bullshit.

    So, the point is that you're someone that thinks nothing of leveling whatever degree of insult or abuse you see fit, and then wonder why you're subject to the same in return.

    On the one hand you claim that you're OK with being autistic, but then want to use it as a lever every time a statement is made.  It seems fairly obvious that there are some serious inconsistencies in your approach. 

    As for evidence of your hostility or insults, I don't need to copy/paste a series of quotes that are well documented throughout this comments section.  It is self evidence to anyone reading exactly where the problem is.  You've made accusations [i.e. such as calling me a bully] with no better evidence than your own statements.

    Frankly I think you're full of shit.  I'm not convinced you're autistic, rather than simply being a troll. and you certainly have no evidence or data beyond your own petty and biased arguments. 
    However, let's also be clear that being autistic is not an excuse for being an asshole.  So, it doesn't particularly matter to me.
    Mundus vult decipi
    kwombles
    Thank you--I could not have expressed it any better.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    "Im not convinced you're autistic, rather than simply being a troll."

    This is a common argument people use to shut autistics up, and when it's coming from the mouth of someone whinging about a lack of evidence when their only evidence is twisted inference it further shows how disgustingly it is used.

    "Please spare me the rationale that because you're autistic you're somehow more entitled to use the term than others. I don't accept that kind of bullshit."
    What kind of bullshit? You mean the bullshit where I use language reclaimation and point it at the people who abuse Autistics? Humn? Even if said person is Autistic?

    "You've made accusations [i.e. such as calling me a bully] with no better evidence than your own statements."
    And the hundreds of quotes I have used throughout the text which, unlike yours, haven't been cherry picked out of context.
    Pots and kettles, and hey, you avoid making quotes to hide your guilt, knowing full well that you have to offer a distorted version of events to be believed.

    "I don't need to copy/paste a series of quotes that are well documented throughout this comments section. "
    Well since I have moral integrity I will actually do so.

    Your own ego enters in here where I shoot you down for making two ignorant personal attacks:

    <"Talk about selective interpretation."

    'Selective interpretation' doesn't mean any interpretation that doesn't help your case.
    You were trying to defend this author's use of 500,000 as a serious piece of evidence by saying he didn't mean that.

    And I have never heard of 'selective interpretation' before because selecting an interpretation isn't wrong. Selective QUOTATION is what people rage against, and that's what you're doing.

    "As an anonymous poster, you don't get to determine what's true or not simply by saying so."

    I see you are just ignoring my points to take potshots And just to deflate your ego: As ANY poster you can't just say what is right or wrong. Saying otherwise is argument from authority.">

    So, clearly biased by your fanatical wish to not be seen as wrong you try to claim that I am a troll whilst being seen to back up this distorter of facts to feel good about yourself.

    Now as for the insults, most of them are based on accusing someone of lacking critical thinking skills without basis. So typical is that to anti-autistic abuse that your denial of my being autistic is most certainly a neurosis:

    "Wow, you really do have comprehension problems."
    "I employed sarcasm in my response to you. SARCASM. Maybe you've heard of it?"
    "You have a nifty way of not actually offering any substance whatsoever."
    "Instead of focusing on evidence, you're letting your bias against AS get in the way."

    In fact, coming back to the horrendous evil of AS her attempt to say that why AS would generate numbers out of thn air was almost certainly either trolling or a fat lie used to disguise her dedication to that Eugenic organisation. You are pathetic, your article does the exact opposite of tackling woo, it supports woo and it supports hatred. Your crusader against truth will continue I am sure. You are on the bad side of history. Deal with it.

    kwombles
    Baked potatoes.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    VENI VIDI BAKED POTATOES!!!!!

    kwombles
    Kat, what other potatoes rule? Is it just baked potatoes? Or do you think french fries have a place, too?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Well this page was already a laughing stock...

    potatoes au gratin! ANONYMOUS potatoes!! Anonymous potatoes in a frothy laughing stock- oooh perhaps a side of self indignation? Served by one of the volunteers for victim hood?