What I learned from Paul Offit's ZDoggMD interview
Photo: Youtube/Google images
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Am I late to the ZDoggMD kerfuffle? I've been busy and offline-- I only just now watched the interview. Can we discuss?
Have you heard of this MD yet? Zubin Damani: he practiced internal medicine in California for 10 years before "burning out," in part, because of America's pay-for-care system. He appears to spend a lot of time making parody videos, a few of them attacking parents who don't vaccinate, and sharing them on Facebook, where he's amassed one million followers.
When our side gets offended by Zubin's vaccine videos we need to remember that this guy is just a regular doctor-- he's not a board certified neurologist or immunologist. And when he did have a board certified allergist on his show, the guy was something like 39 years old and still wet behind the ears, full of unearned certainty and schmuckiness.
ZDoggMD may very well know nothing that the most experienced and intelligent doctors in America know about vaccines, adjuvants, preservatives, vaccine-induced immune activation events, and brain damage-- those doctors are over the age of 50 and don't have time to come sit in his studio to make fun of parents of disabled kids.
ZDogg's training taught him that health comes from a prescription pad, but now he's the first to admit that most pharmaceutical cures are placebo-effect nonsense-- EXCEPT for vaccines, of course. In Zubin's view, vaccines are the one pharmaceutical invention that work, across the board, and are exempt from the dark evil that enshrines other pharmaceutical inventions, as always, forever and ever, amen.
What does ZDogg stand for?
He's a vocal critic of our pay-for-service American health care system. He led a patient-centered membership practice in downtown Las Vegas with funding from the CEO of Zappos, but it closed after three years because it wasn't financially sustainable in the American system.
Things that our side would probably like about ZDogg:
- He's anti-impersonal medical care
- anti-over prescribing
- anti-annual physical
- anti-over-charging for care
He's even pro-IV vitamin C for treating sepsis, and had researcher Dr. Paul Marik on his show to discuss his work with steroid + vitamin C. He also advocates legalizing marijuana and studying its medical benefits.
It's not like Dr. Zubin isn't keeping up with health innovation; he certainly is. And, believe it or not, ZDogg a huge proponent of meditation and the mind-body connection.
This point is really interesting to me, personally. Learning meditation methods was life-changing, perspective-changing, and spiritually changing. And if there's one thing I've realized, it's that there is no meditation without God, the Source, the Universe the Eternal, Infinite Love, Grand Designer, or whatever name you feel comfortable calling It. There is no such thing as meditation without God. And if you're meditating to connect with the Universe, to be still, to listen, to be of one vibration, yet you think humankind would have perished without mercury-preserved vaccines, or that eating corn that's been engineered with bacteria that lets us spray it directly with weed killer is without biological consequence, your faith in God's plan isn't what you think it is.
I've watched a half dozen ZDogg videos and-- don't hate me-- but I don't disagree with everything he says. I think that on many counts he's a reasonable man. He's passionate and intelligent, although he often comes across as dorky and unfunny in interviews, and he's incapable of tailoring his jokes and references to whomever he's interviewing. His Doc Vader videos make me laugh. He's seemingly trying to build a Joe-Rogan-interview kind of brand. But what he lacks, that Joe Rogan has, is an obvious desire to learn from the people around him, the world around him, and the person he's interviewing.
ZDogg is just a know-it-all.
He doesn't have a humble bone in his body that cautiously whispers, "There may be more information that I know nothing about, but so far this is what I think about this topic..."
And that's a major turnoff for thinking people. Thinking people aren't looking for a guru to decipher complex information just to tell them what position they should take. Thinking people want to hear from someone who is constantly learning themselves, who is questioning, who isn't afraid to say, "I've changed my stance since we last spoke about this. I was wrong, and I'm still learning." And from what I've seen of ZDogg, he doesn't make space for that. He wants to be your self-appointed leader, unquestioned, on all of his favorite topics, on which he's already decided his permanent stance for all eternity.
How much vaccine research has ZDogg read?
I'm going to sound petty saying this, but I was a bit "WTF?" when Zubin talked about Wakefield's 1998 case series and explained that he (Zubin) didn't read it back in the day because he "graduated in 1999." What is that supposed to mean?
A) It's backward reasoning if he's arguing that his graduation date kept him from seeing it in med school and
B) he's implying that med students are reading new vaccine/autism/bowel disease research as part of their education, which none of them were in 1998 and none of them are now.
So why say it? Why not say, "I didn't see it in 1998 because we weren't reading new bowel disease research and I wasn't in school to become a gastroenterologist." The image of being a doctor who has always had his finger on the pulse of every single thing seems important to ZDogg, no matter how implausible that may be.
And I got my hackles up when Zubin casually mentioned that because he's "trained in immunology" he was able to take a "look at the science in 2007 and determine that vaccines don't cause autism." Ugh. I get it, Zubin. You took a unit on immunology in your medical school course work. That does not make you "trained in immunology" by any stretch of the imagination, just ask any immunologist. Actually, if you were trained in immunology, you'd be an immunologist, not a Facebook page.
On top of that, your one immunology unit had zero to do with vaccine science, ingredients, manufacturing processes, safety, side effects, or mechanisms of immune activation. We all know that you-- and not just you, it's all doctors, don't take it personally-- studied none of that in medical school, and I think you should be honest with your viewers about that fact. Doctors are not automatic experts in vaccine science just because they graduated medical school, and you should not ethically be allowed to imply that you are.
Here's my truth, ZDogg: even if you weren't offensive to my people, I'd still take issue with the fact that you don't sound credible when you say so many unfounded egotistical things. You're pandering to high-school education level followers when you assume everyone will take you at your word.
I wish you would turn your critical thinking skills toward vaccine studies the same way you do with therapies you disbelieve, or are on the fence about. But vaccines are your sacred cow and you accept vaccine science without any of your trademark skepticism. Doctors, thought leaders, and critical thinkers should not have sacred cows.
Zubin, there are a lot of us watching you. If you really want to convert any of the hesitant parents you claim to care about, I invite you to discuss the fact that our CDC has only ever studied one vaccine (the MMR) and one ingredient (mercury, which is not and never has been in the MMR) regarding their role in causing autism. One vaccine and one ingredient.
Are you satisfied with this level of investigation? I would hope not.
I also want to hear your thoughts on the fact that a researcher from the CDC's 2004 MMR study was granted whistleblower protection by Obama in 2014. As you saw in Vaxxed (or maybe not), this happened after recordings were released of him saying that his co-authors conspired to hide their findings that the MMR was linked to autism in some children who received it before the age of 3. Just make a video and tell all of us how you aren't the least bit bothered by the integrity of the CDC's 2004 MMR study, or any of the numerous other studies that are built on top of that study. And also speak to why the president would have granted whistleblower protection to this man, if there was nothing to protect him from, as if whistleblower protection is just an everyday run-of-the-mill thing for a president to grant.
And, if you don't mind, spend a few minutes talking about how, in 2016, that particular researcher wanted to devote time and energy to reworking the CDC's old data sets but the CDC would not allow it. Maybe you can interview him on your show. Finish by touching on how he was subpoenaed to testify in a 2016 civil case and the CDC director blocked him from doing so. If they're all so confident in the CDC's work, why isn't he allowed to talk about it under oath?
And, Dr. Zubin, I'm going to have to assume you don't know this so I'm including a link to a PDF for you to read here. Talk to me about how the lead author of the CDC's 2003 mercury-doesn't-cause-autism study wanted to sound the alarm about early exposure to thimerosal mercury causing neurological development impairment and a 7.6x increase in autism. Talk to me about this memo to his colleagues summarizing his findings. What are your thoughts on this researcher resigning from the CDC before the study was ever published, with his findings omitted from the final publication? And how absurd it is that the CDC now claims they lost the raw data sets? How does the CDC lose all of that data?
Does it bother you in the least that these are our national health department's only two vaccine-autism studies? Are you at all bothered that in numerous non-CDC studies, "unvaccinated child" has an ever-changing definition but never actually means unvaccinated? Or that these studies have selection bias? Or unexplained parameters? Or that they're retroactive cohort studies?
Or all of this is okey-dokey with you? Where is your questioning nature? I want to hear you speak about vaccine science in a way that shows me you've given it a lot of thought and you're not being a yes man. That yes man suit you wore in the Offit interview? It didn't look good on you.
I don't doubt for one single second that you care very much about your patients and keeping people healthy in general. But caring isn't enough when A) you're wrong and B) your head is buried in the sand.
The Offit interview
It is blindingly obvious in this interview that Paul Offit assumes viewers know nothing about him, have never watched or read another interview of him, and don't have access to Google. Let's start with the sale of his rotavirus vaccine.
He completely glossed over his own intellectual property rights by saying "the hospital owned the rotavirus patent." Now, if you didn't know anything more about Paul Offit, wouldn't that leave you with the impression that he wasn't financially compensated when Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania sold that patent for $189 million? But he was, of course, paid millions of dollars in that sale; he just assumes ZDogg's viewers don't know that.
It was a long time later in the interview that Dr. Offit said, "I haven't been compensated anything for that vaccine in the last 10 years." Again we are left with the impression that he wasn't paid much and the whole little transaction is just water under the bridge, long ago. Maybe he spent that money on groceries.
A decade ago he described his rotavirus vaccine sale as "winning the lottery," but not today, friends! Today he is playing the role of an impoverished scientist, enslaved to academia, forced to take Uber to his ZDogg interview in his wrinkled khakis, and it wasn't even an Uber Black.
When pushed a little bit by Zubin, Offit finally admitted that he and this two other co-inventors split 10% of the license sale, and the hospital took a whopping 90%. He never talked real numbers and went so far as to claim that the reward for creating the vaccine was "never financial" although he's happy "things are a little easier" for his family.
Zubin then called the unspecified 90/10 payout "the typical devil's deal you make doing work in academics." Like, whomp-whomp, poor Paul Offit got nothing. Guys, 33% of 10% of $189M means that Paul Offit was paid $6.3 million for his work on that vaccine. None of this is said in the interview because Zubin didn't do his homework, didn't have a calculator, and doesn't mind looking like a fool because he's talking to his idol.
And this $6M payout is in addition to the tens and tens of millions of dollars that Offit has made through other avenues in the vaccine industry. We can all stop pretending now, right?
Paul Offit truly thinks we're stupid
Offit has written a new book on how to better communicate pro-vaccine science to nonbelievers, and he gave an hour-long interview where he didn't say a single thing that is rational. I expect more from people writing books on communication. He is utterly dismissive, narcissistic, and showed that he is completely out of touch with the reality of autism when he described it as "emotionally burdensome and, on some level, financially burdensome."
I know middle class couples who have, over 20 years, spent $1 million on helping their children cope with and heal from autism. And these are just ordinary people who worked their asses off to be able to devote $50,000 a year to paying for services. I'd like to know, on what level, is autism not financially burdensome? The Rain Man kind of blackjack card-counting autism that no one has?
"It doesn't make biological sense" he says, speaking about a mother who approached him about her injured child, "that a child would show signs of injury within minutes of getting a vaccine." As if allergic reactions don't happen that way? Seizures don't happen that way? Syncope doesn't happen that way? Somnolence doesn't happen that way? Why wouldn't neurological damage happen that way?
"Vaccines don't work that fast," he goes on to say, with a big helping of finality.
Well, who said that vaccine injury only happens when the vaccine is working? Besides, epinephrine works that fast. Even topical nicotine peaks within a few hours of being placed on top of the skin. Why wouldn't a vaccine reaction happen that fast? Because Offit declared it to be so, from his throne?
The immune system would require, on average, two weeks to create a peak antibody response to vaccination, and, therefore, Dr. Offit wants us to believe, the body cannot have an adverse reaction to vaccines before the vaccine is working. Yet, we hear constantly, a child who dies two weeks after vaccination has died in such a distant window of time that its death could not possibly be linked to vaccination. But that is precisely when the vaccine starting working, yes?
This man is the top expert our country could produce? I'd love to talk to you, Paul Offit. I have lots of questions.
Paul Offit shared that the only way he could think to help a desperate autism mom who drove a great distance to speak to him about what happened to her vaccine injured child was to say, "I don't think vaccines are it. I don't think vaccines are your answer."
Thank God for you Paul Offit. Truly a saint for putting your gigantic thinking cap on for this mother. Way to stick to your talking points.
Can you imagine being this downtrodden mom? I'm sure she crumbled to pieces in the parking lot.
Now, I'm not making this next part up, but Offit said that the autism charity he helped found-- the Autism Science Foundation, which burns up nearly $1M a year in genetic research-- is "really great" because "it's the only autism foundation with the word 'science' in the title." I am laughing, but it's a very, very sad laugh.
Truly, I get the impression Paul Offit thinks we all have an IQ of 80 and are just nodding along to everything he says.
Dr. Offit also declared that autism is caused by "multiple genes in the first trimester of pregnancy," and then listed off, by way of example, numerous environmental toxic compounds that cause birth defects if a baby is exposed to them in its first trimester. Is your head banging your desk yet?
Oh! This is new. Paul Offit has done a 180 on the existence of the autism epidemic and admitted, "I do think there is a real increase [in autism prevalence today].
This is baffling because in 2011 Offit told AOL that there is no autism epidemic and that the prevalence is about the same as it was 50 years ago. In fact, in just 2016, Offit said almost the exact same thing on the record again. Now, if Zubin planned on asking Offit whether he believed the current rate of autism was real or imagined, why didn't he research what Offit has said in the past? And, if he did, why didn't he call Offit out on such a drastic change in his beliefs? How can Offit be Zubin's idol, but Zubin didn't know he changed his mind about the autism epidemic? Inquiring minds want to know.
At some point Offit said he didn't know why RFK Jr. "isn't convinced by the mercury study." I did laugh out loud at hearing that. Paul Offit knows exactly what RFK's issue is, and RFK has told the whole world what a compulsive liar Offit is-- after recording a phone call with him. Offit has his talking points, and when challenged with facts he'll concede that he may be wrong. He'll hear you out on your points, he'll agree with you (this is why he doesn't debate anyone-- he can't), and then he'll turn around days later and regurgitate his talking points again, and the information you've contradicted him with has been erased from his rationale.
Paul Offit is still deeply bothered by his encounter with Josh Coleman
He references Josh a couple of times, but specifically says that "it wasn't fair" when Josh's camera was in Offit's face and Offit didn't know he was filming. That's when Offit angrily told Josh to " get the fuck out of here" when asked to answer a few questions.
It wasn't fair. Offit came across as a pediatrician of every parent's nightmare, and it wasn't fair.
Fuck parents who thought they'd birth healthy children, raise them for 18 years, and set them free into the world to go to college, marry, and have families of their own, but instead must shop for long term care facilities in the event of their own deaths. Fuck parents who go bankrupt over vaccine injury. Fuck all of the marriages that have fallen apart under the strain of raising a child with autism, epilepsy, and everything that goes along with it. Fuck all of the parents who don't think it's fair that they complied with every vaccine recommendation, of which Paul Offit plays a major role pushing in society, the government, and the media, and they lost the child they thought they knew.
What Paul Offit thinks is unfair is being caught acting like a douche on camera.
Toward the end, Dr. Zubin asks whether shaming is an effective tool in getting people to vaccinate. And Offit replied, "No. no, I don't think so. Watching your child getting so many shots doesn't make sense. It's hard to watch that. I get it, I get how you're put off. Getting a vaccine isn't a risk-free choice. I get the pushback."
Does anyone remember the original Facebook group "The Anti-Vax Wall of Shame?" Did you know that Paul Offit was a member?
With 10 minutes left, Offit finally discusses aluminum by way of sharing a story of a woman who had recently confronted him about it. And he exasperatedly says that he answered her by explaining how aluminum in vaccines works. Buddy, I seriously doubt she was asking you "how aluminum works," and you don't know how aluminum works any better than the rest of us with eyes to read know how aluminum works. How injected aluminum works to provoke the immune system is a verboten subject in scientific research, and we all know it. And if you were to speak honestly about it, you'd have no choice but to talk about Th2 immune over-stimulation and antibodies being made to bystander proteins that were never the target of the vaccine in the first place, and oh gosh, it's best we just shut up about the whole thing.
Then Offit goes on to say that he next explained how abundant aluminum is in the earth's crust. Again. Paul, with the non-responsive answers. Aluminum was unreachable until we began mining for bauxite in 1821 so we aren't even 100 years into being exposed to aluminum as a species. This woman wanted answers about vaccine safety and injecting aluminum, and his prattling on about how abundant aluminum is on earth was not consoling her, which obviously was pissing him off, given how he tells the story.
And then! He entirely glosses over it! THE THING! He next went on to tell the woman, " And here's how, if you're injected with aluminum verses ingest aluminum, how does that all work... and she just wouldn't believe me!"
Wait! Stop! Go back! Do tell us how all of that works, Paul! ZDogg, why didn't you ask Dr. Oh Great One to stop and explain the difference between injecting and ingesting aluminum? Is it because that difference has never been studied by our government? Is it because you know there are no studies on the safety of injecting aluminum at all? Did you know the FDA says, "We don't know" when it comes to an upper limit on injecting aluminum into the body? Did you know the WHO doesn't talk about injected aluminum, only exposure by other routes?
I mean, that topic is partly my reason for existing right now and I can't believe this Joe Rogan wannabe let the top vaccinologist in the whole world blahzey-blow his way past explaining all of injected aluminum without a single question!
No wonder the woman in your story wouldn't believe you, Paul. You're answering everything but the questions asked of you. Your talking points throughout your entire interview didn't include any issues, or answer any questions, that non-vax parents care about. If she asked you about the scientific basis supporting the safety of injecting aluminum into pregnant women and developing children, and you responded with a monologue about how aluminum works and how plentiful it is in the earth's crust, I would imagine it was hard for her not to spit in your face.
And, in conclusion, chronic disease
What about the tradeoff of what was, often, benign childhood illness for a lifetime of chronic disease? "We're seeing an increase in chronic disease," Paul says, "because, frankly, we live longer."
WHAT. We live longer? Do you mean because we live past the age of 2? Because the CDC says that we're now up to 25% of children between the ages of 2 and 8 having a chronic disease.
ZDogg, this is the kind of dumb shit that you just sat there and nodded through because you're too much of a puss to ask hard questions of someone you look up to. You know damn well that the American epidemic of chronic disease isn't about 70-year-olds. It's about 7-year-olds, and you look like a dumbass for not saying anything.
Back to ZDoggMD
Apparently, a few weeks ago, ZDogg told his sidekick, live on Facebook, to prepare to get autism after getting a flu shot, and that it will be an upgrade for him. ZDogg brought this up during the Offit interview and said it was "probably in poor taste."
Jesus effing Christ, ZDogg. Do you not know how to apologize? Do you not know how to hold yourself accountable? It was "probably" in poor taste to mock a million Americans, a large portion of whom are nonverbal for life? Who will never live outside of their parent's homes or some sort of group home for the disabled? Who self-injure, many don't learn to toilet, and way too many suffer from epilepsy? It was "probably in poor taste" to tell your sidekick he was about to be upgraded with this disability?
And you felt unsupported by your hospital when they made you take the video down?
That "science communicator" career you hint all around about? Nail in the coffin, dawg. You don't know autism. At all.
And when the father of a little girl killed by vaccines was banging on Zubin's studio window during the interview it upset him and he said, " Why would you shout somebody down?"
Yet, being shouted down is what happens to us at every legislative hearing vote. It's what happens with coverups in vaccine court. It's what happens to us in the newspapers. It's what happens to us on primetime television, with hatred toward non-vax parents being written into scripts. We are nothing but shouted down. In fact, Zubin quickly followed up with another video, announcing that he was no longer even going to allow people to leave non-vax comments on his Facebook page because he is so throughly done providing a platform for people to speak about it.
How is that not shouting people down?
"Think about the kind of suffering that guy has, if you really feel what he feels" Zubin said, referencing the grieving father. "He is so angry because he thinks we're harming children. I can actually have a kind of cognitive empathy for that and understand that."
You're so close, ZDogg. Or at least you play the part of someone who is so close to getting it.
I don't know what ZDoggMD does for a living now. He asks for people to buy things through his Amazon affiliate link and he asks for people to become paying members of his community, so that's a little bit of money. Facebook doesn't pay anyone to share videos and most of his YouTube posts stall out between 2,000 and 8,000 views so there isn't much advertiser revenue there.
He says he's teaching somewhere, but that school doesn't claim the social media star on their website. He put out a video about making rounds at a hospital.
It's obvious that he has always had dreams of doing something creative outside of practicing medicine ever since he began practicing medicine and quickly "burned out." He talked to Paul Offit a lot about the importance of being a "science communicator," but ZDogg has to know he doesn't have any kind of future as a science communicator.
Why? Because the media doesn't hire assholes to be science communicators. Just ask Marco Arturo. Remember his empty folder of vaccines-cause-autism research and how I said he would look back on it someday and think, "What a little prick I was?" That took all of 22 months happen.
And, to his credit, at the tender age of 14 Marco was able to realize that the only reason people listened to him in the first place was because he was attacking someone else. Once he tried to segue over to "science communicating" about his favorite topics (snakes, international space stations), his followers turned off notifications and disappeared.
And that's because they never cared what he had to say. They just liked watching him be a jerk to the scapegoats de jour-- parents of vaccine injured children.
“I was really disappointed,” he said. “I thought I had a following mostly made up of people who loved science, because that is what I originally wanted to build on. I wish honestly that people were as much into science as they are into shutting people down.”
It's not that much different for ZDoggMD. While one of his "anti-vaxer hate" videos might get 7.5 million views on Facebook, the videos about his real passion-- creating sustainable, patient-centered health care providers-- might get 0.6% of those views. In between, he has videos with guest speakers that might snag 1% to 2% of his high numbers, but it appears that most of his followers are there for the hate-- not to hear him discuss the failings of American healthcare and how to make real change.
The reason I even bring up this topic of being popular for being hateful is that ZDogg, when he's not calling non-vax parents "child murderers," seems to have a conscience. And on the off-chance that he ever sits with this persona he's created and wonders how his impact in this life will be viewed within our calling to do good in the universe, I want the possibility to cross his mind that inciting his one million followers to actively hate, disrespect, and target parents who have decided not to vaccinate after witnessing one of their children become injured (or die) after vaccination is not fulfilling his life's purpose. Not in the least.
He created an entire episode on "gaslighting," which is intentionally mentally abusing someone into believing that what they see, what they hear, what they know to be real, is not real. And eventually the victim must rely on the abuser doing the gaslighting to guide them into feeling confident about what is real, because they can no longer trust their own senses. And the fact that this happens every single day, 300 times a day, when doctors tell mothers that "regressive autism just coincidentally appears around the time of the 12-15 month shots, but really the signs were there from the beginning," is lost on Dr. Zubin. We are told to disregard what we see. Ignore what we knew. Don't watch old videos of your children walking steadily, or speaking in two-word sentences. It is all a coincidence and injecting aluminum for six months before administering that MMR has nothing to do with it.
That science is settled, ZDogg says. And he was "trained in the scientific method," so you can trust him.
Anyway. I noticed that the only ZDogg videos that are more popular than him attacking non-vax parents are his poop emoji videos, if that's any consolation for how much he's offended parents. Maybe he can carve out a career in the non-vax hate/poop emoji niche on YouTube and support his family with his dream. I wish him well, and I hope he wakes up before a child he cares about is forever hurt by his sacred cow.