David Barton Goes Full Anti-Vax

Yesterday on Wallbuilders Live, David Barton doubled down on his claim that parts of aborted fetuses are in vaccines. He made that claim last week and after I wrote to refute it, he devoted a whole show to the topic today.

His guest for the program was anti-vax biologist Theresa Deisher. Deisher has a PhD in microbiology from Stanford and at one time was a mainstream scientist. Several years ago, she converted to anti-vax ideology and has focused on the theory that vaccines cause autism via the introduction of fetal DNA into a vaccinated child.

The most shocking false claim that the Barton’s (father and son) make on the program is that body parts are taken from live babies for use in vaccines in use today. This of course would be illegal. Despite what Barton and Deisher say, there is no legal process where children who are alive can be dismembered in this manner. Of course, anyone would be opposed to that.

Federal law (Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002) protects infants who survive abortion. Any baby who survives an abortion must be treated as a live person. I don’t know that this law is always followed but it is the law. Deisher nor Barton offered any proof that babies are being killed in this manner.

Dr. Deisher’s work has been thoroughly debunked.

She predicts that where MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is widely used, autism will spike. However, this has been debunked, most recently in a large population scale study by our old friend Morten Frisch and colleagues in Denmark. Here are selected aspects of their paper:

Participants: 657,461 children born in Denmark from 1999 through 31 December 2010, with follow-up from 1 year of age and through 31 August 2013.

Results: During 5,025,754 person-years of follow-up, 6517 children were diagnosed with autism (incidence rate, 129.7 per 100 000 person-years). Comparing MMR-vaccinated with MMR-unvaccinated children yielded a fully adjusted autism hazard ratio of 0.93 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.02). Similarly, no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination was consistently observed in subgroups of children defined according to sibling history of autism, autism risk factors (based on a disease risk score) or other childhood vaccinations, or during specified time periods after vaccination.

Barton has moved into dangerous territory here. He is trying to scare people away from vaccines with these false claims and as a result may be partly responsible for people deciding not to immunize their children. I would not want that on my conscience. Even the Catholic Church advises members that they may use vaccines due to the greater good of preventing sickness and death.

22 thoughts on “David Barton Goes Full Anti-Vax”

  1. Warren,

    Someone forwarded to me this 2014 study that was published in 2015, that indicates that new cell lines have been developed from aborted fetuses, in China, within the past few years:


    It would appear that this is the type of information that Dr. Deisher is publicizing. Even if studies like these prove to be legitimate, they do not clearly indicate that abortions were performed for the purpose of obtaining material to make vaccines. I do not know how the ethical and legal issues regarding abortion/vaccines work in China, versus the U.S.

    Perhaps I am delusional, but I would hope that we can give those like the Bartons and Dr. Deisher the benefit of the doubt that they are not necessarily against vaccines per se, but merely that they are against the unethical methods for developing vaccines. It would be better to develop cell lines that do not trace back to abortions. I can surely support that.

    However, this is not a sufficient moral reason to deny vaccination, that could possibly save the lives of children of concerned parents, and their neighbors’ children, or anyone else, for that matter.

    It might be good to find someone who has expertise in vaccines who can comment on studies like these, in order to straighten this mess out.

    The current outbreaks of measles appear to be relatively confined to communities of Ultra Orthodox Jews, but if the contagion spreads further out, it could become an even worse mess.

    Jay Wile, a Young Earth Creationist scientist, has been an outspoken critic of the anti-vax movement. We need more folks like him to step up and reach out into those communities of Christians, who are so distrustful of mainstream science:


    1. “we can give those like the Bartons and Dr. Deisher the benefit of the doubt that they are not necessarily against vaccines per se”

      When you deliberately deceive in order to get others to take your view on something, then yes, it is reasonable to say you are against that “something” (vaccines in this particular case).

    2. Deisher has come out against vaccines and Barton’s decision to give her a platform and deceive his audience is enough for me. I don’t give him any space here. He is contributing to a public health nightmare that may turn into a crisis.

        1. Christian media need to step up and report on these developments. Christian leaders are involved in a public health catastrophe and there is little coverage of it. Biologos and other Christians in science organizations need to be more vocal and engage the media as well.

  2. Barton’s ideology has driven him into paranoid schizophrenic ideation, but, for him it’s a short drive.

  3. I don’t know why researchers studying the autism thing don’t focus on unvaccinated kids and THEIR rate of autism. If you can find just ONE unvaccinated child that has autism – it would immediately disprove the connection. I’m hoping that they would actually find the same rate of autism in unvaccinated kids as in vaccinated kids. What are those rates? Research those and publish those two numbers. The quoted Danish study doesn’t help anything at all – it’s confusing and not very convincing for the “average” person.

    1. How on earth would finding one unvaccinated child that has autism immediately disprove the connection? I have never heard even the most extreme vaccination questioners claim that vaccines were the ONLY cause of autism.

    2. There are reams of data to show that there is no correlation, but a dearth of any to prove the assertion that there is. The whole idea has its genesis with a con man who wanted to profit on the lawsuits. From that point forward there were “true believers” who need no legitimate data to believe. Real science isn’t always simple to explain, which is why so many charlatans and social media can get away with the fraud they do.

  4. I didn’t think my opinion of David (I Lie For Jesus) Barton could get any worse. I was wrong. Those two deserve each other; humanity deserves neither of them.

    1. The reason “people follow Barton” is that they identify with his culture wars premise: that the Godly America of the past is under attack from these new leftist/secular forces and that we must fight it. When that is your starting point the rest follows, however absurd (as here with vaccines).

      1. Godly America of the past is under attack from these new leftist/secular forces and that we must fight it.

        Which since 2016 has been all mixed up with “Trump is LOOOOOORD!”

  5. Anyone displaying such wilful ignorance and dangerous fear-mongering definitely needs to be held accountable! But as an Aussie, I had no idea what what “Wallbuilders” was. It seemed a very strange name for an organisation, and I wondered why someone would choose a name which conjures up such strong images of exclusion and division. When I looked it up I read the following:

    In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, the nation of Israel rallied together in a grassroots movement to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and thus restore stability, safety, and a promising future to that great city. We have chosen this historical concept of “rebuilding the walls” to represent allegorically the call for citizen involvement in rebuilding our nation’s foundations.

    That explains a lot. A man who cannot tell the difference between a wall and a foundation obviously has a few ‘roos loose in his top paddock. (In fact, I’d say a whole mob of them…)

  6. Make people ignorant, and they will live in fear. Making them susceptible to any phony white knight who promises them salvation.

    Barton really is a slug. And a coward. When a friend of mine confronted Barton on the phone about his bad “history” teachings (my friend had known Barton previously), Barton hung up the phone.

    What a guy.

    1. I used to write (very calm and moderate) comments on Scott Lively’s blog (which contains some really quite ‘earthy’ dialectic for someone who sees himself as so angelic), but it was all too much for him too. These people so often see themselves as ‘delicate victims’ – something we should never forget as we seek to gain some kind of understanding of them.

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