The Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders) is a non-profit organization “dedicated to investigating the risks of exposure to mercury from medical products” – or more accurately an organization devoted to claiming that mercury in vaccines (thimerosal) causes autism and other neurological disorders, regardless of the fact that the claim is false and the connection thoroughly refuted by science (“conspiracy” shouts the SafeMinders, as expected). SafeMinds, like all crackpot organizations (indeed, this is a very characteristic trait of crackpot orginazitions, from the creationist ones to global warming deniers), has continued to pursue the issue in the political and judicial arenas, and has also attempted to sway the public. But they are, of course, not doing actual scientific investigations, which, as any rational person who cares about truth and accuracy knows, is what would actually, you know, settle the issue. More here.
Lyn Redwood is the president and co-founder of SafeMinds, and a nurse. Her son is diagnosed with PDD-NOS, and no one doubts that Redwood actually sincerely cares. She is not evil (except in the sense of Grey’s law). But she is thoroughly misguided by confirmation bias and her failure to understand science, and she has e.g. testified before the United States House of Representatives Government Reform Committee as such (no, no science, just the ‘better be safe than sorry’ gambit – which hardly works in the case of life-saving vaccines). She has taken her work abroad as well.
Other prominent members of SafeMinds include its executive director and co-founder Sallie Bernard (one of their most devout conspiracy theorists and a member of the panel that issued a 2007 federally-funded study that found no link between thimerosal exposure and neurological problems, although Bernard did not agree with the findings – showing decisively that the conclusion is already given and no amount of evidence could change that), and lobbyist and co-founder Elizabeth “Liz” Birt.
As with other antivaxxers and woo-peddlers, Redwood and SafeMinds are fond of the Big Pharma shill gambit. They like to point out to policy makers that researchers have conflicts of interest – failing to recognize that the fact that they themselves are involved in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies may count as a conflict of interest as well.
But then, what need is evidence or reason when you have a good ad hominem attack?
Diagnosis: A significant detrimental force in modern civilization, SafeMinds is a typically vigorous, ardent crackpot organization that has no interest in truth and reality if it does not support dogma – and fails to realize that this is exactly what their governing idea is. Extremely dangerous.