Ashley Cate’s response to my review of her vaccine guide

Yesterday, I posted a review of Ashley Everly Cates’ Vaccine Guide. This is a large notebook full of what she feels is good information about vaccines.  While she has me blocked on social media, she took to her Facebook page to challenge my review. Having received screenshots, I will share and comment herein.  It would be nice if she would unblock me and engage me on my Facebook page or in comments on this blog, but lacking that a blog post in response will have to suffice.


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First of all, my blog post was not an attack. Criticism of research is not an attack. It is done all the time in every field of study.  If Ashley is as learned about research as she claims, she should know this is how research works.   It is telling that Ashley feels the need to defend how she refers to herself as a toxicologist. No matter how you portray it, Ashley, you have only a bachelor’s degree in environmental toxicology and have never published any work nor worked in the field. This does not give you the right to call yourself a toxicologist any more than my bachelor’s degree in sociology gives me the right to call myself a sociologist. The reason I bring up your lack of education as a point of clarification is you are misleading people in two ways: you mislead them with an appeal to your (lack of ) authority and you mislead them by claiming the science you present is valid based on this so-called authority. You further claim appeal to authority by implying that you know more than doctors because your child has a supposed (but never proven) vaccine injury.  Appeals to authority are deeply troubling. A good scientist is neutral in their presentation of facts as the facts should stand alone and be valid in any of themselves. Therefore, your undergraduate training doesn’t matter and appealing to it is not valid. You are asking people to respect your opinion without regard to facts.


Note: I am going to address a recent comment made to me. Please note there are three reasons I am specifying that Ashley is not a toxicologist. She has only a BS in the field, has never worked in the field, and has published no papers in the field. The BS alone is not the only factor. 


You claim “you know how to read and interpret scientific research, check for design flaws, bias, etc” but you have not proven that at all with your vaccine guide. You did not comment at all on any of the screenshots you shared, with regards to validity, design flaws, bias, etc.  You merely present a cherry-picked list of abstracts and assume the reader will take your word for it (appeal to authority) that you are sharing with them the best the science has to offer. You offer no review of any of the studies to which you link.

Thus, I call you a fake toxicologist because you have not proven to anyone in provaccine camp that you, in fact, have any authority as a toxicologist. The Society of Toxicology explains that a person with a bachelor’s degree in toxicology could find work as a lab technician or research assistant. “Depending upon your career aspirations, a bachelor’s degree may not be enough for you to achieve your goals.  According to the “Job Market Survey,” about half of employed toxicologists have a PhD Postdoctoral experience was considered an “absolute” requirement by 29 percent of the employers who planned to hire toxicologists in the next few years; an additional 38 percent listed such experience as “desired.” Postdoctoral training is a route to employment in toxicology for those with advanced degrees in other areas, such as the PhD in other biomedical sciences, the MD, or DVM.”

Thus, you are not a toxicologist.  

As I linked in my review of your Vaccine Guide, my friend Abe is an actual practicing scientist with expertise in the toxicology of pharmaceutical ingredients.  On his blog, he goes over studies in detail, demonstrating WHY each is important or not valid. There is a huge difference in detail between what he does and what you do because he has infinitely greater education and expertise and is an actual, published scientist.   He does not need to appeal to his own authority because of the detail of his writings.

You then complain that I attacked independent science as shoddy simply because it is independent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most immunization science is independent of pharmaceutical companies; thus, attacking all of it would be irrational. The Vaccine Safety Datalink studies are independent of pharma companies, a great deal of vaccine science comes from Denmark and Germany and is independent of pharma companies.  It is a very bold lie to your readers to claim “Somehow they’ve concluded that independently funded research is to be mistrusted and discounted, while “research” funded by the vaccine manufacturers like Merck, GSK, & Sanofi.”  Perhaps if you would learn how to actually judge vaccine studies for validity, you would not need to lie about how they are funded.

“And of course they attack me because I share abstracts.”  Did you read more than abstracts? The point here is to read and judge the full study, not just share an abstract with no mention how or why it was chosen.

“Every time you find a pro-vaccine attack article, they never link to the actual source they’re attacking.”  I linked to your guide in the first sentence of my blog post. Why? Because I want people to read it and judge for themselves. No manipulation here.


No one is against informed consent. You don’t offer it, though, as you lie about vaccine study funding and appeal to your own authority in lieu of reviewing studies for validity.  That is not informed consent.


Here are more screenshots from Tara C Smith’s FB page.  Please note these did not come from Tara but from another friend.

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Here she claims that doctors don’t give patients informed consent. But, that is not true. You can ask your doctor questions before you get a prescription or vaccine or referral for a procedure. That is informed consent. My second baby was not born in a hospital so her 8 week appointment with our family doctor was our first time thinking about vaccinating her. This was around the time Bob Sears’ The Vaccine Book had come out so I was concerned about aluminum in vaccines. Our doctor used his laptop to look up aluminum limits for vaccines and talk to me about science and, in the end, she got fully vaccinated.  There were a few times I didn’t get the shots at the actual well-check but went home to think about it and talk to her father, who has an MS in toxicology (take that Ashley) and discuss pros and cons. She was vaccinated on schedule, however, as we always went back in to get them within the CDC-recommended time frame.

That is informed consent. 

Ashley, what you are doing is cherry-picking. You have found a list of points you want to make to people about the supposed dangers of vaccines but you have not quantified those points with any reasoning about their validity.  You have not presented a balanced list of studies. You have not shown your followers how literally NOT ONE SINGLE STUDY exists proving vaccines have greater risks than benefits. You have not taught your followers how they can read and understand or even access the full documents for the studies they are reading.

The bottom line

It is very clear your bachelor’s degree is simply not enough, in my opinion, to qualify you as an expert in vaccines. Think of it this way: If you were to try to get hired with only that bachelor’s degree, you would be working as a lab technician or collecting data in the field.  Any papers written about the data you collect would likely not have your name on them as your boss would be the author. “My training and expertise in investigating and determining safety and toxicity” is non-existent. You have published no papers. More to the point, your guide does not explain to people why the studies you have chosen are valid while the hundreds of thousands of other studies are not. A good review of the literature would present the pros and cons, not just cons. I know this for a fact because I have a Master’s degree in Education and wrote a thesis that reviewed the literature on my topic as well as analyzed the data I collected for the project I undertook.  You’ve let your ego get the best of you and you are harming public health for lack of humility.

Why am I criticizing Ashley? Because what she is doing is a danger to public health and well-meaning people get taken advantage of people like her and leave their children unprotected.




12 thoughts on “Ashley Cate’s response to my review of her vaccine guide

  1. Quick question, instead of getting so hyped up about trying to discredit the woman you’re talking about, have you tried to discredit the information she’s sharing? Oh wait… Like her that information is TRUE and can’t be discredited 😂 That information can be found from sources other than her and, wait for it, it’s still true! A senseless blog from a senseless mind, you poor thing.


    • Sure, right after you tell us about how she compared and contrasted the differences between VAERS and the VSD (Vaccine Safety Datalink). It should be easy to find in her “Guide” with all the links to actual websites.

      Unless those are missing.


  2. You realize the hypocrisy of calling attention to your own advanced degree, in an unrelated field no less, as relevant to discrediting one in the field under scrutiny?

    While I have thirty years of experience in my area of expertise it’s easy to highlight the fact that I didn’t complete even a bachelor’s as a proxy argument against my competence. (Can I mention some notable IT dropouts at this point?) Personally my opinion is that most degrees are worthless (and that education degrees are near the bottom.) Based on that I expect you to simply ignore the reminder of my comment.

    Just last week I spent several hours at the university looking up journals. I don’t need Ashley to hold my hand or draw conclusions for me. In your post I see appeals to others people’s authority as substitute for your own credibility. I no point by point refutation of anything Ashley said. This is all ad hominem. There is certainly no science to be found here.

    Despite my lack of a fancy paper to hang on the wall, my area of strength is in mathematics and logic. Your case rings hollow to me.


    • I believe I was clear in defining how I do not use my degree to appeal to my own authority. And I do not link out to other people as an appeal to their authority. For example, I link to Scientist Abe because he does an excellent job explaining the science and is an actual expert with the knowledge to do so.

      Maybe you can explain to me why the papers on aluminum adjuvants Ashley links to are valid? I will read your response with care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. On the About Page you refer to yourself as a scientist. Is that a reference to your sociology degree? Forgive me for not digging deeper to investigate the entirety of your blogging history. How can I be confident you’re not exaggerating unless you spell it out for me in every post?


    • Sociology is “the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships specifically : the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings.” Does that not qualify? But, I never appeal to my own authority in making arguments.


  4. Pingback: The Vaccine Guide: Cherry picked studies and deceptive highlighting in the service of antivaccine pseudoscience – Science-Based Medicine

  5. Pingback: Vaccine Guide: A "guide" to cherry picked antivaccine pseudoscience - RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE

  6. Pingback: Guia de Vacinas: Um “guia” sobre a supressão de evidências na pseudociência anti vacina. – Resistendum Ratio

  7. I grew up with Ashley. She is not a scientist. She used to sell “cancer cures” at the local farmers market and used to be part of an extremist Christian cult. She is drawn toward cultish conspiracy theories. I don’t know why she is so vulnerable to them but she is. I wish she could see them for what they are and not put her children at risk.


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