facts prove what we want them to prove?
Bingo. I am biased towards the non autoimmune model, but in 18 years I have come 180 degrees from "autoimmune" to definitely NOT. But these days, as you say, when I read an autoimmune idea my brain tends to shift into "been there, done that" and I glaze over.
But I remember that Scientific American had a whole issue on immunity in '93. I bought that magazine and poured over every word, especially focused on the vaccine for MS information. I thought back then that THAT would be the real cure, I expected it in a few years.
Tovaxin finally has been trialed and it did not pan out the way it was hoped. Even though by '03 I turned coat to non autoimmune, I was still disappointed by that failure. It was so targeted; I liked that because even if we are off base about the cause of MS it would not damage immunity overall, it would have been relatively safe. But for me it just added fuel to my "non-autoimmune" fire.
For others it is just a matter of "wrong epitopes".
Same data, different conclusions.
Notice that researchers rarely ever do dramatically different work either. They too come out with more along the lines of their previous work. The next paper we see From Lucchinetti will be on lesion heterogeneity and Chaudhuri will write on non autoimmune ideas. There is huge inertia in the research community because people don't research one side of an issue then do a paper from the other angle; they'd make their own work meaningless if they did so. So they support their previous work with more of the same stuff attempting to add enough weight to make their ideas become accepted as "fact".
To me, in general, it feels like we keep treading the same tired ground.