Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Vaccinations-Cause-Autism Fraud

Anyone who still persists in believing that childhood vaccinations have anything to do with the development of autism should read the three well-documented articles by investigative reporter Brian Deer published recently in the prestigious British Medical Journal. The first article is presented here. For those who don’t have the time, here’s a brief synopsis:

The original research article allegedly showing a causal link between vaccinations and autism was later shown to be a deliberate fraud. The paper, published in 1998 by the Lancet, was retracted in 2010 after it was shown to contain numerous misrepresentations. The paper’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was investigated by the UK General Medical Council and ultimately lost his license to practice medicine. Records released during the investigation show that Dr. Wakefield was paid nearly $700,000 by a British lawyer who was preparing a class-action lawsuit against vaccine-makers.

Since 1998, study after study has failed to validate Dr. Wakefield’s work and failed to show any causal link between childhood vaccinations and autism. And yet, some parents of autistic children still believe in that there may be a causal link. Actress Jenny McCarthy, herself a mother of an autistic child, is one of them. Ms. McCarthy has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to promote the vaccination-autism “cause” and has written several books about autism. I have yet to see an admission from her that she may have been wrong about vaccines.

Sorry, Ms. McCarthy, you lose on this one. Give it up before you look even more foolish than you already do.

(Topic for debate: Why do some people continue to believe in something despite overwhelming evidence in favor of just the opposite? What does that continued belief do for them?)

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