Arthur Allen – vaccine skeptics vs your kids

11 Sep

Whilst, I’m not sure that the people Arthur is writing about are skeptics as I understand the term (having a scientifically valid basis for not accepting an argument or position), I know what he means. And he’s right that it is this group of people vs the health of people everywhere.

The sub-header is even more accurate ‘immune to reason’. One only has to take a look over at the recent rantings on a certain blog we all know about where the latest themes are:

1) Presidential candidate Barack Obama is now a big pharma shill because he told one of them: “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.”.

2) The latest study in a long line of studies that show once more there is no link between MMR and autism is both flawed and exonerates one of their heroes.

3) Kathleen Seidel is wrong because….uh….well, no one knows why but she must be. Apparently.

Immune to reason indeed.

As Arthur points out, there is a great deal at stake:

…in the last trimester of her pregnancy, Helena Moran caught a cough that she couldn’t get rid of. She figured she’d picked up the germ—whatever it was—from one of her patients at a Boulder dentist’s office. But the real nightmare began after her daughter, Evelina, was born: The baby began to cough and cough, and then she’d curl up in a little ball and turn blue. At the emergency room, she was diagnosed with whooping cough. She spent the next five weeks in intensive care and suffered permanent lung damage.

Now, this isn’t *all* the fault of the so-called autism community, but as I’ve discussed before, I’m ashamed to say that a lot of it is.

….the movement got a huge boost from the controversy over the mercury-laden preservative thimerosal, which some theorized might be linked to autism. That link has been disproven—by, if nothing else, the fact that autism rates remained steady after pediatricians and public health authorities told manufacturers to stop making thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines in 1999. But the anti-vaccine movement has kept going, finding ever new reasons to distrust immunization.

The are a lot of zealots out there who have fed upon the autism community. A parent who might not believe vaccines case autism listens to horror stories and reads links sent to them from such places of quackery as who are nothing to do with the autism community but who market their own brand of ridiculousness (the owner of believes dolphins can manipulate gravity and has the pictures to prove it!) regarding vaccines and the autism parent greedily sucks it down.

Arthur discuss the practice of abusing ‘religious exemption’ by these people:

Right now, in many states, all it takes to get an exemption from vaccine requirements is signing a form. Some, including a group of doctors at Johns Hopkins University, have proposed making it harder—allowing a philosophical exemption only after parents demonstrate a good-faith effort to educate themselves.

But an article I read in yesterdays ‘Edmond Sun’ stated:

….a person “who has reached the age of majority and is mentally competent to do so may justifiably refuse immunizations for himself or herself, but may not impose this refusal on a child, who has no choice in the matter.” Courts have consistently upheld this principle.

That makes sense to me. Who would want to refuse such a simple thing that has no link of any kind to autism?

Arthur closes with the following:

But while questioning authority is healthy, facts are facts. If vaccines really were responsible for autism, it would be too much to ask parents to do the altruistic thing. But more than a dozen studies have failed to discover such a link—and not a single legitimate study has shown that one exists.

He’s spot on. All the celebs and all the money in the world cannot change that simple fact. We need to get past this. Those who believe autism is caused by vaccines need to put up or shut up. They are holding up progress on autism research and causing the health of our societies to suffer.

I urge readers to visit Arthur’s piece and read the comments. The first few demonstrate exactly the sort of mindset Arthur is talking about – the one’s who bring shame on the autism community. They truly are immune to reason.

5 Responses to “Arthur Allen – vaccine skeptics vs your kids”

  1. Jen September 11, 2008 at 11:17 #

    Thanks for the link to the article. I was thrilled to see that even MotherJones is coming down on the right side now 🙂 (And I’m a huge fan of MotherJones…I just haven’t always found them to be firmly on the side of science in the past.)

  2. Patrick September 11, 2008 at 23:15 #

    Save the eldlerly, vaccinate a wider age group versus the flu!
    add the http and www parts …

  3. Science Mom September 14, 2008 at 04:03 #

    I would like to have commented on Mr. Allen’s article but the stupid was just so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to begin. I prefer spending my time and energy with those that need help wading through these issues (thanks to aforementioned morons).


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