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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
diversion sign
A fifteen page story about the MMR vaccination controversy. As ever, I'm sure a few spelling errors have slipped past me. Feel free to point any out so I can correct them.

The reference links for the strip are in the next blog entry.

Now! Let's have a heated debate!

2013 update. Since I wrote this blog entry, this cartoon strip as well as many others on such subjects as homeopathy, chiropratic, evolution, and the supposed NASA Moon hoax landings, have been published in a book: Science Tales in the UK (Myriad Edtions) and How To Fake A Moon Landing in the US and Canada (Abrams). Here's the link to my main blog.

1 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

2 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

3 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

4 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

5 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

6 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 7 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 8 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 9 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 10 Vaccination Scandal Story

mmr 11 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 12 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 13 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 14 Vaccination Scandal Story

MMR 15 Vaccination Scandal Story

I am Darryl Cunningham and this is my main blog.

You are awesome. I'm so sick of anti vaccine propaganda, especially coming from celebrities who think that because they are famous that makes their opinion important and "correct" and they think they can be spokespeople for ridiculous causes such as this.

Very good stuff.

spelling errors - 'lumbar puncture' not lumber (pg 12).
lackeys not lackys (pg 13)

I did wonder about Lacky, but didn't check.

Thank you. I found this very informative.

Wow, excellent comic! The manipulation of the photo-copied images adds a real dimension to the storytelling. I am a terrible speller, though, so I can't help with that...

It's unfortunate that the conspiracy angle against vaccination has gained such headway; once anything like that gets out, any attempt to counter it comes across as more conspiracy. It doesn't help that it's Big Pharma in the spotlight-- they don't have the best track record.
It's also sad that we'd have to rely on journalists, editors and newspapers to keep us informed about these things. This is the twenty-first century, after all, and we may not have those things around much longer.

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This is amazing. Thank you for this, the power of your work never ceases to astound and impress me. This issue is close to my heart as I myself have irritable bowel, but I got it when I was 15 and saying that the MMR caused it (as some in the anti MMR movement would no doubt love to do) is like saying that someone could get hepatitis at age 15 from kissing someone in kindergarten: ridiculous and unlikely.

So I am spreading this link to all my friends so they can finally see the truth. Thank you again for making this, I just wish more people could see it!

Oh, also when I was 25 I had an LP done because I had an incredibly rare condition called Ideopathic Intracranial Hypertension and frankly its one of the worst experiences of my life, they did it under X-Ray and I would not wish that on ANY child, it infuriates me that this guy just did them almost willy-nilly on children. I could barely stand the pain and I'm a grown woman I cannot imagine how those poor children must have felt. Disgusting conduct imho.

Good comic, but... it seems a bit contradictory. You start off criticizing those who don't trust scientists, and then you give us a good example of a scientist we shouldn't trust. Maybe science is perfect, but we're mere humans, prone to error and capitalism. Facts and evidence are fine, but we're always going to receive them through the imperfect filter of human understanding.

In any case, I agree that it's shameful how the media is so ready to poison us with lies and misinformation if it'll get them more revenue.

I don't feel it's contradictory, myself. He never tells us we should believe every individual scientist, uncritically. I think the whole point is that while an individual scientist might behave in an ignorant or self-interested fashion, science as a whole is pretty good at recognizing and rejecting those scientists on its own -- that's why traditions like peer review exist. Note that the scientist "we shouldn't trust" is caught before long, and his work is summarily rejected by the fact-based scientific world. That's an important distinction.

Edited at 2010-05-18 05:03 pm (UTC)

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P.S. sent a link of this to Ben Goldacre on twitter

I find it ironic that sometimes "drug company profits" are mentioned as a motive for pushing vaccinations, when most vaccinations are not at all profitable, to the point where the government often has a hard time finding suppliers.

Another sucker falls for it.

# I find it ironic that sometimes "drug company profits" # are mentioned as a motive for pushing vaccinations, # when most vaccinations are not at all profitable, to # the point where the government often has a hard time # finding suppliers. You have misunderstood the relationship in the situation. Its not that the drug companies don't make a profit on vaccines, its that they can make much more profit on other new "wonder" drugs. (only in this case its a 'wonder' how some of those new 'wonder' drugs like phen-phen got through the FDA trials. :-) ) The big pharma companies don't want to spend their money on making vaccines because they can make much more money producing other, higher margin drugs. The companies that do produce the vaccines make a ton of money, its written into the production contract. They just don't make as much money as companies making other drugs. By the way - nice job being a gullible, non-critical thinker.

I love this - I spent years working for the NHS and you'd be amazed at how many people working in the health sector believed him!

And speaking as an NHS nurse, I'm constantly amazed (and depressed) by how many of my colleagues *still* believe him.

Excellent, very interesting.

There's an accidental extra word on page 8? "in addition to these large sums, a further £55,000 was applied for to conduct the reseach."

you apply for funding, therefore, the 'for' is needed

Great stuff!

A couple more typos: on page 6, "benefiting" is the US spelling and in UK English it's more usually spelled "benefitting" (although I know you are published in the US as well, so that may not be a mistake).

On page 12, as well as "lumber" you have "colonoscopes" instead of "colonoscopies".

Hm. I didn't know any of this (or even that there was a controversy in the first place). Now if it ever comes up I can respond to it properly.

The MMR panic was, as far as I know, the biggest in the UK, so if you're not from the UK, chances are big you completely missed it. And yeah, there is some anti-vaccination movement in the US, but I think it's smaller than in the UK with less of the mass media attention.

I'm from the Netherlands and I only heard about the MMR panic in 2007, because I happened to be watching some British documentary. The entire panic passed my country by. I'd say that's also proof the theory is bogus - if there WAS an actual link between autism and MMR, it would've spread around the world like wildfire, but for the first few years, it was just the UK who was worried.

Excellent comic, the only criticism I have is the unnecessary put-down of the Middle Ages. Seriously, can we stop it with the incorrect assumption that all people in the Middle Ages in Western Europe were idiots who hated science? Just an example that they did know their stuff: those massive cathedrals that still stand to this day. Try building those things without proper planning.

Sorry, but 'LOL medieval people were so stupid, like, they thought the world was flat' is a massive pet peeve of mine. It really is a cool comic that explains the situation well!

You're talking about people whose idea of a fun family gathering was a public execution.

This is an amazing summary execution of Wakefield and his horrific "work". Thank you, thank you, thank you.