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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
diversion sign
tallguywrites
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.


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I never said I had any special insight into the causes of autism, did I? Do you have any? The truth is that nobody knows what causes it, no matter how hearty their claim, and anybody who says they know is simply wrong. This applies to the AAP, to Generation Rescue, to Autism Speaks, to anybody. Wakefield didn't claim to have found a cause, all he said was that more research is necessary. Jenny McCarthy always adds the disclaimer that she's just a mom relating her own experience, she's not an expert. In my opinion, vaccines had nothing to do with my son, live or otherwise (then again, he got his first shot of thimerosol at 2 months, so maybe I'm wrong). But I know at least 15 families whose experience was completely different.

Science has done nothing but let us down, the parents of kids with autism. It continually makes claims that go directly against our own personal experiences. No connection between autism and diet? I know another 20 people whose daily lives prove otherwise. So until science can come up with some definitive answers for us, we're going to go with our guts and do what we know is best for our kids, and if that means skipping the MMR, that's what it means (FTR, both of my kids have gotten it).

So who are any of you to say you "know" that Wakefield was wrong? All you're doing is personally insulting the thousands of families who have had that experience; how do you think that helps them? Well, you probably don't care about them, I guess. That's the fun of the high horse.

Diet has been an incredible help for our son.

The week we cleared dairy from his diet was the first week he ever looked straight at us. I never knew how beautiful his eyes were, or could even be certain of their colour, until that point.

Then, a few weeks later, we cleared his diet of casein. And over the course of the following month, he began to talk in sentences, where to that point, he'd been struggling to say a single word.

Maybe they're coincidences. But I'll place my bets with the diet.

Temple Grandin seems to think diet is an effective treatment too, as a point of interest.

Excuse me for misunderstanding, but this discussion is partly about the causes of autism, and in saying, "As someone else whose family deals with autism daily in our son...", you sounded as if you were claiming to have special insight - otherwise why mention it?

"The truth is that nobody knows what causes it"

I agree, although plenty of people claim to know, based on their own personal experience, just as many people "know" that their cancer was cured by aromatherapy.

"Wakefield didn't claim to have found a cause"

He certainly did in at least one interview that I remember. But whether he did or not, instead of accepting the findings of the further research when it was carried out, or making valid criticisms of them like a proper scientist, he ran to the media crying conspiracy.

"Jenny McCarthy always adds the disclaimer that she's just a mom relating her own experience, she's not an expert."

Yes, she says that after repeatedly telling the actual experts they are wrong, in front of a sympathetic audience (and getting paid handsomely for doing so).

"Science has done nothing but let us down"
Well for one thing it has shown that even if there is a link (and there's no credible evidence that there is one) there is less risk of a child developing autism due to MMR than of it dying from measles (and/or causing the deaths of other people's children) because of avoiding it. That's hardly a failure.

"So until science can come up with some definitive answers for us, we're going to go with our guts and do what we know is best for our kids, and if that means skipping the MMR, that's what it means."

The trouble is, science has provided definitive answers, at least with respect to MMR, and parents are still avoiding it because they "know" what's best for their kids.

"So who are any of you to say you "know" that Wakefield was wrong?"

I'm someone who knows enough about experimental design and statistical analysis to tell that his research was seriously flawed to begin with, and disproven by the large-scale research that followed it. The evidence of unethical practices, fraud, and financial conflicts of interest are just the icing on the cake.

"All you're doing is personally insulting the thousands of families who have had that experience; how do you think that helps them?"

No, I was stating a fact. Living with autism doesn't give you insight into its causes any more than living with cancer and epilepsy gives me insight into the causes of those conditions. Ooh look, you're not the only one who can play the martyr card. Telling someone they're wrong when they're wrong is not an insult, regardless of what they're suffering.

As for caring about the families - if I didn't care I wouldn't be so bloody angry about the way parasites like Barr, Wakefield, Carrey and McCarthey exploit them for their own financial gain.

"Well, you probably don't care about them, I guess. That's the fun of the high horse."

SPOING!





Jenny McCarthy always adds the disclaimer that she's just a mom relating her own experience, she's not an expert.

She's a celebrity with a huge metaphorical microphone, so the "just a mom" act has worn quite thin.

So who are any of you to say you "know" that Wakefield was wrong?

It's called scientific evidence, sweetie. It outweighs your "personal experience" by a wide margin. If we still went by "personal experience" to determine basic facts about the world, then we'd still believe that witches cause crops to fail, the night air carries diseases, and rubbing dung into a wound heals it.

And, yes, to reply to your previous comment, I do feel morally superior to anti-vax nutjobs, because I'm not the one who's helping diseases that should have been eradicated regain their toehold among humanity.

Edited at 2010-05-27 12:59 pm (UTC)

I know two people who live with autism everyday, and they're pretty sure Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield are full of shit.

Unsurprisingly, peer review thought that too.

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