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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.

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essentially admitting that the MMR triggered a regression from normal developing children into a state of Autism

...where "essentially" here means "not".

In both cases, compensation was given for encephalitis - which is an acknowledged (but extremely rare*) side-effect of MMR vaccination. While there were certainly claims made of autism, that was not upheld in the findings of fact.

Coverage here, with links to more including the court findings.

*Somewhere in the neighbourhood of one in a million... compared to the one-in-a-thousand risk of encephalitis for the unvaccinated who contract measles.

Sadly, some people may not be swayed by that even if they believe it. I recall debating an antivaxxer some years ago regarding the relative probability of harm from vaccinating or not vaccinating, and her initial thought was that she still wouldn't vaccinate. I asked why, she said "I'm not sure". I think what was going on in the back of her mind was "if I don't vaccinate my kid and it dies of measles, it's God's will, but if I vaccinate and it is harmed, it will be me who caused it". Irrational, but all too common.

Yeah, the whole antivaxx thing is an awful-but-fascinating insight into some patterns of irrational decision-making. I've encountered some with the same sort of reasoning you mention, and others who seem incapable of distinguishing between a 1/1000 and 1/1000000 risk.

(FWIW, I learned that the point of internet arguments is not to change the other person's mind. By the time they post an opinion to a public forum they've already dug themselves into their position. The reason to argue is for the sake of silent onlookers who might still be wavering.)

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