In 2007 Skeptic magazine ran an article debunking the myth of the connection between vaccines and autism, and we were hoping that by now this sad tale of pseudoscience would have died a slow death as researchers continue to find no link whatsoever between the two. Sadly that is not the case. In fact, thanks to Playboy model Jenny McCarthy, mother of an autistic child, the myth has gained cultural traction as never before, as she and her partner, the comedian Jim Carrey, make the media rounds and appeal to the heart strings of the public, burying the science in a tsunami of emotion. So we return again to the topic with our SkepDoc, Harriet Hall, M.D., demolishing the myth once and for all.

Tags: autism, carrey, mccarthy, skepdoc, skeptic, vaccine

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Replies to This Discussion

I am so sick of hearing her name and seeing her face. It just makes me wretch... especially when I see those numbers.
What is it that vaccines are still linked with autism? Maybe it is because we are missing the context in wich autism appears - we are only collecting pieces from different sources.

When I was eight months old I was poisoned by a bacteria and, it never mattered what, I almost died. Apparently I developed autism right after that.

One current theory about autism suggests that the disorder is related to over-excitability at nerve endings. Like in a seizure, I was then, in state of shock during six-eight hours.

Even though I do not consider that there is any real connection between vaccines and autism, in fact we find that the process of intoxication followed by the over-excitability of the whole nerve system could be the cause of my autism.

A vaccine typically contains a small amount of an agent that resembles a microorganism. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and "remember" it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters.

So it really is about poisoning the body, so that the immunity system is improved.
Really? What, exactly, is poisonous in a vaccine?
Remember, the word poison has a very specific meaning in science.

Edited to add:
This myth isn't dead. No matter how often we think it dead and buried it keeps returning. Like a syphilitic chancre it rises back to the surface. Twice as ugly and ten times as irritating as the last time.
Now that Oprah has thrown her considerable might behind it, expect it to flourish like never before.
Vaccines? Seriously? Stupid people.
I sound like a calous asshole when I say it, but, then again, that's exactly what I am, so here goes: let the idiots who are too stupid to vaccinate their kids not vaccinate their kids. They'll be more likely to die from things, having kept said stupid people from having reproduced some more during the interval when they were caring for their now/then-dead kid.

Sure, some of the smart and worthwhile people will get sick, too, and possibly die, if gotten to before they've been vaccinated, but, should the actually-a-good-idea element of the prior paragraph actually work at all, it will come to pass far more than the deaths of smarties.
The problem is that without herd-immunity, it could get us all (or nearly so) killed.
It's already the law to have kids vaccinated before putting them in public school, but all you have to do is claim religious exemption to get around it...
Yes, but serious question: Does atheism qualify as a religious exemption?
I can see no reason for someone who's rational enough to be an atheist to irrationally not want their kids vaccinated.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Being rational is not prerequisite for being an atheist. A prime example is Bill Maher. Although Bill is an atheist, he actually believes that "Big Pharma" is actively trying to keep us sick and kill us. How rational is that?
I read on the Celebrity Atheists website that he is not an atheist. He is just anti religion.

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