Saturday, November 22, 2008

Autism and Shots

I would like to review a book. "Autism's False Prophets; Bad Science, Risky Medicine, And The Search For A Cure" by Paul A. Offit MD. The author is the chief of infectious diseases and director of the vaccine education center at the Childrens Hospital of Philidelphia and Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics at the University School of Medicine. His work was recently reported on in Newsweek. The book is very frank and a wonderful insight into how the human mind works in relations to false hope and quacks. He lays out the science and interweaves the stories of real people. He also documents where the information is coming from, which quack science and cause people rarely ever due. How even well meaning scientists can be sucked into the pit of BS. The false prophets are start with the ever present idea that approximation of events means causality. Then poor and even bad science is done and interpreted in wildly irrational ways. Then come the people you have to have sympathy for the parents of autistic children and they now have a cause. Looking for someone to blame and to pay for the BS treatments that almost ruins their lives that is sold to them by snake oil salesman, each with their own brand theory and treatment. Then the lawyers come in and see big bucks and in reality they care less about truth, but more about money. The link between law firms who then fund the BS studies and heavily biased results. The good science that definitely prove through the scientific method that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The sad part is a lot of people listen and I see it every day people who refuse to vaccinate their children. The result we know is epidemics of diseases, such as measles, that were once thought to be a thing of the past. And the death or even worse outcome the damage done by these disease of the past to children that now become disabled vegetables and burdens on their families. And the false prophets and lawyers will not pay for their mistakes. Then the famous people like Jenny McCarthy and politicians like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Arnold Schwarzenager just add fuel to the fire just to make money or get votes. The media for wanting to sell ratings, the truth be damned. It is just about all a good skeptic can do to keep from going ballistic. Offit himself has had death threats from the so called good people who just what to help children.

Anyway I heartily recommend this book. It definitely goes into my list of books to read.

Skeptical DoDo

No comments: