The vaccine-autism link proven false, again

Anyone that’s studied statistics, even at a very basic level, will be able to tell you that “correlation does not equal causality.” Just because two things move in the same direction doesn’t mean they’re interacting with each other, or even influenced by each other. It’s very dangerous to draw assumptions. In statistical circles there’s even a term for a person who draws these links where the data doesn’t support it.

“Idiot.”

Unfortunately, autism traditionally strikes children between the ages of one and two. It’s around this time that a bunch of vaccinations are typically administered. For about the last decade parents that needed to blame something for their children’s illness sought refuge in attacking “big pharma.” Hopefully this will stop now that the main proponent of this disinformation has been proven completely and absolutely fraudulent.

Your mesiah is a liar.

He was taking money from lawyers to create laboratory data. The other ten researchers that formed the panel that issued the initial report indicating causality have petitioned to have their names removed from the paper. Thiomersal has been removed from vaccinations in the US since the late 90s and the rate of autism is still climbing, not that thiomersal has been ever proven to be harmful to humans. Read the article and follow the links to the other sources. Don’t use Google to reinforce your crumbling position. What’s that saying about “degree in bias reinforcement from the Google University?”

The problem with stupid people is that they’re not able to have their opinions swayed by evidence, data or new facts. They’ll hang on to their “beliefs” as though it’s their right. I love quoting Emma in this respect:

Anyone without a medical degree is not qualified to have an opinion.

This issue really gets me wound up, because parents have the “right” to reject these proven medicines because they “have a bad feeling about it.” We get outraged when Michael Jackson hangs his kid off a balcony but when some parent chooses to not have their child vaccinated we applaud their right to choose. How does that work and what does it say about us as a society? Is it just another instance of natural selection?

11 Replies to “The vaccine-autism link proven false, again”

  1. I’m not saying I feel one way or another about vaccination, but I can imagine you’ll feel quite differently about your ‘right to choose’ when it comes to your own child’s health.

  2. That’s the whole problem though Melinda – these parents simply are not equipped to be making these choices, in my opinion.

    Do you think parents have the right to choose if their child wears a seat belt in the car?

  3. I don’t see the seat belt issue as the same kind of choice as having your child injected with something.

    I’m all for letting people make their own choices, when it comes to their children’s health. I mean where does this mandatory stuff stop? Where do we draw the line to say ‘this is what we get a choice over, and this is what is forced upon us cause we’re too stupid to make our own choices’.

    I think you underestimate the intelligence of the average person when it comes to making choices about their families health and well being. Do you think just because you don’t have a degree in some kind of medical science, you can never make a choice? Surely you have made a choice already,that vaccination is good, based on what you’ve read, not just because the government has said ‘you have to do this’. You’ve read something, you’ve thought about it, you’ve digested the facts, how the study was done and based on that you have an opinion on it. You choose to think it’s a good idea.

  4. I had a *very* large reply which was eaten by the Internet Gods.

    My problem is people making choices above their pay scale. Stay-at-home-mums don’t know as much about how vaccinations work as the doctors and scientists administering and researching them. I don’t think people should have the right to enforce their beliefs on their children and I do believe that the government has a responsibility to protect children from parents that are making choices for their children to the child’s detriment.

    I don’t like the idea of a non-immunized child contracting German measles, say, and passing that on to a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy, giving her an 85% chance for a birth defect. That child’s parent doesn’t have the right to impact on the pregnant woman like that, in my opinion.

    I think my view of where the average intelligence sits is about right.

    I’m just glad that on The Island vaccinations will be both compulsory and completely unnecessary.

  5. I think things should be mandatory where your not doing them will effect other people negatively. I think an adult that isn’t giving their child an understanding of why a seat belt is a good thing for them, is not doing their child justice.

    I see it as a similar thing to third party personal injury insurance. The government mandates that you have to have it to drive a car because they have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to personal safety. This has no down side for the government. I think the only reason immunization isn’t mandated is that if in the future there were issues they’d be potentially liable.

    I think saying someone without a medical degree can’t have an opinion on this matter isn’t fair, though I don’t agree that most people are informed enough, or take the effort to inform themselves enough to make a decision. I think most people view medicine as some area that is reserved for an elite few to understand. Sure at the elite level it is, but doctors are just like any other above averagely intelligent person.

    Just as a doctor with a basic understanding of IT could probably tell if I’m bullshitting them given 15 minutes and google, I could likely tell if a doctor was bullshitting me given 15 minutes and Google. I know how arrogant that sounds, but it’s the reality of the situation I think. Doctors aren’t just smarter in some magical land that we can’t understand. They’ve simply chosen a field in which to invest themselves.

    I think if you take a small area like immunizations then you only need a basic understanding of how things work and a broad understanding of statistics to see that immunizations are a good thing.

    I think to understand this particular immunization issue unless you can understand the difference between an ethylated and methylated compound and particularly mercury and it’s effects on the body then you should let smarter people make the decision for you. Or at least shut up on the issue. For heavens sake, they can chlorinate sugar and render it basically useless inside your body. That’s sugar, 4 calories per gram, and chlorine and your body won’t see shit (almost). It’s called Splenda. If you think it’s bad for you (along with aspartame) then you need to do your own research. It’s another immunization-like bullshit fest that people keep talking about that haven’t taken the time to look into it themselves. The world of morons is rife with them. Look up microwaves too.

    Honestly I think that this is a case where statistically it’s a cut and dry positive. From the sky you can say if you aren’t immunizing then you are stupid and you aren’t protecting your child. Personally I’d be immunizing the hell out of my kid. Two of everything I say :P However when you get on the ground and look at a case by case basis there is the opportunity for temporary hurt, allergic reactions. For the government to mandate it requires them to shoulder liability. Not likely :)

    I think the more important issue here is that the reasons provided for not immunizing have proven to be bullshit and non-scientific. Anyone clinging to them is likely not motivated enough to do their own research and you should shun them :) In reality though I don’t think I’m not sure myself whether I’d be behind a government mandating something like this.

    As for the intelligence of the average Joe. I think you’re way, way overestimating both their knowledge and desire to learn, especially when it comes to health.

  6. The sole problem I see here is people making decisions on issues, based on false knowledge. No more, no less. It happens all the time, in more areas than just this too. Google (or perhaps Yahoo answers) is the modern day old wives tale syndrome.

    Just because a person is studying a field you’re not, doesn’t make them right, or prevent you from forming a different opinion. How many experts argue and have contradictory opinions about their field? Lets go with all of them. Stretching’s a perfect example of that ;)

    However on the issue of vaccinations, I’ve not found any information that would prevent me from doing it, and plenty of information to encourage me to do it. And I’ve not looked that hard. If I was going against the grain, I’d be making sure I’d done hard research. I’d like to think all people thought that way. If everyone put the required effort into having children, and managing the responsibilities of having a child and spent a few months researching and road testing, the population would be a lot less and we probably wouldn’t be getting in to these discussions.

  7. I feel like I may have been quoted without the context of tone, but my basic sentiment is that of Fitzy’s. The people who seem to make the most noise about this sort of thing are usually not the best informed, and not willing to investigate sufficiently to have an informed opinion. Something else people who are anti-vaccination tend to ignore is that small children can die from the diseases we vaccinate against. It’s not trivial, that death thing.

    Matt, regarding The Island, there will be no need for such policy as all residents will be intelligent, inquisitive and informed enough to make a good decision :)

  8. Interesting discussion here … This Island place sounds pretty awesome!

    But as for making decisions based on (mis)information … I think that’s the hard part. How do you figure out what’s good information and what’s bad? Obviously Google can’t be the be-all and end-all, but scientific findings change all the time too.

    If you listen to the world’s governments, our carbon footprints are going to kill us all. If you listen to some of the other scientific findings that are coming out of the woodwork at the moment, there are a lot of other factors that affect the weather (the sun being the main one!) and a lot of the “old” science about the green-house effect has been disproved.

    So we have the world’s governments who’re making decisions based on scientific findings. Informed decisions, you might say. But now those findings are starting to be discredited. Who’s to say they weren’t all completely wrong and we’re going to be plunging into an ice-age in the next few decades rather than cooking (other than my dad)?

    I wish there were an easy answer. Other than the Island, of course.

  9. Stop being agreeable people, this is supposed to be an argument about who is right and who is wrong.

    Just to spoil the ending; I’m right :)

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