I apologize that this post is not really a review of Dr. Offit’s book (I don’t know how your Monday has been going but mine has included a boy with a bad cold who had to stay home resulting in immediate rearrangement of my schedule of classes etc., and my needing to meet the deadline for an important document). Much of the exchange here at the Science Blogs Book Club has been about science, vaccines, and the media’s role in keeping public discussions of autism overly focused on vaccines. Dr. Offit also devotes a chapter of Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure to legal matters, and specifically to “science in court” (the title of the book’s 8th chapter). Just today I was glad to have his book for background about the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act (VICP). Another book, Do Vaccines Cause That?!: A Guide for Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns, by Martin G. Myers, M.D., and Diego Pineda has also been of use to me (as a non-scientist) writing about a ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court that allows a family to proceed with a civil lawsuit against vaccine maker American Home Products; more details here.
And come to think of it, here is a reason why I think antivaccinationists really need to read Dr. Offit’s new book. Autism’s False Prophets has a proverbial wealth of information about vaccines and their history and the whole vaccine-autism issue. Antivaccinationists should be grateful that Dr. Offit has put all that—all that evidence—into one book that they can so to speak “rip apart.”
But they have to open the cover first.