David Kirby seems to be planning his escape from the autism debate. At Huffington post, he demands that science perform epidemiological studies that compare the healthiness or autism rates of unvaccinated versus vaccinated children.
Most people (save for a handful of fringe parents who believe that autism is some altered state of being, worthy of celebration) are probably just plain tired of autism and the fight over its cause. They really want to settle this debate and move on.
I know I do.
The irony is that the multi-million-dollar court battles, the melodramatic headlines and the alarm over parents retreating from vaccinations are all so terribly unnecessary.
All we need do is conduct a thorough study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and see if there is any difference in their rates of autism spectrum disorders.
Critics of the study idea, who insist that vaccines have been 100 percent exonerated, ridicule the Maloney bill as a redundant, monumental waste of time and money.
Even so, their position is a bit hard to understand. No matter what happens in Vaccine Court, (which many say is the wrong venue for such a fight, anyway), this tired old debate will drag on for years, God help us.
If the results showed that vaccinated children were, all around, more healthy and robust than unvaccinated kids — that would pretty much kill all lawsuits right there, send waves of reassurance to billions of parents around the world, and make people like me shut up and go away.
I would, blissfully, not write about autism and vaccines again. (I have a new book deal to occupy me, about corporate vs. environmental health, which my publisher St. Martin’s Press will announce shortly. I am not an autism activist, and this is not my crusade).
Wow, that offer of Kirby going away would almost make it worth it. However, it’s interesting that the denialists will assert that mercury is the culprit despite no credible evidence for this hypothesis, and then demand that more studies be performed.
While I wouldn’t object to the idea of more study on principle, I really don’t think that this would actually make people like Kirby and the anti-vax denialists go away. After all, they don’t believe the existing science exonerates thimerosal, they have moved the goalposts again now that thimerosal has been removed from vaccines. Why should we believe any more studies will satisfy them?
People like Kirby have no credibility here. They’ve never accepted scientific findings, they have rejected them in the past as conspiracies and cover-ups of the truth. You have to pry their discredited findings they’ve cherry-picked from their cold dead hands. Why should we think such a study won’t lead to another move of the goalposts?
Anti-vaccination sentiments have existed for hundreds of years. They’re not going to go away with just one more study. They’re not the type of people that are convinced by science, if they were, Kirby would have shut up and gone away long ago.