Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said that 2007 finished on a good note.

I never would have chosen mercury militia recruit Jenny McCarthy as a “woman who inspires us.” Let’s see. Just because she decided to make claims that she could “cure” her son of autism and that vaccines caused it does not constitute a reason to be “inspired” by her, unless scientific ignorance inspires you.


  1. #1 Brendan
    January 1, 2008

    Look at the words being used- “honest”, “down to earth”, “took a gamble”. The selection is about one half celebrity glop (down to earth means she’s just like us!!) and one half a celebration of the perceived moral values of taking a public stand and a “risk”, without evaluation of the actual content of the stand. Pretty standard if depressing stuff, and about what you’d expect when the Lifestyles section of the paper comments on science.

  2. #2 DLC
    January 1, 2008

    OR maybe her son just moved off the spectrum, as some few cases do.
    Even if he didn’t, would you want a spokesperson or person to look up to who experimented on their own child ?
    :::shrug::: maybe I’m nuts.

  3. #3 CSE
    January 1, 2008

    Ugh…when I hear anything about this story it’s like nails on a chalkboard! I love how it was “The Diet” that cured her kid. Not the fact that he has received intensive behavioral intervention for several years, part of which was done on a partial inpatient basis! Give me a break! Another spokeshole spewing pseudo-something to desperate parents willing to try anything to help their children. Ick.

  4. #4 kristina
    January 1, 2008

    She’s last year’s news already—-onward.

  5. #5 isles
    January 1, 2008

    Yep, she’s had her fifteen minutes. Next!

  6. #6 HCN
    January 1, 2008

    I hate those lists of “notable women.” They are usually women who are entertainers with the occasional politician.

    Though that list did have one notable exception (but still an ex-entertainer):
    Danica McKellar
    …. Her book Math Doesn’t Suck targets middle-school girls. …

    I approve of that.

    But, then again I have met some remarkable women. From several engineers I have worked with, my son’s cardiologist, to Boeing’s first female test pilot (she was working as a tech aide AND getting an engineering degree), an astronaut, and on and on… (and there are a bunch of really remarkable women on the JREF forum).

    My list of remarkable women also includes the several speech therapists, teachers and special education specialists who have dealt with my severely learning disabled son (okay, there were a couple of men in that category also!). These are people who make a bigger impact on autistic kids and kids with other disabilities than any DAN! doctor or actress with a ghost writer.

  7. #7 Jon H
    January 1, 2008

    Probably couldn’t resist including a sexy woman who has Illinois roots.

  8. #8 Michael Suttkus, II
    January 1, 2008

    Well, she inspires me to fight harder against stupidity.

  9. #9 medrecgal
    January 2, 2008

    I wouldn’t exactly call Jenny McCarthy “inspiring”. Anyone stupid enough to think you can cure autism (and that vaccines cause it)doesn’t deserve this kind of positive publicity that has the potential to reach a lot of people and warp their minds.

    IMHO, inspiring is someone like my cousin, who is an engineer and just recently received her Ph.D. She’s been all over the world, places from NY to Croatia to Iraq, in the name of using engineering knowledge to improve construction and building practices in the name of preserving the environment. That’s far more inspiring than someone formerly famous as a pinup girl spewing garbage about a supposed “cure” for autism.

  10. #10 Joseph
    January 3, 2008

    What most people don’t realize is that while good outcomes in autism are rare, they are not *that* rare. Furthermore, it appears that a lot of the poor outcomes are due to institutionalization. Be very skeptical of any claims that someone’s “recovery” from autism was “miraculous” or some such.

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