Mike the Mad Biologist

Actually, he didn’t. He interviewed anti-vaccinationist Jenny McCarthy. Which is worse. Here’s one small dose of stupidity:

Most people who blame autism on vaccines point to the mercury in the shots, yet mercury has been removed from most vaccines and autism rates continue to climb.

We don’t believe it’s only the mercury. Aluminum and other toxins also play a role. The viruses in the vaccines themselves can be causing it, too.

That part in italics is demonstrably false. No virus has ever been shown to cause autism (horrible effects, including brain damage and hearing loss, yes).

And it’s not just “toxins”, it’s also nymphs. Small, tiny ones. They might look pretty, but those nymphs are some bad-ass motherfuckers. Interviewing Jenny McCarthy about autism is like interviewing the crazy fluoridation guy on the subway about dentistry.

I realize the editor is trying to debunk these cranks, but you can’t win against lunatics by placing them in a serious forum.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua
    April 1, 2009

    I think that answer shows a lot about the thought process of anti-vaxers. They’re perfectly willing to just throw a bunch of crap against the wall and see what sticks. Mercury? Aluminum? Dead viruses? Sure, whatever. I’ll take all three! Just as long as it’s something that can be blamed on the vaccines…

  2. #2 Orac
    April 1, 2009

    That part in italics is demonstrably false. No virus has ever been shown to cause autism (horrible effects, including brain damage and hearing loss, yes).

    Not entirely true. Prenatal exposure to rubella greatly increases the risk for autism. Of course, that’s an argument in favor of making sure everyone’s vaccinated against rubella. :-)

  3. #3 Chris
    April 1, 2009

    Orac: I’m going to have to remember that! Thanks

    As for the interview: I don’t pay enough attention to the anti-vax problem. Has this response ever been heard from any anti-vax spokesperson:

    Jeffrey Kluger: “Your collaborator recommends that parents accept only the haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) and tetanus vaccine for newborns and then think about the rest. Not polio? What about the polio clusters in unvaccinated communities like the Amish in the U.S.? What about the 2004 outbreak that swept across Africa and Southeast Asia after a single province in northern Nigeria banned vaccines?”

    Jenny McCarthy: “I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”

    That is amazingly short sighted and bordering on a call for negligent genocide. How is this any different from religiously-motivated medical neglect, anti-condom indoctrination, etc.? Nothing! That’s what! Dark ages anyone?!

    I’m kind of upset that Mr. Kluger didn’t add more, or even opine after the interview, but I think her horrendous responses speak for themselves.

    A disgusted Chris out!

  4. #4 Whitecoat Tales
    April 1, 2009

    One can only hope that people reading this understand that that Jenny McCarthy is NOT looking out for her childrens best interest.
    Maybe then they’ll trust their doctors over B-list celebrities.

  5. #5 Badger3k
    April 2, 2009

    Nymphs? Nymphs!….nymphos?

    I get it! Autism is caused by Nymphs in vaccines, and one escaped and grew and grew, and eventually outgrew her brain. She’s now married to a sometime comedian and sucked his brain out in an attempt to get hers back (didn’t work), and now she runs around trying to kill her real people to prevent us from finding out what she really is!

    It explains the Indigo Child super-powers team as well.

    Does this mean we all have to die?

  6. #6 Heraclides
    April 2, 2009

    Orac writes:

    “Not entirely true. Prenatal exposure to rubella greatly increases the risk for autism. Of course, that’s an argument in favor of making sure everyone’s vaccinated against rubella. :-)

    I’ve two minds about that. I’ve seen this bandied about, so some time ago I briefly looked into it. From what I recall, the few original research papers I found were basically the few Offit cited, and were from quite a while ago (1980s from memory), with no more current follow-ups. Part of the reason I was bothered, was concern over the diagnosis of autism overlapping with deafness, which rubella can cause. If anyone has more specifics on this, I’d be interested in hearing of them.

    (Deafness can result in difficulty in learning language, social skills, etc.)

    Excuse my being lazy, but I’m a bit out of time to check this out again (have to prepare a proposal for a project on short notice).

  7. #7 Heraclides
    April 2, 2009

    Forgot to add that I thought that the editor (the author) ought to have more explicitly pointed out the fallacies in Jenny’s replies. By leaving them unexplained, I worry that others will think that her points are good. Put it another way, while most of us here know the issues, and hence the weaknesses of her replies, will the typical reader of TIME?

  8. #8 nyscof
    April 2, 2009

    Over 2,200 professionals urge the US Congress to stop water fluoridation until Congressional hearings are conducted, citing scientific evidence that fluoridation, long promoted to fight tooth decay, is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement: http://www.fluorideaction.org/statement.august.2007.html.

    Also, eleven Environmental Protection Agency employee unions representing over 7000 environmental and public health professionals called for a moratorium on drinking water fluoridation programs across the country, and have asked EPA management to recognize fluoride as posing a serious risk of causing cancer in people.

    Join them http://congress.FluorideAction.Net

  9. #9 Canadian Curmudgeon
    April 2, 2009

    Jenny McCarthy: “I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe.

    Sadly this seems to be the attitude of many of the anti-science types. I had a discussion with an anti-GMO guy once. Her felt that all GMOs were evil – even the cases of crops that were more drought resistant or containing more nutrients. It was more ‘ethical’ I his mind to prevent unknown environmental impacts than to save starving people.

    It is also the attitude of the radical animal rights folks.

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