Settled Science that Is 'Controversial'

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Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

To call the supposed vaccine-autism link controversial is a gross mischaracterization. More appropriate descriptors are "incorrect," "delusional," "immoral," and "crazier than Jack Nicholson in The Shining." ("Here's Johnny!")

Like most prolific falsehoods, the belief that vaccines cause autism began with a whimper and grew with a clamor. In 1998, researcher Andrew Wakefield published a small study in the respected medical journal The Lancet, reporting that eight of twelve children who had received the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine had begun to experience behavioral symptoms of autism. Coverage of the study was limited at the time, but three years later, after Wakefield had published three more minor reports, the media grabbed hold. In 2002, the story resonated within the opinion and political comment echo chamber more than 1,000 times! Most of the pieces treated the results with little to no skepticism whatsoever, a pity, because Wakefield's original work was later retracted, and it is now widely regarded as fraudulent. In fact, he was later stripped of his medical license.

Sadly, facts don't always win. Study after study after systematic review has demonstrated that vaccines and their preservatives don't cause autism, yet the erroneous belief that they do still persists, fabricating the semblance of controversy.

(Image: Scary Vaccine via Shutterstock)

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