Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will the anti vaccine crowd ever give it up?

I just read the FDA’s opinion on Mercury, Vaccines & Autism. How soothing it is to read so much common sense. For once I feel great about my tax dollars at work. I've spent far too much time reading the rants of J.B. Handley. I seemed to have noticed a recent trend. The anti vaccine crowd is still promoting the dangers of vaccines, while speaking less about thimerosal. That’s convenient, since mercury is no longer an issue.

Now they seem to be moving on to environmental toxins. Is that how they explain California’s “explosion” of autism? Given that California has the most restrictive EPA in the union; it seems a bit ironic doesn’t it?

I studied agriculture. I seem to remember all of the loons twenty or thirty years ago saying we used too many chemicals. Then came the seed scientist and they began with their ingenious gene stacking of hybrids. They came up with a miracle where they modified the corn and soybean genes to make them resistant to glyphosate. Just about the time I could appreciate all of the benefits of using Round-Up Ready hybrids, I was hearing the same voices who had previously complained about chemicals. They were now complaining about GMO’s. The common thread seems to be:

Some people have too much time on their hands.
People naturally make associations and conclusions despite the lack of evidence for any association.
Scientists in every industry need to devote more time to educating the masses. Otherwise consumers are behind the technology. In other words, we need to do a better job of customer relations.

The anti vaccine crowd cannot win. The best they can do is to create increasingly more and more serious outbreaks, until the guest on Larry King and Oprah are asking “How could we have allowed such an epidemic to occur in the richest country in the world?” As a matter of fact, I fear one day we will hear Offit saying “I told you so!”

Ignorance is not bliss; it is an expensive commodity that we cannot afford. Whether or not we spend valuable research dollars to investigate vaccines as the cause of autism should not be left up to majority rule. Keep the politics out of this. It should be for scientists only to decide.

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