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On vaccines, immune to reason

It’s rare that one sees an editorial this spot on, but it happened a couple of days ago in The Washington Post:

The debate over vaccine litigation has thus shifted from a presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt. While the number of major studies that have failed to find any substantive link between vaccines and developmental disorders or autism is now in the double-digits (including a September 27th CDC study in the New England Journal), critics are effectively demanding that scientists prove that thimerosal does not cause illness — an impossible standard.

The very success of vaccines has become their downfall. As Dr. Offit writes in Vaccinated, “When [vaccines] work, absolutely nothing happens¿Parents go on with their lives, not once thinking that their child was saved.”

It is time to rescue vaccines from the witch hunts that go on when science fails to provide easy answers for complex diseases like autism.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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