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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine

The Dark Lord of Vaccination speaks!

While, thanks to the recent CDC report documenting the resurgence of measles in the U.S., thanks to worrisome pockets of decreasing vaccine uptake that could portend a much wider resurgence if the antivaccine brigade, now led by Jenny McCarthy, has its way, I’m back on the topic of vaccines after having amazingly managed to stay away for an uncharacteristically long time, I thought that one last post for a while (I hope) is in order.

Yes, in September, there is reason for some optimism in the P.R. war, which the antivaccination forces have clearly winning in recent months. That’s because a new book by the man whom antivaccine activists consider the Dark Lord of Vaccination himself, Dr. Paul Offit, will be hitting the bookstores. It’s called: Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure:

I’m in the middle of reading a review copy of the book. Besides being a good, concise read on the history of the whole myth that vaccines cause autism, I’m thus far shocked at just how really nasty antivaccine activists have gotten with respect to Dr. Offit. It goes far beyond verbal abuse and insults, including the usual “pharma shill” gambit. There’s a really, really visceral hatred of Dr. Offit among the Jenny McCarthy clan, to the point of death threats and times when the University of Pennsylvania had to provide armed guards to protect him. Even if all the bad things the antivaccine movement say about Dr. Offit were true (they’re not), this goes far beyond the pale.

Personally, I fear for his safety this fall after his book comes out, especially if he does extensive publicity tours. I also fear a single book will be no match for the celebrity and pro wrestling-funded propaganda machine that, thanks to Jenny McCarthy, the antivaccinationists have built up. Still, it’s a hopeful sign, and I hope more books like this will be forthcoming. It’s time to get serious about countering the dangerous idiocy of the Jenny McCarthy brigade. This is far more important than even the evolution-creationism manufactroversy. Public health is at stake.

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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