Orac has a nice rejoinder to David Kirby’s recent article, which contained the following disheartening, if not unsurprising news:
Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionnaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was “Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.” And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: “Yes. We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism – but we should find out.”And now, yesterday, at a rally in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama had this rather surprising thing to say:
“We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”
(Note: The Washington Post reports that when Obama said “this person,” he pointed to someone who had asked an autism question).
Orac contends (and I agree) that the problem isn’t the answers themselves, but rather that they answered at all (his notes and links, not mine):
In essence, both candidates accepted some of the major pillars of the mercury militia’s fantasies as being true. These include claims that:
- there is an autism “epidemic.” (Arguably, there is very likely not.)
- there is a scientific controversy over whether vaccines cause autism. (There really isn’t; it’s a so-called manufactured controversy. There is no good evidence that vaccines cause autism, David Kirby’s bloviations and pontifications otherwise notwithstanding. Multiple large epidemiological studies have failed to find even a hint of a convincing link, and the publicizing of the Hannah Poling case as some sort of “smoking gun” by antivaccinationists is nothing more than a rebranding of autism and more evidence of the incredibly shrinking vaccine claim.)
- that vaccines are somehow unsafe or that children are “overvaccinated” and eceive too many vaccines. (Again, there is no good evidence that either of these is the case.)
And of course, John McCain is even worse.