Friday, December 26, 2008

Vaccines, Toxic Speech and Rhetorical Questions.

It’s Time For Vaccine Talk Detox:

by Kristina Chew, PhD on December 26th, 2008

Seems a pity that, on seeing the words “top 10 unfounded health scares,” the first thing I thought about was……….vaccines and autism.

Many speak of a “debate” about an alleged vaccine-autism link and that there’s a “controversy” brewing here, but it’s a false controversy. 2008 saw the publication of more studies refuting a link, and yet there’s been a call for more studies—-among the $1 billion in research initiatives noted in the Strategic Plan of the IACC is an item about the “different health outcomes in vaccinated, unvaccinated and alternatively-vaccinated groups”—so it’s not as if this particular topic is going to go away.

Sometimes, one starts to wonder, will this particular topic ever go away? How many studies will it take to convince those who believe so very much that there is a link, that there really isn’t one?

I love answering rhetorical questions. I grew up doing it in all innocence, now that I understand that it's unexpected and often amusing, I do it deliberately.

I'll leave it to others to put a positive human spin on the issue. Indeed, Dr. Chew does it quite well herself. But I have a certain rhetorical niche and it involves saying things in public that are usually whispered in private. The problem with the latter is that these inconvenient truths never reach the proper ears in any useful way.

Here's your problems. Lennie Schaefer. John Best. Autism Speaks. And an entire industry that sees autistics (or rather their parents) as a community to be exploited. If their rhetoric were directed at any other population, it would be quite correctly named for what it is: hate speech. Nor is it founded in any better science than other racialist theories.

This would outrage me a good deal less if we were not speaking of parents and children and what amounts to the marketing of systematic abuse as "cures."

As Orac puts it:

Because autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis, and because it frequently has periods of stasis followed by periods of rapid development followed by periods of stasis again, if a parent tries enough quackery, sooner or later by coincidence alone he or she will be seem to be able to match up a remedy with an apparent improvement.
All the time and money sucked up by these parasites is time and money that could have gone toward positive things that enhance the lives of autistic children and their families. Music lessons. Respite care. Model train sets. Feed a perseveration, build a future - but for heaven's sake, take care of your own sanity first! That way, you can be part of a particular solution, rather than a symptom of a widespread social disease.

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