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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Demonstration in Speculation

So you take your kid to see the doctor. Your kid is vaccinated. Within a week, they develop a fever and start losing language and showing signs of regressive autism. It must have been the vaccine, right? Not necessarily.

Here's a great example of that sort of thinking. Billy Mays. Here's how Fox News reported the story. (This isn't meant to pick on Fox. Other news sources speculated along the same lines.)
They report the timeline: Billy Mays flew in on Saturday. He hit his head in a rough landing. That night, he didn't feel well when he went to bed. He was dead by morning.

It must have been just like Natasha Richardson, right? She hit her head while skiing and didn't initially even appear to be that hurt, but she later died from a brain injury.

Well, wrong. The autopsy says Billy Mays died of heart disease. The rough plane landing was a coincidence.

So, now back to that regressive autism. Was it obvious cause and effect, or was it all a coincidence? After all, kids get sick and have fevers. Sometimes they have harmless fevers as a mild reaction to a vaccine, too. Kids get a lot of vaccinations. Kids typically show noticeable signs of autism around the time they're getting vaccines. I even read one article on *gasp* Huffpo, that says about 600 hundred kids a year would show signs of autism within one week of a vaccine just by random chance.

So when studies and scientists tell you that they can't find a connection between vaccines and autism, they're not doing it to piss you off or discount your personal experiences. Nor are they part of some vast conspiracy to poison children for money. Not that I expect this message to ever get through to the people who really need to hear it, but I'm going to keep saying it.

1 comment:

  1. Nostrum,

    Excellent post!

    Want to put it up over at Science Rocks?

    And if you're interested, Kathleen and Angela are helping me with the facebook group I started, This would be excellent to post there, too.