Masochist Mondays (almost Tuesday): Autism and Vaccines

After a couple weeks of being AWOL (I’m sure you’ve all missed me) I return today to show you what I was working on and to let you know that I’ve actually paid attention to who reads what. To my surprise, people enjoy it when I get into topics that could be controversial like religion, politics and society. No one comments (bad readers!) but the traffic shows me that those articles get more views than any others. So how do I respond to this? Well, obviously, the first thing to come to mind is to do more of it. I shall call it…Masochist Mondays.

Why masochist? Because eventually I know someone’s going to try to take a swing at me, and to that I have my new policy declaration:

So, what do I address for the first installment of this new ongoing series of posts? Well, after some deliberation I’ve decided on… Autism!

Yeah, I know, playing with fire.

But here’s the thing, I’ve heard some things about Autism from a lot of panicked people and a lot of advertising campaigns making it seem like Autism is about to destroy civilization or something like that. And after seeing a few of them, I’ve realized that these people need to be called out on some of it. The numbers I wont argue with (too much), but there’s one aspect of it I just can’t stand.

The Premise:

Autism is on a rapid increase over the last few generations to unbelievable numbers. Something to the tune of a 600% increase according to at least one advertising campaign I’ve seen by the Ad Council

Wow, that’s a fucking lot of Autistics springing up left and right. What the hell did we do to ourselves to start this spectacular increase?

Vaccinations cause Autisms? Really? Who told you that, Jenny McCarthy? Haha- oh…

Oh shit

Oooh shit

The Bullshit:

The idea that vaccines caused it (thanks Jenny) was originally produced thanks to a fraudulent study started by a researcher named Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who for the rest of the post will only be referred to as “Andy”. Why? Because full names are for people you respect and people who don’t make shit up.

Seriously, Andy was hired by a group of lawyers who were looking to find evidence they could  use to sue pharmaceutical companies for the production of vaccinations which may cause Autism (Seriously). Andy didn’t figure that the lawyers needed a whole lot of actual evidence and, really, they preferred he didn’t provide any authentic research since that would be, y’know, the truth.

What he ended up doing for them was running a series of tests on a dozen kids that he had no right to be running. Never mind the fact he wasn’t qualified to be running some of these tests, he also only had a pool of a dozen kids to study on. Mind you, this is like randomly popping into a room and deciding that room happens to represent everyone, everywhere, and there’s no reason to think otherwise.

“Alcoholism is on the rise” – “Researcher”

Though, to be fair, he didn’t just happen to run into a random room to do it. According to at least one reporting of it (and a few others), he went to his son’s birthday party and paid kids for their blood.

“I don’t know what the kids were complaining about, they got paid.”

But, to this day, people stand by the idea vaccines are dangerous to the public health thanks to mercury. Furthermore, they say that Autism is on the rise thanks to things like this.

The Truth:

Okay, so Andy was full of crap. But that doesn’t change the fact that vaccines have mercury in them and that Autism is skyrocketing. So, obviously even if he was full of it there’s still a link, right? Jenny thinks so and we all know how on the ball she is.

Mercury is a really dangerous toxin, so the concept is pretty sound. After all, there was a time when mercury was used pretty commonly in the production of hats. This effect caused the mercury to seep into the people wearing them and drive them nuts. They were so insane, in fact, they became legendary.

Pretty sure you’ve heard of them.

And the general toxicity of mercury has been known for some time. So, why on earth would they possibly put it in something injected into the body like that? That’s ridiculous to even think of. Toxic liquid metal shot into your veins?

Mercury will fuck you up.

But there’s a few problems with this concept. Yeah, mercury is dangerous in relatively large doses, but this was a pretty small component to the vaccines called Thimerosal. Thimerosal was a preservative, used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Yeah, that’s right, the mercury was being used to prevent the vaccine from being toxic. Oh, and notice how I keep saying “was”? They don’t use it anymore.
And they had been using it since the 1930s. But, of course, vaccinations weren’t a big thing back in those days, were they? And, really, can’t think of anything you’d get vaccinated for that was worse than Autism. So, hey, better safe than sorry, right?

Oh, shit…forgot polio.

But, hey, these kids have a bright future as contortionists

Still, polio’s been gone for a while (around here), so why do we need to keep dealing with it? I mean, there aren’t many other diseases that vaccines stopped or slowed down, right?

Well…I guess a lot of these were a major problem back then. And I guess they’ve kind of been snuffed out by the use of vaccines. I suppose to do that they had to be given to an awful lot of people too.

Guess we would have seen the rise way back in the early 20th century then, eh?

So, obviously, vaccinations didn’t cause it. But there’s been that huge rise and no explanation for it, right? I mean, something around 1 out of every 110 people has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Thanks Ad Council)

Wait, ASD? So, not all of that increase is this kid?

It’s also… this guy?

Apparently, yes.

To be fair, there are opposing studies for and against the idea that the bulk is made up of new diagnoses. In fact, some of the studies suggest that the new diagnoses are only a tiny fraction of it. But even those don’t say vaccines caused them. In, fact, they’re pretty sure that it’s something environmental like toxins and infections. People are still studying it, give them time and they might actually find a cause.

Hey, maybe it really is mercury. I mean, there’s no mercury in vaccines anymore but some people really like to get their dose of mercury through fish.

Maybe we should ban fish then. Or maybe we should stop blaming random elements and start figuring out the real cause before it becomes a problem of an even greater scope.

In the end, are there more diagnosed cases of Autism and related Autistic Disorders? Yeah, there are. But are they caused by vaccines? No, they’re not. If they were, we would have seen the rise after they eradicated Smallpox (or any number of other plagues). So, keep studying the problem, but please…

And, to those of you who support this kind of thinking: If you’re still not convinced, I think Mr. Penn and Mr. Teller have a pretty good rebuttal to most of these arguments…

I think that sums it up.

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