I know its terrible to laugh at other people’s misfortunes, especially when it comes to issues like public health, but I can’t help but feel that Kenneth Copeland, the leader of a megachurch in Texas, and his followers got what they deserved.
Copeland dissuaded his followers from getting vaccines, the reasons being the advocacy of ‘faith healing’ – whatever that means – and that, of course, vaccines cause autism, despite the mounting (to the point of being definite) evidence that there is no link between autism and vaccines whatsoever. As a result, a measles outbreak has occurred in Northern Texas. Measles is one of those diseases that are so contagious that public health professionals in neighboring states would have to be put on alert. But the silver lining in all this is that nobody caught the autism! A two-year-old may have contracted the measles but at least he didn’t contract the autism!
Autism Agenda: 0
Here’s a link to the story. I’d reiterate what happened myself but I have too much schadenfreude to care right now.
Before you ask, yes, this really happened in 2013.
This is what happens when you ignore science and just put your hands on your ears and go “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” You pay the price. But people still continue to believe that vaccines cause autism.
If you read this blog, you’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned vaccines once. Search this blog for the word ‘vaccine’ and nothing written before this post will come up. This isn’t an accident. I stay away from the vaccine debate as much as humanly possible because I get fired up over this ‘issue’ easily and as a result, I wouldn’t have the time or energy to write about more interesting autism-related things. It’ll also result in more broken computers, since I’d be smashing my computer out of anger every time I read some ignoramus claim that vaccines (or mercury or whatever your poison is) causes autism. If you want to witness true stubborn devotion to pseudoscientific ideas that only make less sense as time passes, check out the debate sometime. Anti-vaxxers are as bad as the people who believe that global warming isn’t real or believe that 9/11 was an inside job or believe that aliens made the pyramids in Egypt.
The idea that vaccines cause autism has been scientifically disproven for a long time and isn’t worth the attention that it gets anymore. Yet its supporters, the number of which is fortunately dwindling, won’t let this theory go away. How many research papers must we publish before this theory goes away forever? The main argument that vaccines cause autism is that as frequency of vaccine shots in children went up, autism rates went up, which has no real scientific ground in that it ignores not only that correlation doesn’t imply causation but also how vaccines actually work. The author of the article on the measles outbreak also wrote a short and accessible article briefly explaining how vaccines work in order to show how, for the umpteen millionth time, it has nothing to do with autism, citing a study that should put support for this theory out of its dogmatic and scientifically unsound misery.
There are also offshoots of this theory like ‘mercury causes autism’ but they’re based on the same smoke and mirrors.
I think these people remain devoted to this theory and its alternative versions for two reasons: A) we’d be left with no other explanation as to what causes autism and B) they’d look like fools for taking the necessary precautions that come with believing this crap and nobody wants to be the fool. Let me leave you with this fantastic Neil deGrasse Tyson quote:
“… there is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.”
And I promise never to bring up vaccines on this blog again because the point of this blog is to discuss important issues in autism that aren’t discussed as often as they should.