Human Exceptionalism

Lancet Rescinds Vaccine Autism Danger Paper

I have never believed that vaccines are inherently dangerous. Yes, they can sometimes cause side effects–any medical treatment can. But their value way far exceeds their danger.

On a more specific level, I have remained wholly unconvinced of an autism link with childhood inoculations. Now, a paper that has served as a primary source of that fear has been retracted by the Lancet. From the story:

An eminent journal which published a controversial research paper sparking concerns over a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism has retracted it from the public record. The Lancet said following the judgment of the General Medical Council (GMC) fitness to practise panel last Thursday it had become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield and others were incorrect.

The panel made a number of criticisms of Dr Wakefield, including that he was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described the study. The research sparked a massive drop in the number of children given the triple jab for measles, mumps and rubella. The editors of the Lancet said it had become clear that several elements of the paper were incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. ”In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.’

I post this not to get into the vaccine controversy.  Rather, if the article is as deficient in veritas as the Lancet states, I wonder if the article was more an “advocacy” piece than a “science” study. As I have noted repeatedly before, the scientific paper has become a powerful method of promoting ideological/political agendas. That has to stop, because it not only distorts politics but undermines science itself.

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