DL Hammons is hosting another Déjà Vu blogfest, after taking a break last year. Click on the button to go to the list of participants. This post from January, “Diseases and Historical Fiction, Part I” is a bit on the long side, but the information desperately needs repeating. And if you’re one of those anti-science, tinfoil conspiracy theorists who giggles polio off as no big deal, wants your kids to get measles, talks about those of us with ASDs like we’re sub-human and not perfect just as we are, takes your kids to a chiroquacktor instead of a pediatrician, and cites mommy blogs, YouTube videos, and websites like YourDoctorIsAMurderer.Com to support your insanity, you can go screw yourself.
Since I always mostly read older or historical books, and watched mostly classic or historical films, I’ve always been aware of how frightening the childhood diseases of the not-too-distant past were (and continue to be in Third World countries). Unlike the modern-day vaccine-denialist cult, I understand how contagious these diseases are, how they can kill, maim, and cause much suffering. They weren’t Magickally dying out anyway, coincidentally right at the exact same time the vaccine for each was introduced. Running water, better sanitation, and improved medicines only helped to improve survival rates in the 20th century, NOT incidence rates. Correlation does not freaking prove causation. We only see higher rates of diabetes, food allergies, autism, and ADHD now because of greater awareness, broadening diagnostic criteria, and no longer institutionalising such children or hiding them away at home in shame.
Real research does not entail looking at confirmation-bias, conspiracy theory, non-scholarly, one-sided, propagandistic articles from notoriously dangerous pseudoscience sites like whale.to, Mercola, Tenpenny, Sears, Natural “News,” your chiroquacktor’s webpage, or VINE. Real research is not about working backwards from a set in stone belief and ignoring or mocking everything that doesn’t back up your rigid POV. Real research includes peer-reviewed, unbiased scholarly journals, not random blogs and YouTube videos. You do not know more than the entire scientific community because you spent some time Googling.
Vaccines do not freaking cause autism, but even if they somehow did and Andy Fakefield hadn’t been exposed as an unethical liar and stripped off the UK Medical Register, an autistic child is much better than one who died of measles, diphtheria, polio, pertussis, mumps, chickenpox, or tetanus. How dare you claim there are no autistic adults and call your own children cursed, damaged, soulless, defective, not real people!
Autism spectrum disorders are simply a neurobiological difference, not a deviation from the perfect “norm” you were expecting. Autism has always existed, only had different names in the past, and was more hidden from the public view, like mental illness and Down’s Syndrome. Today we have better diagnostic criteria, can identify the signs earlier, and include a range of conditions on a spectrum. Same goes for food allergies, diabetes, ADHD, asthma, whatever else these zealots falsely blame on vaccines.
Parents in the old days lined up around the block for diphtheria toxin-antitoxin, polio vaccines, whooping cough vaccines, measles vaccines, etc. They knew firsthand how awful the diseases are, and wanted so badly to save their children from needlessly suffering and/or dying. They trusted medical authorities and didn’t smirk about how they knew more than experienced toxicologists, immunologists, bacteriologists, virologists, specialists in infectious diseases, pediatricians, biologists, and medical doctors. They had seen children suffering and dying.
Parents 50, 100, 300, 500 years ago didn’t excitedly throw diphtheria parties, giggle about how awesome it is to have “natural immunity,” ignore everything doctors told them in favour of homeopathic woo and dangerous quackery like chelation and bleach enemas, declare how happy they were to have deliberately gotten their kids sick with whooping cough, dismiss measles as a minor rash that never kills, shrug off polio as not dangerous and no big deal, or put more stock in extremely rare vaccine reactions than the truly real risk of dying from a disease.
Diseases which were all but eradicated in the West, like measles, mumps, and whooping cough, have been making frightening comebacks due to the breakdown in herd immunity and large pockets of unvaccinated people. Vaccines do not “shed.” The people spreading these diseases are unvaccinated. They infect people too young to be vaccinated, or unable to be vaccinated due to legitimate medical issues. Vaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children.
No child “deserves” to die because s/he was premature, formula-fed, suffering a medical condition, or not the child of crunchier than thou hippies living in a yurt, “unschooling” their kids, eating only raw organic food, and relying on homeopathic garbage like coffee enemas, colloidal silver, and baking soda. You are morally bankrupt if you defend child murderers by blaming Shaken Baby Syndrome on vaccines.
There’s never been a single doubt in my mind that vaccines have saved untold lives all around the world since their introduction, that they’re extremely safe and effective. I never believed Andy Fraudfield’s study for one blessèd moment, since I always knew autism is something one is born with. Again, correlation does not prove causation. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders are not damaged, cursed, soulless, or less than real people. I dare these people to tell me to my face that I, someone on the highest-functioning, mildest end of the spectrum and undiagnosed for 29 years due to my specific condition essentially not having a name when I was growing up, am damaged, diseased, in need of a “cure,” not equal to someone with a neurotypical brain.
If my regular readers couldn’t already guess from context clues in previous posts discussing my unexplained issues in elementary school, I have Asperger’s. Very mild now, after so many years of knowing how to pass for “normal,” but my brain is still wired differently. You can get bent if you think I’m damaged, need a “cure,” or should’ve been institutionalised like at least one kiddy shrink recommended to my parents in the mid-Eighties. One of the hardest things in my life was growing up with an ASD before it had a name, deprived of the resources and understanding I would’ve had if I’d been born 15-20 years later.