Friday, November 12, 2010

Wacca Wacca

Having just read an excellent article by Susan Jacoby on the inevitable intrusion of religion into science and vice versa, I could not help but expand upon her mention of the vaccine controversy.  The term derives from the Latin for cow, Vaccus, (pronounced as a "W") as it was cow pox, and the milk maid's apparent immunity from the disease, which first gave Dr. Edward Jenner the clue that something was going on.  From the start Jenner had his critics, and anti-vaccine crusaders have been with us ever since, so the good doctor would be unsurprised to find the world two hundred years on still up in arms over his discovery, though, he might find it odd to see a woman at its head.

Just as the past anti-vaccinators were led by the misinformed and self-righteous, today's mob is led by one time prostitute ah, Playboy Playmate, and occasional actress, Jenny McCarthy.  Ms. McCarthy is enraged because she believes her son was stricken with autism, due to her own post hoc fallacy of connecting the disorder by way of invisible dots only she, and the holy few, can see back to a vaccine.  That the evidence vaccines cause autism is non-existent has not stopped her from asserting her own medical knowledge as superior to seasoned professionals.

A more important question McCarthy should be asking is, not whether vaccines cause autism but, how does a role in the hay with a wealthy octogenarian in a bath robe grant one an instant medical degree?  Or, alternatively, she might reflect upon the religious arguments of her past partners in idiocy, and conclude that God has afflicted her son for the sin's of the mother.

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