“Vaccines cause autism” – this myth is so absurd that even the most credulous don’t even believe it. But that does not stop those who tend to believe despite real evidence to the contrary. In addition to this blatant lack of critical thinking, the Vaccine cause autism group has made up their own evidence to support their claim. Many groups have used fake Amish studies to prove that vaccines cause autism by stating there are no autistic Amish. If this is true, then they may have a shred of evidence to support their anti-scientific, anti-health, anti-children rhetoric. But of course it is not true.
The claim began to pick up steam when reporter, Dan Olmstead conducted a pitiful excuse for a survey in a predominately Amish community in Pennsylvania. In the study, Olmstead foolishly claimed that out of everyone in Lancaster County, he could only find three children with autism and that two of those children were vaccinated.
A local woman told me there is one classroom with about 30 “special-needs” Amish children. In that classroom, there is one autistic Amish child. Another autistic Amish child does not go to school. The third is that woman’s pre-school-age daughter. If there were more, she said, she would know it.
The most fallible part of this anti-scientific “study” is that it relies on two false assumption that the Amish do not vaccinate their children and that the Amish do not get autism. Although they are lower than the average, the Amish do actually vaccinate their children. And, unfortunately, the Amish do have autism within their population anyway of a rate of 1 in 271 in a study confuted by the International Society of Autism Research.
The article that spurred me to write about this myth is a recently published article by snopes – but this is a battle of wits that has been raging for a few decades now. The unfortunate part of this battle of wits the vaccine – autism appears to be unarmed – how do they still seem so adamant? I think the answer lies in human nature. We have a basic need to believe things we do not understand. It is the way children learn from their parents – it is the way people communicate dangers. Like in Micheal Shermer’s book Why People Believe in Weird Things, people have a need – even an evolutionary one – to believe without investigating evidence.
Some can escape the need for evidence by fabricating their own. Just like Olmstead above, people will try to justify their credulity with fake studies and even sourcing youtube videos like fellow blogger, the “Anti-Vaccine Scientific Support Arsenal”. Here is an example where someone will deny evidence specifically to promote their own cause. It makes one wonder what it would take to convince these people other wise – Can they change their mind when provided evidence, or has their brain rot infected their critical thinking faculties that much?
There shouldn’t be a need for it, but extensive research has been pumped into the study of the autism-vaccine correlation. At every turn, the answer is there is no relation between vaccines and autism. I would be unfair if I did not provide at least a little support for the other side, so before I post, let me mention the best way to explain the autism-vaccine correlation: http://howdovaccinescauseautism.com/