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Keith Law is a baseball writer for ESPN who focuses primarily on prospects (players not yet in the Major Leagues). He’s also a bit of an anti-Jenny McCarthy, never missing a chance to point out studies that show no link between childhood vaccines and autism. Reading the responses to his tweets is often, um, educational.
Let’s look at some of the points being made. I am summarizing for the sake of brevity and clarity while retaining the points the original writers were making. Note that my responses were not made in Keith’s thread, but are only being made in this article.
Tweeter 1: The MMR vaccine should be broken into three vaccines, as it’s the combination that is the problem. My first child had the combined vaccine and developed autism. My second child didn’t have the combined vaccine and developed normally. Coincidence?
Kosmo: Yep, coincidence. 1 in 68 kids develop autism, so the odds of the second kid developing it were pretty low, unless there are genetic factors (and the basic argument being made is that it’s the vaccine, not the genes). The odds of the kids not developing autism were 67/68, so hardly a shock that he didn’t.
Tweeter 2: I’m not saying the vaccine is to blame, but I have three kids and they all have autism. My wife and I can’t be that unlucky.
Kosmo: This is actually strong evidence that the vaccines are not to blame. If the sole cause were the vaccines, the cases of autism should be randomly spread across the population. The odds of all three kids in the same family randomly developing autism would be 1 in 314,432. It’s possible that Tweeter 2 is that 1 in 314,432 case. More likely, though, is that there’s a grouping within his family because there are genetic factors. If there are genetic factors, then it would make sense that some families would see many more cases than others, due to basic principles of genetics. Most likely, Tweeter 2 and/or his wife have strong genetic factors that contribute to autism, whereas Tweeter 1 and his wife have somewhat weaker factors.
Tweeter 3: You can’t believe the government because they are in bed with Big Pharma. Vaccines don’t work.
Kosmo: Is this the same government that causes very profitable drugs to be delayed several years while the drug company jumps through FDA hoops to get approval, at the same time that the same drugs can be sold in other countries?
Are insurance companies aware of this illicit relationship? Are they happily paying for useless drugs?
You might ask why I care. These aren’t my kids, so why do I care if they contract preventable diseases? Well, first of all, these are innocent children who are suffering because of the actions of their parents. It hurts me to see kids suffer in this way. Additionally, these kids can spread the disease to others in the community – such as infants who have not yet been vaccinated.
You may not like everything the government does – I certainly don’t – but the government is not trying to give your kids autism.
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