Friday, February 26, 2010

The Autism Vaccine Debacle Is No Debate: And Yes I Am Afraid of Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy Bunny turned head cheerleader for the autism-vaccine stronghold, Generation Rescue, will now have another nationwide platform for her pseudoscientific nonsense.   In addition to the best-selling "parenting" books, she'll have her own talk show on Oprah's new network.  Terrific news from Time.com , The Autism Vaccine Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy?  

I am not afraid to say I am afraid of Jenny McCarthy.

The pseudoscientific expert who speaks to hope and emotion and the mothering instinct scares me.

By the way, we shouldn't even be referring to The Autism Vaccine DebateIt is no longer a debate.  There is nothing to debate here.  It's a debacle, a public health menace, a sorry chapter in our Unscientific America.  But it is no longer a debate and it's counterproductive to portray it as such.

Oh, why can't we treat it like school prayer or evolution?  Just agree to disagree?  Well, for one, unlike some kids praying at lunch time, this one's got more significant consquences, like the unvaccinated kids.

Although the Time journalist, who has an autistic brother, pointed out the weight of scientific evidence against McCarthy's ideas, even calling her a pseudoscientist!, the article's given Jenny more press.  It's a four-page article.  And she's gonna get even more publicity with the talk show. 

Maybe I should simply stop writing about Jenny McCarthy, her Generation Rescue anti-vaccine crap and the whole fiasco.  Maybe I should get some blonde hair extensions and vamp it up a bit more, might be perfect for the Mid-Life crisis I'm planning. 

What do you'll think? 

6 comments:

Liz Ditz said...

I think finally, finally with the Wakefield debacle, the tide is turning from "my child is my science" and other nonsense from the anti-vaccinationists toward an appreciation of science. We can hope, anyway.

I wish Time hadn't published the piece -- it just gives weight to McCarthy, Generation Rescue, & Age of Autism. But more and more autism parents are standing up and saying, "I don't believe in the vaccine theory of causation" or even My Child Has Autism and I Vaccinate

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, Liz. Yes, I do wish we'd hear about those parents more in the mainstream media. I do see quite a few blogging those sentiments...let's cross our fingers.

Robb and Rebecca said...

Where and how can we unite to outvoice the crazies? I, too, am a vaccinating parent of a child with autism. I am so sick and tired of all the press she gets. I guess we just need a celebrity of our own. Just in case anyone cares, I also have two typically developing children who live in the same toxin-laden environment as the one who has autism. Why doesn't anyone point out things like that? We've been involved in a few research studies looking at families like ours. "Simplex" families who include one autistic child, and others who are not. Very exciting, promising, genetic studies to figure this thing out once and for all. The actual objective, genetic studies are what gives me hope that some dollars are still going towards unfolding some of the mystery that still surrounds autism. I am hopeful science will ultimately win, but it remains to be seen.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hey RR (Rebecca?), thanks for the very good comments. I so wish we would read about families like yours more often. Maybe you should start a website?? I know people are out there, just waiting to find it. You know how strongly I feel and I don't have a child with autism, though I have friends who do and family members that certainly would fall somewhere on the spectrum if they'd been born in the past decade.

You know that awful Kristof NYT column on autism and vaccines? I would have loved to have read a retort like yours. Not sure if you read the responses printed in the paper, but there were only 2, basically thanking him for pointing out all the toxins and giving them hope! Major disappointment...if you don't mind I'd love to co-op your "we also have 2 typically developing kids in this toxic-laden household..." - love that!! As for a celebrity, yes indeed! Know any articulate established actors or celebs willing to withstand the backlash from the holistic Hollywood crowd?

The Fearless Formula Feeder said...

YAYYYY! You're doing comments! Now I can tell you how much I love you on a more regular basis. :)

Oy vey. Don't get my started on Jenny McCarthy. Didn't she say in that Time article that her son didn't have autism after all? But that she still wanted to be a 'voice' for the autism population?

Ugg.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hey FFF! I'll take all the love I can get, especially since my 4 year-old informed me I am "not the goodest mommy" because I make rules, like going to bed...anyhow..he will give me the biggest hug tomorrow am. As for Jenny McCarthy - uggh - didn't say he didn't have autism - some doctors somewhere speculated he might have a rare neurological disorder instead. Who knows, maybe she'll reveal more in the future. But from what I recall, she's never spoken about the exact medical details.