Monday, July 9, 2018

Autism's False Prophets by Dr. Paul Offit

I decided to read this after having enjoyed Pandora’s Lab. As you may know, my brother has autism and while it’s mild, it can be quite a challenge (especially seeing people bully him).

Autism’s False Prophets takes the reader through the journey of autism science and how all the pseudo-science ‘explanations’ and ‘cures’ came to be. After showing how vaccine and other reasons do not cause autism, Offit goes through the current understanding of autism.

I already knew that MMR vaccines and mercury don’t cause autism (even my bro knows) but what I didn’t know was how much of a vested interest Andrew Wakefield and other parties had. I mean, Wakefield received money from a lawyer seeking to prove a link between vaccines and autism and didn’t declare it! All those attacks by anti-Vaxxer’s on doctors being in the pocket of ‘big pharma’ seem more hypocritical than ever.

Another thing that the book made quite clear was that a lot of people don’t make their decisions on whether vaccines are harmful or whether alternative medicines work based on the science. Instead, they base their decisions on personal stories, which have a bigger impact emotionally but aren’t backed by science.

The only part that made me go “eh” was this short section on autism and faith. Perhaps it was because the section was so short, but it seemed like Offit was linking anti-vaxxers with Christianity, which is just about the most ridiculous thing I can think of. Christianity isn’t anti-science and to generalise that way seems contrary to the scientific nature of the book.

Overall, this was a clear and easy to understand explanation of how all the misinformation about autism and treatment of it arose. Seeing how everything developed made me feel disappointed at how people are so willing to go against science at the expense of their children. Also, labelling autistic children as “vaccine-injured” and describing them as having “soulless” eyes is cruel and demeaning to children with autism.

No comments :

Post a Comment

I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!