Measles comes back, McCarthy's revisionist history

By Phil Plait | May 26, 2010 2:40 pm

Two things vacciney:

1) While it’s not due to antivaxxers, it’s still important: measles is making a comeback across the world. According to the article, the lack of funding is making vaccines hard to come by in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and measles is very opportunistic. With the antivaxxers still spreading their lies in America, Australia, and elsewhere, it’s all too easy for this awful disease to spread wildly anywhere it gets a toehold.

2) It’s a delicate task, talking about someone’s kid when it comes to autism and vaccinations. It’s a social minefield; you’re dealing with an innocent kid, but you’re also dealing with a parent who may be gravely misinformed and doing a lot of harm by spreading misinformation. Jenny McCarthy, though, put her son Evan front and center in the nonsense she spouts about autism, and is doing considerable harm to the public health. Skeptico has taken on her claims, and shows that her version of events seems to shape-shift according to her needs.

Tip o’ the syringe to my brother, Sid for the measles link.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience

Comments (17)

  1. Interesting to see Jenny McCarthy’s claims change from “he got the shot and *BAM* Autism!” to “he got the shot and there were little changes over the next few months that slowly turned into Autism.” As the Skeptico pointed out, she doesn’t even have correlation to lean on now (not that it was that sturdy a support in the first place). You might as well say “we ate at that Thai restaurant once and then a few months later he got Autism. Thai food must cause Autism!!!”

  2. And don’t forget: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php

    (Note php not html anymore). Also, Todd W.’s actual site that I can never remember.

  3. Godis10-7

    Skeptico’s closing remark is spot-on. It will never cease to amaze me that people are willing to accept things that they know aren’t true simply because they want to believe it. I have way too many friends that will say there’s no way Kevin Trudeau’s books can work, but still buy it and try it and swear to it’s efficacy until it’s failed for months.

  4. Daniel J. Andrews

    Not the first time she’s changed her story. Remember Indigomoms.com (now closed down).

    Jenny, who runs IndigoMoms.com, is of the belief that Evan is a ‘crystal child,’ and she herself is an ‘adult indigo.’ This belief suggests that ‘indigo/crystal phenomenon is the next step in our evolution as a human species.’ Proponents also suggest that many indigo and crystal children are wrongly diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and autism.

    Evan is the next step in human evolution but Jenny went and ‘cured’ him, presumably so his mutant powers wouldn’t lead him to use those powers for evil purposes–with great power comes great responsibility, you know (I think I read that in the Qu’ran somewhere…) ;)

  5. SkepticUndead

    This is sad. This is very sad indeed. How are we as humans supposed to progress when someone is always obstructing the path to better ourselves? These people might believe they are the true skeptics. They might believe they’ve seen the fact happen before their eyes. There is so much misinformation out there, and so much nonsense in the form of bad TV, incorrect propaganda, pseudo-scientific literature.

    It is not surprising that its hard for people to keep up. It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of progress, and unfortunately this leads to people almost picking at random, or just “hitching a ride” with whomever they already know that believe in either antivax, homeopathic medicine, ghosts, doomsday prophecies, or anything of that nature.

    I wouldn’t mind letting the antivaxxers themselves not take any of the injections, but I don’t wish the same fate upon their offspring. It’s sad to see a life ruined because of beliefs.

  6. Daffy

    “Adult Indigo!?!”

    So THAT’S where they got that (very funny) gag in “A Mighty Wind!”

  7. LSandman24

    @ DJ (#4)

    I thought Martha Kent spoke those words. Of course, I’d believe the Superman mythos before I’d believe any of the bull McCarthy is spinning. :-D

    Cheers!

  8. Dave

    Phil: Why is the Templeton Foundation allowed to advertise on Discover??? Jerry Coyne, Dawkins, etc. have written extensively on Templeton’s intention of blurring science with religious nonsense.

    Templeton is buying up as much marketing space as possible, particularly on science websites and skeptical ones (including Shermer’s Skeptic Magazine). And now, apparently, Discover.

    TF and Biologos are doing this in order to legitimize themselves as if said sites endorse their accommodationist views.

    I can’t believe Discover Mag is permitting this. It’s certainly a “misuse of science.”

  9. @4

    Yeah, the whole indigo/crystal thing didn’t work out so well for Jenny. It turns out that not everyone thinks Jenny’s son is as special and unique as she does. I happen to think my kid is pretty special, but I’m not delusional enough to think everyone else must agree.

  10. @Larian

    antiantivax.flurf.net

    Gotta agree, Skeptico’s article is what we need more of – showing how the antivaxers not only change their story, but try to make the Ministry of Truth a reality. More evidence of how they suppress what they don’t like at Silenced by Age of Autism.

  11. Gary Ansorge

    8 Dave

    I love clicking on those ads. Every click is money in someones account and that much less money for the whack jobs to spend. Click away, I say,,,

    The more I hear about Jenny, the more I pity her. How unfortunate that money seems so inclined to flow to the reality challenged.

    Gary 7

  12. Moxiequz

    #8, @Dave: It’s very difficult for bloggers (especially those under an “umbrella” system like Discovery or scienceblogs) to control the contents of the banner and text ads. They’re usually automatically generated based on keywords within the post and blog itself. I assume that’s the case here.

  13. fred edison

    For a woman who said her “kid is her science,” she doesn’t seem to remember the intricate and important details about her kid. How seriously odd.

    I’m thinking her Botox® injections have finally affected her brain. Her memory is fading fast, borrowing anti-vaxxer logic to make the connection, of course. But then it’s probably nothing a 16 hour session in the hyperbaric chamber, a 2 day toxic cleanse, and some furious clutching of her energy crystals can’t fix.

  14. I agree that it’s a delicate situation talking to parents who have autistic kids. I have a friend who is convinced that her kid got autism from vaccines. I try to take the approach of presenting what is known about autism (for example, a drug treatment for one type of autism has recently been tested in mice), rather than harangue her about mistaken beliefs. Of course, my friend still takes umbrage when I post something that directly contradicts her beliefs. But at least I feel like she’s hearing the science side, which probably wouldn’t be the case if I just told her she was wrong about everything.

  15. Dave

    12 Moxiequz: That makes sense, but I’ve certainly never seen that set of advertising until very recently. I visit the site regularly and would have noticed (and said something) sooner. Just doesn’t seem right.

    And I know it has nothing to do with the article itself. Apologies to Phil.

  16. Carl Matherly

    @ LSandman24 (#7)

    *tisk tisk tisk*

    Its this sort of blasphomy that gets our dander up here at the Church of Uncle Ben Reilly (Reformed)

    (Just so you know, your smiley sense should be tingling right now ;) )

  17. Evan McCarthy isn’t even Autistic, he has Landau-Kleffner Syndrome which is often mis-diagnosed as Autism. After everything I’ve read about her, it’s my firm belief that Jenny McCarthy is delusional.

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