Friday, March 13, 2009

Vaccines and Autism

Incredibly, both Barack Obama and John McCain, in the 2008 presidential election, suggested that vaccines are likely to cause autism.

Anti-scientific mumbo-jumbo from the two candidates for leader of the free world.

As one commenter said--focussing only on McCain, since supposedly it is Republicans who are more likely to be anti-science--this can actually do more harm than being wrong about evolution, since the President can affect the success of public health campaigns.

This is the kind of thing that concerns me. Supposedly we live in an age when science is more important in shaping policy than ever. In principle, statements that claim to be based on science should be subject to the best evidence, etc. Instead there are indications that people will believe practically anything.

I don't necessarily think it's good to simply do what "the scientists" recommend. But a vague fear that people in labs are cooking up Frankenstein's monster, or a left-wing fear that capitalism is going to kill us all, are not necessarily healthy.

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