Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The scientific inquisition

The vendetta to destroy Dr Andrew Wakefield, the researcher who questioned the safety of the MMR vaccine, continues unabated in this weekend's Times, which firstly sneers at the fact he's got a job in America, and secondly an editorial by David Aaronovitch calls for his head for daring to go against the establishment dogma.

What none of his critics ever want to do is attempt what he attempted, and find the cause of the massive increase in autism. The handling of the MMR dispute showed the government at its most authoritarian, taking steps to strike off doctors who offered single vaccines and attempting to stop the single vaccines coming into the country, trying and failing to browbeat parents into do what they were told. As the article indicates the government failed.

The fate of Andrew Wakefield is mirrored time and again in the lives of respected scientists and doctors who step out of line by publishing evidence and research that goes against what the priests of orthodoxy want. Such inquisitional behaviour represents an attack on progress, by making it virtually possible to raise controversial issues without losing one's job.

2 comments:

Maria said...

This would be a better piece were it not for the fact that we are still waiting for AW to come up with the proof that there is a causal link between MMR and autism, like he promised 11 years ago.

What we have learned since that time is that he has told several huge lies and that he had a financial interest in promoting the single measles vaccine.

The anti-vax movement are doing themselves no favours by continuing to treat him as a guru.

Trooper Thompson said...

Welcome, Maria.

Dr Wakefield's name has been blackened, and I cannot be sure what, if anything, he did wrong, or what he promised and didn't deliver.

The reason for the treatment meted out to him was that he dared to investigate the cases of a number of children whose parents were sure their autistic condition was caused by the MMR.

There are plenty of cases of adverse effects from vaccination, and there's plenty of good reason to question loading small children up with so many vacines, which, by being injected, bypass the body's defence systems.

The decrease in certain illnesses may be far more to do with improved sanitation and nutrition than vaccination programmes.

As for Dr Wakefield's financial interest, do you suppose for a moment that there are no financial interests involved for those who attack him?