1 Comment »Posted on Thursday 23 April 2009 at 4:01 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Health & Medicine

The Huffington Post have published an article by actor Jim Carrey on the link between MMR and autism. As we’ve seen before, celebrities taking a stand on science often ends badly, and this case is no exception.

Carrey’s article jumps on a recent ruling against compensation for three families who believe their children’s autism was caused by MMR. He says:

“a ruling against causation in three cases out of more than 5000 hardly proves that other children won’t be adversely affected by the MMR, let alone that all vaccines are safe.”

He continues:

The anecdotal evidence of millions of parents who’ve seen their totally normal kids regress into sickness and mental isolation after a trip to the pediatrician’s office must be seriously considered.

I’m sorry Jim, but there is a well known saying: the plural of anecdote is not data. There are many studies which have failed to find a link between MMR and autism, and the “controversy” over such a link is completely unheard of outside of the UK and US. MMR as a cause of autism is a myth fabricated by the mainstream media, and it has caused measles to rise in the UK by over 2400%. Measles can be fatal, and if this continues, children will die.

Human beings are very bad at assessing cause and effect, and we also feel the need for something or someone to blame when bad things occur. It must be terrible for the parents of autistic children to watch their kids grow distant from them, but the MMR vaccine is not to blame and if the myth persists then other people’s children will be harmed. Jim, you’ve made some great movies, but you’re really badly informed on this issue. Stop campaigning and stick to the films.

  1. One Comment

  2. the plural of anecdote is not data but if “millions” of parents really raised concerns about vaccines causing autism it would still be rather alarming. But where are these millions? I don’t see millions… there are millions of parents of autistic people, true, but not all of them think vaccines did it.

    By Neuroskeptic on Sunday 26 April, 2009 at 11:55 am

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