Maybe the Huffington Post hasn’t lost me forever…Today an article by Harvey Karp made me hopeful that the medical community has some superstars of their own to trot out on the Autism/vaccine myth.
Karp, a pediatrician at UCLA, lays out the difference between anecdote and data in a brilliantly accessible argument..
Do the calculations and you quickly realize that, every year, over 600 children will spiral into autism during the four 1-week periods that follow these 4 shot visits… just by pure, utter, random chance.Such a high chance of coincidence means that a parent who hears about 4-5 toddlers (or even 4-500 toddlers) who worsen after shots may easily be fooled into assuming that the cause of the autism was the shots…but they would be jumping to a totally false conclusion.
I love it, this type of writing needs to be the front line of attack on these types of medical misunderstandings. I will say I’m not too convinced about Karp “rediscovering the ancient secrets for calming crying babies” but at least he’s not a vaccine denialist.
As always with these articles on denialist-friendly websites there is a comment war that has started. I have $5 for the first person to name 6 red herrings and straw-man arguments in the comments.
I’ll be looking forward to part 2 and 3 of Karp’s series…