Just a quick note to follow up on my previous post about Pseudoscience and vaccines. While I’m certainly not going to suggest that we take our medical advice from our legal system, it looks like the latter at least got the former right this time.
The three federal judges who convincingly rejected the theory that vaccines cause autism delivered a devastating blow to crank science today. The battle will go on in the blogs and in the courts. But the most important arena has always been the space between the ears of parents who are deciding whether it’s safe to vaccinate their kids. This decision could do a heap of good by stemming the tide of vaccine-shunning that has led to outbreaks of preventable disease.
“Petitioners’ theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive,” wrote Special Master Denise Vowell in the case of Colten Snyder v. HHS. “To conclude that Colten’s condition was the result of his MMR vaccine, an objective observer would have to emulate Lewis Carroll’s White Queen and be able to believe six impossible (or at least highly improbable) things before breakfast.”
While I don’t think for a moment that this will stop the crank beliefs revolving around autism and vaccinations (science is still not our friend in the US; witness that in a recent poll only 4 in 10 American’s say that they believe in the Theory of Evolution, a fact that makes me want to claw my own eyes out) it does make me happy that the legal system won’t be participating in further arguments around this (non-)controversy.