A friendly reminder from Penn and Teller on vaccines and autism

Watch this clip (warning, some foul language):

The head over to a Shot of Prevention and read this excellent post: Why My Child With Autism Is Fully Vaccinated (warning, comments are depressing).

~Southern Fried Scientist


  1. Sam · October 16, 2010

    I love those two. Sometimes. Other times they use their powers for evil.

    They did, however, forget about herd immunity, but somehow I’m alright with that.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · October 17, 2010

      Yeah, they’re really hit or miss, and it’s usually split pretty neatly between their science episodes and their politics episodes. In their defense though, they do state in a lot of episodes that they’re just as full of it as anyone else.

  2. Roger · October 21, 2010

    They forget the argument that many if not most of those diseases were controlled by better nutrition, water and living conditions, not by vaccinations.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · October 21, 2010

      Probably because vaccines are overwhelmingly the reason those diseases are not longer a major problem in the US and that the fact that even a minor dip below herd immunity levels means that even with “better nutrition, water and living conditions” diseases like whooping cough and measles are making a comeback today.

      Measles is back and it’s because you aren’t vaccinated

    • Bob Calder · October 21, 2010

      If there were an argument for improvement due to living conditions alone, it would be documented. I’m not qualified to answer but I’m not aware of any such thing. But since the field of public health treats vaccination, sewerage treatment, food safety, swamp drainage, and access to health professionals as a continuum, any opinion that examines the effects of a single intervention in the absence of others is probably speculation. By absence, I mean complete absence of public health efforts. The effects of vaccination are manifest as public health baselines have been established and their effects during epidemics are easy to separate.

      In fact, introduction of vaccination is most likely the first, rather than last intervention used when we encounter modern squalor. Partly because we know it will be effective and partly because it takes years to get people to adopt safe habits such as drinking only filtered water, not entering standing water, or cooking things properly. (I could say something about marine biologists eating all kinds of raw disgusting crap, but I won’t because I’m nice.)

  3. jonn1 · May 11, 2011

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