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Fight the Flu, Not the Medicine

October 31st, 2009 Posted in Blog | 5 Comments
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To accompany the launch of my book,   Denialism, I have decided to join the rest of the cyber world, and start a blog. I intend to write about issues like public health, genetics, and global food policy, which have always preoccupied me. And maybe also about other important topics, such as bicycles and the Yankees. Since H1N1 is on everyone¹s mind, let's start with that.Friends of mine (and many others) have expressed anxiety about having their children vaccinated, because some of the flu vaccines may include thimerosal.

Thimerosal is a preservative that kills bacteria; it was removed from most childhood vaccines years ago after accusations–unfounded then and now–that it caused autism.  In the past decade, there have been many studies  throughout the world, involving millions of children, that attempt to draw a connection between the two. No such connection has ever been found.
Children whose vaccinations contain no thimerosal are at least as likely to become autistic as those who have had shots that do contain it.

If mercury has you worried, it may be worth noting that there's more of it in a small can of tuna fish than in any vaccine. The tiny amount in the H1N1 vaccination carries no demonstrable risk; H1N1 however, has already killed thousands of people. What kind of choice is that?

5 Comments to “Fight the Flu, Not the Medicine”

  • Tlaforce says:

    Nice post!

  • David Ezell says:

    Michael, thanks so much for your logical and nuanced responses to anti-intellectualism. I look forward to reading your book and plan to discuss it on my blog as well.

  • jeff alexander says:

    scientific and mathematical illiteracy,not to mention a basic ignorance of the rules of logic make for an easy mark.i briefly considered marketing a crystal that would protect one’s pc from the Y2K bug .

  • kc says:

    Just heard your interview with Scott Simon, another journalist who’s intellectual honesty I admire. I’ve always thought the “New Yorker” left was spectacularly hypocritical in the way it at once ridicules creationism as junk science (which it is), but at the same time rationalizes alternative medicine, the vaccine–autism connection, and it’s fetish with all things natural. Thanks for pulling all these things together into one book–I’m definitely going to buy it. And good luck with the brutal feedback you’ll no doubt receive from NYer readers, who’ll want to drive you out with a pitchfork.

  • Scott says:

    I can’t wait to read you book. The interview was great. You articulate the way I feel about things.

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