In Irrefutable Logic I mocked Jenny McCarthy’s logic-free argument against vaccination. Well, here’s some information on the person who started it all.
According to Brian Deer of The Sunday Times, “The doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.” (from MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism)
Mike Dunford, in a lengthy commentary, goes so far as to say “If the charges leveled by the paper are remotely accurate, Wakefield is guilty of homicide – perhaps not legally, but certainly morally.” Dunford notes how vaccination rates “plummeted sharply”, followed by measles rates “[shooting] through the roof”, leading to the UK’s first measles fatality in over a decade.
PalMD also discusses the Times article. He says
This goes to the heart of the difference between medical science, medical ethics, and “everything else”. Real medicine is built upon real science, and follows (ideally) a set of ethical principles. When medical practice is based on science, and is deployed with compassion, the art of medicine is at its pinnacle. When quasi-medical ideas are corrupted, whether in ignorance or for personal gain, the harm that can be done on an individual and societal level is nearly unimaginable.