Saturday, April 19, 2008

John McCain and the Missing Mercury

Last Month John McCain sealed his position as my Candidate with the Least Amount of Rational Thought. It wasn't easy and the competition was tough but he managed to pull it off with this remark:

“It’s indisputable that autism is on the rise among children. The question is, What’s causing it? And we go back and forth, and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”

The preservative that he is referring to is thimerosal which is, for the purposes of this article, a type of mercury (hey, you want real chemistry go watch Bill Nye). I won't go into details about the myriad of studies that concluded that there was no correlation between vaccinations and autism. (If there is no correlation there is certainly no causation.) Nevertheless, the proponents of the connection between the two have not been swayed in their beliefs. As a response, the FDA removed all thimerosal from childhood vaccines in 2002 despite there not really being a need. If thimerosal was causing autism, then a simple thing would happen - autism rates would go down. But they didn't, they went up. 

So looking at McCain's comments we can draw two conclusions:

1) He doesn't have enough critical thinking skills to recognize that if the substance that is supposed to be causing the harm is removed and yet the harm is still increasing or even remaining stable, the substance is not causing the harm! If we think that x causes y, and we remove x and y still occurs, what would a rational thinking person conclude? And what does McCain conclude?

2) He doesn't remember how important the government vaccination program is. For God's sake, he grew up at a time when polio and an iron lung was a looming threat. Doesn't he remember how terrifying that disease was? Yet, thanks to the vaccination programs, I don't have to remember how terrifying it was because it was all but eradicated for my generation. By scaring parents into not vaccinating their children for fear that the children will end up autistic is beyond ridiculous, or even typical political pandering. It's a step backwards and a sign of things to come with him in charge.

The Rational Moderate

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