Damn, science!

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106 Responses to Damn, science!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Damn, science! | Indexed -- Topsy.com

  2. Dave Ruddell says:

    Well done!

  3. Gorgoroth says:

    Best. Graphic. Ever.

  4. KCC says:

    That pretty much sums it up, yes. :)

  5. Benjamin Ady says:

    Bet this generates some traffic and commentary.

  6. Jess says:

    I had this argument last week with someone, and EVERY ONE of her arguments against vaccines were antidotal (and from someone trying to sell a book).

  7. Danny says:

    The way you show no correlation is to have a horizontal line (somewhere above the horizontal axis). Controlling for everything else, changes on the horizontal axis should have no effect on the value of “autism”. I understand that your graphic is more explicit, but it would be much more true to form as I described it.

    • Chris says:

      Just think of it as the horizontal line being on the horizontal axis. Zero is and always will be a valid result.

      • Danny says:

        That’s false unless there are no cases of autism. The truth is that autism exists (at least as a diagnosis), but its frequency doesn’t change dependent on whether lots of people or few people get vaccinated. Independence is the complete lack of correlation. And without correlation there can be no causation.

        • Doc says:

          Uh, it’s a joke. Relax.

          • Danny says:

            I assure you that I am relaxed. Jessica is using her artistic license to do whatever she wants with it. That’s fine. I’m just making a suggestion and describing what would have made it a better and mathematically purposeful comic to me. The point is that it’s easy to show a simplified graph that describes “no correlation”. It would have been far funnier, at least to me, if she had done this cartoon mathematically.

        • Angela says:

          Um, okay. So let’s think of the horizontal line being a y-intercept of unspecified value >0, and the graph as a hand-drawn cartoon that doesn’t actually show the true origin point.

    • Dave says:

      Yeah, but you have to admit “No Correlation” placed in the center of the graphic has a much more punchy and poetic expression. “No Correlation. Full stop. OK?”

      • Danny says:

        Punchy, yes. Poetic, no. I think of poetry as nuance, but that’s my own view. There’s no nuance to a declaration of truth.

    • tahrey says:

      Well, this way does make it a lot easier to understand for more people.

      Though the horizontal line would still be oversimplifying things a lot unless a great deal of data smoothing was implied. How about a disorganised cloud of points though which no statistically meaningful trendline can be plotted?

      • Danny says:

        But that’s not how she draws any of her comics, she shows a generic trend line to show a loose relationship. In this case, a line with no slope would be exactly how you would convey this independence.

    • James says:

      There’s a clear correlation between Danny and Asperger’s syndrome, it would seem. Come on man, don’t be “that guy.”

      • Danny says:

        Suggesting another way of drawing the comic that is much more similar in form to other comics is acting like “that guy”? Since when is speaking clearly and succinctly a form of Asperger’s?

        yuo r rite. i shud ttly tlk lik dis 4rm nao on.

        dis shiz wuz dope yo.

        /Not a big deal, but seriously, why can nobody see my suggestion as another viable version of this same comic?

        • Carrie says:

          Perhaps it’s because not everyone in the general population knows, or remembers from school, that a simple horizontal line would indicate no correlation, and some may assume that the line indicates that there were some correlation, at first glance at least. Writing out “No Correlation” eliminates misunderstandings for the general populous, but may leave people more mathematically focused feeling a little empty.

    • John says:

      So what? The point was made rather succinctly for anyone who had even a cursory glance at it.

  8. Marcello says:

    Spot on! The best ever!

  9. Nathan says:

    they used to say the same thing about food and acne:

    and now they’ve changed their tune:

    But I’m sure this time it’s different. After all, why would scientists largely funded by companies that make millions from vaccines have a conflict of interest?

    • Berny says:

      Unfortunately, Nathan, you linked to the HuffPo, one of the biggest purveyors of woo on the ‘Net. It doesn’t do much for the validity of your position.
      All I can say about food and acne is that it appears as though doctors and researchers didn’t do their homework.
      This isn’t something you can say about vaccines and autism, the mountain of evidence collected so far points to there being no correlation. More to the point, the only evidence presented in favour of a link is fraudulent.

    • YellowValkyrie says:

      Andrew Wakefield, the one and only researcher to ever claim a correlation, whose single study that the sole evidence for the austim link and was later exposed as fraudulent, was paid half a million pounds by a law firm seeking to sue vaccine companies.

      Definitely no conflict of interest there.

    • me says:

      I find it highly amusing that you chose Saruman for your avatar….

    • Alex says:

      Oh, those scientists. Always, always lying, always trying to make money, always trying to make a quick buck. Goodness knows, scientists who go into vaccine research go into it for the money.

    • JJ says:

      I read that HuffPo article. Annoyingly, while there are citations the citations aren’t inline with the text. It’s very hard to determine which citation lines up with which individual claim in the article.

      Having actually read the available citations it’s fairly clear that Dr. Hyman is overstating his position.

      First: “Many have suggested a diet-acne link, but until recently it has not been proven in large clinical studies”

      It still hasn’t. It appears that none of those citations are for large clinical studies. The citations for “Smith RN, Braue A, Varigos GA, Mann NJ.” lead to published papers with 30-40 participants. From those paper’s conclusions:

      “This suggests a possible role of desaturase enzymes in sebaceous lipogenesis and the clinical manifestation of acne. However, further work is needed to clarify the underlying role of diet in sebum gland physiology.”

      “This suggests nutrition-related lifestyle factors play a role in acne pathogenesis. However, these preliminary findings should be confirmed by similar studies.”

      “he improvement in acne and insulin sensitivity after a low-glycemic-load diet suggests that nutrition-related lifestyle factors may play a role in the pathogenesis of acne. However, further studies are needed to isolate the independent effects of weight loss and dietary intervention and to further elucidate the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms.”

      Next, the article says “In 2009, a systematic review of 21 observational studies and six clinical trials found clear links.”

      I think that’s PMID 19445417. It has no indexed abstract, sadly. However, PubMed has a link to a comment on that paper which questions the statistical methodology used to determine the conclusions:


      The better question to ask isn’t “gee, why can’t these doctors make up their minds?”

      It’s “gee, how do I keep myself from being bamboozled.”

      Critical thinking & examination of the evidence. Not just skimming an article, seeing MD at the top and a list of citations at the bottom. Read the citations. Understand the different kinds of evidence. Make sure the citations even agree with the point made in the article.

    • LaPhunk says:

      Exactly. And there’s also apparently no scientific correlation, just mere coincidence, when China’s autism rate started skyrocketing after our big pharma started selling our vaccines to them.

  10. Nathan says:

    PS – not saying there *is* a cause; just saying that for some there’s still reasonable doubt.

    • Michael says:

      There’s only doubt to those unable to understand basic Statistics. If there is not a statistical correlation, but you believe things to be correlated, then the problem is with you.

    • Rasputin says:

      Nathan, I ask, how do you think we should find out if there’s a relationship between vaccines an autism?

      Think we should see if folks who have more vaccines are more likely to become autistic? Sound like a good plan?

      It’s been done. Many, many times. There is no link. The case study that the notion is based on was fraudulent.

      If you think there is a link between vaccines an autism you are just plain wrong and you’re dangerously wrong. When people don’t vaccinate, people die and they die in horribly painful ways completely and utterly unnecessarily.

      • Rick says:

        Amen. If even just a small percentage doesn”t get vaccinated it endangers all. Check out “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre, a physician from Britain who is also a very entertaining writer.

  11. Naturality1 says:


  12. Old MacDonald says:

    “After all, why would scientists largely funded by companies that make millions from vaccines have a conflict of interest?”

    Conflict of interest with what? Scientists that are employed or funded by pharmaceutical companies are engaged to do research that supports the business interests of the company. But these companies don’t have a monopoly on all scientists. If there is a demonstrable link between vaccination and autism, there’s nothing stopping the research from being done by others.

    Unassailable proof of a connection would really be useful to trial lawyers. Why haven’t they funded the research so that there are studies to support the multi-million lawsuits that could be supported?

    The only conclusion I can draw is that there is no link – because if there was, interested parties with deep pockets would have paid to uncover it.

    So much for reasonable doubt.

    • YellowValkyrie says:

      Lawyers did fund the research – they paid Andrew Wakefield to fabricate the data he used in the study that sparked this wildfire of stupidity.

    • LaPhunk says:

      McDonald, you & some others are apparently in the dark about the legal antics of big pharma corps like Eli Lilly who jeopardize the careers of scientists who dare publish against them. You might want to do a bit of research yourself before relying on assumption.

  13. Patrick says:

    Nathan, do you realize that the reason that this belief in a link between vaccines and autism exists is largely *because* of an unethical douchebag doctor with a documented conflict of interest with the existing vaccines? There was never a reasonable doubt. There was only a manufactured doubt.

  14. DataJack says:

    Nathan, that’s not how science works. If a scientist presents a hypothesis (vax cause autism or vax don’t cause autism), they have to back it up, with peer reviewed studies and evidence. No matter who they are working for (also what is the motive these corporate scientists have to lie? They certainly aren’t making millions!)

    Vax cause Autism: One study, later found to be fraudulent
    Vax don’t cause Autism: Dozens of studies, conducted by many different institutions

  15. Erin says:

    Well said.

  16. Doc says:

    Here here! Strong work! Get those kids vaccinated!!!

  17. Mike says:

    Diluting science education with things like “Creation Science” for political reasons might have far reaching consequences, it would seem.

  18. Jim says:

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about. I used to check this site everyday, not anymore. As the parent of an autistic child, I find your humor on this matter, humorless. Goodbye.

    • Tristan says:

      You really don’t know what you’re talking about. As an autistic person, I find your lack of humor distressing. If we can’t laugh the liars out of town, we are giving up our best weapon.

      Perpetuating the vaccine lie does a greater disservice though, by perpetuating the idea that we’ve been damaged by a thing, that we are somehow broken people. It’s that far bigger and more fundamental lie that most hurts our ability to integrate, not as what we are “supposed to be” but as who we are.

      And please don’t anyone pull the “too articulate” card on me, that is a cruel way to shut up someone who already struggles to communicate.

      • Omega says:

        As the parent of an autistic child I support this reply. The more people who ridicule and otherwise take potshots at the Wakefield report the better chance we have of getting this stupidity erased from the popular conciousness and get back to the proper level of herd immunisatin.

        • K_Dad says:

          Cosign. (Parent of autistic child too.)

        • Chris says:

          Fully agree (as the parent of an autistic child). Even ignoring the danger posed by all thsoe choosing not to get their children vaccinated due to the fradulent report, the fund and effort that have gone into this could have actually gone to valid research.

    • tahrey says:

      I don’t believe humour was the goal here Jim. Indexed often deals quite simply in truths – including uncomfortable ones – or odd connections on a lot of occasions, and can be just as much thought provoking as a quick laugh whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

      Given the limited budgets available for healthcare and research, wouldn’t you prefer that it was spent on genuine treatment and study into the cause of your child’s condition, how the worst symptoms of it can be alleviated and how they can make the most of the different abilities that often come along with? Rather than chasing a wild goose with a red herring in its beak – one that also ends up with thousands if not millions of other children (AND many who have an autistic spectrum condition ANYWAY) being left needlessly vulnerable to a number of known-deadly / known-crippling diseases that we’re only able to control via infant vaccination?

      I hope you really haven’t said “goodbye” to this site / thread for good and have a chance to read this, ponder and reconsider what could have been a rash decision.

      Of course it’d be nice to go “MMR gave my child autism!”, sue them for damages to fund the treatment they may need, and “stop” this “cause” so that no-one ever has to deal with an autistic spectrum condition ever again, rather than accepting you’ve collectively been the plaything of cruel and uncaring random chance (or some other environmental/genetic/etc factor that we have yet to discover). But it’d be false comfort.

  19. Mike says:

    If my Governor wasn’t in the middle of trying to put me in the poor house I’d buy a T-shirt with that on it…

    • Wandered In says:

      Wisconsin? Because yeah. I’ve taken to calling Walker ‘Ming the Merciless,’ because otherwise I just start swearing incoherently.
      Also, great graph. Amazing graph. Wonderful graph.

  20. Thank you, Jessica. This improved my Friday no end. Added to my skeptical humour links and your blog to my feed. Keep up the good work ;)

  21. Gudny says:

    If there was a link, then how come autism can in some (most?) cases can be cured with a change of diet.

    • Tristan says:

      [citation needed]

    • tahrey says:

      Oh, you are SO going to have to quote your sources on that one.

      • Amanda says:

        Here’s an unbiased assessment of the effect of diet on autism: http://www.autismweb.com/diet.htm

        • JJ says:


          Two points.

          #1 – That page does not link to any high quality published medical evidence such as large randomized control trials. Referring to a book that refers to a single study doesn’t count for much.

          #2 – That page has a banner ad on the side for a “Gluten Free Mall” with a URL that includes a referrer & affiliate tag, meaning there is a business relationship there. Promoting a GF diet and being in an affiliate relationship with a source of GF products? That’s an obvious potential source of bias.

          Basically, they’re saying:

          “Here’s a list of people/books who say it definitely works. There are some who disagree. Some studies say it works, others don’t. Now that we’ve covered our bases and we can claim some form of neutrality here’s a bunch of information that leans toward the fact that it works, plus products you can buy from our affiliates. Nevermind that we get paid when you purchase either the books or the products.”

        • Kell says:

          Amanda, you’re a moron. Not one blanket diet is going to help.

          Putting children on diets that doctors recommended is one thing, but listening to the Jenny McCarthy people is signing your childs death sentence.

    • Lielac says:


      Yeah, no. Autism is a neurological difference in the brain. Autistic people are simply wired differently. That’s not going to change if, say, my little sister actually started eating her food (which is, by the way, the same food as the rest of my family eats) instead of nibbling holes out of couch cushions.

      seriously…? curing a neurologial difference with a diet change…?!

  22. Nathan says:

    I realize that in these debates so many people have their minds made up before they’ve reviewed the information, and I realize I’m unlikely to sway anybody.

    Nevertheless, many good points are raised and I feel motivated to address them at least in part.

    (1) If an MD publishes something on The Huffington Post I can understand somebody being skeptical — read up on their sources and make up your own mind. It’s not my main thrust. My main thrust is that science is always subject to re-evaluation when new evidence presents itself. My frustration is the number of people who are so “sure” they are right that they are derogatory of those that raise questions… and then when new evidence comes to light years later they are conveniently silent.

    (2) No conflict of interest? I don’t know percentages, but I feel reasonably confident that the vast majority of funding for this type of research comes from a) pharmaceutical companies, or b) the government, which is lobbied and manipulated by the funds of these same pharmaceutical companies. And how is anybody going to get other funding when the minute a doubt about an “undeniable truth” is raised, said doctors and researchers get heckled out of their profession? Was there ever a time it was okay to question vaccines? Or has the outrage and immediate anger always been like this?

    I agree with the above posters on how science is “supposed” to work. But I also believe it is naive to think that the bulk of wealth and power in the hands of the very few is not dramatically influencing policy in the US.

    It’s simply the way the world works — you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. So the only scientists I’m going to trust are the ones who are independently wealthy and who don’t mind bucking the system. Sadly, there aren’t many of them out there and it’d be tough to find them in any case.

    And if we did find them, well… I’m sure they’ll be soundly attacked and discredited.

    Here’s another article for you to read and enjoy.

    • Tim says:

      Answering your points:

      (1) ‘My main thrust is that science is always subject to re-evaluation when new evidence presents itself.’
      –Absolutely true.
      ‘My frustration is the number of people who are so “sure” they are right that they are derogatory of those that raise questions…’
      –Most who read the literature conclude that this ship has sailed long ago. There have been dozens of carefully conducted studies demonstrating no evidence of a link to vaccination. Yes, science is about being skeptical, but there is a point after which one is no longer being skeptical, just contrarian.

      ‘(2) No conflict of interest? I don’t know percentages, but I feel reasonably confident that the vast majority of funding for this type of research comes from a) pharmaceutical companies, or b) the government, which is lobbied and manipulated by the funds of these same pharmaceutical companies.’
      –I conduct autism research. 0% comes from the pharmaceutical industry. Half comes from foundations, started by private individuals who have their familes’ lives affected by autism. The other half comes from the government, which is lobbied by pharmaceutical companies. It also happens to be lobbied by patient advocacy groups. It also happens to follow funding priorities established by the Senate and the House of Representatives, elected by you and me.

      ‘Was there ever a time it was okay to question vaccines?’
      –Yes:1998 after Andrew Wakefield’s article was published. 13 years later, study after study has been unable to demonstrate a link. There is a saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results…

      ‘I realize that in these debates so many people have their minds made up before they’ve reviewed the information, and I realize I’m unlikely to sway anybody.’
      –I respectfully, and regretfully, agree.

    • MD to be says:


      1) Your “main thrust” that scientific hypothesis are always subject to revision by new evidence is absolutely correct. In this case, the Wakefield hypothesis was revised — or rather, appropriately knocked down — by the evidence of scores of subsequent studies.

      2) As many others pointed out, Andrew Wakefield had a major conflict of interest. (His research was also poorly conducted, for instance, ordering invasive medical procedures on children without consent; obtaining blood from kids at his son’s birthday party.) Scientists are now required to disclose sources of income (e.g. grants) on every paper they publish. This may not have been the case when Wakefield published in 1998. As far as I can tell (quick search on PubMed, which links to medical journals worldwide), none of the studies disproving the Wakefield link have been funded by Big Pharma. It’s mainly NIH grants or salary from university-based research.

      If you believe that all scientists are corrupt, well, nothing I say is going to change your mind. Have fun never taking any medicine (including over the counter) or seeing a doctor, though, because everything we do and recommend is based on evidence of studies from our supposedly corrupt colleagues!

      • TheBlackCat says:

        Requirements for disclosing conflicts of interest were around then. Wakefield signed a statement saying he had no conflict of interest. That was a blatant lie.

    • Buzz Parsec says:

      Nathan, you are wrong. Dead wrong. 1) I and everyone else I’ve discussed this with, in person or on the web, who supports the use of vaccines, only made up their minds *AFTER* reviewing the data.

      2) After Wakefield’s study, and the resulting kerfluffle, the US govt pulled thimerosal from all childhood vaxes (it was never in MMR, but never mind), purely as a precaution. Guess what? Absolutely no effect on autism rates. Was that a case of making your mind up before the data was in? Yes, but in the direction *YOU* want to go.

      3) Conflict of interests. Sure Evil Big Pharma and push questionable medications on an unsuspecting public for a while, but look what happens when the chickens come home to roost. See Fen-Phen and Vioxx, which were disasters for the companies that sold them. By contrast, vaccines are stunningly effective and side-effect rates are minuscule. There are enormous clinical trials to demonstrate this. Also, most vaccines are generic and the profit margins are small, so pharmaceutical companies have to be pressured into producing them in the first place. If what you say was true, they would be falling over themselves to make them.

      Name one instance of a legitimate scientist raising doubts about a vaccine or other medicine and being heckled out of their profession? (Wakefield doesn’t count; despite being a complete fraud, he had a lucrative position at a woo-based clinic until very recently.)

    • tahrey says:

      Everyone else is being too kind to say it:

      Stop being willfully ignorant and spreading disinformation, dumbass. The evidence was dodgy all along and the guy responsible for it has been found wanting and struck off the medical register.

      Talk about trying to be King Canute when the tide has ALREADY come in…

    • JJ says:


      First, Mercola demonstrates most the signs of a crank and many, many, MANY smarter people than me have spelled it out in much better terms than I ever will be able to. I suggest Orac’s blog, Science Based Medicine or QuackWatch (use your Google skills).

      I’ll note that this doesn’t automatically make him wrong – it just means you should try to find information from additional sources as well as him. You certainly will, there’s no shortage of misinformation about vaccination on the Internet.

      I pretty much guarantee that you will start to observe a pattern as you find anti-vax info on the Internet. There’s a self-referential nature to a lot of the information, with one poor source linking to another poor source and back again. There’s a lot of quote mining & abuse of context. There will be links to published papers -the ones from well-respected journals tend to be overstated by the anti-vax crowd. Plus all the ones from poorly-respected journals or the ones based on poor methodology. Lots of chiros, lots of naturopaths.

      Again, it’s hard for a layperson to understand the different kinds of published medical evidence. It’s not impossible but most people aren’t taught how to evaluate the evidence.

      Do you know the differences between a case study, a prospective study, a retrospective study, a review, a meta-analysis and all the various kinds of clinical trials? Once you understand the difference there is still understanding what makes a given study better or worse than others of the same type.

      A trial can claim to be blinded or well-controlled but not be in reality. An example can be found in the acne studies you mentioned – after randomizing and assigning either a dietary intervention or no intervention can you honestly believe the two groups don’t know which segment of the study they are in? So the trial is not blinded. Blinding is one of the tickboxes for “good study” which is why authors will call a study blinded when it sometimes isn’t.

      Finally, are you aware that many universities and health authorities do research? That a lot of this research prides itself on being independent from the pharma companies?

      Are you aware that research itself is subject to a lot of the same ‘rules’ as business? Competing businesses have a LOT to gain if they can demonstrate that their competition has been ‘cheating’ at the science thing.

      That doesn’t even get into how most discussions about these conflicts of interest forget that single payer health care systems exist, which present a totally different set of circumstances and potential conflicts of interest. I guess Big Pharma is really good at what they do – they manage to get cost-minded single-payer systems to still accept the cost savings of vaccination over treatment.

      Medical science does change with the evidence. While the examples you gave were poor it remains that science will sometimes “change it’s mind” as new evidence presents itself. I have no problem with that. Most doctors have no problem with that. The silent strawman you’ve created is the one that apparently has a problem with that.

  23. ErdTirdMans says:

    In this case Nathan, you’re the one failing to re-evaluate when new evidence presents itself. Had you read the rest of the comments, you would see that the current scientific consensus – which has been reached by a decade of studies into the matter by multiple unrelated institutions – is that the increase in autism diagnoses is simply the result of improved ability to diagnose it. The percentage of people with autism is unchanged, we are just better able to identify and account for them. More importantly, these studies have investigated the link directly and have found no credible evidence to verify it.

    Nobody said they’re ABSOLUTELY SURE THERE’S NO LINK AND ONE WILL NEVER BE FOUND, we’re just poking fun at people that defy logic and remain completely cynical despite all evidence to the contrary to the detriment of their own children. Since said people operate in a realm without reason, it’s hard to do much else but laugh at them.

  24. Lisa says:

    I love this. LOVE.

    My six year old son is autistic.

    My husband is an actuary.

    Everyone in my house loves this.

  25. johanges says:

    Bravo Jessica! Right on!

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  28. William Nelson McCormick III says:

    thousands of children cared for by Homefirst Health Services in metropolitan Chicago have at least two things in common with thousands of Amish children in rural Lancaster: They have never been vaccinated. And they don’t have autism.

  29. 0re0 says:

    This graphic doesn’t hold water, and I can prove it:

    Replace “Vaccines” with “McDonald’s” and it still works.

    …or with “laptops”

    …or with “Kardashians on TV”

    Coincidence, however unfortunate, does not prove correlation, nor causation.

    • tahrey says:

      I … I … er, don’t understand what you’re saying here. Possibly you’ve misunderstood what was written? Or the sentiment behind it AND what you were saying?

      OF COURSE changing what’s on the X-axis will have no effect. THAT’S THE POINT. There’s at LEAST as much influence from those other things you said on the rate of childhood autism in the sample population as from MMR (etc) vaccine.

      Please… 9_9

  30. mattt says:

    I hope anyone posting has a child with autism. It’s all in each child. Once you have a child you’re not looking for blame, just answers. All factors should be explored with or without government money. Absolutely, no clear answers just lots of hard work for the families involved.
    God speed in any recovery.

    • tahrey says:

      I know that was posted with genuine concern and best wishes for those having to deal with the issue, but I feel it may be counter intuitive. There CAN be clear answers, depending on the question.

      The question in this case: should I avoid having my child inoculated against diseases that may kill or permanently injure/disfigure him/her for fear that doing so may inflict a socially crippling mental condition on them?

      The clear answer: No.

      Now let us spend our time and money not on fighting that battle, but trying to get to the bottom of the problem in a positive, constructive and scientifically valid manner, for the good of all concerned – apart from Dr Wakefield and his sponsors of course.

      • tahrey says:

        Sorry … counter……. something else. Not intuitive.

        Counter constructive?

        I can’t even find the words right now. Whatever would couch “less than helpful” in similar terms.

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  32. tahrey says:

    And after a few replies to subthreads, my own post:

    Nice one. I’d have hoped we’d have reached a point where this issue had long since being put to bed (with Wakefield being officially discredited and, at least partially, admitting he fabricated some of the data), but it doesn’t hurt to re-emphasize it for the hard of understanding.

    Can we have one for the cellphones/wifi/microwave ovens vs cancer debacle next?
    (After many many studies, no evidence that there’s any correlation there either – as anyone with a reasonable grasp of radiation effects on living tissues and aerial radiative patterns* could have a good guess at even without a study… though of course you need a few to back it up, which we do have)

    * Yes I know that’s not everyone, even though I count myself amongst them. That’s why you need the double blind multiply-redundant independent studies.
    For the record, a strong enough, focussed microwave emission can be pretty harmful to living tissue, because of concentrated heating… basically it burns/scalds you from the inside. Which is why microwave ovens have multiple safeguards to stop you sticking bodyparts in there when it’s running, up to and including a fuse that breaks with a purposely startling flashbang and permanently disables the machine should you defeat the first interlock. But standing next to the oven will do you little harm, and a cellphone has no chance, thanks to a low power level, non-ionising emissions (its radiation can’t cause genetic damage directly – its only hope of causing a tumour is through heat damage to DNA, and that tends to just kill cells outright anyway), and the fact that it has a non-directional antenna IE the further out you go, the weaker the radiation – it’s unfocussed. It may heat up a small part of you a little bit, but then so does the sun, and we have this thing called “blood circulation” that helps to even things out quite effectively.

    A microwave’s relation to, say, an X-ray, is pretty minimal. They’re RF energy, that’s about all.

  33. J says:

    That isn’t “no correlation”, that is “no data”.

    • Danny says:

      Exactly. If you made that point earlier, you would have been accused of having Asperger’s.

  34. Ethan says:

    My grandmother’s doctor told her when she wanted to quit smoking, “You shouldn’t ever quit smoking. It will be too stressful on your body.”
    Now all of his grandkids are autistic.

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  36. Go autism go says:

    As the parent of an autistic child I like the cartoon! Let’s stop the debate about autism and vax and start finding REAL answers about the cause and cure autism.

    The best treatment for autism is ABA therapy, let’s stop worrying about vax and autism and start getting some more research and money so people can access ABA. I know it is govt funded by Canada and the UK and some states of the US…so why not here in Australia? It is the only treatment with scientific merit and makes a HUGE difference to autistic kids. Mine has responded so well and she is a completely different child, it is astonishing but also the product of lots of money and hard work. She will start school at a mainstream school next year and even now actually appears no different to any child her age.

  37. fishboy says:

    LOVE this one. Also love the smart and informative comments – anyone who, in a fit of pique, says they’ll never come here again is missing out on humour, intelligence, and an excellent community.

    “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep” – Saul Bellow

    • Go autism go says:

      Thank you for this quote!! This quote rocks and can, unfortunately, be applied to so much in today’s world including the world of autism.

  38. Joshua says:

    One thing I never liked about the whole do vaccines cause autism debate is that it exists. IF there is a link, getting autism is a much less worse fate then dying or being crippled by some nasty disease.

    • Joshua says:

      (I have autism by the way).

      • Kell says:

        Thank you! I’m so sick of the news reports of children dieing from “whooping cough” because parents fear the vaccines. I have a child with autism, he and his brothers are up to date with their vaccinations.

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  40. Lars says:

    Wonderful. Just wonderful. You just keep doing it!

  41. LaPhunk says:

    Soon to be parents: read Dr. Bob Sears’ take on vaccines (most of them reasonably unnecessary, & if you must do more than a few, at least spread them out so it’s a bit easier on your infant’s system).

  42. Pingback: Sourire du lundi : Le lien entre l’autisme et les vaccins | Psychologie et éducation

  43. kevin p says:

    This is so very good, I have come to dislike the skeptical people of the world.

  44. Kelly Styron says:

    Thank you.