ASAT Responds to Huffington Post's "The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism"
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Dear Mr. Mnookin,
Thank you for your tireless efforts at providing a voice of reason in the continual storm of sensational journalism on the purported connection of vaccines and autism (The Panic Virus, 2011). Given your book's examination of the limits of rational thought, I imagine that it must be frustrating to note that despite any further evidence of this connection, the controversy rages on in the media. I commiserate. The fact that ostensibly responsible journalists fail to understand the simple theory of falsifiability is difficult to swallow. Yet, here we are, forced to swallow it and, in fact, must chase it with a swill comprising an uptick in vaccine-preventable diseases and anti-science rhetoric.
I appreciate your taking the time to yet again highlight the issues at the heart of the anti-science approach to treatment and etiology of autism. Hopefully your readers get the message: It is dangerous to flout scientific evidence in favor of pet theories. It is not simply a risk that an individual takes for himself, but one which compromises the safety of us all. It saddens me to hear about the fear your students have about lack of career options for science writers. As you astutely point out, we need them. Desperately!
Please continue educating budding science journalists to responsibly report on these types of things. I appreciate your commitment to science and accuracy in the reporting of it. Kudos for your unflagging fight in the face of depressing odds. All of the children of parents who choose science-based treatment and eschew the woo will thank you.
Your ally in science,
Joshua K. Pritchard, M.S., BCBA
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment