So, it turns out that the study linking Vaccines to Autism was an outright fraud. This outcome has been a long-time coming, as the original study was retracted almost a year ago and in May the researcher behind the study was stripped of his medical license.
I’m troubled that it took so long to discover, given the damage done by the subsequent furor, the errors and data falsification in the study. It speaks to a lack of good follow through by mainstream media, as well as the damage that can be done when they try to give a “balanced” perspective on a story. In this case, giving vaccine skeptics such a prominent role lent credence to their claims, which were based on little or bad science. These finding will do nothing to change the minds of the die-hard believers either.
What can we do to increase scientific literacy?
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”