Have you been following the saga of the anti-vaccine movement? Although thoroughly discredited by numerous well-designed studies, this movement tries to posit a link between MMR vaccines and autism. One of its leading figures is the actress Jenny McCarthy (former Playboy bunny and now girlfriend of Jim Carey).
This is a reprint of a blog entry by Dr. Phil Plait on the Skeptiblog site that highlights some of the inanity that McCarthy spews. Phil is an astronomer, creator of the Bad Astronomy blog and now the President of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
It brings me no end of wonderment that anyone would listen to anything Jenny McCarthy says. Our evolved instinct to obey authority — if you sit still when the tribe leader yells “run!” you’re likely to become saber-tooth tiger nosh, and are unlikely to contribute to the gene pool — is clearly to blame here. Still, we also have large and I’m guessing generally unused portions of our brains which are built to override such foolish impulses.
Sure, Ms. McCarthy is something of a celebrity. She’s very pretty, attracting attention, and is actually very funny (yes, I have a sophomoric sense of humor sometimes), so it’s no surprise people might be tempted to listen to her.
But what she says is so mind-numbingly mind numbing.
“I love Botox, I absolutely love it,” she said. “I get it minimally, so I can still move my face. But I really do think it’s a savior.”
I see. So injecting kids with scientifically-proven medicine that can save their lives and the lives of countless others is bad because of a fantasy-driven belief that it causes autism, but injecting a lethal pathogen — in fact, the most lethal protein known — into your face to help ease the globally threatening scourge of crow’s feet is just fine and dandy.
Oh, say: can you excuse me a second? I need to go over here for a sec …
If you want a little vaccination against her nonsense, read this spot-on op-ed in a student newspaper. It’s good to see some folks get it.