Asking the Wrong Question By Lenny Schafer (2001)

      Here we go, here we go, here we go again.  Another panel of medical
experts assembled to ask and to answer the question, "Are vaccines the cause
of autism?"  Well that may be the question they're asking, but it's not the
one answered that will make this controversy go away.  This is the question
to ask and answer about the cause of autism: "If not vaccines, then what?"
      It's like asking O.J. Simpson "If you didn't do the killings, who
 did?"  No matter how many expert witnesses say "the bloody murderer's glove
doesn't fit him, he's innocent," the doubters will not be convinced
      Why won't the vaccine-questioning people, from Representative Dan
Burton to the family next door, be convinced that there is no connection
between vaccines and autism?
      One reason is that the medical experts are asking families not to
believe what they have seen before their own eyes: their children
disintegrate into autism after vaccination.
      The experts undermine their own authority when they patronizingly
ignore the experiences of parents by dismissing their recountings as useless
"anecdotal evidence."  Even the prestigious Institute of Medicine
discredited themselves by not even mentioning the mountain of anecdotal
evidence from parents in their recent report on the matter.  Anecdotal
evidence is still evidence with some scientific value.  Why the wholesale
dodge?  Perhaps to dismiss the appearance of autism after vaccination as
mere coincidence, they have to back the assertion up with some supportive
evidence.  Evidence they do not have.  Better to just pretend the
experiences of parents didn't happen.  Public health officials and the
medical experts underestimate the cost of this expediency to their
      The "whatever - it ain't our vaccines" defensive approach to autism
research is seen as self-serving on a number of levels and thus, it is not
well trusted.
      Defensive research will never be good enough sand to get the spinning
tire of public doubt out of this confusing and suspicious mud.  It's a
wasteful spinning of research wheels.  And skeptical, if not cynical parents
have yet to see the same enthusiasm of officials for saving their own
vaccine-promoting hides, as for finding the cause and cure for autism to
save the children.
      Until the cause and cure for autism is realized, right or wrong,
vaccines will be held a guilty hostage in the minds of many in the autism
community.  And vaccine acceptance will continue to deteriorate as the
epidemic proportions of new autism becomes ever more obvious with each
successive head count.  The important public health protections offered by
vaccinations will continue to diminish until this autism demon, destroying
the lifetimes of children, is flushed out. Flushed out by research on the
offensive, not on the defense.
      "If not vaccines, then what?"
Lenny Schafer, Editor    Catherine Johnson PhD   Ron Sleith    Kay Stammers    Unsubscribe: FEATNews-signoff-request@LIST.FEAT.ORG