Short answer: No, Vaccines do not cause Autism Spectrum disorders.
Now, the current anti-vaxxer argument begins with two separate people: Andrew Wakefield (Patented Quack, Policy Manipulator, Remorseless Killer) and Jenny McCarthy (Public Menace, Actress, Not a Doctor). (Former) Dr. Wakefield published a now-retracted study (see quack) that made a correlation link between vaccinations and autism. It was based on anecdotal evidence, not empirical study; therefore it does not count as proper science. He also intentionally edited his results to come to this incorrect conclusion. While all of his fellow doctors retracted their testimony on the Botched reports, to this day Andrew stands by his report and advocates that parents avoid vaccinating their children with MMR, if not all vaccinations in general.
Meanwhile, Jenny McCarthy, best known for appearing in Playboy and MTV. She advocates for New-Age Pseudoscience (which is fine, but not a substitute for true science in the same way soy sauce is not a substitute for water) claims that vaccinations gave her son autism. Except, her son’s symptoms are actually akin to Landau–Kleffner syndrome, but to this day she denies her son was misdiagnosed and continues to spread anti-vaccination dogma. She has appeared on Ellen, Oprah and CNN, spreading pseudoscience and misinformation as far as she can.
There are several problems with the MMR vaccine causing autism argument: for starters, it is based on faulty science, logical fallacy and pseudoscience. That is not hyperbole, that is demonstrable fact. Second, it is threatening the safety of the general populace. One infected person goes to Disneyland and 51 people leave with measles, regardless of whether they believed vaccines caused autism or not.That is a breakdown of herd immunity and in this day and age it is unacceptable. The life choices of one individual should not threaten the lives of others, EVER.
Finally, and most critically, the anti-vaxxer argument is inherently ablest, because it treats autism as a fate worse than death itself. It’s treated as a loss of one’s creativity, their will, their very SOULS. This is an actual quote from Jenny McCarthy, to Oprah in 2007:
“Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, ‘I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it?’ And he said, ‘No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something,’ and he swore at me, and then the nurse gave [Evan] the shot,” she says. “And I remember going, ‘Oh, God, I hope he’s right.’ And soon thereafter—boom—the soul’s gone from his eyes.”
That is not what autism is. Autistic people are not soulless. The author of this very blog is mildly autistic, and statements like this come across to me as dehumanizing.What is autism?
Autistic people can feel. Autistic people have souls. And autistic people are not created by Big-Pharma or vaccines, we just….exist. This argument needs to die and parents need to vaccinate and accept their children, regardless of their mental makeup.