I just saw this on Pharyngula and thought I would repost the link here. It's a short article by Roald Dahl titled MEASLES: A dangerous illness. Dahl's daughter Olivia died of measles encephalitis at the age of 12. This was at a time when a vaccination against this disease did not exist. Thanks to advances in medical technology we can now decrease the number of children dying from preventable diseases like the measles.
The MMR vaccine(measles, mumps, and rubella) is one of the main targets of modern anti-vaccination groups. They continually make the unfounded claim that the MMR vaccines causes Autism. There is absolutely no truth to this statement whatsoever. Looking at Dahl's short essay one can see how we once lived in age when dying of measles was common. I'd hate to see a return to those days.
That's why I continually write about the anti-vax movement. It's one of the most scientifically illiterate and deadly movements out there today. I don't aim to change the minds of hardcore anti-vaxers, it's obvious they live in a world where the rules of logic don't apply. While they remain a small group, they are extremely vocal. And as value free speech I don't want to censor them. Instead it's better to show them to be the ignorant fear mongering domestic terrorists which they are.
People generally like having someone to blame. I can understand the appeal the anti-vax movement has for some people. I can even sympathize with parents who in the midst of their confusion get sucked into the abyss of vaccination denial. Autism is not a well understood disorder. Medical science doesn't have the answer, and there is currently no quick fix or known cause.
But that doesn't mean anti-vaxers have the answer. The difference is that medical researchers are willing to learn more in hopes of gaining a better understanding Autism. Already researchers are beginning to gain some ground on the subject. To find out more visit The Autism Science Foundation. With enough hard work Autism may one day become a thing of the past, just like measles.