Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autism's False Prophet's: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure.

Lately, I've been growing more interested in autism. More specifically, the controversy that mercury containing preservatives (thimerosal) causes autism. This interests me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it has been a dangerous controversy. Secondly, because of the parallels it has to religion. There are people who believe very strongly that thimerosal causes autism, despite contradictory evidence. They are clinging onto a faith in something for comfort and answers. There is so much to be said on the subject. I've been reading this wonderful and very interesting book by Dr. Paul A. Offit called Autism's False Prophtes: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. I was drawn in by the opening quote by Tomas Szasz "When religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine. Now, when science is trong and religion is weak, men mistake medicine for magic". The fact that Susan Jacoby also endorsed this book encouraged me that this is a good read. Now only is it about something that I feel strongly about, but it's full of skeptism, a quality any good atheist possesses. I'm not going to attempt to analyze and worhip this book in one blog post. So look for more to come, and this book.

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