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The GMC Scores a Victory! “Religion” 1, Science 0! by Sandy Gottstein

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With a bow to the Inquisition in its decision against Wakefield, the GMC chose to attempt silencing a doctor /scientist whose findings conflicted with their “religion”. This religion, based on faith in vaccinations, clearly needed to be defended against the terrible crime of findings possibly in conflict with their faith. Yet nowhere did they challenge those findings. Instead they had to trump up other charges. Among their verdicts - “callous disregard” for the suffering of children.

Never mind that the parents of those children do not share that view and, in fact, remain loyal and grateful to him.

Never mind that these parents came to Drs. Wakefield et al with concerns about this possible connection. And that he chose to listen to these parents rather than reject their concerns out of hand.

Never mind that the study conclusion, that “a chronic enterocolitis in children … may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction”, that “in most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunization” and that “further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine” was merely a hypothesis and titled an “early report”. Further investigations! Horrors!!

But what if the notion didn’t pan out? Based on the parents concerns, wasn’t it a legitimate pursuit? Isn’t that what science is all about? Isn’t that what science should be about? Regardless of the outcome?

Therein lies the rub. The GMC doesn’t care about the legitimacy of the study, and did not examine it, because it doesn’t care about the facts. It is the consequences, the outcome, of even considering the proposition that matters to them. The notion that MMR might be related to autism led to an unforgivable decline in use of the vaccine. Supporting the religion of vaccination, not the truth or falseness of a proposition, is what counts.

Given all the grief that has come to Wakefield and his colleagues Murch and Walker-Smith in the current censorial and punitive research climate, it’s a miracle that anyone would touch this issue with a 20, let alone 10 foot pole. (The Lancet has, in fact, just retracted the original 1998 paper.)

Wakefield and his colleagues are being made examples of in the hope that few researchers will dare to question vaccines again. Put the fear of their God in them, so to speak.

Let us hope the GMC is not successful in this venture.

By Sandy Gottstein

Date: 2-2-2010 

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing John Philpot Curran (1808)

Click here for another column about vaccination and faith: "But Faith, fanatic Faith, once wedded fast To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last." – Thomas Moore