Imagine my horror when I received the e-mail below, telling me that David Kirby, who apparently claims to have found the smoking gun linking mercury in vaccines to autism, will be speaking at my law school. Dammit, Jim, I’m a lawyer, not a doctor, but I know to listen to studies, and I know that one bizzare case does not a trend make. I also know enough to understand that the public health risks of crying “wolf” on the “vaccine industry” with little evidence outweigh the benefits of a little alarmism. Unless you’re pretty damn sure, it’s a very poor idea to tell parents to stop innoculating their kids.
Here’s the e-mail:
Join David Kirby, best-selling author of “Evidence of Harm — Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy” for lecture and discussion.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South,
Vanderbilt Hall, Room 204
6:30 – 9:00 PM
RSVP required: email@example.com
Kirby will address the recent case in US Vaccine Court in which the government conceded that vaccines induced autism in one little girl, give updates on other cases and discuss emerging science on the link between autism and vaccines.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to make the talk, or if I’m the best person to speak up for responsible science on this issue. But someone should. Enough from me, though. Listen to one of my friends, an actual doctor, at Denialism Blog.