Well, the world has finally impoded in on itself, as my two most divergent interests have joined into one issue: skepticism, and professional wrestling.
The WWE (formerly the WWF for those of you not keeping track) has signed a cross-promotion/support system for Jenny McCarthy's, Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue is an organization which solicits donations under the guise of funding autism research, but what they don't tell you is that they recomend chelation therapy, and they also do public outreach to convince people that vaccines cause autism, vitamins can cure autism, and constantly propogate fear of doctors and of pharmaceutical products (you the equation, doctors + big pharma = sick people who get treatment, but not the cure....I confess, before skepticm, I bought that nonesense).
Just in case you're reading this and you're on the fence, vaccines do not cause autism. The research has been MORE than sufficient to demonstrate this. We still don't know what causes autism, but the research is hinting at a genetic cause (although environmental causes have still not been ruled out). Jenny McCarthy is the cheif proponent of the anti vaccination movement these days (yes, THAT Jenny McCarthy....the one who became famous as being the hot blond girl who ate her boogers on MTV. ok, I'll admit, that was a blatant ad hominem attack, but in this case, it's hard not to....McCarthy is both stupid and crazy. I'll leave the civil debate to the civil people), and she often uses the tactic of the emotional plea to convince people of her case, about how doctors forced her son to get the vaccine (I don't buy that), and how she wishes that doctors would listen more to the 'mommy instinct' (In the words of Steven Novella, "Your mommy instinct doesn't trump ton-of-science"). When she does base her arguments and not on emotionalism, she tries to make evidence-based arguemts, citing poorly-conducted, obselete studies which have been proven to be dishonest, fallacious, or have since been supersceded by better studies which contradict their findings. While I don't think she's being dishonest, I do think that she is just terribly, terribly mislead, and I wonder how many cases of mumps, measles or rubella it will take to convince her to abandon her dangerous propoganda.
And now, she's made a connection with the fans of professional wrestling, a demographic not exactly known for great cultural and intellectual advancements. I don't mean to disparage wrestling and all of its fans with out reason here...but in this case, I truly know what I'm talking about (for realsies, I used to be a professional wrestler, under the name of "Happy-Hour Seamus O'Leary"...an injury forced me to stop, but I wonder how long it would take for me to be driven out by the inane sub-culture?). This is already a crowd that is used to being manipulated by emotional displays of hardship, and are probably lacking in critical thinking skills department (a department which, incedentally is located WAY down the hall from the department of steroids, budweiser-drinking, t-shirt ripping and heavy-metal theme music).
I wonder how many of these wrestling fans are going to be swayed to not get their children vaccinated? I also wonder if/when McCarthy will come around the the side of evidence and realize she's been harming people....will she ever apologize? Will she ever advocate FOR vaccines to help undo the damage she's done?