An Anti-Vaxxer Activist Explains Why He Buys a Debunked Idea

German Lopez & Dan Olmsted, Vox:

Dan Olmsted is the editor of the website Age of Autism and author of multiple books that purport a link between vaccines and autism — a link that researchers have debunked again and again. In 2006, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) cited Olmsted's research in introducing legislation to direct the federal government to further study concerns about vaccines.

Olmsted has written in particular detail about his concerns over thimerosal, a mercury compound that used to be — but is no longer included — in routinely recommended childhood vaccines, with the exception of the flu shot. He argues parents should be wary of vaccines because of a supposed risk of autism, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

I spoke to Olmsted on Monday about his work, why he thinks vaccines cause autism, and how he views the current Disneyland measles outbreak. Something to notice in our conversation is that the fear of vaccines isn't evidence-free: Olmsted cited a slew of specific studies to support his stance. The problem is the evidence doesn't hold up.

Make sure you read through all the way to the end to see how each “point” Olmsted makes, on top of his overall assumption, is false. My god, it must be so simultaneously terrifying and  wonderfully masturbatory to live in a world where you get to pick and choose what facts are true.

And, no, really—vaccinate your fucking kids.