At the heart of the Autism controversy lies really only one explanation why vaccines don't cause Autism. Yes, widely accepted science says they don't, but that's not the real reason. Science is a process to find the truth, it is not the truth itself, and the truth it yields is dependent upon the integrity with which it is carried out. Research and design can be manipulated to generate specific outcomes. Necessary science can be left undone for fear of what it might find. Interpretations can be stretched to agree with specific theories. Undesirable results can be ridiculed and erased. Scientific results are truly only as good as the people who do it. The Medical Industry and the Government may be the ones held accountable for Autism which should dismiss them from investigating the issue and yet, we are willing to accept their version of science on this topic anyway. It begs the question, why?
Because there are just too many people involved for it to be anything but honest, relevant, thorough, and accurate, we're told. That's the explanation. That's why vaccines don't cause Autism. There are just too many people.
On some level, it's a compelling argument. Experience shows you simply can't have too many people involved when there's a big secret to be kept. Too many people would be tempted to tell someone or go public as a whistleblower. Too many people would be personally affected by the issue, friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers of victims. There's just no way a coordinated effort could be orchestrated and controlled on such a level, the thought of it preposterous, laughable, and desperate. People who believe such things are considered foolish conspiracy theorists.
Contrary to what my critics might believe, I agree keeping a secret among that many people is preposterous. Heck, it's hard enough to keep a secret between two people. But I do believe keeping a secret is quite different than perpetuating an untruth or manipulating an unpleasant one. We commonly refer to it as denial, and I know we can all point to some part of our life when we used masterful mental tricks to convince ourselves of something we really wanted to be true that wasn't (or vice versa), especially when we may have been the ones to cause the problem in the first place.
"Oh yes, she's fine. In a year, this will all be behind us, I know it."
Those were my words exactly. Perhaps Autism parents serve as experts in this area and is one of the reasons why we recognize it so easily. Denial is a powerful force.
"Oh yes, this is the safe kind of mercury...We're better at diagnosing, that's all...It's an unfortunate coincidence..."
I also believe other forces can be at work in addition to denial, forces that throughout history have been at play in the most regrettable episodes of our collective past. Human beings are notorious for allowing terrible things to continue unchecked for all kinds of reasons. I don't believe in conspiracies, but I do believe in things that are much worse especially when combined: Fear, Ego, Ignorance, and Greed. You could call them the four horsemen of human atrocity. Harness them up to some denial and you've got yourself an express coach to Crazy-Land.
So I wondered, are there any other examples in history where lots and lots of people allowed something horrible to continue simply because there were too many people involved for all of them to be wrong? Because they were afraid to do anything? Because they were blinded by their own ego? Because they were greedy? Because they were intellectually lazy? Because they wanted to make themselves feel better? Because they didn't want to suffer retribution, personally, professionally, or financially? Because it was easier to just accept things the way they were? Because they wanted desperately to believe they were doing the right thing for the right reasons?
Of course, there are. Read a world history book. It seems it's not so unusual for a large group of people to follow the path of denial, fear, ego, ignorance and greed after all. In fact, historically, it's actually much more unusual for them not to. All of us are subject to the same dysfunction that allows us to do awful things. No one is exempt from this behavior.
And it is for that reason I take absolutely no comfort in the notion too many people are involved for vaccines to cause Autism. That's precisely why they probably do. When the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead stated, "Never underestimate a small, thoughtful group of people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has," she wasn't kidding. It's always, always been less people that bathe unpleasant truth in light, not more.
Truth in numbers? That's what we're supposed to believe in? Too many people?
Not in this lifetime. Not in this world.
Not in this case.
Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.