Last week a young boy asked me if I liked Science. I really don’t like it. It was my least favorite subject throughout elementary school and high school. Full of wonder, and incredibly smart, this kid thinks the exact opposite – he loves Science! I didn’t want to squash his enthusiasm, so I took a second before I made a reply. Something else made me pause, too.
I was busy right before he approached me, but that’s not why the question caught me off guard. The Science he loves is the same Science that made broken promises to me. It didn’t just lie to me, it took everything from me. That happened post-vaccination. Science told me that childhood vaccines were 100% safe for my son and that his health would benefit from them. Now non-verbal with seizures and regressive autism, my child is unable to function like this boy can. I could tell this kid that at one point even though I didn’t like Science I trusted it, but then I’d have to explain why. Not wanting to go into that intimate detail with a child I don’t know very well, I continued to think of a simple answer for his simple question.
As much as I still wanted to say to him, “Nope. Science stinks,” I kept that to myself and replied, “You know what, bud? As a kid, I did not like Science at all. But as an adult, I appreciate it.”
That’s the truth.
I do appreciate Science.
But I’ll never be able to fully trust it.
Satisfied with my answer, the boy immediately asked me a Science-related question. It wasn’t complex or about vaccines, a topic I know well, but it was a question that I could not answer. Stumped, I promised that as soon as I had time to do some reading I’d find some information for him. He told me he, too, wanted to continue to find the answer on his own. So we made a game of it – whoever could answer the question first wins. There wouldn’t be a prize, just satisfaction that we’d learn something and wouldn’t be puzzled any longer.
Feeling puzzled can be unsettling. I know that was the case for me back when my child experienced a negative reaction from liability-free vaccines. They were supposed to help my kid, not hurt him. They were supposed to bring life-long immunity, not present new medical problems. When I realized I had more questions than answers about a topic I never thought to question, that puzzled feeling turned into something worse—fear.
What have I allowed?
After waves of fear came the waves of anger.
How could I have been so dumb, and why did I think I could trust these doctors so completely?
Once those emotions settled, I made time to learn and read. I taught myself to do things differently for the future. While reading, I discovered other parents like me and wanted to learn their strategies. They were effective on getting more exact vaccine information prior to appointments. They were able to say no to some and even to all of the liability-free vaccines, which, at the time, I never knew was an option. They were also discussing treatment that, for some children, could reverse autism symptoms. Inspired, I wanted to draw on their strength and success with my own child. If they could do what they were doing, then so could I. I was reminded just how naïve I still was when I presented some of this new information to our doctors. I trusted that they were still there to help me. They never really were. That’s because they were incapable of looking beyond what their Science was telling them—that I was an emotional mother who was wrong to question them or any of their Scientific claims.
Things are different these days, much different. Now, I know to read and read some more, to verify information as I come across it, and to keep asking questions until all of my questions are satisfied. Appointments and decisions are much easier when I remember to do all that. So is understanding Science. It wasn’t right away, but during the process of having to read through so much literature in order to solve the medical problems my son was having, something else happened. I could finally appreciate a subject I’d loathed most of my life. It took awhile, but I gained a new-found respect for Science. I maintain that respect even though my child still faces problems that were the result of vaccines.
Science is the study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. It isn’t the selling of or the mandating of liability-free pharmaceutical products. It isn’t belittling parents who understand the risks associated with vaccines either. Those tied to the industry wish that it could be, which might be why they persistently claim, “The Science is settled!” whenever vaccine concerns come up. I find it odd that out of every possible topic that a scientist might study, be it biochemistry, robotics, or genetics, only can Vaccine Science be settled. How? Scientists around the world are studying and working in their respective fields and on all manner of scientific topics. They’re still making new discoveries, they’re still publishing their amazing findings, and they’re still very much encouraging the younger generation, like that boy who asked me a question, to join them in their efforts. Unless it’s Vaccine Science, I guess. Instead of following the same methods and protocols, that Science would rather turn people away from facts and propagate their version of vaccine absolutes. I’m praying that changes before my children, and that young boy, grow up.
I loved seeing that boy’s eyes light up during our quick conversation about Science last week. I also loved that he sparked my interest to look something up that I hadn’t before. When I did, I took some notes on what I was learning. I time stamped the notes to show him that at 5:42pm on Friday evening, I found a website that just might explain the phenomenon he was so curious about. I’m hoping to find time this week to tell this kid what I learned. I’m hoping it’s useful information that will answer his question. I’m also hoping that he continues to be genuinely inquisitive, especially about Science. It’s never a bad thing to ask a good question, especially when it can solve – or prevent – serious problems.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.