||“I have no regrets about anything that has happened other than what has happened to the children or what hasn’t happened for them as a consequence of the controversy. I would like to think that I would follow exactly the same course even knowing what the consequences were, if presented with the same challenges again.” — Andrew Wakefield, in “Dr. Andrew Wakefield on the Autism Vaccine Controversy,” Daily Bell, May 30, 2010
||“The main deficiencies in the books are in taking a doctrinaire, everything-is-solved attitude, toward just about every problem addressed. . . . They should all be sent back to the publishers as unacceptable.” — John W. Oller, Jr., letter of November 8, 2010, to Louisiana Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council urging that proposed biology textbooks be rejected
By Barbara Forrest
**Note: Since this post is longer than usual in order to cover the topic adequately, readers may wish to print it. This post has been updated; see below.
On February 2, 2010, The Lancet, one of the world’s premier medical journals, retracted [pdf] a 1998 article [pdf] in which British physician Andrew Wakefield was lead author (with twelve co-authors).
Following the judgment of the [United Kingdom] General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al. are incorrect. . . . In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.
Wakefield is the now-notorious physician who, by means of this 1998 article, promoted the idea that the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine causes autism. Readers will surely wonder what this has to do with creationism in Louisiana. Please keep reading. There is a connection that highlights once again the error of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) in handing over to creationists the policies implementing the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). On Tuesday, December 7, BESE must decide whether to approve the biology textbooks that have been proposed for adoption by the state. We can only hope that, at that meeting, board members will call a halt to the influence that they have allowed the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) to have over science education policy during the last two years.
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