Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

lbonnell's picture

uneducated and educated observations

I don't think institutionalized science is the only way to figure things out. There shouldn't be a divide between uneducated and educated observations -everyone can make observations. Parents without formal science training are definitely capable of making observations of their children and their observations are often used in the diagnosis of autism. Parents can be better observers than trained professionals because parents are exposed to nearly everything their child does while the clinician only sees a small segment of behavior. 

Scientists should not reject parents' observations on the grounds that the parents are uneducated. At the same time, scientists should be open to the idea that people outside of institutionalized science have relevant summaries of observations. To me, scientists who believe that there is no possible way that vaccines can cause autism in individual cases may be as narrow minded and dogmatic as parents who believe that vaccines are the only possible way that their child developed autism. Like we discussed in class, we don't know the etiology of autism and can't say for sure if vaccines are related to individual cases, even though many population studies suggest that they are not. 


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.