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

Reply to comment

smaley's picture

Educated Decisions

 I feel that the controversy about vaccines and autism is a very interesting one, and that it relates very closely to several of our previous conversations. Because I have not read any of the literature relating to this controversy, I do not feel that I personally can make an educated decision as to whether or not the MMR vaccine has truly caused autism in some children. Just as Colette’s parents did, mine trusted that my pediatrician was well informed when it came to the risks and benefits of the vaccines that he gave to my brothers and me. While he would always explain to my parents the risks and benefits, I don’t know of a single instance when my parents went against his recommendation that the benefits far outweighed the risks. While some may say that my parents were just blindly following, and that they should have questioned my doctor more, I don’t feel that this is the case. While questioning the system is without a doubt a good thing in many circumstances, neither of my parents are doctors, and just as they would go to a lawyer for legal advice, they were paying my pediatrician for medical advice. I believe that my parents are scientifically literate enough to make an educated decision, and that decision was to follow the recommendation of a well-respected doctor who has a greater degree of scientific literacy, and therefore is more likely to make the correct decision, based on that knowledge. I’m not trying to say that parents have no right to question the system or their children’s doctors. Instead, I think there is a certain level of restraint that must be shown, since mass panic is all to easy to achieve, and it often does significantly more harm than good.  


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 7 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.