That Andrew Wakefield was a sorry excuse for a scientist we've known for quite some time now. But in light of today's news that his famous 1998 study linking autism to the MMR vaccine was officially an "elaborate fraud," it has to be said.
Andrew Wakefield is officially the worst person to come into the world of parenting. Ever. Based simply on the reach of his shoddy science, I'd even venture to say the British doctor who lost his medical license last year for the fake study is worse than a pedophile. At least the disgusting perverts who diddle little kids only hurt their specific victims.
But with the study that claimed vaccines were causing autism, Wakefield has in effect killed children whose parents were too afraid to get them life-saving vaccinations. What's more, he's led the autism community, which is in desperate need of answers to help their children, down a faulty path for more than a decade. In the world of science, where life-saving discoveries can take decades to be developed, that's significant time lost, time that could have prevented future cases of autism if only the researchers weren't working with faulty science.
But up until now, Wakefield has merely been a bad doctor, a laughingstock of the scientific community. We have people who just aren't qualified to do their jobs in every walk of life. That doesn't make them evil.
However, an investigation by the British medical journal BMJ has determined Wakefield "misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study." The published report says there is "no doubt" he did it on purpose, and that he accepted approximately $647,000 from lawyers hoping to use the study to sue vaccine manufacturers. In doing it all on purpose means Wakefield wasn't stupid or unqualified. He simply didn't care about the kids. He was just greedy.
The callous disregard for the far-reaching consequences of his actions is what makes Wakefield the definition of evil. That he's shown no remorse, repeatedly defending himself even in the wake of daunting evidence, makes it impossible to grant him any leeway. Can you see a way to forgive this creep?
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