Sunday, July 03, 2005

Calm down and explain my hysteria

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:26 PM |  

From today's Letters to the Editor in the Pioneer Press --
Craig Westover is wrong

In his June 22 column, Craig Westover writes, "The thimerosal connection to autism is first about science." Actually, it's about hysteria and money.

Hysteria distilled in the groupthink of autism advocacy groups that insist thimerosal causes autism — contrary to all reputable science — and cast anyone who says otherwise as a member of a global conspiracy to poison children.

Money for shady personal injury lawyers who lick their chops at the prospect of presenting a jury with a disabled child, some sophisticated-sounding pseudoscience, and the ominous fact that certain states have banned thimerosal.

Westover's attempt to elevate this controversy to something more than a sociopolitical phenomenon crashes like a lead — or should I say mercury? — balloon.

St. Paul
Ms. Randall seems to have missed the point of my June 22 column, which was that Robert Kennedy is fanning the hysteria of desperate parents and distracting from a rational discussion of the science behind a "possible" connection between mercury-based thimerosal in childhood vaccines and autism. Ms. Randall, should be thanked for providing some balance to my column by sharing a firsthand example of a considerable amount of hysteria and paranoia on the part of one who denies there is any connection.

Update: It has come to my attention that Lisa Randall's address and phone number has been published on the Internet. PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO MS. RANDALL AT HER HOME! I do not approve of that. Ms. Randall is entitled to express her opinion and should not be harassed at her home. If you wish to take exception to her comments, comment here or send an email to the Pioneer Press ( Your letter may not be printed, but it will make an impact. Again, please do not harass Ms Randall at home.