I read this great article about Donald Triplett, the first person in the world to be diagnosed with autism (I'd already mentioned it before in my Pants on Fire blog entry). I figured I'd share it with my new-found friends from the blogging world on Twitter:
I soon got a tweet-mention in reply from someone I've never heard of, implying that autism is man-made, due to the use of mercury in vaccines and such:
I replied with a polite: "thanks, but no thanks". Well, anyway, I gave him all the politeness he deserved:
Tanner's Dad, to show me he does read books, pointed me to The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic:
From what I've gathered since, the book is about how mercury in vaccines causes autism. To quote one of the reviewers on Amazon (this reviewer gave the book one star, where one is the lowest possible score):
It speaks volumes about this book that days after its release, yet another of the dozens of studies directly debunking its claims was published in Pediatrics. The only response the authors have on their website is to simply dismiss all inconvenient research as part of a giant, invisible conspiracy.
I won't go into detail about why this book is crap. If you do need convincing, here is a blog which can probably explain this sort of thing better than I can:
I also learned that Tanner's Dad works for some sort of Jenny McCarthy website. Anyway, there's a great feature in Twitter called "blocking". I used it to make my problem of the unwelcomed heckler go away. Not before dropping one last satisfying zing, though:
I'm not surprised that this sort of book can make a lot of money. Learning your child is autistic can be a very confusing time in your life. There are no easy answers. People would love to blame some outside force for bringing autism into their lives. Preferably a faceless corporation which might be sued one day. A few unscrupulous people out there are preying on the confused masses, and are making tons of money selling books like this one.
What surprised me was how this guy came out of nowhere in what felt like a random sniper attack. Do you think the book's publishers are paying some guys to watch blogs and Twitter for stuff about autism? He came out of nowhere when I tweeted a link to an article on autism from a newspaper! Have any of you had similar experiences with your tweets? Your blogs?