Why Can’t We Understand?

Shelby Scholl

Link to CDC article/website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html

In class last week we talked about how science and society communicate with each other, or really the lack of communication and understanding between the two. Specifically, we discussed the “deficit model” which is the most dominant model of understanding between scientists and society. Basically, it is science/scientists saying “I cannot believe the public is stupid enough to believe X”, X being whatever the scientific topic/issue is. In class we mentioned the idea that it is crazy how society still believes that vaccines cause autism when there have been numerous studies to prove this wrong.

I decided to do more research on autisms and vaccines. I went on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (CDC) and found several studies to debunk this myth. For example, in 2011 an Institute of Medicine (IOM) did a report on eight vaccines given to children and adults and found that with rare exceptions, vaccines are very safe and show no direct correlation to autism. Also, in another 2013 study by the CDC they looked at the number of antigens, or, the substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies, from vaccines during the first two years of life. Results concluded that the total amount of antigens from vaccines received was the same between children with autism and those that did not have autism, therefore shows no direct correlation.

Even with all this research and case studies done, people still believe vaccines can cause autism. Personally, I do not understand why the general public still has that mindset. These case studies, reports, and research are coming from a highly reputable, scientific source, the CDC. I think that people do not believe this because they are stubborn and already have preconceived notions about what they believe scientifically. Also, I think the general public is confused and does not understand scientific research and the language they use. If only scientists could put their findings into layman’s terms, then maybe society would understand and comprehend what they are trying to prove to the general public.


3 thoughts on “Why Can’t We Understand?

  1. I feel like a lot of times people rely on TV “health” talk shows like Dr Oz and “lifestyle” magazines to get their health information. This isn’t terribly awful for simple things like how to get rid of migraines, but topics like vaccines should be left up to the professionals. One of my friends hadn’t had her tetanus shot in over 5 years, and when I asked her why she said she didn’t like putting things into her body that she didn’t know about. There are so many resources out there for people to use to learn about why vaccinations are important but don’t because its easier to ignore it, i think.

    Gretchen Marie Semancik


  2. Also, our society puts a lot of negative connotation on being wrong. I think people are stubborn, like you said, because they would rather be ignorant to scientific evidence, than admit they are wrong. People also don’t take the time to look up scientific findings for themselves; they put too much faith in the media and other faulty resources.
    Jessica Hofelich


  3. What the public sees is the very few people that are on the extreme side of science or religion. They show this because they get heated debates, which draws people attention and interests them. They never really show the people in the middle because it doesn’t make for good TV or it won’t get as many views as the heated debates.
    Courtney Zimpfer


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