Skeptics have known for years that Dr. Andrew Wakefield — erstwhile anti-vax hero of the UK, who in 1998 published a tremendously influential paper in The Lancet linking autism to vaccination — was wrong; and we’ve long suspected that his motivations were less than pure. Yet all of a sudden, this is news.
And is it ever. As I write this, Dr. Wakefield’s mug is splashed across the homepage of CNN.com above the headline “Medical journal retracts study linking autism to vaccine.” The Lancet is now accusing Wakefield of every academic sin it can think of, and news organs across the world are coming together to give the Doctor maybe the worst public drubbing of 2010.
The best story on the subject so far: “The war on Dr. Wakefield: only 12 years too late,” by Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. Check it out. The whole story’s there.