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Monday, January 9, 2012
WND Downplays Professor's Promotion of Discredited Vaccine-Autism Theiory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily article has an author identity crisis. It carries the byline of WND news editor Jay Baggett, but it also begins "By Dave Tombers." Why doesn't Tombers, who has written numerous articles for WND, get his own article archive?

Regardless of the actual authorship, the article is mostly a rewrite of an Alliance Defense Fund press release about John Oller Jr., a professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette who is being represented by the ADF in suing his school because, according to Baggett/Tombers, "he has been targeted by fellow faculty members over his views on creation and intelligent design." Baggett/Tombers adds that "Oller repeatedly has been damaged because of the views expressed in his public lectures and published works on communicative disorders, autism causation and intelligent design." 

Note that term "autism causation," which comes straight from the ADF press release and is not addressed elsewhere in the Baggett/Tombers article, despite the ADF complaint itself focusing much more on the autism stuff than intelligent design. Baggett/Tombers also reproduces a quote from the complaint purportedly by a colleague  of Oller's saying that "Apparently he [Dr. Oller] doesn’t have much understanding of this issue" without noting that the colleague was referring to Oller's views on "autism causation."

And just what are those views? Oller clings to the discredited view that vaccines cause autism. Oller is so committed to this view, apparently, that Oller wrote a book on the subject that, according to the Independent Weekly, contains a foreword by Andrew Wakefield, the researcher who claims about a relationship between vaccines and autism were retracted by the medical journal that first published them, which later declared Wakefield's research to be an "elaborate fraud."

The Independent Weekly also points out that Oller is a linguist by education who has no expertise in immunology or biological sciences. notes that Oller is so anti-vaccine that he even disputes the fact that vaccines have virtually eradicated smallpox and polio.

It's clear that the university's problem with Oller stems much more from his clinging to discredited claims about vaccines and autism than about intelligent design, yet WND makes sure to hide that inconvenient fact. Perhaps because WND itself promoted the vaccine-autism conspiracy before it was discredited and remains an opponent of vaccines.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 1:01 PM EST

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