Well, I’ve said since beginning my support of Obama that I would call him on any failures of his administration once I’ve voted him in. I did not expect that chance to possibly come so soon.
Anyone who follows science, medicine, or skeptical blogs has heard the name of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has made for himself quite the reputation of an anti-vaccine and conspiracy kook. Since he put his name in the byline on an article for Rolling Stone magazine where he weaves a dark tale of a covert meeting between world government officials, scientists, and pharma heads who discuss the link between autism and a “host of other neurological disorders” and an ingredient used in some vaccines as a preservative. Instead of discussing the veracity of the information, this evil enclave conspires to hide it from the public! Ridiculous, I know, but Mr. Kennedy apparently believes this hokey story, even though studies of the link between vaccines and autism have proven time and again that there is no link. Mr. Kennedy was widely ridiculed by the scientific and medical community for this little flight of fancy.
Mr. Kennedy then misrepresented CDC documents to make it sound like they were discouraging the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines despite the mountain of evidence linking it to autism (that doesn’t exist, btw).
So, why would any rational person believe this anti-vax bullshit and use underhanded tactics to put this pseudoscience forward? Maybe because he stood to make a fat wad of cash from representing litigants in a vaccine injury case.
He has much to say on the environment, too:
A couple of years ago, he put his name to a book entitled Crimes Against Nature, in whose pages we learn, among many similar revelations, that air pollution is a cause of Down’s Syndrome and that “automakers already have the technology” to make SUVs and minivans get the mileage of passenger cars, but don’t do so because, well, because they’re mean. (source)
Now, I can explain to you that Down’s Syndrome is genetic in nature but I don’t have to, because from my comments, I know the majority of my readers have brains in their heads. Someone may want to explain this wild and completely false claim about environmental affects on neurology to Robert Kennedy Jr. though!
So, we have this guy, anti-science bullshit, dirty pulls, bad environmental science, and possible greed. Why does this even matter? Because Mr. Kennedy may be the next head of the EPA under President Barack Obama.
Now, please note, this is a huge maybe. It is likely that the President-elect will take a closer look at this kook and laugh him right out of the public spotlight. I truly hope so. As a candidate that decried the current administration’s war on science, this would be an inauspicious beginning!
Update: Whenever there’s a news item related to medicine and science, you know Science-based Medicine will say it best!