Dr. Andrew Wakefield, center, arrives with his wife, Carmel, at the General Medical Council in central London on January 28, 2010. A major British medical journal, The Lancet, on Tuesday retracted a flawed 1998 study by Wakefield linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism and bowel disease. (AFP/Getty Images photo by Shaun Curry / January 28, 2010)
Since the controversial paper was published, British parents abandoned the vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of measles. Subsequent studies have found no proof that the vaccine is connected to autism, though some parents are still wary of the shot.
I don't know who is right; I'm not taking sides. It's a scientific question, although activists who don't trust vaccines have used the study for political purposes. And that's okay. My only point is that science isn't always as settled as liberal activists would have us believe in such matters as global warming and the abortion-breast cancer link.