Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy want your children to die

April 22, 2009 by  

In a logical-fallacy-filled diatribe in today’s Huffington Post, comedic actor Jim Carrey- either blinded by love of Jenny McCarthy, or easily brainwashed by conspiricists - lays out his case for why parents should be filled with fear when it comes to vaccinating their children. What makes Carrey’s opinions fly past the realm of reality and into the ridiculous and harmful, is this recent story from the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — An unusual series of five measles cases in the Washington area prompted public-health officials from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia Monday to start an awareness campaign to urge people to protect themselves from the potentially deadly disease.

Officials also planned to announce details of recent measles activity in the area, including places, dates and times when people may have been exposed to the illness as part of the recent cases.

And this AP story on the same subject:

Earlier this month, health officials announced that four cases had been reported in Montgomery County since February. Officials believe these cases may have originated with an unvaccinated adult returning from abroad.

The American vaccination program is arguable the most successful medical program in the history of the planet. And while Carrey relies on well-worded but essentially factless rhetoric, the truth of vaccines are impossible to ignore. From a well-footnoted section of Wikipedia:

In 1958 there were 763,094 cases of measles and 552 deaths in the United States.[7][8] With the help of new vaccines, the number of cases dropped to fewer than 150 per year (median of 56).[8] In early 2008, there were 64 suspected cases of measles. 54 out of 64 infections were associated with importation from another country, although only 13% were actually acquired outside of the United States; 63 of these 64 individuals either had never been vaccinated against measles, or were uncertain whether they had been vaccinated.[8]

While those better versed on the subject that I will undoubtedly give a full and complete destruction of Carrey’s conspiratorial diatribe against vaccines, his reliance on the old canard - that mercury in the form of thimerosal in vaccines is giving children autism:

If you can over-immunize a dog, is it so far out to assume that you can over-immunize a child? These forward thinking vets also decided to remove thimerosal from animal vaccines in 1992, and yet this substance, which is 49% mercury, is still in human vaccines. Don’t our children deserve as much consideration as our pets?

This is just a flat-out lie on the part of Carrey to inspire fear and advance his reckless cause.

Many vaccines need preservatives to prevent serious adverse effects such as the Staphylococcus infection that, in one 1928 incident, killed 12 of 21 children inoculated with a diphtheria vaccine that lacked a preservative.[16] Several preservatives are available, including thiomersal, phenoxyethanol, and formaldehyde. Thiomersal is more effective against bacteria, has better shelf life, and improves vaccine stability, potency, and safety, but in the U.S., the European Union, and a few other affluent countries, it is no longer used as a preservative in childhood vaccines, as a precautionary measure due to its mercury content.[17] Controversial claims have been made that thiomersal contributes to autism; no convincing scientific evidence supports these claims.[18]

Add to that the fact that numerous studies have been done on Thiomersal, all coming up with the same conclusion - it does not cause autism in children:

Thiomersal, also spelled thimerosal, is an organomercury compound used as a preservative in vaccines since the 1930s to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination.[4] In July 1999, following a review of mercury-containing food and drugs, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked vaccine makers to remove thiomersal from vaccines as quickly as possible, and it was rapidly phased out of most U.S. and European vaccines.[5][6] This action was based on the precautionary principle, which assumes that there is no harm in exercising caution even if it later turns out to be unwarranted. However, the removal of thiomersal coincided with statements from scientific bodies indicating that it was harmless, sparking confusion and controversy that has diverted attention and resources away from other efforts to find the causes of autism.[2] Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. to seek damages from alleged toxicity from vaccines, including those purportedly caused by thiomersal.[7]

The scientific consensus—including scientific and medical bodies such as the Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization[8] as well as governmental agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration[4] and the CDC[9]—rejects any role for thiomersal in autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. Multiple lines of scientific evidence have been cited to support this conclusion: for example, the clinical symptoms of mercury poisoning differ significantly from those of autism.[10] Most conclusively, eight major studies (as of 2008) examined the effect of reductions or removal of thiomersal from vaccines. All eight demonstrated that autism rates failed to decline despite removal of thiomersal, arguing strongly against a causative role.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

So the fact is this: Not only is using thiomersal as some type of boogieman to scare parents away from vaccinating their children an outright falsehood, it actually completely debunks the claim made by uninformed anti-vaccinationists. I defer to Phil Plait on the subject:

I just can’t make this any clearer. Vaccines do not cause autism. Study after study has shown this, in multiple ways. The removal of the MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) vaccine in Japan did not lead to a decline in the number of cases of autisms diagnosed; instead the number of children falling in the autism spectrum increased.

The studies are in. The vaccine program is a not a vast conspiracy. It is a successful program that has literally wiped many dangerous illnesses off the continent. The only conspiracy on the subject is the one endlessly and ignorantly pursued by Carrey and McCarthy. For The Huffington Post to even run Carrey’s article based on his celebrity is irresponsible, unless they next plan to be running stories by Charlie Sheen on the how the U.S. government is behind 9/11 and devolve into a conspiracy site.

Whether their heart is in the right place is irrelevant, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, and by extension Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington , CNN and others that give them a soap box - are endangering American children.



17 Responses to “Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy want your children to die”

  1. JoAsakura on April 22nd, 2009 6:04 am

    Bill- coincidentally I was reading a women’s fitness mag at the gym yesterday-Self or Shape, one of them, and Jenny McCarthy was the cover model. There was a little bit in there about the vaccinations and autism as well as a pretty harsh dig at John Travolta for not “bringing his son back from autism” 0.o;

  2. William K. Wolfrum on April 22nd, 2009 6:11 am


    I really think it’s time that those that advocate Autism issues need to step forward en masse and debunk this nonsense. Because if McCarthy “brought her son back from autism” she’s literally a miracle worker.

    All of this vaccination-blaming and Diet-change cure BS is hurting the fight to teach people about autism and to help advocates push for studies to find real answers for what is still a mysterious defect.

    Garr. It irritates me and as you so well showed, it devolves into victim-blaming in a sense.

  3. Misha on April 22nd, 2009 6:26 am

    Bill, thank you for writing this.

  4. Andy on April 22nd, 2009 8:05 am

    The stupidity of some people knows no bounds! Looking at the comments on Jims article on the Huff Post there seems to be a worrying majority of people saying words to the effect of “right on Jim, thanks for this great article.”

  5. InfamousQBert on April 22nd, 2009 10:17 am

    dooce had a good take on the vaccination thing recently. it really helped put into words the vague uneasiness a lot of us have about this debate. basically, these parents are taking advantage of their first world privilege and putting a lot of others in danger to do so.


    this post, linked in dooce’s, was really good reading, too.

  6. Sloppy Unruh » Blog Archive » Autism and Vaccines - Jim Carrey Weighs In - Messy, Unquiet Blogging… on April 22nd, 2009 10:28 am

    [...] William K. Wolfrum Chronicles » Blog Archive » Jim Carrey and … - In a logical-fallacy-filled diatribe in today’s Huffiungton Post, comedic actor Jim Carrey- either blinded by love or easily brainwashed by conspiricists - lays out his case for why parents should be filled with fear when it comes to … [...]

  7. CH on April 22nd, 2009 4:11 pm

    Jesus. Aren’t these supposed to be the pro-science folks? What a bunch of hypocrites.

  8. dgun on April 22nd, 2009 5:03 pm

    My opinion on Jenny McCarthy and her hawtness has been on the record for some time now. It is a shame that she is being taken seriously on this issue, however.

    on a side note:

    I recently read an article about a potential link between Autism and vinyl flooring.

  9. William K. Wolfrum Chronicles » Blog Archive » Dr. Steven Novella: “But we see here the anti-vaccine strategy, which is deliberately ignorant of history” on April 23rd, 2009 5:59 am

    [...] Read the whole thing if science and slapping down charlatans is your thing. And I can’t recommend the “Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe” podcast enough. It’s a weekly, hour-long learning experience. [...]

  10. Liz Ditz on April 23rd, 2009 12:35 pm

    Tell Jim Carrey that hw is wrong about vaccines and autism from Autism.Change.Org:

    All the publicity surrounding the claims of a vaccine-autism link has diverted attention and energy away from focusing on issues of pressing importance to individuals on the autism spectrum including education and schools, services, employment, and housing.

    Ask Jim Carrey to reconsider his statements about vaccines and autism and, if he wishes to advocate for autism, to rather direct his energies to support services and education for individuals on the autism spectrum.

    The suggested text of the letter. Feel free to compose your own message and post it at the Change.org link, above:

    Dear Mr. Carrey,

    I have read your recent article in The Huffington Post, “The Judgment on Vaccines Is In???” in which you assert that “We don’t know enough to announce that all vaccines are safe” and that further research about a possible vaccine-autism link is necessary. Further research has and is being done, and the scientific evidence refuting this hypothetical link is steadily accruing. Nonetheless, this issue continues to hold the attention of the public and of parents who have become fearful of vaccinating their young children.

    It is unfortunate that, due to your celebrity, many people will listen to your statements about vaccines and even decide not to have their children receive the vaccines that are important for their health. Please reconsider your statements about vaccines and autism and please rather direct your energies to supporting services and education for individuals on the autism spectrum.

  11. William K. Wolfrum Chronicles » Blog Archive » Pseudoscientist Oprah Winfrey gets three confirmed kills on October 19th, 2009 7:04 am

    [...] So how is Oprah involved? Well, she has had Ray on her show before, talking about the incredibly insipid “The Secret,” of which Winfrey is a huge fan. In fact, Oprah has long been a big fan of homeopathic or alternative healings, from giving Jenny McCarthy a free platform to scream that vaccinations gave her child autism, to having Dr. Oz himself on to promote random. never-proven nonsense. [...]

  12. William K. Wolfrum Chronicles » Blog Archive » Shorter Bill Maher on Vaccinations on November 16th, 2009 2:52 am

    [...] “I’m not a crazy anti-vaxxer, let’s get that straight. I’m just saying that perhaps we need to stop censoring anti-vaccination talk. Except for Oprah, myself an others, no one even knows that vaccinations could be bad for you, possibly. I’m not saying they are, just saying some people I know told me they could be, and that Big Pharma is behind it. So I say we start from scratch and discuss why anyone who takes vaccines is an idiot.” [...]

  13. Get your masturbation on at The Huffington Post : William K. Wolfrum Chronicles on February 3rd, 2010 11:00 am

    [...] And, of course, there’s Huffington’s love of pseudoscience: [...]

  14. No, vaccines don’t cause autism « Debunkings « William K. Wolfrum Chronicles on March 15th, 2010 2:42 am

    [...] worries, I’m sure Arianna Huffington will give Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy a chance to lie away any of the least latest damnation of their absurd and dangerous theories. For the rest of us, [...]

  15. Breaking: Jim Carrey not having a breakdown, he’s just an idiot « Entertainment « William K. Wolfrum Chronicles on April 12th, 2010 6:05 pm

    [...] decries that he’s not having a mental breakdown, one thing is certain - the man is a certifiable, anti-vaxxer idiot that would rather see millions die from small pox and the like than to admit that vaccines [...]

  16. Make money The Huffington Post way with Sexism, Hyperbole and Woo « Feminism « William K. Wolfrum Chronicles on July 29th, 2010 5:42 pm

    [...] her crack squad of woo finders are constantly scouring the Internet for nonsense. If it’s not Jim Carrey telling you not to let your kids get vaccinated, it’s some quack telling you that sunscreen is a plot by [...]

  17. Bill Gates speaks truth: “Those anti-vaccine efforts — they kill children” « Debunkings « William K. Wolfrum Chronicles on March 1st, 2011 2:06 pm

    [...] are putting all children at risk, not just their own. Two years ago, I wrote a post titled “Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy want your children to die,” after Carrey penned a ridiculous column, rehashing long-debunked theories vaccinations. In that, I [...]

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