A study published recently in Science found that parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children for fear of autism causes astonishing rates of scientific illiteracy in said children, who may also grow up to be conspiracy theorists. Though the refusal often leads to outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases, the study’s authors warn that the more dire consequences include denying whatever established scientific truths happen to clash with one’s cultural or religious beliefs.
“The decision to ignore dozens of large-scale studies in favor of a retracted, poorly-conducted single study turns on the child’s H-67 gene, which is responsible for things like irrational beliefs and the misunderstanding and denial of science,” said study co-author Swayne McSwayne. “The contracted propensity for disbelief in the face of overwhelming evidence grows stronger in the first few years, when the child absorbs everything his parents tell him,” said McSwayne.
He added that while the study actually shows correlation and not causation, and further research is needed to confirm it, “who the hell cares, nobody knows the difference anyway. One paper is enough to plant an idea in people’s minds and let their fears do the rest of the work, and that’s all I want here.”