A panel of 28 expert pediatricians reviewed the literature on gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and autism as well as whether there was evidence that special diets help autistic kids. And they arrived at a consensus that they could find no link between GI disorders and autism and no evidence that special diets help autistic kids.
Now you’d think that as far as ABC News is concerned, that’d be the story. I mean, c’mon! It’s a pretty major story since there’s such misinformation about autism out there and so many people are profiting off of diet treatments they claim benefit autistic kids.
But no, ABC thought they should get a second opinion. . .from a former Playboy model with no medical background of any kind. Yup, that’s right. ABC decided to consult Jenny McCarthy about this to find out what she thought.
Well Jenny of course saw the evidence provided by the experts and told ABC News everything checks out.
No, of course Jenny’s response was exactly the same response one would expect David Irving to give after being presented with solid evidence that the Holocaust really happened: “Nah uh!” Jenny said you can’t trust the high-quality evidence arrived at through carefully constructed scientific research. No, you should just accept the anecdotes of the ignorant who are desperate to cling to any semblance of an answer regardless of whether or not that answer has any validity.
I rather like Phil Plait’s response to Jenny:
First of all, scientists did take the anecdotes seriously. That’s why they investigated any possible links between GI disorders, diets, and autism. What they found was that there is no link.Second, McCarthy confuses anecdotes with data. As I have said before, anecdotes are where you start an investigation, not where you finish one. That’s the difference between science (aka reality) and nonsense. You can convince yourself of all manners of silliness through personal experience. I decide to whistle before drinking my coffee one morning, and I find a $20 bill in the street. So does that mean if I whistle every morning before my java I will find money? No, of course not. But that’s precisely the type of thinking McCarthy is promoting.
And ABC News also posted a story that seems to also suggest doubts about the research. It’s truly a sad day when USA Today outperforms ABC News on a story. If this is the kind of reporting we can now expect from ABC News, please bring back Charlie Gibson immediately because this was an epic fail and a disgrace to the journalistic profession.