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Critical Thinking about Erroneous Research

Could you please do an "objective" conversational response on how this person has done on their discussion on thinking critically about the erroneous research on vaccination risks and Autism?

Your expert objective response should contribute thoughtful, unique and interesting information to add to their discussion.

This is their discussion:

When thinking critically one should follow guidelines to evaluate the topic. One should ask questions, the questions should be concise and well defined so that there's no confusion about any of the terms within the question. Examining the evidence presented on the topic is imperative; within this step one should also evaluate the assumptions and biases that may be present and they should also avoid emotional reasoning. The evidence should not be over simplified and other interpretations should be considered. One should also be aware that the research may not give an empirical answer so one should be willing to tolerate and accept that there is uncertainty within the research topic (Wade & Tavris, 2012).

In the early 1990s and early 2000s there was an overwhelming belief that the vaccine for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and thimerosal a preservative in vaccines could be linked to Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Perhaps one of the most well-known researchers to set this in motion is Wakefield and his 11 coauthors in his autism study (Miller & Reynolds, 2009). When his study first published parents reacted and just ad to believe that the vaccine and the preservative within them had caused their child's ASD. These parents and the medical community as a whole did not excise critical thinking because emotional reasoning was used, and the evidence was extremely over simplified. Any parent whose child is diagnosed with ASD is emotionally charged and wants a scientific reason for their child to have this disorder. They are not willing to tolerate the fact that there is still uncertainty in regards to the cause of autism and ASD.

The outcry from the community led to thimerosal being removed from all childhood vaccines although there is no significant evidence that the preservative can cause ASD or any other neurological disorder (Miller & Reynolds, 2009). Parents chose not to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccination and this in turn led to an increase in measles outbreaks that could have easily been prevented. The research conducted did show an increase in measles RNA in the bowel tissue of children with ASD, and a link with gastrointestinal disorders and children with ASD, but this is not conclusive and concise evidence to prove that MMR vaccine causes ASD (Miller & Reynolds, 2009).

With any condition that affects children the parents and doctors can be emotionally charged and this can at times cloud critical thinking to such an extent that they could possibly latch on to any given reason for what is affecting their child. This is not to say that they should not take into consideration all opinions and research that is offered, but that they should examine the evidence and make an informed decision. Not vaccinating their children would not have prevented the ASD diagnosis as evidence shows. The assumption that because ASD presents around the time of MMR vaccination is quite a coincidence, but it is merely that. It would be the job of a psychology professional to help the parents, if they are the patients, to be open-minded and not assume that every new possible link to their child's disorder is the one true reason for what is happening.

Solution Preview

This person has done a good job in this discussion, largely due to the fact that they present factual research findings that there is no link between vaccinations and autism ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes an analysis of a discussion concerning erroneous research and belief perseverance.