Friday, January 7, 2011

Study Linking Vaccines to Autism Is "Fraudulent"

Time Magazine

It's unfortunate but true that sometimes the hard facts of science don't turn out to be so grounded in reality after all. Scientific fraud is certainly not new, but manipulation of medical data is always troubling, and potentially deadly, for the public.

That's the case with a controversial 1998 paper published in the Lancet by Andrew Wakefield, a former intestinal specialist at Royal Free Hospital in London. This week, the editors of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) penned a commentary calling the study “an elaborate fraud,” and accompanied the charge with an in-depth study exposing apparent manipulations of the data by Wakefield to bolster his argument that the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine was linked to autism [...]


  1. Forgery and fabrication have occurred in the sciences, and the refereed journals that publish such research, as well as the scientific bodies that hold conventions and conferences where research is presented have mechanisms to verify validity of findings. These systems are not perfect, but there is effort to prevent this. There are other situations in which scientific findings were faked.

    This problem is not unique to the secular world. There have been fakes within the Torah world. Widely known is the famous “Yitzchok Stanov” who authored a sefer Vaye’etar Yitzchok. In his sefer, he created new nuschaos for tefilo, a few of which were adopted because their origin was otherwise unknown. This author was considered odd and out of bounds even to the maskilim, and no one seems to know why his sefer was used altogether. A few examples of changes to the siddur that are not found in any sources prior to him are the following:

    Mashiv haruach umorid “hagoshem”. Virtually all sources state clearly that the true nusach is hageshem.

    In mussaf for Yom Tov, shuvah “eileinu” bahamon rachamecho. The true nusach is shuvah “oleinu”.

    In the tefilo “Av horachamim” recited upon taking out the sefer Torah, veyachon “osanu” liflaitas olamim. The true text is veyachon “oleinu”.

    There are others. Stanov was recognized as a “zayfan”, a forger. He composed some midrashim of his own, then used them as his reference.

    Forgery is serious problem in Torah, not just the science world.



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