19 February 2008

Blind faith

When was the last time you changed your mind about something related to autism? If you read back through my nearly three years of posts here you'll see that my own thoughts on the matter have fluctuated quite a bit. (Good thing I'm not a politician!). It's not that I have trouble making up my mind, it's just that I seem to learn something new everyday that influences my opinions.

In a post entitled Nestor Lopez-Duran Ph.D on Autism, Science and Faith-Based Advocacy, Autism dad Harold Doherty, author of Facing Autism in New Brunswick, references the following comments from Lopez-Duran:

what I believe doesn’t really matter, because “beliefs” rapidly turn into blind faith, even amongst scientists. Instead, good science only occurs when positions are flexible and reflective only of the status of the research (data) at any given time

Nestor L. Lopez-Duran Ph.D., Translating Autism, About Science and faith-based advocacy
Doherty goes on to provide his own thoughts:
Many issues such as the mercury-autism, vaccine-autism, genetics-environment arguments in autism discussions purport to revolve around science but often depart from the science and embrace the faith-based advocacy referenced by Dr. Lopez-Duran. To the great detriment of anyone with an interest in understanding the nature and causes of autism.
It is very difficult to maintain this kind of cold objectivity when the subject in question is your own child. But if we, as a society, ever want to get anywhere on these questions (assuming there is somewhere to get to), this is an important lesson to keep in mind.

On a completely separate note, I will be taking a short break from posting here. You may still, however, see my name pop up in comments of other blogs. I plan to return on April 2, not coincidentally World Autism Awareness Day.

2 comments:

Club 166 said...

I've changed my mind on two things related to autism.

First, ABA. When we first got a diagnosis for our son I read all that I could. From what I read, ABA was THE THING that had science behind it. So I was hot to get my son started on ABA. We didn't (my wife wasn't so hot on the idea), and I have subsequently changed my mind, after reading some of the original ABA stuff, and looking into it more. I now think that classical ABA is rather crude (and sometimes abusive), and what passes under the ABA banner a lot of times isn't really ABA, and that's a good thing.

The second thing I've changed my mind on is the "crucial time period" for development, and the corollary "If you don't institute treatment (ABA) before 3 years of age, you'll never see development.

I've totally changed my mind on that. Our minds are probably more plastic when we are younger (like less than 12-14 years old), but we continue to learn throughout life.

Hope you're off to have some fun. We'll save some fried ravioli for you for when you return.

Joe

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