Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eula Biss

Eula Biss's new book is On Immunity: An Inoculation.

From her Q & A with Michelle Dean at Gawker:

So! Ultimately you came out believing that vaccination does not cause autism.

Yeah, that's an area where the science is pretty clear. There's still a pretty vivacious social debate around that but there's no scientific debate on that anymore. The science is kind of closed.

You have, with this book, intervened in that public debate in a pretty anti-pundit way, though.

In this area, I feel really strongly that's what we need. More and more, it seems like both sides are getting really reductive, and ironing out the nuances of the conversation. There seems to be a proliferation of pundits.

Obviously on what I'm just gonna call the Jenny McCarthy side, the reduction is a lack of attention to the science. What about the other side?

On the pro-vaccine side — and not everyone does this but I saw it enough for it to make me really uncomfortable — is a tendency to accuse people who are wary of vaccination of being stupid and not understanding science. For most people who are hesitant about vaccination, a lot more is going on. I talked to lots of people who are vaccine-hesitant, and I actually was one myself until I got further into this project, and most of them actually are in my demographic: so well-educated people with advanced degrees, who are upper middle-class and have read quite a bit on the subject.

So not only is it reductive, I think it's also wrong. I think if we're really concerned about stopping falling vaccination rates, we also need to be concerned about the actual reasons why those rates are falling, and not just...[read on]
Visit Eula Biss' website.

Writers Read: Eula Biss (June 2010).

--Marshal Zeringue