As I have written, parsimony is the idol of theoretical science. It is a simple principle: one theory explaining ten facts is better than ten theories explaining ten facts. Parsimony demands that the vitamin D theory of autism continue to look for facts it cannot explain.
If vitamin D is involved in autism, then breast-feeding should increase rates of autism because most mothers’ breast milk contains little or no vitamin D, certainly not as much as in formula. The only exception to this rule is mothers who take 5,000 IU/day or more. Their breast milk, as readers know, is rich in vitamin D. In the 1990s and early 2000s, few if any breast-feeding women took 5,000 IU/day.
Writing about breast-feeding is like writing about autism and African Americans; it is taboo, reverse racism. “DO NOT WRITE ABOUT ANY RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN DISEASES ABOVE THE NECK.” It seems to hardly matter that virtually all diseases below the neck are more common in African Americans but none above the neck.
What is lost is that if the vitamin D theory of brain development is true, it means racial differences are not due to genetics but due to the environment. It means government officials could easily rectify the problem with sensible food fortification. Keep in mind that the federal government decided to fortify the one food African Americans cannot or will not consume: milk.
Breast-feeding has similar rules. “SAY NOTHING BAD ABOUT BREAST-FEEDING.” Well, on 11/21/2011, a brave soul did just that. Dr. Raymond Shamberger of the King James Medical Laboratory in Cleveland discovered that breast-feeding correlates with autism, the more breast-feeding, the more autism.
For you statisticians, he found the correlation for exclusive breast-feeding for six months was .341 (<0.02) between 1992 and 2003. This was when breast milk had no vitamin D and formula had an average of 400 IU/day.
To me, it is just another fact to feed parsimony, which loves the vitamin D theory of autism.