Jenny McCarthy says she's "beyond thrilled" to have been named new co-host of "The View," ABC's popular daytime show. But given the former Playboy model's misguided views on the purported risks posed by childhood vaccines, science-minded folks are anything but thrilled.
Bill Nye is among those who take a dim view of McCarthy's new gig -- and the possibility that she will use it as a forum to spread her pseudoscientific views on vaccine safety.
"I am concerned that Ms. McCarthy will encourage parents to prevent their kids from getting vaccinated," Nye told The Huffington Post in an email. He added that while he believes parents should have the final say in determining a child's medical care, "We must all keep in mind that regulations requiring vaccinations are not only created to protect a kid from extant germs; vaccinations also protect my kid from yours."
McCarthy, the mother of a son whom she claimed developed autism as a result of being vaccinated, has been a vocal critic of childhood vaccines -- despite a lack of credible scientific evidence to support her view.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found no evidence of a causal link between vaccines and autism. The study lends support to a landmark 2004 study that yielded similar findings.
But if Nye is concerned about McCarthy's new gig, he also sees a potential upside.
"A show like 'The View,' like any story or show that holds your attention, depends on conflict," he said in the email. "So, here's hoping they promote this conflict, or at least vigorous disagreement, about the role of science in medicine and in our technologically advanced society. I believe Ms. McCarthy's views will be discredited."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on childhood vaccine safety.