Do Jenny McCarthy's antivax views stem from the indigo child movement?Jenny McCarthy is well-known for her thoroughly debunked anti-vaccination claims. She also once claimed she was an "indigo" and her son was a "crystal" child. Those two beliefs may be connected.

When it was announced that Jenny McCarthy got a gig on The View, many people protested. McCarthy's known for claiming (despite being disproved by multiple large, long-term studies), that vaccines cause autism, and that autism can be cured with controversial and somewhat dangerous treatments. A few of the sites that ran down the evidence disproving her anti-vaccination theories note that this isn't the first time McCarthy has made odd claims regarding herself and her son. In a post which has since been taken down, McCarthy claimed that a stranger walking down the street had stopped her and said, "You're an Indigo and your son is a Crystal," and McCarthy had instinctively felt that that was true.

Do Jenny McCarthy's antivax views stem from the indigo child movement?

These designations have been adopted by a small subculture of people who believe that certain children in recent generations have been born with special powers. These can include predicting the future, sensing other people's thoughts, hypnotizing other people, or having great talent in a certain artistic or technical area. There is a generational order to these children. The oldest are Indigos, and are generally born post-1978. They are restless and impatient. They have Crystal children, who are happy and peaceful, now that the Indigos have cleared out the people who "lack integrity" with their challenging ways. The last generation are the Rainbow Children, who are fearless and joyful. There are many different sub-designations, and sub-characteristics.

Overall, the movement seems harmless. All parents think their children are special, and the lifestyle that the movement recommends – giving children boundaries but letting them explore, never belittling them, giving them balanced and regular meals, and having them educated in small groups with lots of attention – seems like a good idea for indigo children, crystal children, rainbow children, or just plain meat children. That being said, there is significant resistance in the movement to any form of modern medicine.

Do Jenny McCarthy's antivax views stem from the indigo child movement?

Indigo believers mostly set their sights on drugs meant to control ADD. The majority of sites about indigo children mention that they may be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and warn parents against believing their doctors. They state that diagnoses of ADD are given because their children are not adequately understood or challenged within a "conformist" system, and that the only treatment for apparent attention deficit disorder is diet and extra attention. They warn that indigo children are especially sensitive to drugs, and that ADD medications will destroy their powers. One site earnestly urges parents to discuss their diagnosis of "indigo" with their pediatrician.

This may make for bad conversations with pediatricians, but it doesn't make for a public health crisis. At best, it gives parents cause to really think over their decisions about medication. At worst, it will cause a lot of pain and frustration to kids who need medication but don't get it. But it won't cause a widespread loss of herd immunity, it won't cause the growing prominence of potentially deadly diseases, and it won't rack up a body count.

Then there's Doctor Lawrence Wilson. Doctor Wilson has an extended network of articles. Some give his credentials. He is a nutrition consultant who earned a medical degree from Centro de Estudios Universitarios de Xochicalco. His dates of study start in 1974, the year the institution was founded by a group of "young professionals," and he left in 1979, the year when according to its webpage, it was publicly recognized by the government. Other pages include therapies like "hair analysis" and "detoxification protocols" that include "genital baths." He has a long page on the care of, and best education for, indigo children.

Do Jenny McCarthy's antivax views stem from the indigo child movement?

And he has a page about vaccines. Vaccines cause, according to Wilson, not just autism, but diabetes, cancer, and shaken baby syndrome. He claims that in one study, one in every three hundred children sustained permanent brain damage from vaccines, and that whooping cough rates are rising as whooping cough vaccine rates are rising because vaccines are ineffective. He finishes by saying that drops in illness are due to better hygiene and sanitation, and that vaccines are not worth the terrible risks. It goes without saying that most of the rest of the medical establishment is not in agreement with these opinions, but, as Wilson states, "most doctors sadly are dupes."

The idea that vaccines are ineffective, or dangerous, or in any way linked to autism, has been so thoroughly debunked that, although more evidence can be added to the pile, it probably shouldn't be. If one half-million child study doesn't convince someone, another isn't going to. But it's worth noting that these two ideas which McCarthy has put forward aren't unrelated wackiness. One informs the other, and the link between them will probably continue until the host of potentially deadly childhood diseases become more of a real threat, in new-age parents' minds, than the possibility of autism.