This Weekend's Show

Bob Edwards Weekend Highlights – March 5-6, 2011

HOUR ONE:

Despite ample evidence that there is no connection between autism and vaccines, the rates of unvaccinated children continue to rise. And even though the doctor whose research initially caused the widespread alarm was recently barred from practicing medicine, B-list celebrities like Jenny McCarthy continue to receive ample media time to spread the myth. In his new book, The Panic Virus, science journalist Seth Mnookin investigates this story of medicine, science and fear. 

When they were eight years old, Allen Shawn’s twin sister Mary was diagnosed with autism and sent away to live in an institution. Their father was the storied New Yorker editor William Shawn, and after Mary was institutionalized, the Shawn’s would occasionally take the limousine to go visit her.  In Twin: A Memoir, Allen Shawn shares a story about family secrets and lifelong guilt grounded in the history and science of autism.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Elise Forier Edie.  She is a professional playwright, a teacher and also an addict. In her essay, Edie writes frankly about the realities of addiction and recovery. She says that through all the changes in her life, her addiction remains. Each day, she fights a careful, methodical battle against her addiction, trimming her life into manageable moments.

HOUR TWO:

Lions are among the world’s most beloved animals, but they and other ‘big cats’ face an uphill battle for survival. In the 1940s, there were nearly a half-million lions in the wild, today their numbers have dwindled to about 20,000. Dereck & Beverly Joubert live alongside these regal animals in Bostwana, and their film, The Last Lions is being released by National Geographic in conjunction with the ‘Big Cats Initiative.’ The Jouberts join Bob to discuss the global effort to keep big cats safe from extinction.

Harvard professor and author Peter J. Gomes was an American Baptist minister who served in the Memorial Church since 1970. Rev. Gomes had independent views on everything from the morality of war to same-sex marriage. To remember the late professor, we’re replaying a portion of Bob’s conversation with Gomes, which covered the religious and cultural divide in America. Peter Gomes died on February 28th at the age of 68.