June 21, 2013

GOING AFTER THE SCIENCE-DENIALISTS ON THE LEFT:

The trouble is, it’s one thing to notice a potential danger and raise a few alarm bells to get scientists to investigate an issue — it’s a whole other to publicize and propagandize an unsubstantiated fear despite evidence against it. The former is important, as Kara suggests, and should occur. I have no problem with non-scientists raising honest concerns, if their goal is to have the concerns considered — so long as they’re actually willing to hear what the evidence has to say. The latter, on the other hand, is denialism. You see, once scientists have weighed in, you have to be willing to listen to them.

When it was first suggested that vaccines might lead to autism, is was a legitimate question to ask. Kids seemed to develop autism around the same age they got their vaccines — and can you imagine if the vaccines were to blame? That would have been huge news! We would have had to revolutionize the vaccine industry, to start from scratch and figure out if we can keep these life-saving shots without screwing up our kids’ brains. One of the core foundations of our children’s public health program would have been forever shaken. So, like they should, independent scientists investigated the concerns. They checked and double checked the safety testing. They ran and re-ran results, but they kept getting the same answer: whatever causes autism, it isn’t vaccines. A cumulative sigh of relief was uttered by doctors, nurses, scientists, parents and children around the world.

Except that some people didn’t listen to the data. . . .

Instead of listening to the evidence, campaign groups conduct unrigorous, unscientific and completely biased studies, dig in their heels, and stand their ground. Just look at the recent anti-GM rat and pig studies which have been thoroughly flayed by scientists that have nothing to gain from the GM industry. The groups that performed and published these “trials” weren’t asking whether GM foods are unsafe; they sought and executed sham research hellbent on proving their beliefs, then denied any conflict of interest. I can’t agree with Kara that such studies deserve equal voice. They don’t.

Every successful system accumulates parasites. That includes science, and do-gooderism.