Facts, not Fantasy

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Today in the News (19 Jun 09)

Today I have a couple of much longer and more relevant articles for you.

Vaccines/Autism:
Somehow I missed this article in the Skeptic eNewsletter. It's a great rundown. Here is a brief excerpt:

During a question and answer session after a talk I recently gave, I was asked for my opinion about the vaccine/autism controversy. That was easy: my opinion is that there is no controversy. The evidence is in. The scientific community has reached a clear consensus that vaccines don’t cause autism. There is no controversy.

There is, however, a manufactroversy — a manufactured controversy — created by junk science, dishonest researchers, professional misconduct, outright fraud, lies, misrepresentations, irresponsible reporting, unfortunate media publicity, poor judgment, celebrities who think they are wiser than the whole of medical science, and a few maverick doctors who ought to know better. Thousands of parents have been frightened into rejecting or delaying immunizations for their children. The immunization rate has dropped, resulting in the return of endemic measles in the U.K. and various outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. children have died. Herd immunity has been lost. The public health consequences are serious and are likely to get worse before they get better — a load of unscientific nonsense has put us all at risk.

And it would probably be a good idea to read the article that preceded this one as well. Between these two articles, I still can't understand how people buy into the lies and deceit of the anti-vax pro-disease brigade, but they do. We still have a lot of work to do!

Evolution:
For today, I wanted to have a more lighthearted bit of news. The Florida Citizens for Science sponsored a contest where you could draw a stick figure comic talking about some classic mistakes people make in thinking about science. My wife and I both entered the contest, and we both placed in the top ten (although I hear her entry beat mine, how humiliating!). Please head over to the page and check out the comics, I think some are indeed much more worthy than mine and I am glad they beat me.

Okay, that's all I have for today. Hopefully other contributors have things for thei weekend. Also, I may be quiet on Monday and Tuesday due to a job interview that I will need to travel for. And as always, we are still looking for contributors to this site. If you have interest in helping this site out, please get with us.

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