Priceless sketch on last night’s That Mitchell and Webb Look
There are some things that make me bloody angry.. and the MMR Hoax is one of them.
The MMR/Autism research by Wakefield was seriously flawed in the first place and leapt upon by a horde of journalists and celebrity columnists without a science qualification between them.
No actual studies have been properly published that show a link between MMR and Autism, and the evidence against a link is overwhelming. Every media outlet that discusses this always ends up trying to “balance the debate” by allowing anti-vaccine nutjobs to have their say and continue to spread this absolute rubbish. It’s all trial by anecdote with some very tenuous links. When we discuss gravity we don’t have to get someone on to balance the debate (or “teach the controversy”) ??
And the biggest bastard in all this is the Daily Mail… So of course, one of the things we really need to do is to get our children to start thinking about how science is manipulated by the media and by parties with a cash investment in peddling alternative therapies etc. It’s good common sense to doubt what these shitrags are telling us.
So this story in the Daily Mail yesterday made my blood boil when I read it (although to be honest every story in the Daily Mail does) – for the sheer arrogant cheek of it.
So – to try and show children that the whole MMR thing was complete bollocks and that people like Wakefield and the Daily Mail were bastards of the highest order – is somehow Brainwashing them?
To have people from JABS talking about insidious ways of shaping peoples opinions? Words fail me.
I think what the Mail is really concerned about is that we’re trying to teach people to be critical of the crap they publish in the papers and pass off as medical news.
And the Anti-vaccine movement is moving ahead at a scary rate in the US with cranks like Jenny McCarthy being signed up by Oprah. These diseases are going to come back, and people are going to die, and the blame for that falls squarely on these celebrity rent-a-quotes and the arts students that work in the media who don’t have a clue about what they are doing.
Here’s some extra reading for you:
The WiFi discussion rumbles on with the Professional Association of Teachers, jumping on the bandwagon with a very one sided article that cherry picks only those articles that suggest problems with WiFi. I wish these people would fully research some of the sources of this stuff before quoting it.
A nice rebuttal (as always) on Ben Goldacres site.
The last word in the WiFi debate (for now) should go to the teacher who was asked to have Panorama come into his classroom. You can read all about it on the Bad Science blog.
Ooh its well into the red there,” says reporter Paul Kenyon, holding up the detector (19 minutes in). Gosh that sounds bad. Well into the red on what? It’s tricky to callibrate measurements, and to decide what to measure, and what the cut off point is for “red”. Panorama’s readings were “well into the red” on “The COM Monitor”, a special piece of detecting equipment designed from scratch and built by none other than Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch, the man who leads the campaign against WiFi. His bespoke device is manufactured exclusively for Powerwatch, and he will sell one to you for just £175. Alasdair decided what “red” meant on Panorama’s device. So not very independent then.
Actually, all this would make a great case study on how not to carry out a scientific investigation.
And for the definitive last word, here’s a great cartoon.
OK so its been six months since I started this blog that I have finally got round to making a second post. I was spurred into life by the Panorama report on Monday night about the supposed dangers of WiFi. With the tabloid approach by the Beeb, and the Daily Mail getting in on the action, I can see parents running around now terrified that WiFi is going to scramble the brains of all their children.
Of course all these children are carrying around mobile phones belting out radiation and they’re totally happy with that – as long as the mobile phone mast is in somebody elses back yard. They’d be the first to complain if they couldn’t get a signal at their house.
Anyway, some nice rebuttals of the Panorama programme can be found on the more scientific websites out there. Here are a few to check out.
BBC Have you Say is a good place to make your case.