The Lesson of Jenny McCarthy (Updated)

Measles returns: Of vaccines and vacuous starlets | The Economist.

Buried in Jenny McCarthy’s well-intentioned but horribly mis-informed campaign against vaccinations lies a critical lesson for all of us.

There is a tremendous amount of research being conducted that is unfit to be called science. Whether because of poor research design, bad data, stupid conclusions, or because the researchers seek to attract attention to themselves and build sinecures based on their counter-intuitive (but faulty) conclusions, much that comes out of labs in America today is an embarrassment to the great men and women who toil in anonymity because of their dedication to science as a discipline rather than a ladder.

We have all been the victims of such dreck. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Eating cholesterol is not bad for you. GMOs are safe to eat. Fallout from Fukushima did not cause 14,000 American deaths. But you wouldn’t know it if you believed even a fraction of the river of junk science that pours into the media mainstream every day.

Those of us who respond to bad science as if it were gospel, forwarding and sharing sensationalistic scientific claims only make the bad even worse. In the case of the spurious measles-autism link, they take a bad thing and turn it into a disaster. Willfully propagating such ill-informed half-truths is ill-advised. Doing so for material gain or political affirmation is beneath contempt.

If statistics are to be believed, the vast majority of those of us using social media have actually taken classes where the scientific method was taught. We would do well to go back and refresh ourselves. This video from Cognitive Domain might help.

The best defense against junk science is to reject the findings of isolated studies, and to seek out where the preponderance of scientific evidence lies. We also need to resist the temptation to spread (and give credit to) such nonsense. It only serves to pollute the national dialogue with non-issues, distracting us from the real problems that confront us.

UPDATE: Added video and cleaned up the writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

The Golden West Review

A Californian Perspective on History, Arts, Land, Literature, and Politics

A Bucket and a Pen

In Search of Life after the Career

coffeesteffi ♡

coffee, art & my brewed thoughts

Sea Scout Ship 9201

Channel Islands Harbor • Ventura County Council, BSA

Troop 234, Boy Scouts of America

Port Hueneme/Channel Islands Harbor, CA

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

The Chinafornia Wolf

Gratefully Chronicling a Remarkable Journey

The Thousand Books Project

Reading a Meaningful Life

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

Silicon Hutong

Addressing China as it is, not as we want it to be

Maura Elizabeth Cunningham

Historian and Writer

Runningwinegirl's Blog

Colorado Girl Sharing Insights on Wine, Public Relations and Life's Adventures

ARLIN REPORT...................walking this path together

PERSPECTIVE FROM AN AGING SENIOR CITIZEN

Blue-eyed Ronin

A contrarian who enjoys challenging existing illusions, one truth at a time.

Observer

People and Trends

commentisfreewatch.wordpress.com/

Promoting fair and accurate coverage of Israel

twitchy.com

Who Said What

Barton's Blog

To the clouds and beyond...

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

Cami Ryan

Science, society, and life

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

______Assessing China / The TEA Collaborative______

Tech, Energy & Ambitions: Assessments at the Intersection of Technology, Investment and Policy

Cliche of Logic

This is the beginning of my writing.

An Ordinary Website

of interest to few.

Der Bananenplanet

Alternatives Informationsmedium

Corey Robin

Author of "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin" and "The Enigma of Clarence Thomas"

Ragan Communications

The Center Must Hold

The China Story

The Center Must Hold

Yale E360

The Center Must Hold

Xindanwei | 新单位

The Center Must Hold

WritersDigest.com

The Center Must Hold

WordCount

Freelancing in the Digital Age

FriendFeed Blog

The Center Must Hold

Business

The Center Must Hold

Blog Daily Listings RSS

The Center Must Hold

Speakeasy

The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold

Opinions

The Center Must Hold

RSSOpinion

The Center Must Hold

WebMD Health

The Center Must Hold

Renewal

The Center Must Hold

Village Voice

The Center Must Hold

Uploads from The U.S. Army

The Center Must Hold

TechNode

Latest news and trends about tech in China

WritersDigest.com

The Center Must Hold

Techmeme

The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold

%d bloggers like this: