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Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:26 am
by greenwitch
Am I the only one here to wonder if this poll has strayed well away from atheism and has instead become just a thread for people to over glorify science without question?
I`m an atheist and free-thinker. I have great difficulty with people who blindly follow science, particularly medical science where there are so many large powerful pharmacutical multinational companies controlling the scientific evidence for their own financial benefit. I myself have a daughter who reacted to the MMR and since then I have looked at both sides of the argument and personally I would be with Patricia McKenna on the issue. I also think that people are entitled to explore alternative forms of treatment, I use herbs medicinally.
If we follow what we are told by the scientic community without question then surely it becomes just another form of religion or am I alone in this view?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:37 am
by Martha
greenwitch wrote:Am I the only one here to wonder if this poll has strayed well away from atheism and has instead become just a thread for people to over glorify science without question?
I`m an atheist and free-thinker. I have great difficulty with people who blindly follow science, particularly medical science where there are so many large powerful pharmacutical multinational companies controlling the scientific evidence for their own financial benefit. I myself have a daughter who reacted to the MMR and since then I have looked at both sides of the argument and personally I would be with Patricia McKenna on the issue. I also think that people are entitled to explore alternative forms of treatment, I use herbs medicinally.
If we follow what we are told by the scientic community without question then surely it becomes just another form of religion or am I alone in this view?
Greenwitch, I'm 100% in agreement with this post of yours.

Big Pharma is just as dangerous as Big (Organised) Religion!

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:14 am
by lostexpectation
Martha wrote:
greenwitch wrote:Am I the only one here to wonder if this poll has strayed well away from atheism and has instead become just a thread for people to over glorify science without question?
Big Pharma is just as dangerous as Big (Organised) Religion!
i agree with you both there, but I think you need to read more on the MMR, I think in this case big pharma were on both sides of this controversy and some idiot dodgey 'scientist' found a hint of the problem and just ran wild with..

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:39 am
by bipedalhumanoid
greenwitch wrote:Am I the only one here to wonder if this poll has strayed well away from atheism and has instead become just a thread for people to over glorify science without question?
I`m an atheist and free-thinker. I have great difficulty with people who blindly follow science, particularly medical science where there are so many large powerful pharmacutical multinational companies controlling the scientific evidence for their own financial benefit. I myself have a daughter who reacted to the MMR and since then I have looked at both sides of the argument and personally I would be with Patricia McKenna on the issue. I also think that people are entitled to explore alternative forms of treatment, I use herbs medicinally.
If we follow what we are told by the scientic community without question then surely it becomes just another form of religion or am I alone in this view?
Herbs are a far cry from homeopathy. It's possible for herbs to contain an active ingredient... that's the difference. Homeopathic pills are just sugar pills. Countless studies have shown homeopathy to be no more effective than placebo. Studies that show otherwise have been shown to be flawed.

Patricia Mckenna wants to start using homeopathy in place of real vaccinations. This is an incredibly ignorant and dangerous stance to take.

The anti-vaccination lobby are a very real threat to modern society. I think perhaps many of us (myself included) are too young to remember how bad things were prior to vaccindation for TB, Polio etc. People were dying from these diseases at a rapid rate. To refuse vaccination is not only stupid but also selfish because it puts others at risk.

Furthermore, not accepting unfounded and unevidenced claims (skepticism) is most certainly not tantamount to scientism (blindly accepting science) as you have claimed here. This is merely an unfounded assumption on your part. Skeptics hold science to the same scrutiny... the difference is that science abides by the same principle and endevours to provide evidence for its claims.

Pharmaceutical companies are very heavily regulated and before they can place a new product on the market they have to prove not only that it works but also that it has a place in the market (ie. is better than existing drugs for at least a portion of the population).

Homeopathy and other 'natural' remedies on the other hand are 100% completely unregulated. They can put anything they like in a bottle and as long as their claims are worded carefully (ie 'May help with sleep') they can sell it... and some of these internet diploma bearing snake oil salesmen are also claiming to be able to cure diseases such as cancer and AIDS. People have died as a result of their belief in this stuff and rejection of western medicine.

Finally, regarding your claim that this poll is off topic. I will direct you to the home page of this web site which says...
Are you atheist, agnostic, a freethinker, a skeptic?
As many skeptics organisations have no position with regards to religion, I found this site a perfect candidate for a poll like this one where all forms of woo woo can come together for one prestigious award. :wink:

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:28 pm
by sharon
Martha wrote:I'm not a fan of Patricia McKenna, but why do YOU think the link between the MMr vaccine and autism should be so summarily dismissed?
I, or should I say, I don't think this claim was summarily dismissed. Rather, it was comprehensively dismissed.

For more information, you can read here and here.

Here's what happened.
Children were starting to show signs of developmental delay. For autism, these signs become much more obvious at around 18 months of age. Parents were wondering what happened to their children, who seemed so 'normal' before, and thought back to the MMR jab they'd had a few months earlier. Some of these children had reactions to the immunisation, having high temperatures or rashes. One wonders if the children had a reaction to a small controlled sample of the virus, how would their little bodies have coped with full-on infection.

So anyway, some parents conflated correlation with causation and postulated that the MMR was in some way connected to autism.

A London gut surgeon was working away on his theory that measles was linked to Crohns disease. When he wasn't getting anywhere with that theory, he used the opportunity to scope the guts of 12 children, introduced to him by a lawyer trying to put a case for a group of MMR vaccine litigants, and he decided to try for a new angle, linking measles, gut disease and autism in a brand new disease.

These children made up the majority of his subjects for the Lancet paper that set the whole fiasco in motion. The Lancet admitted years ago that they should never have published the paper, containing as it did, multiple flaws and omissions. Most of the authors cited on the paper have retracted their support for its findings too. Wakefield did not disclose that he had patented a new measles vaccine before writing the paper, which would only succeed and make him money if the MMR was no longer used.

Multiple epidemiology studies have shown no link between autism rates and MMR uptake. The MMR was taken out of service in Japan and autism diagnoses have remained unchanged.

What was most devastating though, was the evidence of the Autism Omnibus hearings in America last June. There, a class action of litigants suing the US government and claiming that their children were made autistic due to vaccines, heard the first test case regarding MMR 'causation'. Keep in mind that this was the best case the lawyers had on their books of thousands of claimants.

The verdict hasn't been delivered yet, but I followed the case closely. The claimants presented a very poor case, and the defendant's witnesses gave devastating testimony that has to have destroyed this theory entirely.

Nick Chadwick, who worked with Wakefield on the data for the original Lancet paper, testified that he told Wakefield, before publication, that what he thought was evidence of measles in biopsy samples, were all in fact false positives. Wakefield ignored this, Chadwick had his name removed from the paper, and Wakefield published anyway knowing full well the data were false.

Also at the trial, Stephen Bustin testified that the results from Wakefield's partner, John O'Leary in Ireland, were all contaminated. He had made multiple errors in his handling of the samples and in his analysis. His data had to be discounted too.

That is how I know that the link between autism and MMR can be dismissed

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:49 pm
by FXR
Nice one Sharon all you left out at the end was: quod erat demonstrandum

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:54 pm
by sharon
greenwitch wrote:Am I the only one here to wonder if this poll has strayed well away from atheism and has instead become just a thread for people to over glorify science without question?
I`m an atheist and free-thinker. I have great difficulty with people who blindly follow science, particularly medical science where there are so many large powerful pharmacutical multinational companies controlling the scientific evidence for their own financial benefit. I myself have a daughter who reacted to the MMR and since then I have looked at both sides of the argument and personally I would be with Patricia McKenna on the issue. I also think that people are entitled to explore alternative forms of treatment, I use herbs medicinally.
If we follow what we are told by the scientic community without question then surely it becomes just another form of religion or am I alone in this view?
Greenwitch, the poll is titled, 'Purveyors of piffle, pseudoscience, woo woo and the SN.'

You are free to vote as you like. I have chosen to vote for someone I felt is a prime example of a purveyor of woo and pseudoscience, and I followed it up with a short post explaining why. Perhaps this topic should be in the Science or Skepticism section.

I'd like to know who here has 'glorified science without question'? Who is 'blindly following science', and how do you do that anyway? Science is not a team or faith you can follow, it is a method for making sense of the world.

How did your daughter react to the MMR? I have an autistic son, and I have investigated this issue very thoroughly. It is clear where the evidence lies.

As for people's freedom to explore alternative forms of treatment, no-one has said that your freedoms should be curtailed. If someone wants to use non-evidence based remedies, well go right ahead. I just don't want to see sate funding of therapies with no evidence base. Herbal therapies may have some efficacy, but the same effects can be found in standard medicines, which are thoroughly tested, regulated and where the dose effects are better understood. Homeopathy is water. It has no effect. As one homeopath admitted in a hearing before the UK house of Lords, the contents of 2 different remedies can only be told apart by the labels!

Science is not at all like religion. Scientists constantly change their minds, question, analyse, review. Medical practice changes according to the evidence, non-evidence based CAM therapies never change, except according to fashion.

I don't know if you are alone in this view, but I don't share it.

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:57 pm
by sharon
FXR wrote:Nice one Sharon all you left out at the end was: quod erat demonstrandum
Thanks FXR.
QED

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:05 pm
by bipedalhumanoid
FXR wrote:Nice one Sharon all you left out at the end was: quod erat demonstrandum
Hear Hear!

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:19 pm
by paulamcnc
FXR wrote:Nice one Sharon all you left out at the end was: quod erat demonstrandum
May I also add my appreciation? Well said!