Best Description EVER of the Dangers of the Habitual Way that Media Portrays Pseudo-Science, in Comparison to Science-Based Medicine.

The following is a quote from Time Magazine, concerning the addition of Jenny McCarthy to the cast of 'The View':

ABC might argue that hiring McCarthy does not mean endorsing her vaccine beliefs. Maybe not — in a way, it may be more dangerous, muddying a vital question of public health by framing it as a “controversy” that you can hash out in a roundtable before interviewing Bruce Willis about Red 2. Maybe ABC sees McCarthy as a lateral swap for Hasselbeck — another outspoken, blonde woman around the same age. But medical science is not a matter of “views” and “opinion.” It’s not like believing that capital gains taxes should be lowered or gay marriage permitted. Things cause disease or they don’t. Even if The View never airs McCarthy’s beliefs about vaccines — or, conversely, if every other panelist argues against them every day — by giving her implicit credibility the show has already suggested that her scaremongering is up for debate. She says one thing, Whoopi says something else — hey, you decide! People are talking! We must be doing something right! And there’s the bigger problem. To say that you can simply shrug off differences about medical fact as “outrageousness” or “controversy” is to feed the belief that science in general, be it vaccines or climate change or evolution, is simply subjective: you have your truth and I have mine. But we don’t. The Earth didn’t revolve around the sun only for Galileo. The problem with treating factual matters of science like opinion debates is that as soon as you do that, anti-science has already won. Let The View on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand as many hot-button social issues it wants. A virus doesn’t have two hands.

End quote.

If only more journalistic outlets were as discerning and rational as this.

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Comment by Loren Miller on July 28, 2013 at 1:43pm

SB, you know the answer to that: celebrity is its own credential.  Because some people are famous and other people admire them, the admirers figure that what the celeb has to say is important somehow, and therefore they listen to it.  Yeah, I know; so what else is new?  Now there are some celebrities who actually bother to dig into and research their personal interests to the point where they are actually credible as regards the topic in question.  The problem is that there are also idiot-children like Jenny McCarthy, who base their point of view on what amounts to a single, discredited "expert, then regurgitates her view to anyone who will listen ... mated with a second problem: she has fans to actually listen to her.

And so long as the general public doesn't educate themselves on issues like autism from sources that have actual credibility, this problem will continue to obtain.

Comment by Loren Miller on July 28, 2013 at 10:11am

The following is a quote I've probably thrown out a dozen times or more, but that doesn't change the fact that it is utterly on point:

I've searched my conscience, and I can't for the life of me find any justification for this, and I simply cannot accept that there are on every story two equal and logical sides to an argument.
-- Edward R. Murrow

At some point, people have to recognize FACT, whether the fact is as simple as "2 + 2 = 4" or "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" or "There is no significant correlation between the use of vaccines to prevent disease and the incidence of autism."  Those who want to dispute any of the above facts had either better bring some mighty convincing evidence to support their arguments or risk being regarded with the same respect as those who want to insist that Elvis is still alive.



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