Social Question

josie's avatar

Were you relieved, or happy, or annoyed when you heard that the study linking autism to the MMR vaccine was a fraud?

Asked by josie (22950 points ) January 6th, 2011

Wait for it please.
Here is why I ask the question.
Last year it was revealed that some important data that drove the “global warming” discussion was fake.
I was at a party after that and I said that I was happy to hear it, since it meant I probably had one less thing to worry about.

But there was this guy there that was pissed off-not because he had been hoodwinked, but because he approved of the hoodwink!
It was the first time I had actually met somebody who saw a virtue in the corruption of science in order to support their politics. (this guy is a loser in other ways as well)

Anyway, when I heard about the autism/MMR scam I wondered if the same thing might be happening. Is there a political debate that has now been called to question because of this fraud?

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15 Answers

klutzaroo's avatar

Annoyed. There are all kinds of people with autistic children who have been told that its because they did something wrong in vaccinating their children. Like they don’t have enough problems dealing with their child’s problems without being blamed for them.

YARNLADY's avatar

Neither. I read the entire article and the MIND foundation is calling the “news” fake, so it is still very much up in the air to many people.

jerv's avatar

I was a bit pissed off myself for the same reason as @klutzaroo.

Then again, when have truth and scientific fact really had any bearing on what/how people think? In fact, it seems that as time goes on, we are increasingly buying this sort of bullshit. Somehow, I always had a hunch that it wasn’t my childhood vaccinations that made me what i am, today.

BTW, would you please kick that loser in the nuts for me?

ETpro's avatar

I was all of the above. Relieved that this time the scientific community was telling the truth. Big pharma has let profits get in the way of scientific disclosure in the past. Happy that we now know that it’s safe to protect children from potentially life-threatening childhood diseases with inoculations. Outraged that a scientist would sell out to a bunch of attorneys for filthy lucre, and that the attorneys conceived to push this junk science solely so they could profit from what they knew were bogus lawsuits. They have the blood of every child who died for want of vaccination on their hands.

Your celebration about the global warming emails was premature. After full investigation, it turned out that none of the science was faked, the emails were deliberately misinterpreted and quoted out of context, and the one data point they were discussing was, in the end, excluded from their published results anyway, so it had nothing on earth to do with the conclusions of their research. 2010 was the warmest year since records have been kept, BTW, so nature didn’t get the memo about it all being fake either.

anartist's avatar

Reminds me of the emotions that flew when Robert Macnamara very belatedly apologized for the Vietnam war, pissing off both those who fought in it for our country [and their families] and those who who protested and took a stand as conscientious objectors. For some it was too little, too late. To others it made a mockery of their sacrifice.

jerv's avatar

@anartist That is not belated. Look how long it took the Vatican to apologize to Galileo :/

laureth's avatar

I am curious. I wonder if people will pay attention to, and learn, from the news. But perhaps most importantly, I wonder if people will stop regarding science as a tool to help them navigate reality.

It’s interesting to note that in both of the cases mentioned in the question, science is not the problem. For the autism question, the science was faked: bad people were the real problem. For the climate change issue, the “revealed information” was itself debunked (although it didn’t get nearly the play in the media as the “OMG! Climate change is fake!!” announcements did). Again, the science wasn’t the problem, it was bad people.

Rejection of science is always easiest when it’s the sort that laypeople generally have to take on faith. We can drop a baseball and see that gravity works, but most of us have to believe medical authorities when they say that vaccines are good for us because we can’t see germs (directly, anyway). With the resurgence of conservatism in the American political scene (and the appointment of anti-science Republican Ralph M. Hall to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology) it will be hard enough for a reality-based discussion about scientific topics in the U.S. in the near future. What we really don’t need on top of that is for “scary but exactly what Conservatives want to hear” conspiracy junk science to move to the front page.

jerv's avatar

@laureth I have had many a heated discussion with anti-nuke people who believed all sorts of crazy things about nuclear power and cannot be convinced otherwise since they “know” more from reading the “news” than those who actually studied nuclear physics!

The problem there is that science isn’t cool, and neither is being a know-it-all. If you want to be accepted by your peers, you have to be willfully ignorant. Accordingly, rejection of science is cool these days!

marinelife's avatar

I was not surprised as I knew that that study had found conflicting information from all of the other studies so I had already discounted it.

whitenoise's avatar

I am not annoyed by the news, but rather frustrated by the fact that people ever seriously believed the linkage between MMR and autism truly existed in the first place.

I was however very annoyed by the news of faked data in the climate report. Mostly becaust this (relatively small) weakness in the report is being exploited by climate skeptics to lull other people into ignorant ignorance on the overall still extremely serious topic and conclusion of the report. That conclusion is after all still mostly undisputed.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m more annoyed by the number of people that refuse to believe that that study was based on false information, even after 10 of the 13 authors have renounced the study. I was reading an article about it and some of the comments were just saddening.

jerv's avatar

@Seaofclouds If it weren’t for people that cling to falsehoods, our world wouldn’t be what it is today.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I was happy when i saw the news because I know that the paper had caused many people to go unvaccinated. The next step I see to bury the paper for good is to locate the child which never developed the disorder (the paper said that he/she did have autism) and try to convince them to make a public announcement that the paper is wrong and prove that they do not have autism. This will help prove the paper wrong and verify the news.

klutzaroo's avatar

Btw, I never believed that there was a link. But it pisses me off that people believe it and harass others because of it.

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