Streams

Denialism

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter examines how and why Americans have come to mistrust institutions, especially the institution of science. For centuries, the general view of science was that it is neither good nor bad, but it merely supplies information. In Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, he looks into why science has come to be viewed as a political constituency that’s not always in our best interest.

Guests:

Michael Specter

Comments [125]

Prefer Facts from New York

The main anti-vaccine autism study in Britain is now proven to be a fraud. Amish kids have enough neurological problems without vaccines to warrant their own neurological clinic in PA. Not vaccinating your child endangers your family and mine. The saddest thing is parents putting their kids' lives at risk based on anecdotes and lies.

Jan. 13 2011 01:14 PM
m. abdilla from Florida

I listened and I heard another speaking his opinion, view or belief. Concerning vaccines, we all have a right to our own opinion, that certainly does say we are right or wrong. But to believe in science as a true fact also leaves doubt in ones mind. That does not mean one is in denial just becauce we have an opinion. With so many pharmaceutical drugs on the market and overload of vaccines, why is the world suffering from so many types of illness? The more drugs/vaccines the more you hear of medical problems.
Some countries do not vaccine a child till the age of 2 or 3 years of age. And autism is not rampant like it is in this country. According to what I have read, this country mandates many more vaccines than other countries, to be given to babies from birth on. This overload of toxins and virus is insane in a small baby or child. One size fits all regardless of age or weight.
To be given 8-9 vaccines in one office visit is, in my opinion, asking for trouble. Am I in denial? No, I am speaking from experience..and not a happy one at that.

Oct. 06 2010 05:34 PM
Abigail from los angeles

i don't know how lopate stayed so calm listening to such one-sided ignorance. i could never do his job.

Oct. 04 2010 11:41 PM
Paul Spence from Mill Valley, CA

Dear textgenie

I though the HIV/AIDS issue had gone away a long time ago - especially as specific anti-HIV drugs have massively reduced the clinical impact of AIDS. When I started working on HIV/AIDS in the mid '80s the scientific community thought Duesberg was flaky. After all these years he has become plain idiotic. Whenever he writes the scientific community responds and completely demolishes his arguments. The scientific community's position on Duesberg is not politically motivated, although political action is needed when denialism leads to death, such as in S. Africa. HIV causes AIDS - it's a scientific fact which sadly the previous South Aftrican government just re-confirmed!

Jun. 15 2010 02:46 PM
Textgenie from nyc

Though he is an accomplished writer and thinker Michael Specter is, understandably enough, a complacent and reflex supporter of mainstream science and his book, Denialism, argues that we have to listen to science and not to the fearful and emotional responses of those who deny the conclusions of mainstream science – eg the studies that say that there is no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines.

Specter is correct on this rather unexceptional point, and no thinking person who believes in good science can possibly argue against his general stance. But there is more to the issue than that.

What is unfortunate and irresponsible is that Specter clearly does not himself always read the scientific literature to any depth, and is unaware that mainstream science is often wrong and has to be revised regularly, as the Nobel awards often show.

Thus he has evidently never caught up with the fact that one of his favorite examples of “denialism”, HIV/AIDS “denialism” (more properly called HIV/AIDS denial) is in fact based on high level professional reviews rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS that have never been refuted in the same peer reviewed journals that they have appeared in (eg Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy).

The reviews were written by the top man in the field of retroviruses (HIV is a retrovirus) namely Peter Duesberg of Berkeley and the rejection of his standard professional peer reviewed dismissal of the HIV causes AIDS claim by his colleagues and thus the world at large has been entirely political.

With no rebuttals even attempted in the same scientific journals in which they were published, there is no scientific justification for ignoring his writings, and certainly not for automatically endorsing the claims of his opponents, such as the egregious transfer of blame to Duesberg and Thabo Mbeki for lives supposedly lost in South Africa by withholding the antiretroviral drugs HIV proponents call for.

Dec. 30 2009 05:33 PM
Joe from Florida

To: [119] GM from Danbury, CT

Now that I have been officially categorized as a denialist from the almighty Specter and his disciple "GM from Danbury" where do we go now? I believe I already made the point that I would be considered a denialist by this person. Thanks for pointing it out again in case the others missed it.
Joe

Nov. 24 2009 07:15 PM
GM from Danbury, CT

@[120] Joe from Florida

"Exhausted all natural remedies". And what might that be? I guess you think that 'sporins and 'cillins aren't improved or equivalent to 'natural products" because they are quality controlled and sold by Pharma companies. Instead, you prefer shamanistic remedies. Good thinking there.

And then where does your spectrum of "problems severe enough for rational medicine" switch to "I'll take a placebo", which I'll grant you does work about 1/3 of the time for non-threatening conditions. But don't attribute that to efficacious "natural remedies". Seems a bit of cognitive dissonance here.

And you ARE a denialist, in the sense explained by Michael Specter, if believe that there are alternative "protocols", as you call it, to the incredible successes of the scientific method and evidence based rational medicine. Which have resulted in important successes in cancer, diabetes and HIV treatment. Which apparently you also deny.

You say you question everything. That is actually essential to the scientific method, which you apparently don't realize, or deny. Have you concluded anything in your deep questioning? If not, you are an "intellectual wannabee" who is obviously ignorant of modern science and medicine but won't admit it (or rather, denies it).

Nov. 24 2009 09:18 AM
Joe from Florida

I personally do not put much credibility in modern day doctors and medicine for certain things and reasons. I would be out of my mind to try and repair a broken femur by myself instead of going to the emergency room or not taking an antibiotic when i have exhausted all natural remedies. Does it make me a denialist when I question the current protocols for cancer, diabetes and AIDS....etc?

When we understand that science ceases to be science when it is corrupted by selling out to corporate interests and the FDA ceases to protect us when they are controlled by the ones they are supposed to be policing, then the picture gets clearer.

I personally am offended that intellectual wannabees like Mr Specter can get away with calling people like me a denialist. He is targeting people just like me that question everything and look for the truth even if it is not PC to talk about, truth is truth.

Thank you,
Joe

Nov. 24 2009 12:15 AM
Joe from Florida

Leonard,
Go ahead and say it "It was painful having Michael Specter on my show" What did he actually say? Come on can you call the things he spoke about being in denial? Are we truly having a movement of people living in denial?

I personally think there are more people that are oblivious to things going on in our world than not.Many are being spoonfed the news is one reason, but in this information age we live in, if we really want to explore deeper than the news agencys can go, we have the opportunity to if we have the time to spend. It can be hard work but it is about the only way to sift out the deceptions and fluff from the real meat of the question at hand. Most of the items he mentioned are the issues that required people to turn off the tv and start digging into information and using their mind. These issues are not there for no reason. I think in many cases, the groups or individuals he calls denialists have a higher understanding of true science and logic than he does. I personally think the word "Denial or Denialist" is used to control people that can actually think for themselves.

contd

Nov. 24 2009 12:14 AM
Chris S from New Jersey

Lenny,

Thank you for sharing the story of your child and autism. It helped a lot of listeners.

Chris S

Nov. 23 2009 10:28 PM
gaetano catelli from downtown manhattan

the most astonishing denialism of my lifetime is the belief by most of the 'intelligensia' that a 47-year-old who had never run a candy store or worn a Boy Scout uniform would be qualified to preside over the world's largest economy and the world's largest military while the latter is engaged in two difficult wars.

Nov. 23 2009 08:48 PM
Yvette from New York

It seems that someone indeed came out swinging. One pissy interview.

Nov. 23 2009 06:05 PM
Robert T. from NYC

It never ceases to amaze me how people don't know what they don't know. I am not a physician or physicist or phlebotomist, so it doesn't surprise me that I don't know about those subjects.

Why do people clearly demonstrating no understanding of or training in science think they have some understanding of the concept?

These are the people banning references to evolution in high school textbooks. You ARE doing harm to our society. Leave the thinking to those qualified to do so.

Nov. 23 2009 05:51 PM
Barbara Fischkin from Long Beach, New York

While I understand that coincidence does not necessarily equal causation, I have heard the story that Leonard Lopate told today about his child developing autism after a vaccination from far too many parents to discount it. As an "Autism Mom," myself - and a writer- I am in a position to hear many of these stories. And when I do, the instincts I learned as a cub newspaper reporter 30 years ago come to the fore. There is too much smoke that may very well lead to the fire. My own son is 22 and stopped speaking at the age of three and a half. Before then he was conversational in English and had words in three other languages. Was he vaccine injured? We don't know but our research with his physician shows that it was definitely a toxin of some sort- one to which he had a genetic suseptability. A toxin that should not have been anywhere near my child.

Nov. 23 2009 05:49 PM
Robert T. from NYC

There were healthy, happy crime-less indigenous cultures scattered around the globe in that didn't suffer degenerative diseases, too, before they ate industrial foods.

Anonyme, #111

It just gets funnier. The average lifespan in the US in 1900 was 49. Women were not healthy enough due to malnutrition to reach physiological maturity until age 19.

You Luddites really know how to live. And you say this as you use a computer? Guffaw.

Nov. 23 2009 05:35 PM
Robert T. from NYC

Robert

Art and religion are also disciplines - points of view. Science does not get to be the last word any more than anything else, it is a point of view.

Anonyme, #110

Thank you for making my point. Religion and art are indeed points of view, though I would question whether they are disciplines. The issue was whether discarding science leads to rational conclusions. As you illustrate, it does not.

A person utilizing art or religion or oragami to decide whether to take a vaccine or eat certain foods or get to the moon is simply foolish.

The computer you currently use to convey this opinion did not create itself. It was created by people with disciplined minds whose words WERE the last word because they worked. The computers created by art and religion (and oragami) are in the scrapbooks.

An undisciplined mind is a terrible thing to use.

Nov. 23 2009 05:25 PM
anonyme

there was wisdom before there were science or the enlightenment. There were healthy, happy crime-less indigenous cultures scattered around the globe in that didn't suffer degenerative diseases, too, before they ate industrial foods. They knew what they were doing and they understood where they lived and didn't need to take it into a lab or put it in a box to observe it or call it a method. We are beyond inept if you put us next to them. We can't even reproduce properly when compared to them. Science can offer some answers but not all of them.

Nov. 23 2009 05:06 PM
anonyme

Robert

Art and religion are also disciplines - points of view. Science does not get to be the last word any more than anything else, it is a point of view.

Nov. 23 2009 04:32 PM
Melissa from Ridgewood, NJ

Lance from Miami has a good point ... Specter was prickly at times, but Leonard Lopate, whom I generally admire, was unprofessional to bring up an (understandably) emotional personal situation as a counterpoint to his guest's rational analysis.

Nov. 23 2009 03:52 PM
David Hume from Staten Island, NY

Comment 34. Fantastic. The guest didn't know some of the basic problems with science that have been exposed through Karl Popper and David Hume.

The scientific method of testing an idea over and over again does not make it right! Black Swan anyone? Even a layman like me knows this stuff.

Dave

Nov. 23 2009 03:13 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

TWIMC:

Not blaming any layman or parent for taking it seriously but the “overloaded immune system” 'theory' is ironic nonsense. It's a topsy-turvy parody of a theory to 'explain' the cause of a harm that hasn't happened. It's just (yet) another goalpost-shifting canard dreamt up by the anti-vaccination scaremongering industry.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/124

Nov. 23 2009 02:41 PM
Jon P. from The Garden State

@[80] CJ from ny,

My grandmother lived to be 89 and she drank and smoked. Does this on person prove smoking and drinking are not bad after all?

Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., RN, "The Natural Nurse" seems to have a lot of stuff for sale with her advice on her web page.

New England Genal of Medicine did a very extensive study showing there is no link between autism and vaccinations.

Here is a real scientific study that has nothing for sale in the article or link.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/347/19/1477.pdf

Nov. 23 2009 02:29 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

That Girl #92,
I hope you didn’t misunderstand me, I fully agree with you. However, I did call out greenhouses (even though I have nothing against them) because it gives the illusion of availability when it otherwise would not be the case.
I do wonder, however, about northern locavores who consume things like citrus, cane sugar, coffee, tea, vanilla, etc.

Nov. 23 2009 02:23 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

“Arguing that Amish don’t get autism because they don’t get vaccinations is dangerous.”

Not least because that is one of those undead anti-vaccine canards and in fact they do vaccinate and they do get autism.

You can lead an astrophysics, but you can't make it think - as Dorothy Parker surely would've said if she'd lived to see some of the Endarkenment horrors of these quack and crackpot infested Internet times. ;-)

Nov. 23 2009 02:17 PM
JT from Long Island

@[80] CJ from ny

I doubt that her children have NEVER been sick. Although in a planet with over 6 billion I'm sure we could find people that do all the wrong things and not been sick (i.e. smoke, eat poorly, drugs, etc) and people that do the right things and still get very sick.

Nov. 23 2009 02:03 PM
Lance from Miami

@thatgirl[94]

No, thalidomide Wasn't used in the US at the same time. It wasn't because a reviewer at the FDA refused to roll over for the pharmaceutical industry and allow the drug to be marketed in the US without further study, even though it had been approved in many European and other countries.

The result was that there were thousands of "thalidomide babies," with severe birth defects in Europe, but just over a dozen in the US.

You said "always" in your previous post, and I am making the point that the Europeans have not always been so prudent.

What has happened is that we in the US have allowed the pharmaceutical industry to become ever more influential, and we've allowed conflicts of interest to grow unfettered, to the point that too often in the US the public health takes a backseat to private profits.

Nov. 23 2009 02:01 PM
ericf

at the risk of belaboring the obvious, it may worth pointing out that much if not most of this discussion has been about how science is applied rather than about the value of scientific research, per se.

Nov. 23 2009 02:01 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

Robert T - Specter is not a scientist--merely someone who writes about science, which requires some interpretation to the layperson on his part. so yes, he is espousing a world view--he is offering his opinion, based on what he observed in the investigation of science--nothing more.

Nov. 23 2009 02:00 PM
ericf

PL Hayes [77],

while science is driven by method there is more to science than method.

my comment only addressed scientific method, not the body of knowledge and interpretation accumulated by using that method.

if you read the comment again i think you'll find that the comment is basically on target and pretty consistent with your own.

i'm making a distinction between the cow and the milk, so to speak.

i suppose i could have been more explicit about this. sorry for any confusion. --ef

Nov. 23 2009 01:55 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

sue from westchester - all good points, particularly in the age of the multivalent (multiple malady) vaccine development. the pharmacos believe this is a convenient way to vaccinate, necessitating fewer visits to pediatricians for parents and their infants. they market many vaccines in terms of "convenience to busy parents", which is why we now have an MMR+V vaccine (the V is for varicella--chicken pox), and a rotavirus vaccine. populations who have vaccinated against varicella are still experiencing chicken pox (no vaccine is a guarantee against disease), and with access to products like pedialyte and pediatric healthcare, north america hardly needs a rotavirus vaccine.

parents can ask to have the MMR vaccines administered separately. it may mean more visits/fees for visits, but it would definitely help address the "load" theory on a small, developing body.

the pediatric vaccines schedule today is more than twice the length/breadth it was 25 years ago. do we really have that much more disease?

Nov. 23 2009 01:55 PM
Robert T. from NYC

why are we irrational if we don't accept this man's certain world view?

#51

As was well-stated previously, science is not a point of view. It is a discipline requiring conclusions based upon observed empirical evidence. Other attempts to understand observed phenomenon are, by definition, irrational, i.e., lacking rationality. Would you prefer to alter the definition of rationality to more comfortably satisfy your world view?

I'd expected more reasonable observations from both the listeners and the host of this show. I was wrong.

Nov. 23 2009 01:49 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

lance--the u.s. used thalidomide during the same period, so what's your point?

i am talking about contemporary administration of pharmaceutical intervention--the volume use of vaccines and antibiotics. per capita use in the u.s. is far far higher than in europe.

here's an example of the differences in our recommendations vis a vis influenza (NOT H1N1) vaccines:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-3Y44T14-B3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1106318972&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=4650da4527baef4fd7ee4fc63c64d097

otherwise, stick to the context of the woman concerned about H1N1 vaccination--and ask yourself why we are recommending vaccination of infants and pregnant women when europe does not. we don't necessarily know better.

Nov. 23 2009 01:48 PM
Sue from Westchester

Regarding the studies that ostensibly disprove that vaccines cause autism: Surely it is too simple to try to prove or disprove that any single factor causes autism. Rather, like the "total load" theory, several stressors can lead a bridge - or a child's immune system - to collapse. Giving a young child several vaccines in one day (the MMR being 3, for example) may be too much for a particular child who is genetically predisposed and perhaps has been exposed to environmental toxins. Why can't the schedule of vaccines be slowed down, and the combined vaccines separated so that we are not overloading our babies and children?

Nov. 23 2009 01:48 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

voter--yes, "local" equals "seasonal/regional". this is where new yorkers are well-served. but it's important to point out that "local" can also mean heavy pesticide use, which negates the small footprint/macrobiotic advantage of local. it's worth finding out what local farmers are using to defend their crops from pests (real or feared). spray rates allegedly soared during this year's rain and blight, which wouldn't have saved anyone's tomatoes or potatoes from what occurred.

Nov. 23 2009 01:41 PM
Kathy from NYC

@[65] KH from UWS, New York
Re: rubella vaccine in Italy. When the rubella vaccine was introduced in the early 70s both Italy and Britain (and others) chose to vaccinate only girls. The Brits found by the early 80s that it was failing to eliminate cases of Rubella congenital defects in pregnant women, and then after the combo vaccine MMR (Measle, Mumps and Rubella) was introduced in the early 90s chose to vaccinate also boys, and sharply reduced rubella birth defects. The Italians also started to use MMR in the 90s for both boys and girls.

Nov. 23 2009 01:29 PM
Lance from Miami

@thatgirlinnewyork[47]:
"europe has always shown themselves to be prudent in their use of vaccination and pharmaceuticals over all."

Thalidomide??

Nov. 23 2009 01:26 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#62 C,
Once you disprove any possible genetic connection to autism (on your Amish argument) or possibility of expanded definition of what exactly autism is or increased screening and labeling leading to the higher numbers, then look to vaccines.

Nov. 23 2009 01:25 PM
Medical Student from New Jersey

Rubella may not have been a serious disease for Mr. Lopate. But I'm inferring that he contracted it outside the womb. The reason why PREGNANT WOMEN are always mentioned vis-a-vis rubella is that it can cause serious birth defects. And since an infected male can transmit it to an unvaccinated pregnant female, that is why the vaccine is administered to BOTH sexes.

Nov. 23 2009 01:24 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#61 Hans,

Not all GMO is modified to be resistant to a pesticide. That is only one use for GMO.
Not all trucks are built to be Ford Tough either… only Ford trucks.
Monsanto designed Round-Up ready soy for use with their wildly popular pre GMO Round-Up pesticide.
You are painting with a broad brush.
As I said before, that’s like saying because someone can make a weapon out of steel, steel shouldn’t be used for anything because it’s too dangerous.

Nov. 23 2009 01:18 PM
Jon P. from The Garden State

To all that think vaccinations cause autism you are required to read this study.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/347/19/1477.pdf

This put the autism to vaccination to rest. This was a study done on the entire population of new born in the Netherlands from 1991 to 1998 covering all religions and beliefs, vaccinated and non-vaccinated. It was not a hap hazard look at one small group of Amish children. Read the entire study!!!! There are no hidden agendas or pharmaceutical conspiracies here. Result? Sorry there is no statistical connection found over the 7 year study of an entire population. That’s science. That’s what it takes to prove a theory right or wrong. Arguing that Amish don’t get autism because they don’t get vaccinations is dangerous. How about the fact that Amish don’t live, cook or eat anything at all like what the rest of the US population does. That type reasoning would not even get a passing grade in 7th grade science class!!!

Nov. 23 2009 01:16 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

That girl in NY is 100% correct. If New Yorkers really wanted to eat locally, they would only eat what could grown in season, in this region, outside of a greenhouse, without needing pesticides and herbicides, without going into deep ocean waters (if fish) and aren’t imported species (animals) living outside of their native habitats. In other words: fish, hunt, and forage.
That would mean for NYC no tomatoes in December, no sugar ever, no bananas or plantains, no citrus and no pineapples, no apples in the summer, root vegetables and squash only in season, summer wheat in the summer and winter in the winter, and eggs only when breeding fowl lays it.

Nov. 23 2009 01:09 PM
Mike from Manhattan

Voter in the Republic of Brooklyn... that was an excellent post. I will bet that a horde of these anti science fanatics have the most unatural pets ever bred. But because I prefer the scientific method, I will hedge that bet! ;)

Nov. 23 2009 01:01 PM
CJ from ny

Re #78

Hey Voter,

You can grow your own organic food. It doesn't have to certified by anyone.

Nov. 23 2009 01:00 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#46,
Of course if a genetic modification is designed for pesticide resistance, it has to do with pesticides… no kidding!
Guess who also selectively bred crops for their resistance to pest and fungus/mold…. Farmers
What about GMO for vitamins and minerals, drought resistance, yield, or some other measure?
Saying we should label and entire entity for one possible use is like saying steel can be made into bullets so all uses of steel are for war and violence.

Nov. 23 2009 12:59 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#41 (Hugh),
You speak of Mr. Specter’s blather, I hope you don’t have a pet dog or cat. Talk about GMO.
People have taken these poor creatures out of their natural environment and bred them for color, ear type, blunted nose, short legs, long legs, miniature size, or fluffy coat… and what we didn’t like about them we just had chopped off.
Dogs weren’t made in the course of 18-24 months of experiments by Monsanto, ADM, Cargill, Merck, or Bayer, but because they were selectively bred they suffer from breathing problems, hip problems, likelihood certain of diseases, organ failure and the list goes on. The same has happened with pre-GMO apples bred for color over taste, strawberries grown for size over taste, corn… corn bears no resemblance to the native plant whatsoever. I don’t care where it comes from.
Just because dogs weren’t manufactured by big-petcare doesn’t mean it’s anymore responsible having one of these franken-canines when you go and buy your unnatural organic corn, apples, strawberries, chicken hybrids and what have you from WholeFoods or Trader Joe’s.
And by the way, you speak of self-certification… who’s governing the certification circus that is “organic” “free-range” “cage free” and “natural” these days?

Nov. 23 2009 12:54 PM
CJ from ny

Ellen Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., RN has a lot of good information about alternatives to anti-biotics and vaccines. Her children (who are now well into their thirties) have never had either and have never been sick.

http://www.naturalnurse.com/

Nov. 23 2009 12:50 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

mike--this isn't a black and white issue. there aren't simply the "pro science" and "anti science" camps. critical thinking can lead plenty of rational (and qualified) people to question parts of science. i don't think anyone can simply say they are pro "all science"--that wouldn't be logical.

Nov. 23 2009 12:49 PM
Mike from Manhattan

People here seem to view science as if it is a religion or political party and I guess that is because they are so deep into their world view that they cant imagine any p[oint of view that seeks to exist outside those constraints. True science cannot be stereotyped this wa. Of courseit is practicerd by human beings that pick and choose when it is convient for them to use logic and facts as it suits their world view. That is evident in the "anti" science crowd from teh above posts and infects the science crowd at times too. One to many comparison flaws aside, stop, take a breath, fight your urge to get overworked, and look at an argument dispassionately every once and a while, you might find that all issues are a lot more complicated than you are comfortable to deal with.

Nov. 23 2009 12:48 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

@ericf

"science doesn't prove things right, it only proves things wrong"

That is a fundamental misunderstanding of science. It is a confusion of a subset of the methods comprising “the scientific method” (esp. the strictly correct logical interpretation of individual hypothesis tests) with the status of the whole of the knowledge and understanding acquired by those and other methods (including e.g. measurement).

Nov. 23 2009 12:47 PM
Lance from Miami

I do hope Leonard or a producer let the guest know about Leonard's personal involvement in the issue of vaccines and autism prior to starting the on-air interview.

Nov. 23 2009 12:46 PM
JT from Long Island

@[34] Brandon from Brooklyn,

Your use of Occam's razor is extremely flawed as correlation does not imply causation. Using your logic:

- if I think of someone and they call me a little while later then I caused it to happen.

- if I sit down and then sneeze, sitting is the cause

Sometimes it's just a coincidence.

Nov. 23 2009 12:46 PM
Lance from Miami

I generally agree with quite a lot of what Specter is arguing. However, I think the tone he is taking is diminishing the persuasiveness of the message.

Nov. 23 2009 12:45 PM
Lance from Miami

It is very reasonable to be concerned about the longterm effects of genetically-engineered foods. It's absolutely true that human beings have been modifying foods for millenia ('cantaloupes weren't in the Garden of Eden'). The problem is that we have had many, many generations to observe the ill effects of certain modifications that have been made via traditional methods of hybridization, and we have had the chance over that time to pick and choose among the modifications those methods to which we seem to be best adapted.

We have NOT had the benefit to observe the effects of genetic modification of foods using modern techniques. The mass adoption of these modern techniques, to the point that they are replacing tried and true methods of cultivation and livestock husbandry, could turn out to have been a very serious mistake. And the fact, as others have noted in the discussion here, that corporate agricultural interests have been secretive about some of what is already known does not help matters.

Nov. 23 2009 12:44 PM
ericf

uh, sorry, but the controversy about geneticly engineered food IS very much about patents.

many folks who are ambivalent about such products as currently marketed are concerned less about the technology than about the business arrangements.

if the firms who developed these products placed their technology into the public domain or made it available with some sort of public license it would be a whole different discussion.

do i detect another form of denialsim here?

Nov. 23 2009 12:44 PM
MAinNJ from New Jersey

I find it very depressing that even listeners to WNYC, whom I usually count on to be intelligent and thoughtful, are so hostile about this book. Science is not "a point of view," it is about trying to move beyond points of view and discovering what is true through rational means. I thought Leonard was overly hostile, myself.

Nov. 23 2009 12:41 PM
Maggie from New York

Excellent job Leonard!! There is a lot of hysteria on both sides of the debate, I think your guest is just as blinkered as those he opposes, especially in his tone of response to your very reasonable questions.

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
charlotte from bklyn

The questions that are being asked by the host are missing the whole point, and contributing to the denialism that the author is talking about. I'm stunned that this is called an intellectual conversation. I wish the host could actually listen and be curious to understand FIRST, and THEN ask questions. Instead, he's making gross generalizations about half-truths and anecdotes from a highly contextualized, perspective of privilege (e.g. organicism is better, in a conversation about starvation and cassava in Africa).

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

This guest is a short-term absolutist. Meaning that all of science is based on new discoveries going forward. Mean while this writer, to sale a book, is making absolute statements about what in know now. He is simply the other side of religious fanaticism. Current information fanaticism. The future can often up turn what is known now.

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
Jill from Westchester

Thanks for reading my commment (#8) on the air Leonard. So basically, Specter is saying "believe what you're told (by your doctor, or whomever) until you're told the next thing to believe."

I don't believe that stepping out of that paradigm is being irrational. Skeptical does not equal irrational.

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

Robert T - then we have a country teeming with "coincidence" vis a vis vaccines--particularly the multivalent MMRV vaccine. if a significant chunk of the juvenile population becomes ill or changes dramatically following administratin of a vaccine, then the responsible thing for the pharmacos would be to investigate the shared biology of that population--NOT deny that there's something wrong with the vaccine. pharmacos hate to be wrong, and the FDA isn't too fond of it, either. again, why require it for school entry if there's a preponderance of evidence (or as you say "coincidence")that there's a population that doesn't respond well to the vaccine.

thank you for challenging your guest, leonard!

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
KH from UWS, New York

To address the caller that said splitting MMR did not work in the UK because they didn't achieve herd immunity-

In Italy the MMR vaccine is given split into 3 shots. Only girls are vaccinated against rubella, and they still manage to have no major rubella outbreaks.

That said, unfortunately autism is still a growing problem in Italy.

Nov. 23 2009 12:40 PM
Tim from Berkeley, California

It's disappointing and maddening to hear what is essentially a religious view (scientism) given such free reign here. Uggh. On the surface Specter seems to advocate open dialogue, but if ~he~ were the moderator, the "we need to follow the scientific evidence, and if we don't have enough, then we need to not act" would be treated as axiomatic. Gene splicing is NOT the same kind of change as plant breeding - horsefeathers. Specter uses simplistic comparisons to appeal to a populist movement of people who are TOO much in their heads and opposed to intuition, opposed to heartful approaches. Golden rice is the only way to cure blindness in India? Ha. What about carrots? Specter is just too impressed by science.

Nov. 23 2009 12:38 PM
James from Brooklyn

I think science's problem is that, with a food or a pharmaceutical, not all effects on humans can be known when the food or pharmaceutical is engineered.

For example, in the future we may have an entirely different idea of what constitutes a balanced diet, and the chemicals we might engineer into a food might not be the end-all for nutrition. The aesthetics and non-scientific senses that have guided us for years might be a better guide for what's good for us than the scientific snapshot of a "good diet" for a given time.

Nov. 23 2009 12:38 PM
C from Brooklyn

Re vaccines:
All you need is to have someone like Dr. Russell Blaylock or Dr Tenpenny on the show to debate Mr Specter on which vaccines have actually been proven to work throughout history and the changes vaccines have made to the epidemiology of disease in society eg. chickenpox now appearing in the form of shingles in older people.
We need to create antibodies to diseases, that's how we build an immune system. Can Mr Specter explain why autism has doubled in the USA since 2003 and how the only cases in Amish (non-vaccinated) communities are in adopted children.

Nov. 23 2009 12:38 PM
Hans from Bronx, NY

Michael Specktor's claim that genetically modified foods have no connection to pesticides is just wrong. So called "round up ready" crops are genetically made to be resistant to Round up, a petrochemical derivative of agent orange. The result has been the unprejudiced spraying over entire fields of crops. If this is not a link I do not know what is.
In addition African nations are "afraid" of genetically modified grains because often the modified grain will cross polinate with the native grain. The result has often been Monsanto and other companies using intellectual property right legal action against farmers.

Nov. 23 2009 12:37 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

I think the mistake in Mr. Specter's thinking can be summed up very briefly:

He artificially and mistakenly separates the scientific method from the scientists practicing it.

I recommend to all the work of Paul and Patricia Churchland, Philip Kitcher, Paul Feyerabend -- philosophers of science.

Science does NOT stand apart as "Science" -- independent of the humans conducting it.

Nov. 23 2009 12:37 PM
Rosalie from NY

If Micheal is around after 30 years of eating GMFood, then I'll start eating GMFood. Let him be the guinea pig if he wants to. The ultimate CHOICE should be each consumer's. I'd rather be called ignorant but still be alive in 30 years than be called educated but dead in 10 years from eating something that has not been tested in a longitudinal study. Sorry.

Nov. 23 2009 12:37 PM
Mike from Manhattan

I need to reiterate my post with reference to a previous post. Notice how the anti science people are pointing out the wrong doings in their opinion of specific capitalist multi nationals as opposed to using logic and the scientific method. I recommend the podcast "LSAT LOGIC in everyday life" It teaches rational, skeptical thinking but with the benefit of logic and understanding flaws in logic.

Nov. 23 2009 12:37 PM
CJ from ny

The flu is not the problem. It is the fact that the "infected" person has a compromised immune system to begin with. If we concentrated on making people well and healthy to start, then many of these viruses would be less of an issue.

Nov. 23 2009 12:36 PM
dbbx from bx

Re: Autism/vaccines
Please realize that one of the chief, but less promoted, advantages of the scientific method is to guard against easy commonsensical assumptions about cause and effect, based on observed associations. The fact that onset of autism spectrum disorders commonly coincides with vaccine administration is a classic example. By all available data now accumulated, there seems to be NO causal link between vaccines, MMR combo vs individual, or thimerosol and autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. Offit's book is probably best source, extensively referenced, but even that is lagging a bit behind even more accumulating data showing no causal link.
I am a physician and parent of autism spectrum child who has extensively reviewed the issue.

Nov. 23 2009 12:36 PM
Justice from Brooklyn

In response...
The public connects overuse of pesticides and genetic engineering agribiz because we've all heard about Monsanto and their RoundUpReady plants that a. are genetically modified to survive the pesticide Roundup b. thwart seed saving by farmers, requiring repurchase of seed from Monsanto

So, YES it's connected.

Nov. 23 2009 12:36 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

"local" is not superior to organic when it's been infused with pesticides, as too many local farmers are tempted to spray the minute we have rain.

Nov. 23 2009 12:36 PM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Until 2001, some childhood vaccines included thimerosal, a preservative containing ethylmercury. (Thimerosal isn’t gone from all vaccines — it’s still present in some influenza formulations. But none of the vaccines routinely required for school admission contains thimerosal as a preservative.)1 Mercury, of course, can cause neurological damage. But there’s scientific consensus that the amount once used in vaccines — around 50 micrograms per 0.5-ml dose — was far short of toxic. And autism rates have continued to climb, suggesting that there’s either a different cause or, more likely, that a better understanding of the condition has increased diagnoses. A comprehensive review of the research, conducted in 2004 by the prestigious Institute of Medicine, found no evidence of a connection between vaccines and autism. None.

Nov. 23 2009 12:35 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Mr. Lopate’s throw out the baby with the bathwater approach to this interview is pretty shocking and exposes a certain level of ignorance.
Even on the last topic… try finding a strawberry, corn, cows, or pigs (as we eat them) in nature. They don’t exist.
The latter comments on pesticides is even more shocking. Try reading any guidelines (as weak as they may be) on what can be in “organic” food.
Fine, don’t believe anything scientists say on anything, just go on blind faith and anecdotes.
Frogs come from the mud and mice grow out of grain, by the way.

Nov. 23 2009 12:35 PM
anonyme

why are we irrational if we don't accept this man's certain world view?

Nov. 23 2009 12:34 PM
CJ from ny

To say that GMO food is the only or best way to keep people from going blind and starving in Africa is irresponsible.

Nov. 23 2009 12:34 PM
Marion Appel from Chinatown

ANother issue of the science: the trade-secret "activator" of the sterile seeds (so the first generation can grow) has been discovered to be tetracycline -- already overused in agriculture in the form of veterinary medicine, thereby encouraging the evolution of antibiotic-resistant organisms... Technically not a problem with the seeds, per se, but nevertheless a big problem!

Nov. 23 2009 12:33 PM
Vinny

So injecting fish genes into a corn plant to make a new corn plant is the same as selective breeding?
This guy is nuts!

Nov. 23 2009 12:33 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

molly--it's probably more safe to follow the EU's recommendations for the H1N1 vaccine--they do NOT recommend it for pregnant women or young children! europe has always shown themselves to be prudent in their use of vaccination and pharmaceuticals over all. i wouldn't risk the life of my unborn child on it. i have a couple of friends who are now pregnant. one's still on the fence, and the other took the vaccine. the one who was vaccinated was told to quarantine herself for two weeks while the vaccine "took effect in her body" (her doctor's words).

spector should acknowledge that vaccines have almost always been administered to the public on the far side of epidemics, so "prevention" in this case is a slippery claim, at best.

Nov. 23 2009 12:33 PM
Thomas

Your guests assertion that there is no connection between genetically modified food and pesticide is seriously erroneous. Montsanto, which he just mentioned has modified soy beans to be resistant to ROundup so that it can be sprayed without effect to the soy bean. This only enhances and promotes the use of pesticides.

Nov. 23 2009 12:33 PM
Katherine Jackson from NYC

Mr. Specter is totally right in a limited way, but he is inflating the role of science because his only measure of value is materialistic. How can he say that the "crowning achievement of humanity is the scientific method." What about Homer, Dante, Rembrandt, Giotto, Shakespeare, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu etc. etc etc?

The problem is certainly not that scientific fact should be denied or ignored. Obviously, it shouldn't be. But just in the realm of healing, there are all sorts of intangibles that play into health & healing that science can't address because they aren't susceptible to the scientific method. Science can only address the problems that science understands. A world in which science is the only paradigm for understanding reality would be horribly impoverished. To say nothing of all the health problems that scientific advance has caused. How can we rely only on science to solve these problems? There are simply too many variables set in motion by these "solutions" to ever catch up with the problems we cause. This isn't to deny science, but just to put its powers in perspective. If civilization as we know it is destroyed by climate change how do we in retrospect (if there were a retrospect in this case)view the industrial revolution? To say, oh it's just a matter of human will failing us, not science, only shows that science is indeed limited in its effectiveness.

Nov. 23 2009 12:32 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

Might as well give up Michael. People are fundamentally irrational. It doesn't matter how often you explain the post hoc fallacy etc. - the facts, the logic and the science - some people just don't want to listen.

Nov. 23 2009 12:32 PM
Mike from Manhattan

I like this guy's rational approach. I think you have to distinguish a mistrust of the bad side of western capitalism and market economics from pure science.

Nov. 23 2009 12:32 PM
anonyme

You need to have thos show as a conversation between this guy and Michael Pollan

Nov. 23 2009 12:32 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Mr. Specter's blather about genetically modified foods is a perfect example of where his 'thinking' (and I'm being charitable calling it that) jumps the tracks.

Monsanto, ADM, etc., have gone to great lengths to bar the public from knowing the full story on GM foods. They have lobbied the US government to force Europeans to bar LABELING GM foods. IF there is NO RISK as Mr. Specter asserts, then why bar labeling?

What of seeds that are DESIGNED to require the farmer to go back to Monsanto EVERY SEASON to buy a new batch of seed?

Specter is very near outright lying -- or irrational delusion.

Curious that he should be so irrational in his treatment of irrationality.

One of Wargo's points, by the way, is that THE SCIENCE IS JUST NOT BEING DONE. Many of the pesticides and many of the genetic modification is JUST NOT BEING TESTED AT ALL. Corporations are allowed to SELF-CERTIFY.

Nov. 23 2009 12:31 PM
Rob from The Bronx

Leonard story is tragic, but this is a fallacy that we all are subject to. Recently I vaccinated my child, she contracted some infection a day or two later including vomiting. Of course I immediately suspected the vaccine, however, when her mother took her to the doctor, they had her tested and the lab results revealed the true cause of the infection which was fortunately treatable and corrected. My point is we all tend to associate effect with the "cause" that is closest in memory. That is why science and double blind studies are so important, because left to our own devices we would be associating outcomes with a whole lot of crazy unrelated causes.

Nov. 23 2009 12:31 PM
CJ from ny

If we put money into growing food organically instead of into GMO research and execution, we would have enough food for everyone, it would taste better and it would be sold more cheaply.

Nov. 23 2009 12:31 PM
Robert T. from NYC

Mr. Lopate is an incredible journalist, but it is obvious he is unable to treat the issue of vaccines rationally or objectively. I was wondering why he was so snide and dismissive with his guest until he brought it around to his own area of denialism. Thousands of kids developed symptoms the very day after they drank bottled water.

Coincidence doesn't equal causation.

Nov. 23 2009 12:30 PM
Marion Appel from Chinatown

On the science of GMOs, another reason for scepticism is that DNA is not predictable...among the fears are the so-far undetermined possibility of recombination within the organism, creating new, untraceable allergens, etc.

In terms of why countries might protest their use? The patents themselves create dependence on these seeds -- it's not an even trade!

Nov. 23 2009 12:30 PM
Kate Deimling from Brooklyn

African countries are also wary of GMO's because the companies "giving" them to these countries want to sell the seeds to them to plant the next year's harvest. The farmers would no longer be self-sufficient but would be dependent on mega-corporations to sell them patented products. It's not philanthropy. It's more like a drug dealer who gives a free sample and then tries to get you hooked.

Nov. 23 2009 12:30 PM
Brandon from Brooklyn

Mr. Specter is not exercising the clear thought that he espouses.

A.We cannot support the food needs of the world because we are an overpopulated planet.

B. With vaccination, the reason that we decide that the most recent event is the cause is because the simplest answer is probably the correct one (occam's razor).

His oddly pro-life, pro-corporate ideas are presented with confidence, but have an insidious grammar.

Nov. 23 2009 12:29 PM
ericf


while i agree with much of what he's said, i found the guests disagreement with the caller's statement that "science doesn't prove things right, it only proves things wrong" fundamentally at odds not only with my own understanding of the scientific method (based on popper) but with the guests own comments on testing theories.

the callers language was stark, but refreshing.

i feel strongly that this basic concept is absent from far too many discussions of science in mass media and that does science a disservice.

Nov. 23 2009 12:29 PM
James from brooklyn

I thought Specter answered Lopate well. Ultimately as a society we must turn to non-biased scientific inquiry to decide these issues, not anguished parents.

Nov. 23 2009 12:28 PM
Sanjiv from Morristown, NJ

Definitely, Pharma is to blaim for sometimes wrong conception. I will rather suggest that we should have a way to misfortunate population by having a fund that will take care of the misfired cases of vaccination.

Nov. 23 2009 12:28 PM
Paul Cherashore from Brooklyn

I hope this isn't considered uncivil, but listening to Mr Spector lecture Leonard Lopate about his interpretation of a vaccine's impact on his son my mind keeps floating off to the new WNYC ad referring to Bush 1 vomiting on the Japanese prime minister.

Nov. 23 2009 12:28 PM
Bobby G from East Village

Government subsidized genetically modified corn mono agriculture produces high fructose corn syrup that contributes to hugh and expensive chronic health conditions.

Nov. 23 2009 12:27 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

When science dose prove the relationship between autism and over vaccination will your guest EAT CROW? Or will he write another book defending some other circumstance that may be proven otherwise in time?

Nov. 23 2009 12:27 PM
JT from Long Island

Another thing I've seen is people blaming science for errors that were actually business decisions.

Nov. 23 2009 12:26 PM
CJ from ny

Even the title is offensive. It seems to suggest that only Science is rational.

Nov. 23 2009 12:26 PM
Rosalie from NY

There's no question Pharma is funding many of our scientific studies. Information is power. When Pharma funds the studies, who owns the information? More importantly, who decides what information gets disseminated to the people?

Nov. 23 2009 12:25 PM
E.N. from Long Island

Leonard, thank you, thank you for standing up to this guy about his pat denial of the causality of vaccination and autism. My son too has been damaged and it absolutely kills me to hear people go on the news and so categorically deny the connection. You're right, if you've been on the receiving end of this you can't ever simply swallow the official version.

Nov. 23 2009 12:25 PM
Dan Welsh from South Salem, NY

No doubt there is a depressing anti-science thread going on in some quarters of American society, but on the other hand, listening to Mr Specter, it seems he has made conclusions about various subjects, and if your conclusion is different, you are a "denier". Case in point, flue vaccine: my own understanding is that we have little or no information about the aggregate affect on the immune system or other of multiple vaccinations over time, and for a healthy person to opt out is not irrational at all.

Nov. 23 2009 12:24 PM
Christina from Manhattan

I'm sorry but that is no answer to Leonard's question about the instant change the day after the vaccine.
So people die after they buy newspapers, but the also die from MANY OTHER REASONS. Thousands of children are NOT also developing autism, that are NOT vaccinated. That is a cheap, cheap, intellectually lazy 'argument'.

Nov. 23 2009 12:24 PM
ann

you did and are doing an excellent job today mr. lopate. i wonder why mr. specter doesnt realize that sometimes the facts do not always lead to a logical conclusion.

Nov. 23 2009 12:23 PM
anonyme

get this guy off - a nerve toxin is a nerve toxin is a nerve toxin!

Nov. 23 2009 12:23 PM
CJ from ny

How can you prove that vaccines are why people aren't dying of the diseases? People may die of these diseases in other places for a multitude of reasons (poor nutrition and sanitary conditions)that don't affect us in the U.S. You can't prove that vaccines are the reasons we don't!

Nov. 23 2009 12:22 PM
JT from Long Island

I've been surprised at the number of people I've met recently that are skeptical of anything scientific. Some of them actually work in a scientific field and don't seem to think of the implications of their skepticism on their field. I would suggest that this can be fixed through the schools but a few of the skeptics I've met are educators.

Nov. 23 2009 12:21 PM
molly fitzSimons from brooklyn

I'm a pregnant woman grappling with the question of whether or not to vaccinate for H1N1. As far as I know, there has been no testing on the effects of this vaccine on fetuses. Why is it considered irrational to question the risks and usefulness of this or any vaccine, rather than responsible parenthood? I frankly feel bullied by voices like Mr. Specter's who expect everyone to come to the same conclusions as they do about these things. If everyone looks at the facts and makes their own thoughtful decisions about whether or not to take a vaccine, as Mr. Specter recommends, he needs to accept that some will make different decisions than he would.

Nov. 23 2009 12:20 PM
Christine from NYc

People do not trust science because science has become corrupted by industry (the health care industry, the big pharma industry, big tobacco, the food industry and the list goes on and on). It seems like you have to take the results of every study with a grain of salt and question who it was funded by and why.

Nov. 23 2009 12:20 PM
mozo from nyc

The truth is that most scientists in the US are either agnostic or atheist in their reilgious beliefs.

Why? Simple. The existance or non-existance of God cannot be determined through the scientic method.

'Nuff said.

Nov. 23 2009 12:20 PM
anonyme

messing with the food supply is one kind of risk we should not be taking!

eskimoes threw odd tb when they ate their native diet - science is just a point of view that does not acknowledge the validity of points of view

Nov. 23 2009 12:20 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

until the pharma companies can identify who shouldn't take vaccines (as they have acknowledged that there are some children who shouldn't, but cannot tell us who they are), perhaps it's not a good idea to require them. why isn't the burden of proof put here?

Nov. 23 2009 12:19 PM
CJ from ny

Many scientific offerings like GMO food andbirth-control that give you four periods just seem unnecessary.

Nov. 23 2009 12:18 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

To disagree with Mr. Specter is not to be a luddite (as Specter seems to be saying).

Just a month or so, Mr. Lopate had John Wargo on from Yale. One thing you could take from Wargo's comments is that we should treat with greater skepticism the assurances of a government.

Tobacco, leaded paint, financial services, food safety, pesticide safety,.... The list goes on. It's a long one. All areas where corporations appealing to science proved to be lying. Take also the war in Iraq and any number of other cases the government appealed to science. Once we knew the full story, we knew the government was lying.

Mr. Specter might appeal to rationality (in which case he needs to offer an account of rationality, rather than make it the black box where 'miracles' happen).

Or Mr. Specter has offer some account of how science is conveyed to people. And how scientists themselves act irrationally, hailing x, y or z as the Brave New Thing, only to have it debunked some years later.

Nov. 23 2009 12:17 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

the hpv vaccine was recommended for girls 9 years to 18 years "before sexual onset". the vaccine uptake was pure hysteria, partially based on claims such as the on mr. spector just threw out--that hpv is a "cancer virus". it is not. hpv, when left untreated, can mutate to cervical cancer, but if that were an absolute, more young men, who are the vectors of hpv (and often immune to it) would be felled by cancer.

as teens biology is ever-evolving, false-positives are often reported by pap smears for them. plainly put, gardisil (and its competitor vaccine) are not protecting young women as claimed by spector. the length of efficacy is still unknown, many young women don't go for the second and third vaccine in the series, and the fda will still not recommend the vaccine to young men. young women do not get hpv without sexual contact, so please--a bit of truth when you use this scenario as an example of mistrust. the fact that some young women have died after having the vaccine, plus the above mentioned facts, is enough to question taking this vaccine, which is expensive--not-covered by insurance, and not proven effective/safe by significant long-term clinical trials in a significant treatment population.

Nov. 23 2009 12:17 PM
Sunshine from Bushwick

I think you can thank the Food & Drug Administration for the serious mistrust Americans have. Because of intrest groups and drug companies that have financial priorities over that of the general well being of humans. It unfortunatley undermines science and scientists that have accomplished things that could truely help humanity.

Nov. 23 2009 12:16 PM
Kevin

Science is simply amazing and I support it very much. The problem is science takes one step backward for every two steps forward. Two steps forward is great, but who wants to be apart of the one step backward?

Nov. 23 2009 12:16 PM
Jill from Westchester

I told my doctor for years that I didn't think a yearly mammogram was necessary. THEN I suppose I would have been considered a 'denialist'. NOW the data supports my thinking. Who was "being irrational" in that instance?

Nov. 23 2009 12:16 PM
CJ from ny

Science is often just theory. Even when conclusions are drawn, it seems that contradictory evidence is often found within time.

Nov. 23 2009 12:16 PM
Marion Appel from Chinatown

Critics of genetically engineering food crops -- including myself -- are not necessarily against the science, but of how the inevitability of their prevalence was essentially guaranteed by the pre-emptive way they were pushed into the environment...

or, put another way: if the industries were so convinced of the promise of these organisms (and of the limits of their environmental impact, etc.), why were they so sneaky about getting them out there? (e.g. no labeling, minimal public disclosure, no protections against contamination of non-gmo fields, etc.)?

Nov. 23 2009 12:15 PM
anonyme

Science is a point of view. period. It has too much power and makes its share of booboos.

Nov. 23 2009 12:14 PM
CJ from ny

I have no problem with Science as a System of measuring evidence and testing theories. However, when it is presented as the only viable solution to diseases and other health-related matters, that is wrong.

Nov. 23 2009 12:12 PM
NeitherHereNorThere from Manahattan

that is utter non-sense...my mother was termianlly ill as a direct result of the flu shot a few years ago. It was proven, she was compensated, but it still never makes the news or reports.

Nov. 23 2009 12:11 PM
Gabrielle from brooklyn

I'm not sure how topical this question is but my brother-in-law considers himself a science and math guy but he becomes a fringy republican when a democrat is in office. we were discussing politics the other day and global warming came up. he said that there is no way it is man-made, that it is a liberal conspiracy, and that he has two words for me, "ice age". how can someone whose profession is engineering come to such a black/white conclusion? is it political defiance or something else?

Thank you,
Gabrielle

Brooklyn

Nov. 23 2009 09:38 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Why do more Americans now mistrust science?

Simple.

This country is full of a bunch of dolts. Especially bible thumping dolts. And these dolts can't stop having babies.

The American plague; Ignorance.

Nov. 23 2009 08:39 AM

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