Bullshit Health Media

Mummy duck said “Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!” and all the MMR crap came back

The other day, LBC broadcast a breathtaking programme where presenter Jeni Barnett used her expertise as a parent to pooh-pooh the entire medical and scientific community. MMR is dangerous. There’s no evidence for it, but it’s a scientific fact. You know the kind of thing.

That first link is to the audio; there’s a transcript here.

I particularly like the bit where Barnett demands that a doctor explains how somebody who’s been immunised against flu can still catch a cold. As he explains:

That vaccine protects you from influenza, it doesn’t protect you from colds.

It seems she’s unrepentant:

I thank those of you who have sent me information about sites that may be of use to me.

I thank the Bad Scientist for being just that. Sarcasm doesn’t shift peoples opinions. Making another person feel small because they don’t have a Bad Science degree and then nit-picking over semantics is not the answer either.

Since when has providing a great deal of evidence that somebody’s been talking out of their arse been “nit-picking over semantics”?

In other news, it seems that the discredited Wakefield study that kicked off the stupid and dangerous anti-MMR scare was even more flawed than previously suspected. The Sunday Times reports:

THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

4 replies on “Mummy duck said “Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!” and all the MMR crap came back”

Always a sure sign someone is wrong when they complain that their opponents are arguing about semantics. “Semantics” means “the meaning of the words you use”. There is simply nothing else worth arguing with. The only reason you can successfully point out the flaws in someone’s semantics is that what they said was wrong.

I hadn’t seen this before, but Brian Deer – the man who wrote the ST’s Wakefield story I’ve linked to – has a big MMR page on his website.

““Semantics” means “the meaning of the words you use”. ”

Surely, if two people are arguing over different definitions of a contested term, and both are presenting facts that the other can’t contest, then their argument *is* specifically semantic. This goes on all the time.

Yes, that does go on all the time. And, when it does, knowing full well that they are in fact having an argument about definitions, neither side says “Oh, you’re just arguing about semantics!” as if that in some way invalidates the other’s argument. The complaint is only used by people who are arguing about facts and are wrong.

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