Friday, September 21, 2007

The knowledge void: Here there be monsters

I've written before about the vaccine/autism debate as an illustration of how agenda-based pseudoscience might receive wide distribution and popularity among audiences predisposed to believing the information, yet the popularity of an opinion does not, of course, make it so.

The BBC brings us up to date on the (hopefully) now-discredited opinion that the "MMR vaccine causes autism." The result of this long-running controversy was not merely people believing in huckster science, but actively putting other children at risk by refusing to vaccinate their kids.

There are lessons to be learned here in other areas of science, like nanotechnology, where popular opinion is being manipulated by groups who step into the void of actual scientific evidence and gladly fill it with Gods or Monsters.

Somewhere between scientist and consumer, the message is lost
The Asperger/Nano Connection
Playing God with Monsters
'Societal Concerns' vs. Scientific Accuracy

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