Friday, March 12, 2010

Scientific "truth"

The refrain I'm hearing more and more often in the media lately is "Why won't they accept scientific truth?"

It's been attached to the autism-vaccines debate, to parents who try alternative ANYTHING (educational ideas, medical treatments, therapies), to the debates in Texas on textbooks, to Global Warming. (See,8599,1967796,00.html and, for examples).

It amazes me that the scientists are so full of themselves (and the media so devoted to them) that they even have to ask that question.  Why won't we all just blindly accept scientific truth? 

Because it changes all the time.

Which makes it not truth in my book, but merely the latest theory, the latest fad, the latest trend. 

Actually, there are two reasons for this: any thinking, educated person accepts that scientific "truth" has changed drastically over time. In fact, science celebrates that fact--that they are constantly exploring, honing their theories, discovering new things. Even ideas that have been WELL accepted for a long long time sometimes go under the rug overnight. Like the "truth" that was accepted for centuries that the planets move in spherical orbits. Kepler came along, and--BAM--over night the "truth" changed.  It is extremely hard to put a lot of faith and trust in a system that, by it's very nature and purpose, changes constantly. 5 years ago, for example, the doctors told me that my children should NEVER be exposed to the sun because the sun was toxic to humans (they didn't use these words, but that was the gist of it). NOW they're saying that vitamin D is necessary for health, and we get that from the sun. About-face (cover your back if you can)! (Religion, by contrast, which is broadly lambasted by these same people, includes "truths" that have remained the same for quite literally centuries).

So there's that.

Then there's this: Scientists are all so full of themselves that they refuse to even TEST some ideas. They just reject them outright. In that vision therapy article above, the scientists say in one paragraph, "There are no studies on this."  and in another place, not far from the first, the reporter says the scientists issued a statement decrying the whole therapy system and all the theories it's built on because "There are no studies on it."  So, in other words, there are no studies on this theory, therefore it is invalid and we refuse to study it.

While scientists and doctors can't seem to see that they do this, all of the rest of us can.  And since the studies are lacking or clearly faulty, and the doctors and scientists are so unbelievably egotistical (I can't count the number of doctors who refused to listen to me and then on the next visit proposed what I had suggested myself already--but did it in such a condescending way that I refused to go along with it anymore) and refuse to even test anything they don't already believe in, and the anecdotal evidence is fairly strong, and the "proven" ideas obviously don't work--we're gonna go with what we can (and without being roundly attacked or condescended to).  Chiropractors might be quacks, but they listen.

Tangible example: Doctors were so sure vaccines were safe that they refused for YEARS to do serious studies on the vaccine-autism link. Or they did the studies and didn't get them to the parents (which is actually probably more likely, but either way, the parents didn't feel listened to). Finally they started making broad, blanket statements that there is no apparent link between vaccines and autism. And they slammed the door (or book, whichever). 

The problem is, in doing that, the scientists have refused to look at a WHOLE LOT of anecdotal evidence (you can see it yourself in youtube vids, but anecdotal evidence is apparently _not_ evidence worth considering for anything,  not even a starting point) that shows that something happens to some kids that causes apparent brain damage overnight, resulting in a diagnosis of autism. But the researchers have seemingly closed the book on the case because that something wasn't vaccines--so it must be nothing. The parents made it up and just didn't notice their kid slowly declining, they say. 

(I say seemingly because I hope they are still doing research on this, but they never report research in progress, only completed research--and then only if the journals choose to carry it, and there is some evidence that there is a strong bias in the reporting there, too--in other words, the people who care the most--the parents--aren't getting the word, so they're just frustrated). 

Really, what should have happened is not the "it wasn't vaccines, so you made it all up" approach, but instead a "it wasn't vaccines, so let's find out what it was." 

See the difference? And since there is an unknown something out there that doctors refuse to talk about but that parents can see, all the parents are running scared, causing a serious public health trauma. Even I, who believe in vaccines, have modified the vaccine schedule for my kids in fear of that mysterious brain-stealing monster that hits after the 12- or 18-month vaccines. And instead of getting real help and real research, what we get, as scared parents is, "Shut up and get vaccinated" because otherwise you are "rejecting scientific truth, you IDIOT!"

Yeah--great way to get people to go along, don't you think?

Instead, with the vaccines-autism debate, I'd like to see researchers saying, "Okay, so it wasn't vaccines. Perhaps it was an allergic reaction to a preservative in the tylenol? Or maybe some kids have weak vascular systems in their brains and are having a stroke from the screaming? Maybe there is something that commonly gets introduced to the diet at that point--like hot dogs?" More research. Not more shutting our eyes and let us get back to our pet theories (which seem to focus on the kids who are born with autism--the ones who parents know way early that "something is different" with their child).`

Pretty simple. We don't accept your scientific "truth" that you're trying to cram down our throats because it's not proven itself particularly long-lived or reliable in the past (so why should it be now?) and because the scientists are so tied up in exploring what they already believe that they won't consider the things we so desperately need considered. Plain and simple.

More reasons not to trust scientific "Truth":,_its_wrong?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook&utm_content=feat

And you know why people are listening to Jenny McCarthy even though she's speaking against science? Because she MAKES SENSE to a lot of people with a lot of questions who are sick of being told to shut up and trust "scientific Truth":

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