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Skeptics of Tucson Message Board › Scientific facts can and should be questioned by all and anyone: Are Jenny

Scientific facts can and should be questioned by all and anyone: Are Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey on the right track?

user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 115
I listened to Steven Pinker at one point and he said that the beauty about science is that it does not respect authority, personal relationships or rank. Anyone and everyone can challenge any and every theory. It doesn't matter if the pope came up with relativity, your girlfriend came up with the theory of gravity or your professor came up with the quantum theory. Little lowly, nobody you, can challenge anyone at any time. You don't have to show respect to your elders, to religious authorities or even worry about hurting your friends feelings. Science is a brutal sport, where the only thing that matters is professionally advancing our body of knowledge. Nothing should get in the way of that. If you happen to come up with a better answer, then the old answers are done away with.

So I was thinking about Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy. Aren't they actually doing what everyone and all of us should be doing? Shouldn't we all be saying: "Is current medical fact, research and science true? Is it really accurate?" Well they are questioning our current set of assumptions. Shouldn't they receive respect and honor for that? Who cares if they are approaching it the wrong way, or even possibly setting us back scientifically. Isn't this a sort of teachable moment?

I was thinking that it might be in the interest of the general public to humor people like Jenny and Jim. We should dispatch a renegade science team to do some more research. We could use the media attention to educate the public about the scientific method. Cost is irrelevant. If we can educate all these people who are curious right now, that could be a great public relations victory for science and rationalism in the future.

I personally respect Jim and Jenny, now that I have thought about it more, for wanting to double check and reconsider our assumptions about the causes of Autism. To me that is the essence of science. If only all of the general public thought they should double check and reconsider the assumptions of science, people would be more knowledgeable about it. The fact that they have a theory is excellent, it is testable, it is falsifiable. We should let them put it to the test and let them watch it fail.

We can't just write them off and keep pushing these sorts of movements under the carpet. We can't just keep saying, no no no, you don't know what you are talking about. You are wrong! I think we should consider what they are saying and really hash it out. Even if it is just for show, I think people could really learn something.
Don L.
Group Organizer
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 134

Certainly, you can question anything you should first look into the existing information before calling for an action that puts other people at risk. Jim and Jenny called for people to stop vaccinating their kids. This is dangerous and has a "body count" associated with it. People have died listening to them. Again, you're free to come up with any theory you want and ask any question that occurs to you.

People are looking for autism's cause and the evidence seems to indicate a significant, if not complete, genetic cause. The trouble is that it is a spectrum disorder and they've ruled out that it is a single gene that causes it.

By the way, you saw the data. Their theory has been tested and falsified but it will never be falsified to the degree that would satisfy Jim or Jenny. Chelation therapy has been tried. If the problem was due to Mercury poisoning as theorized, it is highly probably that the chelation would have some effect. So far, as far as I know, chelation has not proven successful in curing or changing the symptoms. Gluten free diets have also not yielded notable results.

Science, as powerful as it is, cannot convince the unconvince-able.
user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 116
I am going to watch a video on youtube about Jenny and Autism. Then I'll respond.
user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 117­

That is an example of what Jenny McCarthy is doing on Larry King. I recommend you watch the video. She brought along some sort of "Doctor" (?) and there is a panel of 3 other sort of real doctors / scientists / professionals and they are discussing the issue.

She does definitely appear to be using some logical fallacies, like saying that autism sets in right after vaccinations. She even says that "anecdotal evidence = scientific evidence". She also appears to be saying, that she would rather have children get epidemic type diseases and die, would rather expose all kids to raging epidemics for which we have vaccines, rather than have a small number of kids gain an increased risk of autism. She is assuming that the current vaccine list is the cause / environmental factor that contributes to autism.

I don't respect Larry King, but that was a good start for a sort of reasonable exchange of ideas.

Jenny kept resorting to silly reasoning tactics, like: "Look at the number of vaccines given now, versus in the past. Since there are more vaccines now, the high number must be the problem". That just doesn't make any sense. To her I guess it does.

In the future we need to try to bring videos like this to our Skeptics Meetup. It would help us see exactly what they are saying and how they are saying it. I find it important to see how people are convincing the public at large. Us knowing the mere data / facts is not enough. We need to know how to convince the public.
user 2751251
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 118­

In this video they present the issue very convincingly that there is no link. It appears to be two different MD's talking and answering the concerns.

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