The Attempted Hijacking Of “Science”
                                   By: Sandy Gottstein
                                                            September 2011

Those who unquestioningly support and promote vaccination while at the
same time trivializing vaccine safety concerns have tried to co-opt science as
their own private fiefdom.  

But is that legitimate?  And what is science, really?  Is it some clear-cut, static
system with hard results?  Or is it an ongoing process, and one that depends
on asking the right questions in the right way?  

Is the pro-vaccine camp right that only they understand and properly use
science and its methods?  Or do such notions suggest a lack of understanding
about science, including its strengths and limitations, and/or a propaganda
effort (e.g., by inserting the word
“science” in the title of your blog) designed to
camouflage the truth?  

First, their declarations of vaccine safety are almost entirely based on industry-
funded or influenced
“science”.  For them, the indisputable potential for conflict
of interest to result in compromised scientific research apparently has no
relevance to vaccines.  

While the pro-vaccine camp has made a dogma out of trivializing vaccine-
safety concerns, in fact, such tarnished
“science” does not disprove evidence
of vaccine harm.  

The unreservedly pro-vaccine camp’s willingness to embrace tainted research
raises more questions than it answers.  

Second, their claims are based on rejecting contrary evidence, including
observations of temporally- related adverse vaccine events, even those that
occur within minutes or hours.  

It is absurd to assume that a temporally related event cannot be causally
related.  In fact, under normal circumstances, it would be the first thing
suspected.  But vaccines are not viewed in the
“normal” way.  

Of course a temporal relationship alone does not alone prove anything.  For
starters, little is ever
“proved” in science.  A temporally related event should,
however, be viewed as a red flag that warrants further serious, unbiased
investigation.  

Instead, mention of such reported relationships are often viewed as reason to
humiliate the person who has reported it, rather than attempt to understand its
significance, as well as to end any further discussion.  

The once universally shamed, but later vindicated, Semmelweis might well be
considered the poster boy for what is happening in the vaccine arena.  

Between the unenlightened, self-interested desire to defend one’s own work
and the unenlightened, self-interested desire to avoid the potential financial
and political liabilities that surround the vaccine issue, there is little incentive to
seek the truth about vaccines.  On the other hand, there is every reason to
discredit those who question their safety.  

It is simply wrong to suggest that anecdotal evidence, which is based on
observation, i.e., a fundamental part of scientific research, is inherently useless
information.  It should be a starting point and nothing less.  

Moreover, the debate is often mischaracterized as pitting science against
parents.  A case in point is the NRP Frontline program
“The Vaccine War”
which falsely made it seem there were no
“experts” who understood or
sympathized with vaccine safety concerns.  

In fact, Dr. Jay Gordon spent 2 hours with them, but they did not use any of his
interview.  They also left out the interview of Dr. Robert Sears.  Viewers were
thus left with the incorrect impression that there is no real science behind
vaccine safety doubts.  

Third, the
“evidence” in support of vaccines relies on studies that have no
genuine control (non-intervention) group.  Non-intervention in the case of
vaccines is no vaccines, period.  

In studies without a control group the only thing one can conclude is that the
vaccinated have the same health outcomes as the vaccinated.  One can only
wonder about the reasons for such a striking omission.  

In the absence of incidence data among the never vaccinated, there is simply
no basis for declaring that a reported adverse reaction is merely a normal,
expected event.  Normal, expected among the vaccinated?  Yes.  Normal,
expected among the never vaccinated?  Who knows?  

In addition, the self-righteous hue and cry over the alleged ethics of
conducting such studies should be seen for what it is:

1) An attempt to divert attention from the fact that such critical studies were
never done, where is the hue and cry from them over that?.  

2) To keep such studies from ever being conducted.  While not perfect,
retrospective studies, using those who have chosen not to vaccinate, would
be far better than nothing.  

If it were discovered that the never vaccinated are healthier than the
vaccinated, for whatever reasons, that would be important and useful
information.  We could then set about trying to understand what it is about the
never vaccinated that leads to better health results, vaccines or not.  

Fourth, there is the disgraceful rejection of nearly all the evidence published in
journals that supports the notion that vaccines may be causing harm.  

This in spite of the high hurdle such studies must surmount, given heavy
funding of the journals by vaccine manufacturers, difficulty getting non-
industry funding, and conflicts of interest among many of the
“peers”
reviewing those studies.  All of this makes it extremely difficult to get a fair
hearing and published.  

One stark example of the rejection of published studies that challenge so-
called
“expert” vaccine proclamations involves thimerosal as a possible cause
of autism and/or other vaccine harm.  

The ultra pro-vaccine crowd wants us to believe the issue has been settled,
even though science is almost never
“settled”.  And even though there are at
least 90 journal articles that clearly suggest otherwise.  

They also incorrectly insist that thimerosal has been completely removed from
childhood vaccines, totally ignoring the fact that many of the flu vaccines now
given to children contain it, while other vaccines contain
“trace amounts”
and/or that whatever amount is still left is surely not a problem.  But that is
another story.

Fifth, given that most funding comes from industry, few researchers who
question vaccinations receive the necessary funding.  Those who support
vaccination and minimize vaccine risks would have us believe the consequent
absence of evidence is evidence of absence.  It is not.  

Ignoring, dismissing and/or failing to properly study that which contradicts the
status quo may be a great way to run a business, but it is no way to conduct
science.  

The anti-vaccine-safety crowd has some nerve making the unscientific claim
that the vaccine-safety issue has been settled.  

It is high time for the public to stop falling for such self-serving, deceptive
pronouncements.  

By: Sandy Gottstein

Article: The Attempted Hijacking of “Science”
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