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5 Pages

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

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NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/ JAMES ELWICK Monday, January 21, 2013 VACCINATIONS 2: EXPERTS & SCIENCE IN THE MMR/ AUTISM CONTROVERSY  Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? - 1998: Wakefield’s Lancet paper claims that the Measles, Mumps & Rubella vaccine is associated with autism and bowel disease (12 children)  in the paper’s ‘interpretation’ the environmental triggers are said to be most MMR vaccine (in 8 cases)  In a BBC interview, Wakefield blames the MMR vaccine - Parents groups rally being Wakefield - 2003: a review finds no link - 2004: an investigative journalist (Brian Deer) claims Wakefield’s study was fraudulent and that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest  Wakefield’s co-authors retract ‘ the interpretation’ - 2007- present: Jenny McCarthy supports Wakefield - 2010: the British General Medical Council convicts Wakefield of dishonest, irresponsible and fraudulent conduct. Its bars him from practicing medicine in the UK - 2010: The Lancet withdraws Wakefield (1998) - 2011: Deer repeats charges in the British Medical Journal TECHNICAL & POLITICAL PHASES (pg. 45-46)  Technical & Political Phases  Address different questions  Operate under different norms  ‘Intrinsic’ versus ‘Extrinsic’ politics  Intrinsic: (small-p) politics o We know the scientists or citizens are real people; have valued judgments and preferences from training, socializing circles etc. o Cannot eliminate them; but should not worry about them as they are too small  Extrinsic: (big-p politics) o Wakefield had these kinds of politics at work o We have an ideal image of science, and we must look at the people who have professional opinions and also valued judgments o Large economic motive CHABRIS & SIMONS, ‘ JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS’  Case: - 2005 measles outbreak in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois (USA) - From a Church meeting  500 attendees  50 without vaccination  34 documented cases o Thus of the 10% unvaccinated, 68% contracted measles (7 in 10 ratio if unvaccinated)  1 vaccination failure  1 vaccinated (had only one shot)  Thus 1/500 =0.2% infection rate for the vaccinated ( and 450/450 no prior problems) - ‘Reference case’: 17-year-old unvaccinated girl, just returned from a Church meeting in Bucharest (Romania)  The monkey business illusion - We are not as observant as we think - Missed the gorilla/ curtain changing - Observational capacities; we overestimate them, and are overconfident PARENTAL CONTROL  What does the ‘reference case’ suggest? 1) Valid idea that ordinary people might have experiences that are relevant to scientific cases  Collins & Evans skeptical of ‘scope of ordinary experience’ 2) Differentiate political from technical questions  Political: who gets to decide? Must listen to each other (everyone is on the same boat) 3) Parents overstating the control they have over the disease; the risk of a heavily vaccinated nation (herd immunity)  Is ‘parental control’ a bit of a myth? - Can a parent control the environment their child lives in? - What is NOT being controlled when a parent exercises their ‘right’ to control vaccination administration? CHABRIS & SIMONS ON THE MEASLES OUTBREAK  ‘Why would parents’ not vaccinate, especially when travelling to areas of low vaccination? (Pg. 303) - Because of the ‘ illusion of cause’ (Pg. 303) 1) Seeing Patterns in Randomness 2) Confusing correlation with causation 3) The Deceptive appeal of chronology 1) SEEING PATTERNS IN RANDOMNESS  Our ‘extraordinary pattern detection abilities often serve us wel
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