Skepchick Quickies, 2.23


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. So now the Pharmaceutical Industry is immunized against Federal Court action in the case of defectively designed vaccines. Can anyone else see the irony here? The Vaccine Court has paid out $2 billion in 2,500 cases. What next, Banking Industry immunized against record losses due to corruption? Oh wait, they already did that.

  2. Walked in to the HoPo article wondering what the author’s qualifications were. Then read them. Then prepared a comment on them, but thinks that would be an ad hom. I will instead criticize what I think is the evidentiary root of her claims, aside from personal experience:

    “I was, for some reason, born knowing how to get married.”

    Actually, I won’t criticize it. I’m just going to go buy some rum.

  3. Hopefully we find a new species of dinosaur that we can call “Junk in the Trunk” or “Love Handles”.

  4. That HuffPo author may have been, “for some reason, born knowing how to get married.” (though I doubt it), but she certainly wasn’t “born knowing how to stay married.” I think that may be a more enviable and advantages trait.

    That being said, the response piece was very painful to read.

  5. I seldom find myself on the same side as Scalia (and against Sotomayor & Ginsburg) but we dodged a bullet with that Supreme Court ruling.

    No vaccine can ever be 100% safe for 100% of the population, which is why the Vaccine Court exists to compensate those legitimately injured by vaccinces. But letting people directly sue manufacturers for defectively designed vaccines would be disastrous, and would in very short order (IMO) lead to every major pharmaceutical company in the world pulling out of the US market for vaccines.

    Just set aside autism for the moment: given our human propensity for post-hoc fallacies every parent whose child gets so much as a sniffle after receiving a vaccine would be able to sue in regular civil court (and don’t tell me there would be a shortage of lawyers willing to take those cases). It will then be decided by a group of regular (read scientifically illiterate) Americans using a lower standard of proof (preponderence of evidence) than in criminal proceedings. On the one side: a bunch of pointy-headed scientists citing dense statistics. On the other: weeping parents and a sick kid. Bingo! Billion dollar judgment!

    Multiply that scenario by 1000 and no sane corporation would even consider marketing vaccines in the US. This is what Congress had in mind when they passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. It may not be perfect, but IMHO the alternative is far worse.

  6. @Madfishmonger, they’re these guys right? http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/holisticdent.html
    Listened to the first 25 minutes, sounds like a lot of it is directly opposite most current research, and they seem to have a tendency towards the naturalistic fallacy (‘traditional diets used for thousands of years and everyone stayed perfectly healthy’), drawing huge conclusions from limited data and dismissing contradictory data using a variety of logical fallacies. No doubt there are some interesting studies and points, such as with regards to a manageable diet and sugar taking the place of fat, but “salt is awesome” by- the salt institute is not quite the place I’d look for my nutrition advice.

  7. The Weston A. Price organisation is also touting homeopathic remedies on their web site. If they believe homeopathy do you really want to believe the other stuff on diet. I want to see someone I trust analyse this before I sign off on it.

  8. The opinion is actually a fairly dry treatment of statutory interpretation. I’m more in line with Breyer than Scalia, but they reached the same result here. Nonetheless, I have to credit Scalia for starting the opinion by publicly stating the following:

    “[T]he elimination of communicable diseases through vaccination became “one of the greatest achievements” of public health in the 20th century. But in the 1970’s and 1980’s vaccines became, one might say, victims of their own success. They had been so effective in preventing infectious diseases that the public became much less alarmed at the threat of those diseases, and much more concerned with the risk of injury from the vaccines themselves.”

  9. Just on a personal prejudices perspective, I really want to agree with a lot of what was said in that diet video. I’ve tried to go vegetarian/vegan a number of times (generally when staying for extended amounts of time with vegetarian friends, for example), and I’ve never done well.

    I’m always borderline anemic, so taking meat out of my diet leaves me feeling really weak pretty quickly. I also get a crazy hunger feeling, like I’m in starvation mode no matter how much I eat, whenever I don’t have a bit of animal products with each meal.

    Buuuut… I went to their website and almost immediately found an article about vaccines causing autism (but don’t worry! It’s totally curable with cod liver oil!).

    I noticed the naturalistic fallacy as well. A particular pet peeve of mine…

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