To Be Confirmed

Archive for February 2009

… but apparently there is no link between Vaccines and Autism. I know, I know. It took me by surprise as well.

Can we please now draw a nice big fat line under that one?

Link between vaccines and autism.

Good, I’m glad that’s finally out of the way…

…why do I have a sneaky suspicion this isn’t the end of it?


Then I go and hear that The Ulster Museum in Belfast is facing opposition to it’s forthcoming Darwin exhibition.

Some fellow named Mervyn Storey from the DUP has threatened legal action against the museum unless they show a creationist exhibition to counter the Darwin one.

He said,  “In the past, when I have written to the museum about necessity to show the public an alternative to Darwin’s theory (and let’s stress it is still only a theory), they have been quite dismissive.”

Great way to start there Mervyn with a complete and utter misunderstanding of the word theory. Theory does not mean some cock brained idea someone pulled out of the air from nothing like “intelligent design”, it actually refers to a unifying principle based around a set of observations or a body of facts. Show us some evidence to the contary that the theory of evolution is wrong and the scientific community will gladly, albeit rather sheepishly, tear up the reference books and start again. I very much doubt that will ever happen but the difference between a good sceptic and a kook is we are willing to change our minds so long as you provide the evidence.

There are many theory’s in science perhaps Mervyn would like to apply the same rhetoric to the theory of relativity and tell the victims of Hiroshima that it was ‘only a theory’ that destroyed their homes. OK a slightly morbid link but you get my point.

Later on Mr Storey accuses Darwin of being a racist, which is frankly disgusting behavior from a so called representative of Ireland and a clear example of an ad hominem attack. Bah, he wasn’t a racist by the way, from what I read at the very good exhibition at the British Library I understand he was quite ahead of the times in that respect.

Please email your support to The Ulster Museum I am sure they will appreciate it.

Right that’s enough for one day.

* Update

For what it’s worth I sent the following to the Museum;

After reading Mervyn Storey’s comments on the forthcoming Darwin Exhibition I would like to send you my support for the exhibition. I think it appalling that a so called representative of Ireland should use his influence to threaten an important institution such as yourselves. I recently went to the Darwin exhibition at the British Library which was excellent. I wish you all the luck with yours and hope that you do not allow the minority of narrow minded folk to effect the enjoyment of the majority. Perhaps if you invited Mr Storey along to your exhibition then he might change his mind, though unfortunately I doubt it.

…so in celebration heres a film about monkeys;

p.s Happy Darwin Day!


Posted on: February 11, 2009

Well I am sure all those that look to sceptical blogs will be aware of Jeni Barnett’s comments on the MMR vaccine and Ben Goldacre’s responce and then the LBC’s responce etc.  Well I feel the only way we can make sure companies start to pay attention to the material they release is to complain so I did.

I have just heard Jeni Barnett’s rant about the MMR vaccine and consider
it hugely irresponsible and disgusting that you allow her opinion on the
subject to be broadcast. When Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand broadcast
an ill advised practical joke they were put off the air.
Jeni Barnett has shown arrogance and prejudice about a subject that she
clearly knows very little. Measles is not a trivial infection for
everyone who gets it. Some will have brain damage, some will die.
Perhaps next time one of your staff decide to go on the air telling
people not to seek the correct medical attention and advice they should
learn the facts first.
As her employer you are responsible for the content that she produces
and should make a clear stand by issuing a statement in contrast to her
opinion and removing her from the air before she does anymore damage.
There are times when opinions can be wrong and can be damaging. This is
one of them.

The LBC were good enough to respond;

The incident you refer to happened four weeks ago. The presenter was
given robust feedback about her performance straight afterwards. She is
entitled to have her own views but must present a balanced debate. Since
then the subject of MMR has been discussed several times on LBC without
any comment from bad science or any other quarter. At the time of the
original broadcast I received three complaints. We take the subject of
MMR and other public health matters extremely seriously.

Jonathan Richards
Programme Director LBC News 1152 & LBC 97.3
Group Head of News Global Radio

Well fair enough I am behind the times, but I’m new to all this so it felt good to put in my two pence worth and get a penny change!Also the more they have to deal with comments like mine the more they will realise you can’t go giving presenters that know nothing about MMR vaccines free reign to give advice or make comment without at least consulting an expert on the subject first.

And breath! Ahhhh. It’s good to make a new start don’t you think?

“They never admit how they have come to stop taking it literally. You have all these people criticising us for our crass literalism, where as fundamentalists are fundamentalists and yet these moderates don’t admit how they have come to be moderate. What does moderation consist of, it consists of having lost faith in all of these propositions, or half of them, because of the hammer blows of science and secular politics. Religion has lost its mandate on a thousand questions and moderates tend to argue that this is somehow a triumph of faith, faith is somehow self enlightening, where as really it is being enlightened from outside.” Sam Harris

Wham bam thank you Sam.