News From Around The Blogosphere 4.21.11

April 22, 2011
Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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1. Andrew Wakefield, the new Jesus? – I’ve often argued that the anti-vaccine movement worships Andrew Wakefield like a religious prophet, but now J.B. Handley has said as much to the NY Times:

“To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one,” says J. B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, a group that disputes vaccine safety. “He’s a symbol of how all of us feel.”

2. Studies suggest atheist OUT Campaign works

Although prejudice is typically positively related to relative outgroup size, four studies found converging evidence that perceived atheist prevalence reduces anti-atheist prejudice. Study 1 demonstrated that anti-atheist prejudice among religious believers is reduced in countries in which atheists are especially prevalent. Study 2 demonstrated that perceived atheist prevalence is negatively associated with anti-atheist prejudice. Study 3 demonstrated a causal relationship: Reminders of atheist prevalence reduced explicit distrust of atheists. These results appeared distinct from intergroup contact effects. Study 4 demonstrated that prevalence information decreased implicit atheist distrust. The latter two experiments provide the first evidence that mere prevalence information can reduce prejudice against any outgroup. These findings offer insights about anti-atheist prejudice, a poorly understood phenomenon. Furthermore, they suggest both novel directions for future prejudice research and potential interventions that could reduce a variety of prejudices.

3. GM mosquitoes to fight malaria – Scientists believe they’re getting close to being able to modify wild mosquito DNA as a weapon against malaria…using evolution:

In the laboratory, they made a gene spread from a handful of mosquitoes to most of the population in just a few generations, according to a report in Nature.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 10.3.10

October 4, 2010

1. The History of Vaccines Blog has gone live – It features a wealth of information in the form of images, text, and video from the Historical Medical Library, Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and from many other public and private sources.

2. Can man fix god’s cruel mistakes with genetic modified trees? – To all those naysayers of genetically modified organizations, seriously go fuck yourselves.  Not only do GMOs mean saving millions of people from starvation, but now new research suggests genetically modified trees and plants may absorb several billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year and thus, in the process, reduce man’s effect on climate change. That’s BILLIONS with a B. There’s nothing wrong with “organic” but science has repeatedly demonstrated that man is much better at playing god than any gods man ever invented.

3. Are the autism omnibus trials as good as dead? – All the data presented to support either of the vaccine/autism hypotheses have proven completely unpersuasive in the vaccine courts, which operate with a lower standard of evidence required in other civil courts that deal with medical malpractice. And even those courts operate under a lower standard of evidence for scientific claims than in the court of science itself. Furthermore, the omnibus lawyers were denied in the appeals process. So it seems that the autism omnibus plaintiffs don’t have anywhere else to go.

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