Chris Mooney disucsses conspiracy theories that won’t die

April 28, 2011

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Anti-vaccinationists show their cowardice

August 28, 2009

vaccine3The anti-vaccinationists over at SafeMinds were invited to participate in a panel discussion about vaccines and autism by MSNBC. The producer of the program informed them that the other panelists would be Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH’s Director of the National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and an unnamed vaccine manufacturer were also invited.

But when they heard that Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a strong critic of the anti-vaccination movement, was going to be the moderator, they backed out:

After much deliberation, SafeMinds declined the interview due to concerns with regard to Dr. Snyderman’s ability to objectively “moderate” this panel discussion.

This is a rather lame cop-out. This is  a topic where everyone seems to have a strong opinion one way or the other. So presumably, no matter who was chosen to moderate the discussion, that person would have their opinion on the topic. When has a moderator having actually thoughts and opinions of their own ever invalidated their position as a moderator? It’s not a conflict of interest. SafeMinds just wants to use this as an excuse to call the media biased because that’s proven to be an effective tactic among the brainless, even though the media has sadly been more on the side of the anti-vaccination movement for some time.

And it’s worth pointing out that given that no one has yet provided evidence for an evil conspiracy or for a link between vaccines and autism, it’s not even accurate to call Snyderman biased since she’s taking the null hypothesis. The fact that SafeMinds was invited at all was giving them more than they deserve because there is no legitimate controversy in the scientific community.

Then they have the audacity to libel Snyderman by claiming that she has an ideological approach and is demonizing parents, neither is true. But when you view mere vocal disagreement with your own ideology as demonizing parents, it’s impossible not to offend you.

So I hope MSNBC still does the panel discussion without any anti-vaccinationists defending a position for which they have no rational basis for holding.

Rachel Maddow accepts the Flying Spaghetti Monster into her heart

February 16, 2009