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Michael Specter on denialism

Oct 24

Michael Specter is the author of Denialism  and he writes for the New Yorker.  In a story on called The Overwhelming Data We Refuse To Believe   HERE a video of Michael Specter is included.

“If you don’t think that can happen here, think again. We’re already not vaccinating children against preventable diseases, something that will surely lead (and probably already has led) to lives lost. We have big problems to address in the coming decades-even greater changes to temperature, weather and water as the planet warms; a growing population-and we need to start putting our trust back into science, into the process that has brought us to where we are today, with longer lives, cleaner water and skies, more efficient farming. Because you have to admit, this is a pretty great time to be alive and it’s science that got us here.” 

Here’s what was said:

Michael Specter on “Ted Talks” praised vaccines for saving lives. He said, “This is the greatest time there’s ever been on this planet,” especially for reasons of health. Small pox, diphtheria, rubella, polio are no longer a threat. Vaccines…are triumphs of the scientific method.”

Specter lamented those who cling to their own beliefs and don’t want to accept the marvels of our modern age.

Specter: “Your not entitled to your own facts. . . . About a decade ago I wrote a story about vaccines for the New Yorker, …and I was amazed to find opposition, opposition to what is after all the most effective public health measure in human history. I didn’t know what to do, so I just did. I wrote a story and I moved on.”

He also wrote about GMO foods and again, there was opposition.

Specter admitted that those opposing these modern innovations are not fanatics. They’re skeptics who demand proof and evidence. It seems all we need to do is accept the proof that’s out there and we’re not doing it.

“We’re now in an epidemic of fear like I’ve never seen and hope never to see again. About 12 years ago there was a story published, a horrible story that linked the epidemic of autism to the measles, mumps, and Rubella vaccine shot. Very scary.

“Tons of studies were done to see if this was true. Tons of studies should have been done; it’s a serious issue. The data came back. The data came back from the United States, from England, from Sweden, from Canada. It was all the same, no correlation, no connection, none at all. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all because we believe anecdotes. We believe what we see, what we think we see. We don’t believe a bunch of documents from a government official giving us data. I do understand that. I think we all do. But you know what? The result of that has been disastrous. Disastrous because here’s a fact. The United States is one of the only countries in the world where the vaccine rate for measles is going down. That is disgraceful. We should be ashamed of ourselves. It’s horrible. What kind of a thing happened that we could do that?

“I understand it. I do understand it because does anyone have measles here? One person in this audience ever see someone die of measles? Doesn’t happen very much. Doesn’t happen in this country at all, but it happened 160,000 times in the world last year. That’s a lot of death of measles, 20 an hour. But since it didn’t happen here, we can put it out of our minds. People like Jenny McCarthy can go around preaching messages of fear and illiteracy from platforms like Oprah and Larry King Live. And they can do it because they don’t link causation and correlation. They don’t understand that these things seem the same but they’re almost never the same. It’s something we need to learn, and we need to learn it really soon.

(We’re shown a TIME MAGAZINE cover featuring Jonas Salk)

“This guy was a hero, Jonas Salk. He took one of the worst scourges of mankind away from us. …

(Next a photo of Paul Offit)

“That guy in the middle, not so much. His name is Paul Offit. He just developed a rota virus vaccine with a bunch of other people. It’ll save the lives of 400,000, 500,000 kids in the developing world every year. Pretty good right? That’s good except that Paul goes around talking about vaccines and says how valuable they are and people ought stop the whining. And he actually says it that way. So Paul’s a terrorist. When Paul speaks in a public hearing, he can’t testify without armed guards.”

Specter then told he audience about the threats Offit’s had to face all because he promotes vaccines. Specter warned about all the deadly diseases that will come back if we don’t vaccinate. Next Spector slammed alternative medicine as “useless.”

We use natural medicine because “we hate big pharma.”

Spector said that we’re going down a road where “belief in magic replace evidence and science.”

Next Specter discussed GMO food vs. organic.


Tens of thousands of parents report that their children were born healthy and were developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they got sick with things like seizures, bowel disease, and sleep disorders. Many stopped talking and lost learned skills, ending up with an autism diagnosis. Doctors say autism has no known cause but they’re sure their ever-expanding vaccine schedule isn’t to blame and they have lot of pharma-funded studies to prove it. This must be the “overwhelming data” Spector is referring to.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Specter gave us Paul Offit and praised his defense of vaccines. Specter also called autism an “epidemic.” He should know that Offit doesn’t believe there is an epidemic. According to him, the increase can be explained by the expanded definition of autism which now includes people we used to call “geeks and nerds.”

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Since Specter is so concerned about stopping epidemics, he should pay attention to what Dr. Thomas Insel said about autism.

Insel, head of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) created by Congress to deal with autism, has said that 80 percent of Americans with autism are under the age of 18 and he warned that we need “to prepare for a million people who may be in need of significant services.” Nothing is being done to handle the approaching tsunami of dependent adults that will descend on social services in the coming years. The IACC now calls autism “a national health emergency

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

The LA Times recently published this stunning review of the new film, “Greater Good,” an in-depth look at the vaccine safety debate.,0,7995562.story

The short trailer to this movie makes it clear that there are experts on both side and a lot of serious questions that need to be asked. The medical community and health officials promote vaccines as the greatest achievement in modern medicine yet there is going fear over vaccine side effects.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Recently HDNet TV exposed the fact that while health officials continue to tell us studies show no link, the federal government has paid out millions of dollars for compensation for vaccine injuries that included autism. Seeing these children who were born healthy and were suddenly and dramatically affected by their vaccinations should give us all pause.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

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