Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our Institutes of Science Need to Be More Vigilant

     Recently in the news there was the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation asked anti vaccine mouthpiece Jenny McCarthy to leas an all day fitness event. After a campaign by skeptics and Science Advocacy groups  they decided to drop her from the bill and go with another fitness guru.

     Now it seems that Simon Fraser University is renting space to the self proclaimed Vaccine Resistance Movement for their vaccine summit. This is billed as an open discussion about vaccines. In reality it will be a full day of fear mongering, misinformation, and lies. The results are in, vaccines are safe and effective. There is not a single government health authority in the modernized countries, or a single university medical program that has refuted these findings. In fact if we look to science, there is no evidence at all that vaccines do more harm than good.

     Now before I go on a rant about how vaccines save lives, and how we're in the middle of an outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases due to the drop in vaccination rates of children. That's not what I want to focus on here. Nor am I stating that any of these people or organizations should be silenced. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, no matter how dangerous and anti science they are.

     My issue is when an organization that is supposed to represent science, or medicine lends a platform to these cranks. When a university lends a space for such an anti science movement such as this, they lend them credibility they don't deserve. There is not two sides to this issue, this is not an issue that's up for debate. Sixty plus years of scientific and medical research, all overwhelmingly coming to the same conclusion is a fact we can trust.

     CFI Canada has written this open letter to Simon Fraser University asking them to reconsider this action. The Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University has also issued this notice disavowing any link with this group.

     I think a little more vigilance from our science based institutes is in order. The anti vaccine movement is becoming more vocal, and in turn the vaccination rates have been dropping. Right now across North America we are experiencing the worst outbreak in 70 years of whooping cough. This is attributed directly to the lower rates of children being vaccinated. Just because anyone should be allowed to spout unscientific nonsense and fear mongering, doesn't mean our scientific organizations needs to give them a platform.

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