Pseudoscience From The Left

While denial of modern science has become commonplace on the right, unfortunately we still have examples of pseudoscience from the left blogosophere. Now Jim Carrey, blogging at Huffington Post, is suddenly an expert on vaccines as he repeats the debunked claims connecting them to autism.

While conservatives often stick together in their promotion of views contrary to science, liberal bloggers are frequently willing to condemn the pseudoscience of people such as Jim Carrey, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Deepak Chopra. PZ Myers criticizes both those who promote pseudoscience along with the Huffington Post for posting material from celebrities without knowlege of the topics they write about:

I know how much Orac dislikes the Huffington Post — I despise it myself as the doman of airheaded woo of the type represented by Deepak Chopra, and the only time I glance at it is to remind myself that the left can also sink into sloppy stupidity as deeply as the right. But poor Orac — his head might just explode into flames when he reads this simperingly stupid piece on vaccines from Jim Carrey.

The Huffpo is a little island of pampered fluff, where celebrities are asked to ‘blog’ (it really isn’t, though—they tend to drop these little turds of pseudo-wisdom, and then never hang around to interact with their readers) simply because they are celebrities, and we are expected to pay attention despite their lack of substantive authority. It’s the People magazine of the lefty blogosphere, and I’m really ashamed to see that as one of the showpieces of my political affiliation.


  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I find the quality of celebrity blogging on HuffPo to be, like the quality of all blogging anywhere, widely variable. Harry Shearer’s articles about some of the hard facts about New Orleans and Katrina that have been lost in the sensationalism over politics and refugees are the only place to read about a lot of those facts. Neither the liberal nor the conservative media are concerned about the facts in question, merely how to spin the sensationalism to their own advantage. Mr. Shearer deserves more attention, not less. Filmmaker Mitchell Bard has written some insightful pieces about Israel, sometimes showing far more knowledge of the subject (or at least honesty in analysis) than the genuine ‘experts’ like Alon ben Meir.

    On the flip side, I do not consider Alec Baldwin or Jamie Lee Curtis to blog with the same acumen. I still find it interesting to know what they are thinking, however.

    I haven’t read the piece in question, and honestly I’m not heavily motivated to do so. There legitimate questions about the science of vaccinations (most notably the watering down of our immune systems and the evolution of more dangerous bacteria, as the payoff for fewer diseases) and there are some questions about the origins of autism… though I believe that the real origins of autism are the massively increased input stressors of modern life.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Perhaps I should have included something of a disclaimer in the post. I don’t despise Huffington Post but did want to point out the manner in which many liberals will not tolerate pseudoscience the way conservatives do. Huffington Post both has good and bad material posted–which would be expected when they often post based upon the fame of the writer rather than their expertise in the topic.

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I was responding to the quoted article’s snotty dismissal of HuffPo more than I was accusing you of sharing the writer’s sentiments. I agree entirely with your assessment.

    Though I do have to admit, without wanting to stroke you too much, that I have become more active here, on The Anonymous Liberal, Jenn Q Public, and my own blog than on HuffPo.

  4. 4
    Christopher says:

    I’m not comfortable with Mercury being used to stabilize the vaccines we receive just because I know Mercury is toxic and really unnecessary.

    As someone with life-long asthma — well controlled, I’m happy to report, I am required to get the flu shot each year because for me, flu can have dire consequences. I absolutely asked my doctor if the flu vaccine contains Mercury. She said no but, this wasn’t always true.

    I had all my silver amalgam fillings replaced with white, plastic-based product too. The silver amalgam contains Mercury and yes, it leaks. Plus, the white, plastic-based looks much better aesthetically.

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    These are wholly valid medical concerns with which I won’t argue, Christopher.

    However, the highly controversial hypothesis that autism and vaccinations are linked is far less clear cut than something like ‘Mercury is toxic’, which is a proven scientific fact.

    It might be slight stretch to say that the linkage has been thoroughly and irrefutably debunked, but the initial studies have been shown to not meet the standards of peer review. This does not mean future studies might not meet those standards, but it does make a glaring statement about the original studies.

    This issue is related to a statement I made in the discussion of scholarship on another post… good science and scholarship is process driven, not agenda driven. One makes use of all available information to prove or disprove one’s theory, one does not simply cherry-pick to bolster it while ignoring other evidence and sources.

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