Thursday, May 07, 2009

Oprah Winfrey is a problem

Oprah Winfrey is now promoting irrational beliefs about vaccination and autism.

She can't possibly cause as much harm as the hundreds of thousands of people effectively killed by the irrational beliefs of Thabo Mbeki. She will cause harm though. Some children that should have lived will die, and much energy that might go to preventing or managing cognitive disorders will be wasted countering her stupidity.

Whatever good she's done in her life will soon be outmatched by the harm she will cause.
If you are a person of reason, don't let your money go to Oprah Winfrey.

Update 5/16/09: Salon article on the Oprah problem. Twenty years ago "Dear Abby" had a milder version of the Oprah disease -- she championed the surgical and medical advice of her elite physician friends, even when there was no supporting science.

1 comment:

AC said...

I hope that Oprah is promoting discussion and debate on this topic, but I fear, well, I fear a lot of things.

The Vaccination Debate is one of the great examples of a debate gone bad. One side has allowed emotions, principally fear based, to blind them to the facts.

The Science is pretty clear on the effectiveness of vaccines, and the math suggests that we'd be in a heck of a pickle without them.

The Higher Courts (of a few countries) have also been pretty clear.
I offer two quotes from US Judges (me: I'm a Canadian, but the debate is pretty worldwide)

In one U.S. case, the judge, George Hastings, wrote that he had no doubt that, "parents and relatives are sincere in their belief that the MMR vaccine played a role in causing … devastating disorders." He added that, "Unfortunately … they have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgement." He went on to say that, "the overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners' causation theories."

In another U.S. case, Judge Denise Vowell said that in order to believe the thesis, "an objective observer would have to emulate Lewis Carroll's White Queen and be able to believe six impossible (or at least highly improbable) things before breakfast."