19 Replies to “Drat! We didn’t make the Top Ten …

  1. 1

    Link doesn’t seem to work. I get a blank page. Unless of course they have no opinion and are expressing such. 😉

  2. 2
    Jello says:

    Better luck next year!

    Philip Johnson is an AIDS denier so you might consider posting a few articles along those lines to help boost your score.

  3. 3
    News says:

    We just tried the link and it works. Maybe they had a run of angry people protesting the decisions?

    We do! We work hard around here to provide the very best in “anti-science.”

  4. 4

    I keep trying the link and it still doesn’t work. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ll try a different browser though.

    Maybe we should start our own list: “The best dogmatic materialist sites on the net.”

    Then maybe we’ll be a contender for next year.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Oh, they may be stampeded by people planning the next school reading list. 😉 Your idea is a great one. We won’t contend because we really do’t have much to offer there.

  6. 6

    Chrome worked, Safari didn’t.

    I find myself agreeing with some of their choices. They seem to be focused on YECers and conspiracy theorists, though I wouldn’t characterize YECers as anti-science.

    Also, while I agree that the autism/vaccine link has been adequately questioned scientifically, it’s not exactly anti-science to believe that there might still be a link, since there are still ongoing studies. It’s one of those tentative areas of science where it’s still allowed to be a question. I don’t believe the evidence is there, but it could still be a factor that we’ve overlooked. There do appear to be some coincidental connections between the rise in vaccinations and the rise in cases of autism. But there could be other factors that account for the rise; such as better diagnostic criteria and practices. Autism may in fact be something that is more common than we think, and has a history that goes far beyond the first vaccines. That’s why I’m skeptical of the claim. Asperger’s (and others) work was relatively recent, and so is the diagnostic criteria. So what coincides is not always evidence of a connection. But it’s not anti-science to look into a possible connection. It’s what science should do.

    HuffPo though tends to push the autism/vaccine connection, so I can see the rationality behind that choice.

  7. 7

    Jello,

    While I’m not an AIDS denier myself, there are some very prominent scientists who are, including a Nobel laureate in science. To say that what is termed AIDS “denialism” is anti-science is to say that science has all the answers regarding AIDS and HIV, which it does not. The question of whether HIV is THE factor in AIDS is a legitimate scientific question. I’m not a denier because I believe it has been adequately answered, but not being an expert in the area I have to remain cautious in that view and open to possible alternative explanations.

    Where I think some of the AIDS “denialists” may have gone wrong is in thinking that an alternative explanation was the best;and which may be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths to AIDS in South Africa. I wouldn’t necessarily say that those who advised the South Africans on AIDS were anti-science, but were perhaps over-zealous for their science informed explanation, and should have been more cautious.

    Scientists and others must be allowed to be wrong without being labeled as anti-science. I think we could come up with a far better term for those who aren’t in the majority of science informed opinion. Otherwise we approach the danger of consensus science; which has often repeatedly been shown to be wrong. So it could be said that consensus science is anti-science by the same criteria.

  8. 8
    Jello says:

    Point taken, and nobody least of all the scientists think AIDS is solved.

    But does it really take a group of people like Philip Johnson to sign a list reminding scientists of this? So what if Philip Johnson is skeptical of HIV being responsible for AIDS. You might as well ask me or my cat.

    No, the list is purely political in nature; stemming as it does from the religious hope that AIDS would be shown to result from a gay lifestyle rather than a virus.

  9. 9
    nullasalus says:

    No, the list is purely political in nature; stemming as it does from the religious hope that AIDS would be shown to result from a gay lifestyle rather than a virus.

    AIDS does not spring forth from the bodies of people with homosexual inclinations in some kind of odd ‘flies originate from dead meat’ way.

    But the idea that the “gay lifestyle” – if that includes some cultural aspects and trends in a certain segment of the population – hasn’t resulted in some serious exacerbation of AIDS as a problem, is just wrong. How would you react to a morbidly obese person saying that heart disease stems from blocked arteries, and it’s just some nanny-state hope to somehow connect it with their lifestyle choices?

  10. 10

    I don’t think anybody is arguing that AIDS is necessarily the result of a lifestyle choice. Certainly there are some sexual practices which contribute to acquiring AIDS, but not all gay people end up with AIDS, and most cases of AIDS in Africa (for example) are not gay related.

    From what I understand the AIDS “denialists” as saying is that there may be certain areas that have been overlooked, such as IV drug use, which is heavier among populations that typically acquire the illness. Even the gay community is cautioning against the practices of combining drug use with sexual activity as a contributor to the spread of AIDS. And there are arguments and disagreements among them – particularly from gay AIDS activists who recognize that certain factions in the gay community are contributing to the spread of AIDS – particularly gay bathhouses and the popular “color parties” (white, green, blue, etc.) as just two examples, where drug use combined with unprotected sex is more common despite efforts to curb their use. I happen to think it’s due more to what drugs do socially as in relaxing inhibitions to those sexual practices that place a person at risk; but there could be other contributing factors in their use. So I don’t think it’s necessarily a political concern, but a moral concern with certain factors that place people at risk, and some in the gay community are supportive of exploring such issues. They (the “denialists”) may be wrong about it, but I don’t think they are politically motivated as much as morally motivated as are some of the gay AIDS activists.

    Furthermore, even the overall gay community has acknowledged that there are certain sexual practices most common among gay men that are high risk factors to acquiring AIDS. I don’t think that is disputed. It’s recognition has been there from the beginning when AIDS was first named as a disease in the 1980s. For the AIDS “denialists” to also recognize this is not a political move, but a recognition of what science has found overwhelmingly true, that anal sex in particular (due to the exchanging of bodily fluids) is a dangerous contributing risk factor, whether “protected” or not. What they (the “denialists”) want to see is if HIV itself is the cause of AIDS, or if the continued sexual and drug use practices are also contributory, as well as certain other factors like certain HIV drugs themselves. We have to ask why some people die very quickly after being diagnosed with HIV, while some people live for decades after; and what is different about their own sexual practices as well as other issues. I am convinced that the newer HIV drugs are not contributory but helpful, but I also believe that it’s not anti-science to ask these questions and to continue the research. If we fail to do that because we believe that certain people of a minority opinion are only politically motivated, then we too are not doing science, but allowing our own socio/political motivations to get in the way of research.

    So I’m not with the “denialists” as far as their conclusions in some areas, but I am with them as far as a need to continue their research and to learn from their mistakes. Many mistakes have also been made by those of the majority opinion, after all.

  11. 11
    markf says:

    It is one thing to have minority opinion and argue for it. It is another to do your damndest to change the way that people are being treated for a fatal condition when you are in a tiny minority. The majority of experts may be wrong sometimes but they are right far more often than the minority and someone has to act. If your minority opinion turns out to be wrong and you get governments to change their strategy based on this and people die as a result then your are culpable for those deaths.

  12. 12
    Joseph says:

    markf:

    If your minority opinion turns out to be wrong and you get governments to change their strategy based on this and people die as a result then your are culpable for those deaths.

    So if the majority is wrong it’s OK if people die because of it?

  13. 13
    markf says:

    So if the majority is wrong it’s OK if people die because of it?

    Well – clearly no one is happy if people die because of an error. But I would say that if you act in the light of the majority of expert opinion then you are unlucky rather than culpable. Wouldn’t you agree?

  14. 14
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    Why would culpability for deaths vary depending on whether one is in the majority or the minority?

  15. 15
    Petrushka says:

    I think the priorities are correct.

    Incorrect science is just noise. Bad medical advice is dangerous.

    What would we all do with our spare time without UD to poke sticks at? It improves everybody’s game, even those of you who are always wrong. 🙂

    Quack medicine, however, can kill people.

  16. 16
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    It started being fun once I never realized I was never, ever going to win an argument. There’s nothing like people who vigorously disagree to show me the holes in my reasoning.

  17. 17
    Joseph says:

    markf:

    But I would say that if you act in the light of the majority of expert opinion then you are unlucky rather than culpable.

    So if I act in the minority and save lives I am just lucky and my expertise had nothing to do with it?

    But yes, hopefully that majority is so unlucky they were the people who died- instant karma and all…

  18. 18
    markf says:

    Why would culpability for deaths vary depending on whether one is in the majority or the minority?

    I said the majority of expert opinion – that is an important distinction. If you have decided the experts are wrong and you are right then you have taken responsibility for your actions. If you defer to them then you are also deferring the moral responsibility for the action being right.

  19. 19
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    Markf,

    I guess I agree, sort of. If I’m convinced that the majority expert opinion is wrong, so convinced that I feel I must act differently, then I will do so, but I’m responsible.

    But what if I’m right and the majority is wrong? Are others not responsible because they chose not to question or to leave the responsibility entirely on someone else?

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