Two posts today; the first is a response to another group member’s post from last time (Ch 10-14), and the second is a paragraph on something that particularly struck you from Ch 15-18 (I’m really liking the way you’re going with discussions when I keep prompts very general, so we’ll stick with that for the rest of PV unless it stops working well).

The book is called “Panic Virus”

The summery of chapters is online.

For the he first paragraph, you can choose any of theses responses to response to him. However, the second paragraph you have to write a good response. Each response paragraph should have 150 words, so the total about 250 – 300 words only. at the bottom, there is a response i wrote (just example)

1- There was a ton of stuff I found interesting in the reading, so instead of grabbing one topic and running with it I’m going to address a few topics I found entertaining, interesting, or particularly noteworthy. The first thing I appreciated was the fact that, unlike in Merchant’s of Doubt, Mnookin specifically calls out (if briefly) the fact that the “Association of American Sugeons” are actually an extremely right wing group that is usually against evidence based science, even though their name paints the picture that they are a simple group of medical doctors with an opinion that the public would assume is a well informed and thought out. I heard several conversations I’ve had in the past echoed in the chapter about Thimerosal: The small chemical differences between ethylmercury and methylmercury result in a large difference in their apparent toxicities on the human body. When (as Mnookin would say) “lay people” try to blatantly appeal to chemical structures of things, such as the (usually incorrect) composition of artificial sweetners, I sometimes connect their argument analogously with the differences between ethanol and methanol, a claim which usually falls on deaf ears. And that is exactly what happened when the press began reporting about the investigation into thimerosal toxicity stemming from vaccines: anti vaxxers sounded the horn, and began spinning webs out of the results of methylmercury poisoning. The fact that the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition was founded on amateur epidemiological conclusions was something I found actually funny, but also disturbing- The fact that their “research” led to a federal study that concluded that their realizations were incorrect, and that the rate of cancer on long island is no greater than that of the rest of the country is not mentioned anywhere on their website but that their efforts resulted in congress taking notice IS mentioned on the homepage of their website. The fact that Thomas Verstraeten’s epidemiological study showed the rate of cerebral palsy had a negative correlation with the use of ethylmercury was hilarious in light of the fact that Redwood walked away from the presentation with only the idea in her mind that thimerosal was the cause of autism: because methylmercury can cause cerebral palsy, and it had been shown to decrease as thimerosal increased. What can be said about ethylmercury, methylmercury, or any conclusions that can be drawn from Verstraeten’s presentation at all?

2- Honestly, I was struck by how much an individual who did not give his research utmost scrutiny, time and honesty influenced so much the public view of vaccines. Leaving alone people like Sallie Bernard, Liz Birt, Lyn Redwood and some other members of SafeMinds, Andrew Wakefield?s research papers and assertion of his scientific views on vaccines influenced so much how people related autism to MMR vaccines. Even though his research results were always questioned and disregarded by the science community, he had the publicity as people often thought he would render some sort of magical healing to their autistic kids. He seemed so concerned about the parents of these kids and the kids? conditions that there was no way parents wouldn?t believe he was right and was always fighting for them. Of course, when I say that Wakefield contributed so much to the public perception or fear of vaccines, I am not ignoring the role played by the media in misleading the public. The media sensationalized titles in articles published at sometimes misrepresented views portrayed by some scientists. Neal Halsey, for example, a then high-profile director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety criticized the New York Times Magazine for misrepresenting his opinion on the thimerosal threat by using highly sensationalized titles. One of the captions of the article read, ?Neal Halsey says that vaccinologists have no choice but to take the thimerosal threat seriously.” That is how the media played in, and again, I believe that this panic and fear of vaccines and new technologies continues even in this modern world.

3- The chapter that really peaked my interest was chapter 11, The Mercury Moms. As I continue reading throughout this book, the topic of autism and the journey to “find the cause” has been interesting to read. One common theory that I noticed ,while reading and hearing more horror stories about children dying, was the fact that there was a stigma behind a child having autism. As if a child was able to choose to have that ailment. Unfortunately, not only is that a problem that women are still facing today, but the stigma around children with autism and how to treat them. I appreciate programs like the Autism Research Foundation because they are working to help those who fall into the spectrum.

The is an example of my responses ( the first paragraph and the second )

1- Seth Moonkin introduces the Morgellon’s syndrome, a term that was invented by Mary Leito. The condition is characterized a skin condition is characterized by the appearance of skin lesions with filaments that lie under, are embedded in, or project from the skin. The filaments are black, brightly colored or white. The Morgellon’s disorder issue embodies the intensity of the internet in spreading alarm, making disarray and joining similarly invested individuals who generally would not know about each other’s presence. Clearly, the internet can be an awesome assist for good, yet it can likewise be an assist for hurt, particularly when used to affirm one’s inclinations and to abstain from doing the genuine investigation into complex causal issues. The political angle is also questioned. Despite the scientist disregarding the disorder as delusional, the Congress moved the CDC to carry out additional tests on the disease due to the position of different politicians on the issue.

2- Hello Tayer,

Your response is well detailed and provides an in-depth understanding of the chapters. Based on your criticism, the motivations behind a majority of decisions made by politicians concerning scientific issues. This is highlighted in the Morgellon’s case. I agree with your interpretation of the issue, and I also believe that sometimes, politicians do not act for the good of the people, but in most cases, the decisions made are a matter of opposition. Your analysis on the political influences in scientific issues is critical, and we get to understand that Congress had the bigger push in the case despite the invalidity of the signs. All in all, the response is comprehensive and well analyzed.

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