No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong. | Houston Press

Before you crouch behind your Shield of Opinion you need to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is this actually an opinion? 2. If it is an opinion how informed is it and why do I hold it?

This has to be the best article of the entire year: “No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong.”

It also not coincidentally is the root of the vast majority of the problems the world is currently facing. There are so many great quotes here, I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll highlight the same one Kimb Quark did that brought my attention to it:

“There’s nothing wrong with an opinion on those things. The problem comes from people whose opinions are actually misconceptions. If you think vaccines cause autism you are expressing something factually wrong, not an opinion. The fact that you may still believe that vaccines cause autism does not move your misconception into the realm of valid opinion. Nor does the fact that many other share this opinion give it any more validity.”

Jef Rouner
in No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong | Houston Press

 

Pictured: A bunch of people who were murdered regardless of someone's opinion on the subject
Pictured: A bunch of people who were murdered regardless of someone’s opinion on the subject
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Author: Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

25 thoughts on “No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong. | Houston Press”

  1. Loren, for the most part, the entire argument against vaccines, and particularly as it relates to Autism, hinges exactly on the topic of mercury used as a preservative in vaccines. The preservative that you mention is known as thimerosal. Quoting directly from the CDC’s own page [http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/thimerosal/]:
    “Since 2001, with the exception of some influenza (flu) vaccines, thimerosal is not used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines.”
    “Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930’s. There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.”
    Most of this manufactured controversy stems from a single journal article in a 1997 study published by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon. The article was published in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, suggesting that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children. The paper has since been completely discredited due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from The Lancet.
    If you care to read any of the studies in the area to prove any of the claims for yourself, try: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=thimerosal+and+autism&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0CBsQgQMwAGoVChMIgd3Pjej0xgIVws6ACh3RTw2x
    If you’re not motivated to plumb the depths of the journal articles, thic mic.com post does a pretty good job of summing up some of the other “controversies” and provides links to specific journal articles as well: http://mic.com/articles/85725/7-biggest-lies-spread-by-the-anti-vaccine-movement-debunked-by-science

    1. Excellent explanation … There is so much fear mongering. I actually had a conversation with a leading behavior change expert for Canada about this. He was floored to hear we allow exemptions . Many in the antivaxer community are well educated, wealthy and believe the science behind climate change. But they don’t trust the science and supporting evidence that shows vaccines are not causing autism. There is an interesting behavioral research study there …

    2. I’m in the midst of Francis Fukuyama’s “The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution” in which he outlines the growth of political institutions. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00457X7VI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00457X7VI&linkCode=as2&tag=boffosocko-20&linkId=6QNO26EJCALWWAKM
      He actually covers some of the psychology and thought behind why societies hold on to long-held beliefs, ideas, stereotypes, and even falsehoods as a mechanism to protect themselves.

  2. Dan, you’re correct in much of this, though I suspect that some of the current research coming out of the area of complexity theory, particularly from Santa Fe Institute, may remedy this in the area of economics in the future.
    There is also the issue of researchers like John Ioannidis http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124 which is well covered by this general science article: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21588057-scientists-think-science-self-correcting-alarming-degree-it-not-trouble or by some of the popular writings of researcher like Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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