Being part of the Glasgow Skeptics team means that my social media feed skews heavily towards the type of stuff you’d probably be interested in reading as well. That assumption is based on the fact that your interest has been piqued enough to read this.

There’s little doubt therefore that you share the same sense of community pride, and admiration of science when something nice crops up, and a similar sense of outrage, disappointment, and desire to take action when pseudoscience (and downright anti-science) hits the headlines.

That internet-fuelled virtual rollercoaster is particularly evident when it comes to the subject of vaccines, and three recent stories that came to my attention illustrate this perfectly. So, I thought I’d share them.

Vaccines

 

The Good

Not just good, but happening right here in Scotland. The HPV vaccine is pretty new in terms of interventions, but we’re already starting to see measurable benefits.

  • Headline: HPV vaccine linked to ‘dramatic’ drop in cervical disease
  • Read the article here

The Bad

Many Homeopaths will deny that they’re antivaxxers. Unfortunately their argument is based on the mistaken impression that they can provide safe vaccine alternatives, known as ‘nosodes’. Spoiler alert – they don’t work. It does however provoke the question; What’s more dangerous, someone who’s not vaccinated and they know it, or someone who’s not vaccinated but sort of think they are?

  • Headline: Randomized controlled trial of homeopathic nosodes finds, not surprisingly, that they are useless
  • Read the article here

The Ugly

What’s the appropriate way to treat a grieving parent? If your answer is ‘cyberbullying’, then you might just be an antivaxxer. A recent article cites a number of occasions where people who have suffered the worst kind of tragedy, then have to go on and suffer the worst of people. All the evidence you need that the more extreme your beliefs, the more likely you are to do something awful.

  • Headline … is too long to copy & paste in here because it’s the Daily Mail
  • Read the article here

 


So, what can we learn from this?

Science progresses despite the best efforts of some particularly noisy dissenters. We should be actively promoting the positive stories to try and dampen the harmful effects coming from the other side.

Go on then … you know what to do!