[ExI] autism/vaccination link

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Mon Jun 1 04:45:47 UTC 2009

2009/5/30 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
> Some here may have attended Dr. Kaufman's pitch at Stanford a couple years
> ago.
> http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio..1000114#
> This article points out something I have been thinking for some time now,
> and I am seeing it more and more, or perhaps perceiving that which was
> always there.  We see science matters that are clouded by politics and other
> considerations, to the point where the actual science becomes irrelevant.
> A good example was that article I posted yesterday on Bernoulli numbers,
> where the mainstream press went on and on about the formula being found by a
> teenage Swedish immigrant from Iraq, paragraph after paragraph in one news
> story after another, but none of them would actually just write out the damn
> formula!  None!  So how can we evaluate?  I don't care who he was or where
> he was from, just the formula please.  It really isn't all about "See there,
> immigration to Sweden is good."  Politics dominated what should have been a
> purely scientific article.
> Other examples, the obvious one, evolution vs "intelligent" design.
> Anthropogenic global warming.
> Now this autism/vaccination link.
> It looks to me like science is being robbed of its credibility by factors
> beyond our control.
> spike

I think this might be the dark side of the evolution the internet;
nasty, resilient super memes.

The internet has had a great initial effect of shining the light of
rationality onto commonly held ideas, under which poor ideas would
break. So, for instance, I see woo taking a hit everywhere. For a fun
example, see the comments on this site:


On the other hand, memes adapt on a bacterial timeframe. I think we're
generating rationality resistant memeplexes at an accelerating pace.

Also, I'll go ahead and blame the mainstream media here. I think we're
increasingly seeing them fall behind the 'net as a good way of
providing information. They're hopeless one-way, a paradigm that's
looking increasingly wrong. They're also slower than the 'net; how
often these days do you see them reporting stuff lifted from somewhere

I think as they struggle more, the worse parts of that world are
sinking more into irrational discourse even that before. So, they
function as an excellent amplifier for the memeplexes that resist
rationality. Spike's examples above are great for this.

So, we get these increasingly virulent irrational memplexes. Think of
them like those hoax emails (eg: "Forward this email and Bill Gates
will send you $200"), but working in spaces that matter.

I don't know how you fight them. Rational argument delivered top down
(eg: authorities denouncing them) doesn't work, they're already
hardened to it. Maybe a good strategy is bottom-up rationality? All of
us form a rational immune system for the group. Each person's part is
to challenge these irrational memes wherever they pop up in our daily
lives; don't let them go unchallenged.


http://emlyntech.wordpress.com - coding related
http://point7.wordpress.com - ranting
http://emlynoregan.com - main site

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