Ignorance isn't really Bliss. It kills. Out there in the real world Arianna Huffington and Glen Beck are both doing their level best to destroy the tenuous link between Americans and rational discourse on vaccines and modern medicine. Over at the Atlantic Megan MacCardle does her poor bit on every other topic up to and including her own wedding. Tom Levenson opens a window to the problem at the highest intellectual level:
Rather, its crap like the sort purveyed by McArdle here, and many others like her,that do enormous damage, for it makes science and its results into pawns in a game of the sort high school debate teams play. It’s not the quality of the evidence or the argument that matters in such contests, just the quantity, and the ability to baffle a casual onlooker long enough to achieve the end desired. This is fine if you are trying to make it to State or Nationals. It’s not so good — disastrous, I would say, when the success of this strategy kills people, as it does in the current state of American health care.
Read the whole thing and remember that on the blogs, and in life, this stuff matters. Right now the crazy ladies at my pet christianist blog are determined to avoid all swine flu vaccines and replace it with vitamin d and pennyroyal. (No link because that whole community is so traumatized I don't want to send any rubberneckers over). They watch Glen Beck, but anti scientism is rampant in their communities and goes hand in hand with a radical, paranoid, fear of the neighbors and the government.