So, here we have an investigator [Dr. Judy Mikovits] who did sloppy science and tried to extrapolate far beyond what her findings, even if correct, would justify and whose results scientists were unable to replicate, despite trying several times. Ultimately, she was fired and charged with the crime of taking WPI lab notebooks and data.
And she's a hero to cranks, both in the CFS community and in the anti-vaccine underground.
Now let's contrast this to another case that readers of this blog are likely to be familiar with, the case of Poul Thorsen. You remember Poul Thorsen, don't you? He is the Danish researcher who was a co-investigator in what is now colloquially known as the "Danish study," which resulted in two famous papers in the early 2000s that provided strong evidence against a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Unfortunately, last year he was indicted on charges of fraud and misuse of federal grant funds. As a result, the anti-vaccine movement tried to paint him as the face of vaccine safety research and argue that his fraud meant that the Danish studies were frauds, too, and that therefore all the research showing no link between thimerosal and autism should be questioned. No, I'm not exaggerating. Not only that, but even though Thorsen was not the first or last author on either paper (his name was, in fact, buried in the middle of the author list), suddenly he became the face of the Danish studies (at least to the anti-vaccine movement). Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., for instance, referred to him as a "central figure behind the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism" and did his best to invent a huge CDC coverup. In a move that was completely the opposite of how it is behaving with regard to Judy Mikovits, the anti-vaccine crank blog piled on, posting dozens of screeds trying to cast doubt upon the Danish study based on Thorsen's legal troubles.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Mikovits the saint and Thorsen the sinner?
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