tip off

Kooks n crackpots … give ‘em publicity, own the consequences

The Right continues to whine and dine at an impressive rate, with a new “victim of PC” visitor to our shores being announced — Thilo Sarrazin, former member of the Board of Germany’s state bank, and author of Deutschland Schafft Sich AbGermany Abolishes Itself, who is being brought to Australia by the Centre for Independent Studies, for its Big Ideas conference in August.

Germany Abolishes Itself has been presented as a startling new truth-telling, blah, blah, about immigration and multiculturalism, but its core argument is nothing new — simply a restatement of the hysterical notion that Muslims are taking over Europe — and specifically Germany in this case — with a higher birth rate, welfare dependency, etc, etc.

As with all such books, the argument is made by relying on statistical improbability — take the highest possible Muslim immigrant birth rate and the lowest possible European-German one and crunch the numbers. Even then, you only get a 25% Muslim-European population by the end of the century. Hardly a takeover, and a figure of 10%-12% would be more likely.

Where Sarrazin does have something novel to say is in his outright racialism. For years Sarrazin has been making tetchy remarks about Turks and Arabs, which rapidly degenerated into an obsession with bloodlines. Like home-grown obsessives, he is obsessed with not merely the veil, which is rarely seen in Germany, but also in any form of headscarf whatsoever.

As Timothy Garton Ash demonstrated in a filleting of the book, Sarrazin can’t get his figures consistent on how many Muslim women are wearing the headscarf, but, in the words of La Hanson, he doesn’t like it, and he has a nasty turn of phrase when speaking of it:

I will not show respect for anyone that is not making that effort. I do not have to acknowledge anyone who lives by welfare, denies the legitimacy of the very state that provides that welfare, refuses to care for the education of his children and constantly produces new little headscarf-girls …”

Ah the fecund brown-skinned ones, producing new coiffed breeders. With no evidence at all, Sarrazin then goes on to say:

This holds true for 70 percent of the Turkish and 90 percent of the Arabic population in Berlin …”

Not only that, but the natives are polluting the flower of German womanhood:

Since Arab boys can’t make out with their Arab girls they use easier-to-get lower-class German girls, whom they then despise for being so easy to make out with.”

And sometimes Sarrazin’s pronouncements tend to the self-parodic:

The Turks are conquering Germany, just like the Kosovars conquered Kosovo, with a higher birth rate.”

These sorts of remarks had led to Sarrazin getting the push from a political post — he is a member of the most conservative faction of the Social Democratic Party — and kicked upstairs to the Bundesbank. What made it impossible for him to continue fully in that position was the part of the book where he began to dabble in genetics, arguing that all Jews had a gene unique to them, which made them more intelligent on average than others. Sarrazin argued that there was nothing racist about this — after all, he noted, the Jews in this respect are just the same as the Basques.

When Germans start arguing for the essential racial difference of Jews, people start to take notice. There is, of course, nothing racist about observing that there is genetic variation within the human species — but such variation maps onto no religious or racial (i.e. skin tone) category. Sarrazin’s defenders hit back at charges that he was anti-Semitic by arguing that he was in fact philo-Semitic.

Yet in Europe, philo-Semitism has long accompanied anti-Semitism, and been its pretext — those crafty Jews tricking innocent folk into wars, they must be controlled, etc, etc. And of course accompanying his crackpot theories of Jewish genes, he speculates that Turks may be genetically predisposed to lesser intelligence. This is all nasty untermenschen sort of stuff.

For his defenders, who include the part-German Oliver Marc Hartwich, of the CIS, Sarrazin is a victim of the PC brigade because his ideas have been attacked as abhorrent, the usual Right whine. To write a book attacking a whole race/religion of people as welfare scroungers and promote racialist theorising is legitimate — to push back against it vigorously is censorship. Pathetic.

Sarrazin’s visit to Australia adds another character to the rogues’ gallery that the Right seems increasingly willing to entertain (it is unfair, but irresistible to point out that like the pop-eyed Lord Monckton, Sarrazin has a defect that seems to express his ideas — a pinched nerve gives him what is described as a “permanent smirk” on the right side of his face).

Increasingly there seems to be a willingness by what was once the respectable Right to fish in the polluted waters of irrationalism, whether it’s the crackpottery of Monckton, anti-vaccination obsessives such as Melanie Phillips, and in this case Germans preaching forms of racial superiority. This is really a return to form by the Right — for years, the wilder moments of postmodernism gave them the opportunity to portray themselves as defenders of the Enlightenment. But irrationalism — about race, about science — has long been at home on the Right, as capitalism requires mythical “pre-political” communities — such as race or nation — as compensation for its alienating effects. What is remarkable about the CIS is its willingness to trash its own reputation by repeated association with a whole toolbox full of cranks.

In the case of Monckton and others, I would hope that they be brought out as often as possible — in Monckton’s case, if the Right will no longer host him, the Greens should, such is his invaluable status to their cause. But Sarrazin is something else — the type of Northern Protestant German who manages to look back on his own country’s history with a nostalgia made possible by blocking out one crucial period of it entirely. Sarrazin remembers ’50s West Germany as a golden age. He wishes that Turkish “guest workers” had never been brought to Germany in the 1960s — without whom of course, there would have been no economic miracle.

Thus, his version of the past half-century is a beguiling fantasy, not least in the incredible charge that it is the Muslims who failed to integrate — when it is obvious to anyone that it was the exclusion of guest workers from permanent residency or any form of social reciprocity by German chauvinism that isolated guest workers, and taught them that they could rely only on each other. This is obvious from any comparison of the position of Turks in Germany, and Turkish-Australians. But Sarrazin would run a mile from any sort of Australian-style integration, which involved an expansion of the idea of what it is to be Australian, not the obsessive preservation of a mythical and sainted culture.

Germany of course has abolished itself — but it did so in 1939-45, when it became the agent of radical evil, and forever associated with that act. Germans cannot fully connect with their history because a breach runs through the middle of it — and thus they remain isolated in the present, a sort of generic EU-land amidst destroyed cities rebuilt as charmless high-rise towns, their culture now largely a collection of habits. Compared to the damage Germans wreaked on themselves, immigration has done very little to change the picture. Their current hodge-podge of multiculturalism policies may be far from satisfactory, but it’s a hell of a lot better than their last experiment in vigorous monoculturalism.

That latter episode plays no part in the thinking of people such as Sarrazin or Hartwich, so they can never see what is obvious to those outside — that the spectacle of a German speaking about the dilution of a pure culture by cultural/racial inferiors, buttressed by arguments from genetics, shows such a blithe failure of self-awareness, and lack of moral seriousness that it should not be associated with. Sarrazin or anyone else can say what they like, where they like, as far as I’m concerned — but those who give them financial aid and publicity to say it, have to own it. The CIS will claim that it doesn’t agree with racialist thinking, etc, etc, but those will be weasel words — even among ideas you disagree with, you have to make decisions about what you will and won’t grant legitimacy to by your material support.

Germany as a nation cannot be held to collective blame for WW2 and the Holocaust — but nor was its occurrence there pure coincidence. The unique character of Nazism was produced by an obsessive concern about the purity of German identity, its encirclement by enemies, and its preservation at all costs. Sarrazin’s easy slide from arguments about immigration and welfare dependency to his obsessive concern with “little headscarf girls”, and inter-racial s-x is a voice from the depths. There are plenty of respectable people to make arguments about national identity and social welfare, and the CIS shames itself by being associated with a figure who peddles this junk, in this century. In that respect, it will be interesting to see if Jewish community groups can break off from their full-time Zionism long enough to challenge notions of essential Jewish genes — or whether they are now so co-opted to the political Right that they will smile and “wait till it blows over”.

But why not conclude with a quote from the man himself, speaking of Islam:

In no other religion is the transition to violence, dictatorship and terrorism so fluid …”

Islam? Really? When most of us think of rapid transitions to violence, dictatorship and terror, it is another grouping that we think of first, Herr Sarrazin of Deutschland …

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  • 1
    Martin C. Jones
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, come on – that crack about Nazi Germany at the end was completely unnecessary. You can criticise a man without criticising his country, and conflating Sarrazin’s views with those of Germany in a piece attacking Sarrazin’s broad-brush portrayal of ethnic groupings is both ironic and insulting to Germans.

    For the record, Sarrazin’s views have been the subject of vigorous debate in Germany for several years, and they are by no means commonly accepted. Rundle fails to mention that the German Bundesbank kicked Sarrazin out in October of last year (a tricky process, as that required the approval of the German President), and that significant portions of the Social Democratic Party (including its current leader, Sigmar Gabriel) attempt to throw him out of that party, too.

    He is not quite as marginalised as Mr. Monckton is in England, but Sarrazin does not represent Germany.

  • 2
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Don’t bring up the Nazis, Herr Rundle. It’s almost too easy. Go for the Thirty Years’ War instead - no better example I can think of showing religion - Catholic and Protestant in its most violent, dictatorial, and terrorist. And most of it happened in merry old Deutschland. Württemberg losing three quarters of its population - how do you like them apples?

  • 3
    Sally Jones
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    anti-vaccination obsessives such as Melanie Phillips. Guy Rundle Wrote:

    So you support unbridled vaccinations do you Guy? Are you a parent Guy? I am sorry for nit-picking your excellent article, but it’s a big NIT to PICK.

  • 4
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree that Rundle skates close to Godwin’s law, but it is hard to respond otherwise to a German complaining about despoiling the nation’s racial purity.

    Loved ’ … a whole toolbox full of cranks’.

  • 5
    Sally Jones
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    anti-vaccination obsessives such as —  —  — - Guy Rundle Wrote:

    So you support unbridled vaccinations do you Guy? Are you a parent Guy? I am sorry for nit-picking your excellent article, but it’s a big NIT to PICK.

  • 6
    Flicka
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Quick factual question: what exactly is an ‘unbridled vaccination’, and how does it compare to a ‘bridled’ one? And should we be using equine metaphors in this context? Really? The concept of a vaccination being ‘given its head in the home straight’ is quite icky…

    Have to say, I had all the required ones as a kid and seem to have grown up fairly healthy and not at all covered in spots or dead.

    I thought the ‘vaccinations are evil’ group were the same crazed loons as the ‘fluoride in water is a mind control device’ and had mostly died out now or at least moved to the Blue Mountains where they could do no harm. Am psyched to know they still live among us!

  • 7
    AR
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    From what I’ve read elsewhere, via Google.de, he seems to have swallowed whole mad Mark Steyn’s noxious nostrums.
    Just ocz someone is a nutcase doesn’t make their views incorrect but the Steyns & Sarrazins make it difficult to so opine.
    Which I think is GR’s point - why does the (allegedly) sane Right align itself with such people?

  • 8
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    MICHAEL R JAMES
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    For years Sarrazin has been making tetchy remarks about Turks and Arabs, which rapidly degenerated into an obsession with bloodlines.
    ………
    What made it impossible for him to continue fully in that position was the part of the book where he began to dabble in genetics, arguing that all Jews had a gene unique to them, which made them more intelligent on average than others. Sarrazin argued that there was nothing racist about this — after all, he noted, the Jews in this respect are just the same as the Basques.

    This is a little curious given the origin of Herr Sarrazin’s name. It derives from Saracen which, though lost to pre-history, originally referred to the desert-tribes in Arabia and Mesopotamia. Later, in the middle ages with Isl*m in full flowering and the Crusades holy war in full flight, the term came to denote M*slims. It is a fairly common name in France, almost certainly deriving from miscegenation with the Maghreb population of north africa.

    Herr Sarrazin needs to be careful what he wishes for because a genetic test may well find that trace of a genetic fingerprint from his forbears that may horrify him (and as a geneticist I can tell him that this technology is well up to the job these days).

  • 9
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Guy and AR - my theory about the way the Right is increasingly giving prominence to loons who used to be way out on the fringe is that it is another side-effect of the fall of communism. While an alternative political/economic system existed preaching greater equality (however appalling its reality), capitalism had to at least make some overtures to not only looking after people but also rationality, to be able to say that there was also an intellectual case for its superiority.

    Now, without an alternative, the reality is laid bare. Capitalism has gone feral, doing its best to break up the public sector to provide new opportunities for private investment in maturing markets. In the USA, where the process has gone the furthest, the business logic of reducing wages as a percentage of GDP and reducing taxes at the top end has run up against the reduced purchasing power of consumers. The difference has been made up with debt, but consumers and governments are as far into debt as they are able to handle (if not over). So how do you keep the ball rolling a bit longer? You scapegoat whatever elements of the public/collective sector remain and insist that your agenda hasn’t gone far enough. And the loons? They come in handy for destroying the potential for rational analysis and diverting attention by scapegoating.

  • 10
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    @Fractured Flicka

    Do you have to be so rude and sarcastic to someone who might even be a nursing mother? you don’t know that she’s not, or does it matter either way, or do you even care?

    Going by your comment you are rude, obnoxious and completely uninformed. I would post you some links but you are probably illiterate as well.

  • 11
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Look, I think when Germans are talking about the genetic peculiarity of Jews and others, then it is the one time that Nazism can be brought up….

  • 12
    Sally Jones
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Hey thanks Linda, hahaha, it’s ok and I am not offended by his sarcasm. Actually, I thought it was rather funny and had a good chuckle. I guess it’s really just another case of people having bits and pieces of the puzzle, but.. erghh.. humm ..auugh..hrmm..agghhh..you know the rest.

  • 13
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    So you support unbridled vaccinations do you Guy?”

    Why not?

  • 14
    Roberto Tedesco
    Posted Thursday, 21 July 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Pedantic point - Germany was pretty crap from 1933-39 as well.

    Sarrazin is another one of these people that likes to shock people, like really shock them by…….(drumroll)….saying and writing complete rubbish.

    So: he’s bound to be the new darling of the barking right.

  • 15
    Hominoid
    Posted Friday, 22 July 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Bloody hell, what sort of a “German” name is Sarrazin? It sounds more like a name out of Aladdin or Ali Baba. Notions of national purity are patently absurd, but what else do we expect from flag wavers and jingoists?

    If Sarrazin wants more political success he needs to have a chat with our own John Winston Howard and learn the subtle art of dog whistling.

    Loved the line about fishing in the polluted waters of irrationalism.

  • 16
    GR&BKASHKEN
    Posted Friday, 22 July 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Daniel, you are not Daniel.

  • 17
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Friday, 22 July 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    sally

    there is no evidence that the MMR triple jab vaccine causes autism, which is the cause Melanie Philips has adopted. Not has this argument been conclusively disproved, but the doctor making the case for it has been shown to have misrepresented and even fabricated evidence.

    Meawhile, falling rates of vaccination have seen the return of serious conditions such as Rubella, especially in the UK, where the anti-MMR campaign was at its most concerted….

  • 18
    Posted Friday, 22 July 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    :|

  • 19
    Martin C. Jones
    Posted Friday, 22 July 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Guy Rundle: Look, I think when Germans are talking about the genetic peculiarity of Jews and others, then it is the one time that Nazism can be brought up…

    Not Germans, Rundle, a German. Your piece is about one German. I can understand comparing the viewpoints of Sarrazin to those of Nazis, but you smear all Germans with your brush, while scantly mentioning the strong internal German opposition to his views.

  • 20
    Sally Jones
    Posted Saturday, 23 July 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Guy

    Don’t you find it strange that the USA ,who has the highest rates of autism in the world, also is the world leader in vaccinations? Sweden and many other European countries who do not vaccinate have nowhere near the levels of autism or any other diseases suspected of being related to vaccines.

    These facts are widely researched and not specific to your one example of UK Rubella even though there is no concrete data linking falling vaccine rates to Rubella.

    but the doctor making the case for it has been shown to have misrepresented and even fabricated evidence.

    It is CNN who trumped-up the attack on Dr Wakefield and his colleages by making accusations based on his “alledged” floored evidence. These galling attacks were themselves baseless but typical of the powerful vested interest MSM and pharmaceutical industry.

    I find it amazing that you have n’t dug deeper on this issue.

  • 21
    GlenTurner1
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    CNN “trumped up”? To me CNN just seems to have done mere reportage: reporting that the UK medical regulators conducted an investigation and struck off Wakefield; in short, summarising this:
    http://www.gmc-uk.org/Wakefield_SPM_and_SANCTION.pdf_32595267.pdf

    The whole notion of “powerful vested interest MSM and pharmaceutical industry” is rather unlikely. After all a cheap infrequent vaccination is much less profitable than intense and ongoing treatments of a unvaccinated population. To be convincing you are going to need some proof of your alleged conspiracy.

    Noticing a relationship like “find it strange that the USA ,who has the highest rates of autism in the world, also is the world leader in vaccinations” is the first step in the scientific method. But the next step is to design an experiment to *prove* the relationship and hopefully explain the mechanism, otherwise the observation is just a coincidence, like the US being a leader in the consumption of pretzels and in autism.

    It’s plain that you don’t think like a scientist, but that you think like a lobbyist. A lobbyist says “world leader in vaccinations”. A scientist hears that and their instinct is to prod and poke the statement. The obvious question: “is the leadership uniform throughout the population”. And it turns out that it is not. And so if you look on PubMed you’ll see articles where scientists have compared the health outcomes of unvaccinated populations with the general population. And the results explain why the medical community are so very horrified by those promoting a reduction in public vaccination programmes (and this promotion doesn’t just include the loons, but US states under financial pressure).

  • 22
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I don’t know the origin of the extraordinary claim that Sweden doesn’t have vaccinations. Search for ‘Sweden’ and ‘childhood vaccination schedule’ and you will find the childhood vaccination schedule of many European countries, Sweden’s being recommended by the National Board of Health and Welfare and sourced from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control.

    Constant conjunction does not entail causation: one may correctly observe that a cock crows every day before the sun rises, but one would be wrong to infer that the cock causes the sun
    to rise. To infer causation one must point to a mechanism that relates the posited cause with its effect. No such mechanism has been demonstrated linking vaccination with autism. These claims are crackpot like the claims of the evil effects of fluoridation, that water can’t be recycled safely, global warming denialism, etc.

    Evidence that is at ground level may be floored, I suppose, but erroneous evidence is flawed.

  • 23
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Correction:

    Should have read [Sweden and many other European countries who do not vaccinate anywhere the levels of the USA, have nowhere near the levels of autism or any other diseases suspected of being related to vaccines.]

    Only an Ostrich or somebody very silly or somebody possessed, would include “global warming denialism” as a pretext for boosting their argument for more vaccinations…you completely lost me there.

    I doubt you have even read the evidence of Dr Wakefield or witnessed the vicious and unfounded attack against him by CNN.

    The star witness produced against Dr Wakefield presented and by CNN & Big Pharma, a man by the name of Brian Deer, was discovered later to have links to the pharmaceutical industry. So much for their fanfare and utter bollocks evidence.

    politicolnews.com/tag/the-spectator-uk-melanie-phillips/

    I think the cock is about to crow for the 3rd time.

  • 24
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Correction:

    Should have read [Sweden and many other European countries who do not vaccinate anywhere the levels of the USA, have nowhere near the levels of autism or any other diseases suspected of being related to vaccines.]

    Only an Ostrich or somebody very silly or somebody possessed, would include “global warming denialism” as a pretext for boosting their argument for more vaccinations…you completely lost me there.

    I doubt you have even read the evidence of Dr Wakefield or witnessed the vicious and unfounded attack against him by CNN.

    The star witness produced against Dr Wakefield presented and by CNN & Big Pharma, a man by the name of Brian Deer, was discovered later to have links to the pharmaceutical industry. So much for their fanfare and utter bollocks evidence.

    I tried to include several links but the moderator c — k is crowing for the 3rd time.

  • 25
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Claims of a link between vaccination and autism are similar to claims about the evil effects of fluoridation, that water can’t be recycled safely and global warming denialism in refusing to accept the consensus of the relevant scientists.

    The vigour of any attack on one of these crackpots does not strengthen their argument.

  • 26
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Gavin, why do you keep trying to make the connection of “global warming denialism” to vaccines and flouridation? Next you’ll be saying if you are against vaccines, then you must be antis —  —  — c.

    If you want to drink another person’s urine and eat their faeces then fine, you might as as well throw in some flouride to numb your brain so you don’t feel any pain during your slow torturous death.

    Funny that!

  • 27
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    @ Sally Jones

    Thanks for the correction, but it was only a small typo.

    Sweden and many other European countries who do not vaccinate anywhere near the levels of the USA, have nowhere near the levels of autism or any other diseases suspected of being related to vaccines.

    And it still does n’t detract from the solid evidence you present, which is something that GR and Gavin “Moddie” have failed to do.

    Cheers

  • 28
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Global warming denialists reject the consensus of climate scientists; those claiming a link between vaccines and autism reject the consensus epidemiologists; those who claim that fluoridation reject the consensus of public health experts, etc. In all cases these people prefer to believe crackpots to the acknowledged experts in the relevant field.

  • 29
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Even if:

    1 Sweden has a lower rate of vaccination; and

    2 Sweden has a lower rate of autism;

    that does not mean that:

    3 vaccination causes autism.

    Evidence of 1 and 2 is not evidence of 3. There are many examples of 2 factors being correlated without one causing the other.

  • 30
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    (((Global warming denialists reject the consensus of climate scientists;)))

    Yes.

    (((those claiming a link between vaccines and autism reject the consensus epidemiologists; those who claim that fluoridation reject the consensus of public health experts, )))

    I can see where you are coming from now, but you fail to grasp that the public health experts such as the science -press and even govt agencies, are only a mere smigin of the total representation of knowledge in that particular field.

    There is copious amounts of opinions and knowledge from other experts who do not get air-time or coverage in the MSM and it’s almost impossible to separate vested and commercial interest from so called “public interest.”

    All this has been witnessed unequivically in the Dr Wakefield case with CNN backed by the pharmaceutical industry and the false witnesses to destroy Dr Wakefield’s evidence and character.

  • 31
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get my understanding of science from the mainstream media but from the relevant scientific literature. Wakefield’s argument was published in the Lancet which is a authoritative in its field, but the paper was retracted and Godlee, Smith and Marcovitch (2011) demonstrated that Wakefield’s paper was fraudulent.

    Godlee, Fiona, Smith, Jane and Marcovitch, Harvey (2011) Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent, British Medical Journal, 342: c7452 (5 January).

  • 32
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Even if:

    1 Sweden has a lower rate of vaccination; and

    2 Sweden has a lower rate of autism;

    that does not mean that:

    3 vaccination causes autism.

    Evidence of 1 and 2 is not evidence of 3. There are many examples of 2 factors being correlated without one causing the other.

    Well, at least you admit something Gavin, but if you threw this at an independent court of law you would crash and burn. The evidence is too strong and far out ways anything that would resemble “on account of probabilities.”

  • 33
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Wakefield’s argument was published in the Lancet which is a authoritative in its field

    Neither of the arguments in the Lancet or the BMJ were the thrust of CNN’s character assassination of Dr Wakefield and his case against vaccines. You cannot detract that the case against him was solely on the basis of false witness and false evidence…end of story.

  • 34
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Courts of law are the best way of determining legal liability, not science.

    However, if there were persuasive evidence of a link between vaccines and autism (or fluoridation and damage to health) lawyers would have organised a test case, as they won cases arguing that tobacco causes cancer and asbestos causes mesothelioma. The relevant legal test is the balance of probabilities.

  • 35
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    It may be the ‘end of story’ for those with closed minds, but it is not for me. CNN may have attacked Wakefield on poor grounds, but that doesn’t make Wakefield’s argument any better: it reflects poorly on CNN, not well on Wakefield’s argument.

  • 36
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    (((Global warming denialists reject the consensus of climate scientists)))

    Hey Gav!!!..One of my hobbies is the study of History. I was amazed when studying the Norman invasion/conquest of England, that after subduing the town and city areas, that the Normans then proceeded to subdue the rural and country areas by passing a series of edicts.

    These edicts were similar to local by-laws and statutes. The first edict they passed was that all local inhabitants could no longer fish in the streams, rivers or lakes.

    This virtually ensured the Norman govt that the local inhabitants would agree to subjugation in order just to survive and aquire food from other sourses.

    The Norman govt pretext for banning the English from fishing in the rivers, streams and lakes was….that the fish stocks in those rivers, streams and lakes had been depleted because of over-fishing, but then aquired the rights to fish themselves by passing yet another law.

    Ring a bell?..?

  • 37
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes: over fishing causes fish stocks to collapse just as extracting too much water from the Murray-Darling will cause the collapse of agriculture in the basin. People dependent on the fishing and agricultural industries deny the science at the peril of the medium term sustainability of their livelihoods.

  • 38
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    (((It may be the ‘end of story’ for those with closed minds)))

    There are some who would put it to you, that it’s you with the closed mind.

    If it’s not consensual, academically accepted and current scientific practise, or in connection with your own career-path and carreer based income, then it’s not acceptable as far as you are concerned. Go ahead and eat your cake and keep it too, a slippery slope to nowhere indeed..

  • 39
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    [However, if there were persuasive evidence of a link between vaccines and autism (or fluoridation and damage to health) lawyers would have organised a test case,]heard.

    What? .all of a sudden the legal fraternity has a social conscience?…that is the biggest pack of bull shit I have ever heard. You have just lost all credibility.

    As opposed to you, I can tell you first hand, that if Lawyers do not like a specific case under presentation, and fear that it might rock the “big-end-of-town” boat too much, then they will leave well alone. I think in legal terms it’s called a conflict of interest but I am sure you already knew that…well, at least I hope you did, but that might be expecting too much…sigh!

  • 40
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I can’t see how it can be otherwise: I am not an atmospheric physicist, microbiologist nor hydrologist so I must rely on the consensus of atmospheric physicists about global warming, microbiologists about recycling water and hydrologists about the Murray-Darling basin.

    Incidentally, -ice is a noun and -ise is a verb, so it should be ‘current scientific practice’.

  • 41
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Many lawyers do indeed have a social conscience, but the legal system doesn’t rely on that. If a lawyer saw a reasonable prospect of winning damages from a vaccine manufacturer they would launch an action.

  • 42
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Incidentally, -ice is a noun and -ise is a verb, so it should be ‘current scientific practice’

    Hey, there were occassions when you did n’t . the eye or + the T, but I did n’t call you on it because it was irrelevant. But you, well i think that’s all you got.

    I can’t see how it can be otherwise:

    … so open your eyes.

  • 43
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I am sure there are many lawyers with a social conscience, I just have n’t met them yet.

  • 44
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Otherwise’ is spelt correctly, at least according to my dictionaries.

    The -ice and -ise rule applies to practice/practise. It is spelt practice when it is used as a noun and practise when it is used as a verb. Eg I practise the piano daily; I find piano practice wearisome.

    My substantive point remains: I can’t see how one can do otherwise than rely on scientists for scientific knowledge, doctors for medical knowledge, lawyers for legal knowledge, etc.

  • 45
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the law as a profession isn’t altruistic and the legal system restricts considerably lawyers’ scope to act on their values. This is a weakness inasmuch as it limits some lawyers’ altruism, but it is also a strength in ensuring the operation of the legal system despite other lawyers’ selfishness and other undesirable traits. It is also a strength in ensuring the law’s reasonably consistent application notwithstanding lawyers’ different (and mostly conservative) attitudes and different (and mostly right wing) views.

  • 46
    Linda Stewart
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Gavin, you missed the most important point concerning what the Normans did as soon as they passed the edicts forbidding the English from fishing in the rivers, streams and lakes.

    They immediately passed new laws permiting the Normans and only the Normans to fish in the rivers, streams and lakes. I am in no way comparing the UN to the Normans..no!..but perhaps a handy blue-print all the same.

    ring a bell?..?

  • 47
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    You will have to explain the relevance of invaders imposing by force laws to suit their interests (as the British did in Australia) to accepting the consensus of experts in their area of expertise.

  • 48
    Sally Jones
    Posted Sunday, 24 July 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Who are you talking to, me or Linda?

    I am looking after the next-door neighbours kids ( age 4 & 10 ) while their father is working an afternoon shift at the local paint factory. That’s ok, but Igot 2 of me own as well and battling to cope at the moment.

    BTW..you lost.

  • 49
    carringtonclarke
    Posted Monday, 25 July 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Gavin I personally appreciate you fighting this battle although I am sure it is tiresome dealing with people who refuse, or are unable, to follow a chain of logic. Sadly for society at large though, decisions made by people to ignore evidence and instead base their decisions on conspiracy theories with no basis in reality put not only their own children but also other people’s children at risk.

  • 50
    Posted Monday, 25 July 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    @ carringtonclarke

    Thanx for your support. It has indeed been challenging seeking to persuade people with such different views and indeed with such different ways of reaching their position.

    I am also grateful for GLENTURNER1’s contribution on Sunday 24 July at 4:17 am.

    I still think it is worth persevering with Crikey posters who are surely more likely than others to revise their views in the light of arguments based on evidence, altho I have it on excellent authority that I ‘lost’ the challenge this time.

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