Monday, June 20, 2005

People Who Do Harm

I posted a while back on the Brit medical journal Lancet, which published nonsensically high estimates of Iraqi deaths. Well, it turns out that Lancet's editor is a serial offender.

Britain’s premier medical journal is endangering public health by publishing unfounded scare stories, 30 of the country’s leading scientists say today.

Poor editorial judgment at The Lancet has fuelled panic over issues such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, hormone replacement therapy and genetically modified (GM) crops, the eminent medical researchers charge in a letter that the journal has refused to publish.

The signatories, thirty fellows of the Royal Society, two of whom are Nobel laureates, accuse it of favouring “desperate headline-seeking” over sound science, to the detriment of public health. “Under the editorship of Richard Horton, the publication of badly conducted and poorly refereed scare stories has had devastating consequences for individual and public health, in the UK and abroad, and carried a high economic cost,” they say.

The Royal Society is the most august of scientific organizations - Isaac Newton was a member.

Kids have gotten diseases because of the MMR scare. Women have had their lives messed up by the HRT scare. Farmers have gone broke because of the GM scare.

The good news is that the grip of lefty scientific journals is fast being eroded by the Internet, so creeps like Horton will not undermine society much longer.