Court Ordered Vaccination & SMH False Balance

Ordered to have VaccineRecently (January 15, 2011) printed  in the Sun Herald was the article on the left; the article was about a 5-year-old girl who was ordered to be vaccination after the mother refused to do so – citing evidence that was criticised  by the Judge as “outlandish statements unsupported by any empirical evidence”.

Now, what I’m focusing on here is how the journalist, Holly Ife, decided to present an issue as being balanced in opposing viewpoints, which isn’t what the evidence actually supports.

Was she trying to AVOID bias, or was she trying to SENSATIONALISE the article?

Leading one of the final paragraphs with a contentious “However,” and following it up with a quote from a paediatric chiropractor; namely Dr. Warren Sipser, gives the impression that this bloke has some knowledge or authority on the matter and should be given credence.

He doesn’t, and shouldn’t.

He is a quack, and a dangerous quack at that.

Two Opposing Viewpoints

Sipser is quoted in the article as saying that it’s “dangerous to impose [immunisation] on anyone when there are two opposing viewpoints” – he even went on to say “there is credible evidence they may do more harm than good”.

First off, there is always someone in opposition to a viewpoint. Even today there are people so delusional that they believe the earth is flat; and even today, there are people who believe in magical hand-waving, spine cracking “healing”. To say because there are opposing viewpoints that we shouldn’t do anything is ridiculous. While people may have opposing viewpoints the EVIDENCE doesn’t. The OVERALL EVIDENCE empirically demonstrates that immunisation IS a good thing, and is NOT doing more harm than good.

What Sipser calls credible are articles that come to the conclusions that best align with his beliefs.

Where as I, I call things credible when researchers use excellent scientific methodology that controls against bias through double & triple blind trials, where those results are not just replicated by a number of other independent researchers, but the research is critically examined for faults by a number of peers and finally published in a journal with integrity.

Pseudoscientific Dr. Warren Sipser

Who is Dr. Warren Sipser? Sipser acts as Secretary for the Chiropractic Association.

So what is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic was invented in 1895 by the medically unqualified Daniel David Palmer. Palmer was grocer before becoming a “magnetic healer” — He says by transferring “healing energy” to patients, this was done by touching or waving hands over them.

Classical chiropractic is based on the premise that “subluxations” are the cause of most medical problems. According to classical chiropractic, a “subluxation” is a misalignment of the spine that allegedly interferes with nerve signals from the brain.

As chiropractic states that the subluxation is the cause of all disease, it rejects one of the greatest discoveries in medicine: germ theory; the discovery that much disease is caused from infection by micro-organisms.

The rejection of germ theory also leads to the rejection of another hugely beneficial discovery: vaccination.

Palmer and his son Bartlett Joshua, considered vaccination a form of poisoning.

In a nutshell, it’s bullshit; there is no scientific evidence for spinal subluxations and none have ever been observed by suitably qualified medical practitioners.

Sipser’s Irresponsible Claims

Below are the claims from one of the websites Sipser contributes to; the vast majority of his claims here and on other websites are, like the mother’s claims – outlandish statements unsupported by any evidence. (Read: Bullshit)

http://www.femail.com.au/chiropractic_help2.htm:

  • Chiropractic research on HIV positive patients revealed that those who received chiropractic care showed a 48% increase in CD4 immune system blood cells compared to those who did not receive chiropractic care. – Doctors: Selano, Pfleger, Peeley, Grostic.
  • Chronic Fatigue suffers can increase their immune system blood cells.
  • Chiropractic can be helpful during all stages of pregnancy where hormonal changes, the laxity of connective ligaments and shifting weight bearing structures, may cause pregnant women to experience low back pain. As the centre of gravity changes, so does the stress to the spine, chiropractic helps normalise the nerve system function. Special precautions and modifications to adjusting techniques are made to each stage of your pregnancy.
  • The birth process is potentially traumatic and can stress a still developing spine. During the pushing stages of labour, the spine, particularly the neck may be pushed down the birth canal. As the baby is compressed, the small bones in the neck may be pushed out of natural alignment and cause nerve interference. This neurological disturbance is called a vertebral subluxation.
  • Babies born by caesarean or forceps have a high chance of subluxation of the spine and may result in symptoms such as colic, allergies, asthma, eczema, ADD, poor appetite and more.
  • Chiropractors find that infantile colic may be associated with poor spinal function (Subluxations), arising from physical stresses to the infant’s spine during birth, or inappropriate handling during the early weeks of life. Modern obstetric practices, such as birthing the babies with the mother lying on her back, the use of forceps, suction, inductions and epidurals may subject t he infant to significant trauma. Such stresses may lead to subluxations in the infant causing nerve interference. This nerve interference may upset the function of the gastrointestinal system resulting in pain and colic. Correction of spinal stress and the relief of nerve interference may explain the positive effect chiropractors have on infantile colic.

Resources:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/court-orders-girl-5-to-have-her-jabs/story-e6frf7kx-1225988096060
http://www.ukskeptics.com/chiropractic.php
http://www.skepdic.com/chiro.html
http://www.chiro4life.com/theclinic_sfc_team.html
http://www.femail.com.au/chiropractic_help2.htm

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