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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, but kind of lost me towards the end..., October 16, 2009
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This review is from: Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives (Hardcover)
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This is a great gem of an idea for a book, "denialism" being the name this journalist gives to the fear and mistrust that people ( both in the US and globally) have towards government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, etc.

As a nation, we don't like being told what to do. But no one can deny that wearing your seatbelt may save your life, and certainly will not hurt you. Countless studies prove this. Specter starts his study of denialism by examining the irrational fear of vaccinations in this country, a movement that seems to be headed up by self appointed anti-vaccination mom, Jenny McCarthy, an actress/comedienne. Specter explains at length why any actual risks that vaccinations may cause are clearly outweighed by the benefits(small pox being almost completely eradicated being on major benefit!). parents in this country are refusing vaccinations, and though measles sounds like a benign and survivable illness, many children have died from complications of the disease, much less than have died from the vaccination. Measles was eliminated in 2002, but recent refusals to vaccinate have caused several outbreaks in the US this year, and 540 children die every day from measles infections and complications. Much more than are effected by the MMR vaccinations.

McCarthy claims vaccinations caused her child's autism, as well as many others, but studies show, the level of autism diagnoses has not increased at all since the supposedly offending vaccinations have been added. Plus, autism is diagnosed strictly by behavior, and can often be misdiagnosed.

The whole book carries on in this vain. Specter looks at our fear of "big pharm" out for our cash, and not actually interested in our health (not to mention, our subsequent belief that alternative medicine and supplements will cure/heal/prevent illness, with absolutely no proof that any of the items actually does those things). He examines the current trend for local foods, organic foods, and the "all natural" trend that we are currently so enchanted with, both in the US and in Europe. He looks at our fear of bio-tech and the possible advances it could bring into health care in this country, but that fear and rhetoric of certain groups and people halts and inhibits.

Specter has done an exhaustive job of researching all the topics he tackles in this book, and generally speaking is an readable writer. The last chapter started to lose me...I just couldn't think about any more of the bio-tech scenarios, and there was a little too much scientist talk for me, personally.

However, this is a smart book with some excellent ideas that we need to start talking about soon, if we are to protect the health and welfare of this nation. Irrational fear of things new is normal, as is the fear of being told you must do something, even if it is for the good of both yourself and your family, and others around you. But a voice of reason needs to intervene when our fear turns us into a nation of fools.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2009 4:48:09 AM PDT
Smith's Rock says:
Nice review, Kiki. BTW, nice choice in favorite books on your profile: Jane Austen, Carl Sagan.... Denialism, interesting stuff, but off the mark. I'm almost through with True Enough: Living in a post-factual age. It is both more interesting, and more balanced. Take care.
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