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Anyone know anything about the website "Science-Based Medicine?" Who is Steven P. Novella, MD?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

My daughters are about to enter first grade and, again, I am forced into the vaccination decision.  I have read, and believed, numerous books and articles regarding the dangers of vaccinations.  In discussing this with my college-aged son, I was surprised to be severely questioned about my beliefs on the subject, which has sent me searching once again.  I came across "Science-Based Medicine" which debunks my current understanding of the vaccination dangers  along with sources I have believed (as well as apparently debunking homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.).  I cannot find any information about this website or the founder (Steven P. Novella, MD) except articles written by the editors of their own website.  Has anyone researched this?  Who is Dr. Novella and should I listen to him?

post #2 of 56

No answers here, but I'd def. be interested as well. Hopefully bumping this up get us some answers!

post #3 of 56

"Founder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine Steven Novella, MD is an academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog, a daily blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also contributes every Sunday toThe Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU." 

 

Science Based Medicine is an amazing site, everything is extremely well written and well sourced. 

 

I think the clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine probably knows what he's talking about ;) 

post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 

Yes, of course I read the Wikipedia info.  But I was hoping for something besides Wikipedia.
 

post #5 of 56

A quick Google led me to his profile at the Yale School of Medicine: http://medicine.yale.edu/neurology/people/steven_novella-1.profile

post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by at-home View Post

My daughters are about to enter first grade and, again, I am forced into the vaccination decision.  I have read, and believed, numerous books and articles regarding the dangers of vaccinations.  In discussing this with my college-aged son, I was surprised to be severely questioned about my beliefs on the subject, which has sent me searching once again.  I came across "Science-Based Medicine" which debunks my current understanding of the vaccination dangers  along with sources I have believed (as well as apparently debunking homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.).  I cannot find any information about this website or the founder (Steven P. Novella, MD) except articles written by the editors of their own website.  Has anyone researched this?  Who is Dr. Novella and should I listen to him?

That is weird wording. Pr-vaxxer like to "debunk" things, but I have never heard a sel/del or non-vaxxers say they were debunked.  They might say they changed their mind, but usually use words that honour and own their former choices, evenif they have now come to disagree with them.    I  have also never met any sel/delayed or non-vaxxer who did not find science based medicine quite offensive and one sided.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

 

Science Based Medicine is an amazing site, everything is extremely well written and well sourced. 

 

 

Science based medicine is a very, very pro-vax site.  It hates non-vaxxers so much that I doubt it can be a reliable, objective source.  

 

Here is but one snippet from them

 

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/brave-brave-sir-robin/

 

"Going to debate at an event sponsored by the pseudoscience group is always a ridiculous waste of your time. You serve merely as a masturbation enabler for them. Next time, send them a stack of dirty magazines instead."    BARF.

post #7 of 56

Here's his bio from the Institute for Science in Medicine (which the wikipedia page seems very largely based on).

http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/fellows/Novella.html

post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

That is weird wording. Pr-vaxxer like to "debunk" things, but I have never heard a sel/del or non-vaxxers say they were debunked.  They might say they changed their mind, but usually use words that honour and own their former choices, evenif they have now come to disagree with them.    I  have also never met any sel/delayed or non-vaxxer who did not find science based medicine quite offensive and one sided.

 

Science based medicine is a very, very pro-vax site.  It hates non-vaxxers so much that I doubt it can be a reliable, objective source.  

 

Here is but one snippet from them

 

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/brave-brave-sir-robin/

 

"Going to debate at an event sponsored by the pseudoscience group is always a ridiculous waste of your time. You serve merely as a masturbation enabler for them. Next time, send them a stack of dirty magazines instead."    BARF.

 

That's not a snippet from a writer of Science Based Medicine.  That is a snippet from a man named Brian Dunning's podcast which was linked on SBM.  

 

You can find things that are worse than that on Anti Vaccine websites.  Here's a nice little gem 

 

"Court orders rape of a child. Think this is an exaggeration? Think again. This is assault without consent and will full penetration too. If we as a society allow this crime to take place, we are every bit as guilty as the judge who made the order and the doctor who carries it out..."

Source: Meryl Dorey - AVN Facebook page, 15 January 2011

 

Now if that isn't BARF I don't know what is.  Comparing a life saving vaccine to rape? Wow I guess over 90 percent of parents in the US have "raped" their children by her definition.  Absolutely disgusting.

 

Meryl Dorey owns the Australian Vaccine Network and says things like this fairly often and then tries to deny she is anti vaccine. 

post #9 of 56

Science-based medicine is either in favor of mandatory vaccines or making exemptions so difficult they might as well be mandatory.

 

Here they are on exemptions:

 

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vaccination-mandate-exemptions-gimme-that-ol-time-philosophy/

 

"There is no constitutional right to exemption from mandatory vaccination laws on religious grounds. Thus, religious exemptions to state vaccination mandates are not constitutionally required. Indeed, they may be constitutionally suspect. If a state’s intention in enacting a religious-based exemption – to accommodate those who sincerely believe their established religious tenets prohibit vaccination – cannot be achieved by constitutional means, then the only way to achieve such accommodation is to open the exemption up to essentially everyone who claims a religious reason, whether sincerely held or fabricated for the occasion. This essentially creates a “philosophical” exemption. The consequences of this meaningless exemption, open to anyone who opposes vaccination, are a threat to public health."

post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

That's not a snippet from Science Based Medicine.  That is a snippet from a man named Brian Dunning's podcast which was link on SBM.  

 

You can find things that are worse than that on Anti Vaccine websites.  Here's a nice little gem 

 

But we are not discussing anti-vax websites, are we?

 

I am sure some non-vax websites say some inappropriate and vile things.  Do two wrongs make a right?  I sincerely hope you are not defending  or excusing SBM vileness.  

 

As per it being a snippet - it was a snippet they applauded and gave space to.  It was also handy, so I used it, but I could literally fill pages and pages here on the nasty things SBM has said about non-vaxxers, thus proving their bias and lack of objectivity  (or, to quote them from the same article using their words "denier, denialist, crank")

 

SBM has the right to create hate blogs if they want.  I don't think it should be used to justify a postion as the bias and non-objectiviy is so over the top, and I do not think they should be used here as they are incredibly offensive to a large number of posters and go against the mandate of non-mandatory vaccine. 


Edited by kathymuggle - 7/29/13 at 12:46pm
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

But we are not discussing anti-vax websites, are we?

 

I am sure some non-vax websites say some inappropriate and vile things.  Do two wrongs make a right?  I sincerely hope you are not defending  or excusing SBM vileness.  

 

As per it being a snippet - it was a snippet they applauded and gave space to.  It was also handy, so I used it, but I could literally fill pages and pages here on the nasty things SBM has said about non-vaxxers, thus proving their bias and lack of objectivity  (or, to quote them from the same article using their words "denier, denialist, crank")

 

SBM has the right to create hate blogs if they want.  I don't think it should be used to justify a postion as the bias and non-objectiviy is so over the top, and I do not think they should be used here as they are incredibly offensive to a large number of posters and go against the mandate of non-mandatory vaccine. 

 

You pasted a snippet from SBM (that was not written by anyone who contributes to the site)  so I countered with one example of many from an extremely popular anti vaccine website. This is a debate forum after all.  Do you disregard all information from any anti vaccine website that says something "distasteful" about doctors, or people that are pro vaccine? 

 

In any case, SBM is very upfront about being extremely pro vaccine.  They are very upfront about believing that not vaccinating is dangerous and that the evidence is very clear that vaccines are extremely safe. 

 

In contrast to many people that are anti vaccine that try to deny they are actually anti vaccine. 

post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

You pasted a snippet from SBM (that was not written by anyone who contributes to the site)  so I countered with one example of many from an extremely popular anti vaccine website. This is a debate forum after all.  Do you disregard all information from any anti vaccine website that says something "distasteful" about doctors, or people that are pro vaccine? 

 

In any case, SBM is very upfront about being extremely pro vaccine.  They are very upfront about believing that not vaccinating is dangerous and that the evidence is very clear that vaccines are extremely safe. 

 

Your point to either of the above?  The Op asked what my opinion was - and I gave it.  I stand by it.  SBM is not capable of objectivity on vaccines given their hatred for non-vaxxers.  Oh - and did I disregard the quote you posted?  I said some non-vax sites may say some inappropriate and vile things, but I do not see you owning up to the fact that a site you find "amazing" posts some hate-filled commentary on non-vaxxers.  Hmmm…..

 

In contrast to many people that are anti vaccine that try to deny they are actually anti vaccine. 

Again - your point?  Some non-vaxxers are anti-vax, but certainly not all.   Non-vax, as a term,  is just more inclusive and less assumptive about the range of beliefs of people who do not vaccinate than anti-vax.    


Edited by kathymuggle - 7/29/13 at 1:30pm
post #13 of 56
Thread Starter 

I am a very busy person and "debunked" was the first word that came to mind when trying to ask about the website.  Please don't make my wording the topic of conversation.  I am struggling with a decision and just wanted to get a wider perspective of the website because I haven't seen it before today.
 

post #14 of 56

nm

post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by at-home View Post

I am a very busy person and "debunked" was the first word that came to mind when trying to ask about the website.  Please don't make my wording the topic of conversation.  I am struggling with a decision and just wanted to get a wider perspective of the website because I haven't seen it before today.
 

Ok then  smile.gif

 

If you are struggling, why don't you get back to basics and read the CDC pink book - appendixes included?  

 

Do you want a further reading list?

 

If you are looking for support, you could post in one of the subforums - or both.  Debate and discussion can get intense, so if support is what yoiu are looking for, it might not be the best place. 

 

I would read from both sides, stay away from over the top sites on both sides, and look for things that are well cited.   

post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
 

 

My point in pointing out the fact they are upfront about being very pro vaccine was in response to my understanding of your post that because the information on their site is pro vaccine it isn't a reliable source.  They aren't trying to be neutral on their stance of vaccines.  They don't have prominent anti vaccine proponents write material for their site. That doesn't mean that they aren't a reliable source.  They have scientific studies and data and sources to back up all of their claims. 

 

Would you say that a scientist who has a Ph.D and specializes in evolution is unable to write a blog about the scientific validity of evolution by default? That the information would be unreliable  just because he claims that people who believe the earth is a few thousand years old are scientifically wrong?  Because he isn't balanced in his opinion that humans are a product of evolution? 

 

This is just an analogy. 

post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 

Yes, I am trying to read from both sides, which is why I asked my question in the first place.
 

post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

My point in pointing out the fact they are upfront about being very pro vaccine was in response to my understanding of your post that because the information on their site is pro vaccine it isn't a reliable source.  They aren't trying to be neutral on their stance of vaccines.  They don't have prominent anti vaccine proponents write material for their site. That doesn't mean that they aren't a reliable source.  They have scientific studies and data and sources to back up all of their claims. 

 

 

Lots of sites are pro-vax and I think they are reliable(ish). The CDC is pro-vax and I use it all.the.time.  

 

I think, based on their hatred filled spews, that SBM is incapable of rationally looking at both sides of the vaccine issue.  I think their hatred colours their assessment of issues and probably causes them to cherry pick data that supports their conclusions.  If you disagree, that is fine - although, wow, holy batman refusing to look at issues with sources.  

 

I think SBM has its place.  It is good for preaching snarkily to the snarky choir, and perhaps churning up feelings of smug superiority, while polarising the issues.   I just don't think it is very useful for anything else.  

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by at-home View Post

Yes, I am trying to read from both sides, which is why I asked my question in the first place.
 

 

Well welcome to mothering!  Hope we haven't scared you off yet! 

 

So I guess my question is : What kind of information are you looking for, other than the information on Dr Novella?  Or was that all you were interested in asking? 

 

Do you find numbers and studies from organizations like WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC or research hospitals like Mayo Clinic to be reliable?  If not, what kind of websites would you want your information to come from? 

 

Just trying to get an idea of how best to help you! 

post #20 of 56
In doing initial research, I would steer clear of any obviously one-sided website. If the tone of the site is snarky then I would skip it. This goes for either side. What you want to find are facts, not opinions. A good way to gage this is to see if there are generalizations made about the "other side", such as calling people pro-vax and anti-vax.
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