Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Misleading people

In the past days I came across a post about the new Influenza vaccine that was totally misleading and scaring people. I know the blogger means no harm, on the contrary, but he is talking about something that he doesn't understand. I really don't like bloggers that just copy/paste information from other sources and try to make sense out of them when they have no idea about the subject. I'm a scientist and I do not claim to know about everything science-related. I thought about writing a science blog but, my lack of knowledge in certain areas made me reject the idea. I'm a bacteriologist but I have studied viruses, parasites and fungi as well. Still, if I started talking about cancer or diabetes I would certainly make some mistake because my knowledge is not as extensive in that area. That is why I don't do it.

My training does allow me to critically review papers form serious journals and understand what they are talking about. When I access pages like the CDC or read reports from MMWR I know where to look, I don't read what is written for the lay person, I read the information for scientists. A lot of people that talk about the "dangers" of the flu vaccine claim to have gotten their information from the WHO page. I can't find what they said even after more than hour of browsing to the WHO webpage. One thing is getting information from a newspaper or any other media source that claim to cite the WHO and another is to say that because you read those pages then you also got your information from the original source. It's like a broken phone line, the information gets more and more polluted with passage and it's not like a virus that gets attenuated, on the contrary. Doing your own interpretation of subjects you know nothing about only causes misinterpretation and that only takes to misleading people. If you blog, stick to your area of expertise and avoid to touch subjects you are not even familiar with, or get a guest blogger that does know about the subject to write a post for you.

3 comments:

  1. Agreed. There is a town near me holding a local livestock fair, but decided not to allow any pigs this year so as to avoid confusion about "swine flu" -- despite that having nothing to do with actual swine! They even went on the news to say, "We know it doesn't have anything to do with it, but we just want to avoid that perception." It's like they are willingly giving in to stupid assumptions... which in turn perpetuates misleading information!

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  2. Deray,
    You make a great point here. Well said and well written!!

    So where do you stand on the H1N1 Vaccine?

    Bring Back Pluto
    "ONE of THE GUYS"

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  3. I could not agree with you more. I'm a RN and I get so upset when people say things that are not true.

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