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Discredited vaccination researcher Andrew Wakefield was brought to a new low this week when a prominent British medical journal accused him of outright fraud. A Cautionary Story In April 2006, 3-year-old Matthew Lacek's sore throat turned into a near-death emergency. On April 22, 2006, Kelly Lacek looked around her dinner table and smiled: Dan, her husband of thirteen years, was there, along with the couple's three children, Ashley, Stephen, and Matthew.
An ancient tablet contains records written in Linear B a€” a script that was discovered in the 19th century and remained undeciphered for decades. Critics have called Margalit Fox's new book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, a paleographic detective procedural. In the early 1960s, Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale, conducted a series of experiments that became famous. On conversations with the subjects, decades after the experiment "[Bill Menold] doesn't sound resentful. At the end of July, when NPR's Robert Siegel set off on the longest vacation since his honeymoon 39 years ago, he packed a few books, including the new book The Art of Procrastination by John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford. John Perry is the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and co-host of the public radio program Philosophy Talk. On the phrase "task triage" "I love the sound of that phrase, so I use it even though it doesn't really fit the situation very well. At the hospital, doctors thought it might be asthma, but their treatments werena€™t working. Kelly's parents had also come over: There was a father-daughter dance at the local church that evening, and Kelly and her dad were double-dating with Dan and Ashley.
It follows the story of the laborious quest to crack a mysterious script, unearthed in Crete in 1900, known by the sterile-sounding name Linear B. When the news of the experiment was first reported, and the shocking statistic that 65 percent of people went to maximum voltage on the shock machine was reported, very few people, I think, realized then and even realize today that that statistic applied to 26 of 40 people. I'd say he sounds thoughtful and he has reflected a lot on the experiment and the impact that it's had on him and what it meant at the time.
So far, over 5 million stories have been uploaded to Wattpad spanning all genres of creative writing – from mystery, to romance, sci fi, poetry and fan fiction.
As the four of them were getting ready to leave, Kelly couldn't resist needling her mother. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. A man who pretended to be a recruit himself was wired up to a phony machine that supposedly administered shocks. I did interview someone else who had been disobedient in the experiment but still very much resented 50 years later that he'd never been de-hoaxed at the time and he found that really unacceptable." On the problem that one of social psychology's most famous findings cannot be replicated "I think it leaves social psychology in a difficult situation.
Now, they're not perfectionists in the sense that they do things perfectly a€” I mean, I've never done anything perfectly. In fact, there were variations of the experiment where no one obeyed." On how Milgram's study coincided with the trial of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann a€” and how the experiment reinforced what Hannah Arendt described as "the banality of evil" "The Eichmann trial was a televised trial and it did reintroduce the whole idea of the Holocaust to a new American public. In The Riddle of the Labyrinth, she tells the story of Alice Kober, a classics professor at Brooklyn College, who worked alone over decades and discovered the essential grammar of Linear B, only to die in 1950 before she could complete her work. And Milgram very much, I think, believed that Hannah Arendt's view of Eichmann as a cog in a bureaucratic machine was something that was just as applicable to Americans in New Haven as it was to people in Germany." On the ethics of working with human subjects "Certainly for people in academia and scholars the ethical issues involved in Milgram's experiment have always been a hot issue. He was three years old, and Kelly marveled at how quickly he was growing up: It seemed as if it was only moments ago that he'd been an infant, and now he was already being toilet-trained. And I think it really leads to the question of why it is that we continue to refer to and believe in Milgram's results.
I'm going to write a memo that Hemingway could have written, and it'll be creative and full of ideas.
Each time the learner got one wrong, which he intentionally did, the teacher was instructed by a man in a white lab coat to deliver a shock. I think the reason that Milgram's experiment is still so famous today is because in a way it's like a powerful parable. A friend of mine sent it off to The Chronicle of Higher Education, and then the Internet came along, and one of my granddaughters started an Internet page for me called 'Structured Procrastination' and put it on there.
From the other room came recorded and convincing protests from the learner a€” even though no shock was actually being administered. And to my surprise, I began to get lots of fan mail a€” you know, a dozen emails a week that were quite touching.
They'd barely walked in the door when Kelly's mother rushed over: "It's Matthew," she said.

The disease had been virtually wiped out since the introduction of a vaccine in the mid-1980s. So not only could no one decipher Linear B for half a century, no one even knew what language these strange tablets recorded." On how Kober came to be obsessed with cracking the code to Linear B "When she was an undergraduate at Hunter College in Manhattan, she took a course on early Greek life, and it seems to have been there that she encountered the first glimpse of Linear B. Perry says his book assumes the reader is a procrastinator and is probably not going to change a€” and that's not so bad. And undeciphered scripts exert a powerful hold on people, and Alice Kober, already confident of her own blazing intellect on her graduation from Hunter College, announced confidently to anyone who would listen that she would one day solve the riddle of the script, and she came very close before she died." On Kober's laborious method of cracking the code "Kober, who never married and lived in Flatbush with her widowed mother, would sit at her dining table, cigarette burning at her elbow, and sift the hundreds of words and symbols in these strange and Cretan inscriptions. When she started in the 1930s, she kept her statistics in a series of notebooks, but during World War II and for years afterwards, paper was a very scarce commodity in this country. Undaunted, she cut out by hand the equivalent of index cards from any spare paper she could find a€” examination blue book covers, the backs of old greeting cards, and it must be said an awful lot of checkout slips the she discretely pinched from the Brooklyn College library. Gina Perry, a psychologist from Australia, has written Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments.
Over time until her death in 1950, she hand cut and annotated 180,000 of these cards." On why Michael Ventris gets the credit for cracking the code to Linear B "Ventris, in my opinion and in the opinion of historians of the decipherment, did not give her due credit. Two hours later, they were feeling much less assured: Matthew's fever was still rising, and when a doctor tried to swab his throat, he began to choke.
Matthew's temperature had risen to 104 degrees and his breathing seemed to be growing shallower by the minute.
It was like being in a situation that you never thought you would be in, not really being able to think clearly." In his experiments, Milgram was "looking to investigate what it was that had contributed to the brainwashing of American prisoners of war by the Chinese [in the Korean war]," Perry tells NPR's Robert Siegel.
Last year in California, there were more cases of whooping cough than at any point in half a century.A Ten children died. And it occurred to me, well, there's a difference between procrastinating and being lazy a€” I'm not lazy. I regarded Stanley Milgram as a misunderstood genius who'd been penalized in some ways for revealing something troubling and profound about human nature. Matthew had been born in March 2003, several years after rumors of a connection between autism and vaccines had begun to gain traction in suburban enclaves around the country.
Twenty-five percent of parents believe vaccines could cause developmental problems in kids a€” a rise Mnookin blames, in part, on the media. He said, 'There's mercury in there.' " Kelly had already heard rumors that the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was dangerous, but this was something new. That scientific consensus is now being trumpeted by a more communicative public health community.
What if this happened to Matthew?" If Kelly was unconvinced, the chiropractor said, she should make Matthew's pediatrician prove to her that the vaccines Matthew was scheduled to receive were one hundred percent safe.
The doctor tried to tell Kelly that she would be putting Matthew at serious risk by not immunizing him, but, Kelly says, "I don't think I heard anything else she might have said, quite honestly. At that point I had lost faith." From that day forward, Matthew didn't receive any of his scheduled vaccinations, including one for a bacterial disease calledA Haemophilus influenzae type b, or Hib. Hib can also cause severe swelling in the throat due to a condition called epiglottitis, which, if not treated immediately, results in infected tissue slowly sealing off the victim's windpipe until he suffocates to death. As recently as the 1970s, tens of thousands of children in America had severe Hib infections each year. Many of those suffered from bacterial meningitis, and between five hundred and one thousand died. In fact, the immunization had been so effective that out of everyone working in the Monroeville ER, the doctor who'd asked Kelly Lacek about her son's vaccine history was the only one who had been practicing long enough to have seen an actual Hib infection in a child.
It wasn't until Kelly saw her son's X-rays that she realized just how dire the situation was: It looked as if Matthew had a thumb lodged in his throat. It had rained earlier in the evening, and now the entire area was covered in fog, which made it too dangerous to land a helicopter.
Matthew was going to have to make the trip to Pittsburgh in an ambulance — but before he could be moved, he'd have to be intubated. Unless it closed up so much that the tube was forced out, they'd bought themselves a few more hours. You're just so focused on him getting better." Then, on Tuesday, just as they were growing more hopeful, Matthew's blood pressure plummeted. The only thing the Laceks could think to do at that point was to ask their friends to pray for them. The roots of this latest alarm dated back to 1998, when a British gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield claimed to have discovered a new gut disorder associated with the MMR vaccine — and with autism. Wakefield based his conclusions on a case study of a dozen children who'd been brought to his clinic at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Almost immediately, Wakefield's research methods and his interpretations, which had been published in the medical journalA The Lancet, came under fire.
Wakefield's response was to appeal to the public rather than to his colleagues: The medical establishment was so determined to discredit him, he said, because he threatened their hegemony by taking parents' concerns seriously.

The media took the bait, and despite Wakefield's lack of proof and his track record of dubious assertions and unverified lab results, they began churning out stories about how a maverick doctor was trying to protect innocent children from corrupt politicians and a rapacious pharmaceutical industry.
The move had been hotly debated; in the end, one of the factors that had tipped the balance was a concern that following the Wakefield brouhaha, any connection, real or rumored, between vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders had a chance of unraveling public confidence in vaccines. In the half-century since "infantile autism" had been defined as a discrete medical condition, it had gone from being a source of shame for parents, who were blamed for their children's conditions, to becoming a seemingly omnipresent concern, especially among those well-educated, upper-middle-class families for whom child rearing had become an all-encompassing obsession. For parents of autistic children, this lack of reliable information resulted in feelings of hopelessness and frustration; for parents in general trying to determine the best course of action for the future, it fueled a sense that medical experts and health authorities couldn't be counted on to look out for their families' well-being.
These parents began posting their observations online, sparking hundreds more parents to confirm that they'd noticed the exact same thing. With a network of nontraditional doctors and alternative health practitioners urging them on, they became more and more convinced that the common threads that ran through their stories were too odd and too widespread to be mere happenstance. Why were children with weak immune systems injected with vaccines just as potent as those used on children in perfect health? Why was everyone instructed to receive the same number of inoculations, regardless of their medical histories or family backgrounds?
In a matter of months, an ad hoc coalition of "Mercury Moms" transformed itself into a potent political force: Senators spoke at their rallies, public health officials tried to assuage their concerns, and federal agencies included them in discussions on how to spend tens of millions of dollars. Five hundred years after Gutenberg's introduction of the printing press and Martin Luther's translation of the Bible let common people bypass the priestly class, the vernacular of twenty-four-hour news channels and Internet search engines is freeing us to take on tasks that we'd long assumed were limited to those with specialized training.
Why, after all, should we pay commissions to real estate brokers or stock analysts when we can find online everything we need to sell our houses or manage our investments? Taitz, who believes that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is building internment camps to house anti-Obama activists and that Venezuelan president Hugo ChA?vez controls the software that runs American voting machines, makes for undeniably good television: She looks like a young Carol Channing, sounds like an overexcited Zsa Zsa Gabor, and has the ability to make absurd accusations with a completely straight face.
By midsummer, Taitz was appearing regularly on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, a decision the news channels justified with the risible pretext of needing to be fair to those on "both sides" of an issue about which there was nothing up for debate — at least not in the real world.
Before long, mainstream on-air personalities like Lou Dobbs were pimping the story as hard as Taitz or any of her allies were, to equally comical effect.
In the fall of 2004, after both WMDs and easy victory were revealed as mirages, a presidential aide made an astounding admission toA The New York Times Magazine. The White House, he said, didn't waste time worrying about those "in what we call the reality-based community" who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." That, the aide said, "is not the way the world really works anymore. When we act, we create our own reality." Orly Taitz couldn't have put it any better herself. My wife and I were newly married, and though we didn't yet have children, we found ourselves initiates in a culture in which people obsessed over issues about which we'd previously been unaware, such as the political implications of disposable diapers and the merits of home births. Another common preoccupation, we discovered, was the fear that widespread fraud was being perpetrated by the medical establishment. They tended to be self-satisfied, found it difficult to conceive of a world in which their voices were not heard, and took pride in being intellectually curious, thoughtful, and rational.
This caught us by surprise: The AAP wasn't high on the list of organizations we thought likely to be part of a widespread conspiracy directed against the nation's children.
I asked the parents at the table how they went about making decisions concerning their children's health. One friend, a forty-one-year-old first-time father, said there was so much conflicting information out there he hadn't known what to do.1 In the end, he said, he and his wife decided to delay some shots, including the ones for the MMR vaccine, which he'd heard was particularly dangerous. Still, I cringed when my friend said he'd made his decision based on what heA feltrather than by trying to assess the balance of the available evidence. Anecdotes and suppositions, no matter how right they feel, don't lead to universal truths; experiments that can be independently confirmed by impartial observers do. Intuition leads to the flat earth society and bloodletting; experiments lead to men on the moon and microsurgery. Surely, I said, there had to be something tangible, some experiment or some epidemiological survey, that informed his decision.
There wasn't; I was even more taken aback when he said he likely would have done the same thing even if he'd been presented with conclusive evidence that the MMR vaccine was safe. That's why gravity is still a "theory" — and why you can't prove with absolute certainty that I won't wake up tomorrow with the ability to fly.
The issue didn't affect me directly: No one close to me had a personal connection with autism and I didn't know any vaccinologists or government health officials. What nagged at me, I realized, was the pervasiveness of a manner of thinking that ran counter to the principles of deductive reasoning that have been the foundation of rational society since the Enlightenment.
Why, in other words, are we willing to believe things that are, according to all available evidence, false?

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