Home > Education, inside edition, pseudoscience, Steven Pinker, Vaccines > Pseudoscience, Running in Reverse

Pseudoscience, Running in Reverse

It didn’t even seem right at the time. A young girl gets a seasonal flu shot and is struck with incredible symptoms. It is clear now that the flu shot never caused Desiree Jennings’ bizarre troubles. Of course, even if it was real it was important to remember at the time that 1 ancedotal case doesn’t destroy the mountains of evidence supporting vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. It does, however, confirm our need to better educate the population about statistics. As Steven Pinker writes,

The goal of education should be to provide students with the cognitive tools that are most important for grasping the modern world and that are most unlike the cognitive tools they are born with.
The obvious cure for [the innumeracy, factual ignorance, and scientific illiteracy of typical Americans] is enhanced education in relatively new fields such as economics, biology, and probability and statistics. (my emphasis)
The original vaccine story got a lot of play (some may even say it was viral). I hear about it every time the topic of vaccines comes up. What is disappointing in these situations is that the truth too often gets underreported and gets overshadowed by the shocking nature of the initial account.
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