Cleokatra's Reviews > The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear

The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin
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Feb 27, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from February 18 to 26, 2011

I read this book with the expectation that it would be like a lot of other books that I've read about junk science. Most people don't understand what science is. They don't understand the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. They think that correlation is causation. They imagine conspiracies of government and industry to steal their money or ruin their lives.

All of that is included in this book, but there is a much sadder undertone. Many of the scientifically illiterate people are parents of developmentally disabled children and can you really judge them for grasping at whatever straws they can find in an effort to help their children? Really? The real villains here are people like Wakefield, who sold phony diagnoses and false hope to desperate parents, and media voices, like Oprah Winfrey, who took advantage of these parents and their children to boost ratings and keep the "controversy" alive.

In reality, there is no controversy about vaccines. They are one of the greatest scientific advances in history and have saved countless lives. I'm not saying that they are perfect. I'm someone who has actually had adverse reactions to vaccines. Still, I'd rather take my chances with that than risk the disease.
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Reading Progress

02/19/2011 page 55
12.0% "So far, it has covered the history of vaccination. We're up to the Sabin vaccine."
02/19/2011 page 99
22.0% "getting into the birth of modern anti-vaccination movement..."
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