EU court: Vaccines can be blamed for problems without proof

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by gentlegreen, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    I find this somewhat worrying - it brings to mind the classification of Roundup / glyphosate as a carcinogen based on very shaky evidence...

    EU court: Vaccines can be blamed for problems without proof
     
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  2. Limejuice

    Limejuice Well-Known Member

    It is worrying.

    In this case, there is no "lack of scientific evidence". In fact, there seems to be a surfeit of inconvenient evidence, which isn't the same thing.

    The court is kind of correct to say that a general finding does not rule out a one-off, unexpected and unforeseeable reaction to medication.

    But equally, bad things happen to people all on their own. Kids get diagnosed with autism, and adults get diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. These don't need to be triggered by earlier vaccines.

    So it raises the question how the hell anyone will be able to prove a strange reaction was caused by any earlier treatment, other than relying on a dodgy "post hoc" argument. If the expert witnesses all say: "to the best of our knowledge, this wasn't caused by a vaccination", who is going to be convincing when they tell a court to ignore the known research, believe my one-off thesis that was paid for by the claimant's lawyers?

    Because lawyers are involved, the next step will be to round up other "victims" and launch a class action. They'll use the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy as an argument. This is an old gag about a bad marksman shooting bullets at a barn, then painting a target around the best grouping. "This group of victims were all vaccinated, and then became ill, which cannot come about by chance," they will argue. Well, it can. Randomness is clumpy. That's why we have a universe.

    What will ensue will be a surge in compensation claims from people who contract serious illnesses, who can scan back to see if they've had any earlier treatment that can be blamed. I don't object to courts moonlighting as a latter-day Robin Hood, re-distributing the wealth of big pharma to sick people. I do object to judges tearing up the rules of reasoning to achieve their purpose.

    Sometimes bad things happen to people, and it's nobody's fault.
     
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  3. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn, Seagulls and Wasps are Brilliant!

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  4. Limejuice

    Limejuice Well-Known Member

    Interesting piece.

    It comments that scientists miss the point about what the ruling means in legal terms, which is fair enough.

    It cites some lawyers' opinions. One of them seems to misunderstand the value of science in legal matters.

    From the article:

    ""If courts were to use scientific methods of proof in all cases in which they must determine disputed facts, they would hardly be able to make decisions and to deliver timely justice to people.”

    "Justice is generally best served when courts are free to admit whatever relevant evidence they wish and judge it on its own merits along with the rest,” says Stein."

    The lawyer asserts that examining cause and effect using scientific method to determine facts is not expedient. He argues that a need for timeliness trumps rigorous reasoning. In other words, as long as the decision isn't too slow, it matters less that it might be scientifically wrong.

    He says courts should admit any non-scientific evidence they choose. That would allow a court to accept any one of the hundreds of logical fallacies that beset informal, inductive reasoning when presented as evidence. This sounds like a plea for courts to buy any line from a lawyer if it helps the court reach reach the "right" decision. Nice try.

    :hmm:
     
  5. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    this will now be used as proof positive that vaccines are evil by anti-vaxxers. Expect garbled and misreported versions of the verdict to be used by the eternally selfish as an argument winner lol
     
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  6. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn, Seagulls and Wasps are Brilliant!

    The anti-vaccination idiots are already completely detached from reality anyway, and peddle bullshit about evil big pharma, so I doubt this will make much of a difference.
     
  7. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  8. Limejuice

    Limejuice Well-Known Member

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