Tune In To See Michael Specter on The Daily Show Tonight
Dec 03, 2009

By Amy Pisani
Tonight, author and long-time New Yorker journalist Michael Specter will be appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his new book Denialism.  Specter’s book explores the notion that Americans mistrust institutions and especially the institution of science more today than ever before. In one chapter, he takes on anti-vaccination activist Jenny McCarthy and other anti-vaccine advocates who persist with their theories about vaccines and autism despite epidemiological studies to the contrary.  He cites these people as examples of “how irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet, and threatens our lives.”
 A couple of weeks ago, NPR’s Weekend Edition interviewed Specter about Denialism in a piece entitled “Refusing Flu Shots? Maybe You’re A ‘Denialist’”.  Specter discussed parents who refuse vaccines for their children, saying that when parents make that decision, they focus on the one-in-10-million chance that a vaccine could kill a child and ignore the one-in-1,000 chance that a disease will do so. “These people retreat into denialism,” he says. He points out that diseases like measles, which had almost been eradicated in North America, are now coming back.
 I encourage you all to tune in. I am glad that Jon Stewart/The Daily Show are addressing the topic of scientific mistrust. It should be a great show!


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