Bad Astronomy

Slamming UK antiscience

I’ve written about one of my heroes, Ben Goldacre, before: he writes the Bad Science column for the UK newspaper The Guardian, and is a tireless fighter against medical nonsense like vitamins curing AIDS, homeopathy, and chiropractic.

He’s in some hot water right now. As I mentioned in February, a “journalist” named Jeni Barnett, who went on the radio and basically spewed dangerous antivax nonsense for an hour. Ben posted the entire audio clip, and predictably the radio station asked him to take it down. In America, given copyright restrictions, that would be understandable, but in the UK the laws are different, and the legality of this is questionable.


What I don’t understand is the radio station’s steadfast defense for themselves in their right to air fearmongering conspiracy theories which spend a lot of air time telling parents it’s better to put their kids at serious risk of fatal diseases than to get a simple vaccination, and to air someone saying demonstrably incorrect things while doing it. Where does personal or company pride end when it puts little children at risk?

Ben created an excellent short video news segment which is now on YouTube. I strongly urge everyone to watch it and spread the word.

People like Jeni Barnett have a right to speech, but speech, even free, comes with a price when it advocates parents putting their kids at risk. This story needs to be heard.