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Why are people threatening the lives of scientists?

In the past week, there have been several news stories about medical science professionals receiving death threats, and having people show up to their lectures carrying weapons.  For more information on this, please feel free to check out the article written by Robin McKie for The Observer, or this one by Max Pemberton for The Telegraph.  The second one is particularly amusing for its presentation of unsupported theories as fact and for its disregard of the medical opinions of hundreds of medical professionals/researchers and the World Health Organisation in favour of the opinion of a very small group of psychiatrists whose theories have not been proven.

Part of me died when I read those articles.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone this sort of behaviour, but the actions that people like Simon Wessely are taking are worse.  There are legal systems in place to punish someone taking a knife into a lecture theatre in order to threaten the speaker.  There is nothing to help the many people that are struggling daily to exist with M.E and yet are being removed from the care of their families if they try to refuse treatment that is causing their condition to worsen to life-threatening levels.  How can this be legal?  These laws were put in place to help people that were being denied the treatment they needed.  They are being abused in ways that to my opinion are equivalent to severe torture.  I struggle each day to get through many tasks which most people would consider basic needs, and for me this is painful and difficult.  But I am by no means one of the worst cases.  I have days where I can walk for myself (albeit rather slowly and needing support) and I am only occasionally unable to leave my bed.  There are many that never see the outside of their room.  How can it be right to be forcing these people into treatments involving physical activity that will reduce their quality of life, small as it may be, into nothing. I can only imagine that these “activists” are seeing this as the last possible way to carry a message across that may save the life of people they love.  I do not agree with the actions, but I can certainly understand why this may seem to be the only solution.

Science is about understanding the world around us and finding out truths.  It is not about creating a theory and then adjusting the world to fit into it.

This is the news report that should have been in the media.

Taken from by Giles Meehan.

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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis


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