Relativism and Brexit

11 May

If there is one thing that I dislike in any debate it is relativism.

Relativism is the intellectual position of giving equal weight to each argument. When a report suggested that there was a link between the MMR jab and the increase in autism it was reported in the newspapers and expert opinion against this study was sought and given.

On one side was a single study, and on the other was a serious body of information, meticulously assembled and peer reviewed which suggested that the single study was at best an outlier. Reviews of the methodology of the single study revealed serious flaws in the methodology which discredited the result.

Most newspapers gave equal weight to the conclusions on each side. Many parents refused to allow their children to be inoculated, or went to the expense of having their children immunised with separate jabs at considerable expense. Measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks occurred for the first time since the mass inoculation programme was initiated. These are not petty childhood diseases, but can lead to blindness, infertility and various other results. And did I mention death?

There are serious results in giving out misinformation in the guise of giving a balanced argument. Where all the expert opinion falls on one side and the other side may be the work of a dangerous crank, which side should be emphasised?

In the Brexit debate the huge majority of expert opinion comes down in favour of the UK remaining within the EU. On the other side is a collection of people varying from the mildly eccentric to Little Englanders, to the mildly racist and right through to right wing extremists. In this debate you would expect the newspapers, on previous form to provide at least a balance of reporting based on relativism.  Not so. The best selling newspapers have all come down on the side of Brexit. The counter arguments are not reported at all or are derided without consideration.

This might be something to do with the fact that all these organs of the press are owned by individuals or companies that pay no tax in the UK, They are deeply irresponsible and have little stake in the fate of this country.

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