Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Sympathy For The Devil
Tempting though it is to concentrate on piling up the brushwood and shopping for a stake in the case of Prof Meadow, aka Mr Munchhausen, the destroyer of thousands of families, we should never forget that he should never have been in a position to cause such mayhem in the first place.
A vote of no-thanks is due to our legal system. Normally a baseball bat is required to prevent lawyers and judges babbling about transparency, accountability, defendant's rights and such. Yet when the plaintiffs are their fellow feeders at the trough of socialist social engineering, social workers, they jettison most of the principles of British law to produce a system that had more in common with the Inquisition than anything recognisable as the product of a modern, democratic state.
But what of Meadow's colleagues ? Big Science has stubbornly continued to hoover up taxpayer's money while screeching that they don' need no steenkin' oversight. Science is self-correcting, see ? Yet thousands of innocent families have been destroyed and the scientific community not only managed not to rock the boat, they refrained from so much as shifting their buttocks.
There are plenty of complex, cutting edge issues in science: this wasn't one of them. Meadow claimed that the probability of a mother losing two babies to cot death was the same as the probability that two randomly selected babies would die from cot death. It don't matter where you stand on Nature Vs Nurture, this is garbage. Two babies with the same parents, growing up in the same environment are anything but randomly selected. An A-Level biology student could spot that, but science's alleged great & good claim to have been channelling Stevie Wonder. That, in and off itself should raise serious questions about the future of self-regulation but, when compared to the near lynching of Andrew Wakefield, the contrast is compelling. Think how many families would have been saved if only Meadw had spoken out against MMR.
Above all else though, we should tip our hat to the child protection industry. A lone lunatics like Meadow would never have been able to cause the damage he did without the unstinting support of the beardy-weirdeys. Just as in Cleveland, Orkney, Pembrokeshire and so many other places, it was the ability of social workers to dive onto the dippiest theory or the junkiest of junk science and ride it like a ten pound whore that turned a mere act of isolated idiotude into a social disaster. Whenever we hear talk of social work, we should remember these names and say to ourselves: this is what these people are all about.