Overcoming Appeals to Nature and Distrust of Science I was having lunch on a beautiful spring day with a very smart attorney friend of mine recently. He had a big civil trial coming up that involved having to persuade a jury on some relatively complicated scientific evidence. The conversation went something like this:
EDUCATED FRIEND: “Another study just came out showing that the anti-vaccine crowd is all wrong. The abstract right here says, ‘Despite research showing no link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), beliefs that the vaccine causes autism persist, leading to lower vaccination levels.’”
CHRIS: “How many in the study?”
EDUCATED FRIEND: “95,000.”
CHRIS: “That’s a pretty significant number. Is this a peer-reviewed, published study?”
EDUCATED FRIEND: “It’s in JAMA.”
CHRIS: “Wow, that’s big.”
EDUCATED FRIEND: “Maybe more people ...