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  • Chris Brook

An Anti-Science conference

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

The National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome conference is being held in Sydney this week. The National (U.S.) Centre on SBS is a well organised advocacy group that can take responsibility for thousands of wrongful convictions throughout the world. No-one does advocacy quite like the Americans (and I am not anti-American at all, they do a lot of positive advocacy too! Think same sex marriage. The point is that they are good at it).

Anyway, this is a wholly anti-science conference. Very similar in content to AutismOne, the anti-vaxxer conference. Ask an anti-vaxxer to show you the science linking vaccines to autism, and they will fail to show any. Ask an SBS advocate to show you the science linking the 'triad' of brain injuries to SBS, and they will fail to show any. But both groups are passionate believers that they are 'fighting for infants against abusive parents'.

I could not attend the SBS conference in Sydney, as I live in Spain. However, I have attained some of the materials that were presented. Here is a flavour of how the SBS advocates explain science to their audience, and how they claim that Shaken Baby Syndrome can be hence classified as science:

"Real Science:

• Hypotheses do not ‘become’ theories

• Theories do not ‘become’ laws

• Each one is a different feature of the scientific method

Analysis & Reality

• Can a doctor diagnose that you suffer from migraines – yes

• Can a doctor tell you specifically what is causing the migraines to occur – usually no

because they can result from multiple causes often interrelated

• Can SBS be explained by a single biomechanical experiment testing maximum or peak


Analysis & Reality

• Evolution is a “scientific theory” – it cannot be proven but is overwhelming accepted

• “Cell theory” – the idea that cells are the basic unit of structure in every living thing

• You can’t explain how cells function through a single cause and effect statement

• Virtually all of medicine is theory

• A medical professional addressing “science” would certainly understand these issues"

So evidently, evolution cannot be proven. Because, you know, it is a theory and not a law. But that is ok because, well, it is widely accepted so, you know, that makes it science. (As though there is not a mountain of scientific evidence for evolution!)

Kind of like Shaken Baby Syndrome. It cannot be proven, but, you know, it is widely accepted. So clearly it is science!

I. Kid. You. Not.

Another of my favourites from my reading so far:

"Analysis & Reality

• Has SBS been “falsified”?

• Only data challenging reliability is biomechanic data which does not measure tissue strains and which has thresholds based on a different model of a single whiplash event

• Comparing apples to oranges does not falsify

• Evidence based medicine has not falsified SBS – only challenged quality of research supporting, and falsely at that"

So there is zero scientific evidence for SBS. But hey, it has not been falsified! So it is science!

Just like it has not been falsified that a pixie lives in the centre of the moon.

(dont get me started on Popper and falsification, as though falsifying is what science is about... I am sure a rant on Popper will come out at a later date.. for now look at my website explaining what science is.)

The conference is co-presented by the National (U.S.) Centre for Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Sydney Children's Hospital Network. And the main sponsor of this anti-science conference? The NSW government. Great! As I said, these people know how to organise and to advocate.