Michael Winfrey: Former doctor was not invited to UW-L
letter to the editor

Michael Winfrey: Former doctor was not invited to UW-L

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I chaired the Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences committee that brought Brian Deer to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse earlier this month.

The purpose of this series is to bring in a scientist who has made exceptional contributions to the life sciences. For the first time, we invited an award—winning journalist rather than a scientist.

We did this because Deer’s investigations reversed an alarming trend of decreased vaccination of children in the United States and worldwide. Deer’s exposure of fraud also provides a clear example of the consequences of fraudulent science and the challenges faced by a public increasingly inundated with alarmist studies.

It’s unfortunate that the Tribune chose to promote this as a “debate” in its Sept. 30 article, which led to the misconception that the university was hosting a debate between two opposing views.

This series does not organize debates. We invite distinguished scientists (or in this case a journalist) whose findings have not only had a significant impact on science and society but also whose work is widely accepted by the scientific community.

This year we invited a journalist who exposed a grievous scientific fraud by a former British doctor. The former doctor, who was found guilty of this fraud by two prestigious medical journals and the British General Medical Council, invited himself and complained that he was not invited to debate Deer.

There are many topics worthy of debates. Whether a vaccine is the cause of autism is not among them.

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