Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Letter: Pundit should always rely on evidence, not beliefs
First Published Mar 29 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 29 2014 01:01 am

Rich Lowry ("The foolish anti-vaxx campaign," Opinion, March 18) correctly and appropriately points out that there is no empirical evidence supporting the belief that vaccination causes autism.

In making his case, he appears to embrace the fundamental principle that beliefs should be based on solid empirical evidence. Most of us give lip service to this principle, but rarely employ it. The basis for human belief is much more likely to be ignorance, oversimplification, ideology, emotion, group pressure and self-interest than empirical evidence.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

We are inclined to cite evidence only when it aligns with our particular interests. If Mr. Lowry is honestly committed to the principle of evidence-based belief, he should be critical of any belief having weak empirical support, regardless of who believes it.

Consider the following weakly supported or counterfactual claims: There is no man-made global warming; humans are not the product of biological evolution; the free-market economy solves all economic problems; American health care is the best in the world; poor people are lazy.

I eagerly await future columns in which he honestly and rigorously assesses the empirical evidence for these beliefs.

Howard B. Parker

Salt Lake City

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.