Prof. Mawson on Andrew Wakefield: Why Do His Views Need Consideration?
Mawson is a staunch supporter of Dr Andrew Wakefield. Although we may disagree on the quality of Wakefield's research and its significance, I do think it is admirable that Mawson has not only written this supportive letter to the most widely-read medical blog in the UK, but he may also have signed the Nigel Thomas petition that has gained the reputation as being in support of Wakefield and his research. I have emailed Mawson to ask him to confirm that he is currently signatory 2054 and maybe even 3529 (the numbers may be subject to change). If he confirms one or other of those signatures, then I shall discuss the supportive comments that he left there in another post.
Dr. Crippen tells us that:
Professor Mawson’s views need consideration.He doesn't tell us why he thinks this, although he does then offer a potted summary of Mawson's current positions. However, it is not clear to me why Dr Crippen believes that any of these are more relevant than the opinion of most other commentators. There seems to be some potential for confusion about Mawson's qualifications. Dr RJ makes a robust comment that explores Mawson's reproof to Prof Greehalgh. In passing, he remarks:
Perhaps Professor Mawson hasn't kept up with his continuing medical education?Having consulted Mawson's CV and various other sources, it's my understanding that he is not an MD or medical doctor. The CV lists an MPH or Masters in Public Health. His alma mater for this offers a 45-credit hour curriculum for this course although I don't know if the requirements were different when he took it. The MPH programme focuses on the
application of management concepts in the public health sector to protect and improve the health of the community. The MPH program consists of a 45-credit hour curriculum, which focus on management at the operating level.The DrPH seems to be a Doctor of Public Health but it is clear that this is not a PhD programme: in UK terms this seems to resemble an MPhil. Mawson does not list a PhD in any subject. His CV states:
Dr. Mawson obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from McGill University, Canada, his MA degree in sociology from the University of Essex, UK, and both MPH and DrPH degrees in epidemiology from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans. He was also a post-graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[Edited: 14:00] As several commenters to that letter have pointed out, but Dr RJ summarises:
Prof Mawson is an epidemiologist. He is not a medical doctor, not a virologist, not a pathologist, not an immunologist, not a gastroenterologist and not an autism researcher. There is nothing in Professor Mawsons CV that makes me think that he is qualified to hold an opinion on this paper any more than, say, a nuclear physicist with an interest in the topic.I fail to understand what added value an epidemiologist without a record of research into autism, MMR, or the prevalence/incidence of paediatric gut-issues brings to a discussion of the appropriate design study for a case-series of 12 children, selected according to criteria that were mostly related to participation in a legal case.
Dr Crippen is notoriously scathing towards the value of PhDs and other higher degrees when nurses comment that they have them. What would his attitude be to those BAs and MAs in sociology and psychology, or the MPH or DrPH if a nurse were to report that s/he had them and was using them as a basis to claim academic credibility or excellence for Wakefield's work? Just why are Mawson's qualifications more relevant and why do they make his opinions more deserving of consideration?