For a continent that (bizarrely) prides itself on turning away from religion, Europe has ironically replaced it with all manner of postmodern nonsense and pseudoscience. Welcome to the New Dark Age.
It reads like a headline from The Onion. Alas, it is real: “EU court: Vaccines can be blamed for illness without scientific evidence,” writes CNN.
The EU court’s ruling was based on the case of a Frenchman who accused a hepatitis B vaccine manufacturer for causing his multiple sclerosis. (Vaccines do not cause multiple sclerosis.) The court’s decision is Kafkaesque:
“The EU's highest court said that if the development of a disease is timely to the person's receiving a vaccine, if the person was previously health [sic] with a lack of history of the disease in their family and if a significant number of disease cases are reported among people receiving a certain vaccine, this may serve as enough proof.”
Apparently, rigorous epidemiological evidence is no longer necessary to prove anything in a European courtroom. If a plaintiff can demonstrate that he received a vaccine before he contracted an illness, the EU considers that to be potentially sufficient evidence to prove causation.
In other words, if A precedes B, then the EU believes that we can safely conclude that A caused B. Post hoc ergo propter hoc – a logical fallacy taught to scientists and lawyers – apparently is now the law of the land in Europe.
How Did Europe Get Here?
It’s important to understand that, contrary to widespread American belief, Europe is not some sort of technologically advanced, 21st Century paradise. In reality, it’s an economically stagnant continent held back by a culture of complacency and uncompetitiveness. Indeed, a new study in the Oxford journal Science and Public Policy concluded that four times as many groundbreaking discoveries per capita occur in the U.S. than in Europe.
Unfortunately, what happens in Europe doesn’t stay in Europe. The EU has already exported its anti-GMO propaganda all over the planet. This latest ruling will be seized upon by anti-vaccine activists, as well.
The EU needs to turn this ship around quickly. Otherwise it risks falling further behind in the realm of science and technology. There are three things it must do.
First, the EU must scrap the precautionary principle. This misguided policy, which demands that new technologies be proven safe, has morphed into an untamable leviathan. Now, Europeans simply assume that new technologies are dangerous until proven innocent.
Second, the EU must answer for its unelected, inept bureaucracy. How has it come to be that its legal system no longer cares about demonstrable facts? How is it that the EU treats scientific knowledge as just one opinion among many?
Finally, European politicians, journalists, and citizens need to engage in a public debate. What sort of society do they want to have? One that is based upon science and evidence, or one that is based upon fear and superstition? For a continent that (bizarrely) prides itself on turning away from religion, it has ironically replaced it with all manner of postmodern nonsense and pseudoscience.
Welcome to the New Dark Age.