• Germany court orders measles skeptic to pay 100,000 euros

    Bad skeptics suck. The BBC reports:

    A German biologist who offered €100,000 (£71,350; $106,300) to anyone who could prove that measles is a virus has been ordered by a court to pay up.

    Stefan Lanka, who believes the illness is psychosomatic, made the pledge four years ago on his website.

    The reward was later claimed by German doctor David Barden, who gathered evidence from various medical studies. Mr Lanka dismissed the findings.

    But the court in the town of Ravensburg ruled that the proof was sufficient.

    Reacting to the verdict by the court in the southern town, Mr Lanka said he would appeal.

    “It is a psychosomatic illness,” he told regional paper Suedkurier. “People become ill after traumatic separations.”

    A recent outbreak of measles in Germany has sparked a debate about whether vaccinations against the disease should be compulsory.

    An 18-month-old boy in Berlin died last month of the disease.

    The World Health Organization said it was “taken aback” by the 22,000 cases reported across Europe since 2014, urging to step up vaccinations.

    Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease characterised by a high fever, a rash and generally feeling unwell.

    The most severe cases can be fatal.

    Category: FeaturedScienceSkepticism

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • OttoGreif

      I think Lanka might have a psychosomatic illness.

    • kraut2

      If the German court also could rule that homeopathy, widely used in Germany, is also fraudulent and useless – then I could be a proud expat. As it is – a drop into the bucket of the nostrums peddled in Germany, including the various spas bullshit and on the very top:

      “Dr. HAMER: “Many
      of us will at one time or another experience a conflict and get cancer,
      but that is a normal part of life, and not such a bad thing at all,
      once one understands the principles of the Five Biological Laws. Even if
      some people are concerned about GNM not embracing conventional medical
      (dis)beliefs, they will soon be convinced by the force of the logic, the
      beauty, and the general common-sense approach of the GNM therapy.”

      “However, the surgeon should only remove as much tissue as is needed. Since cancers do not ‘metastasize’, cutting deeply into healthy tissue is unnecessary.”

      http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/documents/gnm_therapy.html

      read and whimper….

    • Would it be more accurate to call the biologist a measles contrarian or conspiracist? Anyway, the monetary challenge was a dumb move on his part, considering there is lots of scientific evidence to support that it’s a virus, even if he really doesn’t believe it.

      • kraut2

        Kind of funny “biologist” who believes in something instead evaluating the evidence. I just hope this guy does not have a teaching position.

    • Travelman

      I had measles as a kid, together with the other ‘normal’ infections of chicken pox, mumps, and German measles (rubella I think?). It was part of growing up and none were regarded as serious at the time. I can’t remember what proportion of my friends caught it but many certainly did. It seems unlikely that if its incidence reduces with vaccination that it would be psychosomatic. Then again, I’m not a biologist.