Sunday, September 3, 2017

#1891: David L. Lewis

“David Lewis” is a relatively common name – some of its carriers are definitely non-loons – but David L. Lewis is one of the movers and shakers in the anti-vaccine movement and one of discredited crank and monster Andrew Wakefield’s most passionate defenders and fundraisers; he definitely qualifies. Lewis, a retired environmental microbiologist and “director” of the “National Whistleblowers Center Research Misconduct Project”, believes that there is a conspiracy involving the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies to exact ‘retribution’ on the purportedly innocent Wakefield. Fortunately for civilization, Lewis’s understanding of the issues – fuelled as they are by conspiratorial presuppositions – is so poor that he has probably ended up harming Wakefield’s case more than helping it; basically, when trying to counter the conclusion that Wakefield had committed scientific fraud, Lewis supplied documents strongly suggesting that Wakefield was grossly incompetent – but which also failed to counter the fraud allegations; Lewis, apparently not knowing how to read the data in the documents he submitted, didn’t seem to realize – details here – and promptly complained that the data weren’t used to draw the conclusion he wanted to be drawn.

And don’t ever think that Lewis will pretend to protect whistleblowers if outing them will serve his agenda – the center is about pushing an antivaccine agenda, not whistleblowing, as tellingly illustrated by their approach to the so-called CDC whistleblower case (which, of course, really was nothing of the sort).

Lewis is the author of book Science for Sale, and it is interesting that he tends to neglect to mention his own conflicts of interest when engaging in his anti-vaccine work. He is a regular at anti-vaccine gatherings, and also popped up in the utterly insane Truth About Vaccines “documentary” series.

To explain some of Lewis’s mindset, looking at his conflicts with his previous employer, the EPA, is illuminating.

Diagnosis: Conspiracy theorist with a persecution complex. Yeah, we’ve encountered these before, but Lewis is relatively loud and not without influence (some people seem to think that Lewis actually helped exonerate Wakefield when his actions really contributed to the exact opposite). Dangerous.

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