Thursday, 24 March 2011
What does tax evasion have to do with quality of research? Oh yes - nothing.
The toothless, wheezing old dog that is Age of Autism has its claws out again, this time for Paul Thorsen, a researcher who's worked on various projects that show yet again no association between vaccines and autism. But are they going after him for bad science, or for fabricating evidence? No. They're going after him because he's been charged with tax evasion to the tune of around four million Danish Kroner. Sounds like an awful lot, doesn't it? But... I wonder why they've not bothered to convert it into US dollars or UK pounds for their core readership? Ah - is it because it's a shade under £500,000 - pretty close to the same amount that Andrew Wakefield received for his fraudulent MMR research?
Now, I'm not defending anyone who doesn't pay their tax - far from it. I hope Mr Thorsen, if found guilty, is punished accordingly.
However, this has nothing to do with the quality of his research - it's not as though he was paid that money to make up some spurious association and lie about his data in order to make more millions from his own patents. He's not declared a (substantial) sum of money to the taxman, and is being prosecuted for it. It does not negate the value of his work in any way.
Once again, AoA can't find fault with the science, so they go for the man.