I have read the posts here, and they are very helpful. I actually don’t mind gadfly’s, as they keep the rest of us honest and force us to answer sometimes hard questions. Poking holes, no matter how irritating, is a useful exercise. The Moderators “letter to Niman” as a counterpoint makes a lot of sense to me. What is annoying is that Niman proceeds in a fashion that is going to lead to the same unnecessary health concerns that we initially saw with the outbreak of SARS. Niman’s postulates are gradually getting into the newspaper and mass media market, and that is a problem as they are presented as fact. If Recombinomics isn’t really a company, but rather an unscientific website with no quality control, created to push the theories of 1 person, then I will weigh that evidence appropriately. What I’m trying to figure out is whether the Emperor has absouletly no clothes on, or just a few rags.
There was no possibility of SARS without the appropriate exposure, but the fear it caused in patients and unnecessary physician visits were incredible. The similar situation holds for those who fear smallpox–without an index case, there is no smallpox on the planet. If everyone with a fear of avian influenza rushes to the doctor this fall, each examination room becomes an incumbator for the spread of the common cold and influenza A and B. That, actually, is the real concern in the US.