Friday, March 20, 2015

How do you lose a bet? Bet that measles doesn’t exist.

Stefan Lanka is one of the worst people in the world. He is the kind of person who is spewing bad science and calling it true.  Lanka is a German biologist, who is well known for making ridiculous claims about viruses, diseases, and causality. For example he continues to believe that HIV doesn’t exist at all.  Recently Lanka wanted to up the ante, and put some money down on a bet.  In November of 2011, he offered 100,000 euros (about $106,000) to anyone who could prove that measles exists.  Lanka had always taken the position that measles was a psychosomatic diseases caused by psychological trauma.  A german doctor, David Bardens, decided to prove Lanka wrong.  Bardens accumulated evidence from medical and scientific journals all pointing to the measles virus, a Paramxyovirus, as the cause of measles.  He cited credible sources, highlighted important information, and definately displayed the etiology of measles.  As you can imagine Lanka, refuted the evidence, but Bardens wasn’t finished.  He challenged Lanka and took the whole debacle to the German court.  Bardens felt that people like Lanka needed to pay for their actions and shouldn’t continue to spread bad science that can ultimately hurt people.  The German court found Burden’s evidence credible and ordered Lanka to pay up. As you can imagine Lanka is planning on appealing the verdict.

The seriousness of the measles outbreak in the US and in Europe fueled this case.  Despite the recent measles outbreak, scientists all over the world are speaking up against Lanka.  Steven Novella of Yale Medical School says that people like Lanka are just in it for the publicity and don’t expect to be publicly challenged.  These people also don’t expect to pay for their actions, but it’s likely that Lanka will be short 100,000 euros.     

  • Nalani Wakinekona

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