Special Report: Online activists are silencing us, scientists say

"The emails, tweets and blog posts in the “abuse” folder that Michael Sharpe keeps on his computer continue to pile up. Eight years after he published results of a clinical trial that found some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome can get a little better with the right talking and exercise therapies, the Oxford University professor is subjected to almost daily, often anonymous, intimidation.


Sharpe is one of around a dozen researchers in this field worldwide who are on the receiving end of a campaign to discredit their work. For many scientists, it’s a new normal: From climate change to vaccines, activism and science are fighting it out online. Social media platforms are supercharging the battle."

What’s interesting about this, beyond the abuse issue, is the patients suggest in their own words:

"They would prefer that research efforts focus on identifying a biological cause or diagnosis."

However by following this suggestion, it means the research and therefore results are already biased, because they would be unable to test whether other factors contribute to the illness due to this single focus. If science requires a neutral ground for testing, they need to be allowed to consider all options.

However, the researchers themselves must be held accountable to ensure their own bias such as assuming mass hysteria etc is eradicated from the work too.