Doctor of horseshit

The Australian reports that the University of Wollongong has accepted a PhD thesis from someone in “the social sciences” (it fails to specify, which is frustrating) which claims that there’s a massive conspiracy between the WHO and Big Pharma to promote vaccinations.

The candidate in question is a prominent anti-vaxxer.

Judy Wilyman, the convener of Vaccination Decisions and Vaccination Choice, submitted the thesis late last year, concluding Australia’s vaccination policy was not a result of independent assessment but the work of pharmaceutical industry pressure on the WHO.

The WHO convened a ­“secret emergency committee” funded by drug firms to “orchestrate” hysteria relating to a global swine flu pandemic in 2009, Ms Wilyman said in her thesis.

“The swine flu pandemic of 2009 was declared by a secret WHO committee that had ties to pharmaceutical companies that stood to make excessive profits from the pandemic,” she wrote.

Several medical researchers and public health advocates have slammed the PhD thesis — to be awarded through the university’s School of Humanities — with some calling for it to be sent to the university’s academic board for review.

If she’s in a literature department, maybe there are no criteria by which the thesis would be considered All Wrong and Incompetent and thus rejected, but in any other department…there would be, wouldn’t there? Or should be?

Ms Wilyman has been the subject of controversy for several years, most notably falsely linking vaccination with autism and questioning whether a family was paid to use their young daughter’s death to promote vaccines.

In October, she circulated an interview on her Vaccination Choice Facebook page in which anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny suggested Nazi scientists had “infiltrated” new medication research and were working to make “everybody on the planet sicker”.

Senior immunology academic John Dwyer, spokesman for the Friends of Science in Medicine, said he would write to the university and express his concerns. “The ­candidate (Ms Wilyman) has endorsed a ­conspiracy theory where all sorts of organisations with claimed vested interests are putting pressure on WHO to hoodwink the world into believing that vaccines provide more benefits than they cause harm,” Professor Dwyer said.

Can people just say any old bullshit and get a PhD?

The thesis was supervised by Brian Martin, a professor of social sciences at the university with a long history of supporting controversial PhD candidates.

Another of Professor Martin’s students was Michael Primero, associated with Medical Veritas, a self-described journal of “truth in health science” that alleged the Rockefeller Foundation had declared a war on consciousness through the imposition of musical tuning standards.

Professor Martin dismissed concerns about the paper, saying they were “not genuine concerns about quality and probity but instead part of a campaign to denigrate viewpoints they oppose”.

Oh jeezus – it’s not a matter of viewpoints, it’s a matter of making shit up.

Ms Wilyman’s thesis cited a 27-year-old paper that claimed there was no clear link that human papillomavirus infection is causally related to cervical cancer, despite more recent work suggesting 70 per cent of cervical cancer is related to HPV.

“The promotional campaigns for HPV vaccine misrepresented the risk of HPV infections and cervical cancer to women in different countries,” Ms Wilyman wrote.

“This was done in order to create a market for the vaccine.”

Plus, they’re extra-terrestrials.

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