Steve Conner in The Independent:
When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.
Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.
The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.
Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. “We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate,” said President-elect Obama. “Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it,” he said.
His words were echoed by Mr McCain. “It's indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it,” he said. “There's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in the vaccines.”
Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.