Wow, that's some industrial grade ignorance. Let me try to correct some of it.
So are you now making the claim that medical science has never been wrong?
See cross thread where I point out that all knowledge is provisional. If you get your news from pop science writers, or you read every paper as if it's been handed down by god on stone tablets, then you're going to be wrong a lot of the time. Stick with the scientific consensus and you're in a much better position.
And who, exactly, was it that figured out that Thalidomide was unsafe, and that antibiotic overuse leads to resistant strains of bacteria? Not the scientists, right? That was divined by new-age thinkers? Or the anti-vaxxers?
And like all drugs big pharma has an interest in seeing as much use (=sales) of those drugs as it possibly can. In the case of Thalidomide it took years for the effects to be revealed then many more to be corrected.
You realize that Thalidomide was never allowed to be sold in the United States by the FDA specifically because it did not have enough scientific evidence behind it proving it was safe?
Meanwhile I don't see you calling the doctors who applied it as directed or the pharma company pushing it "killers with blood on their hands" like is being said here about those that choose to disbelieve a particular claim.
This style of argumentation is very common on Slashdot. Your position is weak, so you pretend I've taken positions I haven't. I've said nothing about thalidomide up to this point, so please don't make shit up.
But since we're on the topic. I'd call any doctor that pushed thalidomide after the science was known to be directly responsible for the effects of having recommended it, even more so than Jenny McCarthy, since doctors are in a much more trusted position than Jenny McCarthy. That's the position the anti-vaxxers find themselves in today. Their conclusions have been shown conclusively to be incorrect, dangerous, and based on fraud. And yet they continue to push their agenda. This would be like doctors trying to prescribe Thalidomide today.
Also, the Thalidomide topic is much more complex than this. At the time, the regulatory framework simply wasn't in place. Did doctors jump the gun prescribing Thalidomide? Perhaps. And perhaps they should have read more into the studies and questioned more things about it. Some did, in fact. That's exactly why the FDA didn't approve it. But can we expect all doctors to do that? These days, the FDA is meant to serve this role, so doctors can rely on the FDA to ensure drugs are safe, but at the time, Thalidomide was really the first high profile example that showed that government regulation was capable of preventing these sorts of problems.
Skepticism of scientific claims is a good thing. It forces those making those claims to look deeper into them. Not too long ago it was scientifically accepted that the Earth was the center of the universe. It took skeptics and a large amount of time to disprove that claim.
Again, who was it who disproved that claim? Early scientists, obviously. And then the antiscience community railed against it for decades, if not centuries. Science makes progress with more science, not by saying, "Hey, I'm going to reject these conclusions because I don't like them." We have never made progress by choosing to believe what we prefer to believe over what the data tell us is true. Even Einstein in his famous "God does not play dice with the universe" falls victim to preferring what he wanted to be true aesthetically about the universe over what the data were telling us.
This false equivalence is common among laymen, however, who wish to present themselves as sophisticated through cynicism. Their hue and cry is that some science has been proven wrong in the past, so all science is potentially suspect. Nevermind that science is what proves science wrong and this is exactly how it is supposed to work.
The reason that the earth was considered to be the center of the world was because there were data based on star and planet movements that suggested it was. When Copernicus came up with the heliocentric version of the solar system, it actually explained some data less well than the earth-centric version because elliptical orbits were not yet known. It wasn't until Newton that we really understood how orbital mechanics work. Does this mean that Copernicus was wrong or that the people before? Not really. Their data were correct, and they were making the best decisions they could with that data. The data still haven't changed and new theories have simply fit that same data (and new data besides) better than before.
And this is how science works. We get closer to the truth the more we investigate. Newtonian mechanics weren't thrown out with relativity. Instead, they were refined. Planets didn't suddenly start falling into the sun because gravity had changed. The data that Newton based his conclusions on were still valid when Einstein figured out his theories, and we knew that any replacement for Newton's laws had to very closely match with what Newton said. The currently known things constrain the set of explanations to the point that even big revolutions in scientific thinking are not going to significantly change the predictive power of the models at this point.
Put another way, no theory of gravity is going to tell us that apples fall up from a tree. No theory of medicine is going to ignore the immune system. No biological theory is going to overturn the fact that we have all descended from a common ancestor. And we can be almost equally confident at this point that there's no chance that vaccines cause autism on the scale that Jenny McCarthy and her ilk claim they do.