I read a very good blog this morning, and in reading the comments I came across a person who challenged the author on a point and used Snope.com as a definitive resource to support their point. You can read the blog here, it’s well worth the read! Here is a copy of the comment and reply from the author;
“Do you have a neutral, non-religious source that verifies that the human diploid cells come from aborted fetal tissue? Here is what I found on the Snopes forum (MMR is mentioned, even though the thread says “chicken pox vaccine”):
@Peggy, it states right in the package insert of the vaccine that the source is an aborted fetal cell line. How much more neutral, non-religious can you get?
“The virus was attenuated by 25–30 passages in tissue culture, using human diploid fibroblasts.” from: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/rubella.html Yes. It is completely real, as verified by the CDC and other major organizations. Snopes is highly unreliable in my book anyway, I don’t count it as a source of credible information.”
The whole deal reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my husband concerning Snopes.com. How and when did a basic, for profit website end up as the go-to resource, the definitive, conclusive, end-all source of reliable or false information? Everywhere I go I see people quoting Snopes.com as their resource when arguing points, but who says they are more reliable? In college, and even as a kid learning how to write research papers, I was always told I had to have credible sources of information when relating facts. Not only one source either, but at least 3! The internet was NOT considered a reliable resource unless the address was .org or .net and was of a paper/article or research from respected individuals or organizations in the field. Note in the above comments that the author quoted as her resource the CDC, a government organization providing information on vaccinations. The commenter, however, trusted Snopes.com, and not only that, it was a forum thread, not even an article!
The fact is that Snopes.com is written by humans, and has become so accepted as credible that anyone controlling it can say anything and people will believe it’s true. I have seen good information, like the above blog post, end up ridiculed because of Snopes.com and something someone saw there. Sure, they are usually pretty good at revealing hoaxes, but they can also make factual information appear as a hoax very easily because they are so trusted. On their website, here is what Snopes says; “Welcome to snopes.com, the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation. “
On their “About” page this is stated; “The snopes.com web site is (and always has been) a completely independent, self-sufficient entity wholly owned by its operators, Barbara and David Mikkelson, and funded through advertising revenues. Neither the site nor its operators has ever received monies from (or been engaged in any business or editorial relationship with), any sponsor, investor, partner, political party, religious group, business organization, government agency, or any other outside group or organization. “
Now, I realize that they do their best to provide accurate information, but these are 2 individuals that have biases and faults like the rest of us. In reading and researching, and in relaying that information, they can mix up, miss, or portray information incorrectly. They should NEVER be a sole source of information, they are NOT a “definitive” guide, and you should ALWAYS check their sources yourself.