An Exercise in Critical Reading

Okay, science pals, I’ve got a fun little exercise for you. Let’s see how many of you can spot where this paragraph goes wrong:

Merck and the CDC have determined that 1 out of every 912 who received Gardasil in a large study,  (see page 8) died. Yet, the cervical cancer death rate is only 1 out of every 40,000 women per year. In other words, girls are better off not taking the shot because the Gardasil shot kills the girls in greater numbers than does the disease it purports to treat.

Obviously, if you don’t click on the link to the study, you don’t spot the error. So let’s do that. The first thing you should do in a case like this is look to what’s cited. In this case, it’s page 8 of a safety assessment where the paper does in fact offer a number of people in their study who died. What was the largest cause of death among those who supposedly died of Gardasil? Acute respiratory failure? Negative reaction to aluminum leading to organ failure? Car crashes?

…Wait, what?