Why Educate Our Kids? Because Anti-Vax Isn’t Science

4 06 2010

And it’s not even good ethics, good politics or good parenting.

Cock of the snook to Meg for this brilliant public communication (supported by real science here) on science being more moral than stupidity and selfish isolationism much less celebrity as authority, when it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves and the Golden Rule:

When Favorite Daughter watched this video, she grabbed my notebook and linked to a related anti-antivax post she warned me was for a crass young male demographic but I should read to the end anyway. I did. You might want to, too, but just in case you can’t stomach it, here’s the gist:

Don’t Listen to Jenny McCarthy
Celebrity Culture

Now, Jenny McCarthy, I’m not saying that autism isn’t heartbreaking, and I’m sure you want someone to blame, and more importantly you want to do something to prevent autism for the future. Also, you want to be mad, like everyone else in your position.
I know this.
But I also know that, in general, people like to listen to the nice, good-looking people that talk on their televisions. And you’re one of those people, Jenny McCarthy, so you can’t just get mad like everyone else.

You are an Oprah-certified celebrity on a daytime talk show; People are going to eat up what you say. This is a celebrity culture, so for better or worse, there is a large chunk of the population that is going to listen to and often follow the example of its prettiest celebrities.

. . .Sure, there are doctors to ask, and the research is out there but, unfortunately, the things that celebrities say resonate more with the public than the things that doctors say. It’s awful, but it’s true. According to Science, we do this because “evolutionary pressures acting on a tribal group of protohumans instilled in us an instinctive need to listen to authority figures.”

So doing what an authority figure tells us is wired into our brains. The problem, Science argues, is that we’ve confused “famous” with “authority,” and that’s what makes us turn a skeptical eye on our doctors while at the same time spouting off half-remembered, misleading statistics we heard from that pretty lady on Oprah’s show.

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85 responses

4 06 2010
Crimson Wife

But why should we automatically trust the research findings alleged to “prove” vaccine safety when there are serious concerns about methodology, financial conflicts of interest, etc? The biggest cheerleader for vaccines in the U.S. is Dr. Paul Offit from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He just happens to have made tens of millions of dollars from a vaccine he developed & subsequently sat on the committee at the CDC that evaluated whether to mandate it. That, to me, is WAY worse than the conflicts of interest Goldman Sachs is alleged to have that Congress and the media are making such a big deal over. That’s just money- when it comes to vaccines, we’re talking the potential of irreversible health effects or even death (like Gardasil may be linked to).

The truth is that we simply do not know for certain one way or the other what the actual risks of vaccines are. The type of study that parents could actually trust- large, prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled, done by researchers who have no financial links to the vaccine industry, and so on – has not been done. And they WON’T be done so long as the medical establishment considers it “unethical” to give some participants the vaccines and others placebo shots.

I don’t follow a delayed, selective vaccine schedule because of Jenny McCarthy. I follow it because I’ve done my homework on the issue and have come to the conclusion that I can’t trust the reassurances of the medical establishment. The research is simply too flawed to support the claims being made about it.

4 06 2010
Jana

I am a delayed selective vaccinator, not because anyone told me to. But because when I was young there were 8 vaccinations, for my older children there were 12, now for these little ones my state requires 22 vaccinations before age 4. That is insanity. I will not put that many toxins into my little children that fast. I don’t care. I don’t give a single vaccination till age 2, and all are given one at a time, with 3-6 months in between.

I am an informed parent, it is my right to choose. Just as it is your right to do what is right for your family.

4 06 2010
JJ

That’s not the truth, CW. That’s simply not the truth. It is false equivalency and can be outright fear-mongering, if not in intent then in effect, and yes, that does cause harm and death. Proven, actual harm and death. Measles alone is the number-one vax-preventable cause of DEATH in young children worldwide. Period.

4 06 2010
JJ

Jana, this is not a discussion about your right to be wrong. It is about science and finding answers that help people, not arguments that hurt us.

4 06 2010
JJ

War on [Vax] Science:

Science loses ground to pseudo-science because the latter seems to offer more comfort.
Carl Sagan: “There are unsatisfied medical needs, spiritual needs, and needs for communion with the rest of the human community.”
. . .Looking back over human history, rationality has been the anomaly.
Being rational takes work, education, and a sober determination to avoid making hasty inferences, even when they appear to make perfect sense. Much like infectious diseases themselves — beaten back by decades of effort to vaccinate the populace.

Today, because the looming risk of childhood death is out of sight, it is also largely out of mind, leading a growing number of Americans to worry about what is in fact a much lesser risk: the ill effects of vaccines. . . Nobody in the pro-vaccine camp asserts that vaccines are risk-free, but the risks are minute in comparison to the alternative.

“Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of – we are all ignorant in many areas. On the other hand, ignorance is nothing to be arrogant about, either.

4 06 2010
JJ

Healthy babies not vaxxed for anything until age two, as Jana’s reportedly haven’t been, owe their very lives to the overwhelming majority of other parents of healthy children who aren’t so short-sighted and selfishly focused on their own myopic fears and feelings. Even so, just to be safe as Jana claims she is determined to be, I hope they are kept indoors away from even family members who go out unvaxxed and may bring home the deadly diseases.

The oil catastrophe has me pretty short-tempered with crap as of now, you know, the deadly disaster that I never chose (my state didn’t either — we don’t want drilling off our shores for sound scientific reasons but we’re screwed anyway because of the stupid, greedy, selfish people) and from which I can’t hope to protect anyone including my own children and future grandchildren, no matter how smart or well-informed I may be.

4 06 2010
NanceConfer

22 vaccinations at 3 months apart starting at 2 . . . of course, when I was young, we didn’t have calculators and computers and everything should be just as it was back in the good old days but. . . what the heck, I’m going to use the calculator on this computer and let’s see . . . that makes the kid 7.5 years old by the time he’s done going to the doctor every 3 months for a shot. So that’s 2nd grade for schooled kids . . . or 3rd grade if the shots are spread out more . . . what could possibly go wrong?

This is just silly — “The truth is that we simply do not know for certain one way or the other what the actual risks of vaccines are.” The risks of vaccines are well known and the benefit to humanity has been one of medicine’s biggest successes.

4 06 2010
NanceConfer

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june10/hepatitis_06-03.html

. . .

SPENCER MICHELS: An effective vaccine for hep B has been available for almost 25 years.

Newborns need a vaccination within the first day of life to prevent transmission of the virus from their mother. Two more doses are needed within the first six months for full immunity. And about half the babies in the U.S. do get vaccinated.

. . .

Go ahead. Read the whole thing even if it’s not your exact demographic.

4 06 2010
JJ

Jana said: I don’t care.

Sadly, I can believe that.

4 06 2010
Audrey

This might be compelling enough for people whose children have no reactions to vaccines, but the truth is that many children do. My son had a severe reaction to his first MMR and we have not vaccinated him since then — on the advice of his physician. Even if the physician had not recommended it, I wouldn’t have risked going through that nightmare again.

I do believe it is just as possible for pro-vaccine dogma to be as fanatical as the anti-vac crowd. I also happen to believe that somewhere in the middle lies the truth of the issue.

4 06 2010
JJ

Of course. A specific contraindication for vaxxing or worse, an actual adverse medical reaction in a specific person (to any drug or procedure or food, even, not just to vaccines) while under a physician’s care is where the parent gets a real education and makes the tough decisions. The whole idea of herd immunity is that Audrey’s child and others in that specific situation can be safe, because the rest of us have vaxxed according to the best medical science for our healthy kids. Not what was done 50 years ago, and not just for our own family and screw everybody else.

I gave blood and was a five-gallon donor when I was Favorite Daughter’s age, and now she does too. There isn’t much risk but there’s NO benefit, directly to us. Why do we do this? Because there is benefit in people who are able, doing what they can do when they can, for the rest of us. If we all do that, the world works. If we don’t, it doesn’t.

Certainly no one will force this on individuals and some for various medical reasons cannot or should not give blood. I no longer can, so I don’t. But a celebrity anti-blood donor campaign to scare people out of doing this “just in case” it might be risky, choosing scare words the way Jana calls disease-preventing inoculations “toxins” and CW mutters about corporate, gasp, profit in medicine — needles! sapping precious bodily fluids! vampires! — would be immoral, selfish and stupid imo. And endanger the medically vulnerable among us most of all. That’s what the antivax movement is out to do, and people play into it or challenge it when we “discuss” our own choices. I guess it’s possible to be some kind of fanatic about giving blood but that still wouldn’t be the equivalent of actively scaring folks out of doing it, do you think, Audrey?

4 06 2010
Nance Confer

Yep. I’m pretty dogmatic on that gravity thing, too.

4 06 2010
Crimson Wife

I have been tested for Hep B, and am negative. As the other major modes of infection are sex and IV drug use, I don’t see a need to vaccinate my children prior to adolescence. Their immune systems will be far more developed and able to handle the vaccine at that point.

The single measles vaccine is one I normally would have administered at 15-18 months. However, last year the CDC pressured Merck into stopping production of the individual measles, mumps, and rubella shots. As I’m not comfortable with skipping the combo MMR shot all together, I’m planning to have it given to my youngest when she’s 4 unless the single measles shot becomes available again sooner.

4 06 2010
Audrey

No. I get what you’re saying. I guess I see people like Jenny McCarthy, though, as someone reacting out of fear and anger. She’s angry that her son is autistic and has convinced herself that vaccines caused it. Her fear that it could be a completely unknown quantity that made her son autistic is what motivates her, or perhaps the worse fear that she may be “at fault.” (Now, before anyone gets pissy, I know it is not a parent’s “fault” that any child has autism, but that is sometimes the emotional response a parent feels.) Many people insist there is an answer for everything, when even the best scientist will tell you there isn’t always an answer for everything — yet. 😉

I feel sorry for Ms. McCarthy. Not because of her autistic son, but because she is still desperately grasping at straws for an answer instead of dealing with the situation at hand. Unfortunately, her fears have deluded her and she is doling out misinformation that feeds on the fears of other parents.

4 06 2010
JJ

Audrey, you’re a nicer person than I can be on this one. 🙂

4 06 2010
JJ

CW, are you an actual anti-vaxxer? I know when we talk about other extremes like religious cults or purity balls or control freak moms or whatever, you say *I’m* not like that, as if that means no one is . . . it makes it hard to talk about what we’re talking about if instead it becomes talking about how that isn’t you. Do you believe there is an antivax hysteria out there somewhere (perhaps no one you know personally) feeding the fears of OTHER parents (not you with all your advantages and education) who believe vaxxing is a conspiracy to pump their kids full of toxins for money, and who believe their antivax scientists are the real deal even after they’re exposed, and that actual science is all some big scam?

5 06 2010
NanceConfer

I feel sorry for McCarthy’s children. They are being raised by her. There is so much wrong with her “parenting” it makes me sad for the kids.

On the PDE list, a poster made sure not to blame the parents for autism. Actually, I think we should blame the parents.

On two levels.

Whatever genetic component is responsible for autism — that’s your “fault” Mom and Dad. You want to heap irrational guilt on someone? Go for it.

And I think anyone using their autistic child as a billboard for their wacky ideas about how science works is also at fault. How about getting whatever real help is available for your child and stop wasting what little time we all have on your own little feel-good crusade?

5 06 2010
JJ

You know the real estate mantra about what matters for value? Location, location and location.

What matters for humanity is education, education, education. Just living biologically isn’t the point, but education to have a life worth living. NPR woke me to the news today that 16,000 uneducated, economically powerless women die in childbirth in Afghanistan every year and the average family size is seven children (before the mom succumbs?) And then there’s no education for all those kids and they grow up to be the Taliban and further oppress the women into breeding even more little uneducated brutes . . .

6 06 2010
Lynn

JJ: The oil catastrophe has me pretty short-tempered with crap as of now, you know, the deadly disaster that I never chose (my state didn’t either — we don’t want drilling off our shores for sound scientific reasons but we’re screwed anyway because of the stupid, greedy, selfish people) and from which I can’t hope to protect anyone including my own children and future grandchildren, no matter how smart or well-informed I may be.

[Standing ovation] 🙂

JJ: What matters for humanity is education, education, education.

Unfortunately, what matters for Religion (and Capitalism as Religion, and Patriotism as Religion) is mis-education, mis-education, mis-education. So, we (the educated and miseducated alike) – and entire ecosystems – suffer as a result. The Gulf oil disaster continues to leave me devastated and speechless. I’m so very sorry. For all of us – but, for my friends in Florida most of all. 😦

6 06 2010
Crimson Wife

I’m not anti-vaccine, but I understand where the moms who are anti-vax are coming from. They don’t trust the medical establishment to tell them the truth about vaccine safety- and neither do I. I do think the anti-vax crowd is erring too much on the side of accepting the potential risk of their child contracting a preventable disease in an attempt to avoid the potential risk of a negative side effect from the shot. I’ve come to a different conclusion when weighing the potential risks, which is why I do have my kids get most of the recommended vaccines eventually. Then again, I don’t have an autistic kid. Maybe if one of them did get diagnosed with the disorder I’d come over to the anti-vax side.

Because I don’t believe that better diagnosis and assortive mating of those with mild Apserger’s can fully explain the dramatic increase in autism. Something in the environment is contributing to the huge number of kids getting the disorder. Vaccines may not be the real culprit but there haven’t been the kind of well-designed studies that could say definitively that they aren’t.

6 06 2010
Lynn

Have I ever mentioned that my husband works in the shadowy underworld of clinical research? We lead exciting lives, as you might imagine. I’d elaborate, but I’ve gotta to run (I need to pick up Hubby’s cloak and hood at the dry cleaner for an important One World Pharmaceuticals meeting tomorrow evening), but I’ll leave you with this before I head out.

Living in Denial

■1. Allege that there’s a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.
■2. Use fake experts to support your story. “Denial always starts with a cadre of pseudo-experts with some credentials that create a facade of credibility,” says Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut.
■3. Cherry-pick the evidence: trumpet whatever appears to support your case and ignore or rubbish the rest. Carry on trotting out supportive evidence even after it has been discredited.
■4. Create impossible standards for your opponents. Claim that the existing evidence is not good enough and demand more. If your opponent comes up with evidence you have demanded, move the goalposts.
■5. Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi. Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.
■6. Manufacture doubt. Falsely portray scientists as so divided that basing policy on their advice would be premature. Insist “both sides” must be heard and cry censorship when “dissenting” arguments or experts are rejected.

6 06 2010
Nance Confer

Aha! A scientist!

I’ll bet he even changes his mind when evidence changes.

6 06 2010
Lynn

Nance: “I’ll bet he even changes his mind when evidence changes.”

Well, he used to, but now he recognizes that it’s more important to help Big Pharma Titans establish World Domination (in exchange for a salary and 401K plan). One perk that I’ve enjoyed is getting to know the ladies over at the Illuminati. They even let me help with the design of the new one dollar bill. I was delighted. (You know how much I adore photoshopping.) Anyway, if you look closely, you can see the drug capsule that I added to represent the power of the Pharma Collective to control the population. Next week, I’m going to a party at which I hope to meet the girls over at Big Environmentalism. I can’t wait!

~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~
Btw, none of this is aimed at you, CW. I’m just expressing my frustration on the topic. 🙂

6 06 2010
Lynn

Oh, dear. My photo didn’t show up. Here it is: The Big Pharma dollar bill.

6 06 2010
Nance Confer

CW: Because I don’t believe that better diagnosis and assortive mating of those with mild Apserger’s can fully explain the dramatic increase in autism. Something in the environment is contributing to the huge number of kids getting the disorder. Vaccines may not be the real culprit but there haven’t been the kind of well-designed studies that could say definitively that they aren’t.

***Doesn’t that just sound off to you? “This may not be the cause but we’re not going to use it anyway, even though there is a long history of the good it does.” It sounds like holding your breath until you get the answer.

7 06 2010
JJ

Then again, I don’t have an autistic kid. Maybe if one of them did get diagnosed with the disorder I’d come over to the anti-vax side.

I think CW is an interesting specimen on this one. (I’m going to talk about you in the third person for a minute, CW) She is so confident of her own lay abilities that she considers herself capable of independent medical research using her own children as experimental subjects with the highest stakes possible, supposedly skeptical of scientific claims from any “side” and supposedly empathetic and understanding of all the human mom feelings involved, to the point she can identify with those she doesn’t personally share.

Yet isn’t it revealing that the science she disbelieves and the human mom feelings she readily imagines herself being pulled by, are only from one side? Why wouldn’t she be equally tuned into this contingency: “Then again, I don’t have a (blind kid from measles/ child crippled by polio/grave to visit because I didn’t vax for whooping cough soon enough) Maybe if I did, I’d come over the the real child-protection side.”

Measles remains a major problem in developing countries, where it affects an estimated 30 million children a year and causes up to one million deaths annually. Measles blindness is the single leading cause of blindness among children in low income countries, accounting for an estimated 15,000 to 60,000 cases of blindness per year.

7 06 2010
JJ

Doesn’t that just sound off to you? “This may not be the cause but we’re not going to use it anyway . . .

To Nance’s point about finding the real cause rather than wasting autism research repeatedly trying to disprove the negative to the ever-elusive satisfaction of unsatisfactory minds, I was thinking along this line the other day when Joran van der Sloot was arrested. Someone mentioned OJ and his bogus “search for the real killer” after an idiot jury of Americans like us chose to believe him rather than the overwhelming evidence. I was always so worried about his children, sending them home to be raised by the man who savagely murdered their mother and got away with it. But hey, he had rights, right? — and so did the idiot jurors, and there was nothing to be done. Same with van der Sloot. You can’t nail him with what you’ve got? That’s a problem we may have to live with, but it doesn’t mean we should believe him innocent and go off with all our resources in a completely different direction, just to have something to do.

Autism research has been stuck on antivax superstitutions for far too long already. It needs to be relentlessly looking for real causes with real science.

7 06 2010
JJ

We’ve been talking on the parent-directed education list about the religious exemption against required vaxxing for school, and realized there’s not much education about why such an exemption would be needed, except for Christian Scientist dogma, I think it was. (There’s a misnomer we can discuss next if you want!)

Anyway, my point here in this thread, is that education is the ultimate vaccine, inoculating the human herd from ravages bred by ignorance, disease, poverty, superstition, tribal warfare. It is historical fact that Religion for all the salvation it claims, is a major factor in all these human ills. Hence we need education not just about science to combat them, but about religion too. And lookee here, just what the doctor ordered at Killing the BUddha:

In his 2007 book, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero identified a dangerous contradiction. Americans are not only profoundly religious, but also profoundly uneducated about religion—including their own. The enormous role of religion in contemporary politics means that religious literacy is nothing less than a civic responsibility.

Now, with God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter, Prothero provides a crash course in Religion 101 for the legions of religious illiterates. Prothero, however, has written much more than a mere textbook. His guide to the world’s eight most important religions is informed by his insistence that religions, rather than offering different paths toward the same truth, begin with different problems and offer different solutions. If this approach appears contentious, it’s because Prothero is entering a public religious debate characterized by absolutist claims. Religion is either wholly terrible, a virus of the mind as Richard Dawkins has characterized it, or mankind’s greatest treasure, because, as Karen Armstrong has written, “Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus.”

Prothero offers a moment of reasoned calm amidst the mudslinging. If there is to be peace, he argues, we must understand and accept differences, rather than deny them.

7 06 2010
JJ

Anybody ever see Tony Curtis as Harry Houdini in the old black and white movie? I did, five or ten times. Not that I’d call it an education in science or belief, exactly. Maybe in public power of story!

Here’s a hard truth about celebrity beliefs I don’t remember from the Hollywood version:

Houdini’s training in magic allowed him to expose frauds who had successfully fooled many scientists and academics. He was a member of a Scientific American committee that offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. None was able to do so, and the prize was never collected. . . .Houdini chronicled his debunking exploits in his book, A Magician Among the Spirits.

These activities cost Houdini the friendship of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle, a firm believer in Spiritualism during his later years, refused to believe any of Houdini’s exposés. Conan Doyle came to believe that Houdini was a powerful spiritualist medium, had performed many of his stunts by means of paranormal abilities and was using these abilities to block those of other mediums that he was ‘debunking’ (see Conan Doyle’s The Edge of The Unknown, published in 1931, after Houdini’s death). This disagreement led to the two men becoming public antagonists.

7 06 2010
COD

In the case of OJ, they knew he was guilty. But given the abhorrent behavior by the LAPD ever the years, they saw an opportunity for a little payback, and took it.

7 06 2010
sam

@COD, I grew up in Atlanta and remember the small amount of rioting that happened there in the wake of the LAPD officers getting off after the Rodney King debacle, and I think that in any other major city that suffered blowback from that, not too long before OJ, that the memory was still fairly fresh and had to create some concern. I’m not suggesting that as justification, but it has to be recognized as part of the issue.

And here’s what I think on reading all of the above about vax/anti. I recently heard an interview, though I now forget who it was by or with, but I’m thinking it was Terri Gross interviewing John Waters. They discussed ADHD and the attempts to find a cause/cure. The idea was put forward that what we think of as ADHD might be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive man for whom some pack members with this was good for the pack as a whole. An example was given that they would be good scouts, though it didn’t necessarily translate well into kids that “need” to sit down and be quiet and do as they’re told.

7 06 2010
Crimson Wife

How much of the complications from measles in developing countries come from co-existing problems such as malnutrition and lack of access to good healthcare? There is evidence that Vitamin A deficiency in particular leads to a dramatically increased risk of serious complications from measles.

A 1996 review of the literature published in the journal Pediatric Nursing included a reference to a 1993 study by Butler et. al that 72% of all measles cases in WI requiring hospitalization showed a deficiency in Vitamin A. The greater the deficiency, the worse the complications and higher the probability of dying. 76% of the children who died of measles in this study lived in households receiving welfare. Another 1992 study by Frieden et. al. cited in the article looked at pediatric measles cases in NY. The lower the Vitamin A levels, the higher the morbidity and mortality. The median household income of children in that study was below the Federal poverty level.

Measles deaths declined sharply in the U.S. and also in the U.K. in the first half of the 20th century, well before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1968. In 1915, there were 16,445 deaths from measles in a population of 100m. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s there were anywhere from 30-176 annually in a population of 165m-195m. Many things changed during the 4 decades between 1915 and 1955 but a big one was better childhood nutrition.

I make sure to give my kids a diet rich in Vitamin A-containing foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, squash, red bell peppers, etc. They also take a daily multi-vitamin. So I don’t think their personal risk of getting severe complications from measles is remotely as high as the risk for a child in the developing world (or even that of an underprivileged American child).

It’s easier for the medical establishment to push a one-time vaccine than to ensure children get adequate nutrition.

7 06 2010
sam

It is much easier to provide a vaccine than to provide adequate nutrition, and it’s easier still to educate people. Couple a proven vaccine with education and get even better results.

Then look at food availability; google the phrase “food deserts.” A box of Pop Tarts costs less than their weight in red bell peppers, and parents with limited education and time and money are going to see the benefits claimed on the box of Pop Tarts, and they’re going to look at their bank balance, and they’re going to buy the alternative that they can better afford.

7 06 2010
NanceConfer

Or they are going to skip straight to that bank balance thing.

But why not have both — or all three? or all four? Vaccines, education, parents who make a decent wage and good nutrition. Why is a trade off in this area OK?

7 06 2010
JJ

And we have no moral obligation to care about any of that of course, because corporations have to be “free” to exploit them (and us) any way they can get away with, which is virtually unlimited — it’s in the constitution or something, isn’t it?

7 06 2010
NanceConfer

Of course, the headline in our local paper today was about the schools struggling to provide healthy food because it costs more than chicken nuggets.

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/jun/04/treasure-coast-schools-balance-nutrition-costs/

7 06 2010
JJ

CW, it is stunning to me that you cite studies with complete authority when they make your point and simply refuse to accept them when they don’t. Why are you so much more confident of the Vitamin A studies than vaccine science?

7 06 2010
sam

Capitalism?

I’m currently reading a biography of King Edward VIII of England. I never knew who he was and am reading the book because it was one that I’d seen for several years on Momma and my bookcases. I’m not even sure where it came from, and I had no idea who he even was or that he ever even existed.

In my reading we’ve reached the ’50’s. The king has long since abdicated and is no longer king. The second world war has ended leaving so much of Europe in disrepair. The Soviet’s “real” intentions of world domination are being seen finally. The ex-king is as anti socialism/communism as a modern tea partier can be, seeing any attempt to thwart the status quo as being that ol’ evil communism, though this was back when it was a newer than not evil.

The thing is, what he decries as creeping socialism is exactly what we are hearing today, that any attempt to make life better for EVERYONE as opposed to letting the rich continue to ride our backs to more money that they will then keep for themselves is usurping their right to get rich at the expense of others.

The ex-king decries the loss of the way of life for the British aristocracy, but what he seems to have failed to realize is exactly what our modern tea partiers/right wingers still fail to realize, that the imbalance in the system means that the rich get richer while the poor stay poor and grow poorer in relation the amount of riches others want to have every right to accumulate.

7 06 2010
sam

my “capitalism?” was in response to Nance’s questioning why we can’t have the education and the decent wages etc. I didn’t realize so many comments would fit in between that and my long windedness.

7 06 2010
JJ

And also CW, why are co-existing problems and complicating variables so acceptable to you in analyzing these risks but not vaccine side effect risks?

7 06 2010
JJ

LOL sam — get with the program!

7 06 2010
JJ

Sam, is that King Edward and Mrs. Simpson? That was a love story, not an economics lesson, ask Madonna . . . 😉

I remember my grandmother talking about it when I was a kid. In arch tones.

7 06 2010
NanceConfer

And how is avoiding the worst effects of measles by having enough vitamin A better than avoiding the disease completely?

7 06 2010
sam

JJ, that’s them. It’s a very interesting book. As mentioned, I’m not even sure where we got it, but part of me taking one of the book cases and some of the books Momma and I have accumulated over fifteen years involved grabbing that one and finally reading it. We finally recently got enough shelving to hold almost exactly all the books, but I still haven’t grabbed enough books to fill my shelves leaving her with too many books sitting on the floor.

7 06 2010
JJ

It tickles me to think of you discovering such books hidden on your own shelves . . .

7 06 2010
Crimson Wife

“And how is avoiding the worst effects of measles by having enough vitamin A better than avoiding the disease completely?

The point I was trying to make is that the parent has to weigh the perceived benefit of the vaccine to his/her child against the perceived risk of a side effect. It’s classic cost-benefit analysis. And the medical establishment does its own CBA when it comes to vaccines, but they’re looking at costs & benefits on the group level rather than the individual level. If I know that my children have adequate Vitamin A in their diet, that decreases the risk measles poses to them and makes me more likely to delay the MMR shot until they’re older and I feel their risk of a side effect is lower. But it doesn’t change the CBA that the CDC or WHO or whoever does in making their vaccine recommendation.

7 06 2010
Crimson Wife

And if I could get the single measles vaccine for my youngest the way I did for my older kids, then that would further change my personal CBA. I’m very upset that the government has thrown its weight around and deprived me of the opportunity to get the single vaccine. I’d rather not be making an “all-or-nothing” decision, but that’s what I feel I’ve been forced into.

8 06 2010
Nance Confer

Big bad guvment. . . sigh. . . never mind.

8 06 2010
JJ

Latest on “real killer seekers” OJ and Joran might make out-of-touch libertarianism squirm. Joran just confessed and guess why he did it?

According to La Republica newspaper, van der Sloot said . . . “I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life… she didn’t have any right.”

8 06 2010
COD

Hey Sam, I’m currently reading a biography of a Brit too. But I’m reading the biography of Ozzy 🙂 And I too lived in Atlanta during the Rodney King riots. In fact, Michelle’s job had her in the city that day and I remember paging her (pagers…remember those?) with the x911 extension, which was the code for call back immediately, to tell her to get the hell out of the city ASAP.

8 06 2010
Crimson Wife

The FDA didn’t pull the separate measles vaccines for being ineffective or posing a safety risk. No- the powers that be at the CDC simply decided that they didn’t like the fact that so many parents today are choosing to follow an alternative vaccine schedule. So they pressured the manufacturer into ceasing production, depriving parents like me the right to make our own decisions for our own children.

I don’t understand the logic behind forcing parents to make an “all or nothing” decision about MMR. When the UK banned the single measles vaccine, the immunization rate dropped from 90% down to 78%. Compare this with the U.S. where in 2008 (when the monovalent vaccine was still available), the rate was 92%. Now that the separate shot is no longer available, there are parents who will just skip the combo shot entirely. And many more who, like me, will delay it.

8 06 2010
JJ

CW, where do you get this stuff?? Vax rates went way up when the MMR was introduced, right before they started to drop, more likely because the British charlatan spooked folks with his falsified “data” than because national health protocol was changed for no good reason but to bully parents, who rebelled.

But even if the health policy WERE the cause, it’s not rational or prudent to deny one’s child all protection if you can’t get it a la carte. Parents who do know enough to mix-and-match and shop vaccines like tomatoes and toys and textbooks, wouldn’t stop effective vaccines altogether in reaction to not having exactly the ones they want in the package size they prefer.

Vaccination rates in the United Kingdom rose from around 50 percent in 1968 to 76 percent in 1988. After the introduction of the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1998, vaccination numbers rose rapidly to a national average of 91 percent by the end of that year.

However, as vaccination rates peaked in 1998, the alleged side effects of the MMR vaccine began to be discussed. Although all the claims of serious side effects have been refuted, there has been a small decline in MMR vaccination rates in the U.K. leading to a growing pool of individuals susceptible to measles.

8 06 2010
Lynn

Other interesting findings:
A Japanese MMR vaccination program was halted in 1993 and autism rates increased significantly…

But, at the end of the day…

Delayed selective vaccinator: I’m a reasonable person, but there is no good science to refute my arguments.

Answer: Here’s some.

Dsv: But, it was done by the medical establishment, so it can’t be trusted. They know vaccines aren’t safe, but they care more about making money than not killing children…

Come to think of it, isn’t this how OJ was found “not guilty”?

Yes, there’s a staggering amount of physical evidence, but it was collected by the legal establishment, every member of which is so corrupt that they’d frame an innocent man. Therefore, it’s our moral duty to ignore the so-called evidence and continue to claim what we will always believe…

8 06 2010
Crimson Wife

According to the BBC, the combo MMR shot was introduced in the UK in 1988 but the single measles vaccine wasn’t banned until 11 years later (August 1999). So in 1998, when the rate in the UK was 91% both the combo MMR and the single measles vaccine were available. After the ban in 1999 is when the rates fell dramatically.

8 06 2010
JJ

Dramatic, or small?
in 1998, the alleged side effects of the MMR vaccine began to be discussed. Although all the claims of serious side effects have been refuted, there has been a small decline in MMR vaccination rates in the U.K.

And how do you just ignore what else was happening at the same time — antivax false claims of side effects — and insist the correlation with the single vaccine coming or going is the only possible causal factor? Insist to yourself even, I mean, not necessarily what you write to others as debate. How can you overlook it in assessing what’s best for your own children?

8 06 2010
NanceConfer

Is there any sort of link to more on this claim?

The FDA didn’t pull the separate measles vaccines for being ineffective or posing a safety risk. No- the powers that be at the CDC simply decided that they didn’t like the fact that so many parents today are choosing to follow an alternative vaccine schedule. So they pressured the manufacturer into ceasing production, depriving parents like me the right to make our own decisions for our own children.

8 06 2010
JJ

Lynn, that was intriguing! I had some trouble getting to it so here’s the whole abstract (with my emphases) for other readers:

***
ABSTRACT

Background: A causal relationship between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and occurrence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been claimed, based on an increase in ASD in the USA and the UK after introduction of the MMR vaccine. However, the possibility that this increase is coincidental has not been eliminated. The unique circumstances of a Japanese MMR vaccination program provide an opportunity for comparison of ASD incidence before and after termination of the program.

Methods: This study examined cumulative incidence of ASD up to age seven for children born from 1988 to 1996 in Kohoku Ward (population approximately 300,000), Yokohama, Japan. ASD cases included all cases of pervasive developmental disorders according to ICD-10 guidelines.

Results: The MMR vaccination rate in the city of Yokohama declined significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1992, and not a single vaccination was administered in 1993 or thereafter. In contrast, cumulative incidence of ASD up to age seven increased significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1996 and most notably rose dramatically beginning with the birth cohort of 1993.

Conclusions: The significance of this finding is that MMR vaccination is most unlikely to be a main cause of ASD, that it cannot explain the rise over time in the incidence of ASD, and that withdrawal of MMR in countries where it is still being used cannot be expected to lead to a reduction in the incidence of ASD.

Manuscript accepted 13 October 2004

8 06 2010
Crimson Wife

Nance- Merck discontinued the separate measles shot after meeting representatives from the CDC’s “Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice”. See here. The ACIP is the same committee that Dr. Paul Offitt, the guy from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who made tens of millions of dollars from developing a vaccine, sits on. And parents are just supposed to trust that he doesn’t allow his huge financial conflicts of interest to influence his views (yeah, right).

8 06 2010
COD

Why do conservatives distrust scientists that might have a conflict of interest while overlooking the fact that EVERY SINGLE RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY has a vested financial, political, and/or power interest in keeping you in the flock?

8 06 2010
JJ

Oooh SNAP!

9 06 2010
Lynn

Chris: “Why do conservatives distrust scientists that might have a conflict of interest while overlooking the fact that EVERY SINGLE RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY has a vested financial, political, and/or power interest in keeping you in the flock?

Good point. Religious people are religious only because they accepted the unverifiable claims of those who had a vested interest in winning them over. (I’m defining “religious” as adhering to an established religious doctrine, btw.)

Why is it that only research related to evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, etc is painstakingly scrutinized in this way. And, why are many of the same people opponents of all three — yet, enthusiastic supporters of other science, such as studies (they like) which dispute studies (they don’t). Wha? Srsly? You want me to link yet another study? Okay, okay. Here it is.

On-time Vaccine Receipt in the First Year Does Not Adversely Affect Neuropsychological Outcomes, published online May 24, 2010:

This is the first study to compare longterm neuropsychological outcomes between children with timely vaccination and those with delayed or incomplete vaccination. These data suggest that there is no benefit in delaying immunizations during the first year of life.

Conclusions: Timely vaccination during infancy has no adverse effect on neuropsychological outcomes 7 to 10 years later. These data may reassure parents who are concerned that children receive too many vaccines too soon.

9 06 2010
NanceConfer

Here’s an excerpt from CW’s link:

“The announcement occurred during discussions to streamline recommendations made during the past year in the committee’s 2010 immunization schedules for children and adults. Merck’s decision is based on the ACIP’s stated general preference for combination vaccines and follows controversial debates concerning the increased risk for febrile seizures among measles, mumps, rubella and varicella virus live vaccine (ProQuad, Merck) recipients at the past several meetings.

“Health care providers continue to experience push back from vaccine-hesitant parents, despite no evidence to support long term adverse events among patients who experienced the seizures and amid additional unfounded concerns that vaccines cause autism. These parents either decline vaccination or request to space out recommended vaccines, contrary to evidence that indicates delaying vaccines poses a greater risk to children than the theoretical threat from vaccines.

“Merck’s announcement was welcomed by applause from committee members and meeting attendees, who recognized the moves potential positive effect on public health. Combination vaccine formulations typically cost more for manufacturers to produce, undergo more rigorous testing to receive approval and yield lower reimbursement rates for physicians, but result in less pain for children and have the potential to improve vaccine coverage rates. ”

I don’t see anything here that says this change was specifically done to deny you a choice. I see a decision made in spite of some bad information in the anti-vax community. Those are different things.

I also see a desire to get more vaccinations to more children even if the doctors are paid less and the manufacturers’ cost is higher.

9 06 2010
NanceConfer

Here’s a link to the CDC writeup on 5-7-10 about the MMR recommendation —

Use of Combination Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Vaccine
Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Recommendations and Reports
May 7, 2010 / 59(RR03);1-12

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5903a1.htm

9 06 2010
NanceConfer

And here’s a link to an article about Offit —

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-medicine/2009/01/05/why-paul-offit-isnt-flexible-on-vaccines

It includes the information that he no longer makes any money off of the vaccine he helped to develop.

And it mentions 26 required vaccines — not the 22 mentioned above.

9 06 2010
JJ

So now we have not just selective vaxxing but selective vaxxing justified with selective perception of what earning it means in America.

Even when it’s not organized religion piously exploiting the working class while running with the wolves and suing the US Treasury for ever-more outrageous tax breaks a la Rick Warren, corporate capitalism is still corrosive and so ripe for corruption. Talk about conflict of interest! Consider millionaire/billionaire business tycoons spending it to “win” elections — Meg Whitman spent $80 mil just to win the primary — and/or the reverse, turning political celebrity into personal fortune a la the Palins — selling false claims to the public for money, using the real sciences such as cognitive psychology to do your dirty work in the shadows. The Faustian dark arts at human expense pay so much better than actual scientific discovery marketed for human benefit.
**********

[W]hat does it take for you to consider it “earned” and then (it’s a two-part question!) once it’s earned by the individual, what do you consider fairly taxable, as any American citizen’s contribution to well-regulated interstate travel, transport, commerce, domestic and foreign defense, energy independence, health and education etc etc . . .

I think there’s an argument to be made that certain government contracts and benefits are actually earned and others are wasted pay-offs, even actual corruption, for example. What about stock dividends and investment income where your money is working but you aren’t, quite?

Inheritance? (Or does it depend on how THAT money was originally made, and do we really want to go there in our own family history?) Social security or Medicaid benefits? Public education and college scholarships, with or without doing pubic service in return? Only if it was military service? Not even then?

Marrying it? Working really hard to steal and hide it? McCain’s reportedly a big gambler, what about winning it, either that way or fighting for it and beating the other guy out (or up?)

And there’s the real science of learning and thinking and decision-making, unrefuted by any valid argument afaik:

The overall findings suggest to me that no human decision-making process, by individuals only or groups only or any combination such as we use for parenting and culture, politics and policy, is ever really “natural” and “right” while all other approaches are manipulative, biased and wrong.

Each “has value” and also is “about values.” Which is both good and bad, functional and dysfunctional, at the same time in different applications, in various measure. Each has pros and cons, natural and hidden bias, etc.

There is a considerable mismatch between the world in which our minds evolved and our current existence. . . our minds were not adapted to cope with a world of billions of people. The life of a modern city dweller, surrounded by strangers, is an evolutionary novelty. . .

This history has left its mark on our minds. Children are irrepressible taxonomizers, placing the world of distinct individuals into categories based on their appearance, their patterns of movement and their presumed deeper natures. . .

Think of business managment and education administration decisions such as admissions, also all levels of government *including* church governance and its decision-making by individuals and groups.

Whatever one believes about the divine, it is clear that church governance is humans making decisions and thus imperfect, even as it promises and tries to deliver the reliable comfort of infallibility and tradition, definitions and ordering of knowledge, discernible identity and state of being.

(And historically, we know even scripture/gospel was selected, categorized and ordered by humans, with human biases and assumptions and uncertainties — so I’d argue the current research findings apply and can help us understand that better too, toward ultimate human goals.)

And finally for now, see “The Paradox of Choice”:

In the real world, neither people nor firms maximize utility. Life is complicated, the options of the marketplace are numerous, and the human intellect is frail. . .

Schwartz looks at the particular patterns of our irrationality, relying on the sort of research pioneered by two Israeli-American psychologists . . .
Given that we’re so bad at choosing what will make us happy, we seem to be faced with two options: mending the way we choose, or limiting our choices.

9 06 2010
Lynn

Just thought I’d mention that, while looking around on this topic, I kept coming across is

selective-vaxxing : anti-vaxxing :: intelligent design : creationism

(dressing up an outdated, refuted argument to look more reasoned)

9 06 2010
JJ

It’s all pretty wearying, isn’t it? That’s how it keeps fooling some of the people some of the time . . .maybe real education can’t serve as the answer after all. Maybe there is no answer and the human race is dead men walking, just too optimistic to believe it. Talk about irrational exuberance.

9 06 2010
Lynn

JJ:

Anyway, my point here in this thread, is that education is the ultimate vaccine…

and

…maybe real education can’t serve as the answer after all. Maybe there is no answer and the human race is dead men walking, just too optimistic to believe it.

LOL ~ so, is this thread a wrap then? 🙂 On the bright side: I’ll be serving strawberry dacqueris at 4! (Whipped cream not optional.)

9 06 2010
Lynn

uh, that would be “daiquiris” ~

9 06 2010
NanceConfer

Either way, that may be the answer. 🙂

9 06 2010
JJ

Wait, I thought the ultimate answer was 42! (maybe that was 42 daiquiris?)

9 06 2010
JJ

And of course, he was right because he was wrong. It’s the perfect story to illustrate that those who pick the answer before they figure out the question deserve never to know either one, and will get exactly what they deserve.

9 06 2010
Lynn

“Those who pick the answer before they figure out the question deserve never to know either one, and will get exactly what they deserve.”

I SO want that on a t-shirt!

9 06 2010
Lynn

42 is also the number of our congressional district which had the good sense to send its republican teabag candidates packing yesterday. *phew*

9 06 2010
JJ

Lol, Lynn, I wrote it today and you can make the shirts and sell them if you just send me one!

Or do it on your blog with your graphic wizardry . . .

9 06 2010
Crimson Wife

I was about to respond to the study Lynn posted but the offer of a strawberry daiquiri sounds better 😉

9 06 2010
JJ

That’s what we need, you know? A virtual watering hole, a blog bar!

10 06 2010
Lynn

CW: “I was about to respond to the study Lynn posted but the offer of a strawberry daiquiri sounds better”

Oh, good! The strawberries that I’ve been buying are especially sweet and juicy – and desperate to be made into fruity drinks. 😀

10 06 2010
JJ

I say a liberal education produces fruitier drinkers btw, asking deeper questions and having more fun doing it — take Lynn and me (please, straight to the tiki bar!)

[L]iberal education “represents the culmination of a citizen’s preparation for freedom.”
. . .[but] Instead of giving students the opportunity to have strong emotional and cognitive encounters with well-told stories, instead of helping them find their way to becoming absorbed in great works of art, we have drilled young people into thinking that effective reading and writing are techniques with measurable outcomes to be evaluated on standardized tests.

A liberal education produces results, too, but they are less reducible to questions that can be answered by coloring in a bubble with a number 2 pencil.

10 06 2010
Lynn

And,

College students who major in the social sciences and humanities are likely to become less religious, while those majoring in education are likely to become more religious. But students majoring in biology and physical sciences remain just about as religious as they were when they started college.

10 06 2010
JJ

Hmmm – I wonder if that connects to religious literary a la Prothero. The more one learns about all religions and their history and effects on the human condition, seems to me, the less likely one is to treat any single religion as literally true above a field of false pretenders.

10 06 2010
JJ

Lynn, how seductive, when does Happy Hour start?? Y’all go see what she’s been up to at BMTT . . .

10 06 2010
Crimson Wife

As a former sorority chick, Army wife, and business school wife, I can say that liberals hardly have the market cornered on drinking fruity cocktails at a tiki-themed party. In fact, I would say that the conservatives I know are in general bigger partiers than the liberals.

The “Structured Liberal Education” dorm where students actually did sit around and discuss deep philosophical topics was notorious for its students’ lack of partying. And there was way more partying among the b-school students than among the idealists at the Kennedy School of Govt. We were parents by then & I was employed full-time so we didn’t do all that much but some of the stories we heard were pretty wild…

11 06 2010
JJ

Coming up with simple, one-size-fits-all answers to serious problems is so tempting and so satisfying. Look at autism, for instance: a mysterious disease with a wide range of expression, so wide that it is more properly called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the popular press and various celebrities all want it to be pegged to a simple cause: it’s vaccines, or it’s mercury, or it’s the dose of the vaccines, and all we have to do to fix it is not vaccinate, or reduce the number of vaccinations, or use chelation therapy to extract poisons, and presto, a cure!

This is magical thinking, pure and simple, and it doesn’t work.

More from PZ Myers science blogging real autism research (see citation below) and explaining it (without profit motive for CW to impugn) for conscientious moms educating themselves on better protecting children in our complex environment:

[Autism Spectrum Disorder] isn’t simple, it’s not one disease, it doesn’t have one cause, and vaccines are definitely not the cause: if there’s one thing the research has done, it’s to thoroughly rule out the idea that giving kids shots at an early age causes autism. What we’re actually discovering more and more is that ASD can be traced to genetic variation. . .

One fact is so obvious that it’s unfortunate I have to mention it: no external agent, such as a vaccine, can generate a consistent pattern of duplication and deletions in an affected individual’s cells. These data say it’s an error to chase down transient environmental agents given relatively late in life to people.


Pinto D et al. (2010) Functional impact of global rare copy number
variation in autism spectrum disorders Nature doi:10.1038/nature09146.

4 01 2014

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