Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Pseudoscience Has Gotten Too Damned Deep

I have friends. I have acquaintances. Some are knitters, some are homeschoolers, some are something else. There are liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. There are Christians, NeoPagans, incipient Hare Krishnas, agnostics, and athiests.

And every single group has at least one member that never learned an ounce of critical thinking. They believe that vaccines are dangerous, that measles and other communicable diseases aren't, and that Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils are actually a thing.

They think I'm a goddamn moron for thinking that double-blind studies actually, like, tend to prove things. That epidemiology is an important field of study with a goddamn pedigree and a history of success.

They dismiss vast mountains of evidence in favor of massive malodoriffic amounts of vaporous anectodotal accounts. Yes, when I'm angry the alliteration proliferates.

They think that the opinions of scientists and pseudo-scientists actually carry the same amount of weight.

They couldn't begin to tell the difference between a scientist and a pseudo-scientist even after examples of both bite them on the asses and offer up proof. Want a rabies shot with that, or do you want to bet that your healthy eating habits will keep you from developing hydrophobia?

No, an "all natural" lifestyle isn't going to protect you from a virus. No amount of superdosing with any sort of vitamin is going to keep you from getting polio, or measles, or mumps, or whatnot. A virus does not care how healthy you live or whether you juice kale on a regular basis. A virus cares whether or not it can get a foothold on your system before your immune system can kick it out. A vaccine gives your immune system a heads-up on what the bug looks like so your immune system can gear up before the virus can get a foothold.

It ain't rocket science, people. It's immunology, and it's fleeking important.

Yes, modern waste management helped lower some disease occurrences - but after vaccines were introduced mortality dropped like a fucking rock.

No, these diseases weren't mild childhood contagions no worse than a cold. They killed, they maimed, they devastated, they did not take prisoners and they rampaged through populations without mercy or favor. Mine is the first generation to have virtually no first-hand memory of what these diseases could do, but my parents could remember the fear, and believe me, I had every shot known to mankind as soon as they were available to the general public. My parents may not have been perfect, but they sure as hell did not want to lose me to one of the childhood diseases this generation treats so cavalierly.

Go to old cemetaries. Read the headstones, and take note of how many of them were under the age of 10.

Read on the stones how many parents buried their children.

I am an imperfect parent. I have made mistakes, some of them dire, and I keep trying to learn and get better at the job. But job number one as a parent is to make sure that my children outlive me, and one of the earliest and easiest and best ways of ensuring that is to make sure they get their vaccines in a timely fashion. And because medicine is as much art as it is science, I want everybody who is able to receive a vaccination to receive that vaccination, because vaccinations are not 100%. Some people who get them will never, ever get ill with that disease. A small number will get a mild version of the disease. In a much smaller number still the immunization won't take and that tiny percentage will get the full-on disease. The more people who receive the vaccines, the less likely that the small percentage who don't receive full or even any protection against the disease will even encounter the disease. Those who can't be vaccinated are even more protected against the virus when those who can vaccinate, do so.

The numbers, the research, the science behind a vaccination might be difficult for some to understand, but JHC on a rubber-crutching chicken, the idea behind it is not.

Oh, and all y'all who believe in aroma-therapy? It isn't new. People carried bunches of flowers around to protect themselves from the Black Plague. History shows that didn't work out too well for them.

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