Skeptic » eSkeptic » September 23, 2015

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine



Sea lions, dolphins, and whales! Oh my!

October 11, 2015, 9am–6pm

COME GET AWAY from the hot weather and join the Skeptics Society for a wonderful day by the sea! We’ll take a cruise about 2–2.5 hours long out of Long Beach Harbor, led by experienced and knowledgeable Aquarium of the Pacific educators, to look for whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other marine life. Before the cruise, Dr. Donald R. Prothero will talk about “The Sixth Extinction in the Oceans” on the future of life on the Blue Planet. Before the lecture and the cruise, you can wander through the Aquarium of the Pacific and see their incredible exhibits of marine life. The Aquarium features not only amazing displays with fish and other marine life from all over the Pacific, but also a shark lagoon, penguins, seals and sea lions, sea otters, a pool where you can pet a ray, an aviary where you can feed lorikeets, and a life-sized replica of a blue whale. Learn more about the Aquarium of the Pacific. We hope to see you all for a wonderful day by the ocean!

Price

The price of $94 includes:

  • the 2–2.5 hour cruise,
  • unlimited admission for that day to the Aquarium of the Pacific, and
  • Dr. Prothero’s lecture on “The Sixth Extinction in the Oceans”
Lecture by Dr. Donald Prothero at the Aquarium

To allow for the maximum number of people to sign up and enjoy this wonderful experience, the lecture will be repeated at three different times: 11:00, 12:30, and 2:00. When you sign up, please indicate your preferred lecture time. HURRY! The lectures will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, since the room seats only 40 people. Parking is only $8 in the Aquarium parking structure, and there are lots of choices for lunch both inside the Aquarium and in the village around the Harbor.

Registration
To register, call 1-626-794-3119 with a credit card to secure your spot. The usual legal/medical forms WILL NOT be required on this trip; the aquarium has its own coverage for that. Download the registration form below and submit it.
Questions?

Email us or call 1-626-794-3119 with a credit card to secure your spot.

Download registration
& information forms

Click an image to enlarge it.
Blue Cavern exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Trichoglossus haematodus (Aquarium of the Pacific)
Male pup (Aquarium of the Pacific)
Aquarium show
Collard aracari (Aquarium of the Pacific)
Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Aquarium of the Pacific)
Jellies (Aquarium of the Pacific)
Penguin (Aquarium of the Pacific)

About this week’s eSkeptic

In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall examines the statements about vaccines made by four candidates in the recent GOP debate. They all demonstrated a poor grasp of vaccine science, and advocated delays in the vaccine schedule that would represent a danger to the young, the immunocompromised, and to the herd immunity that is a mainstay of our public health.

Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel living in Puyallup, WA. She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of Sciencebasedmedicine.org, where she writes an article every Tuesday. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon. Her website is www.skepdoc.info.

Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate

by Harriet Hall, M.D., The SkepDoc

1. Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, said that there have been numerous studies and they have not demonstrated any correlation between vaccines and autism. TRUE.

He said certain vaccines are very important: those that would prevent death or crippling. He said others don’t fit in that category. FALSE. Although some vaccine-preventable diseases have the potential to do more harm than others, there is not a single vaccine that doesn’t prevent a disease that can cripple or kill a percentage of its victims.

He said there should be some discretion. NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. There is no reason to think “discretion” is warranted in following the recommended vaccine schedule, and there is clear evidence that not following the recommendations can lead to harm. If vaccines are delayed, the infant remains susceptible to a preventable disease until the vaccine is given. Decreasing the number of vaccinated children decreases the herd immunity of the entire population. It means that when a disease enters a community it is more likely to spread, and that harms 3 categories of people: infants too young to have been vaccinated for that disease; sick, elderly, and immunocompromised people who are more susceptible to infection and more likely to sustain serious harm if they catch the disease; and the small percentage of immunized people who may still be susceptible despite the vaccines, which are not 100% protective.

He said “but you know, a lot of this is pushed by big government.” NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. In fact, I don’t even know what he means. It is not “big government” that supports the current vaccine schedule, but the scientific and medical community.

2. Trump responded to Carson, saying autism has become an epidemic that has gotten totally out of control. FALSE. Most scientists interpret the evidence as showing the rate of autism has risen very little or not at all. The perception of an “epidemic” is due to wider awareness of the disorder, better identification of patients, and re-categorization of children who formerly would have had a different diagnosis.

He said he was in favor of vaccines, but he wanted smaller doses over a longer period of time. NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. We know smaller doses would be ineffective or less effective, and there is no reason to think any advantage would accrue from spreading doses over a longer period of time. The current schedule has been carefully thought out by experts to provide maximum benefit and safety.

He compared vaccinating infants to pumping in doses that look like they were meant for a horse. FALSE. Exaggeration for emotional effect. What a vaccine “looks like” has little to do with the number of antigens it contains. The volume of material injected is actually very small, both for infants and for horses.

He claimed to know of several instances where vaccines hurt children, describing a beautiful 2½ year old child who got a vaccine and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, and is now autistic. FALSE. Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, more than 5000 families have sought compensation claiming that vaccines caused their children to become autistic, but the courts examined the most striking cases and found that even in those worst cases, there was no evidence that the vaccines had caused autism. The details can be found online.

1a. Carson responded to Trump, agreeing with him that we are probably giving way too many vaccines in too short a period of time. He said “a lot of pediatricians now recognize that, and, I think, are cutting down on the number and the proximity in which those are done, and I think that’s appropriate.” FALSE. It is never appropriate to deviate from the recommended schedule without a very good medical reason for a particular individual. Those pediatricians are bowing to parental pressure and doing the children a disservice. The “too many too soon” argument is fallacious. Babies’ immune systems are more than capable of handling the number of antigens in vaccines, and in fact their immune systems encounter far more antigens in the course of their daily life. Vaccines don’t overload the immune system, they exercise and strengthen it.

3. Paul, an eye surgeon, said he was all for vaccines but he was also for freedom. “Even if the science doesn’t say bunching them up is a problem, I ought to have the right to spread out my vaccines out a little bit at the very least.” IRRELEVANT. One of the principles of medical ethics is autonomy: patients always have the right to refuse treatment, even if it means they will die. We have freedom with respect to vaccines; no one is forcibly restraining people and vaccinating them without their permission. No one is being forced to get vaccines on schedule. People have the freedom to act on the basis of emotion rather than reason, even though spreading out vaccines is more likely to harm them than to benefit them.

4. Huckabee said “there are maybe some controversies about autism…” FALSE. There is no controversy about autism in the scientific medical community. There is only a “manufactroversy” about vaccines that has been sold to a scientifically illiterate public.

“…but there is no controversy about the things that are really driving the medical costs in this country.” And he called for a war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. IRRELEVANT. A blatant attempt to change the subject.

What I wish they had said

There is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. Vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating. The current vaccine schedule was carefully thought out by experts to safely maximize protection from vaccine-preventable diseases. I strongly recommend vaccinating on schedule because it protects others in the community and reduces the risk of avoidable tragedies like the recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland.

These attitudes are bad enough coming from the scientifically illiterate, but it is shocking that two of the candidates are medical doctors whose education should have given them a more science-based approach. Worse, Carson is a creationist who has rejected some of the fundamental tenets of Darwinian evolution as “incredible fairy tales,” has claimed that mutations only lead to degeneration rather than improvement, and has claimed that there are no intermediate species. As the world faces current and future challenges like climate change and epidemic infectious diseases, a solid understanding of science will be essential to making rational political decisions. The GOP debate was not grounds for optimism. END


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More About James Randi
SKEPTICALITY EPISODE 260
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In this episode of Skepticality, we present a live recording of Derek speaking with James Randi on stage at Skeptrack 2015 this past Labor Day weekend at Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA. Derek and Randi discuss the origins of “The Amazing Randi” and his work exposing fakers and other harmful charlatans over the years.

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THE BATTLE IN SEATTLE

Michael Shermer v. Larry Taunton
September 30, 2015 at 7 PM
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Tickets: 206-215-4747

Fixed Point Foundation, a non-profit based in Birmingham, Alabama, revives an age-old question in the form of a debate – Do we need God? Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine and Larry Taunton of Fixed Point Foundation meet at Benaroya Hall on September 30 to address whether the concept of God is beneficial or detrimental to society.

Exploring the effects of the idea of God on humanity will bring these two participants to consider a variety of issues, including human suffering, morality, and meaning. With backgrounds in education and history, both Taunton and Shermer are well prepared to explore all of these topics, particularly as each relates to religion.

Larry Taunton

Larry Taunton, Founder and Executive Director of Fixed Point Foundation, is a cultural commentator, columnist, author, and regular contributor to The Atlantic and USA Today. He is a frequent television and radio guest, appearing on CNN, CNN International, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, and BBC. Taunton’s book, The Grace Effect, is a powerful and personal account of the effect one Christian can have on a spiritually dead culture. In it, he argues that without the Christian ideals of love, forgiveness, and grace, a society will quickly become the author of its own demise. According to Taunton, “Every meaningful movement in the history of the West has been fueled by Christianity… because they all appealed to a higher law.” God, he believes, is far from irrelevant. Download more biographical details (PDF).

Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer, taking an opposing stance, asserts that religion is largely to blame for some of the worst atrocities in human history. His latest book, The Moral Arc, maintains that science and reason will lead us to a virtuous and increasingly moral existence. According to Shermer, we are “getting better at solving problems” as we continue to evolve. A New York Times best-selling author, Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and has written thirteen books. He is also a monthly columnist for Scientific American, regular contributor to Time.com, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. When he isn’t writing or teaching, he travels frequently to speak and debate on a variety of topics. Download more biographical details (PDF).

Those of the opinion that man has ‘outgrown’ a need for God, and those who think that God provides the very moral foundation on which our society is based are both ensured a thoughtful and spirited exchange.

Tickets

This event is organized by Fixed Point Foundation and sponsored by Summer Classics. Tickets are on sale now through the Benaroya Box Office by clicking the link below or by calling 206-215-4747 to purchase.

Buy tickets online

About Fixed Point Foundation

Fixed Point Foundation has been engaging the culture on significant and relevant issues since 2004. Unapologetically Christian, Fixed Point seeks innovative ways to stimulate conversation in the marketplace of ideas through a variety of mediums (articles, podcasts, radio, TV interviews, writing, speaking engagements, and debates, to name a few). Some of the topics addressed include radical Islam, the New Atheism, science vs. religion, gay marriage, and Intelligent Design.

25 Comments »

25 Comments

  1. xxxxxxxxx says:

    The argument over vacinations is not about if they work or not or if they are safe or not. It is about if individuals have the right to decide for themselves if they should have a medical procedure or not. These bogus arguments about the so-called “science” of vacinations ignore that factor and try to pretend the people who want to refuse are just ignorant of alleged “scientific facts”. It is not about facts. It is about what kind of a world we want to live in. Do we want the government to be allowed to order us to have an operation? To take medicines? To tell us what we should eat or how much exercise we have to have to avoid being jailed?

    If you think the government is always right and always has the best interests of everyone at heart, and you would like to see laws telling people how much they are allowed to weigh or how many hours they are required to put in at the gym every week, then you may want compulsory vacination too. But some people think they should be in charge of their own lives.

    • Bob Pease says:

      *******************************************

      “Do we want the government to be allowed to order us to have an operation? To take medicines? To tell us what we should eat or how much exercise we have to have to avoid being jailed?

      If you think the government is always right and always has the best interests of everyone at heart, and you would like to see laws telling people how much they are allowed to weigh or how many hours they are required to put in at the gym every week, then you may want compulsory vacination too. But some people think they should be in charge of their own lives.”

      *********************************

      It is possible to agree with the main premise here , yet giggle or weep at the goofy logic presented.

      there are a least ten horsepucky instances here.

      Dr Sidethink will award a “huh? of the week ” recommendation
      to the Local Clench of the Church of the Subgenius.

      Sadly, Logic wins Debates , not elections

      Dr. S

    • Tim Callahan says:

      There is one great fallacy in your argument: It fails to consider the effect of one person’s decision on the lives of others. Should I choose not to take my heart medications and should I die as a result, that’s my problem alone. Should I deliberately ingest toxins, such as cigarettes, the consequences are again my own. If my cigarette smoke threatens the health of others in my vicinity, they have a right to insist I don’t smoke in their presence. I may have the right to drink alcohol in excess to the point that I die of cirrhosis of the liver. If, do to my excessive consumption of alcohol, I lose control of the vehicle I’m driving and, as a result, cause property damage, injury or death, society has a right to not only punish me for this, but as well to step in and force me to abstain from alcohol use if I fail to curb my addiction.

      One person’s failure to either be vaccinated or to vaccinate their child may well result not only in themselves or their children getting sick; it can, as well expose other adults and other children, particularly infants too young yet to be vaccinated, to disease. In the case of infants, this can easily lead to a fatality: No, you don’t have the right to threaten the life of my child or infant through your irresponsible behavior.

  2. Pete says:

    People do have the right to refuse vaccines. Your whole argument is therefore fallacious.

  3. John says:

    “We have freedom with respect to vaccines; no one is forcibly restraining people and vaccinating them without their permission. No one is being forced to get vaccines on schedule. ”

    Hospital staff and CPS employees have done exactly what you claim doesn’t happen. Not all the time, not to every child and in every birth, but YES, some kids certainly ARE vaccinated against their parents’ wishes (however unwise that wish may be).

    And families have many times been threatened by doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and / or caseworkers that, if they don’t give their child shot X or test Y, they will be reported to CPS and all hell will break loose.

    I support vaccination. I think everyone should do it. All my kids have had all their vaccinations on schedule and will continue to do so.

    But to think that people are never forced or coerced into having vaccinations against their will, you are severely, distressingly, incorrect.

    • Tim Callahan says:

      We see nothing wrong in coercing people to abide by standards of hygiene and sanitation. You could easily lose your job for failure to bathe regularly. People working with food are required, i.e. coerced, by law, to wash their hands before touching food. Likewise, we are not legally allowed to defecate in our yards, simply because we have a prejudice against using flush toilets. The fact that we are coerced to use modern plumbing isn’t an infringement on our civil rights, simply because our failure to use flush toilets, to bathe regularly and to wash our hands before handling food other may eat affects them adversely.

      Considering that one person’s failure to get themselves vaccinated or to have their children vaccinated can lead to the spread of communicable diseases among others, particularly to infants too young to yet be vaccinated, sometimes resulting in death; I see nothing wrong with making vaccination compulsory.

  4. Ruth Walker says:

    Since the health of others is involved, it is important that all get vaccinated that can. Otherwise infants too young to be vaccinated and those who can’t be safely vaccinated because of health issues are at a greater risk. (Also, parent don’t own their children, so public health should protect children from parents who would keep them at greater risk of preventable diseases.)

  5. xxxxxxxx says:

    All of which proves my point: the argument is not about science, it is about values. Authoritarinan personalities who want to use the police power of the state to foce unwilling people to do what the authoritarians think is best for them, will think laws should compel vacination. People who values freedom for themselves and are williing to allow it for others will not agree.

    How far are you willing to go in pursuit of a totally vacinated society? Will you accept jail terms for those who refuse? Shoot-outs between refusers and the police if a refuser resists arrest? Kids not attending school because they would be required to be vacinated if they did attend? Censorship of clergy who preach against vacination? Bribery of corrupt doctors and fogery of vacination certificates? Families hiding out in the woods to escape vacination?

    Or do you think passing a law would automatically result in everyone being vacinated? Laws mandating vacination would work about as well as laws against smoking pot. Too many people would attempt to avoid them.

    Granted, there may be some slight increase in risk to allowing people to not be vacinated, but life is dangerous, and always fatal in the end. Some degree of risk must be accepted. Striking a balance between risk and liberty is a more mature path than to demand a life free of all risk at the expense of trampling on the rights of those who disagree on where to draw the line.

    • Tim Callahan says:

      It’s really very simple. Laws coercing people to get themselves and their children vaccinated should be enforced in the same way and to the same degree as laws coercing kitchen workers to wash their hands before handling food, or to the same degree as laws prohibiting us from defecating in our yards instead of using flush toilets.

      Also, contrary to your assertion, this is, in fact, about science, the science that says association with unvaccinated children can expose infants too young to be vaccinated to diseases that might well be fatal to them. However, should you still see this as a matter of values, do forgive me if I find the prevention of the unnecessary death of an infant as a positive value, one that overrules some vaunted “right” to exempt one’s self from laws enforcing basic hygiene and sanitation.

    • Paul says:

      @xxxxxxxx “How far are you willing to go in pursuit of a totally vaccinated society?”

      Well said.

      The people who support this idea — one with which I AGREE — think that only good will come of their wanting to use force to make everyone do what they (and I) think is right.

      They never think about unintended consequences. Ever. Because it would cause cognitive dissonance to suppose that there might really _be_ other factors to consider.

      Conflating general cleanliness with people who don’t want to be vaccinated doesn’t wash (pardon the pun). In the minds of those who want a law, it seems, anti-vaxxers are dirty hillbillies who shit in people’s yards and then go make you a hamburger while picking their nose.

      First, this is not true.

      Second, this is not the same as being unvaccinated.

      (They know it. The cheering section knows it. But it doesn’t matter. It’s evocative and compelling imagery so use it. It’s just a blog comment, right?*)

      You would never convince them that otherwise normal, intelligent people may sometimes disagree with their point of view because they are RIGHT. Not just with a capital R . . . .

      I vaccinate. My kids are all up to date. I know some intelligent anti-vaxxers and I try to convince them that they are wrong and that they should, voluntarily, be vaccinated.

      My road is tough. I have to actually listen to their arguments and reasons, to look at their “proof,” and to try and show them why they are wrong. It takes time and energy and dedication to do this in a way which does not alienate them and will eventually find a way to convince them to change their minds.

      Some people are too lazy to do that. They prefer invective and “There oughta be a law!!!!” to having to do the hard work of persuading others.

      They truly do not understand that the power you give a state never comes back.

      Once you make it ok to use Force to make the teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy rounding-error-on-a-census-sized anti-vaccination population go against their reasoned decision (though we disagree with those reasons), the precedent is set: the gov’t may force you to put things into your body no matter what.

      So long as someone can make a persuasive argument, and get a powerful pol to support him, the stage is set for them to implement New Idea XYZ.

      There’s a maxim in political theory we should be aware of: John’s Guide to Public Policy: Never support any proposition you wouldn’t support if you *worst enemies* were in charge of enforcing it. Someday, they will be.

      =======================

      * “The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.” — Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 43n.

  6. David M. Anderson says:

    Arguing against vaccinations seems akin to fighting on behalf of Typhoid Mary’s right to work.

  7. 123elle says:

    It’s a pleasure to read Dr. Hall’s sensible take on this issue. I well remember the pre-polio vaccine era, and the fears and tragedies that attended our helplessness. I came down with every “childhood” illness — mumps, measles, chicken pox etc. and missed a lot of school and felt awful and probably spread it to others as well. We knew even then that mumps carried a risk of sterility and measles raised fears of blindness and serious illness.

    We were so grateful for the progress and gifts of vaccines and good health that medicine had given us. It’s incomprehensible to me that people would question this fundamental, economical, and proven healthcare resource. The eradication of polio, the disfiguring, deadly smallpox, diphtheria and other diseases that raised childhood mortality sharply is a modern miracle. My own child was vaccinated on schedule and had a far healthier childhood than I had had, with almost 100% school attendance. I feel for parents of children with autism, and I understand how they might cast about for any hope of a solution, but it is not to delay or avoid vaccination. For those who see vaccination as some sort of “government plot” — to me, a conviction like that is an obsessive mental illness. And logic is no cure for that deep feeling of fear. We just have to make sure they do as little harm to the rest of the populace as possible.

  8. Ken Chapman says:

    If physicians can’t get it right on vaccinations, then what chance does a layman have to make an informed decision for his family? Dr. William Thompson, a senior epidemiologist at the CDC said he deliberately hid data showing the link between the measles vaccine and autism. Others, including Dr. Hall in this article, say a link doesn’t exist. Is Dr. Thompson really a whistle blower on a CDC cover up? The CDC response denying a link sounds plausible…..

  9. Harriet Hall says:

    Even Snopes says that whistleblower’s claims are false.http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/cdcwhistleblower.asp

    • Ken Chapman says:

      Yes, I read the somewhat wordy (1500) Snopes article. In their response, they quote Dr. Thompson actually agreeing with your position on vaccinations, “I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.”

      Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield are huge contributors to the disinformation regarding vaccinations.

      “It is good to have an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out” – Charlie Chan

  10. tpaine says:

    Many more people will die from diabetes and associated diseases than will die from failing to be vaccinated from childhood disease. For this reason, and the knowledge that our typical modern diet contributes to the number diabetes deaths, I propose a law that would criminalize the possession and use of high fructose corn syrup and excessive sugar content in foods and foodstuffs sold to the public. Since all of society is coerced under the threat of imprisonment to contribute to pay the health care costs of all others who cannot afford to pay for their own health care costs, society should simply not be allowed to consume foods that directly contribute to a deterioration of it’s health.
    Maybe just a simple civil administrative fine for excessive use of salt though.

  11. Dawit says:

    shalom,
    Still now (since then) I have been in reasonable doubt about the Eschatology of dispensation ( i.e millennial ) in their interpretation or translation either literal or metaphorical,figural or spiritual ?

  12. John Hodge says:

    This is a classic case of the rights of the few against the rights of the many. Regulation of the common good seems OK. BUT we forget that a government instituting any good sounding program is fraught with difficulty, increased harm, and lack of intended results at very high price. Oh, what to do? But regulation is not the answer.

  13. Tim Callahan says:

    In point of fact, the laws regarding compulsory vaccination, while they vary from state to state, do allow some parents to not vaccinate their children, based on religious belief. The general requirements of laws involving compulsory vaccination really aren’t that draconian.

    Advocating for compulsory vaccination to protect the general populace from disease outbreaks and to protect the health of newborns does not necessarily translate into depiction of those who are against vaccination as being willfully ignorant know-nothings. I can believe that someone’s position on this issue is totally wrongheaded without demeaning him or her. That said, refusal to vaccinate based on religious belief is irrational, and assertions that vaccinations lead to all sorts of disastrous health effects, including autism, have been shown, as Harriet has noted, to be totally unfounded.

    I should add that, when I was actively posting on the jref forums, one of the posters on one of those forums vehemently asserted that smallpox vaccinations had caused cases of smallpox. This is simply impossible, since the smallpox vaccine doesn’t even contain the smallpox virus. Rather, in contains weakened cowpox virus (hence the source of the word “Vaccine,” from vaccinia, the scientific name for cowpox, from the Latin varnacular “vacca” = “cow”). The cowpox virus is closely enough related to the smallpox virus that immunity to cowpox results in immunity to smallpox as well.

    When, as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy, I worked in the immunization room of the medical dispensary at the Moffat Field Naval Air Station, we only gave one live virus vaccine at a time, as a precaution against the weakened viruses in these vaccines possibly causing disease. The live-virus vaccines we administered at that time were: smallpox (cowpox), polio and yellow fever.

    We didn’t have to take such a precaution on the case of bacterial vaccines, since these consisted of killed bacteria suspended in a preservative solution. The bacterial vaccines we administered included tetanus, typhoid, typhus, cholera and plague. We also gave DPT shots to infants and children who were dependents of servicemen. DPT stands for diptheria, pertussus (sp.?), i.e.whooping cough, and tetanus. The administration of yellow fever, typhus, cholera and plague vaccines was limited to those being stationed (along with their dependents) in parts of the world in which these diseases were endemic. Plague was only endemic in certain areas of southeast Asia. Thus, even within a system that was totally authoritarian and undemocratic, the administration of vaccines was measured, regulated and limited based on need.

    Can any one of you arguing against compulsory vaccination demonstrate that its implementation – which was in place when I, a 72 year-old man, was in grammar school – has resulted in, or is likely in the future to result in, a creeping authoritarianism, through which big government will proceed to police our daily nutrition, imprisoning people for ingesting too much high fructose corn syrup, or to demand compulsory levels of exercise? Remember that, since it’s virtually impossible to prove a negative, the burden of proof is on those who assert that compulsory vaccination is the thin entering wedge of creeping authoritarianism. While I’m sure you can provide examples of well-meaning, but misguided, polticians introducing such legislation, I strongly doubt you can provide evidence that such legislation has been implemented. I suspect any such legislation, if signed into law, would be immediately challenged in the courts and struck down well before it reached the Supreme Court.

  14. tpaine says:

    Good points all Tim.
    I agree with you that imprisonment for unhealthy consumption habits, which do already exist in our great war on drugs, are unlikely for foodstuffs. But on the other hand, taxation of undesirable foodstuffs is extremely likely. sure it’s not imprisonment, but it is coercion and it is a step down a very slippery slope.
    And anti vaccers almost universally ill-informed of course.

  15. Ken Phelps says:

    Few, if any, people are suggesting that parents should be forced to vaccinate their children. What most sane people do insist, however, is that it is perfectly reasonable to exclude families who refuse to consider the well being of others from public facilities where the implications of their choice affect other children.

    Parents have a right of choice re vaccination, but other parents just as surely have a right of choice re association.

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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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