Vaccine hysteria is a danger to the community

Sam comments on Pure Pedantry:

I take some issue with the statement, “If you choose not to get your kids vaccinated, you are endangering their lives.” This part is true. But what you left out is the fact that you are endangering others’ lives as well. Vaccination programs only work on a community-wide scale. If half of the people stopped getting pertussis vaccine, then we would have an outbreak of pertussis, leading to the deaths of many infants. As we’ve seen in other countries, when part of the population stops being vaccinated against polio virus, the incidence rises. As a pediatrician, I’ve taken care of infants who have stopped breathing because of a pertussis infection. Their immunity takes a few months to establish, and early in life, they are at the mercy of the fact that others around them have been vaccinated. The same goes for hepatitis. If your teenager contracted hepatitis B as an STD from someone who refused vaccination as an infant, I think you would agree that their parents’ decision affected more than just themselves. This is the crux of the matter – I believe that all children should have mandatory vaccinations in order to have the privilege of living in this (comparatively) healthy country. For the most part this has worked – with very few dissenters – certainly not enough to tip the balance toward many outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses. On the other hand, as the press coverage on this (non) issue grows, more and more parents are coming into the office requesting that their children not be vaccinated. The individual risk to their child of getting one of these diseases is low, but taken as a whole, it is a growing danger to this country.

I’d like to see someone whose child comes down with a severe case to sue every parent in the neighbourhood who didn’t get their kids vaccnated and their doctors and their lawyers and especially lawyer Clifford Shoemaker for encouraging frivolous lawsuits and expert witnesses who maintain their strained arguments against immunization.

Neurodiversity: The Autism-Vaccine Courtroom Knockout Team

Kathleen SeidelKathleen Seidel at the Neurodiversity weblog has written an article about a promising trend in anti-vaccination court cases:

The Baltimore City Circuit Court’s December 2007 ruling in Blackwell v. Sigma Aldrich (Case 24-C-04-004829) represents the latest addition to a developing series of judicial dismissals of expert witnesses presented by plaintiffs alleging that administration of vaccines and thimerosal-containing medical products resulted in the development of autism in their children.The Blackwell court’s exclusion of Dr. Mark Geier, Dr. Stephen Siebert, Dr. Elizabeth Mumper, Prof. Richard Deth, and Prof. Boyd Haley, closely follows several similar decisions.”


For example, she notes that

“[T]he court has found… that Dr. Geier’s testimony must be excluded because he is not qualified as a pediatrician, neurologist, toxicologist, or epidemiologist, and because his opinion is not reliable…”

Read more about “The Autisim-Vaccine Courtroom Knockout Team.”

Neurodiversity: The Commerce in Causation

Kathleen SeidelKathleen Seidel at the Neurodiversity weblog has written a fascinating and important article, “The Commerce in Causation.” about attorneys who make a living with frivolous lawsuits.

Hidden behind such generous estimates and far-reaching conclusions are compelling economic incentives. In the VICP, petitioners’ attorney’s fees and costs are paid by the court, regardless of whether a claim is successful; a petitioner need only demonstrate that the petition was filed in good faith, and that there was a reasonable basis for the claim. Such an arrangement enables ordinary citizens to seek compensation for vaccine injuries without incurring extraordinary legal expenses. The elimination of litigative risk, however, provides a motivation for VICP specialists facing a paucity of substantiable claims to nurture exaggerated public perceptions of vaccine risks; to overstate the likelihood that facts in compensable cases are similar to those that are not; to promulgate dubiously-supported claims of the range of maladies that might be caused by vaccines; and to encourage individuals and families grappling with chronic, disabling medical and developmental problems to attribute causation of those problems to heretofore unrecognized, “long onset” vaccine reactions.

Celebrate Maurice Hilleman’s birthday this August 30

photo of an aged Maurice HillemanPlan to celebrate the first international Maurice Hilleman Day to honour “The man who saved your life.”

Fom Wikipedia’s article on Maurice Hilleman:

Maurice Ralph Hilleman (August 30, 1919 – April 11, 2005) was an American microbiologist who specialized in vaccinology and developed over three dozen vaccines, more than any other scientist. Of the fourteen vaccines routinely recommended in current vaccine schedules, he developed eight: those for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. He also played a role in the discovery of the cold-producing adenoviruses, the hepatitis viruses, and the cancer-causing virus SV40.

He is frequently credited with saving more lives than any other scientist of the 20th century.

Let’s look at the results of introducing immunizations.


disease measles cases before and after immunization in England

Hepatitis A:

cases of Hepatitis A before and after immunization, in England, Wales, and Scotland

Hepatitis B:

cases and deaths of Hepatitis B before and after immunization, in England and Wales


Meningitis cases in England

Notice that if some outside cause were reducing the cases of meningococcal disease, it should work on both serogroup B and serogroup C. Instead, illness drops only for the strain that is immunized against.

Diphtheria vaccine:

Notice how the deaths drop from about 8,000 a year to none.

“Expelled” admits ID is about religion

Expelled exposedThe producers of Expelled have spilled the beans: Intelligent Design is a religious concept and a stalking horse for creationism. Here’s a direct quote from their Web site,

THE EXPELLED TOUR kicks off our movie campaign by traveling across America in a huge, boldly decorated bus, proclaiming “FREEDOM” to the millions of students, teachers, scientists and others who have dared to question the “truth” of Darwinism. This tour will expose the Darwin elitists who SUPPRESS all who disagree with them – even scientists (yes, SCIENTISTS) whose new EVIDENCE erodes Darwin’s claims. [Actually, they don’t and it doesn’t.]

This event is a rare opportunity to educate your class, congregation, group and community on issues that deeply affect our families, schools, churches, courts and the progress of science, medicine and morality. [Oh, really? I think you mean miseducate. ]

THE EXPELLED TOUR will surely be an event your family and friends won’t want to miss! At an Expelled Tour event, expect to:

  • Learn about new scientific evidence that invalidates Darwin’s claims [There isn’t any.]
  • Hear from scientists who are being SILENCED for those discoveries [No, for incompetence and low productivity.]
  • Learn how to DEFEND your BELIEF in God based on scientific evidence [Special pleading, false dichotomy, rationalization, straw man arguments, ad hominem attacks, argument from consequences, and faulty logic]
  • Learn what can and cannot be taught in schools and how that is CHANGING nationwide [Science can be taught in science classes. Religion can be taught in religion classes.]
  • See a SNEAK PEEK of exclusive video clips from Ben Stein’s upcoming movie [Spare me!]
  • Learn how you can get FREE GROUP TICKETS to see EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed in theaters[We’re papering the theatre because we can’t sell tickets.]

I’ve removed most of their hysterical bolding and highlighted the “Defend your belief in God” statement.

Intelligent Design is religious

Tangled Bank #102 at Further Thoughts

Furhter Thoughts blog banner

Ian Ramjohn at Further Thoughts posts the 102nd Tangled Bank blog carnival or science articles. There’s a new Tangled Bank every two weeks; this is the April 2nd edition, so it’s been going for almost four years.

Please drop over to Further Thoughts to read the latest about your sense of hearing, winners vs. slackers vs do-gooders, fake AIDS healers, the Great Biodiversity Competition, and more.

Ray Troll, surrealist of science

Ray Troll, illustrator and palaeonerdI found this amusing and informative article about Ray Troll while I was looking for some of his T-shirt designs. He has illustrated a book written with Kirk Johnson, chief curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It’s called, Crusin’ the Fossil Freeway. You can read all about it here.

Johnson… spent nine years traveling the American West with artist Ray Troll, whom he described as “the R. Crumb of the Cretaceous,” to produce the fanciful yet factual book that details the pair’s finds.  …

Troll draws the creatures accurately, but places them in unusual contexts.  In doing so, he reveals the strange worlds that lurk in the minds of paleontologists as they stare out at the landscape.  Johnson showed a slide of a rock wall with an imbedded layer of coal, and explained, “I see the prehistoric landscape, not the rock,” so in his mind, the coal bed becomes the swampy ancient landscape that produced it. 

Troll lives and works in Ketchikan, Alaska, and became known primarily for his illustrations of fish.  “In ‘93 I learned that he was also interested in fossils,” Johnson said, and eventually they worked on exhibit that appeared in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in 1999.  “He asked for an old Volvo,” which he painted and “turned it into an ‘Evolvo’ with Charles Darwin driving it.”

See Ray’s TrollArt site for Ray Troll’s designs and T-shirts. Ray’s art. If you follow the links “Buy Stuff” > “Clothing” > “Adult T Shirt” you will eventually get to gems such as “Love your Inner Fish, “Data in the Strata, “It’s Never too Late to Mutate,” and lots of fish pictures.

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