The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Argument With Science Opponent

Here's anther exchange with an opponent of science-based medicine. Please evaluate how I did and if you have any suggestions of how I could do better, I'd love to hear. My adversary is in italics and I'm in normal font and the discussion was initiated when my opponent linked to an article claiming that the MMR vaccine was responsible for 40 deaths in the UK.

Other Guy (OG): ‎40 deaths is easily scoffed at by the people who say vaccines saves lives. However many vaccine problems do go unreported. There has never been a study done on unvaccinated children versus vaccinated with health comparisons. Who would like to see this and what do you think the outcome would be?

Me: A study like that at this point wouldn't be ethical. The rarity of most childhood infectious diseases is because of, in large part, the uptake of vaccines. When uptake wavers and herd immunity drops as has happened in the UK, these infectious diseases come quickly back.

Vaccines aren't perfect, but nothing is. You (and the many anti-vax websites) saying that because of extremely rare and usually very minor side effects people should not vaccinate their kids is akin to saying that because occasionally someone gets injured from a seat belt no one should wear one.

That article you link to would do very well to include some references instead of just stating hyperbolic statements without any backing.

OG: Not ethical? I would have to disagree and say it is also being responsible. I am not talking about injecting parties with infectious disease but let's measure the rate of acute illness, ear infections, asthma, food allergies, healthy gut flora.

Me: Vaccines have been extensively studied for years and years now. Millions of people have had them and the side-effects are well documented. If children had increased rates of "acute illness" or a higher rate of asthma or allergies as time passed, do you not think that would have been brought up and addressed in the literature?

I'm saying that the efficacy of vaccination has been established. What, exactly, in vaccines (the MMR or other) is it that you think is dangerous or objectionable?

OG: Let's set aside whether or not vaccines are effective or dangerous and look at what I see as a deep problem 1) people mostly choose whether or not to be vaccinated mostly out of fear from both sides of the argument where that fear comes from is the biggest problem I see. 2) People that do get vaccinations are mostly told this is the single most important way to stay healthy. Simply not true.

The most effective way to remain healthy is to work within nature not go against it. Medicine does not promote wellness. I do not have the room or time to go over the myriad of ways the system of thinking is more dangerous then beneficial but it is. Fear and the trail of the people who make health policies having major ties to pharmaceutical and the food industry is not ethical.

Me: Ok, while I agree that the pharmaceutical industry has serious flaws that need fixing, saying things like, "Medicine does not promote wellness" is just conspiracy theory craziness. Do you think that the people promoting so-called "natural remedies" are not making money off their untested, unregulated supplements and "treatments"?

Not everything "natural" is good - a lot of times nature wants to kill you and it's "working against nature" that saves your life.

I also don't agree that fear is a major motivator in people getting vaccinated. Evidence is very strongly in favor of vaccination being both safe and effective and that's why people do it. As far as people being told that it is the "most important way to stay healthy", that is simply untrue. Vaccinations don't keep you healthy, they protect populations from contagious diseases. They're a prophylactic measure, much like condoms. They don't keep you "healthy", they keep disease away.

OG: Please I would be interested in your examples of how medicine promoters wellness. Yes the majority of so called natural health products are not natural at all and are ineffective and can also contribute to toxicity.

Me: Off the top of my head: Insulin keeps diabetic patients from descending into a terrible state of health; blood pressure medication reduces stress on patients' hearts allowing them to live longer without the constant fear of heart attack, anti-seizure medication allows people to live more productive and quality lives reducing stress and improving overall well-being. Shall I continue?

I'd still like to hear what you think is in vaccines that is so dangerous that it warrants avoidance and, according to the link above, death.

OG: Most of these are not wellness. I have never said medications can not save lives but lets reverse disease and teach people to get off the medications. Yes there are rare cases where genetics play a role and some are dependent on medications but most cases medical should be getting patients off of the drugs. DFr. Gabrielle Cousins in Arizona has gotten people completely off insulin for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes using a raw food diet. You have seen the list of ingredients that some argue are toxic mine would not be any different. Things like aluminium but my point is more about that fact that I believe them to be unnecessary.

My reasoning for posting things like the article above is not to be anti vaccine and try to convert others, my choice is all I want to control. I am more interested in people's responses. Most debates on this topic lead to anger and frustration hence fear.What is your response when you see something posted negative about vaccines either way? Do you get upset? Do you ridicule others? Do you think everyone is going to die if not vaccinated? Anger is never justified and the underlying cause is fear. My opinion is that are systems of thought are diseased and there is a lot of evidence to support this just by pure observation.

Me: What do you mean, "most of these are not wellness"? What do you define as "wellness" then? People get sick and then they get treated. If you think carrots and celery will keep you disease-free you have very odd ideas about health. Do you think the germ theory of disease is valid?

That you think aluminum is "toxic" in vaccines along with the other common ingredients cited by anti-vaccine activists is disheartening. It shows me that you are only reading/researching websites and books/articles with which you already agree.

As for Gabriel Cousens, you're talking about the guy who injected a patient with "cow adrenaline or sheep DNA" which then got infected and instead of getting antibiotics, treated it with acupuncture and massage - which killed him.

Thanks, but I'll not be taking any medical advice from a guy who lost his medical license in two states before taking refuge in Arizona.

Choice is fine and I have no beef with people if they choose to not get vaccinated, provided they take the proper precautions when they get sick. I get annoyed when people post demonstrably false information that scares people into not getting a proven and safe medical intervention that prevents infectious childhood diseases that can cause sickness and death.

I know that I could be wrong, but I need to see solid evidence to show me. If you have evidence that vaccines are dangerous and cause problems and/or death, then show it. The fact is that the common infectious diseases of childhood that used to kill kids are very rare now and the main credit goes to the immunization schedule.

Are you willing to be proven wrong or are you too invested in your mindset now that you are dogmatic about it?

OG: Yes things like oxygen and enzymes and water found in living vegetables is critical to life. I can see clearly the error of this you must be eight it is odd. What cause high blood pressure once you get to the source of problems and correct it the problem should go away. This does not make sense? Medication may be necessary at time temporarily but get to the root and they should be removed although I am sure there is no side effects and nobody dies from them right?

As far as you link on Cousins I do not have a response I know nothing about it. How much time have you spent researching him with an opened mind. Have you looked at the documentation from places like the Hippocrates Institute that has helped many heal from catastrophic disease like stage 4 cancer. Careful you might be unsaved of one-sided research. Can you honestly tell me that there is never false evidence put out or advertising designed to stimulate action based on half truths by government or pharmaceutical companies?

Me: Please do not make strawman arguments that I have never expressed. I stated above that that vaccines can have detrimental outcomes in a small number of cases and obviously medications have side effects. If these effects outweighed the benefits they would not be used. That is how science-based medicine works.

I'd like to see the "alternative" medicine modality that was abandoned after it was found to be ineffective. Example(s)?

OG: Sorry for the errors in grammar and spelling hard to keep at three tired kids happy and write as fast as I am thinking. Science based medicine also works under who benefits. There have been many scientists that have done research on things like cancer but the work suppressed out of lack of profits, some of them has spoken up. I am afraid politics also plays a big role. Names I do not have now but can find. I do not feel the need to argue against vaccines once again my point is are thinking. Why does it bother you when people make claims whether backed by science or not? What do you fear is going to happen? I might of started getting a little sarcastic but you said some stupid things ie: carrots and celery. Did you know there is documentation of people who cured cancer with vegetable juice being a major part? Let's stop eating these things and eat a fast food diet only and see how fast we get sick. One can argue that we both could appear to be dogmatic and just the opposite side of the same coin.

Me: No, the argument of being dogmatic does not fly my way. I will change my mind if the evidence is there - but you say things like, "Did you know there is documentation of people who cured cancer with vegetable juice being a major part?" and just expect me to believe it with no citation or plausibility? Saying Cousens cures diabetes with a raw food diet is patently crazy, particularly type 1, because of the mechanism of the disease.

No one is arguing that there is a level of correction needed in medicine, especially the marketing and clinical trial aspect of pharmaceutical companies. These problems are being addressed by medical science, but if you are throwing those accusations at science, you have to address the lack of any regulation and safety controls in so-called "alternative" medicine and the injuries and deaths that result (

Finally, yes, you do have to argue against vaccines if you are going to post misleading information about them. When you make false claims (like there are "toxins" in vaccines) you have to back them up. I have not heard one argument from you that stands up in this whole thread (or ever) that shows vaccines are in any way dangerous or "toxic". I think it is because you don't have any such arguments.

I hope you and your kids have a great Halloween.

OG: One last thing. Have you looked at who makes vaccine policies and who controls the studies and who benefits? Not what others say, have you? Also how many vaccine studies have been put out showing vaccines to be dangerous or ineffective? All of them can not be faulty just like all proving effectiveness can not be valid. I would just enjoy people looking for a deeper meaning to health. Most of us are tired run down and stressed Health and happiness are synonymous. I do know I have been sick with a virus or bacterial infection maybe 4 times in 15 years and they are when I was not making choices I would consider healthy. I was also working in heavy traffic retail environment exposed to everyone. I did have a double sided hernia diagnosed by two doctors and healed without surgery. I have met people who have healed from most illness without pharma also people who have led healthy lives without vaccines.

My argument has not once been about vaccines but the fact that we do not take responsibility for our own health. Not saying you do not need medical assistance in this but would you not agree most our profoundly irresponsible and look for everyone else to be responsible for issues or health problems they have. Things like vaccines give people a false sense.

Me: Of course you can live a healthy life without vaccines - you just up your chances of getting a preventable disease and/or passing in along to someone else. If you're not vaccinated and you get pertussis, you likely won't die - but if you pass it to an infant, they just might.

Most things you get won't kill you. You will get better. Even some cancer goes into spontaneous remission. Medicine is supposed to get you healthy faster than if you did nothing or save your life should you have a life-threatening condition. I was being glib talking about carrots and celery before, but if you get a staph infection and you depend on those things to keep you strong, you will likely die.

And now I have to go carve pumpkins.

OG: Thanks "Me". I trust all is well and look forward to seeing you soon.

Me: You too.

3 Barbaric Yawps:

At 1/11/10 3:24 pm, Anonymous Yojimbo said...

I think you did about as well as possible, considering that you were exchanging with someone who was not listening to anything you had to say, and wouldn't have understood even if they did listen.

Blog discussions with this sort of True Believer are only valuable for the fence-sitters that may happen by.

Critical thinking should be the most important required course in school. Nobody should be allowed a diploma unless they can show proficiency in it. And it is happening, too - look! A flying pig!

At 11/11/10 5:01 pm, Blogger Hockey Canada S&C Group said...

Great job!!

I'm not sure why science denial is in vogue these days. Makes no sense.

At 11/11/10 5:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting topic, great post! And I think you did an excellent job...

It was a frustrating argument OG made right away, that there are no studies of unvaccinated vs. vaccinated children. I was glad to see you pointed out right away that such a study would not be ethical. Also, observational data has clearly demonstrated increased trends in preventable disease when vaccination rates decline.
One example: Gangarosa EJ, et al. Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story. Lancet 1998;351:356-61. There are many more examples on the CDC website.

OG had a great idea to "reverse disease and teach people to get off the medications." Why haven't any medical professionals and scholars thought of this birlliant idea? Stop treating disease, just "reverse" it. If it were only that simple...



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