Respectful Insolence

Germ theory denialism explained

Here’s some sheer awesomeness in the form of an explanation of germ theory denialism:

The only thing I would disagree with is the conclusion at the end that germ theory denialists are not much of a threat. In fact, germ theory denialism, usually softer germ theory denialism, such as the kind that says a healthy body can can fight off any bacteria or virus (the implication being that germs can cause disease only if there is some problem in the body) is a major strain of “thought” (if you can call it that) in anti-vaccine circles. In fact, it’s a major strain of “thought” driving many forms of pseudoscience, such as chiropractic and naturopathy, as is shown in the video itself.

Comments

  1. #1 augustine
    August 7, 2010

    Germ theory = number of pathogens * virulence or pathogen/ resistance of host.

  2. #2 MosesZD
    August 7, 2010

    You forgot fraudulent quotes of recantation on the comparison checklist.

  3. #3 augustine
    August 7, 2010

    The author of the video is using rhetoric and propaganda simply by the fact that he has chosen to use the term “germ theory denialism” to label a group of people whom he happens to disagree with.

    They simply may chose to focus on the denominator of the equation while the status quo focuses on a factor in the numerator. It’s rhetoric. They are germ theory denialist only in the sense that they have been labeled by one group who fears they oppose their means.

  4. #4 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    usually softer germ theory denialism, such as the kind that says a healthy body can can fight off any bacteria or virus

    What exactly is germ theory, that the above can be counted as a form for germ theory denialism? Or is it that ignoring all the implications of germ theory counts as denialism? The later would be stretching the definition of “denialism”, in my opinion.

  5. #5 mcwundertosh
    August 7, 2010

    Orac, where did this youtube come from? thanks.

  6. #6 Chris
    August 7, 2010

    MosesZD, Orac did not make the video. If you and mcwindertosh double click on the video it should take you to that particular Youtube page. Then you can tell the author/editor what he did right or wrong.

  7. #7 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    One thing the video has wrong: the myth of Pasteur’s deathbed recantation didn’t originate on the whale.to website. It originated in a 1939 biography of Claude Bernard by Leon Delhoume, which claimed that Pasteur said that Bernard was right, which later got turned into Pasteur saying Bechamp was right. This was then quoted in a doctoral dissertation by Marie Nonclerq, and spread from there. Some more details and links can be found in this Usenet post.

  8. #8 Lana
    August 7, 2010

    As I started watching this video, I was concerned I might be a germ denialist, because I tend to have the following beliefs:

    a) Overuse of things like bacteria-killing sanitizer in every day settings (note, not settings like hospitals or science labs, where the necessity for them is obvious) create an environment where people become less able to deal with mild, occasionally helpful bacteria and creates an environment that is not conductive to bacteria resistance. Also, by using bacteria-killing sanitizer constantly in the home, it seems like that would create an opportunity for bacteria to evolve into stronger forms.

    b) If you eat healthy and exercise a lot, your body will mostly take care of itself.

    After watching your video, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a germ denialist, because Pastuer’s theory is obviously correct, and I agree with every point made. I do think medications, flu shots, vaccines are necessary and desirable — I just tend to wait a little bit after I get sick with a mild illness before going to the hospital or doctor, waiting to see if I need to or not. However, I always make sure my son is up to date on his shots, and when prescribed medications I take them.

    The waiting to visit the doctor is really partly because I can’t afford to go even when it’s an emergency, let alone for preventative healthcare.

  9. #9 Jeff Read
    August 7, 2010

    The author of the video is using rhetoric and propaganda simply by the fact that he has chosen to use the term “germ theory denialism” to label a group of people whom the vast bulk of scientific evidence happens to disagree with.

    there, ftfy

  10. #10 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    @augustine:

    So, do you disagree with the germ theory? Or agree with it, but don’t like the way the creator of the video argued about it? Or some third option?

    They simply may chose to focus on the denominator of the equation while the status quo focuses on a factor in the numerator.

    Could you explain that? I don’t understand.

  11. #11 augustine
    August 7, 2010

    Jeff Read – not a scientist.

    There.

  12. #12 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    @augustine:

    Germ theory = number of pathogens * virulence or pathogen/ resistance of host.

    Oh, I hadn’t noticed your first comment. Nevermind.

  13. #13 Mattand
    August 7, 2010

    I’ve mentioned this before, but Dawkins Award Winner Maher has been unusually quiet over the last few months regarding alt med. Did Shermer’s editorial plea for him to get his facts straight have an impact?

    On a similar note, my understanding is that when asked by DJ Grothe at TAM, Dawkins essentially said he had no problem with Maher getting the AAI award despite Maher’s medical woo.

    Orac: You were at TAM. What’s your take on that, assuming I’ve got my facts right?

  14. #14 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    @augustine:

    Since vaccines are vaguely on topic, some questions of mine that you didn’t answer in a previous thread:

    From the time the smallpox vaccine was first invented, to the time that smallpox was eliminated from the wild, did there exist any person for whom the risk/benefit ratio of the vaccine made it worth taking, for that person, in your opinion?

    ———-

    I have a problem with prophetic medical practice.

    Okay, that seems to go beyond saying that the risk/benefit ratio of vaccines isn’t worth it for you or your immediate family. For example, consider someone (lets call him John Doe) who lived back when the smallpox vaccine was first invented, and he was considering whether or not to get vaccinated. Regardless of the risk/benefit ratio of John Doe taking the vaccine, it’s not guaranteed that he’ll ever catch smallpox, and even if he does catch it there’s a 70% chance he’ll survive. So him taking it would have been a “prophetic medical practice”.

    Anyways, I don’t see why you’d call it “prophetic” medicine. John Doe wouldn’t be taking it because he can see into the future and knows he’ll die of smallpox if he doesn’t get vaccinated, but is taking it to reduce the risk of dying of smallpox. I don’t see how reducing the risk of something that might happen in the future as being “prophetic”. Indeed, calling it “prophetic” seems to imply that there’s something flawed in the concept of risk/benefit analysis.

    ———-

    If you or one of your family members were to be so unfortunate as to be bitten by a rabid animal, would you consider it worth it to take the post-exposure rabies vaccine series?

  15. #15 A. Nuran
    August 7, 2010

    Matthew, I would guess that augustine would not consider the vaccine worthwhile. He seems to already be a partially-asymptomatic carrier.

  16. #16 Mary
    August 7, 2010

    Heh–tied with the raw foodies and the raw milkies. Yep. I actually saw them turn on one of their previous heroes the other day. Marion Nestle referred to them as “teabagging” after Bill Marler (also previously a food safety hero to some of them) as “organic tea baggers”. It was funny.

    http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/08/we-need-s-510-to-pass-despite-tea-bagging/

  17. #17 Pareidolius
    August 7, 2010

    Mary, thanks for that link. I noticed in one of the comments that someone was going on about S. 510 making it illegal to grow a tomato in their own back yard. Is that true or more hyperbole? It sounds like scaremongering and impossible to implement even if it were true.

    The number of tea baggers who showed up in the comments section were universally acting as though they were shocked by the rudeness of being called tea baggers. Pot to kettle, pot to kettle, come-in kettle.

  18. #18 Lycanthrope
    August 7, 2010

    @8, Lana:

    Regarding point 1, Overuse of antibiotic sanitizers does breed stronger bacteria over time. Y’know how they say those products kill 99.99% of bacteria? Well, the 0.01% continue to multiply, and the bacteria population is stronger as a result. This is an oversimplification, I admit, but a concern of mine nonetheless.

    Regarding point 2, if you eat healthy and exercise lots, you will of course be stronger and healthier in a lot of ways. But whether or not you get sick depends on a lot of factors, most of which you can’t control. Have you already caught this particular strain of X and/or do you have antibodies targeted for it? How strong and infectious is strain X? How strong is your immune system in general? These things vary from person to person, and most of these factors are not within your control. Exercise and eating right can probably help strengthen your immune system enough to fight off minor infections faster, but won’t protect you from nastier bugs.

    IANAD, but as an educated layman I certify that these explanations are correct to the best of my knowledge.

  19. #19 Matthew Cline
    August 7, 2010

    @Lycanthrope:

    Well, the 0.01% continue to multiply, and the bacteria population is stronger as a result.

    It doesn’t become stronger in general, just “stronger” in the sense that it gains resistance to that antibiotic. Still, I agree that soaps like that shouldn’t be used, since antibiotic use should be reserved for when it’s really needed, to delay the point when bacteria become resistant.

  20. #20 Michael
    August 7, 2010

    Matthew, regarding #4, it’s ridiculous to think that a perfectly healthy person can fight off AIDS, rabies, etc. That’s essentially a form of denialism.

  21. #21 DLC
    August 7, 2010

    Ahh yes. concordance. great videos. Thanks for showing it.

  22. #22 augustine
    August 7, 2010

    Mathew @19,

    So you have evidence that 100% of people who have been exposed to rabies, HIV, etc. die?

    Critical thinking eludes you Matthew.

  23. #23 augustine
    August 7, 2010

    That would be Micheal, not Matthew.

    But this is for Matthew.

    “From the time the smallpox vaccine was first invented, to the time that smallpox was eliminated from the wild, did there exist any person for whom the risk/benefit ratio of the vaccine made it worth taking, for that person, in your opinion?”

    Sure there was.

    Was it worth it for the person who died BECAUSE of the vaccine whom was told it would save them?

  24. #24 Mark Plus
    August 8, 2010

    What do germ theory denialists say about their dental problems?

  25. #25 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    August 8, 2010

    I watched the video then scrolled through the other 14 that came up with it and watched the one about Kent Hovind. Turns out he’s a germ theory denier as well. That’s not all, though. In addition to his creationism, he’s also an anti-vaxxer and into chemtrails! Wow! He’s a one-stop woo shop. Oh, yeah, he’s a felon, too.

    Sorry for the thread-jacking.

  26. #26 Carmi Turchick
    August 8, 2010

    It suddenly occured to me that the hypothesis that perfectly healthy humans are immune to infections is de facto an assertion that diseases have inexplicably evolved not to infect healthy people, or an assertion that the human immune system at 100% strength has magically evolved to have immunity even from diseases it has never encountered before. As is often the case then, one can believe in Evolution or believe in the views of these denialists.

    My brother was nearly killed as a child by someone practicing woo woo denial herbal medicine. The idea was that a fever is the body responding to the disease and we should help the body by increasing the fever, in this case to 106F which sent my brother to the hospital and into a delusional state. He could have easily died.

    I also am very opposed to anti-bacterials. Studies show that they are no more effective than handwashing in eliminating bacteria. They do breed immunity, and I would rather have effective anti-bacterials available if I need surgery. And the active ingredient does accumulate in our lakes and rivers, does not degrade over time, and is completely untested for what effects it may have on wildlife and plants and so on. No positives and a lot of negatives…no idea why anyone would use that crap.

  27. #27 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 8, 2010

    @ Carmi Turchick:

    I second your observations about anti-bacterial soaps and would add that I seem to be even more violently allergic to them than I am to the scent in soaps like Coast and Irish Spring. I might as well wash certain parts of my body with mustard gas. Am I alone in this?

  28. #28 Sick of germs
    August 8, 2010

    I am going to show this video to my doctor who I think may be a germ denialist. I wanted a prescription for some antibiotics when everyone in the office had a bad cold but me. I didn’t want to get sick since I knew that the germs could spread to me. Now I have the hard science to show him that germs can spread and cause diseases and that I needed the antibiotics to kill the germs and prevent me from getting sick as well. Its amazing that even after going to medical school some doctors don’t know the science data in this video.

  29. #29 Rogue Medic
    August 8, 2010

    @25 Sick of germs,

    The cold is caused by a virus.

    Antibiotics treat bacterial infections.

    Taking antibiotics for a viral infection will do absolutely nothing good, but will still expose you to the side effects of the medication and increase the chances of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and others.

    You are not a germ theory denialist, but someone who does not understand that it is appropriate to use the right medicine to treat the infectious agent causing an illness.

    Your doctor may have used the wrong term, if your doctor actually did use the term germ theory denialist. However, your doctor does seem to understand medicine.

    No doctor should prescribe antibiotics for a cold – not to prevent a cold and not to treat a cold.

  30. #30 Scottynuke
    August 8, 2010

    A little bird suggests the force behind our favorite plexiglass box of blinking lights has just completed another 365 days.

    Happy Birthday!!! May you have many grant approval notices in your mailbox!! :-)

  31. #31 Adam_Y
    August 8, 2010

    I also am very opposed to anti-bacterials. Studies show that they are no more effective than handwashing in eliminating bacteria. They do breed immunity, and I would rather have effective anti-bacterials available if I need surgery. And the active ingredient does accumulate in our lakes and rivers, does not degrade over time, and is completely untested for what effects it may have on wildlife and plants and so on. No positives and a lot of negatives…no idea why anyone would use that crap.

    Uhhhh…. You do realize you have the antibacterial soap ingredients sitting in your cabinet right???? Its called alcohol.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    August 8, 2010

    @ Mattand: I watched all season long and noticed that he was remarkably silent on the topic ( Will wonders ever cease?). However, I venture a guess that perhaps rather than being swayed by Shermer’s realistic criticism, he might have feared televised ridicule from the likes of guests like Chris Matthews more as well as backstage innuendo from snarky writers he employs. In short, I doubt he’s learned anything except perhaps turning down the volume about his woo-tastic beliefs when on-camera.

  33. #33 Orac
    August 8, 2010

    That’s quite possible. As long ago as two years ago, Bob Costas was mocking Maher’s woo-tastic beliefs:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/02/is_bill_maher_really_that_ignorant_part_3.php

    That was before it became more widely known that Maher loves him some antivaccine and cancer quackery.

  34. #34 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 8, 2010

    @22 According to an article in Scientific American, only one person is known to have survived symptomatic rabies without being treated with the rabies vaccine. According to the CDC, the risk of contracting rabies varies based on the type of exposure, with bites being the most likely to cause infection. In a quick search, I’m unable to find anything that lays out the specific odds of showing symptoms once bitten by an infected animal.

  35. #35 Michael
    August 8, 2010

    #22, Augustine, I’m not saying that 100% of people who are exposed to HIV, rabies,die. I’m saying that the claim that the people that survive do so because they’re “perfectly healthy” is ridiculous, unless you define “perfectly healthy” in such a way that excludes 99% of the population.

  36. #36 Zaxter
    August 8, 2010

    Yes, the creator of this video is using rhetorical tactics. This is, in my view, entirely appropriate as the people that require convincing have willfully chosen to ignore mountains of data, logic, and reason in favor of what their emotions and “common sense” tell them. I would take it one step further and say that, at this point, these people have proven themselves incapable of reason, and that only emotional, irrational, and faith-based appeals will work on them. This is because they are emotional, irrational, faith-based people.

    For example, when framing the vaccine debate, it is clear that these people will never accept the data no matter how much is offered. They simply move the goalposts, ignore the data, or play the pharma shill gambit in regards to the veracity of the data. It must be framed as a moral issue. This argument should then be framed thusly: People who choose to neglect their children’s health by refusing them access to vaccines should be viewed as morally corrupt parents, and their children as unclean, diseased things.

    I even sent out birthday party un-invitations to some fruity parent’s children who are in my daughter’s class in school, asking her to refrain from bringing her disease- infested children to my home. We can’t legally force these people to do the right thing. What we can do is create a hostile social environment where they feel emotionally compelled to be less selfish scumbags.

  37. #37 Matthew Cline
    August 8, 2010

    @augustine:

    Was it worth it for the person who died BECAUSE of the vaccine whom was told it would save them?

    Of course not (assuming cow pox was ever fatal to humans, or ever led to a fatal secondary infection).

    Let me rephrase my question: from the time the smallpox vaccine was first invented, to the time that smallpox was eliminated from the wild, among those who took the smallpox vaccine, was there ever anyone for whom the decision to take the vaccine was a rational decision?

  38. #38 Big Blue
    August 8, 2010

    @ Adam_Y, the antibacterial ingredient in most hand soaps is triclosan, not alcohols.

    And yeah, regular ol’ washing with hot water and detergent or soap works fine. The worst problem in disinfection chemistry is not usually the innate chemistry of spore-forming bacteria, but rather the soil they are gooped with. How effective a disinfectant really is, must be tested in context: Just about anything on the face of the earth works pretty well on hard, clean surfaces with the bacterial sample suspended in saline, but very very few things work well on a bacterial sample mixed with Hucker’s Soil (peanut butter, milk, regular butter, eggs, flour and ink). Most antibacterials added to soaps & detergents are tested on hard, clean surfaces rather than the more challenging soil or porous ceramic tests.

    Anyway, back on subject: the germ theory denialists I have met have all been, without exception, youngish Baby Boomers or younger. My own mother, who saw for herself how her childhood friends often died of infectious diseases, is about as scientifically ignorant as anyone can possibly be (we’re talking, “magnets? how the eff do they work?” ignorant, women didn’t go to college much in her day), but still knows the reality of germ theory and what miracles vaccination and penicillin were when they were discovered.

    Weirdly, a lot of these same young people who are anti-germ theory are also sorta New Age-y types who believe in the wisdom of elders. Just not enough to actually talk to their elders about what life was like pre-vaccination and pre-antibiotics, I guess.

  39. #39 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    August 8, 2010

    @23 – To take some relatively trivial analogies:
    - The way to win at blackjack is to bet when your hand will beat the dealer’s and not bet when it won’t.
    - The way to make money in the stock market is to buy stock, wait until it goes up, and sell it. If it doesn’t go up, don’t buy it.

    So, naturally, you should be sure to get vaccinated if you will die of the disease (or suffer other undesirable disease effects). If you’re more civic minded, you should also get vaccinated if you will otherwise spread the disease to others. If you won’t, you obviously don’t need to be vaccinated.

  40. #40 Anton P. Nym
    August 8, 2010

    @23: “Was it worth it for the person who died BECAUSE of the vaccine whom was told it would save them?”

    I suspect it was more worth it to him/her than car ownership is for the thousands who will die in traffic accidents this year.

    Nothing is perfectly safe. Taking a shower, for instance, carries its own potentially-fatal risks. (Slip and fall, allergic reaction to soaps, scalding, and I suppose drowning might be possible.) That doesn’t mean that people should stop taking showers.

    I take a certain level of comfort in the germ theory of disease; it doesn’t blame the sick for getting sick, for starters. Add in that it can make useful suggestions on how to prevent illness, expressly including such lifestyle improvements as hygene, exercise, and proper diet that so enamour the vitalist crowd… but not limited to those, adding such collossal advancements as antisepsis, vaccination, and pasturisation that the wholesome-thoughts-and-wheatgrass advocates can’t match.

    I like the 21st century, and I wouldn’t trade it for the 19th in any field of human endeavor… particularly the field of medicine.

    — Steve

  41. #41 raven
    August 8, 2010

    Germ Theory of Disease denialism can and does kill.

    There is now a long list of HIV+ denialists who have died of AIDS. The latest in a long line was Christine Maggiore.

    The HIV denialists made a movie a few years ago called House of Numbers about how HIV/AIDS didn’t really exist. Three or four of the cast are now dead of AIDS and another one is in end stage AIDS.

  42. #42 augustine
    August 8, 2010

    @Matthew 37

    Was there ever anyone for whom the decision to not take the vaccine was a rational decision?

    The answer to my question will be the answer to your question.

  43. #43 augustine
    August 8, 2010

    Raven: “There is now a long list of HIV+ denialists who have died of AIDS. The latest in a long line was Christine Maggiore.”

    There are a lot of people who believe as you do who have also died. Your logic is not helping your point.

  44. #44 Matthew Cline
    August 8, 2010

    Hucker’s Soil (peanut butter, milk, regular butter, eggs, flour and ink).

    Mmmmm, Hucker’s Soil. Yum yum.

  45. #45 augustine
    August 8, 2010

    Zaxter @36

    You need to go over to emotionblogs.com or politicalregimeblogs.com. Your rant has nothing to do with real science.

    What is sickening is that you used children to carry out your little vigilante justice against parents with whom you disagree with.

    It’s quite possible that you psychologically devastated some little children because of your ideology that says these children will hypothetically “spread disease” to others at a birthday party and kill or ill them. Forget the fact that those children are supposedly protected by vaccination means and verified by yourself.

    Did you check to see if they had antibody titers? Would they be allowed in the party then. Or would the fact that they refused your methods be the clincher?

    I suspect that many others on here share your neo-fascist sentiments.

  46. #46 Matthew Cline
    August 8, 2010

    @augustine:

    If you’re going to ask “Was it a rational decision for the person who died BECAUSE of the vaccine whom was told it would save them”, let me preemptively say: what happens after a decision is made doesn’t retroactively change whether or not that decision was rational. Whether or not the decision was rational is based entirely (and only) on the information available at the time the decision was made.

  47. #47 Sick of germs
    August 8, 2010

    “Taking antibiotics for a viral infection will do absolutely nothing good, but will still expose you to the side effects of the medication and increase the chances of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and others.”

    Did you even watch the video? It said that germs cause disease and can be easily spread and everyone knows a cold is caused by a germ. Are you trying to deny that germs don’t cause illness? Watch the video, it explains how it all works. I think once I show my doctor the video he will understand how germs cause sickness and needs to be treated. I am glad I saw this video as I had no idea some doctors were germ deniers.

  48. #48 Chris
    August 8, 2010

    What kind of germs? Be specific: bacteria, virus, fungus or protozoa?

  49. #49 Chris
    August 8, 2010

    Reminder: colds are caused by a group of over 200 different viruses. Antibiotics do nothing for a viral infection.

  50. #50 Anton P. Nym
    August 8, 2010

    @44: Lame troll is lame, also troll. (Or another victim of Poe’s Law, but lame anyway.)

    — Steve

  51. #51 Chris
    August 8, 2010

    Well, just in case the vocabulary challenged one is not a troll, let me introduce two things: This Week in Parasitism and This Week in Virology.

  52. #52 August Pamplona
    August 8, 2010

    So what’s the deal with osteopathic physicians?

  53. #53 Chris
    August 8, 2010

    He did not clarify that in the USA osteopathic physicians are just about the same MDs. The ones in the UK are close to chiropractors.

  54. #54 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 8, 2010

    Was it worth it for the person who died BECAUSE of the vaccine whom was told it would save them?

    If we restate Goofus’ rhetorical question into a syllogism, we come out with the following:

    1) In very rare cases, people have experienced fatal reactions to vaccines.
    2) (unstated premise)
    3) Therefore, vaccines are not worth taking.

    What is Goofus’ unstated premise at 2? We must conclude that it is something like: “We should base our decisions on very rare and extreme outcomes, ignoring outcomes which are much more likely.”

    Obviously, then, Goofus must be a great advocate of gambling.

    1) In very rare cases, people have gone to casinos and bet money they couldn’t afford to gamble with, and won huge million-dollar jackpots.
    2) We should base our decisions on very rare and extreme outcomes, ignoring outcomes which are much more likely.
    3) Therefore, we should go to casinos and bet money that we can’t afford to gamble with.

    Obviously, this is ridiculous. You don’t gamble your last money away on the slim, slim chance that you’ll get a fortune back — not unless you’re a gambling addict or a fool. And only a fool says “There’s a slim, slim chance that I might have a fatal reaction to a vaccine — so I’m definitely not getting the vaccine, even if my chances of dying because I didn’t get it is worse!”

    Obviously our Goofus is exactly that kind of fool. Witness his quote from even earlier in the comments:

    So you have evidence that 100% of people who have been exposed to rabies, HIV, etc. die?

    What Goofus is really saying here is “Let’s ignore the fact that rabies kills 55,000 people a year and that the people who have survived exposure to rabies without vaccination in all of medical history number less than 10! Once again, I choose to ignore the overwhelmingly most likely outcomes and pretend that everything is decided by the incredibly rare exceptions to the rule!”

    The bottom line: the risk of having a bad reaction to a vaccine is much, much less than that of suffering consequences just as bad or worse from the disease the vaccine prevents against. And when this ceases to be true, we stop using the vaccine. The smallpox vaccine is now almost never used, because smallpox simply doesn’t exist out there in the wild anymore (it would be extinct if some of the last remaining stocks had not been weaponized, and then lost in the fall of the Soviet Union.) It’s worth doing what we can to reduce the likelihood of even rare negative outcomes — but only a Goofus would suggest that we try to reduce the likelihood of rare outcomes without even paying attention to the more common outcomes that are just as deadly.

  55. #55 Bruce Gorton
    August 8, 2010

    When you get right down to it, germ theory denialism was the heart of the AIDS crisis in South Africa.

  56. #56 August Pamplona
    August 8, 2010

    Chris (#50):
    He did not clarify that in the USA osteopathic physicians are just about the same MDs. The ones in the UK are close to chiropractors.

    Thanks. My recollection about the ones in the US was correct but I did not know about the ones in th U.K..

  57. #57 CherryBomb
    August 8, 2010

    I really think y’all should be kinder to “Sick of germs.” Ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity, and if she does not understand the difference between bacteria and viruses, well, she is probably in the majority of people, to be honest. One should take the time to explain that viruses (which cause colds) are not tiny animals which can be killed by using antibiotics the way bacteria can. Do not ridicule her for not having this knowledge already; teach her.

  58. #58 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    August 8, 2010

    @Antaeus Feldspar

    Anticipating the application of the rigorous rhetorical gifts of our self-appointed answer a question with a questioner…

    All those EXPOSED to rabies don’t get rabies. However, all those exposed who get treated survive and with rare exception (less than 10 in recorded history), those who become symptomatic die. Die slowly and horribly. (Sorry, was that last bit an appeal to emotion?)

    Yes, foregoing the rabies prophylaxis is like hoping to be the guy who survived the car crash because he was thrown clear. Long odds. And it’s still going to hurt, a lot.

  59. #59 LW
    August 8, 2010

    Was it worth it for the child who died of pertussis BECAUSE his parents were convinced not to vaccinate him because they were told it was unnecessary?

  60. #60 MosesZD
    August 8, 2010

    The author of the video is using rhetoric and propaganda simply by the fact that he has chosen to use the term “germ theory denialism” to label a group of people whom he happens to disagree with.

    They simply may chose to focus on the denominator of the equation while the status quo focuses on a factor in the numerator. It’s rhetoric. They are germ theory denialism only in the sense that they have been labeled by one group who fears they oppose their means.

    Posted by: augustine | August 7, 2010 1:04 PM

    I call bullshit and, further say, who cares? From the first post of “denialism” blog (when it first came to Seed):

    Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one’s viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions.

    That’s denialism. A denialism is one who practices denialism which is, virtually always, detrimental to the individual and to society.

    The germ theory of disease is a FACT. It is one of the most important theories ever discovered by man. Period. There is NO legitimate counter-argument that diseases cause illness.

    Denialism, itself, is usually independent because it comes from out-side the main-stream of economic actors. By people who are, usually, peddling something that doesn’t work.

    However denialism is a lucrative industry in some scientific areas where corporate profits (from BIG corporations) are severely threaten by potential governmental actions due to the extraordinary danger in how those profits are generated. These denialism attacks are carried on by public relations men who are, frankly, more interested in money than facts.

    It produces strange bedfellows. Climate denialism is funded by the oil companies. Tobacco denialism is funded by tobacco companies. I use the word “is” because Tobacco denialism is still practiced in many areas of the world, even though they’ve lost in the “west.”

    Amazingly, many of these tobacco denialists have taken on global warming on the behalf of the oil companies. You will see them working for the same “think tanks” who will whore themselves out to any big business.

    And it is NOT a cottage industry or a few fellows. Looking at the documented major funders of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (one of the major denialism groups):

    Exxon: $262,146,651 from 1998 to 2005 (ExxonSecrets);
    Scaife Foundations: $521,477,117 from 1985 to 2007 (Media Matters Transparency);
    Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $583,162,647 from 1986-2007 (Media Matters Transparency);
    Koch Foundations: $151,321,081 from 1986-2004 (Media Matters Transparency);
    Coors foundations: $33,164,113 from 2000-2006 (Media Matters Transparency)

    Documented Total for Exxon, Scaife, Bradley, Koch, Coors from 1985-2007: $1,289,124,958

    And there’s a TON more. Billions of USD, over the past couple of decades, have been going into funding climate denialism to the same “think tanks” that took billions of USD to deny smoking is dangerous.

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/global_warming_denial_machine.html

    So… Once again, who fucking cares? The denialism is well compensated for his evil ways. A few names won’t hurt him.

  61. #61 augustine
    August 8, 2010

    “The germ theory of disease is a FACT. It is one of the most important theories ever discovered by man. Period. There is NO legitimate counter-argument that diseases cause illness.”
    ——————————————————
    If germ theory were a FACT then there would be no one around to verify it.

    The key is a germ, under certain conditions CAN cause disease. It will not under ANY circumstance/condition ALWAYS cause disease.

    The “host” is the variable.

    Finding that a certain organism under certain conditions can cause a disease is a scientific endeavor.

    Coming up with a chemical that opposes the organism is engineering.

    Applying that chemical to humans while trying to cause the least amount of short term let alone long term damage to the recipient is ….less than scientific.

  62. #62 augustine
    August 8, 2010

    LW @ 56,

    Who? How many? Evidence based or assumption based?

  63. #63 Chris
    August 8, 2010

    CherryBomb:

    I really think y’all should be kinder to “Sick of germs.” Ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity, … snip… snip.. Do not ridicule her for not having this knowledge already; teach her.

    Which is why I included the links to the two podcasts. The parasite expert on the first one is an excellent story-teller who is kind, entertaining and good at getting the message across. It is also worthwhile to browse around the MicroWorld website for their “Meet The Scientist” podcasts.

    Also, why did you assume that the person was female?

  64. #64 Matthew Cline
    August 8, 2010

    @augustine:

    From mulling over your previous comments, I think I’ve got a grasp on what you’re saying, which I’ll attempt paraphrase. Please correct me if I’m wrong (or if I leave out any details):

    For large populations, we can figure out the risk of catching a certain contagious disease, the risk that the disease will cause death (or other permanent harm), the chance that the vaccine will be effective, and the chance that the vaccine will cause averse affects (including death). However, for an individual, all of those chances are very likely to be different. For any one individual, those chances are unknown, and thus for any one individual the risk/benefit ratio of taking the vaccine is undefined. But risk/benefit analysis is the only method one could use to make a rational decision to take a vaccine. Thus, if one decides to take a vaccine, the only possibly reasons for taking the vaccine must be irrational.

    … Unless you could see into the future and tell if that individual will catch that disease and suffer permanent damage, and if s/he will have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. With an undefined risk/benefit ratio, that’s the only way that taking a vaccine could be a rational decision. Hence, you calling vaccination “prophetic medicine”.

  65. #65 Rogue Medic
    August 8, 2010

    @ 44 Sick of germs,

    Did you even watch the video?

    Yes.

    It said that germs cause disease and can be easily spread and everyone knows a cold is caused by a germ.

    There are different kinds of germs.

    Some germs, but not all germs, are viruses.

    Some viruses, but not all viruses, cause colds.

    Some germs, but not all germs, are bacteria.

    Bacteria do not cause colds.

    Antibiotics treat bacterial germs, but not viral germs.

    Are you trying to deny that germs don’t cause illness?

    Germs cause disease.

    Watch the video, it explains how it all works.

    I did not see where the video covered specific treatments for specific diseases caused by different types of germs.

    I think once I show my doctor the video he will understand how germs cause sickness and needs to be treated.

    The video does not discuss appropriate treatment of different types of diseases caused by different types of germs.

    I am glad I saw this video as I had no idea some doctors were germ deniers.

    Refusing to prescribe antibiotics for a viral infection does not mean that the doctor is a germ theory denialist.

    Prescribing an antibiotic for a cold is wrong. Most doctors know better. Unfortunately, some do write antibiotic prescriptions just out of fear that their patients will go elsewhere in the hope of receiving inappropriate medication (an antibiotic). This is unethical.

    There is no benefit to treating a cold with a medication that does not kill the kind of germ that causes a cold.

    An antibiotic does not kill cold germs.
    .

  66. #66 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 8, 2010

    I really think y’all should be kinder to “Sick of germs.” Ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity, and if she does not understand the difference between bacteria and viruses, well, she is probably in the majority of people, to be honest. One should take the time to explain that viruses (which cause colds) are not tiny animals which can be killed by using antibiotics the way bacteria can. Do not ridicule her for not having this knowledge already; teach her.

    If I thought “Sick of germs” was being honest and sincere, then I would certainly do my best to educate her, and most certainly not ridicule her or her misconceptions. However, I thought it was fairly obvious that SOG is not someone with an honest confusion about the details of germ theory, but someone attempting a sarcastic “straw man” argument against germ theory.

    If you go back and read SOG’s comments, you see that she refers to her doctor as a germ theory denialist, because his advice to her does not comply with what she claims must be true because the video says so. Does that make sense?

    Would any reasonable person say “My lawyer obviously does not know anything about the law, because I saw a YouTube video that gave an introduction to legal theory and my lawyer gave me a different answer than I would have expected based on the video”?

    I believe that a reasonable person would say “This is a professional who has studied the subject in detail; if what he says differs from what the video would have led me to expect, it’s almost certainly because the video is dealing with the very basics of the subject, perhaps glossing over details that may apply in certain situations, and the professional has moved well beyond those basics and is dealing with my specific situation.” Or maybe a reasonable person would just say “Look, the video says X; the professional I talked to says Y; how the hell can the two be reconciled??” I can’t picture a reasonable person deciding that the professional must be a denialist because what they say doesn’t accord with what the reasonable person thinks the video says.

    I have not watched the video myself, actually, so I do not know whether it provides any basis whatever for SOG’s unstated premise of “Germ theory posits that diseases are caused by creatures called ‘germs,’ which come in different kinds but are all dealt with by the exact same methods.” (That is, after all, the assumption on which her arguments depend, that if there is an appropriate treatment for one organism which falls under the classification of “germ” then it must be an appropriate treatment for any organism which falls under the classification of germ.) I rather suspect that there isn’t, though; I suspect that SOG is someone who was already vigorously opposed to germ theory before she saw the video and decided that a great way to argue against germ theory would be to unfairly throw the principle of charity out the window, and willfully misinterpret the video not going into details as an affirmative statement that germ theory believes no further details exist.

  67. #67 G.Shelley
    August 8, 2010

    @Mathew Cline
    What I think Augustine is saying is that Germ theory is the idea that germs cause disease and in every case, the disease is fatal (I can’t think of any other interpretation of

    If germ theory were a FACT then there would be no one around to verify it.
    The key is a germ, under certain conditions CAN cause disease. It will not under ANY circumstance/condition ALWAYS cause disease.

    The first sentence can only possibly make any sense if germ theory would require that all people were killed by germs. The second sentence seems to imply that he is accepting that germs do actually cause disease, just not as often as his straw man version of germ theory requires that they do

  68. #68 Matthew Cline
    August 8, 2010

    @augustine:

    Finding that a certain organism under certain conditions can cause a disease is a scientific endeavor.

    Coming up with a chemical that opposes the organism is engineering.

    Applying that chemical to humans while trying to cause the least amount of short term let alone long term damage to the recipient is ….less than scientific.

    When you say “less than scientific”, do you mean irrational or illogical? If so, why is it illogical/irrational? If not, what do you mean?

    Also, all medicines have a chance of causing adverse reactions. Is there something special about antibiotics and antivirals that they shouldn’t, or do you have the same problem with all medicines?

  69. #69 Dangerous Bacon
    August 8, 2010

    Seeing the proliferation of comments here since I last visited, I checked and was rewarded by yet another demonstration of the BlogLaw that states, “A troll and ninny infusion is directly correlated with an upsurge in debate and derision.”

    I’m working on getting my observations published in Medical Hypotheses.

  70. #70 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 9, 2010

    Dangerous Bacon: “I’m working on getting my observations published in Medical Hypotheses.”

    You can afford that?
    ;)

  71. #71 Andreas Johansson
    August 9, 2010

    Antaeus Feldspar wrote:

    Would any reasonable person say “My lawyer obviously does not know anything about the law, because I saw a YouTube video that gave an introduction to legal theory and my lawyer gave me a different answer than I would have expected based on the video”?

    No, a reasonable person would not say that, but the complement to reasonable people is not dishonest and insincere people. It’s perfectly possible to honest, sincere, and irrational.

  72. #72 Mooloo
    August 9, 2010

    Climate denialism is funded by the oil companies.

    An inaccurate and misleading statement.

    The major oil companies give ten times as much to pro-climate change groups as they give to their opponents.

    The Hadley Climate Research Unit was initially funded by Shell and BP. If you look at the oil companies donations, you will see that they are consistently donating to similar groups.

    They also fund some groups opposed to CO2 reduction, but at a far lower level.

    I’m not claiming it is altruism on the part of the oil companies. They are playing both sides: they fund pro-AGW in the knowledge that politically their is no way the oil will be cut.

    But the premise of your statement is untrue. The pro-AGW groups are much better funded than their opponents.

    For those of you who think climate change opponents are the big boys, and the brave scientists the loners, you would be well to check out the details.

    Greenpeace has a much bigger budget than any of its opponents. They don’t like to publish that they are a $100 dollar a year operation though, as it kind of spoils their image. Then add in WHO, the IPCC etc.

    Sorry about the rant, but the oil companies funding the anti-global warming lobby is one “fact” that just plain isn’t true.

  73. #73 Don Cox
    August 9, 2010

    “Sorry about the rant, but the oil companies funding the anti-global warming lobby is one “fact” that just plain isn’t true.”

    But you just said that it is true. Make up your mind.

    You say that they ALSO fund some science. That doesn’t make it right for them to fund anti-science.

  74. #74 adelady
    August 9, 2010

    Speaking as one of those baby boomers, I’m amazed that anyone from my generation would oppose vaccination. (Though I suppose the ones born around 1960 might be the people you have in mind.)

    Anyone who’s lived through a polio epidemic and then had the benefit of a vaccination must believe that it’s the only way to go. I’m appalled that children are dying in Australia from pertussis, not because they weren’t vaccinated (being too young) but because they lived, briefly, in a community where too many children were not vaccinated.

  75. #75 DavidJ
    August 9, 2010

    @augustine:

    “Germ theory = number of pathogens * virulence or pathogen/ resistance of host.”

    germ theory looks at the whole equation, not simply the numerator.
    the ‘denialists’ not only focus on the denominator to the exclusion of the numerator, but imply that there is no pathogen which cannot be resisted.

  76. #76 Mu
    August 9, 2010

    augustine trolled So you have evidence that 100% of people who have been exposed to rabies, HIV, etc. die?
    You’d be amazed, 4000 years of reports state that 100% of people die, including those that have been exposed to rabies, HIV etc. But I’m sure this anecdotal evidence doesn’t convince you, so why don’t you give it a shot?

  77. #77 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 9, 2010

    “germ theory looks at the whole equation, not simply the numerator.
    the ‘denialists’ not only focus on the denominator to the exclusion of the numerator, but imply that there is no pathogen which cannot be resisted.”

    In other words, the likes of good ol’ Augie don’t know their arses from their elbows.

    Makes sense.

  78. #78 bernarda
    August 9, 2010

    I suppose that Franklin Roosevelt ate healthily and exercised a lot, but that didn’t prevent him from getting polio.

    Someone can do those things, but that might not stop them from getting tetanus while they are working in their garden and manage to cut themselves.

    Many people think they are protected when they are not because they forget to have booster shots every ten years or so.

  79. #79 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    germ theory looks at the whole equation, not simply the numerator.
    the ‘denialists’ not only focus on the denominator to the exclusion of the numerator, but imply that there is no pathogen which cannot be resisted.
    ——————————————

    I’ll argue strawman for the denialist label then.

  80. #80 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    Little Augie, you could not argue yourself out of a paper bag. Do stay away from open flames.

  81. #81 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Sexually ambiguous Chris,

    I can’t get this beautiful picture out of my head everytime you post.

    http://www.skepdoc.info/

    Now which is it? I forget. Military man or Sensuous woman?

  82. #82 Seb30
    August 9, 2010

    @81 contrarian troll

    Stay classy will you.

    In French, Augustine is a female name. Should I start calling you sexually ambiguous?

    I can accept you being contrarian on everything. Everybody is entitled his/her opinion. Sometimes, it stimulates the topic.
    But it seems now you are going to play bully and go ad hominem to stop your opponents from posting.
    Your posts really look more and more like medicine man. You sure you’re not related?

    BTW, running out of arguments are you? You just lose the debate.

  83. #83 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    As I have said before, Little Augie is illiterate. He/she cannot read for comprehension, has no grasp of biology or of basic statistics. He/she is also very bad at guessing what logical fallacies mean.

    Along with the idiot medicien man and Little Augie, uber HIV denialist cooler has joined the fray.

    They all seem to have an argument that “healthy living” (as defined by them) is all they need to avoid illness. Except it did not help Christine Maggiore and her daughter one bit.

  84. #84 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    By the way, I do not mind being confused with Dr. Hall. She is a lovely person, and we both attended the same university. I started as a freshman about five years after she got her medical degree.

    I would think that Little Augie considers any woman who has some kind of education to be abhorrent. He/she has similar sexist/racist leanings to the ever idiot MM.

  85. #85 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    They all seem to have an argument that “healthy living” (as defined by them) is all they need to avoid illness. Except it did not help Christine Maggiore and her daughter one bit.

    There are plenty of anecdotes that prove your anecdote wrong.

    “By the way, I do not mind being confused with Dr. Hall. She is a lovely person,…”

    Do you have scientific evidence of that? Because that is arguable.

    “has no grasp of biology or of basic statistics.”

    What principle and what basic statistics is that you think I fail to grasp?

  86. #86 Matthew Cline
    August 9, 2010

    @augustine:

    “By the way, I do not mind being confused with Dr. Hall. She is a lovely person,…”

    Do you have scientific evidence of that? Because that is arguable.

    How in the world can you have scientific evidence that someone is a lovely person? You can have evidence that someone is (or isn’t) a lovely person, but it isn’t going to be scientific in nature.

  87. #87 Orac
    August 9, 2010

    “By the way, I do not mind being confused with Dr. Hall. She is a lovely person,…”

    Do you have scientific evidence of that? Because that is arguable.

    “Scientific evidence” that someone is or isn’t a lovely person? Are you on crack?

    Let me just put it this way: I’ve met Harriet. I’ve hung out with Harriet at the last two TAMs. I’ve conversed with her on the phone a few times. My conclusion? Harriet is awesome. My wife thinks so too. That’s enough for me in terms of judging whether I like her or not.

  88. #88 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    jest.

  89. #89 Matthew Cline
    August 9, 2010

    Ah, I think I get the point augustine was trying to make about “scientific” evidence of someone being a lovely person: he’s pointing out that there’s evidence which isn’t scientific. If I recall correctly, he’s argued that both scientific and non-scientific evidence should be weighed and considered when thinking about health and medicine, rather than only considering scientific evidence.

  90. #90 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    Except, when he/she has tried to give “scientific” evidence he/she usually has it very wrong. I am still not quite clear on why he/she thinks he/she is immune from tetanus, nor how he/she figures he/she will never encounter any Bordetella pertussis, especially with its recent increase.

    I also think his/her opinion on how we should feel about a person shows that he/she is basically a callous and despicable person. It is almost sad.

  91. #91 Bronze Dog
    August 9, 2010

    Of course, the problem with the stupid attempt: “X is lovely” is not a scientific claim, which is another reason you don’t apply scientific rigor to it. “Lovely” isn’t an objective, measurable quality: It’s definition varies from person to person.

    “Germs cause many diseases,” going down to which individual germs cause which diseases is a collection scientific claims that have ample evidence and plenty of prior plausibility.

    Augustine has no alternative explanation to offer.

  92. #92 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Chris,

    Do you believe a transgender cross dressing transexual is sane?

  93. #93 Science Mom
    August 9, 2010

    “has no grasp of biology or of basic statistics.”

    What principle and what basic statistics is that you think I fail to grasp?

    That you keep using 99.999+ as a figure for measles complications and that you don’t know the difference between infectivity and fatality rates, just off the top of my head.

  94. #94 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 9, 2010

    augustine:

    I can’t get this beautiful picture out of my head everytime you post.

    Funny thing, I can’t get this beautiful song out of my head every time you post(especially lately).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7v0O8M5vKc

  95. #95 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    Statistic fail by Little Augie: absolute refusal to provide actual evidence that the DTaP causes more harm than pertussis by claiming he/she is not ever going to get pertussis… at a time when the incidence of pertussis is rising.

    What a maroon.

  96. #96 Matthew Cline
    August 9, 2010

    Chris,

    Do you believe a transgender cross dressing transexual is sane?

    Okay, I’m missing something here. Who is the transgender cross dressing transexual being talked about?

  97. #97 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    Matthew Cline, it is a sexist comment by Little Augie because he does not believe women can be engineers (and also doctors given his comments on Dr. Hall).

  98. #98 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Matthew: “Okay, I’m missing something here. Who is the transgender cross dressing transexual being talked about?”

    No one in particular. There are lots of them. The question is for Chris or any hardcore SBMer. Do you believe a transgender crossdressing transexual is a rational person?

  99. #99 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Statistic fail by Little Augie: absolute refusal to provide actual evidence that the DTaP causes more harm than pertussis by claiming he/she is not ever going to get pertussis… at a time when the incidence of pertussis is rising.

    What a maroon.
    ——-
    You must be kidding with the logic of your own. You believe I’m going to get pertussis because you perceive the incidence to be rising? Please carry out your logic to it’s conclusion by filling in those gaps for the rational being to follow. You’re losing it. Remember what you stand for. Evidence and science. Your not doing a good job here.

  100. #100 Zaxter
    August 9, 2010

    augustine said: “You need to go over to emotionblogs.com or politicalregimeblogs.com. Your rant has nothing to do with real science.”

    Firstly, the correct word is, “should.” As in, “you should go over to emotionblogs.com…” Visiting a particular website will in no way satisfy any of my essential needs. Secondly, this is a tu quoque argument, typical of lateral thinkers. I point out that CAMmers are emotionally based people, and you repeat the accusation back to me. Amateur.

    augustine said: “It’s quite possible that you psychologically devastated some little children because of your ideology that says these children will hypothetically “spread disease” to others at a birthday party and kill or ill (sic) them. Forget the fact that those children are supposedly protected by vaccination means and verified by yourself (sic).”

    My goal is to start a social movement. If some hippie’s coddled brats get their feelings hurt in the process of eradicating horrible diseases, tough. It beats being on a ventilator for a year with polio induced paralysis. Your statement regarding vaccinations reminds me of a creationist asking why there are still monkeys or an AGW denialist waxing on about how last winter was one of the coldest on record. In short, it reveals your ignorance about the entire subject, particularly relating to the concept of herd immunity.

    augustine said: “Did you check to see if they had antibody titers? Would they be allowed in the party then. (sic) Or would the fact that they refused your methods be the clincher?”

    An antibody titer is unnecessary. I do know that they have never had polio nor received the polio vaccine, and are therefore a danger to society.

    augustine said: “I suspect that many others on here share your neo-fascist sentiments.”

    I am impressed that you didn’t shoot your whole wad early by playing the Hitler card, opting to play it safe with only the fascist gambit. I was clear that I would not support any legal measures mandating vaccination. What I am advocating is for rational people to exercise their right to free speech to shame and embarrass parents into doing the moral thing by having their children vaccinated. There is nothing at all fascist about this. In fact, it’s about as democratic as it gets.

  101. #101 Matthew Cline
    August 9, 2010

    @augustine:

    Forget the fact that those children are supposedly protected by vaccination means and verified by yourself.

    Vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Not everyone who gets them will get immunity from it.

    Did you check to see if they had antibody titers? Would they be allowed in the party then.

    Do you think that the parents of the children would go through the time and expense of getting an antibody titer test just so their kid could go to a single birthday party? Also, would a doctor approve of such a test for such a purpose?

  102. #102 Chris
    August 9, 2010

    Matthew Cline:

    Vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Not everyone who gets them will get immunity from it.

    It has been noted that the only who claim that vaccines should be 100% effective are anti-vax trolls like Little Augie. Who for some strange reason thinks just because he/she does not believe in germs that pertussis is not a threat… even though it is increasing in incidence.

    He/she is like the doctor who came by a week or so ago saying that HPV vaccine was unnecessary if we taught our daughters about safe sex. I asked her if she had a magic machine to tell me who my daughter will marry in the next ten to twenty years so I could tell him about safe sex. She did not answer.

    It seems Little Augie is in possession of the magic machine that tells him he will never encounter any pertussis, nor any tetanus. This is the reason he will not tell what evidence he has that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis.

    He has also not revealed how the deaths of the babies from pertussis in California could have been prevented. He makes lots of silly claims, but has no real answers, and definitely no evidence or facts. But he loves to cast aspergions as to whether one is male, female, young or old… as if that is some kind of cute way to avoid answering questions.

  103. #103 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Zaxter, I’m glad you showed back up. Such an asset to Science based medicine you are.

    If some hippie’s coddled brats get their feelings hurt in the process of eradicating horrible diseases, tough. It beats being on a ventilator for a year with polio induced paralysis.

    Ah, the slippery slope fallacy! Any day now!

    Zaxter: “Amateur”

    tu quoque!

    Zaxter: “I do know that they have never had polio nor received the polio vaccine, and are therefore a danger to society.”

    Oh, do they have polio in it’s infectious stage? Is hypothetical polio dangerous to you? Do you believe in EBM or HBM (hypothetical based medicine)?

    Has your childe received the polio vaccine? Is it effective? If not why do you insist with passion that others must get the ineffective vaccine? Just the principle of it? What if they’ve gotten the vaccine but their doctor recommended tylenol to offset the risk of seizure and rendered the vaccine ineffective. Is that OK?

    Zaxter: “What I am advocating is for rational people to exercise their right to free speech to shame and embarrass parents into doing the moral thing by having their children vaccinated.”

    Sorta like the KKK using free speech. I get it. Or maybe the OHHH…. religious.

    Keep posting, Baxter. You’re a good whipping boy. You say what all of the SBMer really want to say. It ain’t about science after all is it?

  104. #104 augustine
    August 9, 2010

    Harriet: “Who for some strange reason thinks just because he/she does not believe in germs that pertussis is not a threat… even though it is increasing in incidence.”

    Harriet,
    you can stop your little fallacy games.Show me where I said I did not believe in germs.

    “This is the reason he will not tell what evidence he has that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis.”

    I don’t answer it because it is a misleading a fallacious argument question. What evidence do YOU have that I will get pertussis. What evidence do YOU have that someone else getting a vaccine will stop me from getting pertussis? What evidence do YOU have that says that I will die from pertussis?

    I hope you see the error in your way and don’t attempt to answer those.

    Looking forward to your androgenous answers. “Girl Power”-spice girls.

  105. #105 TGAP Dad
    August 9, 2010

    @52 August, @53 Chris:

    I have the misfortune to live in a town with a college of osteopathic medicine. I can assure ou that the osteopaths do *not* measure up. Maybe it’s the underlying philosophy, the lower admission standards, or lower graduation requirements. Osteopaths seem to be more receptive to woo than MDs. My wife was prescribed armour thyroid (the dessicated thyroid of animals) to treat her hypothyroidism. This same “physician” prescribed several supplements for various other symptoms. And don’t even get me started on “osteopathic manipulative therapy!” If these people could cut it in medical school, that’s where they’d be instead of osteopathic medicine.

  106. #106 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    Chris: “I asked her if she had a magic machine to tell me who my daughter will marry in the next ten to twenty years so I could tell him about safe sex. She did not answer.”

    I’ll ask again in another way. Do you believe that a person who believes they are trapped in the wrong body and therefore dresses and has surgery to fix the “problem” is a rational being?

  107. #107 Chris
    August 10, 2010

    TGAP, that is an anecdote. The plural of anecdote is not data. As it stands in the USA in order to practice medicine DOs take the same the same qualifying exams as MDs, and go through internships and residencies along side MDs.

    As noted by previous commentators, they are quite happy with the care they receive from their DOs.

  108. #108 Rogue Medic
    August 10, 2010

    @ 104 TGAP Dad,

    You know one DO with shortcomings. You generalize from this one DO, to all DOs.

    You could not do the same with one MD and generalize to all MDs?

    I know of plenty of excellent DOs.

    I know of plenty of excellent MDs.

    Should I judge MDs/DOs by the worst examples in practice, by the best examples, by the average, or should I use some other criterion?
    .

  109. #109 Rogue Medic
    August 10, 2010

    @ 92 augustine,

    Chris,

    Do you believe a transgender cross dressing transexual is sane?

    While I am not Chris and I am not a psychiatrist, I do not think that we know enough (based on the limited information you provided) to make that determination.

    I could just as easily ask, Do you believe a religious fundamentalist, or a germ theory denialist, or a new earth creationist is sane?

    We could come up with various arguments for or against, but the answer to the question depends on much more information than presented and it depends on the diagnostic criteria for sanity.

    Does meeting the criteria for one DSM IV diagnosis mean that a person is not sane?

    Asking such a question of people who do not make these diagnoses is just an example of trollish behavior. I am shocked, augustine.

    By the way, what does the Bible have to say about gender reassignment surgery?
    .

  110. #110 Sauceress
    August 10, 2010

    By the way, what does the Bible have to say about gender reassignment surgery?

    What does it say about cross dressing?

  111. #111 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 10, 2010

    Except, when he/she has tried to give “scientific” evidence he/she usually has it very wrong. I am still not quite clear on why he/she thinks he/she is immune from tetanus, nor how he/she figures he/she will never encounter any Bordetella pertussis, especially with its recent increase.

    I am sure it has something to do with his/her bizarre misunderstanding of probability, under which he/she apparently cannot even grasp that the chance of a flipped fair coin coming up heads is 50%. But with his/her recent descent into ad hominem speculations on sexual identity of the other posters (it would be hard to imagine anything more completely irrelevant to the content of their arguments) I suspect that he/she in truth really does not believe in anything more in causing trouble.

  112. #112 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    I am sure it has something to do with his/her bizarre misunderstanding of probability, under which he/she apparently cannot even grasp that the chance of a flipped fair coin coming up heads is 50%.

    It seems you’re confused about probability and liken an individuals chances and probability to something like this.

    AFTER the fact, numbers are counted up and the universe is closed off to get percentages. Without a denominator it would be impossible to count probability.

    WHEN you determine probability in something trivial as quarters you now without a doubt how many factors you’re dealing with. It’s a closed system. You have knowledge of all of the pieces. No matter how many times it’s flipped the probability is 50%.

    But if I flip it and then count the results does that tell me what the probability is? It may come up heads 9 times out of ten. Does that mean I have a 9x greater chances of “catching” heads? NO! It’s still a 50/50 probability.

    Antaeus, you can tell me all about the probability of trivial matters such as flipping a coin or counting marbles in a jar. They are closed, fixed systems. But you can’t tell me jack about real world and an individual. So tell me do viruses spread in a linear pattern? What is their lifecycle? Why is pertussis endemic every 4 years despite very high vaccination rates for it? Are cases counted accurately? Does the population stay the same? A common measles stat is 1/1000 die. Do you know when that stat was recorded. Is it static? What is it today. What was it yesterday. Ohh you need more than one day to calculate that? Why? ON and on and on. Don’t talk to me about probability when you yourself don’t even know what it is when it comes to real human beings and the real universe.

  113. #113 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 10, 2010

    Do you believe a transgender crossdressing transexual is a rational person?

    Yes, much more so than a bigot against sexual orientation.

  114. #114 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    Brucy: “Yes, much more so than a bigot against sexual orientation.”

    Brucy, It figures you would. This could be good. I’ll wait for Chris’s reply. Any others?

  115. #115 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 10, 2010

    Oh, it’s good already, bigot.

  116. #116 Chris
    August 10, 2010

    Little Augie has no data and no argument, just pure sexist bigotry. He/she cannot deny that the data show Vaccine refusal is associated with a nearly 23-fold increased risk of developing pertussis.

  117. #117 Composer99
    August 10, 2010

    The ugh troll is really crossing the line in this thread, isn’t it?

  118. #118 Chris
    August 10, 2010

    I wonder if Little Augie’s head would explode if he/she read Ursula K. LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness?

  119. #119 LW
    August 10, 2010

    Your questions to the troll are obviously too tough for it, since it has derailed the thread with a display of rank bigotry.

  120. #120 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 10, 2010

    Augiebigot still hasn’t recovered from the first time he heard “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”.

  121. #121 dedicated lurker
    August 10, 2010

    T Bruce – now I’ve got that song stuck in my head. Not that I mind, as I like that song.

  122. #122 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. The correct use of the term requires the elements of intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.”

    Chris, this fits you to a “T”. Intolerant of those who choose not to vaccinate, believes irrationality is ok when it’s politically correct, and has animosity towards parents who don’t vaccinate.

    I don’t hate cha.

    There are many a SBMers who exhibit bigotry.

  123. #123 Chris
    August 10, 2010

    Aw, did I hurt Little Augie’s fweeling? Poor, poor, bigot.

    Actually, Little Augie, I am intolerant of your level of ignorance and that you are proud of being an ignorant bigot. That ignorance leads you to do stupid ignorant things like refusing to prevent illness by vaccination for no good reason, just your ignorance.

    Now, only you can change your ignorance. First you have to learn to read for comprehension, then you have have to get your head out of your anus and open your mind to actual learning, and then to logic and basic biology. Along with how to live in society where not everyone is as irrationally afraid of people who are different. Like women who know what Euler’s formula is, and how to use it.

    Now go off, little bigot and get some real education. You might start by firing your homeschool instructor, and go to a real school where there are real teachers who will not sugar coat reality for you (hmmm, you seem to be at the sixth grade). Because you will not learn anything until you open up your mind, and not get upset every time a fact does not go the way you want it (like the fact that Vaccine refusal is associated with a nearly 23-fold increased risk of developing pertussis.

  124. #124 Rogue Medic
    August 10, 2010

    @ 122 augustine,

    You demonstrate an amazing ability to lie, while accusing others of being immoral.

    You claim that you get your morality out of a Book, but repeatedly act in a way that is unChristian.

    We all have opinions and prejudices. You have not shown that Chris does not come by his opinions and prejudices in a way that is less than objective.

    Since vaccines are overwhelmingly beneficial to people, including to the individual, it is not at all irrational to exhibit intolerance and animosity to those who attempt to endanger people by means of telling lies about the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases and by telling lies about the risks of vaccines.

    While you do occasionally rarely make statements that are factually correct, that does not demonstrate any understanding or intelligence on your part.

    You are a liar, augustine.

    You claim to be more religious moral than those of us who try to help others.

    You use your religion to excuse your disgusting behavior.

    You act as if you are trying to bring about an epidemic in the expectation that this will be the disaster that causes the Second Coming.
    .

  125. #125 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 10, 2010

    AFTER the fact, numbers are counted up and the universe is closed off to get percentages. Without a denominator it would be impossible to count probability.

    WHEN you determine probability in something trivial as quarters you now without a doubt how many factors you’re dealing with. It’s a closed system. You have knowledge of all of the pieces. No matter how many times it’s flipped the probability is 50%.

    This illustrates that Goofus keeps changing his opinions on probability as he finds it convenient. Previously he claimed that “If the meteorologist claims an 80% chance of rain and it doesn’t he’s not wrong 20% of the time. He’s 100% wrong!

    Do these two claims by Goofus seem consistent?
    * An observer who looks at a fair coin and says that there’s a 50% chance of it coming up heads is 100% correct (Goofus says, plain as day, “No matter how many times it’s flipped the probability is 50%.”) and he stays 100% correct even if the next flip comes up tails.
    * The meteorologist who looks at all the data coming in from the instruments and says “there’s an 80% chance of rain,” however, is only correct (in Goofus’ mind) about there being a chance of it raining if it rains!

    Of course they’re not consistent. Goofus claims that vaccines have too high a probability of causing harm, but it means nothing, because Goofus has shown he does not understand probability, and cannot competently judge probability. In fact, I think it fair to say from all the ignorance Goofus has shown on the subject of probability that he deliberately cultivates that ignorance; that way he can believe whatever he wants to believe on the subject, where a more honest person would not be able to deceive themselves into the same delusions.

  126. #126 Zaxter
    August 10, 2010

    augustine said, “Ah, the slippery slope fallacy! Any day now!”

    Slippery slopes are not invariably fallacious and not every concept that lies on a continuum is a slippery slope. For example, if one could provide, oh I don’t know, data that shows that an unvaccinated or undervaccinated populace would lead to increased incidence of polio infections, then my statement could hardly be considered fallacious. To wit:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560703/pdf/10812730.pdf
    http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/reprint/33/12/3252?view=long&pmid=8586711
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271413/pdf/epidinfect00053-0073.pdf
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596452/pdf/yjbm00110-0214.pdf
    I have more when you’re done with these. I don’t want to be a total hyperlink spammer.

    augustine said: “tu quoque!”

    My statement can hardly be properly called a tu quoque, as you never initially posited that I was in any way amateurish. The phrase are looking for is ad hominem. I won’t deny that I attacked your character. I think it was an absolutely appropriate and factual assertion.

    augustine said: “Oh, do they have polio in it’s (sic) infectious stage? Is hypothetical polio dangerous to you? Do you believe in EBM or HBM (hypothetical based medicine)?”
    Has your childe (sic) received the polio vaccine? Is it effective? If not why do you insist with passion that others must get the ineffective vaccine? Just the principle of it? What if they’ve gotten the vaccine but their doctor recommended tylenol (sic) to offset the risk of seizure and rendered the vaccine ineffective. Is that OK?”

    I hardly feel it is my duty to teach you rudimentary immunology. Nor do I feel I have any obligation to explain to you the fundamentals of the concept of herd immunity. Instead, I’ll let Dr. Crislip do the dirty work for me: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=516

    augustine said, “Sorta (sic) like the KKK using free speech. I get it. Or maybe the OHHH…. religious.”

    Aaaaaaaaaaand you’re one step closer to an argumentum ad Hitlerum. Are you seriously equivocating the open and direct criticism of parental neglect with an organization known for terrorism, assault, and murder? Let’s get some perspective here.

  127. #127 Zaxter
    August 10, 2010

    augustine said: “Ah, the slippery slope fallacy! Any day now!”

    Slippery slopes are not invariably fallacious and not every concept that lies on a continuum is a slippery slope. For example, if one could provide, oh I don’t know, data that shows that an unvaccinated or undervaccinated populace would lead to increased incidence of polio infections, then my statement could hardly be considered fallacious. To wit:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560703/pdf/10812730.pdf
    http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/reprint/33/12/3252?view=long&pmid=8586711
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271413/pdf/epidinfect00053-0073.pdf
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596452/pdf/yjbm00110-0214.pdf

    I have more when you’re done with these. I don’t want to be a total hyperlink spammer.

    augustine said: “tu quoque!”

    My statement can hardly be properly called a tu quoque, as you never initially posited that I was in any way amateurish. The phrase are looking for is ad hominem. I won’t deny that I attacked your character. I think it was an absolutely appropriate and factual assertion.

    augustine said: “Oh, do they have polio in it’s (sic) infectious stage? Is hypothetical polio dangerous to you? Do you believe in EBM or HBM (hypothetical based medicine)?”
    Has your childe (sic) received the polio vaccine? Is it effective? If not why do you insist with passion that others must get the ineffective vaccine? Just the principle of it? What if they’ve gotten the vaccine but their doctor recommended tylenol (sic) to offset the risk of seizure and rendered the vaccine ineffective. Is that OK?”

    I hardly feel it is my duty to teach you rudimentary immunology. Nor do I feel I have any obligation to explain to you the fundamentals of the concept of herd immunity. Instead, I’ll let Dr. Crislip do the dirty work for me: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=516

    augustine said, “Sorta (sic) like the KKK using free speech. I get it. Or maybe the OHHH…. religious.”

    Aaaaaaaaaaand you’re one step closer to an argumentum ad Hitlerum. Are you seriously equivocating the open and direct criticism of parental neglect with an organization known for terrorism, assault, and murder? Let’s get some perspective here.

  128. #128 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    anton the meterologist: “* The meteorologist who looks at all the data coming in from the instruments and says “there’s an 80% chance of rain,” however, is only correct (in Goofus’ mind) about there being a chance of it raining if it rains!”

    You’re the goofus. It’s all a language game really isnt’ it silly?

    You’re only correct in terminology. Not about if it ACTUALLY rains or not. What about this: all of the instruments tell you that you have a 99.999% chance of not having permanent sequelae from the measles prevaccine era. Yet you cry for your shot and your neighbors. If it’s 30% chance of rain I don’t even carry an umbrella.

  129. #129 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    “I hardly feel it is my duty to teach you rudimentary immunology.”

    You have no authority to teach immunology in any form on here much less rudimentary. It’s all the better that you deferred.

    Keep posting. I like you. You got purty lips. I want to see more. Now we can really get to the heart of this matter. It’s not a scientific issue. It’s a philosophical/political issue. And you bring some pretty hefy political opinions to the table.

    I’m sure parents who like to make health decisions for their children would love to see what the SBMers really think of them and them. I’d like to get some good quotations from you to put on some other websites. So please feel free speak what’s on your mind. Get it all out. I’d like to see how many on here actually share your same sentiments.

  130. #130 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    First off before I retort. In authentic SBMER snark fashion, I have to tell you I don’t take health advice from ambulance drivers in the same fashion would I take it from a cab driver.

    RM”You demonstrate an amazing ability to lie, while accusing others of being immoral.”
    ——————–
    Where do I lie? Where do I accuse one of being immoral. Take a look. Maybe your just sensitive and defensive.

    RM”You claim that you get your morality out of a Book, but repeatedly act in a way that is unChristian.”

    I didn’t claim such. What do you know about Christianity to make such a claim?

    RM “We all have opinions and prejudices. You have not shown that Chris does not come by his opinions and prejudices in a way that is less than objective.”

    Yes, he is ambiguous isn’t she? And I have posted a question that shows Chris is biased and accepts rationality based on political correctness.

    ——————————–
    RM: ‘Since vaccines are overwhelmingly beneficial to people, including to the individual, it is not at all irrational to exhibit intolerance and animosity to those who attempt to endanger people by means of telling lies about the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases and by telling lies about the risks of vaccines.”

    Lies? What lies? It’s funny that since you don’t like FACTS that don’t fit into your little flashing world then you get emotional and claim “LIAR!”
    ———————————–
    While you do occasionally rarely make statements that are factually correct, that does not demonstrate any understanding or intelligence on your part.

    You are a liar, augustine.

    All of my factual statements are factual. My opinions are my opinions. You can continue ad hominmems all you want. It just shows you can’t uphold your standard of SBM. NONE of you can. It’s easier to just say “you must be stupid” or you just don’t understand”.

    There is a reason why your brand of science will ALWAYS be abdicated to cult status and you’ll NEVER endear yourself to the people who you claim to be doing this all for. Your ideology is elitist by nature. It can’t be all inclusive.
    —————————————————
    RM: “You claim to be more religious moral than those of us who try to help others.”

    I know you’re “just trying to help” Aren’t we all? Except where did I claim “more religious morality”?
    —————————————–
    RM: “You use your religion to excuse your disgusting behavior.”

    What? Oh you don’t like snark? Like I said. I learn from here and then I repeat. I raise and lower the intensity to mirror the poster. What’s the matter? You like to give it out. Don’t like it when you recieve it?
    ————————–
    You act as if you are trying to bring about an epidemic in the expectation that this will be the disaster that causes the Second Coming.

    More of that ole slippery CDC propaganda “what will happen if we don’t continue to vaccinate the hell out of your children with no end in sight?”

  131. #131 LW
    August 10, 2010

    I’m trying to figure out where augustine gets the figure 99.999% (sometimes 99.9999% or even 99.9999+%). It can’t be from actual statistics since it’s way wrong, but in any case augustine has explained to us in great and condescending detail that probabilities apply to simple closed systems like quarters but not to human lives. It seems like just a matter of “ooh, big number impressive” — a token, not to be taken as having literal meaning.

  132. #132 augustine
    August 10, 2010

    LW: “It can’t be from actual statistics since it’s way wrong,”

    Before I tell you. You first tell me how it’s wrong. Or do you just feel it in your spirit that it MUST be wrong, therefore it actually IS wrong. After that you sit back down and don’t ever challenge me again.

    Man i love this snark thing. I feel like a real SBMer. except different.

  133. #133 Matthew Cline
    August 10, 2010

    @augustine:

    But you can’t tell me jack about real world and an individual.

    So statistics and probability are useless to an individual who is attempting to decide if taking a particular vaccine is a rational choice? Then what information can be used by an individual to reach a rational decision about taking a particular vaccine?

  134. #134 Matthew Cline
    August 11, 2010

    @augustine:

    Quoting myself:

    Then what information can be used by an individual to reach a rational decision about taking a particular vaccine?

    Wait, I forgot: we won’t listen to anything you say, so you aren’t going to answer questions like that.

    I give up.

  135. #135 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 11, 2010

    augustine @ 130:

    Christ on a cracker, you idiot! If you expect anybody to read that kind of back-and-forth crap, learn to use blockquote! It’s totally unreadable as it is.

    If you’re too ignorant to know: it’s [blockquote]quoted material[/blockquote], except with less-than-greater-than brackets.

  136. #136 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 11, 2010

    anton the meterologist: “* The meteorologist who looks at all the data coming in from the instruments and says “there’s an 80% chance of rain,” however, is only correct (in Goofus’ mind) about there being a chance of it raining if it rains!”

    You’re the goofus. It’s all a language game really isnt’ it silly?

    You’re only correct in terminology. Not about if it ACTUALLY rains or not.

    Notice that Goofus is avoiding a question that he has no answer to: why is it that the person assessing the probability of one outcome of a coin flip is correct if he assesses the probability correctly, but the person assessing the probability of one outcome of the weather is correct only if that outcome comes to pass? (And why only that one outcome? Does this mean that if the weatherman predicts “80% chance of rain, 20% chance of sun”, he’s both 100% right and 100% wrong whether it rains or shines??)

    What Goofus is really trying to do is bolster arguments he has built up on the foundation of the Nirvana fallacy. The Nirvana fallacy involves rejecting an alternative because it is not perfect (while of course failing to demand that standard of all the other alternatives.) Goofus may claim that the evidence for vaccines is insufficient, but the standards he sets for “sufficient” are frequently not achievable in this universe: demanding 100% certainty that something which hasn’t happened yet will happen, or even more crazily, demanding 100% proof that something which did not happen would have done so if different choices had been made.

    (Think about that second one; could you prove anything by that standard? If you put on a parachute before you jumped out of the plane at 30,000 feet, could you ever prove — to someone irrationally convinced of the pointlessness of parachutes — that the end result of jumping without a parachute would have been injury and death?)

  137. #137 Matthew Cline
    August 11, 2010

    Since this thread has already been derailed with discussions of sexual orientation and gender reassignment surgery:

    @augustine:

    So, Open Source software: cool method of software development, or insidious socialism?

  138. #138 LW
    August 11, 2010

    augustine, I’m not the one who cites numbers with great precision (99.999% chance of avoiding harm from measles or other diseases) on every single thread. You are. Nor am I the one who claims that probabilities with respect to human beings cannot be meaningfully computed. You are. You have done both in this very thread. So what does this number, which you cite and which you say cannot reflect probability, actually mean? This question does not require any citation of sources from me or anyone else because we do not offer the number nor do we claim that probabilities cannot be computed. It’s your number; tell us where it came from and why you think it is meaningful.

  139. #139 Todd W.
    August 11, 2010

    @LW

    I would go one further and ask augie to tell us both the probability of sequelae from measles and the probability of sequelae from the MMR, citing its sources for both and both in the same format. It always throws around some varying percentage chance of sequelae from measles, but never states the percentage chance from the vaccine.

  140. #140 Rogue Medic
    August 11, 2010

    TODD W.: “Which reminds me, that’s another thing you will not find from augustine: acknowledgment of an error.”

    If I make one I’ll acknowledge it.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i_medical_voi.php#comment-2675438

    -

    Later in the same comment thread:

    So tell me how many people get pneumonia from measles. Citations please. Science mom says 25%. You say 3%. That’s a pretty big difference.

    A decrease in life expectancy just for getting pneumonia? I’ve never heard that. Can you reference that also?

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i_medical_voi.php#comment-2679217

    -

    In response to that comment, I point out that pneumonia is a significant factor in limiting life expectancy. It is, with influenza, the 8th most common cause of death in the US, where augustine seems to think that we are too healthy to die from pneumonia:

    8. Influenza and Pneumonia:…………..52,717

    Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2007, tables B, D, 7, 30
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

    Why would augustine the omniscient not realize that such a lethal disease has an effect on life expectancy?

    Probably because augustine appears to filter everything through his biases, before deciding to believe.

    augustine rejects the scientific method. The scientific method is a way of minimizing the influence of our biases on our understanding. augustine does not appear to think think that his biases lead to mistakes. Or is it that augustine does not believe that he has any biases?

    augustine seems to think that pneumonia is safer than a vaccine.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i_medical_voi.php#comment-2686825

    -

    There were no further comments from augustine on that post. The style of augustine is to change the subject when caught making mistakes or telling lies.

    Science is about admitting mistakes.

    Science appears to be too humble a discipline for the undisciplined and hubristic augustine.

    Science is about continually improving the knowledge that we have. Since augustine cannot seem to accept anything less than perfect knowledge, he seems to pretend that it is possible or he extols the virtues of mystery.

    Any claim to perfect knowledge is a lie.

    -

    Back to some earlier comments from augustine on the same post:

    Yes and what you say today can be wrong in 50 years according the history of medical science. But today you will steadfastly claim it as truth and knowledge in the name of science. If it is true today then it should be true in 50 years. If it were really “scientific” 50 years ago then it should be “scientific” today. The problem is science doesn’t say a lot of things that people say it says.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i_medical_voi.php#comment-2669584

    The above quote, sentence by sentence.

    Yes and what you say today can be wrong in 50 years according the history of medical science.

    Wrong in the sense of being misleading in only a small number of cases, but the overwhelming majority of what augustine is describing is just wrong in the sense of being incomplete. As more is learned, the information accumulates in a Bayesian fashion.

    augustine misrepresents what is meant by self-correcting. Either augustine does not understand or augustine lies. We cannot expect augustine to admit to either.

    But today you will steadfastly claim it as truth and knowledge in the name of science.

    Those presenting scientific information are pretty good about making clear what we only understand poorly. The actual errors are far less common than augustine suggests. Unlike augustine, scientists actually do point out their mistakes. augustine will change the subject, switch to another comment thread, or continue to repeat the same mistakes with different phrasing.

    If it is true today then it should be true in 50 years.

    That which is only corrected by making it more complete, is not untrue in 50 years, it is buttressed in 50 years.

    In 50 years it has not been made untrue.

    There will be some things that are untrue in 50 years.

    Show some evidence that the untrue will be a major portion of scientific knowledge, augustine.

    -

    “There are many differences between science and religion, but perhaps the most important is this: Science changes its conclusions on the basis of new evidence.”

    This common defense needs to be looked into and scrutinized more. The main problem with this defense is in the difference in the way the term “science” is used and interchanged to fit the defenders argument. More on this one later because this statement has confused SBMers.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i_medical_voi.php#comment-2669584

    -

    No.

    The main problem with this defense criticism is in the difference in the way the term “science” is used and interchanged to fit the defenders critic’s argument.

    More on this one later because this statement has confused SBMers.

    I am still waiting, not expecting anything, because augustine is all about atmosphere without any substance. There is no understanding of SBM, only posturing about what augustine does not understand.

    .

  141. #141 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 11, 2010

    @MC: “So, Open Source software: cool method of software development, or insidious socialism?”

    That imbecile can’t tell medicine from woo, much less arse from elbow. You’re asking the tosser too much there…

    @LW: “It’s your number; tell us where it came from and why you think it is meaningful.”

    No chance of that happening.

    @Chris: “Aw, did I hurt Little Augie’s fweeling? Poor, poor, bigot.”

    Heh – Augie? Feelings? Don’t kid yourself…

  142. #142 LW
    August 11, 2010

    Oh, I know it won’t answer. It just irritates me that it keeps throwing around numbers indicating death rates of 1/100,000 or 1/1,000,000 (including once when it claimed a death rate from measles of 1/1,000,000 and simultaneously cited figures showing a death rate of almost 3/1,000,000 per year. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a computer with Internet connectivity, and couldn’t find its comment using this little iPhone, or I’d link to it.)

    But in this thread it claims that probabilities can’t even be meaningfully computed for human beings. So why does it keep throwing around numbers that purport, on the face of them, to be probabilities?

  143. #143 Raging Bee
    August 11, 2010

    They simply may chose to focus on the denominator of the equation while the status quo focuses on a factor in the numerator. It’s rhetoric. They are germ theory denialist only in the sense that they have been labeled by one group who fears they oppose their means.

    The above bit of word-salad only proves that augustine is only here to play word-games and pretend to be smart, and doesn’t give a shit about reality. He’s the Internet equivalent of the raving homeless drunk who insults and threatens passersby just to get attention, because that’s the only semblance of power he has in his world.

  144. #144 augustine
    August 11, 2010

    LW: “But in this thread it claims that probabilities can’t even be meaningfully computed for human beings.”
    ———————————
    They are erroneous and misleading in the way they are presented.

    Does it really matter how many 9s after 4 decimal places?

    My source? CDC and U.S. census bureau.

  145. #145 Seb30
    August 11, 2010

    Does it really matter how many 9s after 4 decimal places?

    On a percentage number related to three sixty five millions of peoples, i.e. a 9-digit number? Yes it does. One is precise or one is not.
    Especially when you pretend to compare two such numbers for risk analysis. And by forgetting the extra 9s, you sort of erase the 100-time difference between the risk of measle sequelae and the risk from vaccination, if I remember correctly the initial exchange between Zetetic and you some weeks ago (unsurprisingly, a difference in favor for vaccination)
    You don’t mind being unprecise and simultaneously you accuse us of massaging data?

  146. #146 LW
    August 11, 2010

    Ah, that’s what I thought! It really doesn’t understand that all those 9s mean something!

  147. #147 Todd W.
    August 11, 2010

    @Seb30

    augie has demonstrated time and time again that it holds a double standard: demanding mindnumbing inerrancy from us while allowing for itself an entire lack of such rigor. If we are off by an order of magnitude, it would rant and rave about our lapse, yet it can shift decimal places about however it wants, and who are we to question it.

    For the innumerate (augie), 1 in 1,000 =/= 1 in 10,000 =/= 1 in 100,000 =/= 1 in 1,000,000.

  148. #148 LW
    August 11, 2010

    “[Probabilities] are erroneous and misleading in the way they are presented.” Yes, augustine, especially when you make them up.

  149. #149 LW
    August 11, 2010

    Oh, and the mortality rate for measles in the U.S. is between 0.1% and 0.3% for those who get measles, which in pre-vaccine days meant 90% of the population before the age of 18. That means 99.73% to 99.91% had not died of measles by their 18th birthday. That is a very different number from 99.9999%. My source is the CDC. Clearly no more detail is required, per augustine@144.

  150. #150 Chris
    August 11, 2010

    Also, death is not the only bad outcome from measles. For every child who died, there is at least one or two who become permanently disabled (I’m still waiting for someone who is against the MMR to explain how those two boys could have been protected, or why they deserved what happened to them).

  151. #151 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 11, 2010

    “Also, death is not the only bad outcome from measles. For every child who died, there is at least one or two who become permanently disabled (I’m still waiting for someone who is against the MMR to explain how those two boys could have been protected, or why they deserved what happened to them).”

    So, basically, Augie just loves the notion that kids would get maimed or killed by a nasty virus like measles.

    I’m glad I’m not Augie. I have a conscience. Obviously Augie has not.

    What a shite Augie really is, eh, folks? Augie wants suffering. The rest of us would rather people were spared that.

  152. #152 LW
    August 11, 2010

    Yes. I used to work in a law office. One day a woman came in to make a will putting all in trust for her daughter, for life. Her daughter was my age (within a week) but unlike me she didn’t get vaccinated against measles. She was a normal, happy child until she was about six or seven and got the measles. She suffered brain damage and was rendered blind, mostly deaf, partially paralyzed, and severely mentally deficient. She was in an institution and would remain there for life. Everything she might have been was destroyed by that disease.

    But augustine is okay with that.

  153. #153 augustine
    August 11, 2010

    “[Probabilities] are erroneous and misleading in the way they are presented.” Yes, augustine, especially when you make them up.
    —————–
    OK, LW. Do you know how many 18 year olds were in a birth cohort in say 1950, a prevaccine cohort?

  154. #154 augustine
    August 11, 2010

    @Dr. David N. Andrews M.D. M. Ed., C. P. S. E. L.M.N.O.P. and LW

    “What a shite Augie really is, eh, folks? Augie wants suffering. The rest of us would rather people were spared that.”

    “Everything she might have been was destroyed by that disease.
    But augustine is okay with that.”
    ——————

    Those are called logical fallacies. Quite below the SMB membership standard but too low to use.

    Unless you want to present the air tight logic used to come up with those conclusions.

    You guys are falling apart. Focus! Do it for the lurkers. Oh, and the children. Except for those two little ones that Zaxter devastated for the good fight. Ok do it for SOME of the children. The ones whom you’ve confirmed attempted CDC compliance for.

    Sheesh.

  155. #155 augustine
    August 11, 2010

    LW,

    Your math equation

    440 die from measles in the U.S prevaccine. Well over 150 million people in the U.S. 99.9999+% of people do not die of measles in the U.S.

    -CDC
    -us census

  156. #156 Todd W.
    August 12, 2010

    Once more, we see augie cruelly flogging numbers. Silly augie is forgetting that, in order to determine the number of people that will potentially suffer consequences from measles, one needs to use as the denominator the number of susceptible people, not the total population. Prometheus has an excellent post about this here.

  157. #157 LW
    August 12, 2010

    No, augustine, you still don’t grasp the significance of all those 9s. I’ll try again.

    Let’s say there are 160,000,000 people in the U.S. How many did *not* die of measles in one year, according to you? 99.9999%. Now, use a calculator because this is hard. Multiy 160000000 * 99.9999 / 100. (you have to divide by 100 because that’s what “percent” means.

    I’ve even done this for you. The result is 159,999,840. That’s how many didn’t die. How many did die? 160. That’s 160,000,000 – 159,999,840. Try it. Seriously. Your calculator works the same as mine.

    But wait! 160 is less than 400, the number *you say* died. So it is not true that 99.9999% survived.

    Now, here’s the really exciting thing about numbers: you don’t have to make them up! You can actually compute them! So here, you tell me the mortality per year from measles was 400 out a population of 160,000,000. I use my calculator to compute 100 * 400 / 160,000,000, which tells me that 0.00025% died each years from measles. Then I subtract that from 100 to get the number that didn’t die, and look! Every year, 99.99975% didn’t die of measles. See how that number is different from, and smaller than, 99.9999%? And even smaller than 99.9999+%, which isn’t standard notation so I can’t interpret exactly what it means.

    Of course, this is the percent who survived *each year*. It is not the percent who survived over a lifetime.

  158. #158 LW
    August 12, 2010

    It’s hard commenting on this iPhone because the screen is so small. I went from memory on augustine’s number of deaths. It wasn’t 400, it was 440. So the percent that survived is 99.999725%, even lower. Also, I picked 160 million as a nice round number that was over 150 million.

  159. #159 Kristen
    August 12, 2010

    Augustine spews:

    Sexually ambiguous Chris,

    I can’t get this beautiful picture out of my head everytime you post…Now which is it? I forget. Military man or Sensuous woman?

    Forgive me, Chris if it sounds like I am speaking for you:
    I don’t think Auggie realizes just how often intelligent women get this kind of sexist crap. WTF does it matter whether Chris is a woman or not? Why should her contributions be derided because she has two X chromosomes?

    Oh, and apparently intelligent women can’t be attractive (the thought would make auggies head asplode?). I fail to see how this has any bearing on the content of Chris’ or anyone else’s veracity.

    This is precisely the reason some women who comment on these types of discussions choose to be ambiguous. Auggie truly is acting like a chauvinist asshole.

    I have to tell you I don’t take health advice from ambulance drivers in the same fashion would I take it from a cab driver.

    Is Auggie really this ill-informed or just this big an ass. Rogue is a paramedic, not an ambulance driver. There is quite a distiction between a paramedic’s skills and education and that of a cab driver.

    The “quality” of Auggie’s comments is really declining. He (I choose to use masculine because of how he speaks of women) never contributed anything of value before, but now his comments have devolved to personal insults and foot-stomping.

    I picture Auggie as a teen who is allowed far too much time on the computer.

    My rant is done, I am very curious how he will comment on my observations. In the past I have noticed Auggie tends to ignore me, lets see if that holds.

    Carry on.

  160. #160 Calli Arcale
    August 12, 2010

    He’s acting like a *troll*. He’s using the chauvinist asshole schtick and other insults because it’s getting attention and not for any other reason. Let that awareness guide your responses.

  161. #161 Science Mom
    August 12, 2010

    It wasn’t 400, it was 440. So the percent that survived is 99.999725%, even lower. Also, I picked 160 million as a nice round number that was over 150 million.

    If augie is only interested in fatalities, then he’s going to have to add up to another zero to that figure. Yup, mortalities were under-reported also. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/15106092

  162. #162 Rogue Medic
    August 12, 2010

    @ 159 Kristen,

    Thank you for the defense on qualifications, but I also do drive the ambulance. One of my favorite blogs is by a paramedic friend of mine – A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver.

    http://ambulancedriverfiles.com/

    For augustine’s comments to bother me, I would have to think that augustine actually understands what augustine is writing about or that augustine’s opinion is more important than the opinion of the combative drunks I deal with. Maybe augustine is not any more sober than these drunks are.

    augustine does not seem to think that women ought to think. That works, only if we completely ignore all of the intelligent contributions of women to science and . . . Oops, augustine thinks that science is a lie, because science does not support augustine’s biases.

    The intelligent person would realize that science allows us to test our biases and see if these biases have any validity, but augustine will not accept that augustine’s biases are even biases. These biases seem to be augustine’s absolute and unquestionable truth.

    augustine’s apparent belief that women are inferior to men is just one example of augustine’s biases misleading augustine. Where is augustine’s evidence? In augustine’s imagination.

    augustine appears to be all about satisfying augustine’s biases. About 99.9999% of the time.

    augustine seems to filter everything through augustine’s biases.

    don’t worry about augustine ignoring you. It just means that augustine doesn’t have an answer. Not that you are missing anything. Most of augustine’s answers are worthless.
    .

  163. #163 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 12, 2010

    He’s acting like a *troll*. He’s using the chauvinist asshole schtick and other insults because it’s getting attention and not for any other reason. Let that awareness guide your responses.

    It’s too true, Calli. I only bother responding to a Goofus if I think that doing so might educate someone who can’t see through the Goofus’ arguments by themselves, but who might do so if given help.

    But with augie’s recent flameout, I have to picture even a lot of dedicated antivaxers sitting at their computers reading and going “transexuals? wtf? what does that have to do with anything?”

  164. #164 LW
    August 12, 2010

    Science Mom, there’s the underreporting problem, true. There’s also the problem of permanent sequelae.  

    The lovely augustine asserts in the next thread that “99.9999+% of [Americans who had measles in the pre-vaccine era] will not have permanent sequelae” from measles. Those are the ones who didn’t die of measles, of course. But given that there are two to three with permanent sequelae for every one that dies, there would be six to ten permanently injured per million *per year*.  

    For augustine, who prefers to “think” in terms of numbers not injured or killed, using 440 dead out of 160 million population,    and six to ten per million injured, that’s 99.998725% to 99.999125% not killed or injured *per year*. Neither of these numbers is 99.9999%, much less 99.9999+%, and they are *per year* not lifetime. 

    I’ve been drafting an explanation of the difference between rates per year and lifetime risk, pitched at augustine’s level (i.e., grade school) but the length is going to be downright Oracian, and not easy to enter on an iPhone. Maybe someone with a computer connected to the Internet could tackle it.     

  165. #165 augustine
    August 12, 2010

    U.S. population
    1950 – 150,697,361
    1960 – 179,323,175
    1970 – 203,302,031

    I used the 1950 population number because that was all I had to go by. I knew the population would be OVER 150 million so I rounded up. 99.9999% is correct.

    But we can go with your numbers if you want to LW.
    99.998725% to 99.999125% did not die from measles BEFORE the vaccine.

  166. #166 LW
    August 12, 2010

    No, augustine, 99.9999% is not right. It is *wrong*. Take a calculator. Multiply the population by 99.9999. Divide the result by 100. That is the number that did not die of measles *in that year*. Subtract that number from the original population. The result is the number that did die of measles *in that year*. In this case that would be 151. Examine that number carefully. It is much less than 440. In fact, it’s just over a third of 440. That means that you have made two glaring errors: (1) you have understated the annual death toll by a factor of almost three; (2) you are under the delusion that the annual death toll in the population is the same as the lifetime risk per person.

    Since you can’t even grasp the meaning of numbers, there doesn’t seem much point in trying to get you to comprehend lifetime risk. I’m sure all the lurkers are, like me, bored of my attempts to correct the deficiencies in your education.

  167. #167 augustine
    August 12, 2010

    [RM: It is, with influenza, the 8th most common cause of death in the US, where augustine seems to think that we are too healthy to die from pneumonia:]

    90% of those deaths are in 65 and older with the majority of those in the 75 and older categorie. Of the other 10% that is spread out, you have multiple preexisting conditions that contribute to mortality.

    Could a perfectly healthy person drop dead of pneumonia today. Sure, but not very likely. There is no good evidence that vaccination makes a difference. As a matter of fact the CDC uses the 36,000 death number year after year as propaganda to sell the vaccine. If it was working they should at least artificially lower the number every year. But their thinking is “we have to keep the number high or people will relax and not get their shot”. It’s propaganda.

    [Why would augustine the omniscient not realize that such a lethal disease has an effect on life expectancy?]

    So for a person who has had pneumonia twice in their life how many years of life expectancy will that person have shaved off?

    [augustine rejects the scientific method. The scientific method is a way of minimizing the influence of our biases on our understanding. augustine does not appear to think think that his biases lead to mistakes. Or is it that augustine does not believe that he has any biases?]

    I don’t reject the scientific method. It’s a good tool.
    I know I’m biased. What you fail to comprehend is EVERYONE is biased. There is no true objectivity as you wish there to be. You think scientists don’t have preconceived notions?

    [augustine seems to think that pneumonia is safer than a vaccine.]

    Please explain the logic of your conclusion without invoking a logical fallacy.

    [Science appears to be too humble a discipline for the undisciplined and hubristic augustine.]

    How can science have a human characteristic? Maybe you fail to understand what science is and it’s purpose. Maybe you’ve confused human scientist with science itself. Maybe you believe in scientism. And the scientist is your authority, your tin god.

  168. #168 Science Mom
    August 12, 2010

    I used the 1950 population number because that was all I had to go by. I knew the population would be OVER 150 million so I rounded up. 99.9999% is correct.

    But we can go with your numbers if you want to LW.
    99.998725% to 99.999125% did not die from measles BEFORE the vaccine.

    You have shifted the goalposts. You originally stated that 99.999bazillion% did not suffer permanent complications of disease. You are also not paying attention to the susceptible population.

  169. #169 Seb30
    August 12, 2010

    @ LW 166

    I’m sure all the lurkers are, like me, bored of my attempts to correct the deficiencies in your education.

    Eh, you posts were educational. I was a bit fuzzy on the numbers, confusing risk per year and lifetime risk. Thanks for the correction.

    And don’t mind the contrarian troll. From day 2 he/she was around, I come to the conclusion it is just doing its best to push our buttons. Sometimes it still succeeds with me. Or maybe I’m feeling like procrastinating.

  170. #170 augustine
    August 12, 2010

    Ah, I see what you mean. It’s actually 99.99976% don’t die from measles before the vaccine was used. The 4th decimal really does make a huge difference. I was WRONG! You’ve COMPLETELY changed the landscape of the argument! This new number will devastate people to the reality of it. 99.99976% will surely show people the urgency of the matter. Numbers don’t lie. But just in case, I think we should chop down the denominator and subdivide groups so we can make it more emotionally appealling to doubters.

    1/1000 die from measles. There. How’s that? No explanation needed.

    Since I have the calculator out let’s look at the odds for today. 315,000,000. 1 measles death. Forget about age and underlying health status. I’ll assume it could be me.

    1/315,000,000 = 3.174603e-9(100)-100= [99.9999997%] odds of not dying from measles.

    Wow, I like those kind of odds. Science has spoken and it said not to vaccinate.

    “But you have those odds because of vaccination” you say? Well maybe science told those other people, in a dream, to vaccinate. To that I say thank you Science. But it told me 99.9999997% is pretty good odds.

    I asked him (Science) about morals, ethics, “free-riding”, and school policy but he said he was not allowed to speak on those things. He said his father (philosophy) told him if he spoke on those things he would no longer be Science. He would be something other than Science. He said that he also would be attempting to play G-d. And that he was not God. So I said “OK”.

  171. #171 LW
    August 12, 2010

    You shouldn’t encourage me, Seb30 …  But in case anyone is interested (augustine isn’t, of course), I’ll try to give a simple demonstration of the difference between annual death rate and lifetime risk. 

    Let’s say there is a kingdom of 15 million people, with 300,000 born each year  It has long been ruled by very cruel kings, and ever since the invention of the revolver, by royal decree, at every birth there is an attendant standing by with a six-shooter. The moment the baby is born, the attendant puts one bullet in the gun, spins the cylinder, puts the gun to the baby’s head, and pulls the trigger. In other words, immediately after birth, every person born in this kingdom is subjected to a game of Russian Roulette.  

    Now, what is the lifetime risk of dying from Russian Roulette? It is obviously one-sixth, because every single person is subjected to that game. What is the annual death toll from playing Russian Roulette? It is 300,000 / 6, or 50,000. Out of a population of 15 million, that means an annual mortality from this cause alone of 0.3333%.

    Thus, augustine would say that 99.6666+% of the population survives Russian Roulette without injury, so it’s really not that dangerous, but that is clearly false. That number includes the 98% of the population that is “immune”, having already survived the game at birth, plus 5/6 of the 2% that is born this year.

  172. #172 augustine
    August 12, 2010

    LW, I like you. You’re silly. “In a land far..far…away..In a time forgotten…”

    So how did you determine the odds of the game?

    Did you know the the odds before the trigger was pulled or did you count the bodies and retrospectively study the odds and then determined there was 6 chambers and 1 bullet?

    BTW, the U.S. infant mortality is the highest in the medicalized world. We take the most vaccines and drugs than any other country.

    Our cruel king pulls the trigger on almost every child.

  173. #173 Rogue Medic
    August 12, 2010
    It (pneumonia) is, with influenza, the 8th most common cause of death in the US, where augustine seems to think that we are too healthy to die from pneumonia:

    Could a perfectly healthy person drop dead of pneumonia today. Sure, but not very likely.

    If you have one illness, perhaps acquired by neglecting to be vaccinated against the vaccine-preventable illness in a rugged unvaccinated individualist with lower life expectancy community, and you develop pneumonia on top of the original illness, you have pushed yourself into the pre-existing conditions group.

    Why would augustine the omniscient not realize that such a lethal disease has an effect on life expectancy?

    So for a person who has had pneumonia twice in their life how many years of life expectancy will that person have shaved off?

    One reason for not acknowledging the effect on life expectancy is the lack of understanding of life expectancy.

    You only use the example of the person who has had pneumonia and survived.

    I wrote about this recently, when Wikipedia featured Confirmation bias as the Article of the Day.

    http://roguemedic/2010/07/confirmation-bias-and-ems/

    Back to your assertion that pneumonia is innocuous. Life expectancy is based on the average life span. Individual life expectancy takes that number and adjusts for things known to lead to premature death, such as pneumonia. You ask me what the change in life expectancy is. I don’t know what the calculation is, but having pneumonia does not improve life expectancy.

    Also, someone who has had pneumonia twice, but survived, is considered to be at higher risk of having pneumonia again. Maybe that person will not survive the third, fourth, fifth, et cetera case of pneumonia.

    augustine rejects the scientific method. The scientific method is a way of minimizing the influence of our biases on our understanding. augustine does not appear to think think that his biases lead to mistakes. Or is it that augustine does not believe that he has any biases?

    I don’t reject the scientific method. It’s a good tool.

    There’s a surprise.

    I know I’m biased.

    If you keep up like that, you may actually admit that you make errors, just as the rest of us do. Except that yours are more egregious and encourage recklessness.

    What you fail to comprehend is EVERYONE is biased.

    Where did I claim that any individual or any group is not biased.

    If you go to the link I supplied above (Confirmation Bias and EMS), and read, you will see that I wrote this near the beginning.

    We are all biased.

    I do not know of anyone who thinks, but does not have biases.

    There is no true objectivity as you wish there to be.

    I might wish for a lot of things that are not real, but that does not have any effect on whether people are biased or whether science is the most objective available method of determining reality.

    I could wish for unicorns and that would not increase, or decrease, the objectivity of the scientific method.

    You think scientists don’t have preconceived notions?

    You accuse me of having preconceived notions that scientists do not have preconceived notions.

    Why do you make this claim?

    Why do you ignore the many things I have written that contradict this claim, augustine?

    augustine seems to think that pneumonia is safer than a vaccine.

    Please explain the logic of your conclusion without invoking a logical fallacy.

    You were the one pointing to pneumonia as a harmless sequela of avoiding vaccination. I have already provided a quote from augustine in the comment you are quoting.

    You claim that the vaccine risks are greater than all of the sequelae, including pneumonia.

    If only we would stop vaccinating, these illnesses would just go away by virtue of good clean living with all-natural diseases. Riiiight!

    Aren’t you the one suggesting that the person who gets sick with measles, which then progresses to pneumonia, would be better off un-vaccinated?

    Science appears to be too humble a discipline for the undisciplined and hubristic augustine.

    How can science have a human characteristic?

    You are right. I should have written it differently.

    Science appears to be too humble a discipline a discipline requiring too much humility, for the undisciplined and hubristic augustine.

    My mistake.

    Maybe you fail to understand what science is and it’s purpose. Maybe you’ve confused human scientist with science itself. Maybe you believe in scientism. And the scientist is your authority, your tin god.

    Your final rant is just based on my poor phrasing of the humility required to be good at science.

    I have not confused human scientists with science itself. This is the faulty method you frequently use when criticizing science, augustine.

    Look at the fallible human scientist.

    The scientist is fallible.

    Therefore science is less than perfect.

    Anything less than perfect is impure.

    That which is impure is evil.

    That which is evil must be shunned.
    .

  174. #174 LW
    August 13, 2010

    augustine, I said specifically that the attendant has a six-shooter and puts one bullet in it. Therefore, we know in advance that there are six chambers and one bullet, hence odds of death are one in six.

    The point is that lifetime risk of death is very different from annual death rates for a risk that affects every single person (like measles pre-vaccine) and citing annual death rates as if they reflected lifetime risk is misleading. But since you are either deliberately misleading or too dim to grasp this point, my example was not addressed to you.

  175. #175 Todd W.
    August 13, 2010

    Once more, augustine displays its lack of understanding of what should be relatively simple math. It either did not read the post by Prometheus that I linked to, did not grasp it, or is still just being a dishonest windbag.

    As LW tried to illustrate, to get what the lifetime risk is, you cannot simply take the annual death rate from the disease and divide by the total population. Some of that population will be immune (due to vaccination or previous infection). A simplistic way to look at it is that you need to determine how many individuals are susceptible due to not being vaccinated, being only partially vaccinated, being one for whom the vaccine did not work or for whom natural infection did not lead to immunity or immunity, from any source, faded over time. That number, not the total population, is your denominator for trying to figure out what are the odds of death.

    Of course, it is a bit more complex than this, and looking at only death as the numerator, it will tell you nothing of the risk of other serious, permanent sequelae that may result.

    So, once more, augustine: Math fail.

  176. #176 augustine
    August 13, 2010

    [LW: Therefore, we know in advance that there are six chambers and one bullet, hence odds of death are one in six.]

    This is a teaching moment for you and Todd.

    [I said specifically that the attendant has a six-shooter and puts one bullet in it. ]

    So How many chambers does the measles virus have? How many bullets? And how do you know this as opposed to knowing how many the gun has?

    Todd, you’re welcome to participate also. But here’s a hint. There is only one answer.

    This is a perfect application of arrogance of ignorance.

  177. #177 LW
    August 13, 2010

    Among its many failings, augustine apparently does not grasp the concept of a simplified example.

    But I do wonder why it is concerned about infant mortality in the U.S. After all, 99.991% of Americans did not die in infancy this year, and certainly none of Orac’s readers, so it is clearly silly to worry about infant mortality.

  178. #178 augustine
    August 13, 2010

    [LW: Among its many failings, augustine apparently does not grasp the concept of a simplified example.]

    You’re attempt at lifetime risk analysis is severely flawed. You don’t have enough knowledge to come even close to making that assessment. Like I said, arrogance of ignorance.

    So you know how many chambers are on the revolver. It’s knoweable and fixed. So how many chambers does the virus have. How many bullets? The lethality of the gun’s bullet is 100%. So how do you assess the lethality of the vaccine’s bullets?

    Let me know when this gets too complicated and I’ll stop. No matter your arrogance some things can’t be accurately computed.

  179. #179 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 13, 2010

    I guess this thread is dead now, but I don’t want to threadjack another one….

    Is it possible for someone to be a germ theory denialist and a germophobe simultaneously? Because I swear I know a couple of people like that.

  180. #180 Sauceress
    August 13, 2010

    Forget about age and underlying health status.

    This is a perfect application of arrogance of ignorance.

    It is indeed.

  181. #181 augustine
    August 13, 2010

    Saucy, you’re welcome to help them out.

  182. #182 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 14, 2010

    So you know how many chambers are on the revolver. It’s knoweable and fixed. So how many chambers does the virus have. How many bullets? The lethality of the gun’s bullet is 100%. So how do you assess the lethality of the vaccine’s bullets?

    Let me know when this gets too complicated and I’ll stop. No matter your arrogance some things can’t be accurately computed.

    As usual, this particular Goofus cherishes and cultivates ignorance on the subject of probability. He tries to pretend that “some things can’t be accurately computed” because if he understood and acknowledged the truth that they can in fact be accurately computed, then he will no longer be able to make up his own numbers for those things.

    The simple fact is that when the number of trials is sufficiently large, the probability of a thing occurring can be accurately (if not precisely) calculated by simply observing the frequency with which it occurred. This is an established fact of probability, one on which an entire class of computational algorithms is founded.

    (Remember, accuracy and precision are two different things. If you fire eight arrows at an archery target, and the arrows are all clustered around the central bullseye but none of them actually hit the bullseye itself, then your shooting is accurate but not precise. If you fire eight arrows and they all land within a circle two inches in diameter, but that circle is on the fourth ring away from the bullseye, your shooting is precise but it’s not accurate.

    Understanding the difference between accuracy and precision also gives you the answer to the old jest about “isn’t a stopped clock better than a clock that’s always five minutes slow? The stopped clock shows the right time twice a day, but the clock that’s slow never shows the right time!” The clock that’s exactly five minutes slow always shows the time accurately within a precision of five minutes; meanwhile, only twenty minutes out of the entire day does the stopped clock report more accurately and precisely than the slow clock.)

    So the fact is that you can accurately compute the answer to questions such as “What is the probability that a person who is exposed to disease X will develop it? What is the probability that they will die from it? What is the probability that they will live but develop serious sequelae from the disease?” just by looking at how many people who were exposed to disease X did develop it, how many people did die from it, how many did live but developed serious sequelae.

    Goofus thinks that the only things you can calculate probability of are things which are “knowable and fixed.” For instance, if you see a coin, a coin has two faces, so if it’s a fair coin, obviously each face has a 50% probability of coming up. But what if it’s not a fair coin? What if, unknown to us, it’s been rigged to come up heads more often than tails? According to Goofus, we’d never know because you can never measure probability from outcome. But in the real world, if we toss the coin 1000 times and we get 600 heads and only 400 tails, we can be pretty sure the probability of getting heads on any one flip is 60%, not the 50% it would be on a fair coin. Is it exactly 60%? Maybe not; maybe it’s 59%, maybe it’s 61%. But the more flips we do, the more precisely we can pin down the probability. And if someone like Goofus comes along and says “Oh, sure, you did 6000000 flips and you got a ratio of 60% heads to 40% tails — but maybe the actual probability of getting tails is 99.99999999999% and it’s just chance that you didn’t get anywhere near 99.99999999999% tails!” you know that this is someone who simply cultivates ignorance of probability and logic so that they can stay in massive denial.

  183. #183 Sauceress
    August 15, 2010

    #181

    Saucy, you’re welcome to help them out.

    The posters here are in no need of any help with you jack.
    Besides I find the repetitive lack of substance in your posts sleep inducingly boring and your ever increasing levels of desperation to be rather sad :(

    Don’t despair though jack, I do read some of your mental masturbations on the odd occasion I welcome that sedating effect.

  184. #184 augustine
    August 15, 2010

    [Saucy: The posters here are in no need of any help with you jack.]

    Shirley, you can’t be serious. And my name isn’t Jack.

  185. #185 augustine
    August 15, 2010

    So Saucy,

    Can a person REALLY, REALLY, be trapped in the wrong body? Is that a logical thought?

    And how many chambers and bullets in a measles virus? Before the measles virus ever killed anyone what was the pre-trigger pulling odds that is inherent in the virus itself. Do you see the problem of odds predictability here?

  186. #186 LW
    August 15, 2010

    If measles were an emerging disease and there were no records of how many people had gotten it and how many of those had died, then yes, augustine, there would be a problem with computing the odds. But since it isn’t, there isn’t.

  187. #187 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 15, 2010

    Before the measles virus ever killed anyone what was the pre-trigger pulling odds that is inherent in the virus itself. Do you see the problem of odds predictability here?

    A little research, the kind that augie never bothers to do, shows that the first scientific description of measles is credited to a Persian physician who lived until 932 AD. A little thought, the kind that augie never bothers to do, demonstrates that the time “before the measles virus ever killed anyone” could not have come after that Persian physician’s publication.

    So in order to pretend that there is a “problem of odds predictability” augie tries to ignore more than 1,000 years of history. Kinda tells you all you need to know about augie, doesn’t it?

  188. #188 augustine
    August 15, 2010

    [Anteus: So in order to pretend that there is a "problem of odds predictability" augie tries to ignore more than 1,000 years of history. Kinda tells you all you need to know about augie, doesn't it?]

    You don’t have to ignore history with the revolver odds. You simply count 1,2,3,4,5,6 chambers. 1 bullet. odds 6/1 of little infant surviving roulette gunshot by the king’s henchman.

    Why can’t you do that with the measles virus? Go ahead. Count ‘em. Get back too me.

    Houston, you have a problem!

  189. #189 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 16, 2010

    You don’t have to ignore history with the revolver odds. You simply count 1,2,3,4,5,6 chambers. 1 bullet. odds 6/1 of little infant surviving roulette gunshot by the king’s henchman.

    Why can’t you do that with the measles virus? Go ahead. Count ‘em. Get back too me.

    Houston, you have a problem!

    Why would anyone think there’s a problem with not being able to do it Goofus’ way after we’ve already shown that it can be done in another way that gives better results?

    Goofus would look at a coin and say “Two sides! Obviously if there’s two sides, the chances are 50-50%!” It’s highly unlikely that Goofus is going to examine the coin with a micrometer and discover that it’s been tampered with so that it’s actually more likely to fall onto one side than the other; even if he does, is he really going to lie and tell us that from examination of the coin alone he can tell what the real probability of any particular face coming up is?

    The scientific way succeeds, while Goofus is stuck without an answer, or giving the wrong answer.

  190. #190 augustine
    August 16, 2010

    Anteus: [Why would anyone think there's a problem with not being able to do it Goofus' way after we've already shown that it can be done in another way that gives better results?]

    Stick with me but you may be too entrenched in the dogma to see your error.

    What is the problem with just counting the number of deaths from russian roulette and determining how many chambers a revolver has and how many bullets from those deaths?

    Just nutting up and saying “science wins and you lose is no consolation for you.” Keep answering the question and you’ll see where your method has taken you. Into a big fat progaganda lie, where analogies are smoke and mirrors for the truth.

    You lose this one. Trust me. The deeper you dig the more dogmatic you seem.

  191. #191 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 16, 2010

    What is the problem with just counting the number of deaths from russian roulette and determining how many chambers a revolver has and how many bullets from those deaths?

    Obviously Goofus is trying to imply “Oh gnoes! Those nasty dogmatic SBM’ers don’t care about the countless millions who are cruelly slaughtered every year in thought experiments! They get so caught up in all their anti-human, un-American calculating and counting that they forget real lives are at stake!”

    In actuality, it’s Goofus who’s forgotten something very important. He’s forgotten that the thought-experiment Russian Roulette was introduced as an analogy for the very thing that he himself supports.

    Goofus, as we remember, supports letting diseases like measles and pertussis propagate unopposed, because he doesn’t think he’s personally in danger from them (so much for his caring when real lives are at stake.)

    He’s also convinced himself that the diseases are less dangerous than the vaccines. How has he convinced himself of it? Cultivated ignorance. This is exactly why he’s been arguing in this thread that probability cannot be evaluated unless it’s in a “closed system,” unless everything is “knowable and fixed” — because if he admitted that probability can be evaluated in other ways, he would have to face the evidence that the probability of harm from the vaccines is known to be less than the probability of harm from the diseases.

    And now that he can’t deny any more that probability can be evaluated by means other than counting bullets and chambers, now he’s frantically tap-dancing, hoping he can get people to forget that the person who was A-okay with the thought of “Russian roulette” being played with people’s lives for no good reason was himself.

  192. #192 LW
    August 16, 2010

    “Oh gnoes! Those nasty dogmatic SBM’ers don’t care about the countless millions who are cruelly slaughtered every year in thought experiments!

    Wait, I’m only slaughtering 50K per year. It’s those other SBM’ers who slaughter countless millions.

  193. #193 LW
    August 16, 2010

    “What is the problem with just counting the number of deaths from russian roulette and determining how many chambers a revolver has and how many bullets from those deaths?”

    Credit where credit’s due: augustine has made a sensible statement. Yes, if it was not known that the attendant uses a six shooter, and all we had to go on was the number of births and the number of babies shot to death, then we could, indeed, deduce that there is one bullet for every six chambers (50K dead out of 300K born). 

    When dealing with disease, that’s *exactly* the sort of reasoning scientists use: how many got the disease? How many died? How many suffered permanent injury?  That’s how we know, for instance, that smallpox is at least as  dangerous as Russian Roulette, and rabies is far, far worse.  

    And when dealing with vaccines (or any other medical treatment), scientists do exactly the same thing. How many were treated, how many died, how many were permanently injured?  Then, once we have the appropriate numbers for both the disease and the vaccine, *we can compare them*!  Instead of guessing, or making up numbers for argument’s sake, or even engaging in thought experiments, we can compare the *actual numbers*. 

    And how many cases of a disease do we need to see in order to get a good idea of the probability of death?  More than a few, certainly, but in the case of measles, there have been hundreds of millions of cases. After all, by augustine’s own figures, in 1950 in the U.S. alone,there were approximately 150 million people who had had measles. When you add in the rest of the world, and generation after generation for 1,000 years, I think it is quite probable that over a billion cases of measles have been observed.

    So there you go! augustine is not completely ineducable after all! It does actually comprehend that you don’t have to make up statistics; you really can figure out the lethality of a disease by observing the victims.   

  194. #194 augustine
    August 16, 2010

    Anteus, your ad hominems won’t help you answer the question and see the error in your ways.

    So how many chambers and how many bullets in a measles virus pre infection? You know, the analogy you screwed up on.

    I’ll go ahead and give you the next question since you’re too stupid too figure out what’s going on. You’re going into a dogma spiral. Just admit you messed up and I’ll stop.

    Why can’t you simply count the number of russian roulette deaths determine the number of chambers in the gun? Please tell us. Whats the problem here, Anteus?

    Please stop so you don’t wind up being the stupidist commenter on RI. Well, besides Ender. But not quite as bad as the Andrews fellar. I had somewhat respect for you before this dogmatic presentation of yours.

  195. #195 Prometheus
    August 16, 2010

    I know, I know – don’t feed the troll…. but he’s so cute!

    Augustine – showing an appalling lack of understanding – calculates the measles fatality rate (pre-vaccine) to be very low:

    “440 die from measles in the U.S prevaccine. Well over 150 million people in the U.S. 99.9999+% of people do not die of measles in the U.S.”

    That would be true only if all 150 million people in the US in 1950 were susceptible to measles (i.e. had not previously had measles). Of course, that wasn’t the case – silly Augie! Since measles outbreaks happened every year back in those days, the number of susceptible individuals is equal to the number of births in that year.

    Going to the US Census Bureau, we find that, in 1950 (a census year), there were 3.2 million children under 1 year old – a good figure for the number of births in the previous 12 months. That works out to 1.4 deaths per 10,000 susceptible individuals.

    More recent studies – using ELISA and PCR identification of measles virus – give a case-fatality rate of 2 per thousand (20 per 10,000), so a lot of cases were probably missed in 1950. Or we’ve become more sensitive to measles, which would also speak against Augie’s casual attitude toward measles.

    I will now stop feeding the clueless troll, no matter how cute he is.

    Prometheus

  196. #196 Composer99
    August 16, 2010

    Ugh troll, as long as you continue to count the costs but not the benefits of real medicine, you are a blight on this blog.

    It’s all well and good to talk about iatrogenic mortality/morbidity. This blog does it, Science-Based Medicine does it, I’m sure other blogs do, too. Reducing iatrogenic mortality/morbidity is a worthy and noble goal.

    But if you are hell-bent on ignoring the real, calculable benefits of real medicine, then kindly fuck off.

  197. #197 Pieter B
    August 17, 2010

    augustine asked

    A common measles stat is 1/1000 die. Do you know when that stat was recorded. Is it static? What is it today. What was it yesterday. Ohh you need more than one day to calculate that?

    No, it only takes a few seconds. There’s a measles outbreak in Malawi right now.
    http://topnews.us/content/224524-worst-measles-outbreak-malawi-death-toll-197

    77,000 cases of measles, 197 deaths so far. That’s 1 in about 400 for Malawi today, and likely yesterday as well.

  198. #198 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 17, 2010

    I know, Prometheus. I’ve been trying to tease out from augustine’s pitifully constructed arguments some measure of educational value, but the problem is augustine is just too low-class to even be much good as a negative role model!

    When I dissect the arguments of a Goofus it’s because I think that seeing the arguments dissected could be educational for someone who might otherwise be fooled by them. But honestly, how could anyone watch augustine whining about “your ad hominems” in the same comment as “you’re too stupid too [sic] figure out what’s going on” and “please stop so you don’t wind up being the stupidist [sic] commenter” and not see for themselves that he’s flailing pathetically? Anyone who understands that ad hominem is not Latin for “disparaging remark” sees that augie is whining about something that didn’t happen; even someone who doesn’t understand that distinction can see that augie is demanding to be treated with a respect he won’t give to others!

    augie just doesn’t seem capable of producing much of substance or quality, and that’s no matter which side or angle you’re coming from.

  199. #199 augustine
    August 17, 2010

    Anteus: Blah, blah,blah (not answering the question).

    I told you. You shouldn’t have gone down that road. You’ve completely taken your probability analogy out of context and used if for your own fear mongering purposes. Just because everyone else does it too doesn’t mean it’s right. Obviously you see the PROBLEM now!

    FAIL!

  200. #200 augustine
    August 17, 2010

    Peter P: [No, it only takes a few seconds. There's a measles outbreak in Malawi right now.

    That's 1 in about 400 for Malawi today, and likely yesterday as well.]

    Must be that killer Malawi measles strain. It’s twice as deadly as the American strain. It could come over here at any minute if we don’t vaccinate enough. You know all of the viruses in Africa are more vicious than the American viruses. I hope we don’t get ANY virus from Africa. I’ve heard that THEIR measles virus kills 10 times as many as the one we get in America.

    Anteus, could you tell us how many chambers and bullets the deadly African measles virus has as compared to the milder American measles virus. I want to get a vaccine for the African strain because the benefit outweighs the risk. I’m not taking my chances. One of those Malwinese? may just jump on a plane and come to my city during his viral infectivity period.

    Some history about Malawi that may be of scientific and epidemiological interest:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malawi

    Malawi is among the world’s least developed and most densely populated countries.

    Societal issues included child abuse and forced child labor, restricted worker rights, human trafficking and violence against women.

    Atheists make up around 4% of the population…

    Infant mortality rates are high, and life expectancy at birth is 50.03 years. There is a high adult prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 930,000 adults (or 11.9% of the population) living with the disease in 2007. There are approximately 68,000 deaths a year from HIV/AIDS (2007).[20] Approximately 250 new people are infected each day, and at least 70% of Malawi’s hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDS patients.

    There is a very high degree of risk for major infectious diseases, including bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, plague, schistosomiasis and rabies.[20] Malawi has been making progress on decreasing child mortality and reducing the incidences of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; however, the country has been “[performing] dismally” on reducing maternal mortality and promoting gender equality.[33]

    So I dismiss this report as nothing but the usual vaccine propaganda that many fall for. Just because you’re an SBMer don’t think you are immune to media propaganda.

  201. #201 augustine
    August 17, 2010

    anton: [When I dissect the arguments of a Goofus it's because I think that seeing the arguments dissected could be educational for someone who might otherwise be fooled by them.]

    And then he goes on about accusing of ad hominems and defending the right to use them.

    Goofus: “an extremely incompetent or silly person”
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/goofus

    ad hominem
    # Person A makes claim X.
    # Person B makes an attack on person A.
    # Therefore A’s claim is false.

    Example of Ad Hominem

    1. Bill: “I believe that abortion is morally wrong.”
    Dave: “Of course you would say that, you’re a goofus.”
    Bill: “What about the arguments I gave to support my position?”
    Dave: “Those don’t count. Like I said, you’re a goofus.

    You have to be careful, anteus. You see I’m expected to use a logical fallacy. I’m just a stupid ignorant parent who doesn’t understand science, critical thinking, and that god doesn’t exist. As per your leader, ORAC, you are held to a higher standard and at a disadvantage when arguing for your views. You know the old “the world’s against us” motivational speech.

    Be wary of you scientific and critical thinking standards. I don’t think you can hold yourself to your own standards.

    There is not one single SBMer who can make their case and refrain from using logical fallacies. It’ hypocritical.

  202. #202 Orange Lantern
    August 17, 2010

    @Prometheus: It also seems to me that the fatality rate of measles would naturally be higher now than 1950 because the majority of unimmunized individuals today are also at higher risk of death from measles, i.e. babies and the immunocompromised.

  203. #203 Anonymous
    August 18, 2010

    #200
    “Atheists make up around 4% of the population…”

    Could it be that the other 96% are bible literalists who consider handwashing hypercritical and therefore tabu as per Mark 7?

  204. #204 snerd
    August 18, 2010

    Augustine: Pharyngula is thataway – unless you’re in the dungeon there already.

  205. #205 augustine
    August 18, 2010

    [Nerd: Augustine: Pharyngula is thataway - unless you're in the dungeon there already.]

    What’s a F…F…Fair…Fair-n…Fair-n-goola?

  206. #206 augustine
    August 18, 2010

    OL: [It also seems to me that the fatality rate of measles would naturally be higher now than 1950 because the majority of unimmunized individuals today are also at higher risk of death from measles, i.e. babies and the immunocompromised.]

    Do you have citations for that or is that your personal opinon?

    @Promo, nice big fat straw man you argued against there. Pay attention.

    [Promo: Or we've become more sensitive to measles, which would also speak against Augie's casual attitude toward measles.]

    Yeh, 50 years of measles vaccine and now we have a “deadlier” measles virus. good job.

    But, I digress. Your case fatatility numbers are flawed because of the inaccuracy of you numbers. They are based on REPORTED cases. Since measles WAS generally mild, most cases didn’t bother to go to the doctor, hence they were not reported. The CDC estimates that 3-4 million cases per year actually occurred as opposed to the 500,000 cases reported. This changes you fear mongering number greatly.

  207. #207 LW
    August 18, 2010

    Prometheus didn’t use the reported measles cases in 1950 in order to get the case mortality rate, augustine. He used your figure for the number of deaths, and the total birth cohort for the number of cases. His estimate is not exaggerated.

    I have figured out why augustine keeps asking how many bullets the virus has and why we can’t just count the number of babies shot to death. It is playing third grade word games. So okay, augustine, I’ll play your game if it makes you happy. How many bullets does the measles virus have? None, the measles virus doesn’t kill with bullets because it is too small to hold a gun. Why can’t we count the number of babies shot to death? Because they’re imaginary babies shot by imaginary attendants using imaginary guns in an imaginary kingdom in a thought experiment.

    There, now everyone marvel at how clever augustine was to think of those riddles all by itself. *pat, pat*

  208. #208 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    Little Augie, the directions to Pharyngula are in the blue text. If you hover your mouse of the text you will see the little arrow turn into a hand. If you click on the blue letters you will go to the new page.

  209. #209 Andy
    November 21, 2011

    Present Science and Medicine is a commersial psudo science.
    Or indoctrinated humans attempt to spread the mind virus to the natural and smart people.

  210. #210 Julian Frost
    November 21, 2011

    Present Science and Medicine is a commersial psudo science.
    Or indoctrinated humans attempt to spread the mind virus to the natural and smart people.

    Nice bit of necromancy.
    Secondly, the correct spellings are “commercial” and “pseudo”. So much for “smart”.
    Thanks for the LOL’s. Now shove off.

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