More examples of how influenza still kills

The flu season continues apace around my part of the country. I wrote about it about a week and a half ago, in particular how people don’t get their flu shots because they don’t think they need them, because they don’t think the flu is a serious disease. Two more stories illustrate this disconnect. For instance, here’s a story about three people in their 20s who died of the flu in Michigan. The key heart-wrenching passage is this:

Ashley McCormick was 23 years old when she died December 27.

“We were like, ‘This is the flu. How can this happen? It’s just the flu.’ I mean, everybody gets the flu and this doesn’t happen,” says Ashley’s mother, Patricia McCormick.

Ashley’s parents say she first started coming down with the flu symptoms December 21st. A trip to urgent care didn’t help and by the night of Christmas, Ashley’s symptoms were worse than ever.

Her father rushed her to the hospital but doctors couldn’t save her. She graduated from Rochester High School and wanted to be a teacher for special needs children. Her parents say she had no underlying health conditions and she did not get a flu shot.


Tragically mistaken myths like this are why people like Ashley McCormick don’t get flu shots. Everybody might get the flu at one time or another, but tragic cases like Ashley’s do happen often enough that it makes sense to get vaccinated. The same thing apparently drove Chris Wright, a mail carrier who was described as very healthy, to make the same ill-fated decision:

Chris Wright, a 41-year-old father of five, was very healthy according to family members. He died Sunday at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton, Mich., but had also been treated at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe.

“He always said, ‘I never get sick. I’m healthy as a horse,’ ” said his wife Susan. That is why he didn’t think it was necessary to get a flu shot, she added.

I don’t care how healthy you are. The flu can kill.

Comments

  1. #1 Narad
    January 23, 2014

    So…other than not being vaccinated, are there any other questions that we should be asking in response to these tragic deaths? Besides vaccination, is there anything else we could be doing that might reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity from influenza?

    I’d also note that I don’t use acetaminophen, and my two adult bouts with the flu, during which I didn’t use any other OTC remedies either,* kicked my ass** all the same. I don’t have any particular reason to suspect that I would have been any worse off if I had, nor do I find the insinuation that there is some need to rule it out in “tragic”*** influenza deaths to be anything more than indication of an idée fixe that I hadn’t noticed before it was pointed out here.

    * Body aches have never been much of an issue for me (“when I was a child, I had a fever“). The bout in the ’90s, however, led to my then wife getting me a used copy of Grinspoon’s Psychedelics Reconsidered, which is valuable mainly for its annotated bibliography, which is the first I had heard of Millbrook, and the rest is history.

    ** “When you want genuine music – music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth’s pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose, – when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!”

    *** I assume it’s a casual use, but the invocation of the Magic Word only works if the cause was actually ignorance of The Truth.

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    January 23, 2014

    Narad: “……… which is the first I had heard about Millbrook, and the rest is history.”

    And we’re SO GLAD that you did. Hear of Millbrook.

  3. #3 Narad
    January 23, 2014

    I did wind up with the right to wear the regular insignia of the Order of the Toad even after my excommunication, but it took a good seven or so years to put that together back in the olden days.

  4. #4 Julian Frost
    January 24, 2014

    @Johanna:

    Friends, why do you keep feeding the troll?

    Two reasons. Firstly, to show lurkers that Greg (and other antivaccinationists) is clueless.
    Secondly, the same reason I fill out the Su Dokus in the newspaper. It’s an exercise for the mind, and sometimes quite entertaining.

  5. #5 Greg
    January 24, 2014

    @Narad

    I note that you didn’t address the substance of any of the comments. For instance, let’s consider this:

    That’s sweet, coming as it does from the same asshοle who has demonstrated that he doesn’t actually give a fυck about “the answers” to his shıtwitted “questions.”

    I take this, coupled with the fact that you had no response to my answer, about which you prognosticated “I sense that he is too proud to lie and embarrass himself in front of his peers, so he won’t say ‘yes’,” as a concession that you, in fact, do not care about such answers unless you think they offer an opportunity to yet further make a fool of yourself by declaring victory. Observing in passing that you are an asshοle and that the “questions” are shıtwitted merely comprises statements of fact.
    ———————————————————————————

    Actually Narad, after I ‘prognosticated’ further about your likely response, I thought that your shill loyalty may indeed push you over the edge to where you would simply sacrifice your integrity, and lie. You are a proud person, but you are also heavily invested. Indeed Narad, I said it many times, and I will say it again: No rational person who has followed the VCA debate long enough can ever truly believe that vaccines do not cause autism! Narad, you are a rational person, indeed highly intelligent, but let me say though, sir, that in my humble opinion, you are a liar!

    Also, the fact that you guys would hesitate and protest so much in giving a simple one-word answer to a straight-forward question demonstrates your insincerity. You argue: ‘I cannot answer the question because scientific beliefs are tentative….it’s like considering whether the sun is rising in the east or west….Greg you are asking a ‘did you stop beating your wife question’….. Please!! If tomorrow a vax/unvax is study completed showing that the two groups have the same autism rate, or if evidence surface of unvaccinated kids dramatically descending into autism like Hanna Poling, or if ‘miraculous’ findings reveal that autism incidence is not increasing after all, or if ‘extraordinary’ proof surfaces that vaccine courts didn’t really compensate for autism damages after all, etc — etc…… If tomorrow if all these things were to happen and someone asks me if I believe that vaccines do cause autism, then I would respond with a firm ‘no’! No hesitation, no procrastinating!! So again Narad, let me state my humble opinion that you sir are a liar!

    Finally, how did I measure my blood pressure in the doctor’s office? Actually Narad, the automated machine is simply left sitting on his desk. In fact, before he comes into see me, his assistant will enter the office, ask some preliminary health questions, measure your blood pressure, and then leave (I did leave out this part in my earlier synopsis of my visits). Narad, I am then free to measure again if I choose.

    So there you have it, Narad: This is my response to the substance of your comments.

  6. #6 Lawrence
    January 24, 2014

    Great thing is, we don’t have to “believe” like Gerg does…we can know…and why? Because the vast preponderance of the evidence exists to allow us to know.

    So which is it Gerg? That this so-called link is so rare as to be impossible to detect using large population studies or a Tsunami of hundreds of thousands requiring a vast conspiracy involving millions of people worldwide to cover it up?

  7. #7 Krebiozen
    January 24, 2014

    Greg, you are full of sh!t. We have refuted all your claims with good evidence, yet you persist in making them, for no apparent reason since there is no evidence to support them at all. You are the liar here, as everyone can see.

  8. #8 Narad
    January 24, 2014

    Finally, how did I measure my blood pressure in the doctor’s office? Actually Narad, the automated machine is simply left sitting on his desk. In fact, before he comes into see me, his assistant will enter the office, ask some preliminary health questions, measure your blood pressure, and then leave (I did leave out this part in my earlier synopsis of my visits). Narad, I am then free to measure again if I choose.

    I don’t believe you, for several reasons: (1) As noted above, I actually doubt that you’re bright enough to operate a vital-signs monitor. (2) I’ve never seen one that wasn’t mounted on a rolling stand, or an exam room that didn’t have a wall-mounted sphygmomanometer. (3) Nobody would want that kind of clutter on the small workstations in an exam room – there’s the cuff, the SpO2 finger clip, and the sleeves for the temperature probe. (4) One doesn’t just leave pieces of thousand-dollar equipment sitting around as toys for intellectually challenged patients. (5) One also doesn’t leave them sitting idle when one needs to get patients in and out as quickly as possible. (6) Putting on a cuff single-handedly is a pain in the ass. (7) If you were caught doing this when somebody came in, he or she would have to whack you upside the head, which would be unprofessional. (8) You just had your blood pressure checked.

    Of course, we do have real physicians here, so I’d welcome any corrections to the foregoing assumptions. In the meantime, I’m going with your being caught making things up again.

  9. #9 Narad
    January 24, 2014

    Indeed Narad, I said it many times, and I will say it again: No rational person who has followed the VCA debate long enough can ever truly believe that vaccines do not cause autism! Narad, you are a rational person, indeed highly intelligent, but let me say though, sir, that in my humble opinion, you are a liar!

    Amazingly, although you quoted it, you apparently didn’t understand it. Repeat after me, Gerg: he doesn’t actually give a fυck about “the answers” to his shıtwitted “questions.”

    A clearer demonstration of this principle could not be found.

  10. #10 cakesphere
    January 24, 2014

    @Lawrence

    Occam’s Razor is lost on the conspiracy theorists.

  11. #11 Johanna
    January 24, 2014

    @Julian (204)

    Fair enough. If you think it’s honestly fun, it’s a free Internet and all. 😉

  12. #12 Greg
    January 24, 2014

    @Lawrence

    “Great thing is, we don’t have to “believe” like Gerg does…we can know…and why? Because the vast preponderance of the evidence exists to allow us to know.”

    So you are suggesting that whether you believe that vaccines cause or do not cause autism is irrelevant, the important thing is that you know?

    In my intro philosophy course I remember learning about the three conditions that constitute knowledge. First, you must believe in the thing or theory. Second, you must have evidence to support your belief(s). Third, the thing or theory must be true.

    Lawrence, without believing you can never know. And, I am also tempted to add that with the notion that vaccines do not cause autism, you will never be able to satisfy the third condition for it to tantamount to knowledge.

  13. #13 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    January 25, 2014

    @Greg:

    So you are suggesting that whether you believe that vaccines cause or do not cause autism is irrelevant, the important thing is that you know?

    Yes. We know because the evidence in favour of vaccines causing autism is so weak it can be discounted.

    In my intro philosophy course I remember learning about the three conditions that constitute knowledge. First, you must believe in the thing or theory. Second, you must have evidence to support your belief(s). Third, the thing or theory must be true.
    Lawrence, without believing you can never know.

    And once again Greg, the point goes rocketing over your head. The initial evidence did not support it, so we started believing that vaccines don’t cause autism. The evidence is now so strong we can comfortably say we know they don’t.

    [W]ith the notion that vaccines do not cause autism, you will never be able to satisfy the third condition for it to [become] tantamount to knowledge.

    The evidence against a link is little short of overwhelming. In the Omnibus Autism Proceedings, the Petitioners’ Steering Committee chose what they thought were the six strongest candidates to use as test cases.
    The six lost. Not only that, they were trounced. Furthermore, Cedillo, Hazelhurst and Snyder appealed to the normal courts with equally damning verdicts being made. Finally, the Hazelhursts and Cedillos appealed to Appeals Court. The verdicts were upheld.
    To use a sporting analogy, it would be like a cricket team losing nine test matches by an innings apiece.

  14. #14 Lawrence
    January 25, 2014

    @Gerg – your beliefs are irrelevant, because the evidence, research and science has consistently rebutted your “beliefs.”

    Haven’t you gotten tired of having your ass handed to you?

    You can believe that the world is flat…people can tell you that the world is flat, but the actual evidence and Science shows that the world is roundish – not flat.

  15. #15 Bill Price
    January 26, 2014

    Greg at #212 finally admits the source of his arrogant dishonesty. After a preamble, that source is discussed and its evil is exposed. (I write slowly, so if I repeat anything posted after Lawrence’s #214, forgive me.)

    Many hundreds of years ago, there was a long stretch of time known as the Dark Ages. This period is notable for two interesting features (there are others, but these are pertinent here): people died a lot, early and painfully, from diseases that we now know how to prevent and/or treat; and the Church was the political and philosophical power. They exerted that power to enhance their power and wealth, by largely ignoring the reality that their subjects experienced.
    The dark ages were largely supplanted by the Enlightenment, leading to major improvements in knowledge, lifespan, and quality of life. The Enlightenment has not completely replaced the Dark Ages, however; there are still remnants of Dark Age thinking, mostly concentrated in religious philosophy (many religions, including antivaxxers, conspiracy theory believers — ‘believers’ in general).

    In my intro philosophy course I remember learning about the three conditions that constitute knowledge. First, you must believe in the thing or theory.

    This statement is characteristic of Dark Age (religious) thinking. First, you must believe what you are told to believe (or something original that comports with what you are allowed to think) by your chosen Authority.

    Second, you must have evidence to support your belief(s).

    Second, you must have evidence to support your belief and you ignore must all evidence to the contrary.

    Third, the thing or theory must be true.

    Third, the thing or theory must he approved by your chosen Authority (eg., a church or preacher, AoA, etc.).

    Lawrence, without believing you can never know.

    And here we have the essence of Dark Age philosophical arrogance: that approved belief is superior to reality.
    The Enlightenment, by lots of hard work and despite the coerciveness of the Authorities, resulted in the realization that your intro phil teacher was all screwed up with respect to what reality (and truth) actually is. Hint: reality is what remains when you stop “believing”. Here’s your list of points, corrected:
    First, you start with an idea (not a belief). The starting point is a conjecture, and nothing more. This conjecture needs to be stated in a form that specifies its relationship to reality, to that which is or can be known.
    Second, you examine evidence, pro and con: it may have been recognized by others, and/or you might have to do some objective observation yourself. Evidence is constrained by reality, and must be traceable to reality. If the evidence says that the conjecture is not compatible with reality, you must correct (or abandon) the conjecture – it’s wrong.
    Third, you can promote your conjecture to a hypothesis, and keep working on it, examining evidence pro and con.
    If the hypothesis survives enough examination against enough independent, objective, competent evidence, it becomes eligible for tentative acceptance as knowledge, leading to a strictly limited variant of evidence-dependent belief.
    Greg, the problem you exhibit is intellectual stasis, being stuck in the authoritarianism that brought about the Dark Ages, with its misery, death, and dishonesty. It takes a major arrogance to remain in the “my beliefs trump reality” mindset these post-Enlightenment days. One may contrast the Dark Ages with what has been discovered since, and contrast the Dark Age arrogance with the modern humility of science, that reality and evidence trump my beliefs, every time.
    The folks here have outgrown the your Dark-Age arrogance. We understand how backwards your thinking is. We tend to prefer life to death, to prefer health to misery, to prefer truth to imagination, to prefer ‘what actually is’ to what The Authority allows his followers to think, to prefer the Enlightenment humility to your True Believers’ arrogance.
    That is why your “yes or no” questions are rejected as being equal to “have you stopped beating your wife”: your arrogant Dark Ages definition of ‘belief’ is as perverse as the presupposition that one has ever performed any wife beating. In both cases, a “yes or no” answers merely endorses the dishonesty of the question.
    So, Greg, you are cordially invited to either grow up, or take your dishonest arrogance back to AoA, where it fits right in.

  16. #16 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    In my intro philosophy course I remember learning about the three conditions that constitute knowledge. First, you must believe in the thing or theory. Second, you must have evidence to support your belief(s). Third, the thing or theory must be true.

    Lawrence, without believing you can never know.

    This is jaw-droppingly hilarious. What Gerg is babbling about is the “JTB” analysis. However, he gets it very badly wrong. The actual prongs are as follows:

    1. The proposition is true.
    2. The perceiver believes that it is true
    3. The perceiver justifies the belief

    Gerg, on the other hand, scrambles this:

    1. The perceiver believes that something is true
    2. The perceiver concocts an explanation for the belief
    3. Therefore, No. 1 is true, and hey presto! Knowledge!

  17. #17 Greg
    January 26, 2014

    @Bill Price #215

    What you said is all fine and dandy, however, you are misrepresenting my argument about an individual considering an idea or notion for himself, or contemplating ideas that may have been forced on him by others. The latter scenario is not the one that is being discussed. Now let me demonstrate again my argument with an example:

    Say you are contemplating that the earth is made of blue cheese — how would you go about asserting this as knowledge? First, you must believe it. This is different than someone suggesting that the earth is made of blue cheese and requiring you to believe it. Your decision is being made on your own accord, or free will if you may.

    Second, you must have evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese. And, even though I am making these points in chronological order, it’s not to say they are occurring that way. The evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese may have indeed come first, which led to your belief. The point is you cannot say even though I have evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese or vaccines do not cause autism, I still don’t believe them, but I have knowledge of these events. And, indeed considering Lawrence’s argument at #206 — ‘we don’t need to believe since we know’–this seems to be what he is suggesting.

    Futher Bill, I am not saying that you are accepting the evidence by only looking at one piece of it. Indeed the assumption is that you are looking at the full evidence — pros and cons– and weighing them.

    Finally, to have knowledge that the earth is made of blue cheese, it must be true. And again Bill, I am not invoking truth as one that is approved by a particular governing authority, such as a church. We are discussing verifiable truth — truth that can withstand the test of the scientific method.

    So in all Bill, there is nothing Dark-Agian about my points, much as you would like to dismiss them as such. My argument still very much stands: If you guys cannot look yourselves square in the mirror, and say with absolute conviction that I believe vaccines do not cause autism, then you can never assert this as knowledge. You won’t have this knowledge despite being able to argue that ‘scientific’ evidence say they do not.

  18. #18 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    Greg should really get his money back from whatever academic establishment misinformed him so badly. I have come across social scientists with no clue about natural science, and vice versa, but Greg is impressively ignorant in both areas.

    Kudos to Narad and Bill for putting his mangled propositions straight.

  19. #19 Lawrence
    January 26, 2014

    To follow up on Bill’s post – long ago, people believed that volcanic eruptions were the result of the Gods’ wrath…(whether it be Greek, Roman, Egyptian, even Hawaiian religious thought)….in fact, people used to blame all kinds of natural events – seasonal rains, droughts, etc….on their own personal action or perception of events (i.e. omens – both good and bad).

    At the end of the day, we figured out that these “personal” perceptions were nothing more than the human mind putting together various events in time to create a sense of order our of chaos. So today, we take these “perceptions” and use them as a starting point for actual scientific research….of course, in Gerg’s mind, we should always take perception as fact, regardless of the follow-up evidence.

    Gerg would be right at home as a simple Acolyte in any religious institution – where he could simply be told what is truth, as opposed to having to think for himself…..(which he does seem to have serious problems with).

  20. #20 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2014

    Oh, I’m quite late responding to greg thinking I lost my cool. But I had other things to do, and bouts of hysterical laughter at work make people wonder what’s going on.

    Greg – if my response to you makes you think I lost my cool – talk to my kids. They will tell you I very rarely lose my cool, but when I do, it’s a LOT scarier than that comment. You obviously confuse “losing one’s cool’ with the exhaustion of a mother who is having to explain simple facts to a 3 year old again (no, dear, we are not buying that toy today) – for the nth time.

    Sometimes moms get tired of telling children basic facts. And I was tired of telling you basic facts and reading your juvenile (hee hee hee) humor.

  21. #21 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2014

    @Narad: I’m inclined to accept Greg’s changed version of taking the blood pressure. I’ve been in several offices lately where they do leave the electronic machine in the room all the time. And putting on the cuff isn’t that hard. Making sure it’s on *correctly* is a bigger issue, but I suspect Greg wasn’t concerned with placement or BP accuracy.

    While not bowing to Jen in TX and her acetominophen belief, I honestly have to say I have seen a huge upswing in people taking it incorrectly. I’m a nurse, I work with nurses, in health insurance. Not all of our employees are health care professionals, of course, but many are. On a daily basis I’ll hear people say, “that (drug – Tylenol, Advil, whatever) didn’t make my headache go away so I’m taking some more” – and they had only taken the first dose 20-30 minutes prior! In vain I have tried to explain that oral medications can take 45-60 minutes to obtain a therapeutic level…they want instant gratification.

    So I wonder, sometimes, if frequent “over-dosing” (as opposed to an overdose, which is usually fatal with acetominophen) *could* have affects on a fetus.

  22. #22 Greg
    January 26, 2014

    Further to my argument at #217, you guys do not know that vaccines do not cause autism because you are only satisfying one of the three prerequisite of knowledge. First, you don’t believe it. Second, you can’t show it to be true. I mentioned how that truth must be verifiable according to the scientific method. And, as was already fleshed out, even the Chochrane Review of the vaccine/autism studies established that the limitation of the studies, and how they do not conclusively settle the matter. Guys, this leaves you merely with a few flimsy, vested interest, pharma studies that only looked into a few vaccine ingredients anyway as evidence. Again, there is not much here in the way of knowledge material.

  23. #23 Greg
    January 26, 2014

    @MI Dawn

    Ok, I must admit that you are somewhat of a puzzle to me. I mentioned no rational person who has followed the autism/vaccine debate long enough, and who is not autistic that prevents them from being able to sort out the web of denialism deception can ever truly believe that vaccines do not cause autism. MI Dawn, this truly is my sincere belief, and I think it’s supported here by VCADODers general hesitation and tepidity in answering The Question. Yet MI Dawn, here you are stating your belief with such conviction. How could this be? It doesn’t sound like you are autistic, and I don’t think you are irrational. So am I then to assume that you really are a good liar? Ok — here is it MI Dawn — now I joke a lot here but I am dead serious: Go to an independent party and have a lie detection test done, and please provide the results. If everything is legit, and you are telling the truth, I will offer a full apology.

  24. #24 Lawrence
    January 26, 2014

    Next, Gerg claims to be “the Lorax” as only he and his ilk can speak for those with Autism….you know, be he “knows” they are brain damaged and couldn’t possible hold ideas of their own or form independent opinions.

    Thanks for once again showing how despicable you are.

  25. #25 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 26, 2014

    What part of “the evidence currently shows that vaccines administered in their totality according to the childhood vaccination schedule plays no causal role in autism, within the limits of measurement.” says that a) I don’t believe this to be true and b) it is not proven to a degree of certainty that should be sufficient.

  26. #26 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2014

    @Greg: oh, you ARE funny. But, sure. You pay to have it done – and I’ll happily undergo a lie detector test. I have no fears, since I don’t believe vaccines cause autism, that any test would show differently.

    By the way, Greg. I sincerely doubt you will accept the test results anyway. If I have it done, you will then point to studies that have shown that lie detector testing isn’t that reliable, and (I’m sure someone will correct me if I am wrong), most police departments have stopped doing them and they are very rarely admissible in court.

    And, I don’t think I’m autistic or even ASD. While the diagnosis does exist within my family tree (various members), I don’t have, nor did I ever have, any of the diagnostic criteria.

    As for your question – remember, Greg. We’ve answered it several times. You called us liars. Why should we answer it again and again, just to have you call us liars again?

  27. #27 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    This series of conversations reminds me quite a bit of an odd interaction I had last year:

    I met a woman who was a friend of a friend’s relative- she insisted that she was my childhood friend and knew my parents well. I knew this to be high grade horsesh!t but I played along for a while:
    she asked me what my father’s name was, I retorted, ” I thought you knew him”: this farce continued as though she was carrying out an interrogation- BUT she could never supply, salient, truthful information- she only asked questions, seeking information which I didn’t supply Or made wild- wrong- guesses.” How come I don’t remember you?” I asked.

    In other words, the entire tale existed only in her head. Just like Gerg’s stories about Orac, the minions and “vaccine injured kids”.

  28. #28 Chris,
    January 26, 2014

    Greg: “Guys, this leaves you merely with a few flimsy, vested interest, pharma studies that only looked into a few vaccine ingredients anyway as evidence. Again, there is not much here in the way of knowledge material.”

    Whereas you have only provided us with nothing other than name calling. You have blatantly refused to answer direct questions posed to you. You even ignored the one I asked you several times.

    Greg, show you are not a troll. Go up and read the title this article. Don’t worry, we will wait. Now look at this bar graph on pediatric influenza deaths over the past few years. Don’t worry, we will wait some more.

    Now those who understand basic English and some math will notice that over twenty kids died from flu this year, and well over a hundred died last year from flu. Now, Greg, just provide us the PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that any of the influenza vaccines are more dangerous than influenza.

    Now that is the end of me addressing Greg. I shall go back to ignoring him unless he shows that he actually has some verifiable evidence the it is more dangerous to prevent influenza in children than for them to actually get it.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    @ Chris:

    You might ask HOW he KNOWS that Orac & Co are paid by big Pharma-
    WHO exactly pays them
    HOW much is paid
    WHERE do they receive payments
    WHAT is the current rate
    ETC.

    Oh and -btw- exactly WHO are the minions anyway? ]
    Since many are pseudonymous, how wpuld he kow anything at all about them?. Where do they live? ( Not only those who identify location) WHERE do we work? etc.

    Bet he can’t answer.

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    how WOULD he KNOW anything

  31. #31 squirrelelite
    United States
    January 26, 2014

    @Greg (212, etc.)
    The difference between your belief-based system of knowledge and science is that the universe works the way it does regardless of whether you believe it or not. Things didn’t suddenly start working differently one day when you got old enough to come up with an idea of how you believe they work.

    Science isn’t about belief at all, except in some limited sense where an individual can accept or agree with or have confidence in some part of science.

    Science is a system where a lot of people work collectively over time to figure out how the universe works and express that in ways that are useful. That is, it lets us make predictions that can be tested to see if they are true or not. Also, it gives us information, numbers, mathematical formulae, etc. that let us engineer, make and use technology to live more effectively, efficiently and comfortably in the universe.
    And science has limitations. One of those is that it can’t prove a negative. So when you said (#222) “… that vaccines do not cause autism”, that is not a scientifically testable proposition. We do not know that and can never know that.

    In other words, science can’t prove that there is no case in which a vaccine caused autism.
    But, science can test a positive claim, such as that vaccination causes autism. That has been tested many times and disproved. If there is such a connection, it is so small and weak that it is lost in the noise of the random variations in the number of people vaccinated, the number diagnosed with autism, etc.

    So, a rational person who has followed the autism/vaccination debate long enough would be capable of understanding the process of reasoning behind the many tests that have been done that consistently show that the proposition that vaccination causes autism is not true.

  32. #32 Lawrence
    January 26, 2014

    Gerg also claims “thousands or tens of thousands” of parents have insisted that their children regressed immediately after vaccination….so where are they exactly? Because we keep seeing the same names and faces over and over again – representing a vanishingly small number of people….

    Better yet, given the large numbers of population studies – where are these people that Gerg claims exist? Because for some reason, we just never seem to find them….at anywhere near the numbers that get claimed.

  33. #33 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 26, 2014

    Some years ago my Grandmother told a relative that, “I’d better get ready because is picking me up at two o’clock.” The following conversation ensued:

    Relative: But you remember he died five years ago, don’t you.
    Grandmother: Well, yes.
    Relative: And we all went to the funeral.
    Grandmother: Yes, it was lovely funeral.
    Relative: So if he’s dead, how will he pick you up?
    Grandmother: Well, I don’t know. But he said he was picking me up at two o’clock.

    That was one of the first indications we had that she had Alzheimer’s.

    In this particular case, my grandmother believed that my grandfather was going to drive her somewhere even though the facts and all evidence was to the contrary.

  34. #34 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 26, 2014

    Sigh, WordPress removed something from my comment above. My Grandmother’s statement above should read ““I’d better get ready because (my grandfather) is picking me up at two o’clock.”

  35. #35 lilady
    January 26, 2014

    @ Chris: The Troll reminds me of other trolls who populated RI.

    He has no life, has lied repeatedly about his employment working with autistics (Developmental Specialist!), craves attention and when he gets that attention along with well-deserved derision…he derives sick pleasure.

    Truly a pathetic excuse for a human being.

  36. #36 Jeff1971
    January 26, 2014

    Glerg’s “thousands or tens of thousands” of parents are probably friends of the “thousands or tens of thousands” who suffer whiplash injuries when the driver in front put his tail lights on.

  37. #37 Greg
    January 26, 2014

    @MI Dawn

    Very well then MI Dawn, I agree that a lie detector is not without its problems and uncertainties. The fact though that you would genuinely believe that vaccines do not cause autism is utterly astonishing.

    When I posed the question to Antaeus and Narad, I knew right away that they were lying. It’s quite obvious in the way they procrastinated in giving their responses, and when they did, they couldn’t help but referring to ‘the studies’. You, however, did not hesitate, and you responded with ‘apparent’ raw conviction — (Narad did bluster a lot, but it was rather transparent). You even responded even though I was not calling upon you!

    I can perfectly understand how you guys would chirp on with the ‘studies found no link’ argument, or even constantly suggest how the benefits outweigh the risk, yet that someone can truly believe that vaccines do not cause autism despite the salient circumstantial evidence and the failure in conducting the conclusive studies? Incredible!! Anyway MI Dawn, I am not inclined to dismiss you as a liar, or agree that you are telling the truth. I am just not sure.

    @VCADODERers

    Indeed the time has come when I must take a break. I must concede that commenting here is like eating peanuts; you say this will be the last one but it never is. I also did not get your reactions about the tragic passing of Avonte. Perhaps we can discuss this news when I return.

  38. #38 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    It’s bizarre to see Greg attempt to argue this completely backwards. Maybe its time to resurrect my broccoli-autism hypothesis – where’s the evidence to support claims that this is not true? I bet a carefully worded telephone survey would provide plenty of anecdotal evidence to support it. A fraudulent paper published in a respected medical journal would probably do even better.

    Or perhaps I’ll start insisting that unicorns exist – how do we know a breeding population of these timid beasts isn’t living in a remote forest somewhere? If I believe in unicorns and no one can provide conclusive proof they don’t exist, by Greg’s standards that proves they are real doesn’t it?

  39. #39 Greg
    January 26, 2014

    (Just like eating peanuts)

    VCADODers,

    I do still very much intend to inquire into taking legal actions against you for the vicious, undeserved, slander that I have incurred here. Still, nevertheless, I am hoping that you can save me some legal fees by responding to my earlier inquiry of whether pseudonyms can sue pseudonyms. (hee hee hee)

    Gone again!

  40. #40 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    Here’s my ‘alternative’ hypothesis:

    there was a huge uptick in autism dx in the 1990s which was *about* the time that alternative music (a/k/a “grunge”) and its ride-the-coattails-trailing unfashionable fashion emerged.
    Alternative music encouraged lessened communication and decreased social interaction as well as repetitive, ritualised actions a/k/a “moshing”.
    It was all Kurt Cobain’s fault.

  41. #41 Chris,
    January 26, 2014

    Perhaps Greg just prefers kids that are dead than those that are healthy and just happen to have autism.

  42. #42 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    On a daily basis I’ll hear people say, “that (drug – Tylenol, Advil, whatever) didn’t make my headache go away so I’m taking some more” – and they had only taken the first dose 20-30 minutes prior! In vain I have tried to explain that oral medications can take 45-60 minutes to obtain a therapeutic level…they want instant gratification.

    There was a somewhat related problem when 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine (“STP”) first hit the streets. As for Gerg’s BP story, have the monitors you’ve seen left in the exam room been cart-mounted or sitting on a “desk”?

  43. #43 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    When I posed the question to Antaeus and Narad, I knew right away that they were lying. It’s quite obvious in the way they procrastinated in giving their responses

    Gerg, perhaps you would like to explain how I “procrastinated.”

  44. #44 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2014

    @Narad – actually a little desk – kinda like the ones they have you sit in to have blood drawn. And it’s a simple monitor…kinda like those you buy at the drugstore for $130 or so. But then, I’ve been in a lot of weird offices in my time…

    I’m actually disappointed in Greg. I always wanted to have a lie detector test done….

  45. #45 Politicalguineapig
    January 26, 2014

    Greg: First, you don’t believe it. Second, you can’t show it to be true.

    Greg, that is so many levels of wrong. First of all, we don’t have to ‘believe.’ Do you believe in tables? Does the table stop existing when you leave the house? (If you leave the house) Facts, like tables just happen to be there. Believing in facts is as silly as praying to a table.

    Secondly, the resident experts have already shown you why you are wrong; the proof is out there, and it’s not our fault you are so spectacularly dim.

  46. #46 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 26, 2014

    I don’t see any reason why anyone would believe that Gerg is psychic – which he would have to be, for anyone to give his “They said one answer, but I knew they actually secretly believed the opposite!” any credence.

    But even if we believed that Gerg was psychic, why would we believe that he’s telling the truth about what he divines with his psychic powers, when he himself has been caught lying through his teeth?

    To name just the most obvious example, there was the time that he claimed he knew of a study design which would completely settle the question of whether vaccines cause autism, and that there could be no reason why anyone would oppose doing such a study, except if they were afraid of the results.

    When challenged to spell out that study design, Gerg finally admitted that he had no such study design in mind and in fact knew very little about study design. He had a design that he thought would answer the question solidly, but he openly admitted that he gave no thought to whether it would be ethical to do such a study (ethical concerns would of course be an extremely valid reason why a person with a functioning conscience would not want a particular study to be done, making Gerg’s claim that “no one could oppose doing this study except if they feared the results” a bald-faced lie.)

    So if Gerg claims someone around here is lying, why on earth would we believe it’s anyone but him?

  47. […] scientific idea is ready for retirement? The Way We Produce And Advance Science More examples of how influenza still kills A Trophy Hunt That’s Good for Rhinos (important) Heavy drinking in middle age speeds cognitive […]

  48. #48 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    If you guys cannot look yourselves square in the mirror, and say with absolute conviction that I believe vaccines do not cause autism, then you can never assert this as knowledge. You won’t have this knowledge despite being able to argue that ‘scientific’ evidence say they do not.

    I’m sure that Gerg is quite proud of himself for unearthing the hoary old trope of “justified true belief.” And getting it wrong, of course.

    I will first note that JTB is trivially falsifiable, as it requires knowledge of the externality of relations and plural minds to bootstrap. (I of course also deny both in the first place.) This is the sort of thing that rightly causes people to wonder why on earth it’s still possible to draw a paycheck for making a fuss over purportedly 2600-year-old epistemology.*

    But so, let us delve into the woods of primitive supernaturalist first-order propositional logic,** in which The Truth Is Out There. As already noted, Gerg fails to grasp that in JTB, the truth of the proposition comes first;† it most certainly cannot be the output of any probabilistic system such as, say, the scientific method. Truth values of propositions are binary-valued.

    Gerg has suddenly done an about-face on this, having spent quite a bit of time arguing that propositions more elaborate than his boneheaded “gotcha” attempts are prima facie invalid. This unsurprisingly involves redefining “scientific method.”

    Let us further go back, way back, back into time, to Edmund Gettier, who made two observations about the underlying notion of justification:

    1. The requisite “justification” for “knowing” p can also “justify” “knowing” a false proposition. This is quite simple: maybe the battery in your clock went dead overnight. The time on the clock, however, has always previously been a suitable justification without checking the battery after checking the VOM, etc.

    2. If the justified false proposition p implies (or entails) q (and one accepts q), then one is also “justified” in believing q. This is where raw JTB fails. I will simply repeat Gettier’s example:

    [S]uppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following proposition:

    (f) Jones owns a Ford.

    Smith’s evidence might be that Jones has at all times in the past within Smith’s memory owned a car, and always a Ford, and that Jones has just offered Smith a ride while driving a Ford…. [I]magine, now, that Smith has another friend,
    Brown, of whose whereabouts he is totally ignorant. Smith selects three place names … random and constructs the following three propositions:

    (g) Either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Boston.
    (h) Either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Barcelona.
    (i) Either Jones owns a Ford, or Brown is in Brest-Litovsk.

    Each of these propositions is entailed by (f)…. Smith realizes the entailment of each of these propositions … and proceeds
    to accept (g), (h), and (i) on the basis of (f). Smith has correctly inferred (g), (h), and (i) from a proposition for which he has strong evidence. Smith is therefore completely justified in believing each of these three propositions.
    Smith, of course, has no idea where Brown is.

    [I]magine now that … Jones does not own a Ford, but is at present driving a rented car. And … entirely unknown to Smith, the place mentioned in proposition (h) happens really to be the place where Brown is. If these two conditions hold,
    then Smith does not KNOW that (h) is true, even though (i) (h) is true, (ii) Smith does believe that (h) is true, and (iii) Smith is justified in believing that (h) is true.

    JTB is therefore not a sufficient condition for knowledge. It is also not a necessary condition for knowledge: One can know that know that travel by plane is safer than by automobile yet not believe it, as evidenced both to the perceiver by virtue of internal states and to observers by virtue of overt behavior, such as driving rather than flying even when the latter would be cheaper and faster in the absence of countervailing goals such as sightseeing.

    It’s just an incredibly stupid peg for Gerg to try to hang his hat on.

    * As it happens, academic philosophers are somewhat overrepresented in my circle of acquaintances. I have a call in to one, and I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to contact the other one. During his blues show on the radio. This examination is thus just mine.

    ** I’ve mentioned this, but I once was made to attend a 10-week seminar, out of interdepartmental congeniality. The fellow thought that AI would fall out of automated theorem proving. His chosen platform was Logo.

    † Roderick Chisolm advanced a formulation similar to Gerg’s in 1957. Nine years later, W—pedia informs me, he noted that it is also possible to justifiably believe in a true proposition by accident, basically repeating the tanking of the entire unreconstructed JTB pig-iron works with a simpler nondisjunctive example.

  49. #49 lilady
    January 26, 2014

    When The Troll first came here, months ago, after posting his ridiculous tripe on AoA, one of the RI Regulars posed a question to him about a new study, that the Dachel bot had posted on her daily “Media Updates”.

    The Troll couldn’t answer some basic questions about that study, so The Troll immediately posted a comment to the bot, posing those same questions. The bot never replied and none of the other AoA science “journalists” replied.

  50. #50 LW
    January 26, 2014

    I’m trying to figure out how Greg figures he “knows” anything about the commenters here, given his own definition of knowledge.

    He believes every commenter here is a lying pharma shill. But he has no evidence for this belief; he merely believes only a pharma shill would say that the evidence shows that the vaccination schedule is not causally related to autism, within the narrow limits of evidence. He doesn’t even get to his third prong, which is the actual truth of the matter, namely that the people commenting here are not pharma shills.

  51. #51 Alain
    January 26, 2014

    I do still very much intend to inquire into taking legal actions against you for the vicious, undeserved, slander that I have incurred here.

    Gergle, bring it on.

    Alain

  52. #52 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    I do still very much intend to inquire into taking legal actions against you for the vicious, undeserved, slander that I have incurred here.

    Uh-huh. I’ll see you in court once you figure out what “slander” isn’t.

    Still, nevertheless, I am hoping that you can save me some legal fees by responding to my earlier inquiry of whether pseudonyms can sue pseudonyms. (hee hee hee)

    Of course they can; anybody can sue anybody for anything. There would be no issue of pseudonyms beyond the initial filing, though (which can name a pseudonym as defendant), as the next step would be subpoenas to the intermediate parties to identify the defendant.

    It would likely be a hard sell, turning most obviously on (1) whether pseudonyms can be construed as “pen names” and (2) whether the actual identity of the plaintiff is widely enough known for the defamation to attach to the person.

    With respect to No. 1, Eb*y has previously warned that defamatory feedback may lead to legal consequences, although I’m not finding it in their current TOS. Pen names tend to exist in the commercial realm, as do other pseudonyms, such as musician “Cliff Richard,” who prevailed in the UK, which happens to be the most plaintiff-friendly libel venue on the planet. To a certain extent, this comes down to whether a value can be assigned to the pseudonym, although libel per se may be subject to statutory damages without regard to actual economic harm.

    With respect to No. 2, if you were to address frank libel to “Orac,” a subsequent legal action would have a very good chance of being cognizable.

    Of course, none of this really matters, as your libel is indiscriminate, and your deranged pals at AoA are even worse. Sooner or later, you’re going to bumble into claiming that someone who is not pseudonymous advocates vaccination while secretly eschewing them or some such.

    The same goes for AoA: If somebody who has been defamed has some free time and money, that person just might choose to pursue an action for the simple purpose of making the culprit have to defend it.

    Gone again!

    You might look a little less enthusiastically stupid if you didn’t keep pulling this routine and returning in short order.

  53. #53 lilady
    January 26, 2014

    Hmmm, did The Troll make a comment about sphygmomanometers?

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

    Every physician’s office I have ever been in, has sphygmomanometers mounted on the walls of each examination room and they are definitely NOT aneroid-type, which are inaccurate, compared to the mercury column type.

    http://www.wabaum.com/items.aspx?id=58

    I’ve never seen the no-brainer type which provides the heart rate and BP for those who don’t know how to listen for apical heart rates/sounds and systolic/diastolic BP using a stethoscope.

  54. #54 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    And…

    now I joke a lot here but I am dead serious: Go to an independent party and have a lie detection test done, and please provide the results. If everything is legit, and you are telling the truth, I will offer a full apology.

    As your bona fides have been in question for far longer, the appropriate response is “you first.” In other words, until you provide proof of your professional credentials, by your own standard, they are presumptively false.

  55. #55 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2014

    @Narad….but he decided, after I *offered* to do one if he paid for it, that I was telling the truth. Brave Sir Robin ran away from that one REAL fast…

  56. #56 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    Greg,

    The fact though that you would genuinely believe that vaccines do not cause autism is utterly astonishing.

    If that is true, you must be absolutely gobsmacked that doctors, scientists and public health specialists in every country in the world (as far as I know) genuinely believe this. A glance at my files reveals the following (links removed to prevent moderation, but can be supplied on demand if necessary):

    The UK’s Health Protection Agency says:

    MMR uptake fell in 1997 in the UK following publicity about speculation that the MMR vaccine might be linked with autism and Crohn’s disease. These concerns have been investigated by the PHLS (now HPA) and others, and have been firmly refuted – MMR remains the most effective and safest way of protecting children against these dangerous diseases, and parents are urged to have their children vaccinated with MMR.

    The World Health Organization says:

    Available epidemiological data show that there is no evidence of a link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders. Previous studies suggesting a causal link were found to be seriously flawed. There is also no evidence to suggest that any other childhood vaccine may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorders. In addition, evidence reviews commissioned by WHO concluded that there was no association between the use of preservatives such as thiomersal that contains ethyl mercury in vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

    The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety writes:

    Based on the extensive review presented, GACVS concluded that no evidence exists of a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders. The Committee believes the matter is likely to be clarified by a better understanding of the causes of autism.

    The Institute of Medicine concluded:

    The committee has a high degree of confidence in the epidemiologic evidence based on four studies with validity and precision to assess an association between MMR vaccine and autism; these studies consistently report a null association.
    […]
    The committee assesses the mechanistic evidence regarding an association between MMR vaccine and autism as lacking.
    […]
    The evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.
    […]
    The committee did not identify literature reporting clinical, diagnostic, or experimental evidence of autism after the administration of vaccines containing diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis antigens alone or in combination.

    I could go on and on, but this surely makes my point. Anyone who manages to remain astonished when the issue has been so thoroughly examined by respected scientists globally must surely be missing a brain cell or two (my personal opinion, of course).

  57. #57 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    Kreb, don’t you know that those sources are just as compromised as we are?

  58. #58 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    Denice,
    Kreb, don’t you know that those sources are just as compromised as we are?
    Sshh. It took me ages to make all those quotations up and plant them in Google and all those websites all over the world 😉

    I’m just astonished that anyone in such a tiny minority as Greg could still be astonished that 99% of people with any knowledge and understanding of the subject think he is a loony.

  59. #59 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    Now why did WordPress just ignore my perfectly formatted blockquote? I copied and pasted fit, so I know it was OK.

  60. #60 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2014

    Scrub that, I had an extra / in there that I didn’t see.

  61. #61 brian
    January 26, 2014

    @Krebiozen
    When you write “I copied and pasted fit” it’s hard to accept that you made a comment without error. As you know.

    (Curse you, ScienceBlogs lack of editing ability!)

  62. #62 Narad
    January 26, 2014

    I mentioned no rational person who has followed the autism/vaccine debate long enough, and who is not autistic that prevents them from being able to sort out the web of denialism deception can ever truly believe that vaccines do not cause autism.

    Which, of course, is why the belief is less popular than NWO conspiracy theories and the belief among Romney voters that Obama is the Antichrist and that there was a Roswell cover-up and, moreover, isn’t gaining steam.

    AoA’s Alexa metrics are dismal. NVIC is worse. The Autism Media Channel might as well not exist. AVN is sad. “Think Twice” is just as bad. The No. 2 search term leading to “Child Health Safety” is “wordpress statistics,” suggesting that Clifford Miller himself may be driving most of this traffic.*

    SBM, a niche blog, blows them out of the water. “Voices for Vaccines,” which is quite new and not particularly interactive, easily outranks AoA. A brief survey suggests that the trend holds for page ranks.

    “Pack up your money, pull up your tent, McGuinn
     You ain’t a-goin’ nowhere”

    * “Keywords related to wordpress statistics”:
    ❄ swine flu jokes
    ❄ swine flu vaccine cripple
    ❄ dr. andrew wakefield
    ❄ autism amish
    ❄ sunday times london
    ❄ compulsory vaccination uk
    ❄ vaccines cause autism
    ❄ wordpress graphs
    ❄ anti vaccine movement

  63. #63 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2014

    We make errors deliberately in order to convince the naive into thinking that we’re not androids.
    -btw- we’re not androids.

  64. #64 TBuce
    January 26, 2014

    I do still very much intend to inquire into taking legal actions against you for the vicious, undeserved, slander that I have incurred here.

    As Private Eye is prone to state: “We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram”

  65. #65 Bill Price
    January 27, 2014

    #217, Greg, January 26, 2014 “answers” me and bravely runs away. Even though Greg has abandoned us, again (alas, it’s likely only a temporary abandonment), I feel an urge to straighten out his “answer”. Since he has so bravely run away, he will likely imagine that this discussion has terminated. Will anyone who spots a possible reappearance be so kind as to point him here?

    @Bill Price #215

    What you said is all fine and dandy, however, you are misrepresenting my argument about an individual considering an idea or notion for himself, or contemplating ideas that may have been forced on him by others. The latter scenario is not the one that is being discussed.

    There is, to me, no difference between an idea from one’s imagination ab initio and one from an external source, whether by suggestion or by coercion. Intellectual honesty and humility require that they be treated the same. To consider otherwise is part and parcel of the arrogance of the Dark-Ages approach.

    Now let me demonstrate again my argument with an example:

    As we will see, the example adds nothing to the discussion: it merely repeats the same old Dark-Age thinking. e suggesting that the earth is made of blue cheese and requiring you to It does give a further opportunity to waste my time trying vainly to drag Greg into reality.

    Say you are contemplating that the earth is made of blue cheese — how would you go about asserting this as knowledge?

    I would not make such an assertion without appropriate qualification.

    First, you must believe it.

    Since I am not that arrogant, I would start with questions, like “What is the prior plausibility of this conjecture?”, “What evidence could I find that would allow me to determine, in light of the prior plausibility, whether to abandon or to continue this line of investigation.”, and “Does the plausibility justify the investigation?”
    For example, the prior plausibility of your blue cheese conjecture is zero; 20 years ago, the prior plausibility of your VCA conjecture was marginal, but sufficiently non-zero that it was worth further investigation. That investigation has reduced the prior plausibility of your VCA conjecture to be indistinguishable from zero.

    This is different than someone suggesting that the earth is made of blue cheese and requiring you to believe it. Your decision is being made on your own accord, or free will if you may.

    You have a decision to make, whether to accede to some external coercion. This decision is not significantly different from a decision to accede to the suggestions of your own imagination. There is also the case that you insist on ignoring: non-coercive external suggestion, such as advertising or merely an idea expressed by a “friend”. In any case, one’s decision to believe or reject a suggestion is the same.

    Second, you must have evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese. And, even though I am making these points in chronological order, it’s not to say they are occurring that way.

    Indeed, you are making the points in the order that you required in your report in comment #212. Are you now retracting your “first, second, third” ordering? What else are you retracting? Do you expect anyone to agree with your everchanging imaginings?

    The evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese may have indeed come first, which led to your belief. The point is you cannot say even though I have evidence that the earth is made of blue cheese or vaccines do not cause autism, I still don’t believe them, but I have knowledge of these events.

    What, if anything, is that supposed to mean? Also, what events are you now trying to insert into the discussion?

    And, indeed considering Lawrence’s argument at #206 — ‘we don’t need to believe since we know’–this seems to be what he is suggesting.

    Lawrence can speak for himself, but my interpretation of what you quoted is: “Belief? We don’t need no steenkin’ belief, we’ve got knowledge.”

    Futher Bill, I am not saying that you are accepting the evidence by only looking at one piece of it.

    I have no idea whence this new strawman came.

    Indeed the assumption is that you are looking at the full evidence — pros and cons– and weighing them.

    WARNING! WARNING! GOALPOSTS IN MOTION!! (Again)
    Assuming ‘you’ to be generic, rather than personal, this is yet another slither on Greg’s part. Greg’s original episteme (ref his comment #212) explicitly omitted the consideration of contrary evidence (“and cons”), only allowing consideration of supporting evidence in its second step.
    OTOH, if ‘you’ is personal, it would refer to me: I’m the one who added the pro and con idea to your second step. Thus, this would be a valid assumption: I certainly would violate your episteme in precisely such fashion.

    Finally, to have knowledge that the earth is made of blue cheese, it must be true.

    And how does this circular argument work? Your third step requires that you know your imagining to be true before you can know your imagining to be true… . Never mind. Later, you demolish your

    And again Bill, I am not invoking truth as one that is approved by a particular governing authority, such as a church.

    Nor am I. I did mention your chosen authority — a preacher, a trusted friend, a random AoA contributor, … — anyone whose ideas you accept as The Truth. There is no implication of governance.

    We are discussing verifiable truth — truth that can withstand the test of the scientific method.

    Yet another retraction: the JTB (thanks, narad, for identifying Greg’s episteme as the hoary Justified True Belief goofiness) episteme you presented in your #212 now requires, for any validity it may have, the very episteme – the scientific method – that you keep rejecting.

    So in all Bill, there is nothing Dark-Agian about my points, much as you would like to dismiss them as such.

    So in all, Greg, the JTB episteme you argue for is strictly a Dark Age theory of knowledge, even if you throw it a Scientific Method liferope. Since the Scientific Method episteme does not require, or even recognize, belief as a prerequisite for knowledge, by making the Scientific Method a prerequisite for your JTB, you have thoroughly demolished your long-standing, critical assertion of the necessity of belief.

    My argument still very much stands: If you guys cannot look yourselves square in the mirror, and say with absolute conviction that I believe vaccines do not cause autism, then you can never assert this as knowledge. You won’t have this knowledge despite being able to argue that ‘scientific’ evidence say they do not.

    Since you have destroyed any foundation for this paragraph, would you care to retract it, say, at your next visist?

  66. #66 Bill Price
    January 27, 2014

    Duh. I had not quite completed editing the above comment when it seemed to decide to submit itself. The Submit Comment button wasn’t even on the screen.
    I might have some revisions to note below. Or I might not.

  67. #67 Bill Price
    January 27, 2014

    Corrigenda to my #265:
    The sentence fragment

    e suggesting that the earth is made of blue cheese and requiring you to

    shouldn’t be there. Perhaps, it should be elsewhere, but I can’t figure out where. I was trying to correct this very glitch when the comment submitted itself.
    I was also working on this partial paragraph:

    And how does this circular argument work? Your third step requires that you know your imagining to be true before you can know your imagining to be true… . Never mind. Later, you demolish your

    It should continue

    precedence of belief over reality, by denying (effectively) that belief is a prerequisite to knowledge, after all.

    ‘episteme’ should be italicized throughout.
    I apologize to Narad for referring to him as ‘narad’. The gratitude stands.

  68. #68 Krebiozen
    January 27, 2014

    Bill Price,

    What, if anything, is that supposed to mean?

    A close examination of Greg’s comments reveals a lot of this: sentences that look as if they should mean something, but that I find impossible to parse as meaningful English. I think my favorite is his hilarious tirade against Antaeus here. Apart from the clumsy mischaracterization of various other commenters, he included morsels of quasi-word-salad such as:

    So, when face with opposition, you let loose your intellectual barrage, if not tinged with dishonest.

    I think I get the gist of what he means, but it’s very weird. Maybe English isn’t his first language. His English is certainly poorer than those here I know are Francophone – Helianthus and Alain for example whose bilinguality puts my schoolboy French to shame. I know we all make mistakes, but I hope I never lapse into gibberish like that.

    I must admit I am grateful to Greg, as the psychology of the antivaxxers is something I am very curious about. He has been a useful lab rat I have been able to observe and poke with a metaphorical stick, without having to soil myself over at AoA, or worse.

  69. #69 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 27, 2014

    Bill Price,

    There is, however, a grain of truth in that if you recast it somewhat. In order to know something to be true it is not simply good enough to believe it to be so. You must also have evidence and, of course, it must be true.

    One could believe something to be true by a lucky guess. An example might be that one might believe (I use this word in the mundane sense of “To expect or suppose; think” as opposed to “To have firm faith, especially religious faith.”) that the next roll of the dice in a game of craps will be a 7. And in fact, one might be absolutely correct in one’s prediction and take home a tidy sum, depending on one’s willingness to take a risk on that supposition. However, assuming a fair game one would not have actual evidence that the next roll would be a 7, only odds. Thus at best it was a lucky guess, not knowledge of truth.

    Conversely, one might suppose something to be true and have some evidence for it, but find that it is not true.

    And finally, one may choose to reject the evidence of a true thing and just think that something false is true.

  70. #70 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 27, 2014

    Reviewing the bidding, Greg came to Respectful Insolence with the hypothesis that anyone who has looked at the evidence must conclude that vaccines cause autism. He has been attempting to collect evidence to prove that hypothesis. Unfortunately, as LW pointed out, this has become something of a belief in the “firm faith, especially religious faith” category for Greg. Thus he has chosen his methods of collecting and interpreting that data to show that when people say that vaccines don’t cause autism that either:
    – they don’t actually believe that
    – they haven’t looked at the right evidence
    – they have tortured that evidence to make it say something false
    – the evidence they have looked at is all tainted and lies
    – they are lying about what they think

    If Greg would let go of this idée fixe if his, he might discover that his original hypothesis is false – that people are speaking honestly, they have looked at the evidence, and they have concluded that there is no obvious causal link between vaccines and autism; therefore, it is possible that someone could look at the evidence and NOT decide vaccines cause autism.

    Sadly, I don’t expect him to come to that realization.

  71. #71 Krebiozen
    January 27, 2014

    Antaeus,

    Conversely, one might suppose something to be true and have some evidence for it, but find that it is not true.

    Phlogiston, for example, had some excellent experimental evidence for its existence; it could extinguish a flame, for example. As we now know it doesn’t exist, except in the sense it being a lack of oxygen (physicists tell us the square root of minus one is in some sense real, so why can’t chemists have a negative chemical?).

    There was also experimental evidence for the earth being flat carried out not far from where I spent most of my childhood. This sparked intense debate, until Alfred Russell Wallace put an end to it with a more robust experiment. It lived and lives on in the minds of those unable to abandon their idée fixe, a bit like Greg and his antivaccinationist chums.

  72. #72 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 27, 2014

    Krebiozen – you reminded me of the Isaac Asimov essay “The Relativity of Wrong”. The curvature of the Earth (assuming a sphere 25,000 miles in diameter) is 0.000126 per mile, or about 8 inches/mile. If you only go out 3 decimal points, it rounds to 0.000 per mile, which would be flat.

    Naturally, those round off errors add up.

  73. #73 Bill Price
    January 27, 2014

    assuming a sphere 25,000 miles in diameter

    MOB,it seems you’ve made the common boo-boo of saying ‘diameter’ when you’re thinking ‘circumference’ (or using the circumference value when thinking of diameter). I hate it when I do that, myself.

  74. #74 Narad
    January 27, 2014

    There is, however, a grain of truth in that if you recast it somewhat. In order to know something to be true it is not simply good enough to believe it to be so. You must also have evidence and, of course, it must be true.

    This fails on the issue of “false lemmas,” which are different from lucky guesses in that they’re justified (e.g., driving through a realistic movie set without knowing that’s what it is and concluding that the facades are real buildings).*

    There haven’t really been any successful attempts to salvage JTB. The question, though, is why would you want to? The only cases that get dragged out are trivialities. Consider this: Do you know your doctor’s name? Of course not. Maybe your doctor got run over by a bus two days ago and you haven’t received a letter informing you yet. It’s not even possible to couch every utterance in sufficient qualifications to admit some sort of go/no-go “knowledge” test. Maybe your doctor was using an assumed name all along. Maybe your doctor wasn’t really a doctor. Maybe your doctor was a robot.

    Of course, in obtaining, and expressing the state of, scientific knowledge, one does attempt to do this, but Gerg rejects this out of hand, because it doesn’t fit within the framework of his moronic games.

    Furthermore, in the real world, the more interesting question isn’t “does X know p,” but “does X know how p” or “why p,” i.e., testing understanding rather cataloging the epistemological internal status of a grab-bag of fact utterances.

    As usual, the Stanford Encyclopedia is thorough.

    * A shorter version of “Barn County.”

  75. #75 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 27, 2014

    Bill Price-oh my goodness, you are correct. Boy is my face red.

  76. #76 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 27, 2014

    False lembas would be Waybread baked by orcs. Just sayin’.

  77. #77 herr doktor bimler
    January 27, 2014

    The cake waybread is a lie!

  78. […] I’ve discussed from time to time, the three most reviled vaccines among the antivaccine movement are the HPV vaccine (Gardasil and […]

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