# Antivaxxers Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill deceptively use COVID-19 death statistics to claim that vaccines cause SIDS

Antivaxxers Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill try to use COVID-19 death statistics to claim that declines in vaccination due to lockdowns in response to the pandemic caused a decline in the number of children dying every week, thus wildly speculating that vaccines cause SIDS. It does not go well.

One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed is the affinity between the antivaccine movement and conspiracy theorists who deny the severity of COVID-19 and the necessity of the public health measures instituted to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). This affinity and alliance between antivaxxers and anti-lockdown protesters and COVID-19 conspiracy theorists who, for example, blame the 5G rollout for COVID-19 came as a surprise to many, but not to those of us who’ve been following the antivaccine movement for a long time. The reason, of course, that the antivaccine movement is based on a conspiracy theory, what I like to refer to as the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, and groups of conspiracy theorists tend to be attracted to each other, and COVID-19 has been a magnet for medical conspiracy theories. So it comes as no surprise that yet another not-so-dynamic duo of antivaccine propagandists, Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill, have decided to lie with statistics about excess death statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to blame vaccines for killing babies. No, wait. That’s not exactly right. What they’ve done is to note that there has been a decrease in infant deaths during the lockdowns instituted as a response to the pandemic and claim that that indicates that vaccines were killing babies before the pandemic, because, to antivaxxers, whatever happens, be it good or bad, is always an indication that vaccines are bad. Always. It’s their default. These living examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect lay out their “case” (such as it is) in an article posted to Health Choice, Blaxill’s antivaccine group, entitled Why are so many fewer children dying?

The grammar pedant in me can’t help but note the very awkward construction of the title (“so many fewer” just sounds odd). Before I dig in to the ignorance and ridiculousness of the arguments presented, first, let’s look at the authors. We’ve met Mark Blaxill (who’s prior antivaccine group was Safeminds), for instance, on multiple prior occasions, be it when he was promoting horrible antivaccine studies, promoting antivaccine misinformation among the Somali immigrant community in Minnesota who were in the midst of a massive measles outbreak because affluent white antivaxxers had promoted Andrew Wakefield’s MMR pseudoscience among them, or appearing in antivaccine propaganda films. As for Amy Becker, I don’t recall having heard of her before. Unfortunately, because it’s a not-uncommon name I wasn’t able to find out much about her. What I do know is that Health Choice is an antivaccine group whose leadership includes a veritable cornucopia of antivaccine activists, including, for example, Mark Blaxill, Wayne Rohde, Teresa Conrick, Mary Holland, Kim Rossi, John Stone, Jennifer Larson, and Anne Dachel. It’s a veritable who’s who of second tier antivaxxers (first tier antivaxxers including people like Del Bigtree, Andrew Wakefield, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.).

This brings us to the paper itself. I will admit one thing, though. I was surprised that Blaxill actually admitted the severity of the pandemic in the introductory paragraph:

Covid-19 is a serious public health issue, but the breathless reporting among the media of positive tests and an ever-rising death toll does little to instruct us about the true nature of the virus and the unprecedented steps taken to prevent its impact. As in many complex and pervasive health phenomena, there are many ways to measure health effects, but in our view the proper measure of impact is not a narrow or intermediate metric, but rather total health outcomes. In the case of a pandemic virus affecting large populations and where the immediate concern is sharp increases in deaths, the best measure of outcomes is not a selective measure of deaths somehow attributed to the disease but instead is deaths from all causes. For perspective, these deaths must be compared to historical death rates from all causes in prior years (Percent of Expected Deaths). As we will show, a balanced view of the broader American Covid19 experience demonstrates both the scale and variability of its negative outcomes in older Americans, especially the elderly, but also some unexpected positives. Surprisingly, U.S. mortality rates have declined among young people during the lockdown, especially among infants. These trends have gone largely unnoticed and remain unexplained.

You can see here that Becker and Blaxill are laying the groundwork to blame vaccines. Indeed, as soon as I saw that last sentence, I knew that the answer to the “mystery” of why mortality has declined among young people would be because they are not getting vaccines because so many pediatrics offices were closed to all but urgent issues and emergencies. Becker and Blaxill then follow with a series of graphs that are a beautiful of example of JAQing off. (You don’t know what that means? Read this.) The first two graphs are relatively straightforward graphs of total deaths per week during the pandemic, with the much higher death toll during the same period in 2020 representing excess deaths over the number expected for a the same time of the year compared to past years. Those excess deaths were almost certainly mostly due to COVID-19. At least Becker and Blaxill admit that COVID-19 has been much, much worse than a typical flu season:

Attributing a Cause of Death (COD) to COVID-19 is not always clear-cut, due to significant overlap among COVID-19, Pneumonia, Influenza, and presumably other primary CODs.

That said, the spike in deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 occurred in tandem with the spike in all-cause deaths, leaving little doubt that Covid19 was the main contributor to the excess of expected deaths between March 22 and May 9.

At least in this 8-week period, the Covid19 pandemic was considerably worse than a typical flu season. To the extent that all-cause deaths fell back to expected levels during May, the excess mortality attributable to the pandemic has passed.

And:

Many states actually saw lower than expected deaths during the period. To be sure, an excess death rate of 5% for the entire U.S. is considerable but also far short of the apocalyptic narrative the pandemic has received. Greater-than-expected death rates were heavily concentrated in the Northeastern corridor. New York City and its surrounding area, including New Jersey, New York State (although possibly not upstate New York), Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and the District of Columbia have so far comprised 6 of top 8 jurisdictions with excess all-cause deaths. New York City was hit especially hard. In a typical spring, New York City could expect 700-800 all-cause deaths per week. From mid-March to mid-May, that number spiked sharply, by ten times that amount, reaching over 7500 deaths in the peak week ending April 11.

Maybe that was true a month ago, but, as we know from recent headlines, as COVID-19 cases are falling in states like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and other states that were hit early, COVID-19 cases have been climbing in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and other states that have reopened, and these increases can’t be attributed just to increased testing, with some states setting records for new COVID-19 cases:

This is the situation as only two states, New York and Michigan, are on track to get COVID-19 under control.

Besides a detour into figures showing what can only be called “Well, duh!” observations, such as that the greatest toll in excess deaths likely due to COVID-19 has been among people over 65, something that has been known since January or February, Becker and Blaxill try to make this argument:

To the extent that policies have varied across the states, it is not clear that the imposition and/or presence of stringent lock-down policies had much to do with the variation in excess deaths. Less stringent lockdown policies were not associated with higher death rates. In fact, the 5 states that chose not to impose a lockdown are among the roughly 20 jurisdictions with no excess deaths at all.

Several states with the most aggressive lockdowns, including California, Maine, Minnesota and Pennsylvania showed almost no excess deaths effect. Despite huge population centers, California looked nothing like New York City and State. Maine, a mostly rural state, imposed among the more draconian policies with essentially no reason. Minnesota followed a far more aggressive lockdown policy than its neighboring states of Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Yet it’s Covid19 deaths were among the most concentrated in the country: roughly 80% of Minnesota’s Covid19 deaths occurred among the infirm elderly who were residents of long-term care facilities.

Did aggressive lockdowns stave off the worst-case scenario, preventing vulnerable states from becoming disaster areas like New York City? No controlled experiment will give us that answer. Pennsylvania makes the best case for that argument, with an early excess death pattern that resembled its neighbors in the Northeaster corridor but saw that rate drop precipitously by early April.—. But Pennsylvania is also an unusual geographic unit, with its largest city, Philadelphia, lying on the coast and separated from the western part of the state and its second largest city, Pittsburgh, by the Appalachian Mountains. This anomaly makes it difficult to draw clear conclusions from Pennsylvania’s Covid19 curve.

I have two observations here. First, Becker and Blaxill seem to have left Michigan out, which is odd, given that it’s one of the states on track to control coronavirus, and it imposed one of the more rigid lockdowns as COVID-19 cases were climbing in the second half of March, while being among the slower states to start easing the lockdown and reopenining. (Indeed, hair and nail salons only just opened this week, allowing a certain blogger to get his first haircut since February.). More importantly, Becker and Blaxill are making an argument that it is far too early to make. Again, the pandemic is not done with us yet. In brief, it’s too early to say that lockdowns didn’t decrease excess deaths due to COVID-19 because we don’t know the overall death tolls yet, and the more recent datapoints are incomplete because of that lag in reporting. Indeed, the CDC sources that Beck and Blaxill cite tell you that the numbers of deaths are likely large underestimates because it takes a long time for states and localities to report mortality data to the CDC, as the CDC itself tells anyone using the data:

The provisional counts for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) deaths are based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. National provisional counts include deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia that have been received and coded as of the date specified. It is important to note that it can take several weeks for death records to be submitted to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), processed, coded, and tabulated. Therefore, the data shown on this page may be incomplete, and will likely not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period, especially for the more recent time periods.

And:

Provisional counts are weighted to account for potential underreporting in the most recent weeks. However, data for the most recent week(s) are still likely to be incomplete. Only about 60% of deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, and there is considerable variation by jurisdiction and age. The completeness of provisional data varies by cause of death and by age group. However, the weights applied do not account for this variability. Therefore, the predicted numbers of deaths may be too low for some age groups and causes of death. For example, provisional data on deaths among younger age groups is typically less complete than among older age groups. Predicted counts may therefore be too low among the younger age groups. More detail about the methods, weighting, data, and limitations can be found in the Technical Notes.

In other words, again, it’s almost certainly too early to draw any firm conclusions like what Beck and Blaxill are trying to draw. Becker and Blaxill acknowledge the second cautionary note by the CDC in an endnote and state that they “deliberately excluded the most recent four weeks of available data.” However, they also say that the charts were for the week ending May 16, pulled on June 6, which is only three weeks after the end of the last week examined. Given that the CDC notes that the potential for underestimation of the number of deaths per week due to incomplete data is worse for exactly the age groups that Becker and Blaxill are trying to use to blame vaccines for SIDS, I can’t help but question their methodology even more. Also, without a statistical analysis, we’re just looking at a trend that might or might not exist. Everything Becker and Blaxill did was based on just “eyeballing” the charts; it wasn’t based on anything resembling a rigorous analysis.

All of this, including the sloppy analysis, the JAQing off, the rampant speculation, however, is just a buildup to the main point that Becker and Blaxill want to make, the “climax” of their incompetent analyses of COVID-19 death statistics. In doing so, they provide the rope with which their argument can be easily hanged:

But the pandemic experience has brought on a surprising effect on this expected death rate among children. Starting in early March, expected deaths began a sharp decline, from an expected level of around 700 deaths per week to well under 500 by mid-April and throughout May. As untimely deaths spiked among the elderly in Manhattan nursing homes and in similar settings all over the country, something mysterious was saving the lives of children. As springtime in America came along with massive disruptions in family life amid near universal lockdowns, roughly 30% fewer children died.

Was this a protective effect of school closures? Were teenagers getting themselves into risky situations at a lower rate? No. There was very little effect among school age children or adolescents.

Virtually the entire change came from infants. Somehow, the changing pattern of American life during the lockdowns has been saving the lives of hundreds of infants, over 200 per week.

The first thing that one must note here is that we’re dealing with relatively small numbers, namely because far fewer children than adults die every year. Now, you might wonder why Becker and Blaxill claim that virtually all the decline came from infants. For that, all you need to do is to look at this graph that they reproduce:

So, from between the week of February 1 and May 16, the number of deaths of infants under 1 year old fell from roughly just under 400 a week to around 250 a week, a greater than 35% decline. But what about Becker and Blaxill’s claims that there was “very little” effect among school age children or adolescents? As an absolute number, that’s sort of true, but as a percentage? Not so much. Again, look at the graph. Between the weeks of February 1 and May 16, deaths of children 5-14 years old fell from over 100/week to roughly 75 a week, a fall of close to 25%, not much less than that among infants. During the same time period, among children aged 1-4 years, the number of deaths fell from around 70-90 a week to 50-60 a week, a similar decline. Of course, one thing that has to be noted about these numbers is that they are so small that it’s had to say if this trend is even real, particularly given the lag in reporting that means that later statistics are almost certainly undercounts, because of the several week delay in processing some death certificates. Basically, Becker and Blaxill probably jumped the gun, because they are relying on statistics that are incomplete, the more recent the statistics, the more incomplete. In any event, even if the later statistics hold up, the case Becker and Blaxill are making is not convincing.

None of that stops them from inferring a cause. Those of you who’ve followed the antivaccine movement likely guessed that this was where Becker and Blaxill were going: Straight to what they always go to, vaccines, in this case, the lack of vaccines caused by delayed well-baby visits due to the lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

We have no specific data on the trend in SIDS deaths during the pandemic. We have, however, heard anecdotal reports from emergency room (ER) doctors suggesting some have observed a decline in SIDS. One doctor who says he might see 3 cases of SIDS in a typical week has seen zero cases since the pandemic and associated lockdowns began.

This leap to a conclusion is unsurprising, given the antivaccine myth that vaccines cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They most definitely do not, even though antivaccine cranks love to promote this myth, the Vaccine Court once made a dubious ruling suggesting a link, and grieving mothers who attribute their baby’s SIDS to vaccines make for sympathetic and compelling figures, which is why antivaxxers try to convince mothers who’ve lost babies to SIDS that it was vaccines that caused it. In fact, although it’s very clear that vaccines do not increase the risk of SIDS, it’s actually likely that they decrease the risk of SIDS.

Ignoring all this science, Becker and Blaxill boldly engage in JAQing off over whether vaccines might be responsible for this decline in mortality:

One very clear change that has received publicity is that public health officials are bemoaning the sharp decline in infant vaccinations as parents are not taking their infants into pediatric offices for their regular well-baby checks. In the May 15 issue of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a group of authors from the CDC and Kaiser Permanente reported a sharp decline in provider orders for vaccines as well as a decline in pediatric vaccine doses administered. (8) These declines began in early march, around the time infant deaths began declining.

Again, when you’re a hammer, everything is a nail, and when you’re an antivaxxer, everything must have something to do with vaccines, particularly if you think you see a correlation between a negative outcome with vaccines or a correlation of a positive outcome with a lack of vaccines.

You know what? If Becker and Blaxill want to include anecdotes, I’ll include one too. It’s from a pediatric intensive care doctor, who responded to a thread on Twitter in which an antivaxxer named Jeff claiming a correlation between decreased infant mortality and decreases in vaccine uptake:

See? This is a potential other explanation for the decline in the number of infant deaths (if, in fact, it turns out to be real, which, given the small numbers involved, it might not be). Another potential explanation is the huge decline in miles driven in automobiles, which likely resulted in a decline in deaths due to auto collisions. Given the small numbers of deaths of children under 14 per week at baseline, it wouldn’t take that much of a decline to partially or completely explain the declines Becker and Blaxill are touting. Of course, antivaxxers like Becker and Blaxill don’t even consider it. Instead, they conclude with a flourish of unfounded speculation:

Covid19 is unique among recent pandemics in that the mortality toll is measurable, real and convincing. It is also nearly certain to be transitory, but that won’t stop the propaganda juggernaut from rolling forward. However, as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” What no one would have predicted in advance of Covid19 is that the extreme lockdown response has produced a natural experiment that actually calls into question the very actions—widespread, mandated vaccines for all–that the infectious disease and public health community have been pushing for years. We should mourn the deaths of the elderly Manhattan nursing home residents but also take heed of the hundreds of avoided infant deaths. Only with that kind of balance will we draw the proper lessons from the pandemic and the lockdowns that have followed in its wake.

Note the offensive comparison. Sure, many tens of thousands of elderly people have died horrible deaths because of COVID-19, but won’t you think of the children, specifically the several hundred who, for whatever reason, didn’t die because of the lockdown? It’s how antivaxxers think. Again, it’s all about the vaccines, first, foremost, and always. Think of it this way. Even if Becker and Blaxill have a point, they are saying, when you boil down their comparison, that it was worth it to have tens of thousands of elderly people die if it saved at least a ten- to twenty-fold smaller number of children—and “proved” that vaccines cause SIDS, to boot! If you think I’m being uncharitable and don’t think that’s what they meant to infer, then answer me this: Why did they also spend so much verbiage (and two charts) looking at average life expectancy per age cohort and quality-adjusted life-years saved or lost by age group?

The bottom line is that Becker and Blaxill made broad, sweeping generalizations in the form of JAQing off just by “eyeballing” raw figures for which the later numbers are likely to be significant underestimates, all in the service of antivaccine pseudoscience in the form of the myth that vaccines cause SIDS. Antivaxxers have been predicting that SIDS would decline during the lockdown because of the decline in vaccination, and this is their latest pathetic attempt to show it.

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## 490 replies on “Antivaxxers Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill deceptively use COVID-19 death statistics to claim that vaccines cause SIDS”

Carlsays:

Thanks for that Orac, it was an interesting read. There is a dark humour in the way they talk about balance at the end, without even a hint of self-awareness. Given the lack of discussion about other potential effects of lockdown or changes in behaviour from just knowing that there was a pandemic and the uncertainty over figures, it does seem utterly indecent to come to such a clear cut conclusion.

With antivaxxers, it’s always about the vaccines. Always. it’s the first and only cause they zero in on, and then they only consider potential other causes to make themselves seem reasonable for having considered them before rejecting them.

Bensays:

The CDC has the database of every child’s medical records both vaccinated and unvaccinated. I heard an interview by one of the authors of this article. He is asking the CDC to compare the death rate from SIDS between children who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. That would truly answer the question once and for all.

Dorit Reisssays:

A. There is no universal database like that in the U.S.. There are several databases, like VSD.
B. But those studies were done. SIDS was studied and not linked to vaccines.
https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccines-and-other-conditions/vaccines-sudden-infant-death-syndrome-sids

Deaths in children in the 30 days after vaccines were also studied more generally, and none were linked to vaccines, either. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/3/e20152970

This is a studied issue, not ignored. Antivaccine activists just don’t like the results.

@Ben:

That would truly answer the question once and for all.

Two words – confounding factors.

The CDC has the database of every child’s medical records both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

That’s a good one. What are they using as the back end, FoxPro?

Aliasays:

Fun fact – over here, with just 1300+ deaths attributed to Covid, the overall mortality has actually declined a little (not by much, so this of course can be just a coincidence). One thing is obviously fewer traffic accidents with less traffic and fewer infections overall, as fewer people left their homes. But there is one more point, raised by MDs – elective and planned surgeries were virtually stopped for at least two months. And when you undergo surgery, there is always this small possibility that something will go horribly wrong. The flip side is of course quality of life on the one hand – and possibility of the underlying condition getting much, much worse in this period and causing untimely death a little further along the line. Still, it’s a point to consider.

F68.10says:

The topic of SIDS is a difficult one to discuss. Many people believe or want to believe that it’s some kind of mysterious magical entity that “just is”. Like the Big Electron. And those who want to know what it is always seem to me to have an agenda. I’ve never found a paper on SIDS that I found satisfactory.

If antivaxxers want to use it, they’re bound to make a mess out of it…

highmyope 1955says:

My maternal grandmother lost twin boys in a cot death (that’s what SIDS was called in bygone times). There was no routine vaccination then. I do not know the exact year without consulting the family tree, but it was before 1910.

SMKsays:

Sorry for the loss to your family of twin boys, who would have been (actually, were) your uncles. I wonder if they had a genetic disorder called MCAD, which accounts for a small percentage of sudden infant deaths. You could find out if you are a carrier of this recessive disorder, though this would not actually prove the cause of death for those two babies.

Well, yeah. I’ve been saying this for only five years now, maybe longer. Nice that the media is finally starting to notice.

Matt Gsays:

They have learned how to imitate scientific writing. They’re like children dressing up in their parents’ clothing: they’ve seen it done, sort of know how to do it, but don’t really understand why.

hassays:

If the fall in infant deaths is real, IF, then the fact that there was lockdown must be an important factor in reducing those deaths, the two obvious causes to my mind would be reduced infections and reduced traffic accidents. In fact as soon as I saw the article I thought “reduced infections of all kinds”. but then I am very much in favour of vaccines, my mother had polio in her thirties and had to learn to walk again without the use of her balance muscles which affected her for the rest of her life; such a visible example of the damage that can be done tends to have a profound effect.

Athaicsays:

Also, more people at home during the lockdown watching over the sleeping little baby.

Nicole Sousasays:

Here are the stats from 2017 these are for the year. Traffic accidents is a mute point there were 90. Most accidents happen IN THE HOME not in day cares or outside because parents are often distracted and there are far more dangers in the home… day cares have tight regulations. Murders would likely be up since child abuse is up. even if you erase ALL other disease it would not account for the large decrease in deaths. Everyone is making assumptions in this response without looking at the data:
#Sudden infant death syndrome (R95) 1360
Other symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R53,R55-R94,R96-R99) 1319
Motor vehicle accidents (V02-V04,V09.0,V09.2,V12-V14,V19.0-V19.2,V19.4-V19.6,V20-V79,V80.3-V80.5,V81.0-V81.1,V82.0-V82.1,V83-V86,V87.0-V87.8,V88.0-V88.8,V89.0,V89.2) 90
Accidental drowning and submersion (W65-W74) 41
Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (W75) 946
Other accidental suffocation and strangulation (W76-W77,W81-W84) 115
Accidental inhalation and ingestion of food or other objects causing obstruction of respiratory tract (W78-W80) 42
Accidents caused by exposure to smoke, fire and flames (X00-X09) 15
Accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances (X40-X49) 10
Other and unspecified accidents (W20-W31,W35-W64,W85-W99,X10-X39,X50-X59) 39
Assault (homicide) by hanging, strangulation and suffocation (X91) 26
Assault (homicide) by discharge of firearms (U01.4,X93-X95) 12
Neglect, abandonment and other maltreatment syndromes (Y06-Y07) 76
Assault (homicide) by other and unspecified means (
U01.0-U01.3,U01.5-*U01.9,X85-X90,X92,X96-X99,Y00-Y05,Y08-Y09) 187
#Complications of medical and surgical care (Y40-Y84) 14
#Acute upper respiratory infections (J00-J06) 12
#Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18) 158
#Acute bronchitis and acute bronchiolitis (J20-J21) 42
#Meningitis (G00,G03) 47
Certain infectious and parasitic diseases (A00-B99) 515

A. It’s not clear what your basis is for saying most accidents are in the home. I haven’t found support for that.

B. You’re right about car accidents for infants, but not for the other age groups.

C. The main unintentional injury for infants is suffocation. That, too, is not something vaccines would cause.

D. Note that the commenters are making it clear they’re raising possibilities they know are untested, mostly discussing options knowing they can’t draw conclusions. In contrast, the anti-vaccine writers did conclude.

So I would agree commenters here cannot conclude, but the criticism of the anti-vaccine paper is still valid.
For those looking for it, here is the link that, I suspect, the commenter drew on.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09-508.pdf

Dangerous Baconsays:

Points about closure/lack of utilization of day care centers and diminished travel/fewer outdoor activities during the pandemic are well taken.

Might there also be a correlation between fewer child deaths and the possibility that parents less harried by work responsibilities and who have been spending lots more time at home are more attentive care-givers?

Rannsays:

My thoughts exactly! Such as checking the positions of infants in cribs…….

Athaicsays:

My apologies, I just posted the same last point as you before reading your post.

Matt Gsays:

They have learned to imitate scientific writing. They are like children dressing up in their parents’ clothing: they’ve seen it done, sorta know how to do it, but don’t really understand why.

Dorit Reisssays:

Note that this same dynamic duo claimed in late March that total deaths have gone down. https://www.facebook.com/1503016366/posts/10216502331779807/?d=n

To give the most generous interpretation, at least they are sufficiently reality focused they had to admit COVID-19 kills, even if they tried to fib it off as “only in old people.”

Their believers took their lack of evidence re SIDS and ran with it under the heading of “they showed SIDS decreased without vaccines.” (And really, there is evidence on SIDS and vaccines. It doesn’t support them).

I’m still trying to understand why they thought “one anonymous doctor who said he saw no sids where he usually sees three” would appear as valid evidence to external observers (and I read the way the report is written as they trying to appeal to those outside the circle of believers).

Stephensays:

How in the world would an ER physician see 3 SIDS deaths per week? I am in a 4 Pediatrician practice and we haven’t had a child die of SIDS in probably a decade or more.

An excellent question. I should have picked up on that. I just looked it up, and there are only around 2,500 SIDS deaths a year in the US, which would be only less than 50 a week for the entire country. For any one ER doc to see three cases a week would be incredible, as that would be more than 6% of the entire number of SIDS deaths in the entire country.

Timsays:

Call Erin Brockovich.

robert waltonsays:

yes …sids… back in 1977 my 14 month old little boy passed was said this thing called sids?? no other answer was available back then ..as of now not much more factually know from what i can see& after half a life time of living with the memory of the day….but as a baby back then he had vacanations of the day & what ever the protocols that took place from his berth till his death …..so too me with out proof of what went wrong in any other area ….i would be thinking im a anti vaccer….. for sure but what ever it was he stopped breathing & his heart stopped beating?????? so comes back too what caused it ????? somebody tell me….cheers ,,,happy bob from oz …8

F68.10says:

@ robert walton

What you’ll find in the literature will be statistical truthes at most. You’ll never be able to get a truth statement there about what happened to your kid in particular. It will give you indications, and will raise more questions than it will yield answers.

Do not engage in hopeless Quests.

The fact that you cannot derive statistical truth from anecdotal evidence has a corollary: you cannot derive anecdotal truth from statistical evidence. There will always be a mismatch you won’t be able to bridge.

christine kincaidsays:

@ F68.10,

The statistics are all whacked out & apparently our anecdotes are worth nothing of value at all. What about etiological evidence? Such as an activated immune system.

Not a Hopeless Quest; a Life’s Quest. Anniversary of her death is coming up on June 21.

SIGH Christine, this has been explained to you before. Anecdotes are not data and memory is notoriously fallible. After Wakefield’s “case study” numerous people came forward and claimed that their children regressed straight after receiving their vaccinations. Yet when the children’s records were reviewed, in most cases there were clear signs of problems before the vaccines. The parents had edited their memories to fit the “hypothesis”.
w.r.t vaccines and SIDS, Professor Peter Fleming, the creator of “Back to sleep” and perhaps the World’s foremost expert on SIDS, investigated the question. His conclusion? No link. Other studies found a slight inverse correlation.
Vaccines do not cause SIDS.

F68.10says:

@ christine kincaid

“Not a Hopeless Quest”

That’s the kind of statement where I would have a lot to say, some disparaging, some not at all disparaging. But not on a blog, and not in written form. But to put it simply: just wish you’d take it a bit more easy. Not the kind of statements you’d likely welcome, but I have reasons for them. Which I won’t lay down on a blog, and not in written form.

To you and to Bob:

F68.10says:

@ christine kincaid

“The statistics are all whacked out & apparently our anecdotes are worth nothing of value at all.”

The statistics are “all whacked out” because it’s crazy stuff to carry proper and thorough investigations into issues such as SIDS at almost every level. You could throw shitloads of money to that issue and still get little more than “whacked out” statistics. The issue is crazily complicated. At least, that’s my feeling from my experience reading on the topic.

Anecdotes cannot be considered valuable in such matters. It’s too sensitive. Doesn’t mean that anecdotes should not be collected and compiled, but they absolutely shouldn’t be taken as evidence. And if there is the slightest risk that anecdotes could be mistaken as evidence, they won’t — really — be collected and compiled. The basic assumption in such matters is Everybody Lies.

And with respect to SIDS, there also are issues that no one would willingly dare look into; so as hard as it may be for you to hear and for me to admit, some secrets are best left as secrets…

“What about etiological evidence? Such as an activated immune system.”

SIDS is a syndrome that is defined without reference to etiology. It cannot be otherwise as what it captures as a logico-scientific category is something where etiology is not presumed to be anything specific. It describes circumstances… I looked at some papers investigating etiology of SIDS. Very little can be extracted from them that would give more than fuzzy probabilistic answers and shady statistical uncertainty. The best course of action with SIDS is to provide guidelines to avoid it. But how much can SIDS be compressed with such guidelines is something I wouldn’t put too much hope into.

We should already be quite happy that infant mortality — SIDS “not included” — has considerably declined over time. This is Good ®. Hard to do any better for the moment without Good Intents Backfiring. SIDS is here to stay. Vaccines or no vaccines.

Denice Waltersays:

What Julian said.
In fact, there’s an entire area of cognitive psychology concerning eyewitness testimony ( see Loftus). It is highly malleable as trial lawyers know only too well.

Concerning vaccines, one family used videos of their daughter prior to vaccinations to illustrate how “normal” ( unaffected?) she was but experts saw many of the early indicators of autism in the video and they lost the case. ( see Cedillo autism).
Recall can be very selective and transmutable : it is not a video recording.

christine kincaidsays:

@ Robert,

“There is convincing evidence that slight infection and an activated immune system are involved in SIDS. One common thread may be the dysregulation of inflammatory responses to apparently mild infections, leading to a cytokine storm that contributes to death.”

Vaccines can cause a cytokine storm. Did your sweet boy “apparently” have an “apparently mild infection?”. Because my sweet girl did not. She just had vaccines, less than 24 hours before she died.

And now they say there is a convincing evidence that an activated immune system is involved in SIDS.

My children’s pediatrician always delayed vaccines if they were sick. No “apparently” about it.

Smut Clydesays:

Vaccines can cause a cytokine storm

So can alien abductions.

She just had vaccines, less than 24 hours before she died.

You left out she was a premature twin, medically-fragile and you pulled her off oxygen. But it’s the vaccines, sheesh.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

You link to a chapter that doesn’t once mention vaccines. They, for instance, discuss full blown bacterial infections. Since you, as i’ve pointed out over and over, don’t understand how vaccines work, don’t understand the basics of immunology which does include cytokines and infections, you don’t understand why it is highly unlikely that a vaccine would cause a cytokine storm. Despite what you choose to believe, there is little to NO evidence that vaccines cause cytokine storms.

So, when you write: “Vaccines can cause a cytokine storm.” It is not science; but your world of fantasy.

It has to be vaccines in your mind, so if it isn’t cytokine storms, I’m sure you will come up with something else.

Bethsays:

I’m sorry to hear of your loss. As other commenters have indicated, it basically means they have no idea why your son passed. The pain of it lasts forever. The ‘back to sleep’ positioning has reduced the number of such deaths since 1977, even if we still don’t know why some babies die.

SMKsays:

Condolences, Robert Walton, for the sad loss of your baby. The memories remain. Genetic testing has advanced dramatically in the past 43 years. Perhaps by now, an answer would be found in the DNA, if a sample were available.

Denice Waltersays:

A few things…

Blaxill in involved in Health Choice, the Canary Party ( silent: not chirping of late) and AoA. Anti-vaxxers like to join groups such as Katie Wright ( Safe Minds, Children’s Health Defense) and Cathy Jameson ( AoA, TMR). It’s a way to make their numbers look stronger- lots of groups with the same members.. Dachel also has her own website. The others are on AoA often.

MI, NY and NJ are reducing Covid numbers: I read last week that NJ’s R number went from 5.39, March 21, to 0.66 last week.

People drove so much less that certain auto insurers are giving customers rate reductions of 15% for the months involved.

Writing about SIDS will probably bring out a certain anti-vaxxer. Oh joy!

I can understand why deaths of several ages groups might have declined in many areas: no one was doing much for 3 months! NYC was virtually shut down – you can find images of the empty streets and tourist traps which usually teem with activity. Shopping was cut drastically and mass transit declined precipitously Less people working. Perhaps people who drank stayed home. Less traffic to kill pedestrians and bike riders. It’s actually amazing how people cooperated.Unlike other places.

But of course, anti-vaxxers will turn it all into an indictment of vaccines.

.

christine kincaidsays:

Hi Denice!

Robert C.says:

“Writing about SIDS will probably bring out a certain anti-vaxxer. Oh joy!”

Antivaxxers love dead children so much, that they wish there were more of them.

That’s why they celebrated when Japan stopped vaccinating for pertussis because they thought that 2 children might have been harmed by a vaccine – 41 children then died the next year of that disease.

Bensays:

Robert C…”Antivaxxers love dead children so much, that they wish there were more of them.” Man you’re sick!!!
People for safe vaccines “antivaxxers” just want double blind placebos for vaccines so we know they are safe. Also we want to get away from the government vaccine courts that US taxpayers pay money out for harm to children and allow the pharmaceutical companies to be liable when they cause damage. Let’s create a free market economy for the pharmaceutical industry.

Dorit Reisssays:

Antivaccine activists reject them, just as they reject the studies on vaccines and autism or SIDS because it’s not about the evidence. They just want to blame vaccines.

Also we want to get away from the government vaccine courts that US taxpayers pay money out for harm to children and allow the pharmaceutical companies to be liable when they cause damage.

Well, if you want to even the playing field, how about a loser-pays system?

Briansays:

This can’t be overstated enough- the numbers they are using are incomplete because of the delays in compiling the death certificate data.

Based on my own rough analysis of the NVSS data, about 10% of total weekly deaths still aren’t included a month later, and about 3% are still missing after two months. This alone can explain away many of the trends regarding reduced mortality.

The good news is that it won’t take long for their paper to become obsolete. The numbers will be updated over time to reveal which trends are, in fact, real. As Dorit Reiss alluded to, the antivaxxers/conspiracy theorists can no longer use this data to pretend that overall mortality has gone down. Any who did are now roundly refuted by their own sources.

Juniperussays:

It’d be cool if they’d gone and done a more in-depth to that one doctor the article cited who sees about three cases of SIDS a week. He’s handling somewhere in the range of 5-10% of the entire US’s SIDS patients, and is thus, presumably, real knowledgeable on the subject.

John Kanesays:

Time to call the RCMP (well whatever the US equivalent is).

Chris Prestonsays:

Yes it would be extraordinary for one doctor to be responsible for 10% of all SIDS deaths in the US.

Christopher Hickiesays:

Despite seeing excellent take downs of both the Hooker and Blaxill anti-vax “papers” here, I’m left as a pediatrician with a very bad vibe fueled largely by what I perceive as an increasing public distrust of medical science that has grown with the pandemic. Parents aren’t bringing children in for vaccines (including infants) but since a lot of those parents and kids are staying at home it’s helping prevent outbreaks of infections like pertussis and measles (but we can’t stay at home forever). Once schools and day cares fully restart, those 2 incubators of infection will fuel measles and perussis outbreaks (and when that happens AVers will holler this is PROOFZ vaccines don’t work). But in the meanwhile AVers have seized upon the moment for these 2 “papers” as well as lay the foundation for spreading FUD about any SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that is released. I keep seeing the Hooker paper all over and I’m sure the Blaxill paper will spread on social media just as much. I fear it’s going to be difficult to convince parents to catch their children up on vaccines and that will leave us very precarious just like the UK was after Wakefraud’s 1998 Lancet paper came out.

JustaTechsays:

I have a college friend who’s been somewhat … vaccine complainy? (Her kids still get their shots, but she often ask why in ways that make it clear she would rather they didn’t have to.) and she shared an article about exactly what you’ve said here, that kids are falling behind, with the comment “but it’s just boosters…”

Yes Vicky, it is boosters, for you and your kids, and you will take them to catch up. But a lot of vulnerable kids won’t get caught up. Or they really needed that booster.

And then there are all the kids in other parts of the world that are seeing VPD outbreaks because all the vaccine campaigns have been canceled.

Damn COVID.

Christopher Hickiesays:

@ JustaTech–ICYMI, there was a very sad NYT article 5 days ago about how COVID-19 is making it very hard to vaccinate in poorer countries (esp in Africa) due to both needed control measures d/t the pandemic but also because a rumor started that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were going to be tested without consent in Africa. Horrible rumor that has put lots of parents there off all vaccines. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/health/coronavirus-vaccines-measles.html

Richardsays:

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that the annual influenza season could explain quite a lot of the decline in pediatric mortality between February and May. Just look at these figures: on average some 150 pediatric deaths annually, almost all between December and April, typically peaking in February, followed by a steady decline.
This would also explain the drop in mortality in other age groups.

At least this is a much better explanation than VaccinesDidIt.

Denice Waltersays:

from The Recount; CBS News:

Dr Fauci decries the current trend of anti-science and mistrust of authority which contributes to cavalier attitudes about contracting the virus, He cites anti-vaxxers as well as freedom fanatics.

Maybe that’s why the curves form the EU and US look so different.

Timsays:

Hey! #11 is valid!

My landlord had guages, freon, and saddle valves — I would adjust the pressure of the \$79 lowes air conditioner per the changing seasons, reverse the unit, put high speed squirrel cage blower from microwave/range on the outside (ducted with cardboard and metal tape) — It kept a couple rooms nice and toasty all winter. On the occasions that it did freeze up*, I still got the 500 watts off the compressor which is now inside.

*interestingly enough, it is not so much the temperature but the humidity (well; dew point, actually) combined. It was cold cold that one winter. One extra cold night I recall, it was pumping out heat just fine with it 21F outside.

One extra cold night I recall, it was pumping out heat just fine with it 21F outside.

If you think 21F is “extra cold,” I suggest you check out the Hawk wind in Chicago.

Timsays:

I should have qualified that was a low temp that my makeshift heat pump still worked (still pretty cold for around here).

I don’t know from 30F below. Fuck me running. Teens and single didgets (without ‘wind chill’) is pretty rare here. There is a saying around here: “That is as cold as a witch’s titty in a brass braw doing pushups in the snow in January.”

r/nooffensewickans

[…] imitable Orac in his luscious takedown of this pseudoscience paper wrote about the same […]

Hi Orac, thanks for taking this on. Larry Cook and a couple of his colleagues were touting this idea back in March, usually passed around in meme form, with wording like,

Due to a lenghthy quarantine, parents all over the world are missing well baby checkups.
Huge drop in SIDS rates.
Flatten the curve 2020

Another source that got passed around (also around the 3rd week in March) was from an person who claimed expertise because she was a medical transcriptionist, who claimed she usually sees records from a SIDS case every few weeks, and she hadn’t seen any since “the quarantine began”. THAT got passed around a lot.

Christopher Hickiesays:

Yeah, that nameless transcriptionist must be pals with the nameless ER doc and also transcribe 10’s of thousand of encounter visits daily. Gimme a break.

christine kincaidsays:

VAERS (CDC Wonder) results for reports filed for adverse events after vaccination filtered only in section #9, dates vaccinated March 2019-May 2019: 8,541 total events. Deaths: 13.

VAERS (CDC Wonder) results for reports filed for adverse events after vaccination filtered only in section #9, dates vaccinated March 2020-May 2020: 846 total events. Deaths: 0.

I know that means nothing, except that maybe when people don’t get actual vaccines; their imaginary reactions & deaths stop occurring.

Dangerous Baconsays:

It’s always interesting when antivaxers cite VAERS reports as proof of vaccine-related injuries.

It’s even more interesting that, despite believing the CDC is an evil lying agency engaging in a massive coverup, they happily accept CDC data as accurate when it suits their purposes.

Assuming her figures are accurate (seeing that this is Christine, such an assumption is risky), has she considered that for those vaccinated in the last few months, it takes time to 1) file reports of adverse events allegedly connected to vaccines, and 2) have those reports processed and results reported by the CDC, which has quite a lot of work on its hands currently, so that 3) the 2020 figures are probably nowhere near as complete as for the corresponding period in 2019, which would account for at least some of the observed differences.

Maybe personal injury lawyers are too busy now with lawsuits related to COVID-19 treatment to file dubious reports with VAERS.

I would add that she is right, at the least, that when babies don’t get vaccinated – and we know less people are vaccinated during COViD-19, for several reasons, including the fact that doctors offices are closed and people are afraid – such SIDS deaths and issues that arise won’t be blamed on vaccines, and won’t be filed with VAERS, so you would see less VAERS reports. Without vaccines, there’s no temporal connections to confuse with causal connection. Doesn’t mean the issues aren’t happening, just that there’s no basis to report them to VAERS.

It also doesn’t mean vaccines caused any of the issues in the reports from the previous period.

It’s like the dishonest anti-vaccine claim that after Japan stopped vaccinating infants until the age of 2 SIDS deaths stopped, which is based on the number of claims filed for compensation for SIDS after vaccines. Of course there won’t be such claims after vaccines if vaccines are after two, because SIDS applies to infant under one. Doesn’t mean SIDS cases stopped or dropped. They didn’t.

https://blog.drwile.com/vaccines-actually-protect-against-sudden-infant-death-syndrome-sids/

Funayama M., et al. “Autopsy cases of sudden unexpected infant deaths examined at the Tokyo medical examiner’s office, 1964-1993” Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1996;17(1):32-7

christine kincaidsays:

@ DB,

You are absolutely correct. Many reports will be filed as 2020 trudges on. Enough to compensate for an almost 8,000 count discrepancy? Probably not. Also; reports from 2019 will continue to file in here & there as well.

Chris Prestonsays:

It’s like the dishonest anti-vaccine claim that after Japan stopped vaccinating infants until the age of 2 SIDS deaths stopped, which is based on the number of claims filed for compensation for SIDS after vaccines. Of course there won’t be such claims after vaccines if vaccines are after two, because SIDS applies to infant under one. Doesn’t mean SIDS cases stopped or dropped. They didn’t.

Indeed.

No doubt we will see the anti-vaxxers turn up with data from VAERS showing fewer deaths reported during the pandemic as sure evidence that vaccines kill children.

Terriesays:

Given that you can’t tell the difference between the phrases “paralytic polio” and “non-polio paralysis,” I don’t exactly place any trust in your ability to collect information, let alone analyze it.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

Another possibility that you never considered is, if a child doesn’t get vaccinated; but develops any of a number of serious conditions or even dies, then parents won’t report it to VAERS. Again, you fail to understand Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc. People, partially due to what they focus on, attribute problems to whatever their selective perception remembers/focuses on.

Or, quite simply during the lockdown, kids are less exposed to infection, less likely to be in car accidents, etc. And I also explained numerous times in other comments that lightening does strike twice in the same place, even three or four times. So if kids get sick, die, and at same age, a number get vaccinated, doesn’t mean vaccines in any way responsible.

An example I gave previously. 800,000 people have heart attacks in U.S. every years, 365,000 die. So, how many had a heart attack right after eating eggs for breakfast or cereal or . . .?

For open-minded, I highly recommend a fun book to read: David J Hand’s “The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, And Rare Events Happen Every Day.

JPsays:

@Joel:

I guess one of the things I would say about improbable events and coincidences is that even if you can prove with statistics that they’re random, who’s to say that there isn’t something interesting or meaningful in the randomness itself? I mean, maybe, say, Loki, operates in the world through randomness. It would be entirely appropriate. (I’m a Lokean as well as a Buddhist; with regard to Loki, you can’t choose your family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yeah, I can be batsh!t crazy, oh well.)

I was going to say something about how Freya played “Love is a Battlefield” this Yule by means of a random playlist, but I though better of it. (Look, these things are entirely subjective, idk, it’s hard to argue with a madman.)

I know that means nothing, except that maybe when people don’t get actual vaccines; their imaginary reactions & deaths stop occurring.

I’d say this was dumb even for you but it’s you. If no one is getting a vaccine, then how do they blame their “injury” on said non-existent vaccine?

Renatesays:

Or they blame the vaccines they got themselves. The socalled ‘injuries’ will keep happening, but they find another way to blame vaccines for everything.

Vickisays:

Did anyone else notice that Becker and Blaxill don’t think the millions of deaths from the AIDS pandemic were measurable, real, or convincing:

Covid19 is unique among recent pandemics in that the mortality toll is measurable, real and convincing.

I’d put my money on “not real” or “not convincing,” because I don’t think the authors care about gay men or Africans, just as they clearly don’t care about the elderly.

I may be overly cynical, but I don’t see any reason to think they care about any deaths or harms they cannot blame on vaccines in some way.

Terriesays:

Sadly, I think you’re just being realistic. Look at the way they mock people who lose their children to things like whooping cough or SSPE.

christine kincaidsays:

@ Dorit,

I did not filter for SIDS. I did not filter even by symptom.

So what if a year goes by & decreased infant mortality appears for this time period proves to be reality; not a fluke?

And what if a year goes by & still no reports of SIDS on VAERS from this period of distancing?

(actually; there will be two from June for sure, as two families I know of have reported losing infants within 36 hrs from vaccines in June)

I don’t think my point depends on SIDS. I gave the Japanese as an example of the tactic.

When children aren’t vaccinated, deaths from car accidents, cancer, unrelated infections and other things not caused by vaccines are also not going to be reported to VAERS, because reports to VAERS reflect things that happened under vaccines, caused by them or not (or in some cases, things someone read on the internet about vaccines).

We do have studies of deaths after vaccines. They don’t really support the anti-vaccine desire to blame vaccines for them. E.g.: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/3/e20152970

If the end result is decline in mortality in all age groups under 18, what would you say?

christine kincaidsays:

@ F68.10,

thank you.

Bethsays:

“Antivaxxers have been predicting that SIDS would decline during the lockdown because of the decline in vaccination, and this is their latest pathetic attempt to show it.” This will be something that can be verified when statistics for SIDS deaths during this period are available. If it were to be the case that SIDS deaths had a statistically significant decline during the lockdown, what would you think?

Bethsays:

I agree,if the decline in infant deaths is real and not illusory then it ought to be researched.

Vickisays:

I would think we should look for things that were different during the lockdown than at other times, looking particularly at things that haven’t already been shown not to cause SIDS.

Throw out anything where there’s no plausible connection. If you can think of a reason that the lack of professional hockey games on Canadian television might be relevant, include it, but that’s not where I’d start looking.

Also: if it turns out a year from now that SIDS deaths increased during the lockdown, what would you think?

Bethsays:

I would disagree that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There is research, but like most research, it’s not as conclusive enough to make such a broad statement.

If it turned out there had been an increase in SIDS during the pandemic, my response would be the same – we should research it and try to figure out why that happened.

F68.10says:

@ Beth

“There is research, but like most research, it’s not as conclusive enough to make such a broad statement.”

But it’s seemingly conclusive enough to consider that it’s worth vaccinating.

I do often feel that medicine operates in a manner that could be summed up as: “We try this. We check what we can to see that things do not go wrong. Item by item. But checking that overall everything is really really fine would be too complicated and would stop us from action”. It’s a way for the medical world to avoid analysis paralysis (they have little choice in the matter, mind you…).

The downside is that they confuse “the parameters we’ve been checking are OK” with “everything’s OK”. That mismatch is likely what explains the discrepancy of perception you, as a statistician, have comparatively to doctors who have to believe they know how to take action on available evidence.

If Dorit’s statement had been “all the parameters we checked with respect to a putative vaccine link to SIDS are OK”, you’d likely have less issues with Dorit’s statement.

Beth, I went to Google Scholar and entered the search phrase “vaccines and sids”. Over 4000 results, some dating back to the 1990’s, were returned.
How much more conclusive do you want the evidence to be?

Dangerous Baconsays:

It’s what she does.

christine kincaidsays:

Hoping that after the “appropriate amount of time”; the decrease in infant mortality is looked at closely. Really close.

In 1950, US infant mortality was at 29.2. Single highest COD was prematurity with a death rate of 6.5. Nothing remotely close to describing SIDS as a COD. Pertussis as a COD in infants had been dropping, without a vaccine; from a rate of 1.0 in 1941 to 0.2 in 1950.

US infant mortality rate is now 5.6 but the SIDS death rate is 35.4 (2017).

``` Death rate from Pertussis without a vaccine was 0.2. wtf. ```

Dangerous Baconsays:

”In 1950, US infant mortality was at 29.2…US infant mortality rate is now 5.6”

Gotta be the vaccines, right?

Terriesays:

Whooping cough was widely vaccinated against starting the in mid-1940s. So that drop you see is from vaccination.

Terriesays:

Also, you’re giving a death rate per 100,000 for SIDS, and a per 1,000 for 1950’s whooping cough. That means that in the 1950 — when a vaccine was available! — the comparable death rate for whooping cough was 20, not .2. Does it tell you anything that you have to distort facts to make your argument? The death of your daughter was a tragedy, but the death of other people’s children won’t make your pain any less.

Denice Waltersays:

Anti-vaxxers like anecdotes so here’s one:
my cousin was supposed to have a baby around New Year’s 2005 BUT she had an emergency C-section in mid October.. Her daughter had a few issues ( GI, heart) but came home after several weeks. She had no further problems and is now a teenager.

Now, how often did pre term infants like her survive years ago?

–Research shows that Preterm Infants at Greater Risk for SIDS Rutgers.edu June 2017. They discuss the need for parental education before leaving hospital
— in Pediatrics July 20117,.Ostfeld et al. Pre-term is a strong risk for SIDS
Decline in SIUD as GA increases

In recent years, more older women have riskier pregnancies, more IVF, more early preterm babies, more interventions BUT
It’s the Vaccines!!!

Christopher Hickiesays:

SIDS as a separate COD was not proposed as such until the late 1960’s, so it would not be listed as a COD in the 1950’s. (“The term sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was first proposed in 1969 in order to focus attention on a subgroup of infants with similar clinical features whose deaths occurred unexpectedly in the postnatal period….the term SIDS was only accepted as an official diagnosis on death certificates in 1971, with the term “sudden infant death” being allocated a separate code (coding number 798.0) in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases in 1979” (from Chapter 2: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: An Overview, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513399/))

Denice Waltersays:

Something hilarious:
AoA today:
Thermometers Break All Former Weapons Rules In Schools

imagine a Karen saying:
” My son got in trouble for pointing his fingers to ‘shoot’ a class mate and you let these school employees POINT THERMOMETERS at innocent children?”
HOW DARE YOU!!!

Chris Prestonsays:

Perhaps over at AoA they think there is still mercury in thermometers. The way they think there is still mercury in vaccines?

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

So, now you want to compare 1950s infant deaths to today’s. First, low birth weight and especially low birthweight children usually did NOT survive in 1950. In addition, neither did newborns with other birth defects. We didn’t have neonatal intensive care units in 1950. The first American newborn intensive care unit, designed by Louis Gluck, was opened in October 1960 at Yale New Haven Hospital. Second, you ignore that starting in 1990s the number of SIDS cases has plummeted, despite adding two more vaccines to child schedules. From 130 per 100,000 Live Births to 40 per 100,000 Live Births.

See: CDC Trends in Sudden Unexpected Infant Death by Cause, 1990-2017. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm#cause

You write: “In 1950, US infant mortality was at 29.2. Single highest COD was prematurity with a death rate of 6.5. Nothing remotely close to describing SIDS as a COD. Pertussis as a COD in infants had been dropping, without a vaccine; from a rate of 1.0 in 1941 to 0.2 in 1950.”

First, “In 2017, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.” (CDC Infant Mortality. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/infantmortality.htm

So, the total number of deaths per 1,000 is 1/5 those of 1950 and lower than 1950s prematurity deaths. As for pertussis deaths decreasing, yep, pertussis is a bacteria and antibiotics saved most lives. However, death is not the only criteria to judge the effectiveness of a vaccine. The first petussis vaccine was developed in the 1930s, but became available in the 1940s. Cases started to decline with the release of the vaccine (CDC. Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Reported NNDSS pertussis cases: 1922-2018. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/surv-reporting.html )
Pertussis is known as the 100 day cough as fits of coughing can last that long.

Pertussis can cause serious illness in people of all ages and can even be life-threatening, especially in babies.

Approximately half of babies less than 1 year old who get pertussis need treatment in the hospital.

SIDS was not given a separate diagnostic category until 1969, so we don’t really know how prevalent it was before then.

“Prior to the 1960s, little was known about the epidemiology of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Deaths that occurred suddenly and unexpectedly were generally certified as being due to another cause of death such as pneumonitis rather than an unknown cause (Peterson, 1980). In an international conference in 1969, SIDS became defined as “the sudden death of any infant or young child, which is unexpected by history, and in which a thorough postmortem examination fails to demonstrate an adequate cause of death” (Bergman et al., 1970, p. 18). [However] “It was not until 1975 that the coding of such deaths was modified, so that these deaths could be classified specifically as SIDS.” The use of a standard definition and the specific classification of SIDS as a distinct syndrome has facilitated identification of such cases, permitting the emergence of the descriptive epidemiology of SIDS in the 1970s and 1980s.

A number of investigators have reported seasonal variations in SIDS mortality rates, with a relative increase in frequency in winter months (Golding et al., 1985). Predictors of SIDS include individual characteristics (male sex, low birth weight, multiple births, and black race), maternal characteristics (young age, low education, and cigarette smoking), and low family income (Haglund and Cnattingius, 1990; Hoffman et al., 1987; Kraus et al., 1989). Rates in blacks have consistently been reported to be higher than those in whites; however, in one analysis (Kraus et al., 1989), this difference disappeared after controlling for maternal education and family income.

It is noteworthy that some of the factors associated with SIDS, such as low
birth weight, young maternal age, and black race, are also associated with
delaying early childhood immunization past the recommended age (Hoffman et al., 1987; Walker et al., 1987). The influence of such delays on the time of occurrence of SIDS in relation to the time of DPT immunization would depend on the specific ages over which such delays occurred. The effect could be to cause children to be immunized at ages associated with either higher or lower than expected rates of SIDS, and thus produce spurious direct or inverse associations, respectively, between SIDS and DPT immunization.

Conclusion [based on extensive review of research studies]

The evidence does not indicate a causal relation between DPT vaccine and
SIDS. Studies showing a temporal relation between these events are consistent with the expected occurrence of SIDS over the age range in which DPT immunization typically occurs.”

So, once more you show your dishonesty by cherry-picking some numbers, ignoring others. And you still haven’t responded to any of my comments that totally refuted claims made by you, e.g., increases in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis in India, etc.

Since no one trusts anything you say, why do you keep at it?

Terriesays:

Really, there’s a very simple number we can look at to understand risk. The current death rate of infants who contract whooping cough is 1 in 200, or 5 in 1000. That’s not including that massive amount of damage that whooping cough can do without killing you, but we’re going with simple right now. The total death rate for infants in the US in 2017 was 5.8 in 1000, with the top three causes being birth defects, preterm birth/low birth weight and pregnancy complications.

Terriesays:

(Obviously, this is a simplification of the whole situation, but antivaxxers have made it clear that nuance is beyond them).

Vickisays:

Those numbers aren’t comparable, though, and I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. That they aren’t comparable is clear from subtracting 5 from 5.8. If pertussis–or anything else–was causing 5/6 of all infant deaths, it would be the commonest cause of infant mortality. The appropriate comparison for “infants who contract whooping cough” isn’t infants who die because of birth defects, but all infants. (Similarly for preterm birth and pregnancy complications)

The only thing I can get out of those numbers is that, now that we have a vaccine, whooping cough isn’t one of the top three causes of infant mortality.

Terriesays:

Vicki, um, that IS all infants. 5.8 per 1000 live births is our total infant death rate in the US, with the top three contributors to that 5.8 being things that have nothing to do with infant vaccines. Simply put, even if we pretend that some number of current infant deaths were caused by infant vaccines, vaccination is much safer than the diseases it prevents and infant death rate is a very weak argument against vaccines. And since studies show vaccines don’t cause the ultimately small number of deaths that antivaxxers want to claim, there’s no argument there to be found against vaccines.

Does that help explain the point I was going for?

Bethsays:

@ F68.10: “But it’s seemingly conclusive enough to consider that it’s worth vaccinating.”

Depends on the risks of both the vaccine and the disease, including the probability of contracting the disease. IMO, the risks of vaccination are well worth the benefits for the majority of vaccines. I part company with many here with not coming to the same conclusion for all vaccines and allowing that people with different values (such as religious objections) may legitimately come to different conclusions than I have.

@ F68.10: “The downside is that they confuse “the parameters we’ve been checking are OK” with “everything’s OK”. That mismatch is likely what explains the discrepancy of perception you, as a statistician, have comparatively to doctors who have to believe they know how to take action on available evidence.”

Yes, that’s accurate.

@ Julian Frost: “Over 4000 results, some dating back to the 1990’s, were returned. How much more conclusive do you want the evidence to be?”

Conclusive doesn’t depend solely on the total number of research studies, but their content. How much agreement is there across those 4000 different studies? The link provided by Dorit only listed studies that showed no conclusive relationship. Studies listed on anti-vax sites have different conclusions. That’s why the evidence isn’t sufficient to support a broad generalization such as vaccines have “already been shown not to cause SIDS”.

Dangerous Baconsays:

”IMO, the risks of vaccination are well worth the benefits for the majority of vaccines. I part company with many here with not coming to the same conclusion for all vaccines”

So, which vaccines are on the Beth Approved Schedule and which fail to make the grade?

Should be simple enough to answer.

F68.10says:

@ Dangerous Bacon

“So, which vaccines are on the Beth Approved Schedule and which fail to make the grade?”

JAQing off, Dangerous Bacon? So unlike you… Careful: Beth seems to be JAQing off on a Super Saiyan level. Maybe you should acknowledge your limitations.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Beth

First, the studies listed on antivax websites are retracted studies, studies with questionable/flawed methodology, studies that did not make it through the peer-review process, etc. And even if one or two studies cited by antivaxxers were well-done, science doesn’t rely on one or two studies. Even a “perfectly” conducted placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial can draw a false result because blinded randomization doesn’t ensure that one eliminates some unmeasured factor affecting one group more than another. A simple example. Imagine a bowl with 100 marbles, 10 red and 90 green. Blindfolded, one places a sample, 20 in each group. Do it over and over again and the average will be 2 red and 8 green in each group; but one could actually get even all 10 red in one group and all green in the other group. This is where statistics comes in. However, that is why we look at all studies, look at their methodologies, and then summarize because the chance that one or more unmeasured factors would always be in one group as opposed to another becomes Infinitesimal

Second, the studies supporting vaccines have been reviewed, have been used in meta-analyses, even included in comprehensive reviews by the Institute of Medicine. And these reviews have found strong concordance between the studies.

As for your claim: “That’s why the evidence isn’t sufficient to support a broad generalization such as vaccines have “already been shown not to cause SIDS”.”

As I explained above, SIDS wasn’t even a category prior to 1975, so we don’t have any idea how many children died from it. If one goes back to early 20th Century and even further back, infant mortality was quite high. And even further back in time, even higher, before mass vaccinations. And you ignore that SIDS cases have plummeted while we have added two more vaccines.

And you are making one of the typical flawed assumptions, that we haven’t proved the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis with vaccine safety studies is simply that no difference exists between vaccinated and non vaccinated on some adverse measure(s). When a study finds no difference, no matter how many studies, all one sees is one can’t reject the null hypothesis; but it doesn’t prove it true. One can hypothesize numerous reasons no difference was found; e.g., sample size not large enough, definition/criteria for adverse event not reliable/accurate, and on and on it goes.

Basically, you and other antivaxxers will NEVER accept, regardless of how many studies, regardless of how well done, that vaccines not associated with ASD or SIDS. Your approach falls more under the banner of religion than science.

There are several flaws in antivaxxers approach, among them are:

Compared to what? In the case of SIDS, ignoring the inverse relationship between plummeting cases and increased vaccinations and that historically we don’t know how many cases of SIDS prior to 1975.
Ignoring/downplaying the harms from the vaccine-preventable diseases, e.g., the oral polio vaccine was found to have caused a dozen or so cases per year; but without it, there would have been 10,000 or more. Any rational person would go for vaccines. If one applied grossly exaggerating adverse events to all medicine, in fact, even foods, we would be in real trouble. People do suffer various adverse events from antibiotics; e.g., anaphylactic shock, liver damage, etc.; but when used properly antibiotics literally save 10 of thousands of lives for every serious adverse event. I could give numerous examples.
You really don’t know how vaccines work; that is, you don’t understand immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, and biostatistics.

So, bottom line, you literally don’t know what you are talking about; but I doubt anything will change your mind.

However, as I’ve suggested numerous times on this blog, if you have even an inkling of open-mindedness, start with Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th edition). Available at: amazon.com or, perhaps, earlier editions at your public library.

Note that I give the link to the National Academy of Medicines review of vaccines and SIDS above.

And as for some vaccines may be OK; but others not, which ones NOT? Pertussis with 100 day cough, sometimes brain damage from hard jerk of head, vision damage, many hospitalized, and deaths. How about rotavirus, prior to vaccine, 50,000 hospitalizations per year, 30 – 50 deaths, and, though intussusception found with first rotavirus vaccine, the actual virus causes a much larger number.

Bethsays:

I’m going to identify what I’m responding to in your post by numbering the paragraphs

Paragraph 1: Thanks for the statistics lesson, but I have a reasonable grasp of the subject. I did my Ph.D. dissertation on null hypotheses of non-equivalence. Yes, we want to look at all studies, not just cherry pick the ones with conclusions we like. Which is how your statement “And even if one or two studies cited by antivaxxers were well-done, science doesn’t rely on one or two studies.” comes across to me.

Paragraph 2: Could you provide a cite for meta-analysis of studies looking at SIDS and vaccines? I haven’t seen one for that particular issue. Assuming it exists, you have a valid point in favor of consensus

Paragraph 3-5: “typical flawed assumptions, that we haven’t proved the null hypothesis” Why do you consider it a ‘flawed assumption’. If the power computation is provided, it will tell us the certainty with which we can conclude the null is true. IIRC, one of the studies in the link Dorit provided mentioned a power <= 80% for a detectible difference of 2x. Without that information, all we can conclude is that we did not show a statistically significant difference, not that the null hypothesis is true.

Paragraph 6: Here you move to the personal disparaging remarks, sweeping me in with anti-vaxxers, when I have made it clear that I believe vaccination works and that for most recommended vaccines, agree that the benefit is worth the risk. I suspect it’s because you recognize that what I said was correct. Sweeping generations such as vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS” are not supported by the available evidence despite the plethora of studies concluding they found no relationship between the two.

Paragraph 7-8: In the piece being discussed, they did comparisons (Fig 14) of 2020 with 2014 to 2019. That seems quite reasonable. Something related to the pandemic and our response to it is clearly resulting in fewer <18 deaths. But as you pointed out, we don’t know why this is occurring and other plausible explanations are apparent. It could be one or more of those. It will, of course be interesting, to see how the official SIDS results compare when those statistics are available. 2014 to 2019 compared with 2020 would a reasonable set. We could look at it farther back, but SIDS has been steadily decreasing for years. I believe the ‘back to sleep’ movement gets most of the credit for that.

Paragraph 9: What have I said that you feel was “Ignoring/downplaying the harms from the vaccine-preventable diseases”

Paragraph 10-11: More personally disparaging remarks.

Paragraph 12: It’s nice of you to add to my reading list. Would you like me to give you some suggestions regarding statistics books?

Paragraph 13: Actually, no I hadn’t noted that. I don’t read all replies to Christine. Sometimes people are quite mean to her and I don’t like reading that. But I went back and found it. Thanks. It has a link to the publicly available database. I bookmarked it so I can use it later. At some point we should have reliable statistics for SIDS deaths during the pandemic and can look at see. Like you, I suspect it will not be more than a small portion of the decline in deaths. It’s always nice to verify one’s assumptions.

Paragraph 13: All of them are OK. Unlike actual anti-vaxxers (I don’t consider myself anti-vax), I wouldn’t deny other people the right to make use of them. I just don’t always find the risk/benefit to me personally to be worth it. I like making my own decisions about such matters and I don’t mind sharing my reasons. I haven’t had but a couple of flu vaccines since I quit teaching. When I was teaching, I felt the risk of my getting the flu was high enough that the vaccine was worthwhile. Now that I have relatively little exposure to the public, my risk is low and I often don’t bother. Pertussis was one I got my kids, the DPT actually. Rotovirus was only recently approved when my youngest was born (1999 – he’s officially an adult now). I was not inclined to risk a new vaccine for a disease I never heard of before my doctor told me about the vaccine for it. BTW, that vaccine was recalled shortly after I declined it.

BTW, that vaccine was recalled shortly after I declined it.

Which goes to show the sensitivity of postmarketing surveillance — that was an ~0.015% increase in the chance of intussusception.

Smut Clydesays:

Studies listed on anti-vax sites have different conclusions. That’s why the evidence isn’t sufficient to support a broad generalization

“Lying liars cherry-pick evidence and ignore everything they don’t like, so we must do the same.”

F68.10says:

@ Smut

Yeah. I have real real trouble following Beth on that one…

How much agreement is there across those 4000 different studies?

Please provide the quantitative checklist for scoring “agreement.”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Beth

You write: “If the power computation is provided, it will tell us the certainty with which we can conclude the null is true.”

Nope, one can NEVER prove the null hypothesis, just not reject it. I could care less what you claim your education is. Besides having a M.S. in biometry, I have had three courses in Philosophy of Science (basically how one makes causal judgments) and umpteen courses in research methods, including social psychology, experimental psychology, educational psychology and epidemiology. Believe what you want; but science/research doesn’t give “certainty” only probabilities; but at some point the probabilities reach a level that one has to make a decision.

You write: “I suspect it’s because you recognize that what I said was correct. Sweeping generations such as vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS” are not supported by the available evidence despite the plethora of studies concluding they found no relationship between the two.”

Nope, not even close. You are NOT correct. And you ignore the fact that SIDS wasn’t even a diagnosis prior to 1970s, so impossible to claim that vaccines increased it and you ignore that adding two vaccines occurred at the same time that SIDS cases plummeted.

You write: “I just don’t always find the risk/benefit to me personally to be worth it. . . Now that I have relatively little exposure to the public, my risk is low.”

Thanks, now we know that you don’t consider yourself part of a community. If you don’t vaccinate yourself or your kids, maybe your genetics will give a mild case of some vaccine-preventable disease; but you could pass it on to someone not as fortunate. Vaccinations are both for the individual and the COMMUNITY. Americans tend to emphasize rights; but in a community, rights are balanced with responsibilities/obligations. “Relatively low exposure.” Wow, it only takes one exposure to get an airborne infection or to pass it on.

You write about the rotavirus vaccine: “BTW, that vaccine was recalled shortly after I declined it.” And as I explained, I and others disagree with it being recalled. They found a few cases of Intussusception; but the natural virus causes a higher number of cases. So, in the time between its withdrawal and approval of another rotavirus vaccine, six years, since 30 – 50 kids a year died from it, 50,000 per year were hospitalized, we had 180 – 300 deaths and 300,000 hospitalizations, including a higher number of cases of intussusception that would have been caused by the vaccine. So, due partly to antivaxxers, 180 – 300 deaths, 300,000 hospitalizations, and a number of cases of intussusception. Intussusception is not good; but most cases can be remedied with surgery, though a small number die; but, again, more from the natural virus.

You write: “Could you provide a cite for meta-analysis of studies looking at SIDS and vaccines? I haven’t seen one for that particular issue. Assuming it exists, you have a valid point in favor of consensus.”

Yep:

M M T Vennemann  1 , M Höffgen, T Bajanowski, H-W Hense, E A Mitchell (2007 Jun 21). Do Immunisations Reduce the Risk for SIDS? A Meta-Analysis. Vaccine; 25(26): 4875-4879.

“Conclusions: Immunisations are associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS. There are biological reasons why this association may be causal, but other factors, such as the healthy vaccinee effect, may be important. Immunisations should be part of the SIDS prevention campaigns.”

And besides the above, the Institute of Medicine has carried out a number of comprehensive reports on various aspects of vaccine safety. Each gives details of literature search, analyses of each study included, etc. Meta-analyses are nice; but good information syntheses can also be excellent. By the way, I took a graduate course in Information Synthesis & Meta-Analysis.

You can find ALL the Institute of Medicine’s Vaccine Safety Reports at:

https://www.nap.edu/search/?rpp=20&ft=1&term=vaccine+safety&pubtype=Consensus+Study+Reports

And as I explained above, they can ALL be downloaded free as pdfs

So, read the IOM on SIDS and read the above meta-analysis; but i doubt it will change your mind. You claim you aren’t an antivaccinationists; but you appear to think like they do, black and white, “certainty” null hypothesis true. I repeat, science doesn’t deal with certainties, so you give yourself away. If you really have a PhD in statistics doesn’t mean you understand research. My MS in biometry (biostatistics) degree was mainly various courses in applied statistics; but also courses in mathematical statistics. To this day I really don’t understand how some stats converge weakly in infinity and others strongly, something mathematical statisticians understand; but the ones I dealt with didn’t understand causal analyses.

And if you really want to understand vaccines, again, I suggest Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Edition).” I’ve several 850 pages undergraduate immunology texts; but his 160 page book was all I really needed. If you don’t understand how the immune system works, then you really don’t understand vaccines.

I’m curious, can you give the complete title of your dissertation, maybe I can find it online, Dissertation Abstracts. It’s been over 40 years since I studied statistics; but I’m curious, that is, if you are even telling the truth?

Bethsays:

Again, I’ll number the paragraphs I’m responding to, not include the quotes from my post:

Paragraph 1: Of course, we NEVER prove the alternative is true either, we merely accept it as being true with a specified probability, usually 95% or better. Power computations provide a similar quantification of the certainly that the null is actually true. I quite understand that science only gives probabilities. When I said was “ the certainty with which we can conclude the null is true”, that refers to a quantification of the certainly, which is typically lower than the 95% that we reject the null with. I am not claiming 100% certainty. Why do you perceive my post as claiming certainty?

Paragraph 2: I’m sorry, but I’m not following why you think your statement shows I am incorrect regarding my statement. Just saying I’m not correct without explaining why isn’t going to convince me I’m wrong. I have never claimed that vaccines increased SIDS. I’ve only claimed that we can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements. Why do you perceive them that way?

Paragraph 3: You asked me to explain why I disagree in some cases with recommendations. I did so. You don’t have to agree, but opting not to get a flu vaccine is not symbolic of one’s commitment to one’s community. You might want to reconsider some of the assumptions you are making about people who feel differently than you do regarding vaccines.

Paragraph 4: You asked me to give examples and explain my reasoning. I declined it at the time because I judged the risk of a new vaccine to be higher than was claimed and the risk of the disease for my child to be very low. You can disagree with it the use of the term “recalled”, but it was temporarily pulled off the market and reformulated be safer which validates my assessment that the risk was higher than was claimed at the time.

Paragraph 5-10: While not a large enough set of studies to be conclusive on that point by itself, that meta-analysis does provide a valid point in favor of consensus. Thanks for the link.

Paragraph 11: “you appear to think like they do, black and white, “certainty” null hypothesis true”

What have I said to give you this impression? You are correct that science doesn’t deal in certainties. Even when we reject the null and accept the alternative, we haven’t proved the alternative true, merely provided a level of certainty that we have made the correct decision. Power computations allow us to make similar statements about the probability of the null being true. I’m not sure why you seem to consistently assume I’m making an error regarding this issue when I am trying to correct this exact error made earlier in this thread – i.e. when people make the claim that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”, they are expressing certainty that the null is true, not only for the studies that failed to reject the null, but for the broader null that there is no causal relationship between vaccines (plural) despite many of the studies being limited to one particular vaccination.

Paragraph 12: Since you chose to repeat this recommendation, I’ll repeat my response. It’s nice of you to add to my reading list. Would you like me to give you some suggestions regarding statistics books?

Paragraph 13: Title: Equivalence testing for mean vectors of multivariate normal populations” It’s available from my University at https://soar.wichita.edu/handle/10057/5407

Now, can you please answer my questions in this post and the previous one. I’ve asked why you misinterpreted what I’ve written on several specific points so that I can, in the future, be clearer in my future writing on the subject.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Beth

Thanks for link to your Dissertation. As I thought, from a mathematical point of view. And your degrees all in mathematics. So, no indication you have EVER studied “causal analyses”, or any applied research courses. Recommending some statistics books to me won’t change that I have both studied statistics and real world research methods.

Paragraph 1: Do you know about Type 1 and Type 2 errors? “In statistical hypothesis testing, a type I error is the rejection of a true null hypothesis, while a type II error is the non-rejection of a false null hypothesis. Much of statistical theory revolves around the minimization of one or both of these errors, though the complete elimination of either is a statistical impossibility for non-deterministic algorithms.” (Wikipedia. Type 1 and Type 2 errors). So, once again, you can’t “prove” the null hypothesis. And in some cases, the null hypotheses is simply a statistical artifact. For instance, when they tested hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, etc. they certainly weren’t trying to “prove” a null hypothesis, i.e., that is they didn’t work; but in the midst of a pandemic, were trying to develop successful treatments. Is it possible that in a world of billions of people that a small number have some genetic predisposition/anomaly that, for instance, despite now overwhelming evidence, hydroxychloroquine might help them? Impossible to know, so can’t say NEVER will work. But we know that the risks much higher using.

Paragraph 2: You write: “I have never claimed that vaccines increased SIDS. I’ve only claimed that we can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements.”

“We can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements.”

Wow, if they have not been shown not to cause SIDS, at least the English language I speak means that the possibility they cause SIDS exists and, thus, increase SIDS. And, even without the meta-analysis, I gave you, for instance, a comprehensive review of SIDS and vaccines by the Institute of Medicine. If you reject their report, basically it wouldn’t matter if they had found 1,000 studies, all not finding a relationship, you would continue to question if a relationship existed. In other words, appears nothing will change your mind. And, despite education in mathematical statistics, have you ever taken a single course in epidemiology, education or social psychological research methods, or philosophy of science?

By the way, have you ever downloaded any of the studies that found no relationship and found any methodological flaws????

Paragraph 3: You write: “opting not to get a flu vaccine is not symbolic of one’s commitment to one’s community.”

If one is an antivaxxer and/or someone who foolishly discounts the risks of flu, maybe you’re just ignorant, otherwise, picking and choosing when or if your behaviors display a commitment to society is questionable. If you actually took the time to research flu, it can be devastating for old people, people with autoimmune diseases or currently undergoing chemotherapy which suppresses often the immune system. How could you be sure you NEVER interacted with one of them, e.g., in supermarket, etc.?

Paragraph 4: You write: “it was temporarily pulled off the market and reformulated be safer which validates my assessment that the risk was higher than was claimed at the time.”

So, you ignored what I wrote. The risk was actually lower because intussusception occurs much more often from the natural virus, so if the goal was to reduce intussusception, removing the vaccine was NOT a good choice, plus, the 50,000 hospitalizations and 30 – 50 deaths prevented by the vaccine. So, what did you base your “assessment that the risk was higher than was claimed at the time?” Did you, for instance, a PubMed search of rotavirus? Or even go to the CDC website? Nope, as far as I can tell, your assessment was based on ignorance.

Paragraph 11: You write: “when people make the claim that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”, they are expressing certainty that the null is true, not only for the studies that failed to reject the null, but for the broader null that there is no causal relationship between vaccines (plural) despite many of the studies being limited to one particular vaccination.”

First, you continue to ignore that cases of SIDS plummeted from mid-1990s at the same time they added two more vaccines. Second, you continue to ignore that SIDS wasn’t even a diagnostic category before 1975, so we have no baseline to decide if it even had been increasing, especially when infant mortality was high before vaccines. And you ignore that the consensus is based on many well-done studies. At some point a decision has to be made. Let’s for sake of argument believe that SIDS can be cause, rarely, by vaccines. So what do we do? Do we stop vaccinating? Then for every rare case of SIDS we will have literally millions of kids suffering, 100s of thousands hospitalized, 10s of thousands permanently disabled, and thousands dead. We don’t need to make a claim that the null hypothesis is “true”, just that vaccines overwhelmingly confer a benefit. If some parents, despite the overwhelming evidence, decide not to vaccinate, gradually we will lose herd immunity and more and more kids will suffer. So, the evidence is OVERWHELMING that the probability that vaccines DON’T cause or contribute to SIDS is extremely high.

You write: “I’ve asked why you misinterpreted what I’ve written on several specific points so that I can, in the future, be clearer in my future writing on the subject.”

I don’t think I misinterpreted anything you wrote. Anyone following this exchange want to chime in?

The book I recommended will allow you to go from mathematical statistics to the real world of how vaccines work.

But, just for fun, I’ll add a few more books:

Merwyn Susser (1973). Causal Thinking in the Health Sciences: Concepts and Strategies in Epidemiology. Oxford University Press. Used copies available on amazon.com. In my opinion, the best book on causal thinking ever.

Abraham Kaplan (1964). The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science. Reprint paperback available at amazon.com

Donald T. Campbell (1988). Methodology and Epistemology for Social Sciences: Selected Papers. University of Chicago Press.

Kenneth J. Rothman & Sander Greenland (1998). Modern Epidemiology (Second Edition). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [especially Chapter 2: Causation and Causal Inference] I had first edition in class; but purchased and read second edition. Now out a third edition.

I should point out that I only had three semesters of Calculus and one of Linear Algebra. I got A’s but only because I worked my butt off. I’m not a natural at math. And, after getting my MPH I got a job; but continued to take courses to get my M.S. in biometry. However, I actually took ALL required courses for MS in epidemiology as well and even audited some doctoral level seminars (when I audit anything I do ALL the reading, make all the classes, etc).

And some of the Mathematical Stat books I had were (can’t find one of them. I moved a lot):

William Mendenhall, Dennis D. Wackerly & Richard L. Scheaffer (1990) Mathematical Statistics with Applications (Fourth Edition). PWS-Kent. I had an earlier edition; but purchased this later one and read it.

Raymond H. Myers & Janet S. Milton (1991). A First Course in the Theory of Linear Statistical Models. PWS-Kent. While on faculty of nearby medical school, I audited the course.

H. M. Blalock jr. (1985). Causal Models in the Social Sciences (Second Edition). ALDINE.

Judah Rosenblatt & Stoughton (1997). Mathematical Analysis for Modeling. CRC Press. Note I was friends with Rosenblatt, great guy, great teacher, and great statistician. He gave me the book which I went through with his help on the phone. I would NOT even attempted it if he had not been so patient with me.

Larry V. Hedges & Ingram Olkin (1985). Statistical Methods for Meta-Analysis. Academic Press.

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blockquote>”[T]he complete elimination of either is a statistical impossibility for non-deterministic algorithms.”

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blockquote>

That seems like an odd thing to leave lying around in a W—dia entry (without a direct reference; No. 2 is a short 1975 paper about hemoglobin binding that seems to be completely inexplicable). What about deterministic algorithms? This is supposed to be NP-hard, or something?

Sorry to interrupt, but this just strikes me as odd.

F68.10says:

@ Joel

“As I thought, from a mathematical point of view. And your degrees all in mathematics.”

That’s bigotry.

Tired of the “You’re a mathematician. I’m a doctor. I’m better than you” Gambit. Had it all my life thrown at me. The part I like best is when doctors claim they can think of Reality based on Evidence while you can’t because you rely on Logic.

I’ve always been fascinated by this Anti-Logic streak in Modern Skepticism.

I’d rather be Anti-Science than Anti-Logic anyday.

Rant

Makes me want to send free money to Scientology. Gratis.

F68.10says:

@ Joel

“And, despite education in mathematical statistics, have you ever taken a single course in epidemiology, education or social psychological research methods, or philosophy of science?”

Oh no… Not this one…

Please stop Joel, or I’m going to start to call you “Mommy”…

F68.10says:

@ Joel

“I don’t think I misinterpreted anything you wrote. Anyone following this exchange want to chime in?”

Well, I’ll chime in and quote one of my university professors in survival analysis. A practitioner. He told me that if there’s one group of professionals he refuses to work with, it’s medical doctors.

I giggled when I heard that one. Uncontrollably.

Because I wouldn’t want to either…

Luckily the Weibull distribution, very much used in survival analysis, was invented by a guy working in the arms industry. So it’s not like we’re sentenced to work for know-it-all doctors all the time.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Waiting for Beth to tell us which vaccines she supports and which she doesn’t. Remote history about her kids doesn’t qualify.

Note for F68.10: JAQing off is advancing a position surreptitiously by phrasing it in the form of a question. Of course, when one does it often enough (as in Beth’s case) the tactic becomes obvious to everyone.

F68.10says:

@ Dangerous Bacon

“Note for F68.10: JAQing off is advancing a position surreptitiously by phrasing it in the form of a question.”

OK. So the point that makes you not “JAQing off” is that you were not surreptitiously but blatantly advancing a position by phrasing it in the form of a question?

If you do mind me asking…

More seriously: I’ll have a turn at Just Asking Questions to Beth when I’ll find a bit of free time.

Dangerous Baconsays:

How am I ”blatantly advancing a position” by asking Beth what vaccines she supports and which she doesn’t?*

You’ve got a ways to go to descend to Christine’s level of reading comprehension, but this is not a good start. 🙂

*Beth, who has a long history here and on SBM of antivaccine advocacy, yesterday said: “IMO, the risks of vaccination are well worth the benefits for the majority of vaccines. I part company with many here with not coming to the same conclusion for all vaccines”. It’d be interesting and possibly even educational if she was willing to explain which vaccines she accepts. Not that it’s likely she will, as JAQing off seems to be more fun for her.

F68.10says:

@ Dangerous Bacon

“You’ve got a ways to go to descend to Christine’s level of reading comprehension, but this is not a good start.”

Operation Mindfuck is Religious Duty for Discordians.

“It’d be interesting and possibly even educational if she was willing to explain which vaccines she accepts.”

Well, personally, I do not mind vaccines in any way — nor do I care that much — but I do question the wisdom of always pushing for more and more prophylaxis in society. I do not like the way it goes. So this is a blanket statement I make towards medicine in general and not vaccines in particular. But I also would raise the question on the least useful — and not necessarily the most “dangerous” — vaccines if I were asked to, though I would not tune in to Del Bigtree’s show even if I were threatened into it with imminent murder.

It’s the social value of all vaccines cumulatively that I have trouble buying, and it’s a corollary of a much more general feeling I have towards medical interventions in general. Safety doesn’t bother me too much. Social value assessment of cumulative prophylactic interventions much more (I do have the feeling that the public is sometimes emotionally blackmailed into accepting them – the Horrible Human Being Gambit), and moral hazard in medical matters generally much more: I’m fine being sick if I’m more or less responsible for that situation; but I do mind jerks telling me that I was Born Sick and am Ordered to be Well and that they are my Saviour. Feels a lot like the Dogma of Original Sin to me, and I’m not willing to take any of that nonsense any more from anyone, doctors included. Well, doctors specifically, in fact…

So Beth’s statement can be held without reference to any specific vaccine. Therefore, it’s not entirely conceivable that your question could be based on false assumptions; and I therefore abide by discordians’ ternary logic: and claim that the correct answer to your question, at least in my view, is:

Mu!

I haven’t been able to pinpoint Beth’s position on vaccines in general (though I do acknowledge that she has a slant), so I take for the time being what she says at face value: the question of religious view and of freedom of consciousness on vaccines is indeed one I believe is not taken seriously enough. As long as it doesn’t endanger herd immunity. Is that “antivaccine advocacy” in your eyes? Seems so. (I just answered that question myself to avoid JAQing off too much. Do not thank me. It’s perfectly natural.)

Chrissays:

She is known for repeating the same ol’ trope questions. She comes in to “politely” inquire, gets a full answer, then does not accept that answer, it is explained again, she moves a few goal posts, then we ignore and she goes away. Then a few weeks later she repeats with the same ol’ trope questions… and we repeat the cycle.

Denice Waltersays:

@ Chris:

OT
But I know how you appreciate the accuracy of journalism at Natural News:
is it true? Black Lives Matter terrorists raping in Seattle
Be our Woman on the Scene.

(Joking)

Although, truthfully, anti-vaxxers and woo-proponents quote NN as reliable..

Chrissays:

There does seem to be quite a bit of panic over six blocks of one moderate sized city. It consists to about three blocks of street that are blocked, and a park. There are no Black Lives Matter terrorists.

There are, however, some homeless tents that have set up in one part of the park because those people figured it was safer. Though one person tried to take advantage of a deaf woman. Then there are couple of idiots who use the movement to cause havoc. If you read below you will see both acts were stopped:
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/06/19/43938596/chop-medic-intervened-in-a-sexual-assault-in-cal-anderson

There have been instances of alt-right folks coming in trying to create problems:
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/6/18/1954215/-Welcome-to-CHOP-An-open-community-but-targeted-for-violence-by-Trump-and-his-fanboys

There was some idiot with a gun in the wee hours who managed to kill a young man who had just graduated from high school, and injured another man. There are lots of rumors, but very little actual data on what actually happened. As per normal each witness (including the police) all have different versions of what happened. That one will require patience.

Christine Kincaidsays:

@ DB,

So SIDS is the fault of inattentive parents? Smh.

Yeah if only I hadn’t fallen asleep after that 12 hour shift & trying to make her comfortable as she shrieked until 2 am with that weird piercing scream.

After hours triage pediatrician “Oh that irritability is NORMAL if she was vaccinated today”.

Christine Kincaidsays:

@ Beth,

Back to Sleep also works to lower mortality rates of epileptics due to SUDEP.

My guess is that vaccination is inducing seizure like activity in infants & the Back to Sleep campaign mitigated the incidence of mortality.

Your guesses appear to be strongly motivated by your desire to blame vaccines for your tragic loss.

Note that there is no evidence or support for that belief. In fact, there are studies that looked at whether vaccines cause SIDS and found that they did not.

Christine Kincaidsays:

@ Smut Clyde,

“Vaccines can cause a cytokine storm

``` So can alien abductions." ```

Thanks for lending your expertise to the matter.

You are welcome to provide evidence that vaccines cause cytokine storms. We know that some diseases that vaccines protect against do.

[…] Antivaxxers Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill deceptively use COVID-19 death statistics to claim that vacc… […]

Amanda Holzgangsays:

I especially like how this author claims that a “massive” measles outbreak occured when in reality there were a reported 65 cases and ZERO deaths according to my own research on the CDC website. He really likes to pick and choose the links he provides.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Amanda Hozgang

Measles disappeared from the U.S. in 1990s; but, along with rise of antivaxxers, again we have cases. While you might not think 65 cases amounts to much, each and every one could have needed hospitalization, suffered permanent disability; e.g., brain damage, loss of hearing, or death. Yep, didn’t happen to any of them; but if 65 cases where there were none, could be harbinger for many more.

During the 1950s with less than half our current population, well over one million children per year got measles, most just suffered for a week or so, and, at the time, majority of mothers were housewives, nowadays, with many women working, staying home for a week with a child can affect ones economy (which it did during 1950s for poor families where women HAD to work) and the kid, would, of course, miss school. However, in the 1950s there were an average of 45,000 hospitalizations and 450 – 500 deaths. Without the vaccine, during the past 60 years we would have experienced, assuming population growth, a total of around 1.5 million hospitalizations, 4 – 5,000 deaths, and around 10,000 with permanent disabilities.

So, yep, 65 might not sound like much; but from 0 to 65 is a warning.

As usual, typical antivaxxer ignores what the world would be like without the vaccine. Ignorant of immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, the history and current status of vaccine-preventable diseases (many just a plane flight away)

I especially like how this author claims that a “massive” measles outbreak occured when in reality there were a reported 65 cases and ZERO deaths according to my own research on the CDC website.

You misspelled “147” (under 2015) and forgot the 159 in Quebec.

At least there’s the second-chance drawing for SSPE.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

Did you read what I wrote above on SIDS? Did you even try to read the IOM report or the article I gave?

This is just more proof that you ignore anything and everything and just keep on posting your unscientific fantasy beliefs.

And, once again, you have consistently ignored what I have written refuting claims made by you.

Quite simply, you are a combination of stupid and dishonest. A perfect combination.

Christine Kincaidsays:

@ Dorit,

My guess is that the studies are conducted by those motivated to deny any signal from vaccines to SIDS.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

You write: “My guess is that the studies are conducted by those motivated to deny any signal from vaccines to SIDS.”

First, as I’ve written numerous times, studies on vaccine safety have been carried out in numerous nations with different cultures, histories, political, economic, educational systems. Do you really think that all the researchers, MDs, epidemiologists, etc. would endanger the health of their nation’s children?

As for your guess, basically, you believe you are absolutely right, you can’t discredit the studies by going through their sampling, design, statistics, etc., so the only choice you have left is to attack the researchers. You really are stupid, dishonest, and suffer from delusions of grandeur, that is, that what you choose to believe is absolutely right, so others must be dishonest. Get help!

And you still ignore what I wrote above about SIDS. And I’m certain you didn’t download and read the IOM report or the article I referenced. After all, why bother when you know you are right, so all else must be lies.

You are truly a despicable excuse for a human being.

Terriesays:

My guess is that you are wearing major blinders because you can’t see past your own agenda, and would be better off not spending the anniversary of your daughter’s death on this website. Seriously, it’s both that and Father’s Day. Go spend time with your family.

Denice Waltersays:

At risk of sounding, conservative or parochial ( perish the thought!)..

I think that CK’s frequent responses are symptomatic of her issues rather than standard commentary on a blog thus commenters who respond to her should be aware that they may possibly be not discouraging her to behave in this fashion when it might be advantageous instead to encourage other outlets such as professional counselling or therapy. Have any of the anti-vax mothers Orac surveys improved their lots in life- or their children’s- an iota through endless posts. pages, comments and books written over the years? Or do they become more deeply entrenched in the mire of unrealistic beliefs and lost causes? As I mentioned previously, if these beliefs are so reality-based, why can no one ever find a single, accredited university that teaches a course in them? Why does a single, fact-based news source not entertain them? Why instead do opportunistic quacks and distraught, uneducated parents comprise their base?
Is it all a plot? Or a florid phantasmagoria of imagination run wild?

Terriesays:

Given that it’s both Father’s Day and the anniversary of her daughter’s death, and she’s posted here multiple time, I suspect you may be right.

Dorit Reisssays:

You’re probably right, Denice, and that’s a good reason to stop addressing her.

I’m not quite sure how to balance it with not letting her mislead readers unfamiliar. Maybe we should have one person, whoever gets there first, respond once when she comment reminding readers and then stopping. That’s not an instruction to anyone, just thinking it out.

Bethsays:

@Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

The replies have bottomed out so I can’t reply to your post. I’ll quote the bits I’m responding to from your most recent post.

“So, no indication you have EVER studied “causal analyses”, or any applied research courses. ” Why yes, I have taken such courses. Do you want to see my transcript too? It appears you only wanted to see my dissertation in order to make some disparaging personal remarks.

“Do you know about Type 1 and Type 2 errors?…So, once again, you can’t “prove” the null hypothesis. ” Yes I do understand the difference between type I and type II errors. Why do you continue to misinterpret me as claiming the null hypothesis can be proven when I’ve repeated stated the opposite?

“If one is an antivaxxer and/or someone who foolishly discounts the risks of flu, maybe you’re just ignorant, otherwise, picking and choosing when or if your behaviors display a commitment to society is questionable. If you actually took the time to research flu, it can be devastating for old people, people with autoimmune diseases or currently undergoing chemotherapy which suppresses often the immune system. How could you be sure you NEVER interacted with one of them, e.g., in supermarket, etc.?” I can’t be sure. Neither can you. Moreover, we can’t know whether it would have been any different had I gotten the flu vaccine every year. I get vaccines because I think it will benefit me to do so. If I don’t think the benefit to me is worth the costs, then the tiny additional benefit to herd immunity isn’t sufficient to change that evaluation. Disparaging me personally because I made a different decision that you think best is not a persuasive argument. You asked me to explain my reasoning. I did so. Then you attacked me for it. This is not nice behavior on your part.

“if they have not been shown not to cause SIDS, at least the English language I speak means that the possibility they cause SIDS exists and, thus, increase SIDS. ” Yes, the possibility exists. That’s different from claiming that vaccines increase SIDS. Why are you insisting that the two statements are equivalent when they are not and claiming I said the second rather than realizing I was saying the first. I find it odd that the same error you keep accusing me of making is apparently unrecognized by you when it’s your claim that the null hypothesis must be true and no relationship exists.

If you reject their report, basically it wouldn’t matter if they had found 1,000 studies” I didn’t reject their report. I said that the number of studies they included (I think it was 9) was insufficient to provide conclusive evidence regarding a consensus. Do you think that should be sufficient to claim consensus when someone else above claimed there were more than 4000 published articles on the issue?

“By the way, have you ever downloaded any of the studies that found no relationship and found any methodological flaws????” Methodological flaws, no. I generally look closely at the statistical analysis rather than methods because statistic analysis is an area where I can spot flaws while methods I’m not as well versed in.

So, you ignored what I wrote.” Yes. It wasn’t pertinent to my analysis at that time. As I said, you can disagree, but you did ask me for my reasoning. I provided it. I didn’t trust the CDC committee risk assessment for a brand new vaccine because all members of the committee at that time had waivers filed for conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies. The fact that they later removed and reformulated that vaccine shows that, in fact, I was correct on the point of their risk assessment of the vaccine being too low at that time.

“First, you continue to ignore that cases of SIDS plummeted from mid-1990s at the same time they added two more vaccines. Second, you continue to ignore that SIDS wasn’t even a diagnostic category before 1975, so we have no baseline to decide if it even had been increasing, especially when infant mortality was high before vaccines. ” This does not make sense to me. How can we know that cases of SIDS plummeted from the mid 1990’s if SIDS wasn’t even a diagnostic category before 1975 so we have no baseline to decide if it even had been increasing? Either we can make an assessment as to whether it has gone up or down since we started tracking or we can’t conclude that cases of SIDS plummeted from the mid 1990’s. Personally I think we can conclude that it has plummeted. Likewise, when statistics are available, I think we’ll be able to conclude whether or not SIDS plummeted during the lockdown. Even if it did, that wouldn’t mean we conclude vaccines were the reason. It would only mean we need to investigate why it happened. More likely, it will show that SIDS did not decline dramatically, but we won’t know for sure until the data is available.

“What do we do? Do we stop vaccinating?” My answer is we study the situation (which we have and continue to do so) and no, we don’t stop vaccinating.

I don’t think I misinterpreted anything you wrote.” I’ve given a number of examples of where you have misinterpreted me and asked why. I’ll list them again:

` What have I said that you feel was “Ignoring/downplaying the harms from the vaccine-preventable diseases”`

``` Why do you perceive my post as claiming certainty? ```

``` “you appear to think like they do, black and white, “certainty” null hypothesis true” What have I said to give you this impression? ```

and from earlier in this post:

``` Why do you continue to misinterpret me as claiming the null hypothesis can be proven when I’ve repeated stated the opposite? ```

The replies have bottomed out so I can’t reply to your post.

Just use the most recent reply button.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Beth

You write: “So, no indication you have EVER studied “causal analyses”, or any applied research courses. ” Why yes, I have taken such courses. Do you want to see my transcript too? It appears you only wanted to see my dissertation in order to make some disparaging personal remarks AND “By the way, have you ever downloaded any of the studies that found no relationship and found any methodological flaws????” Methodological flaws, no. I generally look closely at the statistical analysis rather than methods because statistic analysis is an area where I can spot flaws while methods I’m not as well versed in.”

First, I said your dissertation appeared to be quite good, not exactly disparaging. Second, if you took any courses in causal analysis, what you have written in your comments indicate you didn’t learn much from them. Especially you state you don’t understand methodology which is, at least in all the courses and books I read the key to causal analysis. So, have you looked at a number of the studies that found no association between vaccines and SIDS? And, if so, please, what statistical problems did you find?

I don’t need your transcript but just for fun, I gave a list of some of the texts I’ve had in courses, please list the texts you used in your “causal” course(s).

You write: “Moreover, we can’t know whether it would have been any different had I gotten the flu vaccine every year. I get vaccines because I think it will benefit me to do so. If I don’t think the benefit to me is worth the costs, then the tiny additional benefit to herd immunity isn’t sufficient to change that evaluation.”

So, tell me, how much time have you devoted to studying flu, its history, etc.? I have read probably a dozen books on flu, many chapters, and hundreds of journal articles. Maybe your getting the flu shot won’t benefit herd immunity much; but you could still pass it on to someone vulnerable and if more people think like you, then we lose herd immunity. You really are a selfish self-centered person. At least be honest and admit it.

You write: ““if they have not been shown not to cause SIDS, at least the English language I speak means that the possibility they cause SIDS exists and, thus, increase SIDS. ” Yes, the possibility exists. That’s different from claiming that vaccines increase SIDS. Why are you insisting that the two statements are equivalent when they are not and claiming I said the second rather than realizing I was saying the first. I find it odd that the same error you keep accusing me of making is apparently unrecognized by you when it’s your claim that the null hypothesis must be true and no relationship exists.”

You wrote: “I have never claimed that vaccines increased SIDS. I’ve only claimed that we can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements.”

You are really sick or, despite being good at math, stupid because they are equivalent, at least in the English language I learned. Above you clearly are claiming that vaccines may cause SIDS, since, according to you they have not been shown not to cause SIDS.

You write: “The fact that they later removed and reformulated that vaccine [rotavirus] shows that, in fact, I was correct on the point of their risk assessment of the vaccine being too low at that time.”

You really are incredibly stupid. I explained that due partly to public pressures the vaccine was withdrawn; but the risk from the vaccine was far lower than from the actual disease, which, in your tremendous stupidity, you probably don’t know that almost every child got rotavirus once and sometimes more than once. I repeat, the risk from the vaccine, intussusception was lower than the risk of intussusception from the actual virus and the vaccine prevented 50,000 hospitalization per year and 30 – 50 deaths. How in hell do you read from this that their risk assessment for withdrawing it was too low????

You write: “Likewise, when statistics are available, I think we’ll be able to conclude whether or not SIDS plummeted during the lockdown.”

No, it won’t for several reasons. One, SIDS apparently is seasonal, at least cases higher at certain times of the year, so will depend partly on how long the lockdown continues. Second, as others have written, with lockdown parents may be devoting more time and attention to children. And I doubt it will have “plummeted” a term I used when it dropped from 130 to 40 per 100,000 in a little less than 15 years while adding two vaccines. What you write just proves that you still don’t want to rule out vaccines, despite the OVERWHELMING research. Did you even download the free pdf of IOM report?

You write: “Why do you continue to misinterpret me as claiming the null hypothesis can be proven when I’ve repeated stated the opposite?”

I didn’t say that; but that your approach to keep questioning studies, a mass of them that found no association between vaccines and SIDS made clear that you don’t trust all the research that has been done, so you want more and more and more. Which implies that, despite what you say, more or less, you believe that NO research can ever “prove” that vaccines don’t cause some cases of SIDS. And you claimed that researchers were claiming that the null hypothesis had been proved which I clear debunked with a detailed explanation.

You are tiresome. You’ve made it clear that the large number of well-done studies on vaccines and SIDS not enough for you. You’ve made it clear that you still want more studies. You’ve even stated that you don’t know much about methodology, so how in hell can you decide that all the studies weren’t enough?

Oh, by the way I was one of two people who edited an introductory biostatistics textbook, applied statistics, not mathematical.

And can you explain to me why some stats converge weakly in infinity and others strongly?

If you don’t like being called stupid, I suggest you stop commenting on this blog as I doubt you will change.

Bethsays:

“First, I said your dissertation appeared to be quite good, not exactly disparaging.” That would be a valid point if you had said that in the previous post. But you didn’t.
And following up with more disparaging personal remarks doesn’t exactly bolster your point.

“You really are a selfish self-centered person. At least be honest and admit it.”

Nice attempt at shaming. Yes, I am selfish. So are you. We are human. All humans are selfish. I’m also generous and giving and contribute to my community. For example, I’ve donated more than 10 gallons of whole blood to the Red Cross. We differ in regard to whether the cost/benefit ratio of receiving voluntary flu vacations is substantially changed by the benefit to the community – i.e. herd immunity. That’s a different value judgement, not a moral failing.

“You are tiresome.”
“You are really sick or, despite being good at math, stupid”
“You really are incredibly stupid”
“Stop making a fool of yourself”
“If you don’t like being called stupid, I suggest you stop commenting on this blog as I doubt you will change.”

This recent post has nearly exceeded my tolerance with regard to the ratio of substantive points to disparaging personal remarks.

“I gave a list of some of the texts I’ve had in courses, please list the texts you used in your “causal” course(s).”
“And can you explain to me why some stats converge weakly in infinity and others strongly?”

If you want me to answer any more of your questions, you need to answer mine first and back-off the disparaging personal remarks. Here they are again, along with yet another misinterpretation of what I wrote from this post.

What have I said that you feel was “Ignoring/downplaying the harms from the vaccine-preventable diseases?

Why did you perceive my post as claiming certainty?

“you appear to think like they do, black and white, “certainty” null hypothesis true”
What have I said to give you this impression?

Here’s another misinterpretation: You’ve made it clear that the large number of well-done studies on vaccines and SIDS not enough for you.

No, I’m not complaining the studies are not enough. I’m complaining about people making claims that exceed the scope of the evidence. Not researchers making that claim, as researchers are usually careful about that, but people on this blog.

Of course, if you think I’m too tiresome and stupid to converse with, that’s totally your decision. I don’t stop posting because people insult me. But I do stop interacting with posters when their insults exceed their conversational value.

Nice attempt at shaming. Yes, I am selfish. So are you. We are human. All humans are selfish.

I get vaccines because I think it will benefit me to do so. If I don’t think the benefit to me is worth the costs, then the tiny additional benefit to herd immunity isn’t sufficient to change that evaluation.

I’m not a big Kant fan overall, but this simply captures the wholesale absence any ethico-moral system.

^ A quick refresher suggests to me that Hume would also take a dim view of routine.

^^ “this” routine

F68.10says:

“I’m not a big Kant fan overall, but this simply captures the wholesale absence any ethico-moral system.”

I also tend to think that this moral assessment is wrong. If she simply stated that she is lazy or malevolent, I’d go “OK”. But not assuming lazyness or malevolence, this is hard to understand. Because, yes, on this I agree with Joel: the stakes are not personal but collective.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ F68.10

As I’ve written in previous comments: I consider myself reasonably intelligent and well educated, well read; but if someone gave me several plans for building a bridge, I could NOT reasonably decide which one is best plan because I’ve NEVER studied structural engineering.

I have friends who studied theoretical physics, brilliant, far more intelligent than I am; but they admitted they could not work in applied physics. While one doesn’t necessarily need a degree, it is STUPID, very STUPID to think you or anyone else, regardless of how intelligent you are and how educated you are in specific subjects, that without even attempting to learn the basics of other subjects to think you have any capability to discuss. Just one bit short of our current President who doesn’t need anyone with expertise since he considers himself an intuitive genius.

And, if you didn’t notice, I also rebutted what Beth wrote. Beth has given absolutely NO evidence that she has attempted to learn how vaccine work, e.g., basics of immunology, or to learn how causal arguments are made, nor the methodologies of epidemiology, social psychology, etc. In fact, I looked at her dissertation, appears quite good; but reference list entirely mathematical. And she ignored everything I wrote about SIDS, regurgitating that just because there are a number of studies showing no association with vaccines, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. In other words, I doubt if anything will change her mind. And when I explained why mistake to remove first rotavirus vaccine, she had decided it was even more dangerous, based on what? Not any research, e.g., PubMed or even CDC. So, yep, having three degrees in math quite impressive; but not when she makes absurd claims about other disciplines.

By the way, just to be honest, as I wrote, I took three courses in Calculus. Each course I purchased books by The Research and Education Association, e.g, The Calculus Problem Solver, good succinct explanations and problems worked out clearly step by step. I also purchased Calculus for Dummies. I worked my butt off and was often in instructors office. However, bicycling home from final exam for Calculus 3, I was crying, certain I had flunked. A few days later the course instructor called to congratulate me. I had gotten the highest score, not only for my class; but, since it was a school-wide, exam, for the entire school, probably 3 or 4 other classes. Sweat and determination paid off; but, though I remember basic concepts, I couldn’t solve Calculus problems today. Math is just not my forte; but when it comes to epidemiology, social psychology, I still get calls from colleagues for help. From when I started university, I decided long before the semester began which course scared me the most, bought the textbook if I could find out which one was to be used or equivalent books and began studying during the summer or over the four week Christmas break. So, the course that I was most scare of, I usually got good grades, not because I am super smart; but simply hard work and reasonable level of intelligence.

And your response to Dangerous Bacon:

“the question of religious view and of freedom of consciousness on vaccines is indeed one I believe is not taken seriously enough. As long as it doesn’t endanger herd immunity. Is that “antivaccine advocacy” in your eyes? Seems so.”

First, it does endanger herd immunity in areas with a significant number of certain religions. Second, religious freedom doesn’t exist in a vacuum; but in a state and in return one has to recognize that certain freedoms are not absolute. As several of our leading jurists have said throughout history: “The Constitution is NOT a suicide pact.” Even extreme religious groups like the Amish have agreed to be vaccinated when pointed out it could endanger their non-Amish neighbors, though antivaxxers are wrong that they did not vaccinate and had no kids with ASD. Third, at least in the U.S. parents don’t have absolute rights. If they put their children in danger then society can step in. And, despite what antivaxxers choose to believe, overwhelming evidence says they put their children and other children in danger. Fourth, most antivaccinationists first decided against vaccines, then looked for excuses, e.g., religion. All of the major religions support vaccinations. But, I repeat, in a community rights have to be balanced with responsibilities/obligations. Tutoring a non-vaccinated kid at home doesn’t rule out infecting someone when out shopping or in a public park.

So, as I’ve noticed, you really don’t always know what you are talking about; but then you take a few points out of context and compensate for your ignorance by going on the attack. Oh well.

F68.10says:

@ Joel

“As I’ve written in previous comments: I consider myself reasonably intelligent and well educated, well read; but if someone gave me several plans for building a bridge, I could NOT reasonably decide which one is best plan because I’ve NEVER studied structural engineering.”

Yeah. And I do not consider myself a doctor, but the fact that everybody around me has been claiming for ages that I’m so brilliant that I must be sick — and please fucking do not write this kind of fucking weird scientific ravings in medical records, docs, m’kay? — when I couldn’t care less about being “brilliant” has been a bit… annoying. And this kind of shit has been thrown at me as if I’ve had some kind of oversized ego by people too obsessed with their medical ravings to observe that I did not care about being “intelligent”. And now, again, when I’m more than fed up about this kind of nonsense concerning “intelligence” and dumb shit like that, it gets thrown back at me, again, because I dare contradict a doctor.

Why am I bloody NOT surprised?

“I have friends who studied theoretical physics, brilliant, far more intelligent than I am; but they admitted they could not work in applied physics. While one doesn’t necessarily need a degree, it is STUPID, very STUPID to think you or anyone else, regardless of how intelligent you are and how educated you are in specific subjects, that without even attempting to learn the basics of other subjects to think you have any capability to discuss.”

Never claimed that.

“Just one bit short of our current President who doesn’t need anyone with expertise since he considers himself an intuitive genius.”

He’s an ass. So what?

“And, if you didn’t notice, I also rebutted what Beth wrote. Beth has given absolutely NO evidence that she has attempted to learn how vaccine work, e.g., basics of immunology, or to learn how causal arguments are made, nor the methodologies of epidemiology, social psychology, etc.”

That’s precisely a point to which I have avoided to reply. Until now. But here goes: You do NOT need knowledge in these areas anyways when you’re making a statement about statistics. If there is a statistical flaw, it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking aliens, paleohistory or whatever bloody else. And yes, medical matters included. Period.

Doesn’t mean statistics shouldn’t be contextualised and expertise not considered. But when doctors explain statistics to statisticians, they also tend to make a mess. That’s precisely one of the reasons my university professor does not want to work with medical doctors. He has experience of them denying, bitching over and twisting statistical results because of the moral weight of the implications of statistical findings in medical matters and because of the outrageous peer pressure medical doctors put on themselves collectively. The end result is that they cannot hold two ideas at the same time in their heads. And do not tell me that’s not true: I was born out of the womb of a medical doctor, socialised all my life with her daddy doctor, her buddy doctors and we had all the crazy nonsense when she tried to force some of her kids into med school. These people, medical doctors, form a Cult of Health where you’re not allowed to think differently. People like me and Beth, whatever her pro-vax or anti-vax positions may be, are trained to hold two different ideas in our minds. And as long as medical doctors do not get it straight that it is legitimate to hold two different ideas in one’s mind at the same time, sorry, but we’ll be having the upper hand in these matters. And medical doctors will need statisticians to tell them “No; it’s not because you want to cure people that you are right; and drop the bullshit with conspiracy-theory-mongering and the victimisation that no-one-likes-medical-doctors-because-they-defend-science”. Precisely because statisticians can hold two ideas at the same time in their heads. Doesn’t matter what the underlying biology or social science or psychology is or not. At all. Because rigor is not something one can negotiate with.

“In fact, I looked at her dissertation, appears quite good; but reference list entirely mathematical.”

So????? Is it another kind of Axiom-Shaming? Like mathematicians do not understand Reality because they think Deductively? That’s precisely the kind of bigotry that, I’m sorry, I cannot stand anymore. Reread the history of statistics, from the discovery of the gaussian distribution to almost any discovery in statistics. Almost each time, they are heavily intertwined with reality-based very concrete issue. Stop being afraid of special functions: mathematical symbols are not friggin’ hieroglyphs!

I’ll now cut the chase down to the point I’m interested in. Sorry for not treating your message exhaustively.

“First, it does endanger herd immunity in areas with a significant number of certain religions. Second, religious freedom doesn’t exist in a vacuum […] All of the major religions support vaccinations. But, I repeat, in a community rights have to be balanced with responsibilities/obligations. Tutoring a non-vaccinated kid at home doesn’t rule out infecting someone when out shopping or in a public park.”

Yep. I tend to agree with all that. But get a few facts straight: 1. “Freedom of conscience” is not “obligation to follow a religion and be bound by whatever religious authority” doctors fancy “negotiating” with. 2. Freedom of conscience is neither freedom of speech and even less freedom to do whatever you want. 3. Doesn’t change the fact that freedom of conscience is a cornerstone of modern civilisation and that we should tread only respectfully over it. 4. Something that obviously medical doctors have a few “problems” with. 5. And something that some of us are bullied over with the buzzword “Science” to despicable extents.

So while I do recognize the problems with respecting freedom of conscience, a point I made explicitly by precisely making the point that it should not endanger herd immunity and a point you do not seem to recognize I made, I do maintain that as a society, we should strive at guaranteeing that freedom of conscience in medical matters. A point I maintain is severely overlooked under a dubious double-bind of “informed consent” where in many instances neither consent nor information are goals that doctors feel obliged to abide by. MARK MY WORDS.

“So, as I’ve noticed, you really don’t always know what you are talking about”

I believe I’m going to watch snuff movies to pass the anger at that kind of statement, which is much much more than insulting. Or engage in pathological self-soothing. I very well understand what the stakes of freedom of conscience are in medical matters. If I did not, I’d be dead.

“But then you take a few points out of context and compensate for your ignorance by going on the attack. Oh well.”

Avoid strawmaning me, because I really do not enjoy writing comments such as this one.

But as to “going on the attack”, yeah, I have an axe to grind. I never made any bones about it. Now please do not hand me the stick to get beaten: you’re obviously someone that deserves respect for many reasons — a point I made with Tom — and I do not enjoy having too harsh words towards someone I do appreciate.

You OK, F?

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ F68.10

Why do you keep referring to doctors, at least sounds like you are mad at medical doctors. I am NOT a medical doctor. I have a PhD. I do NOT treat patients. If I did I would end up in jail. And I guess you missed that I actually have an MS in applied statistics; but did take courses in mathematical statistics, and only did well because I worked my ass off. I am NOT good at mathematics. So what the hell are you talking about?

I write comments on this blog basically for two reasons:

to debunk those who make unscientific and illogical claims, not ex, make better decisions.
as an old man, suffering insomnia, outlived almost all my friends, feels good to still be able to refute with science and logic others.

And as I’ve written before, sometimes you really make good contributions to the discussion, including linking to papers; but sometimes, as just above, you take a part of what I wrote and ignore the rest. So, I’ve both been critical towards you and also appreciative; but I started by pointing out that Beth’s training was in mathematics, then explained how what she wrote was wrong. Now she claims she has had courses in causal thinking; but if she did, she doesn’t give any indication she learned from them.

That’s precisely the kind of bigotry that, I’m sorry, I cannot stand anymore.

Time for the hairshirt. Concentrate, concentrate… Please.

JPsays:

@Joel:

I don’t think my friend F is mistaking you for a medical doctor; he has issues with the medical system in general, and I do too, a degree. Specifically I have issues with psychiatry, although not so far as to be anti-psychiatry. (In fact I do find it to be a necessary… well, not evil, but it’s a complicated relationship.) It’s a field that, imo, is over-deterministic and claims to understand and know more than it does. And shrinks tend to overestimate their competence and knowledge and often have a God complex. In fact, the shrink I was seeing when I was living in Vancouver messed around with my meds and that probably didn’t help matters; careening into a manic episode isn’t even in itself fun, let alone the fallout and the depression that seems to come afterward for me, which is worse, at least for me, than one that comes along on its own.

(Specifically, she was like “If you’ve ever had a manic episode, why are you on an SSRI at all?” and took me off the moderate dose of Celexa I was on. I mean, yeah, sure, but of all the SSRIs, Celexa actually tends to have a sedating effect. Like, come on, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, especially in a new situation and with a bunch of other stuff going on. Yeah, very smart.)

@:F

Yeah, the whole very-high-IQ myths. Familiar. I’m pretty sure that’s not my problem, it’s probably the almost implausible barrage of traumatic events, the unfortunate psychiatric problems, socioeconomic factors, etc. (I do not come from a privileged background at all.) Personally I don’t even put much stock in IQ, it’s a goofy GD metric with all kinds of problems (see The Mismeasure of Man, which Joel mentioned). But I’m pretty certain that all of that nonsense has been debunked.

I do recall suffering from what the Australians call the “tall poppy syndrome”; being accused of thinking I was special or better or whatever because I was smart, when I really didn’t. I mean, it did kind of get to the point where I did feel a bit of reactive resentment or something. Idk. Whatever.

Like, come on, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, especially in a new situation and with a bunch of other stuff going on.

Man, the discontinuation of clonazepam has not been going well for me.

JPsays:

Yeah, benzo withdrawal is a b!tch from what I’ve heard. Not only that, it can be deadly. I wonder if it hasn’t f*cked me up on release from psych wards, tbh; they like to keep you doped up on that kind of stuff when you’re manic, although moreso Ativan if memory serves. This last stint I was taking the PRN Klonopin twice a day just to cope with being in there (the places in this state are just awful, although this place was at least better than the one in Yakima proper, which is a low GD bar.)

Probably not enough or for long enough for proper withdrawals though, although the use and abrupt discontinuation doesn’t seem like a good idea for some reason.

They also do all kinds of goofy sh!t with your meds in there, although it could have been worse. Tbh I probably could have been on the Geodon longer than I was after I got out, but I’m pretty good at at least outwardly feigning sanity for my own reasons.

F68.10says:

I’m fine. Listening to E. Tonne did manage to soothe me.

@ JP

Yep. You’re mostly right about me.

@ Joel

Sorry. Got carried away. And, yeah, I thought you were a medical doctor. My bad. Apologies… I tend to “see them everywhere”. And I’m usually not that wrong when detecting them: I just need to overhear discussions in a bar or a cafe, and the medical ones ring in my ears in much the same way a bat’s sonar detects insects. 360° panoramic detection ability. Works well in crowded and noisy environments. I just wish I had this lizard man fetish instead… Oh, well… the world’s not perfect.

And for the record, I try to stay clear as much as possible from medical literature nowadays. As much as I would revel in diving into the SIDS literature as I did in the past, I believe it’s wiser for me to refrain from reading things on such topics for a year or two.

And please never insinuate that I believe myself more intelligent or more important than anyone else. I never did, never wanted to, and I’ve suffered awfully from these kind of dumber than dumb allegations in the past. Maim me anyday instead.

But your reasons to fight nonsense are very much honourable. Please keep it up.

JPsays:

I just wish I had this lizard man fetish instead… Oh, well… the world’s not perfect.

It’s funny; I hadn’t thought about David Icke in years, and a video (by a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, whose channel I kind of like) popped up on YouTube earlier today and I watched it. (Don’t read too much into coincidences, JP). Ha. Hey, who says I can’t notice them, the thought police?

It was pretty entertaining, the beginning and the end part in particular, and made me feel a little better about myself in a way. I mean, four percent of Americans believe in this stuff, at least to some extent. And I’m crazy? Come on.

JPsays:

I just believe in gods and Bodhisattvas and synchronicity and some other weird sh!t. Totally different. Much saner.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Further adventures aboard the Crazy Train:

Mr. Reason-Logic-Compassion-SCIENCE, James Lyons-Weiler is promoting (on Facebook) the meme that having people wear face masks to limit spread of Covid-19 violates OSHA’s requirement for air to be at least 19.5% oxygen.

Never mind that the surgical and cloth masks that you wear in stores and other public places are loose-fitting so that it’s virtually impossible to become hypoxic wearing them. L-W has apparently decided that discomfort while mask-wearing is a sign that you’re about to pass out from lack of oxygen.

L-W is also on the verge of a giant transformation of Science.

“I am so excited about what we have in the Unbreaking Science pipeline… You won’t believe how central YOU all are to obliterating all that is wrong with Science… I am buzzing on it…. !!!!”

How many people are becoming actively delusional during this pandemic?

Denice Waltersays:

Well, they may be the actively delusional at AoA, PRN, the HIghWire and Natural News
HOWEVER
they may be counterbalanced by BLM and K-pop/ other youngsters trolling the Donald by signing up for rally tickets they never used. Perhaps being cooped up for a few months led them to take serious actions. .

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Dangerous Bacon

Basically you are right; but I have N-95 masks and if I tried to jog with them, would be a potential problem; but even in my hometown one is not required to wear any mask while jogging, etc. And, even being in my mid 70s, when I go shopping I often have mask on for an hour or more, only problem my glasses sometimes fog up.

And most, as you point out are wearing cloth masks which allow air in better than N-95; but reduce droplets somewhat, which is the goal.

So, again, Lyons-Wyler is wrong; but what else is new about him????

Mr. Reason-Logic-Compassion-SCIENCE, James Lyons-Weiler

Wait, @lifemedguru? Really?

Kaia Rosesays:

While wearing my cloth masks, occasionally I start to feel like it’s difficult to breathe. But it improves immensely when I stop or slow down and mindfully focus on breathing in and out at a slower pace. I don’t really understand it, but I found a way to work through the discomfort without panicking or ripping off the mask. I highly doubt it’s due to insufficient oxygen.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Kaia Rose

Good for you. I forgot to mention that a couple of times I have worn my mask for over one mile walk. I have amazon.com orders delivered to an amazon locker at a 7/11 so they won’t be stolen off my front porch. When I walk my dog 5 am and 9 pm few people on street so don’t wear mask, if come across any, just cross street; but when walk to amazon locker, middle of day, so wear mask. I walk fairly fast for an old codger and coming home carrying 10 lb package; but no problem breathing.

I’m sure with time you will get used to the mask and concentrating on slow rhythmic breathing from lower abdomen is the way to go.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Beth: “I get vaccines because I think it will benefit me to do so.”

What vaccines? What vaccines do you think provide sufficient benefit?

“If I don’t think the benefit to me is worth the costs, then the tiny additional benefit to herd immunity isn’t sufficient to change that evaluation.”

What vaccines do you think don’t provide benefits “worth the costs”?*

As Orac has noted, those who repeatedly make antivax statements deny that they are antivax, but consistently evade or ignore the question of which vaccines (if any) they support. Beth follows the classic pattern here.

C’mon, Beth – educate us!

*Scoffing at the “tiny additional benefit to herd immunity” from a single person’s vaccination is akin to a person saying it’s worthless for them to vote, seeing that it has an insignificant effect on the outcome of a race. In the case of both voting and vaccination, promoting organized apathy or outright hostility to community participation can have a significant impact.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Dangerous Bacon

Well said. Better than I could have said it.

Yep, the impression Beth gives is she is an antivaxxer. Most of them don’t deny that “some” vaccines confer “some” benefit; but then always find some excuse. Hers is that no matter how many studies have been done, not enough and she contradicts herself. Oh well.

Orac,
I won’t linger long on your list of ‘quacks’. I too have somewhat against the teachings of Mike Adams, and others of questionable veracity, but my reasons are seldom in common with yours. I’m posting under the article about Antivaxxers, but I’m more interested in the subtext of the entire site, including any shared problems we may have with an infected cultural context.

I might start with your non illustrated position on psychiatry, giving it a pass by implication, that if it wasn’t a Scientological reproach, it might be okay. Psychiatry by itself is a vaguery that has something to do with the mind, logic, and social behavior. Until it is specified as a particular method in accord with a particular theory of the mind, logic, and social behavior, there is nothing but a world of assumptions to be baffled with. It’s about qualifying no matter what generality we begin with. If we classify Scientology as a religion should we associate it with monotheism or polytheism, neither, or, whatever? What is your problem with Scientology and how does that tie into your assessment of quackery?

Unfortunately, quackery is like ‘conspiracy theory’, only in the sense that they are meant to be derogatory and thereby lazily avoid the work of meaningfully exposing the fault of bad ideas, which are ever at hand to degrade our life. The mindless use of the term conspiracy theory is seldom meant otherwise than derogatory, and the fact that it can be used, with enough prefacing, as a judgment neutral reference to a conspiracy related problem, lends more to aid in it’s chronic, popular, and plausibly deniable erroneous use. The most prominent implied corollary of the negative use of CT is: There are no big conspiracies and if you think so, you are mentally unhealthy. The smaller, local, criminal conspiracies, are best handled by law enforcement, but as we use it, as we do our best to fool you, that the proper exclusive domain of CT is mental health, another term that merely sounds innocuous.

Quackery is the pet derogation term for ideas that do not conform to medical authority. There’s more than a little resonance between quackery and heresy. If that is allowed to stand for a minute, a direct corollary may be posited that Institutional Medicine along with it’s ancillary, Institutional Psychiatry, may provide the material that strongly suggests that ‘Olympus’ is now the base for a modernized polytheism. I try to comport with the idea that polytheism is superior to monotheism, but isn’t enough to offset the tyranny that theism of any sort generates. The kind of power that gets practiced by the devotees of theism is not the kind that requires recognition and consent before application.

The true purpose of the Covidiot 19 Movement cannot wisely be baldly stated. It can however be stated speculatively. I’ve been talking about the unreasonable power that requires a certain kind of organic constitution to defeat. This must be unequivocal in it’s denouncement of tyranny in all it’s disguise of hidden ways. If it reforms to disguise itself as a helping hand, that disguise must be exposed. Tyranny is still found in the sacred cows that are neither sacred nor cows, but when criticized, can evoke a violent reaction as if they were literal. If someone in a white lab coat and a draped stethoscope, orders me to take some sort of medicine, and if my refusal is responded to by force, then we have an example of medical tyranny.

By associating antivaxxers with conspiracy theorists you are attempting to create a refutation by association with a loaded term: conspiracy theory in general, and this in tandem with a particular one that denies the severity of Covid 19. That won’t work if people start realizing that our better theories are some of the best clues we have; when they speak up in defense of a term that is innocuous on it’s own and will be upheld or discarded according to evidence. That all conspiracy theories are not equal, and if you can name some that are obviously ridiculous, it won’t help when the trial shows up the ones that were well made and can be discarded as no longer necessary.

Tyranny is always a conspiracy. What we name the King’s conspiracy, the King names divine right, an exclusive regal prerogative. Once the Kingdom is overturned and the idea of rule by just law is instituted, the usual way for monarchy to regain it’s power is through subterfuge, espionage, infiltration, propaganda, deceit, false flags and only after all that, literal armies that come out of hiding. Now, what better strategy for the re-establishment of monarchical tyranny than to make conspiracy, if not a dunce-cap for resistance, or a scarlet letter for a ‘psychiatric condition’, then an archaic notion that only applies to some historical episodes, and criminality that exists on a comparatively microscopic level. When we speculate about world domination and plans to drastically reduce population, how do they not get an easy way, when many don’t even believe that conspiracies of scale are possible?

F68.10says:

@ Metatoast

“Unfortunately, quackery is like ‘conspiracy theory’, only in the sense that they are meant to be derogatory and thereby lazily avoid the work of meaningfully exposing the fault of bad ideas, which are ever at hand to degrade our life.”

I, at one time, thought that indeed, “quackery” and “conspiracy theory” were derogatory terms that were used in a rather cavalier fashion. And for “conspiracy theory” I still have a beef with that term.

However, I did realize some years before stumbling on Orac’s blog that, no, there really are very dangerous conspiracy loons. And that they do have real world and damaging impact when it comes to public health. As much as I question the wisdom of the mindframe behind some public health policies, one thing I am sure of is that you cannot let conspiracy theorists influence public health policy. The real world damage would be very much consequential.

As to quacks, the kind of Mike Addams or Gary Null nonsense seems to me to be pretty much US-specific. Much more dangerous are quacks that have MD credentials and that operate within an institutional framework. These need not be at first conspiracy theorists, but the way they and their opinions reverberate in the public opinion is through conspiracy theorists. Didier Raoult is a case in point.

Anti-psychiatry also is a case in point of the above paragraph. I’ll never forgive doctors for their sweep generalisations into lumping me in whatever category they fancied. But when I heard the word “antipsychiatry” thrown at me, I had a look at what it was. And originally, it is a movement of doctors. Not patients. And they have the quack warning signs all over them. Patients usually do not have the time, the leisure, nor the interest to dive into that literature… Yet, they are equated by psychiatrists as “antipsychiatry” because it’s easier to put disgruntled patients that do not like violence thrown up on them as “antipsychiatry”. It’s a Convenient Mental Box. The reality is that, personally, I do not see many differences between psychiatry and anti-psychiatry as it is originally formulated: they both are a way to spin a narrative on patients. I reject them both for essentially that reason (and others).

Why endorse Science in Medicine? Simply because there is no other possible choice: Medicine based on anything else than Science is bound to be a disaster. Doesn’t mean that doctors are always right. But quacks have no reason to be right, and they are a real threat to correct healthcare delivery. As to conspiracy theorists, they are on a Unholy Alliance and Crusade with quacks. That’s why both are real problems, and not merely derogatory terms as I initially thought.

And antivaxxers have obviously crossed the line more than one time.

The true purpose of the Covidiot 19 Movement cannot wisely be baldly stated….

Oo-ee-oo.

If someone in a white lab coat and a draped stethoscope, orders me to take some sort of medicine, and if my refusal is responded to by force, then we have an example of medical tyranny.

What if someone at a grocery store refuses you entry for not wearing a mask?

F68.10says:

“What if someone at a grocery store refuses you entry for not wearing a mask?”

That is obviously not the same situation. The stakes are very much not the same.

I’d never bitch around against someone expecting me to respect his privacy, autonomy, sense of safety, or property. I may disagree and engage a conversation, but that’s it.

Someone trying to force his value system concerning health on someone else is an entirely different matter. General statement that is completely independent of the discussion concerning vaccines.

Yes, sometimes force is necessary in medicine. Recognising that fact is not agreeing to the idea that doctors are the only relevant judges of their actions. That would be a free pass for them to impose their value system on others. That can spiral into “tyranny”.

Topics concerned by medical force: euthanasia and end of life policies, organ harvesting, war on drugs, forced sterilisation, moral “reeducation” through psychiatry, homosexuality, infant intersex surgeries, medieval mistreatment of autistic kids and their mothers in France. That’s the first off the top of my head where I believe doctors should be accountable and not hide behind variations of the “you’re frightened of the needle argument”.

Gimme a break with your needle and do me a favour: grab that icepick instead.

Honestly, I just do not get it why people focus so negatively on vaccines given some of the most blatant instances of “tyranny”.

<

blockquote>That is obviously not the same situation. The stakes are very much not the same.

In one sense, sure, but Metatoast was painting with a very broad brush:

“This must be unequivocal in it’s denouncement of tyranny in all it’s [sic] disguise of hidden ways. If it reforms to disguise itself as a helping hand, that disguise must be exposed.”

Perhaps “Pollocking” would be a better metaphor

Topics concerned by medical force: euthanasia and end of life policies, organ harvesting, war on drugs, forced sterilisation, moral “reeducation” through psychiatry, homosexuality, infant intersex surgeries, medieval mistreatment of autistic kids and their mothers in France.

I don’t really see a lot of this in the U.S., which is the perspective I’m stuck with in this context. Buck v. Bell is long gong, and “conversion therapy” is on its way out in the most populous states. I am shocked that a 15-year-old received intersex surgery, but that seems as though it must have been a parental choice — which would call for some “reeducation” — but New York State at least has had legislation introduced that would ban the practice on infants.

The war on drugs seems misplaced here, as do organ donation (there’s a good baclofen story here, BTW) and “euthanasia,” depending on whether you’re referring to prohibition or limited availability.* That leaves inpatient psychiatry, which I’ve acknowledged on multiple occasions is, in my experience, widely reliant on coercion.

*htt_s://www.deathwithdignity.org/learn/access/

F68.10says:

Doctors have real power. The fact that claiming it is considered a conspiracy theory drives me furious.

JustaTechsays:

“If someone in a white lab coat and a draped stethoscope, orders me to take some sort of medicine,”
If you are concerned about this, and in the USA, then you need to fill out some paperwork with your durable medical power of attorney so that you will not be treated if unconscious.

Adults, with rare exceptions, are allowed to refuse medical care in the USA, even if it is to their obvious detriment. The exceptions are 1) if they are a danger to others by spreading a serious contagious disease (maybe one person per decade is confined for not taking their TB meds?) and 2) if the adult is not competent and a danger to themselves (this is a separate and serious topic best left to others here).

Now, you may be denied entrance to a private space, or not permitted to work in a specific location or field, if you, say, choose not to get a specific vaccine, but that’s the other side of freedom. Other people’s freedom matters too.

JPsays:

2) if the adult is not competent and a danger to themselves (this is a separate and serious topic best left to others here).

Ah. Yeah. Complicated. “Unable to care for self” is very broad and vague, and if you’ve ever been involuntarily admitted before, and if later on down the road somebody is “concerned” about you, in you go, pretty much. It’s surprising how many basic rights you essentially lose once that happens.

“Danger to self or others” varies from state to state; some states take it very literally, in that it has to be imminent and serious danger, like you literally have a gun and you’re about to shoot yourself, or similar type of thing with regard to others. Some states make it quite a bit easier to read people’s minds and have them admitted.

JPsays:

For instance, this last time I was involuntarily admitted, it was basically because I was saying some weird stuff, people massively overreacted, and I ended up seeing the same mental health system under which I’d been admitted before. I honestly could easily have been talked into chilling out and staying put and getting some outpatient treatment with stuff that had worked before; that’s basically what I wanted to do at that point anyway, like, I essentially wanted to do laundry and get some rest. But the two-bit mental health crisis responder was very confrontational, among other things.

JustaTechsays:

Right, JP, which is why I didn’t want to go into it because I don’t actually know very much besides what you’ve shared and a few other folks I know. I know it happens and that theory rarely matches practice.
But I didn’t want to leave it out because that’s disingenuous.

But I think it’s far more likely that MetaToast is talking about the first instance, which is still really rare.

(Glad you’re away from Yakima, their COVID rate is scary.)

JPsays:

Yeah, I can’t help but worry about the people stuck in the places in and just outside of Yakima; if they’re not death traps already, I wouldn’t be surprised if they became so. I mean, you have to ask to be let into the bathroom, which is where you can wash your hands. I suppose they can set up other sanitation means, but it’s kind of hard to imagine that it wouldn’t be a transmission epicenter anyway, for a whole lot of reasons. I mean, at least the staff can go home, and the “providers” especially are a lot better off.

Honestly, being back home here is almost an ideal place to be. This county has had very few cases, and almost all of them have been in the town two and a half hours away that’s adjacent to Yakima County. What’s more, we’re way outside of any town at all, up on the mountain, and we only go into town for stuff like grocery shopping. (And even the towns are pretty “safe,” although I definitely wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before and after in and all that stuff.)

JPsays:

What if someone at a grocery store refuses you entry for not wearing a mask?

Yeah, Narad, I really don’t see any connection here at all, or very little. Being asked (or required, whatever) to wear a mask to enter a grocery store or a clinic or whatever bears no resemblance to being forced under threat of violence or violently forced to take a medication (as an adult, let’s say, with no agency, possibly captive.) That you’d equate the two is really surprising to me.

Now, vaccination is analogous to the mask situation, at this point in time in this country, with routine vaccinations; kids have to be vaccinated to go to school. (Well, of course, it’s being chipped away at.) That makes sense. But it’s not what was brought up.

There are several issues to unpack here. One of them is what is “force” and the other would include what is a medicine.

Without writing a book, as someone who teaches public health law I want to make it clear that there are some circumstances in which it is legal to force medicine onto someone. There are conditions for doing that, but it’s been done in the U.S. – up to and including locking people up and forcing them to take it – though it’s very, very rare. Where it usually comes up is for people with infectious tuberculosis who resist taking antibiotics for the duration. Sometimes, they resist because they are mentally ill. This is tricky, but the courts generally allow it, among other things because tuberculosis is, in fact, dangerous, the treatment is both in the interest of the person and in the public interest, and is the standard of care. Even there, however, usually courts would look for whether authorities tried less coercive means first – and authorities usually do, because, well, it’s more efficient to have voluntary compliance.

This is a boiling down a lot of material into one paragraph, and I’m happy to elaborate.

That is obviously different from a private actor – a store – setting safety conditions for entry, or even a state mandating masks in stores.
But I think my point is that the question whether an imposition on liberty is permissible depends on quite a few things, and the level of imposition is one of them, but not always the determinative one.

JPsays:

Well, there’s physical force, which I’ve been subject to, very unpleasantly (and unnecessarily, which happens a lot more than it should), although I don’t feel like telling the story at the moment. And then there’s the threat of said physical force if one doesn’t comply, while being captive, or the threat of being continued to be held captive, which I see as pure coercion.

If you haven’t been subject to this kind of thing and extensively witnessed it and also known people who’ve had the same experience it can be hard to believe just how prevalent it is and how deep it goes within the system, I think. It’s not a thing of the past.

Timsays:

Where it usually comes up is for people with infectious tuberculosis

Were not the first ‘anti-spitting’ laws enacted over that? Spitting on the sidewalk and taking spitoons out of movie theaters.

I veiw the mask issue in the same light only now the ‘spit’ is airborne (when not caught in droplet form via a covering).

Moreso, even; I suppose there are ‘persons’ who go about licking pavement but it is probably less common than getting Canadians to lick light poles.

JPsays:

But, you know, I’ve been around the block, you do what you know they want you to do, you say what they know they want you to say. Which I guess is a bit of a marker of sanity of a certain sort in itself, or maybe just cleverness, who knows. Still my own personal hell.
Still would cry (secretly, because you know if they see you doing it it’ll just be a mark against you) because I didn’t know when I would get out.

I actually read a book a few years back by a psychiatrist called, I think, Committed, in which she said she had decided against ever using involuntary treatment ever again except in the most extreme cases because it pretty much invariably does more harm than good; for one thing, it creates a great deal of mistrust and can destroy relationships.

Timsays:

I hear ya, JP. Cohersion.

Go in voluntarily, county-paid lackey fucks up your meds and tries to hand you a fistfull of prozac because they are both named ‘Tim’. ‘Orderlies’ are called because you won’t take your meds. Scuffle. Next day, note on the door warning of ambiguity. Boom — involuntary commitment.

In a town poisoned by both nerve gas canisters and Monsanto, Get exposed to the most fantastic stupidity as ‘group therapy’ — ‘therapist’ was wife of a southern bubba cop and did not like my takedown on her view of cannabis — mandatory attendance.

Get gut bacteria ruined, get fat, get a prolapsed asshole because fucktards would not allow a magnesium supplement which I had been taking six years prior. Get prescribed wrong meds because telemedicine mistook Deplin (folate) for Depakote (valproic acid) — Got told if I don’t take what the doctor says I’d never get out. Grew tits (prolactin >> 70). Got out the very day my disability was denied because the forms I was signing every year were not to protect my ass from the IRS but my employer’s (contract work).

During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized. “Well” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.” “Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.” “No.” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug, Do you want a bed near the window?”

F68.10says:

@ Tim

“Grew tits (prolactin >> 70).”

Ah! I now remember our exchange on the topic of the hormones, the bowling alley and the Big Lebowski.

Makes a bit more sense now…

Yeah, Narad, I really don’t see any connection here at all, or very little. Being asked (or required, whatever) to wear a mask to enter a grocery store or a clinic or whatever bears no resemblance to being forced under threat of violence or violently forced to take a medication (as an adult, let’s say, with no agency, possibly captive.) That you’d equate the two is really surprising to me.

Please bear in mind that I was trying to elicit something specific from Metatron.

Timsays:

@F68.10

Well, they didn’t grow ‘that much’ before I yeeted the shit away. But there was sensitivity in the nipple/areola — and some retrograde ejaculation. The culprit was mostly risperidone, I think. Nasty stuff. I would have prescribed myself cannibis.

Did anything come of the estogen pach study for the ‘rona?

F68.10says:

@ JP

“for one thing, it [involuntary treatment] creates a great deal of mistrust and can destroy relationships.”

I won’t believe that one without an RCT. And we have to double-check whether such an RCT would be ethical with respect to equipoise. We’re not Nazis…

I think that the subject of mask wearing is an important one to understand the tyrannical power that can order the entire world to hide their face, all in the name of public health, which presumes the existence of submicroscopic things that infect and cause disease with malice. These things, what exosome theory superficially denotes as tiny balls of protein being emitted from cells, are the same things that are named viruses, which are so tiny that the wearing of masks as a prophylactic is equivalent to using chain-link fencing as mosquito netting. The critical difference between exosome theory and viral, is the attribution of benign purpose vs. the attribution of malice.

I read Orac’s article titled: There’s No Such Thing As a Virus. Because I know I could be wrong about things that seem solidly true, I owe it to the cause of truth to examine any evidence which may force me to admit that I was wrong, when and if I am. He doesn’t use the term exosome theory, but that is basically what he is ridiculing. He states: “How on earth can one look at the overwhelming evidence from many different disciplines that confirm germ theory and deny its validity?” This 9min. video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDDE3PH5SA0&feature=youtu.be is really good at clarifying what exosome theory is because it’s a comparison of the two theories, viral and exosome, and there are simply more aspects of what researchers discovered that comport with exosome theory than with viral.

There is, as of yet, no certain way for researchers to assemble a plausible genome sequence that makes any sense out the RNA and DNA fragments found in a sample. As I understand it, the Polymerase Chain Reaction test does not complete the genome sequencing, but only amplifies by cycles of doubling, the RNA and DNA fragments. These are not assembled, and as being detached from the complete genome from which they came, these partial sequences of genetic code are meaningless. Except generally according to where the sample was taken, the origins of the fragments are unknown. We have been bemused by a fictional pathogen that is little more than extremely detailed artwork. The Internet is full of renditions of the Corona virus that if dissociated from the dominant narrative of viral disease vectors, are actually quite beautiful. And this is not to say that something lethal isn’t being used to make a fictional, natural, bat jumping pandemic seem plausible, as well as to exacerbate the fears that belong with considering the enormous arsenal of biological, lab created, gain of function, weapons.

There’s one more thing that belongs here: What I’m trying to get to is not to discredit science in general, or make light of the biological intrigue, but warn that the greater threat is of a political/medical and conspiratorial nature. Hardcore public health measures are showing more affinity with a footloose military, militarized terroristic police departments and a willingness to violate fundamental rights in the name of protection. Where will the courage come from to resist the hateful call to obedience?

Kaia Rosesays:

@ Joel

I always appreciate your comments. I don’t always understand everything, but I’ve learned a fair amount, too. I especially appreciate your book recommendations, in particular the one about the immune system. So thank you.

Also, congrats on your success in your advanced math courses. I struggle with math, too, and it’s always inspiring to read about someone doing well after really applying themselves to strengthen a perceived weakness. I have a few online math courses to take, nowhere near as advanced as calculus, and though I’m nervous, I’ll be working my rear off to do the best I can.

Learning a bit about research methodology was an eye-opening experience, and I want to keep learning more to better understand what I’m looking at. I always read the methodology section after the abstract. I realized that I really need to learn more about statistics. Is there a book you might recommend for a beginner? Maybe I need to see if there’s a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Statistics….

Anyway, thanks again for all that you share with us. I’m pretty much a lurker here, but this lurker appreciates your input. It’s clear that you put a lot of time into it. Thank you.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Kaia Rose

Thanks for congrats on my ‘success” in advanced math courses; but the first three courses in Calculus are actually undergraduate lower division courses. I would NEVER have dared attempt upper division undergraduate courses. in math. As Dirty Harry said: “A man should know his limits.”

While I haven’t read her Statistics for Dummies book, I did read Deborah Rumsey’s Probability for Dummies and thought it quite good as an introduction, so I would suggest you try Statistics for Dummies. Actually the Probability for Dummies might be worth your while as well. Though they say “for Dummies”, they aren’t; so expect to take a lot of time and effort to go through either of them; but I’m sure you will succeed. What many people don’t realize is almost all of modern day life is based on statistics.

As for the immunology book. I love it and hope you do as well.

Kaia Rosesays:

Thank you so much for the recommendations, especially the one about probability; how could I have forgotten probability! I had lumped them together, methinks. Oh, the things one doesn’t know they don’t know. 🙂 I don’t doubt that they will be challenging books, despite the ‘dummies’ name, but I’m up for it! I’ll likely struggle, but I think it’ll be worth the time and work. Added to my Wish List!

It’s funny that you said that “what many people don’t realize is almost all of modern day life is based on statistics.” I’ve been really getting this strong feeling that statistics is/are something I need to know more about, because I keep seeing its applications everywhere. While noticing that my knowledge on the subject is woefully inadequate.

“Making Sense of Research” by Martha Brown Menard has been such a valuable book for me. I’m still learning from it.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Metatoast: “The most prominent implied corollary of the negative use of CT is: There are no big conspiracies and if you think so, you are mentally unhealthy…That all conspiracy theories are not equal, and if you can name some that are obviously ridiculous, it won’t help when the trial shows up the ones that were well made and can be discarded as no longer necessary.”

Can you name any that were generated by amateur conspiracy theorists and promulgated on the Internet, that turned out to be true? What conspiracies involving many thousands or millions of people working in secret and having massive resources to support them were unraveled by Internet sleuths? In what cases have conspiracy theories implying that the people orchestrating them are harming themselves as well as the public been proven?

Those are the sorts of conspiracy theories we laboriously and repeatedly debunk (and laugh at). They’re a waste of people’s time, degrade confidence in valuable institutions and programs, and often serve as a means of propagating hatred.

Give that some thought.

“There’s more than a little resonance between quackery and heresy.”

Ah, the old “your science is just religion, hahaha!”

Requiring evidence and not faith to support a medical intervention is the opposite of religion.

Kaia Rosesays:

OT — I love that phrase ‘Internet sleuths.’ It makes me think of Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine. Scooby sleuths! Your phrase led to a wonderful mental image that made me laugh.

F68.10says:

@ Dangerous Bacon

“Ah, the old “your science is just religion, hahaha!””

Yeah, I’ve debunked this Tu Quoque Fallacy numerous times, typically with theocrats bemoaning science. The way this Tu Quoque is instrumentalised can boil down to downright stupidity masquerading behind smug smartness. Makes theocrats feel smart when they attempt to corner science proponents. Intellectually Bonkers but Rhetorically Efficient.

That argument indeed clearly is bogus.

What is not bogus, however, is that scientific positions can turn over time into dogmatic systems (psychoanalysis in France for instance). And that no matter what, violence can be and still is attached to the notion of differing opinions (just turn on your TV or whatever Window onto the World you fetishize). So there is a case to made for the analogy, though not just by anyone and not just anyhow.

Epistemology is indeed tied to power structures. Always have been and always will be. The only valid question is how criticism is managed within these social arrangements.

@ Metatoast

Required reading on this specific Tu Quoque Fallacy and on Dogmatism in Epistemological Systems and Power Structures. Not exactly a document that supports conspiracy theorists, mind you. But one that will sharpen your understanding of the issue. The only document I consider worth reading on that issue, in fact, though it’s a really tough read. But well worth it if you get to the end.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ F68.10

Yep, when reading on health care in France, astonished that they have been leaders in immunology; but still go to psychoanalysts. Besides my research degrees, I doubled down and took all the courses, practicum, and one year internship to become clinical psychologists in Sweden, even licensed there once-upon-a-time. I did it mainly because many researchers in designing studies, questionnaires, etc, conducting interviews, lack certain perspectives. So, we studied psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, behavioral analysis, etc. I loved psychoanalysis, not for its credibility; but its creativity, in some respects better than reading various mythologies.
Another French “quirk” is preferring individual pills for each medicine, whereas I preferred to down one pill, as I think most American do as well.

I can’t really know what your experiences have been with doctors; but from my own experiences and working with them, basically there are good doctors, excellent doctors, mediocre doctors, bad doctors, and everything in between. I assume NOTHING when meeting with a new doctor; but several times it was the first and last meeting and I even have walked out in middle of exam, clearly telling them why.

An excellent book by Professor of Medicine at Harvard, Jerome Groopman’s “How Doctors Think”. I think you will like it.

The best doctors I have had when I first met them asked me to describe my problem. I asked if they had looked at my medical record, they replied, no, want to get their own impression, not rely on others. And then they took their time answering my questions and explaining things.

One other book that I think you will like is: Lynn Payer’s “Medicine & Culture.” Explains, for instance, why American doctors “act” often, whereas, doctors in other nations/cultures, primum no nocere, first do no harm. American culture is one where we often have to do something. Much more in book. Fun read.

To Dangerous Bacon,

Metatoast: “The most prominent implied corollary of the negative use of CT is: There are no big conspiracies and if you think so, you are mentally unhealthy…That all conspiracy theories are not equal, and if you can name some that are obviously ridiculous, it won’t help when the trial shows up the ones that were well made and can be discarded as no longer necessary.”

DB: “Can you name any that were generated by amateur conspiracy theorists and promulgated on the Internet, that turned out to be true?”…

Your questions are stipulated in a way that unnecessarily confine the range of possible answers. Why should the list of possible examples of conspiracy theories, that opinion finds useful and relevant, be confined to those provided by amateurs? But, perhaps you did not intend to make a distraction out of the question of relevancy pertaining to an irrelevant dichotomy.

What if there is technically no such thing as a true conspiracy theory, since the rigors of truth do not apply to theory but only to those statements of fact, that perhaps a succession of theories had significantly contributed to. I don’t think there are many that would wear that label on there own accord. I don’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist, though I think the idea is worth defending, but only when not used pejoratively. What people label me with is beyond my control. We can’t go out anymore without an insult umbrella.

Anyway, thanks for the input, and maybe I can get back to F68.10 and anyone else who replied, later.

Denice Waltersays:

What scoffers like Metatoast fail to note is that there IS a way to determine where the line between SBM and quackery lies:
can a method be shown to work ( i.e. treat illness, relieve symptoms) through adequately controlled research studies? If it alleviates symptoms/ “cures” the problem, it’s SBM, if doesn’t ( after repeated studies) it’s not.

Suppose patients suffer from anxiety – which interferes with their life and causes them distress- different studies try diverse approaches: a new medication designed for this purpose, talk therapy, exercise and meditation. IF any ( or all) of these techniques work, not because of unaccounted for factors or because the researcher gamed the study, then they are considered SBM. Of course, we would need to see replication, large trials etc. There’s no religious test: it’s not about heresy or bad philosophical underpinnings. It’s about whether it WORKS or not.

Because quacks gotta quack- usually loudly- they appropriate the trappings of SBM, cargo cult wise, in order to convince their followers that their methods work and cause relief. They often achieve these aims through shoddy research: using self-report, inadequate controls for confounding variables, lack of blinding, placebo effect and general prevarication. There are loads of studies that show that vaccines cause autism BUT they haven’ been replicated by outside researchers, they rely upon parental reportage or include downright trickery ( Wakefield).
Now suppose that a study showed that a vaccine caused a serious problem, SBM would have to ( to remain SB) re-test that situation and account for the problem. It simply isn’t a matter of
faith or belief. AND -btw- research has shown that occasionally/ rarely vaccines DO cause problems. which leads to further research, changes in formulation or warnings. Research has illustrated that rare events occur ( such as with rotavirus/ intertussception , narcolepsy in some subjects, cat injection site carcinoma, Guillain Barre Syndrome). Events as rare as 1 in 10,000 have been accounted for because of research not philosophical condemnation. SBM can also discern when common practice by doctors DOESN’T work or when pharmaceutical products ARE NOT effective or cause complications . The same methods criticise both standard practice medicine and quacks. Orac and Dr Goldacre are equal opportunity critics. There are such things as “over diagnosis and “over-treatment” as well as treatments that don’t work or cause minimal relief at greater cost or risk..

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Denice Walter

Yep, vaccines have been found to cause rare albeit serious conditions; but the problem with antivaxxers is that they grossly exaggerate the occurrence of these and, at the same time, ignore the ravages of the vaccine-preventable diseases. For instance, a few cases of attenuated polio vaccine caused paralysis vs without a vaccine, 10,000 or more. And the oral vaccine wasn’t removed until a new killed vaccine was available that was equally effective. Another example is Guillain Barre from flu vaccine. GB much higher from actual flu, plus add in hospitalizations, deaths, etc.

I really like Goldacre, his books and articles usually have extensive reference lists. He does his homework.

If anti vaccination approaches were used, we would NOT have antibiotics. Penicillin literally saved 100s of thousands of lives; but didn’t help with gram negative bacteria and caused, for instance, in some patients anaphylactic shock.

We wouldn’t use seat belts because they only prevent about 50% of deaths and serious disabilities and have been a couple of deaths from and small number of damaged kidneys and bladders.

And they go back to beginnings, so we wouldn’t have organ transplants, e.g, first heart transplants didn’t work; but, a few years ago I met a man who ran 10 k, 20 years after a heart transplant.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Beth (2020 Jun 22)

First, congratulations on being a 10 gallon blood donor, so am I, actually approaching 15 gallons, even donated twice during the pandemic, despite being in my mid-70s. I donate to local blood bank, not Red Cross, just because I started there.

You write: “Yes, I am selfish. So are you. We are human. All humans are selfish.”

True; but there are degrees of selfishness.

You write: “We differ in regard to whether the cost/benefit ratio of receiving voluntary flu vacations is substantially changed by the benefit to the community – i.e. herd immunity. That’s a different value judgement, not a moral failing.”

I’ve asked several times, so again, have you actually researched the flu, e.g., PubMed, CDC website, etc. If not, how in hell can you claim to determine a cost/benefit analysis. And we live in societies where sometimes we have to defer to authorities. Despite your arrogance at thinking you know best, the CDC and WHO have many experienced knowledgeable people on flu. Without any research, you decide. As I’ve pointed out, we have rights and we have obligations. You seem to think your rights trump your obligations.

So, you made it quite clear that your decision NOT to get the flu vaccine was solely based on risk to you. One of the ancient Jewish sages, Rabbi Hillel said: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me; but if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when? Basically, yep, we think often about ourselves first; but as the risk of a flu shot is minuscule and you have NOT given any indication you have ever researched the flu, PubMed, CDC website, your decision was solely based on your unscientific self, no thought to others. I am simply citing what you said.

You write: ““First, I said your dissertation appeared to be quite good, not exactly disparaging.” That would be a valid point if you had said that in the previous post. But you didn’t.” (June 22, 2020 at 11:36 am)

I thought I had written in response to you that I thought your dissertation quite good; but actually wrote in response to F68.10: “In fact, I looked at her dissertation, appears quite good; but reference list entirely mathematical.” (Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH says: June 21, 2020 at 7:03 pm) So, I guess you aren’t following the entire exchange of comments; but I did write what I claimed before my previous comment.

You sound like a parrot, repeating the same things and ignoring my responses.

You write: “No, I’m not complaining the studies are not enough. I’m complaining about people making claims that exceed the scope of the evidence. Not researchers making that claim, as researchers are usually careful about that, but people on this blog.ng about people making claims that exceed the scope of the evidence.”

Yikes, you wrote: “I have never claimed that vaccines increased SIDS. I’ve only claimed that we can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements.”

What you wrote, not others. And it clearly indicates that still possible vaccines could cause/contribute to SIDS. You really are either stupid and/or dishonest as you keep denying what you clearly stated.

And you continue to ignore what I wrote about the withdrawal of the first rotavirus vaccine. Namely, that your unresearched claim that it was withdrawn because it was actually worse than presented was WRONG.

You write: “What have I said that you feel was “Ignoring/downplaying the harms from the vaccine-preventable diseases?”

Yikes again. Flu, rotavirus, both you ignore the risks, don’t even discuss them; but, with rotavirus vaccine exaggerated the problems with the original vaccine and ignored what I wrote.

Would someone monitoring this exchange please go through my responses to Beth and see if I haven’t nuanced/explained many of my comments, that she seems to not have understood, etc.

Once more, you keep parroting, taking out of context, or just ignoring what I wrote. Yep, I think you exceedingly illogical, STUPID.

Renatesays:

Last year I got my first flu shot, because I qualified for it, reaching 60. If it wouldn’t be of use for me (never have gotten the flu) at least it was an extra way to protect my dad, who is 91. Yes, he got his flu shot as well, but they don’t always work well in old people, so me getting a flu shot was an extra protection.
And no, my dad never gets ill as well (except for some CVA’s and this year a brain-infarct), but I’m rather on the save side.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Renate

Don’t quite understand “qualified for it.” I’ve been getting flu shot since in my 30s. CDC recommends for everyone over 6 months of age. Most of my health plans covered it, but if they didn’t, one could get it at any drug store, Costco, Walmart, etc. at a low cost.

As for you have never gotten the flu, doesn’t mean you won’t get it. I’ve NEVER been in a car accident as an adult. Since I was almost killed in one at 7 years of age, I am extremely cautious vigilant driver which lowers the risk; but never becomes zero. Same with your dad, he may not have gotten it previously; but each flu season’s strain differs and there are no guarantees.

As I’ve written the risk from flu shot minuscule and even if doesn’t stop one from getting it, often reduces severity, reduces risk of hospitalization and death, lowers number of viruses shed, so lowers risk for others.

By the way, did you get the high-dose version of flu vaccine. As one gets older, immune system doesn’t respond as well, so high-dose gives better protection. I keep up on research and minute I heard about it I asked my physician to get it for me, he did, and shortly thereafter my health plan offered it.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

You probably are unaware of a Japanese study that following program to give flu vaccine to children deaths and hospitalizations of seniors from flu went down. Yep, flu isn’t usually a serious problem for most children; but they can give it to those with autoimmune diseases and seniors. You probably are also unaware that it is estimated as many as 1/3 of people infected with flu are asymptomatic. So, they can for week or so give it to others, completely unaware. Children even worse because they can, even asymptomatic, shed flu virus for up to two weeks.

And you probably don’t understand that even if flu vaccine doesn’t protect an individual from getting it, can result in reduced severity, reduced risk of hospitalization, and reduced risk of death, plus less viral shedding putting others at risk.

Above just the tip of the iceberg of what you most probably DON”T KNOW.

Bethsays:

JAH “First, congratulations on being a 10 gallon blood donor, so am I, actually approaching 15 gallons, even donated twice during the pandemic, despite being in my mid-70s. I donate to local blood bank, not Red Cross, just because I started there.”

Congratulations to you too. I’m only at about 11 gallons. I haven’t been able to donate much the last few years due to some health issues making me ineligible.

JAH “I’ve asked several times, so again, have you actually researched the flu, e.g., PubMed, CDC website, etc. If not, how in hell can you claim to determine a cost/benefit analysis.”

While I doubt whatever studies I’ve read would be sufficient to satisfy you as long as my opinion remains different, but yes, I’ve read quite a bit. Enough to know that the efficacy of the flu vaccine is rarely sufficient to obtain herd immunity even if we had 100% vaccine uptake.

JAH “And we live in societies where sometimes we have to defer to authorities. Despite your arrogance at thinking you know best, the CDC and WHO have many experienced knowledgeable people on flu.”

That is true, but with regard to vaccines, the risks of contracting the disease is also dependent on individual circumstances, while the authorities make their recommendations based on the assumption that without the vaccine, the individual will contract the disease. I take my individual circumstances into account when making my decisions, which is why they can occasionally differ from the universal recommendations.

JAH “Without any research, you decide. As I’ve pointed out, we have rights and we have obligations. You seem to think your rights trump your obligations.”

No, I merely disagree with you regarding the obligations of the individual with respect to vaccines. I do not see it at an obligation to society anymore than I see donating blood as an obligation. People can choose to do either for the benefit of society, but neither is an obligation.

JAH “Yikes, you wrote: “I have never claimed that vaccines increased SIDS. I’ve only claimed that we can’t, based on the available evidence conclude that vaccines have been “shown not to cause SIDS”. There are not equivalent statements.”

JAH “What you wrote, not others. And it clearly indicates that still possible vaccines could cause/contribute to SIDS. You really are either stupid and/or dishonest as you keep denying what you clearly stated.”

That statement was in response to your original “you appear to think like they do, black and white, “certainty” null hypothesis true”. I don’t have certainty that the null hypothesis is true, which is what you were accusing me of. That the possibility exists is different from claiming certainty. That was the point I was attempting to make.

I’m not sure why you find concluding the possibility exists to be a debatable point of view. Christine posted a link to scientific study that discusses in depth the possibility of a few particular autopsies of SIDS infants being consistent with a reaction to vaccination and points out that “The possibility that the death resulted from vaccination effects should have received more attention.” It’s not an absurd hypothesis and consensus is not yet established on the matter.

JAH “And you continue to ignore what I wrote about the withdrawal of the first rotavirus vaccine. Namely, that your unresearched claim that it was withdrawn because it was actually worse than presented was WRONG.”

Are you actually stating that the risk level of the vaccine as presented to me prior to the vaccine being withdrawn was the same as after it was withdrawn knowing that it occasionally caused a problem not detected in the licensing studies?

I’ve ignored what you wrote about the risks because it was immaterial to the my decision at the time as that information wasn’t available to me. The facts I was working with then were that the vaccine was new and recommended by a committee with documented bias towards vaccine makers. For a disease I had never heard of prior to being offered the vaccine – i.e. the risk of my child getting the disease was quite low. It wasn’t a particularly difficult decision and the fact that it was withdrawn by my next well baby check-up meant I didn’t get asked a second time and confirmed that I was right to suspect bias on the part of committee recommendations at that time.

I think that there is a real discrepancy between the questions I ask and the ones you are attempting to answer with your data. You are attempting to answer to a high level of precision ‘what are the risks of the rotovirus vaccine as compared with the disease’ as a way of disputing whether my decision 21 years ago was correct. I was attempting to answer “what is the risk if my child gets the vaccine and suffers a severe reaction as a result compared with the risk of contracting a severe case of the disease?” That last part differs significantly for individuals depending on such things as geographic location, family history and lifestyle. The committee making recommendations did not include bias of the committee members as a factor while I did. I made an estimate, not a precise computation. That you claim the vaccine was still a lower risk is immaterial to me even if true. My concern was the bias of the committee making recommendations and the fact that I didn’t trust them to have accurately determined the risks for new vaccines. A decision I feel was vindicated by the withdrawal even if your statistics on the risks are correct.

“Once more, you keep parroting, taking out of context, or just ignoring what I wrote. Yep, I think you exceedingly illogical, STUPID.”

Congratulations on limiting yourself to only one direct insult and placing it at the end of your post.

While I doubt whatever studies I’ve read would be sufficient to satisfy you as long as my opinion remains different, but yes, I’ve read quite a bit. Enough to know that the efficacy [sic] of the flu vaccine is rarely sufficient to obtain herd immunity even if we had 100% vaccine uptake.

Given $R_0 = 1.3$ and effectiveness VE of 40%, the coverage needed for herd immunity is $V_c = (1 - 1/1.3)/0.4$, or about 58% (sorry about the lack of CI). Feel free to plug and chug.

Bethsays:

@NARAD Thanks for the links. You’re right. I was thinking influenza had a higher R0 than that. Of course, with such a low number, it also follows that it’s not an obligation for every citizen to get vaccinated.

Of course, with such a low number, it also follows that it’s not an obligation for every citizen to get vaccinated.

Dandy! How do separate the groups?

I’m just going to keep pointing at Kant until dawn breaks over Marblehead.

Christine Kincaidsays:

So Orac writes about antivaxers, vaccines & SIDS & now Terrie, Dorit & Denice want to launch a coordinated effort of organized response/non response to MY comments, to mitigate my impact on readers.

Me: An antivaxer who’s daughter died from SIDS, less than 24 hours after vaccines.

Oh but it’s for my own good because Sunday was the anniversary of my daughters death. How noble of you.

Funny how I acknowledged the anniversary & honored my daughters memory on my personal social media page without a mention of vaccines. Funny how I refrained from writing posts about her on antivaxer groups & pages this weekend, where I could have had countless validating replies. Funny how I didn’t exploit her death for the anti vaccine agenda & instead; commented here; a beehive of the provax agenda, where the author of the blog coincidentally wrote about antivaxers, vaccines & SIDS, just before the third week of June.

Yes, I show up here knowing what I will endure, year round, including even this week. No, it’s not a form of emotional ‘suicide by cop’. You will never understand me, stop trying.

If Orac wants to censor my comments, or the responses to them, that’s his call but that won’t help his readers understand the issues much.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

You still don’t acknowledge the possibility that SIDS following vaccinations could be just random chance, Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc. You still refuse to even consider that lightening can strike twice in the same place, David Hand’s “The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day.” And you have given NO indication you actually understand how vaccines work, i.e. immunology basics.

Nope, you are absolutely sure you are right. And its your ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that is despicable. Most of us accept we are mere mortals, without God-like certainty; but not you.

You write: “If Orac wants to censor my comments, or the responses to them, that’s his call but that won’t help his readers understand the issues much.”

Actually your comments do help readers to understand the issues because they give me and others opportunity to point out the extreme flaws in reasoning of people like you. And, once again, you have never once tried to refute my refutations of claims made by you; e.g., non-polio acute flaccid paralysis in India. So, shows anyone following this blog how you are incapable of actually defending your position with science, i.e., showing you really researched the topic and understand it.

You are a perfect example of the stupidity of antivaxxers, including their absolute certainty they are right.

Terriesays:

[N]ow Terrie, Dorit & Denice want to launch a coordinated effort of organized response/non response to MY comments, to mitigate my impact on readers.

Please, point to where I said such. I simply agreed that replying to you won’t change your mind, and that coming here on the anniversary of your daughter’s death shows how you’re completely fixated. By putting words in my mouth, you show you either lack basic reading comprehension or you’re a liar. Which is it?

Denice Waltersays:

@ Terrie:

Why would we ever want to “mitigate” her effect on readers? Sceptics would like to have anti-vaxxers explain themselves so that readers could understand their state of mind and erroneous thought processes. In fact, Orac himself often quotes anti-vaxxers in great detail showing how they confuse correlation with causation and use other fallacies. I don’t see Orac stepping in to stop her or telling his minions to be quiet.

HOWEVER, as a psychologist I DO wonder if it does anyone any good to witness the endless re-hashing of “wrongs committed by SBM to helpless infants”? Does expressing an unrealistic belief lead to its eventual challenging by its purveyor or does it only solidify the belief? EVEN THOUGH a few RI regulars do challenge the misguided ideas with research based facts- it doesn’t change anything..

Terriesays:

@Denice – Even if they accept one piece of information you provide, all it does is make them change their story, like it’s a fricking Choose Your Own Adventure book that always leads to the “And that’s why vaccines are evil” ending.

I’ve tried to give CK the benefit of the doubt, when yet another claim by her turns up false and assume innocent mistake. But with at least two incorrect claims on this post alone, I’m really starting to wonder if she’s just taken up outright lying, or if her obsession has rendered her unable to understand basic information. I mean, she tried to claims the rate of SIDS death (35.4) was higher than the total rate of infant death (5.6), because she couldn’t distinguish between per 100,000 and per 1000!

Athaicsays:

@Terrie

Which is it?

Those are not mutually exclusive answers.

JustaTechsays:

Christine Kincaid, you are clearly in pain. Please get help.

I can’t imagine what you’ve experienced, or what you feel, but you are very clearly in pain. Please, find a support group or grief counseling or whatever will help you, but please, get some help.

Coming here to shout at us isn’t going to change the past, and it clearly isn’t bringing you surcease from your sorrow. Please, find something that brings you peace.

christine kincaidsays:

@ JustaTech,

It will always hurt but I am okay now. I suffered almost 20 years of ptsd; dreams of holding children that went still & blue as I rocked them. Waking up screaming & thrashing around. It was during those years that I was in denial. That I did not talk about it. Or think about it.

I do not come here to shout at people. Nothing that happened is anyone here’s fault.

I truly do believe that vaccines are causing cytokine storms & seizure activity in babies with a certain phenotype & this is contributing to SIDS. Genetic predisposition. I think that by not identifying & controlling for that in the research; that the studies are flawed.

I want that changed. I don’t know how to do it but I can’t just do nothing.

I also hate the ‘get help’ stuff. There is nobody that can do that. I do not have the type of personality that can be helped by mental health resources; that has to come from me.

F68.10says:

@ Christine Kincaid

“It will always hurt but I am okay now.”

Good. Though it’s always at the back of your mind, isn’t it?

“I suffered almost 20 years of ptsd; dreams of holding children that went still & blue as I rocked them.”

Stuff like that too on my end. Not “holding children” but… stuff…

“Waking up screaming & thrashing around.”

Waking up sweating uncontrollably with tremors. Not screaming or thrashing stuff. But waking up terrorised.

“It was during those years that I was in denial. That I did not talk about it. Or think about it.”

Aaahhhh… “Denial”. A more complicated notion than one may believe it to be. You were likely living a life where something did not compute. Then something happened, likely a semi-brutal revelation plus some decantation time over a 1 or 2 year period, and you got an explanation. Whether right or wrong. That’s the kind of mental process I went through and that I’ve more or less witnessed or read other people going through it.

The problem usually is that it’s very tricky to get things right over this 1 or 2 year period. No one else will or even is really able to help to understand things; and even later on, when your theory is in place, you have trouble putting all your arguments in a format that makes a good case for them, and every rebuttal you encounter (whether or not you that rebuttal is correct, and whether or not your understanding of the rebuttal is correct) never addresses the core points you’re trying to make. Or at least so you feel. That would be “typical”.

“I do not come here to shout at people. Nothing that happened is anyone here’s fault.”

Your behaviour obviously shows that you do not consider the feelings of others on this blog as relevant in any way to the conversation you’re trying to have. And even if some of your behaviour could be or could have been construed as attention whoring, you have internalised that criticism (as per your claim, in a comment of yours I read, that you avoided instrumentalising the fate of your child on social media for the antivaxx cause) and try to focus on the arguments as much as you can. I’ve kind of noticed that. It seems to indicate that you’re trying a way out of your grief without falling into emotional exhuberance. It’s not such an easy ride.

“I truly do believe that vaccines are causing cytokine storms & seizure activity in babies with a certain phenotype & this is contributing to SIDS. Genetic predisposition. I think that by not identifying & controlling for that in the research; that the studies are flawed. I want that changed. I don’t know how to do it but I can’t just do nothing.”

Now. If you can evidence in the status of the research a point that, objectively, is under-researched, you would have a case for me or others to side with you on this specific point. I wouldn’t go antivaxx for so little, but a valid point about an under-researched topic is something I could sympathise with. But I would also warn you that you may be heading for a disappointment should such research proceed. And shifting points of views can also be profitable: for instance, we both agree, perhaps for different reasons, that statistics on SIDS are problematic. Why not try to solve this intermediate problem before going on to the cytokine storm hypothesis?

Moreover. Something that I’m curious of: are you more interested in solving SIDS? Or more interested in limiting vaccination? That’s perhaps a too personal question, so you not need answer here, but it’s perhaps also a good idea for you to ask yourself where your skin really is in that game. And why.

“I also hate the ‘get help’ stuff. There is nobody that can do that. I do not have the type of personality that can be helped by mental health resources; that has to come from me.”

Given that you do not seem to care for emotional support but you want answers, you may benefit from “this kind” of help rather than “that kind” of help. Your call. But finding advice on how to balance your priorities, even your existential ones, can be useful. My advice: 1. Avoid groupthink. You can only benefit by being exposed to new ideas. 2. Do not stay too focalized on an issue if you have a choice in the matter. It can destroy you.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Metatoast: “Why should the list of possible examples of conspiracy theories, that opinion finds useful and relevant, be confined to those provided by amateurs?”

Because the most popular and widespread conspiracy theories (including the ones discussed on this blog) are in fact invented and disseminated by amateurs without relevant knowledge, expertise or critical thinking capacity.

“Genuine” conspiracies triumphantly pointed to by the conspiracy theory crowd eventually become known through professional criminal and/or political investigations, investigative reporting and once in a while through whistleblowers with inside knowledge. Some are not conspiracies at all (for instance, the Tuskeegee Experiment, a revoltingly unethical study whose findings were openly published, but which is continually referred to as a “conspiracy”).

Still waiting for Beth-how-dare-you-call-me-an-antivaxer to let us know which vaccines she supports and which she believes are uncalled-for.

It cannot be accepted that amateurs do what you say without tacitly accepting, as germane to the topic, the dichotomy of amateur/professional. Again, this is distracting because it presents the problem of unraveling the sophistry inherent in the restriction. Neither professional or amateur has any bearing on the truth of the matter which should be the only reason for the inquiry. Truth transcends the question of why one side or the other has any bearing on what should be the criterion for acceptable examples of useful conspiracy theories, as well as those that a significant number consider as solved. If what you deem as amateur is by definition not supported by relevant knowledge, expertise, or critical thinking capacity, in other words the nonsense of a dumb-ass, then why not narrow your query to some qualities that you respect.

At any rate, you have brought up the Tuskegee Experiment as an example of what is touted as a conspiracy, but in your opinion, not. It was most certainly a conspiracy! The victims of this shameful experiment were lied to; promised they were going to get free medical treatment for a bunch of ailments. “The men were told that they were going to get free medical exams, meals, and burial insurance. For those who actually had syphilis, they were never informed of their diagnosis nor given any treatment for it. Additionally, very painful and unnecessary spinal taps were performed on many in the study.”(1) This is a conspiracy against the people that were used in the name of scientific research. It has nothing to do with whether or not any official laws were broken. Whether or not the law can ever be applied universally to matters of morality, is a question for another time, but certainly the idea of conspiracy can be expanded to include what is perhaps not now proscribed in the books. What, by your characterization of the experiments as unethical disallows you from admitting the use of conspiracy in this way?

F68.10says:

@ Metatoast

“It cannot be accepted that amateurs do what you say without tacitly accepting, as germane to the topic, the dichotomy of amateur/professional. Again, this is distracting because it presents the problem of unraveling the sophistry inherent in the restriction. Neither professional or amateur has any bearing on the truth of the matter which should be the only reason for the inquiry.”

In theory, you’re right. In practice, there is a world of a difference between what you can expect from David Icke and what you can expect from a investigative journalist. I’m thinking typically of Elise Lucet, who in France is doing investigative journalism, not exactly with a pro-science slant, but investigative journalism nonetheless. She is branded by some as a conspiracy theorist. She’s not. So yes, that dichotomy is very fluid depending on who uses the terminology. But nonetheless, world of a difference between QAnon and Elise Lucet. World of a difference.

“Truth transcends the question of why one side or the other has any bearing on what should be the criterion for acceptable examples of useful conspiracy theories, as well as those that a significant number consider as solved. If what you deem as amateur is by definition not supported by relevant knowledge, expertise, or critical thinking capacity, in other words the nonsense of a dumb-ass, then why not narrow your query to some qualities that you respect.”

In theory, you’re right. In practice, it’s foolish not to use “relevant knowledge, expertise or critical thinking abilities” as a heuristic to discriminate nonsense based on pedigree. It’s merely a first filter. Not the only one.

“At any rate, you have brought up the Tuskegee Experiment as an example of what is touted as a conspiracy, but in your opinion, not. It was most certainly a conspiracy!”

Well, yeah, there always is this semantic fluidity on such matters. What Dangerous Bacon targets are conspiracy theories that assert a cabal of shady men instrumentalising government and deceiving the public. You have examples of such theories: The International Jewish Conspiracy Theory, The Flat Earth Theory that NASA is Hiding Everything, other theories whose logical implications are that researchers are actively falsifying research, such as Global Warming, Rabid Antivaxxers of the Worst Kind, Scientology Nonsense about Clearing the Planet. These obviously fit the template.

The Tuskegee Experiment is not one according to Dangerous Bacon as, as far as I infer from his words, Everything was Out in the Open. There is a bias in this position, in my view, in the sense that were anyone willing to shout out that there was an issue, they likely would have been branded a conspiracy theorist. And the thing is precisely that no one did… The other thing where I disagree with him is that “Out in the Open”, yes, but in rather confidential circles: not everyone reads medical literature for fun. Those who do were much more likely to be doctors. And herein lies the problem in the black and white delineation of the notion of conspiracy based on the “Out in the Open” criterion.

Nonetheless, there is a world of a difference between ravings you now see on the Internet on 5G for instance, and something like the Tuskagee Experiment. 5G FUD is simply hilarious and not credible in any way.

“This is a conspiracy against the people that were used in the name of scientific research.”

Yes, well, maybe you should think twice about what scientific research is and is not, should be and shouldn’t be. You’ll see that people like Orac have precisely called out unethical research of this type. So if someone if blowing the whistle on Tuskagee-like experiment (not the same scale, mind you), it is Orac. Not climate change deniers. Who couldn’t care less. That’s the world of a difference between “professionals” and “amateurs” on such topics. Do you now see the issue?

“It has nothing to do with whether or not any official laws were broken.”

I would tend to agree. For instance, here is a real world 19th century successful conspiracy where no laws were broken. They were the Law. They were the Government.

“Whether or not the law can ever be applied universally to matters of morality, is a question for another time, but certainly the idea of conspiracy can be expanded to include what is perhaps not now proscribed in the books.”

As long as you’re clear with the semantics, you can do hair-splitting on words with me if you wish.

“What, by your characterization of the experiments as unethical disallows you from admitting the use of conspiracy in this way?”

They were not secretly organising to subvert institutions. They were operating within the institutions. They were the institutions. Institutions were crap. And that should be a lesson, in theory: someone who criticises institutions is not a conspiracy theorist on the sole basis of that act. People who equate the notion of criticism with conspiracy theories should also be lampooned… But people who go beyond criticism to disseminate wild ideas, instrumentalising emotions of more ignorant people, and sowing distrust with deceitful arguments in which they themselves believe do earn the Conspiracy Theorist title.

Hi there F68.10

I don’t where this is going to end up since there’s no reply button on your post. I’m using the one left on mine.

If DB is targeting CTs that assert a cabal of shady men instrumentalising government and deceiving the public, I don’t get that there is anything to be ridiculed except maybe the examples you gave; for example, The Flat Earth Theory that NASA is hiding everything. Associating Flat Earth with anything is poison to any idea like ‘NASA is hiding everything.’ Of course hiding everything is impossible but certainly NASA is hiding something. Something like the Apollo Missions were all faked. If you want to discredit any idea just park a Flat Earth meme beside it. Park it alongside the meme of conspiracy theorist. Maybe later we can talk about the unbelievable volume of fakery that’s been foisted on us. Fakery like the current George Floyd psyop. A scripted little movie to rile up a race war. Fake riots in the sense that agents provocateurs were working overtime to make what was already naive, into a spectacle of violence.

The thing of it is, the psyop is becoming totalitarian. It has infected everything we depend on to live a productive and happy life. We have lost face because of moronic obedience. We where masks to protect from some tiny little thing broadcasting with a mighty amplified voice. We are under attack by an evil little copycat after the Wizard of Oz.

One true enemy looks a lot like a gremlin with a hypodermic syringe in hand and duping delight smile, calls himself Cake.

F68.10says:

@ Metatoast

“I don’t where this is going to end up since there’s no reply button on your post. I’m using the one left on mine.”

That’s exactly how you should operate.

“If DB is targeting CTs that assert a cabal of shady men instrumentalising government and deceiving the public, I don’t get that there is anything to be ridiculed except maybe the examples you gave; for example, The Flat Earth Theory that NASA is hiding everything. Associating Flat Earth with anything is poison to any idea like ‘NASA is hiding everything.’”

Well, to be honest, I pretty much like Flat Earthers. Did you watch “Behind the curve”?

I mean, I must say I have some admiration for their commitment to their ideas and the effort they put into trying to prove that the Earth is Flat. All this creativity to set up experiments, the pooling of resources… gee! Honestly, I do congratulate them. Even if they are… Flat Wrong.

The Flat Earth Movement is an example. You may laugh at it, but the point is not a humoristic one. It highlights very vividly the issue: I mean, honestly I couldn’t care less if my neighbour believes or wants to believe that the Earth is Flat. Won’t stop him from going to grocery store. He will live a normal life. We may even have a good laugh talking Flat Earth with some white wine at the local café. I wouldn’t go medieval on a flat earther over flat earth if the guy is nice to me. If the white wine is not to his taste, that disagreement over taste would be a much more serious offense…

What I do care about in the Flat Earth Movement is that it showcases the following logic: I “Know” The Earth Is Flat. Therefore NASA is lying. And the logical consequence is a Conspiracy Theory. That is a genuine Conspiracy Theory.

What I have a problem with is the word “Therefore”. Take any other conspiracy theory, even more “serious” ones, and every time, you’ll find a similar “Therefore”. And these are very dangerous. In Flat Earth, it’s so obvious that, yes I do not mind showcasing it. But if I take psychoanalysts like Gerard Pommier in France, an academic, you have exactly the same phenomenon (english subtitles available):

@ Denice Walter

If you have the time, take a look at this video with english subtitles turned on. You may understand a few things to some aspects that are at stake in some medical matters (not all…) that underly some of our discussions…

@ Metatoast

So you have, on a State funded radio in the video above, a journalist, a relatively high-ranking academic, Pommier, and a government official / scientist. And Pommier goes full Conspiracy Theorist in the entire video in a rather elaborate and sophisticated manner. This is much more serious stuff than Flat Earth. Real world consequences. But the logic is the same: It’s the “Therefore”…

It’s not only a chemtrail issue or whatever lizard fantasy one may have. It’s really Anti-Science and damaging. Because medical interventions depend on getting things right. And kids and lives are at stake. That’s the point. The real one.

And at least, as can be witnessed by Behind The Curve, Flat Earthers try to stick to or mimick the experimental method. Kudos to them! Gerard Pommier doesn’t: he explicitly battles against the experimental method. Flat Earthers do not. They just do not grasp a few things. So I may laugh at Flat Earther at times, but I really love them comparatively to much more dangerous loons in academic positions.

For the rest of your comment, I’ll let other people comment… You can expect a backlash from other regulars. Enjoy.

Chris Prestonsays:

Something like the Apollo Missions were all faked.

Oh dear. Crank magnetism here we come.

Fakery like the current George Floyd psyop. A scripted little movie to rile up a race war.

I have zero tolerance for racists and their enablers. You have managed to park yourself neatly under that title.

A genuine conspiracy theory would require no capitalization, and there is no meaning for me when it is. By saying that if we have an example of a genuine Conspiracy Theory we have evidence that its descriptive uncapitalized use has been abandoned in order to use the capitalized version as a category of demeanment. This implies a subtle tacit disclaimer of the destructive power that stems from it’s devious use by those in authority positions that are somehow threatened by the possible investigations brought on by a theory of malfeasance done by conspiracy.

Your insistence in the improper use of the term is not helping our cause to defend and perhaps correct science. The scientific method is lost without the idea of theory, of which it’s credence will suffer by making a mockery of those who pursue justice and truth in the matter of conspiracy.

I will seriously try to find the time to read and watch your recommendations

@Chris Preston,
I think you’ll find if you look, that some of the subjects that I speak about, which you’ve placed under the rubric of crank, where crank magnetism represents a multitude of disrespected subjects that is meant to imply a lack of discriminatory faculties; that there is a unifying theme that orders the appearance of variety into a single folder. Truth, justice, and liberty is that order. Any problem with that?

As for Apollo, coming to terms with the idea that our government could possibly pull off a deception of that magnitude is not easy. Don’t think that I would deny the American people any pride of accomplishment when it’s real and not a stunt. I think it helps to know that the R&D of real technologies for space exploration parted during the phony Apollo Missions, which doesn’t help our sense of accomplishment because we are contemptuously excluded. Here is a humorous article on the subject: http://centerforaninformedamerica.com/moondoggie/

How would exposing, or even under a delusion of exposing the planned instigated aspects of a riot, be racist?

F68.10says:

@ Metatoast

“A genuine conspiracy theory would require no capitalization, and there is no meaning for me when it is. By saying that if we have an example of a genuine Conspiracy Theory we have evidence that its descriptive uncapitalized use has been abandoned in order to use the capitalized version as a category of demeanment.”

More seriously: cut the bullshit. Germans Capitalise Everything. I Just Do It The Way I Want.

Now There Is A Reason To Capitalize The Notion Of A Conspiracy Theory. It Is Simply Because Most Of Them Follow A Template. So Without Wanting To Be Too Platonic, I Must Observe That Conspiracy Theories Have This “Therefore” Embedded Within Them. Doesn’t Change The Fact That Conspiracy Theories Are Not All Equal. I’ve Just Shown You In My Previous Post Two Conspiracy Theories That Are Very Different In Implications And Subtlety. The First Blames NASA. The Second Blames Ammerrikah And Yankees For A Scientific Invasion Against Our Pure And Pristine Use Of Humanist Psychoanalysis That Respects Individuality To The Point Of Foreclosing Any Mean of Evaluation Of Its Impact On Patients. Because, Of Course, All Ammerrikans, You Included, Are Fundamentalists Of Scientism, As Opposed To Our Oh! So Subtle French Sociologists Who Know That Sociology Should Use a Different Epistemology And Psychoanalysis Should Too, Otherwise Truth Would Stay Hidden From The Appropriate Means Of Inquiries! Yankees Go Home!

NASA = Greyface = Ammerrikans.

“This implies a subtle tacit disclaimer of the destructive power that stems from it’s devious use by those in authority positions that are somehow threatened by the possible investigations brought on by a theory of malfeasance done by conspiracy.”

I am the first one to claim on this blog that authorities should be subject to stringent criticism. I could give you a shitload of interventions on this very blog where I bemoan the tentation of authorities to legitimate on the grounds that citizens are dumb asses the idea that things should be done technocratically away from the public eye. In France, that problems seems to me pretty much acute.

You won’t be able to corner me with this “You want to accuse people of Conspiracy Theories to legitimate government abuse of authority”. I’m Morally Pure on this aspect of things.

“Your insistence in the improper use of the term is not helping our cause to defend and perhaps correct science.”

I never insisted on you using a word or another. I’ve bitched around on this blog on the notion of Enforced Speech when it comes to Holocaust Denial Laws in France. Again: I’m Morally Pure on this one. Use the words you want. I’ll be available for the semantical hair splitting as time allows me. Be my guest! Invent your language! After all, in Switzerland, swiss germans and specifically walliser make it a point of honour not to speak like anyone else.

“The scientific method is lost without the idea of theory”

Gimme a break. First comes observations. Then conjectures. Then refutations and attempts thereof. What cannot be refuted is what sticks. That’s what we call Science.

That’s the complete opposite of a Conspiracy Theory, where people Want To Believe.

“Of which it’s credence will suffer by making a mockery of those who pursue justice and truth in the matter of conspiracy.”

Conspiracy Theories obfuscate matters, add confusion, add inefficiencies on legitimate enquiries, undermine the work of investigative journalists, and really abhorrent behaviours, like the Tuskegee experiment, go out of public scrutiny because of the Induced White Noise.

They’re a Scourge.

“I will seriously try to find the time to read and watch your recommendations”

Take your time. And do as you will: I’m not here to instruct, discipline or reeducate you. Not my job.

“How would exposing, or even under a delusion of exposing the planned instigated aspects of a riot, be racist?”

If there is a plot, come with evidence. Until then, it is rather safe to assume it is because of an unacknowledged problem with emancipation of black people from their conditions and conditioning. It doesn’t have to be “racist”. Merely insensitive and self-serving. Which can be fine by my standards: I’m insensitive to many things. My brain indeed is fried with respect to my capacity to be shocked by almost anything.

Smut Clydesays:

its descriptive uncapitalized use has been abandoned in order to use the capitalized version as a category of demeanment. This implies a subtle tacit disclaimer of the destructive power that stems from it’s devious use by those in authority positions that are somehow threatened by the possible investigations brought on by a theory of malfeasance done by conspiracy.

I thought I can be a pompous git, but I have just been thoroughly out-pomped

Chris Prestonsays:

As for Apollo, coming to terms with the idea that our government could possibly pull off a deception of that magnitude is not easy.

Dave McGowan? Now where is my eye roll emoticon again?

Seriously, for the moon landings to have been faked would have required a worldwide conspiracy involving 10s of thousands of people (including my cousin at Honeysuckle Creek). None of the conspiracy theorists have ever provided any firm evidence for it to have been faked. It is all supposition and mostly ignorat supposition at that.

Only a racist could come up with the idea that the death of George Floyd was a staged event created to stoke racial tensions.

christine kincaidsays:

It’s not a conspiracy; it is flawed methodology.

If I were pregnant & worried if the vaccines my obgyn is trying to give me; it is because I am scared that vaccines won’t be safe for my baby. Right? I am afraid that vaccines might actually kill my baby, right? I might be afraid because a friend got vaccinated while she was pregnant & lost her baby. Or I read on a social media group about 20 moms who’s babies died after they were vaccinated. They said they got vaccinated & delivered a stillborn. Or the baby died shortly thereafter. I will want to know if vaccines are actually safe for my baby.

And you might show me this:

“Infant Hospitalizations and Mortality After Maternal Vaccination”
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/3/e20173310

Because it says this:

“CONCLUSIONS: We found no association between vaccination during pregnancy and risk of infant hospitalization or death in the first 6 months of life. These findings support the safety of current recommendations for influenza and Tdap vaccination during pregnancy.”

But that study will not have addressed my concern & I won’t know this unless I really read into the study. Because of the Methods:

“We included women from the VSD with pregnancies ending in a live birth between January 1, 2004, and June 30, 2014.”

``` No, we are worried about our baby being born dead. Why have you excluded the stillborn babies? That is exactly one of our biggest fears. ```

“We excluded pregnancies in which a live vaccine was administered because live vaccines are contraindicated in pregnancy.”

``` No. Pregnant women have been given live vaccines. If they were not; you would not have to mention that "they' were excluded. A live vaccine is a vaccine; you don't get to declare 'them' safe after eliminating the more dangerous ones. ```

“We also excluded infants of multiple gestation pregnancies, infants born before 34 weeks’ gestation, and infants with major birth defects because these infants are at a higher risk of hospitalization and death”

``` No. You just excluded the babies of the women who reported going into preterm labor after being vaccinated. You have not declined to vaccinate women carrying twins; they need to be included in the study. ```

So yes, after eliminating all the infants who did die, or are at risk of dying after mom was vaccinated; it might appear as though vaccination of pregnant women does not contribute to infant mortality according to this study. When in reality, this is all the study proves:

“The babies who didn’t die after mom was vaccinated are still alive.” Bravo; AAP.

Terriesays:

And you might show me this:

For someone who just bitched about how we’ll never understand you, you like to put words in our mouths.

And you might show me this

Or this (which does not cite your chosen target, Sukumaran et al.).

PFsays:

Fortunately, there are plenty of other studies that DID look at the question of whether there is an association between vaccines during pregnancy and stillbirth/miscarriage. Which ALSO show no association.

And while there may be research regarding live vaccines during pregnancy, that’s not something anyone would look for to support it being done – live vaccines are NOT recommended. So that’s irrelevant.

So no, that’s not a study that anyone would provide to reassure a pregnant woman who was concerned about getting her recommended flu and TDAP shots, but there are plenty of other studies that do address her concerns. You on the other hand, are just straw manning.

F68.10says:

@ Christine Kincaid

No. The exclusion criteria are necessary to scope the study so that the effects of the vaccines are tested in precise conditions. That’s fine.

When I wrote to Beth that in medicine we check things under given parameters, that’s what I meant. These parameters are therefore OK. And, you can expect the study to hold under mild extensions of these parameters. That’s an important point too.

You cannot check everything. You have to get some windows on Reality, and this is one. And from that window, The Sun Is Shining.

Now, who knows? Maybe there’s a torture chamber hidden in the basement? You never know… but you won’t know that by looking through the window. Because the sun is shining.

Overall, this study refutes the idea that there are reasons to believe vaccines cause problems in this setting. If you want to control for other parameters, you should pick another study. That’s a bit like playing whack-a-mole, though…

But I’m wondering how many horses you have to check to come to the conclusion that it’s likely unicorns do not exist.

(And sorry for the Bob Marley song: you may find the lyrics offensive in your situation, but I couldn’t resist. I love Bob…)

christine kincaidsays:

@F68.10,

I like Marley; that did not offend me.

I will look at more studies.

christine kincaidsays:

F68.10,

Replying to your comment from 6/23 0204 here, because there is a reply link. This is like the 15th reply I have started today. I keep loosing my laptop. But he’s going to sleep now.

``` "Waking up sweating uncontrollably with tremors. Not screaming or thrashing stuff. But waking up terrorised." ```

Then you know. I am sorry, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I can’t elaborate, it would be used against me here but I lost everything trying to stay awake forever.

“I do not know precisely what you have in mind for investigations in SIDS. But for
instance, if you’d wish for genetic predisposition to be controlled for in research,
there are concrete questions to be answered: how could you determine what
genetic predisposition you’d wish to evidence as being at risk? What payoff in
terms of safety could you expect from such research. At what cost, financially
speaking?”

Most states here already do a newborn heelstick test for up to 30 disorders, including CF, hypothyroidism, PKU, galactosemia, severe combined immunodeficiency, sickle cell, HIV, toxoplasmosis, etc …

Why couldn’t the specific variants on genes encoding IL-1, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α be tested too? They are thought to be contributing to a genetic vulnerability for SIDS & those pro-inflammatory cytokines are specifically stimulated by vaccination.

The ability to test for susceptibility to adverse vaccine events due to IL-1, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α , along with MTHFR & some HLA’s is already available. It has been since at least 2008. Heelsticks on newborns have been done since the 1980s.

But I can’t imagine what it would do for this to be acknowledged NOW, after all this time. Would it change ‘vaccine court’ outcomes retroactively? That would probably be demanded. I don’t think anyone wants to open that can of worms but the alternative is that my baby & those like her become acceptable losses. I’m sorry but I won’t again sacrifice a child for a society that would ask that I sacrifice a child for them.

``` "And shifting points of views can also be profitable: for instance, we both agree, perhaps for different reasons, that statistics on SIDS are problematic. Why not try to solve this intermediate problem before going on to the cytokine storm hypothesis?" ```

Yes I agree. You might be surprised what attempts to discuss them are met with. Even if vaccines were not on the table at all, questioning SIDS stats is akin to heresy.

``` "Something that I’m curious of: are you more interested in solving SIDS? Or more interested in limiting vaccination? ```

The problem is that specific variants on genes encoding IL-1, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α are also correlated with a genetic vulnerability to autism. Vaccination should NOT be limited for those that don’t have this susceptibility. I have those variants & so does my son. Ironically, he did not retain any antibodies from vaccination anyway. The only one I have been tested for is the MMR & I have no antibodies either. It’s not like we would be deprived of having protection to VPD’s if we were not vaccinated; we don’t have immunity despite being vaccinated. This is where the research is really lacking; I don’t know if others with these variants are the same or not but if they are; they won’t be able to contribute to herd immunity anyway. Why risk SIDS?

``` "1. Avoid groupthink. You can only benefit by being exposed to new ideas." ```

I agree; that was my motivation for coming here. That’s why I haven’t left.

Thank you.

christine kincaidsays:

My thoughts on this study:

https://journals.lww.com/amjforensicmedicine/Fulltext/2019/09000/Sudden_Infant_Death_After_Vaccination__Survey_of.5.aspx

“Among the 3 cases reported here, features at postmortem examinations were heterogeneous, but similar findings related to the immune system were observed to some degree. Particularly, neutrophil infiltration in the spleen was evident, suggesting that the subjects were affected by hypercytokinemia deriving from an immunological reaction by some infection.”

``` Infants with "some infections" are not typically immunized while "infected". Do vaccines trigger "immunological reactions"? Or not? I think they do. ```

“Common features such as splenitis and hemophagocytosis were also evident among the 3 cases. The uncontrollable immune overreaction mainly caused by the activated lymphocytes and histiocytes/macrophages reminded us of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), which is clinically similar to macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Actually, MAS/HLH is characterized by an overwhelming inflammatory reaction attributable to dysfunction of the immune system, accompanied by the continual activation and expression of T lymphocytes and macrophages.26,27 This activation and expression leads to hypersecretion of proinflammatory cytokines, so-called cytokine storm, which might create unfavorable immunological conditions in infants who are affected by inflammation.”

``` Oh my; there it is again. That cytokine storm. ```

“Concerning deaths after vaccination, estimation of coincident timing was performed based on epidemiological data obtained over a long period.6 Brotherton et al15 simulated the probability of death coincident with vaccination using vaccination-encountered age in a population of vaccination resisters and the age distribution of SIDS deaths in Australia. They estimated that 1.3% and 2.6% of the infant victims would be expected, by chance, to have some vaccination during the prior 24 and 48 hours, respectively. In the present study, 3 infants (9.4%) were found to have died within 3 days among 32 cases, and 7 (21.9%) were within 7 days, for whom a history of similar repetitive vaccinations was confirmed.”

```Well that's quite a discrepancy. 1.3% as compared to 9.4%. ```

“A collaboration between forensic pathologists and pediatricians is important. In cases 1 and 2, we had contact with the pediatricians who administered vaccinations to the infants. The effects of vaccination were not considered at all for case 3 before the present survey.”

``` The importance of this cannot be overstated. I am remembering the person here who stated that out of his 4 pediatrician practice; they had not seen a SIDS death for over a decade. Do you know who informed my daughter's pediatrician about her SIDS death? ME. I did. Months later. Only because I had other children who were his patients. ```

“In conclusion, there were a couple of SID cases in which the relations to vaccination was suspicious. Particularly, such a relation was observed after combined vaccination of Hib and S. pneumoniae, exhibiting histopathological features similar to MAS/HLH. However, it cannot be stated conclusively that they are related or coincidental deaths. We expect extensive postmortem examinations for SID cases to assess vaccination effects in infants.”

``` A couple. So a small study. A couple out of 50. But much larger than "one in one million doses". May not I; the mom of a baby who died from SIDS less than 24 hours of immunization, advocate for "extensive postmortem examinations for SID cases to assess vaccination effects in infants."? Do you think I can do this on Facebook, really? I don't have many resources. My voice is quiet. Here there are pathologists & pediatricians who are interested in immunizations. I am here because that is where "you" are. ```

Terriesays:

Well that’s quite a discrepancy. 1.3% as compared to 9.4%.

Much like there’s a discrepancy between 24 and 72 hours. (Did you fail to notice that that 9.4% is infants that ” died within 3 days,” or do you just not care about the truth any more?) I would expect a higher jump from 48 to 72 than from 24 to 48, because you cover infants who pass after the weekend, when most offices are closed.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

First, I did several comments on SIDS which you continue to ignore. Second, not only have SIDS cases been going down; but, aside from vaccination rates, there is a great discrepancy geographically in the United States. See CDC Data and Statistics at: https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm Look at the map and also click on Data Table to see wide differences between states..

They found a small number of cases of SIDs following vaccination. As I wrote and you ignore, given the number of SIDS cases, some will follow vaccinations, Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc. Even the article you refer to found “Of the 32 cases in which any vaccines were administered, 7 infants (21.9%) had received immunization within 7 days of death.”
AND if you were to actually research the literature on SIDS you would find a number of conditions unrelated to vaccines; e.g., Brain defects. Some infants are born with problems that make them more likely to die of SIDS. In many of these babies, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep hasn’t matured enough to work properly; Low birth weight. Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby’s brain hasn’t matured completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate; Respiratory infection. Many infants who died of SIDS had recently had a cold, which might contribute to breathing problems..And if they did complete investigations on 100s of SIDS cases and found no indication was vaccines, you would want more studies.

And actually the CDC is looking closely at SIDS (CDC. Learn What CDC Is Doing About Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/sids/what-CDC-is-doing-SUID.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fsids%2FSUIDAbout.htm

See also: CDC. Specimen Submission Guidelines for Pathologic Evaluation of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death with Pathologic or Clinical Suspicion of Infection. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dhcpp/idpb/specimen-submission/suid.html

And check out: Byard. Chapter 24:The Autopsy and Pathology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513401/

Or the entire book: Duncan & Byard (2018). SIDS: Sudden infant and early childhood death: The Past, the Present, and the Future. Free download at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513384/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK513384.pdf

And, as my other recent comment shows, you found one study that didn’t look at stiibirths and I found many that did. A clear example of your stupidity and/or dishonesty.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

So, you refer to one study that didn’t include stillbirths and write: “we are worried about our baby being born dead. Why have you excluded the stillborn babies? That is exactly one of our biggest fears”.

So, you found one study to attack. Well, I did a quick and dirty search for studies that included stillbirths and found too many to cite; but I’ll cite a few, all found NO association with vaccines. Some were even for live vaccines and one study reviewed risks from live vaccines and found none (Laris-González, 2020).

For those monitoring this blog, just one more example of Christine Kincaid’s stupidity and/or dishonestY. When I could so easily find studies looking at stillbirths, why did she refer to one that didn’t???:

References:

Badell ML et al. (2015 Jun). Risks Associated With Smallpox Vaccination in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstetrics and Gynecology; 125(6): 1439-1451.

Donegan et al. (2014 Jul 11). Safety of pertussis vaccination in pregnant women in UK: observational study. BMJ; 349.

Faber MT et al. (2019 Jan 7). Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Infant Mortality After Quadrivalent HPV Vaccination During Pregnancy. Vaccine; 37(2): 265-271.

Furuta M et al. (2017). Efficacy and safety of pertussis vaccination for pregnant women – a systematic review of randomised controlled trials and observational studies. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.

Getahun D et al. (2019 Mar 22). Association Between Seasonal Influenza Vaccination With Pre- And Postnatal Outcomes. Vaccine; 37(13): 1785-1791.

Gunnes N et al. (2020). Seasonal and pandemic influenza during pregnancy and risk of fetal death: A Norwegian registry‑based cohort study. European Journal of Epidemiology; 35: 371-379.

Harjulehto-Mervaala et al. (1994 Mar). Oral Polio Vaccination During Pregnancy: Lack of Impact on Fetal Development and Perinatal Outcome. Clinical Infectious Diseases; 18(3): 414-20.

Heikinnen T et al. (2012 Sep). Safety of MF59-adjuvanted A/H1N1 influenza vaccine in pregnancy: a comparative cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology; 107(3): 177.e1-177.e8.

Khan AI et al. (2019). Safety of a bivalent, killed, whole-cell oral cholera vaccine in pregnant women in Bangladesh: evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial. BMC Infectious Diseases.

Laris-González A et al. (2020). Safety of Administering Live Vaccines during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Pregnancy Outcomes. Vaccines; 8(124).

McHugh L et al. (2020 Feb). Birth Outcomes in Aboriginal Mother-Infant Pairs From the Northern Territory, Australia, Who Received 23-valent Polysaccharide Pneumococcal Vaccination During Pregnancy, 2006-2011: The PneuMum Randomised Controlled Trial. The Australian & New Zealand journal of obstetrics & gynaecology; 60(1): 82-87.

McMillan M et al. (2017 Mar). Safety of Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccination During Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Obstetrics and gynecology; 129(3): 560-573.

Ohfuji S et al. (2020). Safety of influenza vaccination on adverse birth outcomes among pregnant women: A prospective cohort study in Japan. International Journal of Infectious Diseases; 93: 68-76

Omer SB et al. (2020 Jun). Efficacy, duration of protection, birth outcomes, and infant growth associated with influenza vaccination in pregnancy: a pooled analysis of three randomised controlled trials; 8(6): 597-608.

Petousis-Harris H et al. (2019 Oct 11). A Retrospective Cohort Study of Safety Outcomes in New Zealand Infants Exposed to Tdap Vaccine in Utero. Vaccines; 7.
Rowe SL et al. (2019 Jun). Influenza and Pertussis Vaccination of Women During Pregnancy in Victoria, 2015-2017. The Medical journal of Australia; 210(10): 454-462.

Regan AK et al. (2016 May). Seasonal Trivalent Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy and the Incidence of Stillbirth: Population-Based Retrospective Cohort Study. Clinical Infectious Diseases; 62: 1221-1227.

Salem RA et al. (2015 Jun 9). Impact of Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) and Viral Influenza Vaccinations in Pregnancy for Improving Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health Outcomes. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews.

Scheller NM et al. (2017 Mar). Quadrivalent HPV Vaccination and the Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. New England Journal of Medicine; 376(13): 1223-1233.

Wang A et al. (2020 Mar 3). Pregnancy Outcomes After Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Periconceptional Period or During Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics; 16(3): 581-589.

Wentworth P (1966). Studies on placentae and infants from women
vaccinated for smallpox during pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Pathology; 19: 328-330.

Worede DT & Dagnew GW (2019). Determinants of stillbirth in Felege‑Hiwot comprehensive specialized referral hospital, North‑west, Ethiopia, 2019. BMC Research Notes.

Wortman AC et al. (2015 May). Association of Influenza Vaccination on Decreased Stillbirth Rate. American journal of perinatology; 32(6): 571-6.

Zhang Y et al. (2020 Apr 14). Pregnancy Outcomes After a Mass Vaccination Campaign With an Oral Cholera Vaccine: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology; [online ahead of print]

Terriesays:

I have to admit, Joel, I wish you’d lay off with the “stupid” thing. There are many people in the world who have low IQ. My cousin has an IQ of ~85, mostly likely from hypoxic birth injury. Plenty of people have called him stupid, because he’s rather gullible and inclined to take anything he’s told at face value. But he’s a decent guy who works hard, cares about others and while he’s never been academically successful, he’s amazing working with his hands. Christine’s issue isn’t her intelligence, it’s her arrogance and conviction that she could never be wrong.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

Someone can be born quite intelligent; but close their minds. That is what I mean by stupid, not innate; but . . . Many intelligent people do stupid things. Her arrogance is just, in my opinion, a cover-up for her subconscious or unconscious awareness that she has closed her mind.

Years ago someone I knew who probably was far more intelligent than me, ignored warnings not to drink and drive, ended up dead. Wouldn’t you consider that stupid behavior? He wasn’t an alcoholic.

Terriesays:

I would actually call drunk driving arrogant as well. As arrogance of believing one is immune to consequences. If you said her comments or her arguments were stupid, that would be one thing. But you call her stupid, every single time. I’m reminded of teenage boys in the 90s, calling everything gay and then claiming that because they’re about things that lack sexual orientation, it’s not insulting to people who are gay. I mean, it’s your choice what words you use, obviously, but at least in my eyes, it’s a choice that makes for a poorer piece of rhetoric.

Renatesays:

Intelligent people can do stupid things, often because they overrate their intelligence. They can find some reason why they can do something, like drive and drink. I’ve known a guy who went to college and stated he could drink and drive, because at night people would drive more carefull, so it was no big deal.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Christine Kincaid

What year did you lose your baby to SIDS? Exactly how old was he/she?

Maybe you already gave the above; but my memory isn’t as good as it once was.

F68.10says:

@ Joel

“What year did you lose your baby to SIDS? Exactly how old was he/she?”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ F68.10

It may be relevant; but I won’t say why.

I should have also asked birthweight and whether premature or not.

christine kincaidsays:

@ Joel,

She was born Feb 26, 1994. Died June 21, 1994.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ christine kincaid

You write: “She was born Feb 26, 1994. Died June 21, 1994.”

Thanks for info. So, now I’ll explain why I asked for it.

You are a trained nurse. You obviously have a good understanding of the current COVID-19 pandemic and you know how to find information on the internet, including medical journal articles; yet, when it comes to your daughter’s death from SIDS, you have irrationally locked on to vaccines, refusing to even consider you might be wrong. Your internet searches ignore anything that weakens your position, thus, you are guilty of confirmation bias, cherry-picking. I say “irrationally” because I would bet on any other medical/health issue you would read, think about, and reply to what others write and in internet searches look at ALL the available info; but with your belief that vaccines caused your daughter’s SIDS, you claim “absolute” certainty and when I, as well as others, refute claims made by you, no acknowledgment, no response.

So, when I call you stupid/moron, does not refer to your innate abilities, mentioned above; but to your refusal to use them, to look at SIDS and vaccines as you look at many other aspects of medical/health issues.

The only way I could come close to knowing what really happened, I would have to have the entire medical record of your pregnancy up to your daughter’s death. Even better I would have to have medical records from you and family members for possible hints at genetics. In any case, I still have some hypotheses of what might have happened and why you refuse to even consider anything besides vaccines. I base my hypotheses on the following (CDC. Data and Statistics at: https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm ):

“The SUID rate, which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), unknown cause, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (ASSB), declined considerably beginning in 1990. This decline followed the release of

The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations in 1992.

The initiation of the Back to Sleep (now known as ) campaign in 1994.

So, my hypotheses are:

Since the campaign had just begun in 1994, you were unaware of it, had you been, and followed its recommendations your daughter may not have died from SIDS.
You were aware of the recommendations, just barely, and tired that night and didn’t follow through with them.
You know that your family, even yourself, have some genetic problems that you could have passed on.

In any case, your guilt, either not being aware or not carrying out, or believing you passed on the genes, would be something most people would have an extremely difficult time dealing with. So one great defense mechanism is to find something to blame, something to repress your guilt by directing your anger, your attention at it. Thus, even acknowledging you might be wrong, not that you are wrong, just might be wrong, would open up a pandora’s box of guilt.

As I said, only some hypotheses; but I think reasonable ones. If I am right, I suggest you seek help. No parent is perfect, off days, so even hypothesis 2 does not imply you were a bad parent and the other two, not to blame at all.

You might also check out NIH Research on Possible Causes of SIDS, The Triple-Risk Model at: https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/research/science/causes#triple

Click on the three to get more detail. I’m sure you will want to focus on the “outside stressor”; but vaccines are just one mild stressor, there are many, and as they explain: “If caregivers can remove one or more outside stressors, such as placing an infant to sleep on his or her back instead of on the stomach to sleep, they can reduce the risk of SIDS.”

Michael J. Dochniak (MJD)says:

The image Orac uses at the beginning of this post shows an infant sucking on a silicon-based pacifier. It’s wonderful that silicon is being used. Historically, wonder if pacifiers, bottle nipples, and vaccines containing certain natural allergens had an effect on the incidence of cytokine-storm induced SIDS?

@ Joel (retired epidemiologist),

Has the incidence of SIDS decreased over the last five (5) years? Please advise.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Michael J. Dochniak

You want to give the impression that you are knowledgeable; yet, you can’t even look up some statistics!

So far the CDC only lists stats through 2017, so last three years not there. Note I referred to the CDC page in earlier comments (https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm#resources ) You could have looked it up yourself.

Here’s some items from CDC page:

The SUID rate, which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), unknown cause, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (ASSB), declined considerably beginning in 1990. This decline followed the release of
The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations in 1992.
The initiation of the Back to Sleep (now known as Safe to Sleep) campaign in 1994.

Since 1999, declines have slowed. In 2017, the SUID rate was 93.4 deaths per 100,000 live births.

SIDS rates declined considerably from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 35.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017.

Cytokines can be released from exposure to silicon; but that’s an extremely long way from a cytokine storm. While not ruling it out, highly doubtful. And silicon is everywhere

Miro-Mur, F., Hindie, M., Kandhaya-Pillai, R., Tobajas, V., Schwartz Jr., S., Alijotas-Reig, J.: Medical-grade silicone induces release of proinflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cells without activating T cells. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. B 90B, 510–520 (2009)

JPsays:

@F:

Always happy to meet a fnord. I have a good friend who’s an old Discordian. Hail Eris!

Smut Clydesays:

Hail Eris!

F68.10says:

Hail Eris!

But vote Cthulhu.

Denice Waltersays:

@ F68.10:

Well, I for one wish that you don’t depart this earthly plane soon but instead, find at least a modicum of pleasure and peace in life.
You have great skill as a writer in your second ( or third?) language, incorporating diverse themes and a unique outlook.
Your origins story ( because all superheroes have one!) is truly horrendous and a warning signal for those who care for others’ welfare as experts or caretakers.

I know I asked you once to write about your experiences either as a therapeutic act or as a means to sell a book about medical malfeasance to help others in a similar situation BUT now I would venture that you might make a kickass novelist or screenplay/ television writer: you integrate visual and musical imagery into your oeuvre as well as a complex set of interwoven scenes .I don’t know what the subject matter would be- it shouldn’t matter. I think that you are truly an artist who is lurking just under the surface of your thoughts.For the right script, you might make money and find your path.

Timsays:

Naa, shit’s Steven Spielberg lame. Jaws? Close Encounters of the Third Kind? A.I. Artificial Intelligence?, Minority Report? The Goonies? Ready Player One (really?)? lmao.

JPsays:

Rude.

I really like the guy.

I enjoyed “Ready Player One”, even though I understand it’s different from the book. It fiercely criticises the sexism that is all too comon in geek culture, as well as being an entertaining ride.

Denice Waltersays:

Tim,

I think that he’s more an experimental writer than a pop culture creator.

Every work doesn’t have to appeal to the widest possible audience .I never go to see “block busters”.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Tim

OK, another movie to watch. This one I saw; but 36 years ago. Couldn’t find free on YouTube; but library has two copies, currently checked out, so on waiting list. ?

F68.10says:

@ Denice Walter

“Every work doesn’t have to appeal to the widest possible audience. I never go to see “block busters”.”

Not even Starship Troopers?

I mean: blockbusters can be hilarious pranks well worth watching. One of my all time favourites is Big Trouble in Little China.

I’ll keep other recommendations for future interactions.

(But apologies, I do not want to discuss too publicly what are my intentions for the present and the future; thank you for trying to engage the discussion on these matters, but I’d rather decline. For now, trying to get my mind a bit back together in terms of ability to carry through a medium term action through by doing some maths. Dealing with the massive permanent headaches I now have and this trauma loop I can’t shake off. I do not believe I could achieve any sustained effort in artistic domains, where I would have everything to learn from scratch. Too physically and mentally exhausted for that. I’m “happy” enough if I now manage to walk some 300 meters a day. It’s really tough for me to even do that, now.)

Denice Waltersays:

@ F68.10:

Perhaps your maths will be an art form in themselves- elegant and profound.
I hope you feel better.

Denice Waltersays:

@ F:

And I do like some wacky, bizarre or strange films/ television
ever hear of Taika Waititi? Many others but I’m tired now.

And I do like some wacky, bizarre or strange films/ television
ever hear of Taika Waititi?

Several years ago, I went on a spree with lesser known post-apocalyptic movies. Letters of a Dead Man was the most memorable.* The others might come back to me.

*ObTim: The torrent is obviously better.

[…] Antivaxxers Amy Becker and Mark Blaxill deceptively use COVID-19 death statistics to claim that vacc… […]

Dangerous Baconsays:

Speaking “historically”, pacifier use has long been associated with a decreased risk of SIDS, and this effect appears independent of what the pacifier material is. From a 2005 article in Pediatrics:

“Sucking on a pacifier requires forward positioning of the tongue, thus decreasing this risk of oropharyngeal obstruction. The influence of pacifier use on sleep position may also contribute to its apparent protective effect against SIDS.”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Dangerous Bacon

Again, you hit a home run.

Dangerous Baconsays:

Thanks.

And major league baseball is back! (or will be, starting around July 24th).

And major league baseball is back!

I suppose 60 games (rather than 114) at full prorated salary, with no “universal designated hitter” is about the best I could hope for. I’ve got a bad feeling about risk to pitchers (and perhaps catchers), but the upside is that the Rickettsiae are likely taking a significant hit to the “Marquee Network.”

I may have spoken too soon. I’m undecided about “starting extra innings with a runner on second base”; while it allows defaulting to defensive indifference (the graphics don’t load for me there), it’s also a concession to the overarching goal of MLB to shorten the game.

Timsays:

This season of Brockmire (IFC channel) is set some years in the future after a pandemic. He’s trying to revive baseball with all kinds of VR and shortened games…

“Well, well, well; Looks like I’m gonna fuck me some light”:

They have ‘Lemone’ personal assistant in the future — It is like SIRI but you want to kick it in the gunt even more.

re: Letters of a Dead Man

Obnoxious that it took a few clicks to find clips that didn’t ask for a login to ‘verify my age’. But, of course, I possess Stalker by the same dude — Somehow, the ruskies make it work in 4:3. I’m a big fan of the ‘Stalker’ games and saw that on a site one day {mfw no way!}. Long af, though.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie and Renate

OK, despite I only partially agree with you, I will try to not use “stupid” in the future.

However, people with MDs and PhDs are racists. And they refuse to even consider they are wrong, so I would call that stupid or worse.

And I have interacted with people, both children and adults, with Down Syndrome and Developmentally Challenged. I would NEVER call them stupid; but, OK, again, I’ll try not to use it; but these people, Christine Kincaid, Natalie White, Tom, Beth just really make me angry. Especially Beth who obviously is quite intelligent, at least in math; but doesn’t even acknowledge when she contradicts herself and misreads what I wrote.

In any case, I wrote a long response to Christine which hasn’t been posted yet. You might like it, including its tone.

And Renate you write: “Intelligent people can do stupid things, often because they overrate their intelligence. They can find some reason why they can do something, like drive and drink. I’ve known a guy who went to college and stated he could drink and drive, because at night people would drive more carefull, so it was no big deal.”

No, not because they overrate their intelligence, they overrate their body responses to alcohol. When at university they ran studies on drinking and reflexes, gave drinks with alcohol, without alcohol, had students react to video. Asked after each if they thought reflexes affected. Nope said the students. Yep, said the timer.

Overrating ones intelligence is best exemplified by President Trump and we are in big trouble.

Terriesays:

Honest question. Why call racists stupid? Why not just call them racist? I try to avoid insults like stupid, fat, etc, because I don’t want to suggest that not being a target is conditional on being “acceptable.” Again, that’s my personal view. It’s something I think everyone, individually, needs to consider and determine where they draw the line.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

In 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led a revolt in Virginia against the wealthy class. His followers included indentured servants and Negro slaves, who up to then interacted without any racial prejudices. The revolt was put down; but the upper class realized they had to prevent future ones, so, in various ways, though poor whites and indentured servants were still treated extremely poorly, they made the whites feel superior to Negroes, the beginning of racism. DIVIDE AND CONQUER. In the pre-Civil War South, only 1%, sound familiar, were wealthy plantation owners, the rest of whites were usually quite poor, barely surviving; but by directing their attention against Negroes, well, divide and conquer. I won’t go through all of American history; but many of Trump’s supporters do so because he plays on their racism. So, while he is benefitting the Corporations and Wealthy, the groups that are being hurt, are turned against each other.

So, yes, racism is stupid because it allows the 1% to turn those who should be allies against each other, again, divide and conquer. The majority not even aware of how they are being used, I mean misused; but, of course, some may be aware; but selfish wish for power, etc. leads to them being strongly outwardly racists. For instance, look at George Wallace early in his career, he was a moderate; but to ensure re-election he became a hard core racist.

So, racism is an extreme form of stupidity in the United States because it turns natural allies against those exploiting and hurting them. We are an extremely wealthy nation with room for those who work harder, come up with new ideas, to do better than others; however, that is not how the system works. It is by bought and sold politicians, etc. that we have a 1%. It would take too much time to go into the details; but just one example. In 2008 dishonest greedy bankers almost brought us a great depression. They would have made good money; but enough was never enough so they created fake mortgages, NINJAs, no income, no jobs, no assets and subprime mortgages; but since banks no longer held mortgages, just bundled and passed on, no one cared. The bankers got commissions for the mortgages and again when bundled and sold. FRAUD. So, what happened, we bailed the banks out and the bankers managed to even collect bonuses, not go to prison. To add insult to injury we helped in various ways the banks to take over smaller banks who had done nothing wrong; but hurting because of what the big banks had done, so already too big to fail, our government made them even bigger. At the same time, 10 million lost their jobs and 6 million their homes, though many could have kept them if we had designed the bailouts differently. And the trillions in bailout monies added to our national debt. Given we keep lowering taxes on the wealth and corporations, it is the working and middle classes who service the debt. So, the victims of the bankers fraud still the victims.

And what do we have, racism, DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

Terriesays:

@Joel, That doesn’t really address my question of why you call them stupid instead of calling them racist. Why obscure the issue like that?

Renatesays:

You can use stupid, if someone acts in a way that would be an insult to ones intelligence. Acting stupid is not the same as being stupid.

Denice Waltersays:

@ Joel:

I think that there be a better way to understand what you refer to:
sometimes a person has areas ( vs “conflict free* zones- remember them?) in which emotional/ psychological issues interfere with the thought process making them less functional cognitively about these topics. Suppose someone had traumatic experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan and returns home, has a relatively normal life involving work and family life BUT gets really upset and argues about politics that discuss military interventions. Of course, he or she might be rational because they know the issues intimately having been there, on the ground but it can also be a source of emotional upheaval and obsessive idea in certain cases ( not all)..

As you may have noticed, CK believes that various- unrelated- SB interventions don’t work for her: IIRC, birth control, vaccines,( either no effect or “damage”) psychotherapy.
This is a very unique and rare outlook and might be a clue about the problem to hand.

BUT at least you’re trying.

Terriesays:

I just about pulled a muscle rolling my eyes at her claim that therapy doesn’t work for her because she has to do it for herself. That’s like claiming a gym trainer is useless for you, because you need to be the one to do the work to get in shape.

Michael J. Dochniak (MJD)says:

I’m thankful that you graciously answered my question.

Note: I was referring to natural rubber latex (NRL) as the culprit not silicon.

Note: I was referring to natural rubber latex (NRL) as the culprit not silicon.

Yes, I think most RIgulars figured that out rather promptly. Perhaps you could go try to pick a fight with Babylist over their choice of “Best Natural Pacifier.”

Chris Prestonsays:

I could never have guessed.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

You write: “That doesn’t really address my question of why you call them stupid instead of calling them racist. Why obscure the issue like that?”

Really, you didn’t understand what I wrote? I am calling them stupid because they are allowing the 1% to redirect them and in so doing harming themselves, their families, and everyone else not belonging to the 1%. Their racism is sabotaging them joining all those suffering, unsafe environment, unsafe workplaces, insecure jobs, legal system that favors corporations and the rich, and on and on it goes. So, I call them both racists and STUPID. Not stupid for doing a few stupid things, which we all have done, myself included; but stupid for allowing themselves to be manipulated into racism which hurts them and almost everyone else continuously.

Terriesays:

I missed your point, because it was a question that called for a straightforward answer that you call them both, and what you gave me was a rambling history lecture of information I already know.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

I give up. I gave the history lesson to explain that racism is used as a divide and conquer strategy. Sorry I didn’t explain in one sentence; but I wanted to give the historical context that it is nothing new.

So what you call a “rambling history” was a simple attempt to explain why racism has been used continuously, why it is so embedded, and why those who fall for it are stupid.

Don’t you know when to quit???

Terriesays:

Look, it’s not my fault you misunderstood my question, which was simply wondering why you apparently favored calling racists “stupid” instead of simply calling them “racist,” which is sufficient enough term to me. The history of racism in America tells me very little about why you make the word choices you do.

Denice Waltersays:

In other woo-fraught news….

Mike Adams ( Natural News, Brighteon, today) reminds us that he indeed warned us about riots, looting, food shortages, city takeovers (heh), upcoming civil war and now, societal collapse He has, for years, told followers to get out of corrupt, filthy, crime ridden, gang infested ghettoes and move out into the free, proud countryside where decent, honest hardworking citizens reside growing their own organic food, defending their homesteads with forearms and living the good life! Similarly, Null ( PRN.fm) advises leaving cities and suburbs and has a webinar Sunday on how to leave the nightmare of urban life far behind you- what to do, what to learn, where to go. They were prescient as true maverick rebels usually are!

I can interpret this another way:
during the pandemic, many people lost wages because of shutdowns and older retired people hung on to their cash, fearing the future which may mean that PROFITS DROPPED at the aforementioned websites’ stores because they sell overpriced supplements and superfoods.. So woo-meisters need to drum up business and admiration from their entranced thralls.

SRSLY. I live near the worst areas hit by Covid-19 and have seen great changes since mid-March and I can tell you: things are improving: the R number is below one, a gradual re-opening is taking place, county by county and gas prices are GOING UP ( as they usually do when people expect commerce to increase). people are eating at umbrella shaded benches outside cafes, the posh ristorante next door is firing up the brick oven and parking lots in nearby parks are filling up. Airline fares are GOING UP. Prices of houses and rents remain HIGH.

HOWEVER some of the woo-meisters’ fave safe locales ( TX, FL) aren’t doing so well with the virus. Maybe it’s okay if you lock yourself away on a ranch or an estate as they do.

A proposal re: stupid.
I use “stupid” to refer to a lack of intelligence and “foolish” to refer to a lack of wisdom. Yes, I know I’m being autistically over-precise, but that might resolve things.

I, too, have learned to avoid calling people ‘stupid.’ I now prefer ‘ignorant,’ with an explanatory note pointing out that one who ignores relevant information is , by definition, ignorant.

Christine K is a poster child for ignorance, as she rejects all information which doesn’t conform to her preconceptions about vaccines, SIDS, etc.

Terriesays:

At over 150K words, English has the largest vocabulary of any language. I’m all for taking advantage of that fact.

Renatesays:

That’s the problem with not being a native speaker in English, I don’t know all English words and though a dictonary might help, it might not always give the right word for any given situation.

Denice Waltersays:

@ Renate:

Your English is very good – if only we all could do as well in non-native languages.

Renatesays:

@ Denice Walter
At school English was not my strong point. German was my favorite language, I can read it quite well. But on internet one is more or less forced to use English. When I was young, I used to ask my dad for the meaning on some English word, now it’s the other way round.

Terriesays:

@Renate, That’s a fair point. English has such a large vocabulary that even the average native speaker knows only about 10-15% of it. You only need 1000-2000 words for daily functional communication, and the conversation here probably runs 5-8K.

Dangerous Baconsays:

“the free, proud countryside where decent, honest hardworking citizens reside growing their own organic food, defending their homesteads with forearms and living the good life!”

Sounds about right, except I use permethrin dust to keep the *#(&! flea beetles off my eggplants. Front-line homestead defense is supplied by Pluto, the deep-voiced field spaniel, from whom I had to rescue a baby bird today. He was enthusiastic about his new, warm, lively chew toy but I got him to drop it before damage could ensue.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

This is my last response to you. If you don’t understand why calling them racists was inadequate, that’s your problem. If, for instance, Trump played on their racism to get elected, then actually did do things that benefited them, e.g., improved/lowered drug prices, etc., then they would still be racists; but, in some regards, not stupid as their racism would benefit them. This isn’t about some esoteric science that confirms there is NO difference in intelligence, creativity, honesty, etc. between racists, my response is simple the pragmatics of it. I hope “pragmatics” isn’t too big a word for you.

And as I’ve explained before, I don’t write comments just to respond to one person. Maybe a one sentence answer would satisfy you; but others might need a more elaborated, including historical, perspective.

Terriesays:

I hope “pragmatics” isn’t too big a word for you. So sorry I mistook you for someone willing to engage in a dialogue instead of a lecture. If we’re exchanging words, I think I’ll go with “grandstanding.”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:

@ Terrie

I shouldn’t waste my time; however, being retired and sheltering-in-place, I’ve got lots of time

You write: “So sorry I mistook you for someone willing to engage in a dialogue instead of a lecture.”

My understanding of a “dialogue” is an open exchange of ideas. You made it absolutely clear that you were NOT interested in an open exchange by, no matter how many times I tried to explain my position, you insistng on a single sentence answer. I explained clearly why I didn’t give a single sentence answer and you basically demanded that I do so.

So, feel free to label me any way you want. I’m sure many others who have read my responses will appreciate what I was trying to do, even if all of them didn’t agree with me.

And, though anything possible, I sort of doubt you understood the ramifications of Bacon’s 1676 rebellion, the beginnings of racism in America, and how it is a near perfect strategy for divide and conquer. But even if you do, doesn’t change the fact that you demanded I respond with one sentence.

In a way focusing on a one-sentence response mirrors some of the unscientific, illogical approaches of antivaxxers, climate-change deniers, etc. that is, they want things SIMPLE, no nuances, no developed explanations. Welcome to their ranks.

Timsays:

You go, K-pop tweens! Flood those callouts by PDs. ACAB.

https://www.rateroticafancam.com/

I really wanted to post a YouRube video of this, but I can not find it (been scrubbed?). #sadfurry #sadplushie Here is the wikipedia discription:

A “confessor” (John Cleese) is interviewed about his experience as a mouse: when he was a teenager, he got drunk at a party and experimented with cheese, and gradually came to accept his mouse identity. “It’s not a question of wanting to be a mouse — it just sort of happens to you,” he tells the interviewer. “All of a sudden you realize… that’s what you want to be.”[2] The “programme” features undercover footage of a “mouse party”, where Cleese explains that “there’s a big clock in the middle of the room, and about 12:50 you climb up it and then… eventually, it strikes one and you all run down”. He also points out that there’s “a farmer’s wife” present. Then follows a discussion with psychiatrist and conjuror, The Amazing Kargol (Graham Chapman), about what attracts men to the mouse lifestyle. A series of vox pops illustrates societal attitudes towards mice men, and several historical figures who were mice, such as Julius Caesar and Napoleon, are shown, “and, of course Hilaire Belloc,” is included. The programme also includes footage of men in mouse costumes being led into police stations, newspaper headlines about mouse scandals and mouse rights demonstrations, and photos of “mouse clubs”.

Some of the lads passed around a block of cheeze..”And then I started… Squeeking”…. “And that is all.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mouse_Problem

Chris Prestonsays:

Can be found elsewhere if needed.

Timsays:

That is strange. Though I was gifted the entirety of The Flying Circus back in 2003 on 14 DvDs, It was not that many years ago that Cleese himself consecrated all their work, and in HD, on yourube would be free of charge.

Timsays:

?

SMKsays:

Orac, as a fervent pro-vaxxer, I thank you for shedding light on reasons to disagree with or question or dispute those anti-vax authors who published a claim that infant deaths during Covid were fewer and that the few-ness was caused by fewer vaccinations.

SMKsays:

Orac, just one point about your informative article: I did not read in the anti-vax publication any intention to downplay the tragic loss of older people, when they focused on the infant lives that they believed to have been saved.

No need to accuse the anti-vaxxers of wanting Covid. We should rather accuse them of jeopardizing herd immunity by misleading the public into risky decisions.

No need to blame them for actually wanting the vulnerables to get Covid (they did not want this).

No need to accuse them of thinking that the gain of fewer young deaths (if true) was worth it (a value judgment) compared with the loss of the Covid deaths.

A dangerous dark cloud like Covid can still have a silver lining, and if it is true that fewer people (of whatever age) have died of other causes this year, then great.

Covid happened and is still happening and it is absolutely frightful. But certain side-benefits and blessings of the lockdown have emerged for certain people and for planet earth. Check out any post or video claiming to know “the” reason for the pandemic or sharing “the” benefits or lessons learned.

Dangerous Baconsays:

SMK: “I did not read in the anti-vax publication any intention to downplay the tragic loss of older people, when they focused on the infant lives that they believed to have been saved.”

From Blaxill & Becker:

“We should mourn the deaths of the elderly Manhattan nursing home residents but also take heed of the hundreds of avoided infant deaths. Only with that kind of balance will we draw the proper lessons from the pandemic and the lockdowns that have followed in its wake.”

Clearly, B&B see a “silver lining” to the pandemic, or, as they put it, a “balance” that we should observe during the Covid-19 “natural experiment”. Too bad about those old people, but hey, we get to play up our theory that vaccines are killing infants.

Why did they need drag the elderly into their gleeful attempt to link vaccines and SIDS?

Just as an FYI, the reason I haven’t paid much attention to the blog since Friday is a grant deadline, which was today. I should be back to more regular posting beginning tomorrow, after having a chance to recover and maybe have a dram or two of the old single malt tonight to celebrate.

Denice Waltersays:

@ F68.10:

Thanks for the video. I can’t seem to find English subtitles so I’ll try in French which I sometimes can do but it takes time.

F68.10says:

@ Denice Walter

The subtitles can be activate by clicking on the various buttons in the lower right corners of the video. It’s easier on the youtube website than on the embedded video on the RI website.

I tried to find time to pull together a compendium of the crankiest quotes and science-bashing that Gerard Pommier engages in in this video to make things as explicit as possible. It’s a fuckfest of anti-science in a really soft-spoken and mellow approach. Didn’t come around to do it, as my mind is a bit busy elsewhere.

But if you want me to do the exercise, I’ll gladly oblige.

But, with a bit of exaggeration to make the point: 5:35 “Scientists have hijacked institutions!” 5:49 “Cognitive science has only a very loose relationship with the question of education.” 5:55 “Kids that do not perform well in school have family issues, not learning disabilities”. 6:17 “The brain is not the central issue in educational difficulties” 6:27 “The scientific council is not pluri-disciplinaire!” (read “integrative” in RI parlance…) 6:33 “Hegemony of 12 cognitivists” (read non-lacanian-psychoanalysts)” 6:35 “that masquerade as neuro-scientists” (fact: misrepresentation) 6:43 “they illegitimately back their assertions on neuro-science”. 6:53 FUD on “genetic determism”. 7:25 FUD over portraying kids as handicapped because of “genes” (all the more ridiculous given the merovingian treatment of autism by Pommier’s school of thought… but I digress… or do I?) 8:35 “Institutional regression because the scientific council is highjacked by people putting their faith in the experimental method“. The Big Boogeyman: The Experimental Method.

I stop here. You’ve got more than half an hour of this kind of FUD and nonsense by these people claiming that they are persecuted by scientists who are “taking over” the institutions; the irony being that the ones being “persecuted” are de facto hegemonic in all clinical situations and judicial courts. You’ve got ONE scientific council that’s created to include scientists on the topic of education, and they go berserk, claiming it’s an american invasion of scientism and calling for insurrection against the return of eugenics (you’ve also got the Nazi gambit being played at times: Zygmund was a Joo, therefore criticising psychoanalysis is antisemitism… Not kidding… It’s That Dumb).

In a nutshell: Pure Psychological Projection about Hegemony of Scientism that is the most counterfactual as can be imagined. It’s an ideological war that pivots around the feeling the public has that psychological issues should be taylored to the patient. In essence, they oppose any form of quantification (Numbers are Evil) and thus foreclose any form of evaluation of their actions other than laudatory self-reports of success. And they are dominant in academia. Pommier is a psychiatrist-psychoanalyst, and “research director” at Paris 7 University. So you want Universities Where Pseudo-Science Is Taught, as you regularly challenge antivaxxers to pinpoint? Here’s one: Paris 7. Maybe I’ll introduce you one day to Elisabeth Roudinesco…

(And Oh! BTW. Mommy wrote the “Science” on part of the topics touched in that video. Always fun to watch her articles being shared around by anxious parents worried that their kid is “too smart” — usually, they’re not necessarily much smarter than the average “smart” kid, but never mind — and thus pathologising the condition in order to guilt-trip the educational system… Huge Fun… Her quotes on french medical discussion boards are horrifying hilarious, at least from my point of view… because they implicitly very much talk about me… and one of my siblings…)

Denice Waltersays:

@ F:

Believe it or not, I actually caught some of those quotes in French! Hard to believe that someone broadcasts that in the 21st Century! Mon Dieu! ( not that I believe in Him/ Her)
Fortunately, I studied with well-known Cognitive, Developmental and Social psychologists and it was all SB research-driven. Counselling psych as well. Some people I knew did study a modified Freudian approach for psychotherapy at an institute of Neo Freudianism. Not me.. Most others were CBT.

Freud is interesting for two reasons:
— he portrayed humans as animals ,in line with evolutionary studies when sex was taboo, hidden and dismissed/ lied about in the Victorian era.
— his amazing creativity constructing artificial mind constructions to explain how people behave and think NOT BASED ON RESEARCH Sci fi perhaps?

F68.10says:

@ Denice Walter

“Believe it or not, I actually caught some of those quotes in French! Hard to believe that someone broadcasts that in the 21st Century! Mon Dieu!”

I do believe you. And yeah, it’s very rough to believe. But that’s what happens when Authority is considered as more important than Evidence. Pommier is a doctor, therefore he’s right. Scientists are not doctors, and therefore their opinion is of little value against the Humanist Approach that Respects Individuality (but evades evaluation…) of Doctors.

It’s a warning I make sternly on RI. I know you people do to some extent want to shut up antivaxxers or cranks, but there is a downside if you do not bother cleaning up the cranks in your own ranks: they can take over and usurp Authority with Credentials. And with their soft-spokenness, mellow and soothing hypocritical compassion, grandstanding against eugenics (who are the doctors, BTW, who do sterilize female mental patients? May I ask?… I’m not hearing french psychoanalysts that much on these issues…), intelligence of human flaws, they can bullshit their way with great efficiency and Hold Onto Authority and Power with great efficiency.

“Freud is interesting for two reasons: he portrayed humans as animals ,in line with evolutionary studies when sex was taboo, hidden and dismissed/ lied about in the Victorian era.”

I acknowledge that.

“His amazing creativity constructing artificial mind constructions to explain how people behave and think NOT BASED ON RESEARCH Sci fi perhaps?”

If the issue were only “Sci-Fi”, that would be OK. Do I need to draw a picture to explain how medical child abuse is centralised and handled by B. Golse at Necker Hospital when psychoanalysis is the dominant mindframe to think of the issue? B. Golse — on the editorial board of “In Analysis”, a “scientific” journal dedicated to… oh well… — is well known for being against evidence-based treatment of autism. And, by the way, how come medical child abuse is wielded in courts against mothers of children with autism? On evidence that is… problematic… with experts that are… problematic… To me, that’s a point where Authority collapses under the weight of its Stupidity. Chandrasekhar mass limit reached.