In the world of internet, misdirection is as rampant, if not more so, as knowledge. While Wikipedia changed the accessibility of information and is one purely uplifting product of shared community knowledge that can get better with every passing minute, all those news avenues that I can’t be bothered to actually look up names for ( no, that is not because they are not from BIG news agencies which, believe me are big now because they put in the due diligence to actually DO GREAT WORK and more on that later) find easy target in people who have already made up their minds about what the world is about and only look for more corroboration to their ways of thinking.
The one thing I had not anticipated in the US is the lack of understanding that it is NOT the entire world or even the center of utmost importance, it is just a part of the world, a fairly new one at that. Contrariwise, in India we think we are so insignificant that it doesn’t matter if centuries old cultural practices (including food preparations) are forgotten to make way for chicken nuggets. But that is a lesser evil chicken nuggets only taste horrible and most people in India are too poor to ever get any anyway.
Anyhow, the U.S. is not only technically the new-found part of world, it is also that in terms of its people, shared culture and last but not the least: the sort of social environment that needs to develop with centuries of people aspiring for knowledge that finally gets to be mature and nourishes common sense, as though through osmosis. All through history growing civilizations, after attaining power and winning wars, have thought they were the center, however we all learned to acknowledge them as growing pains ( that do seem to last a long time, spanning generations: we are talking about centuries and millennia here, not the life span of humans, which to many seems a long time too).
I believe only mature social environments and cultures can be the right place where some things are all pervasive, of course any society built by vigilant, knowledgeable people even in a new place should incorporate some basic tenets (no wonder college towns are the best places to live, college towns with non religious colleges if I might add so). Some things that are based on common sense and true logic are entirely missing in new cities filled with people totally disconnected with the world. That is what leads to the ‘center of the universe’ feeling in the people of United States, specifically in people who lack formal education ( and no, it is not okay if you can’t do math, have no knowledge of world history and never read a book on science) and have been ordained to believe in a higher power (yes Jesus) that/ who is specifically on their side. Only.
I remember being frustrated in college, thinking education is not very useful, having come across many people with several degrees lacking any deep insight into their field. Deep being the operative word. Now I know, I just have high standards. That is what old cultures successfully allow for. People having high standards for themselves, for others, for their position in the world and for what is acceptable as true knowledge.
It should be easier and quicker for new societies to now attain maturity with how the world has become increasingly more connected and closer. It also should have applied the knowledge of hindsight to have the foresight to take the best of the world practices and shed off the other cumulative human mistakes. It did neither.
Except for technological breakthroughs this sharing of knowledge and resources hasn’t permeabilized here. Technology and techies do go wherever there is money, vastly aided by the feeling of invincibility and the reduced baggage in new cultures (still, as races fight for overdue recognition and a clown becomes a serious presidential candidate, time seems to be catching up some what, in all kinds of ways).
In the U.S., I have seen closed minds afraid of the power of ‘government’ (and laughably, it’s a democracy that claims to take democracy to other parts of the world, with ever more force and mindlessness), yet the same ‘minds’ believe in or ignore complete surveillance and tabs on their lives for ‘safety’ from ‘terror’. They harbor serious dislike for corporations with money, but have no problems in buying cheap things the very same corporations are able to sell, cheaply. They are distrustful of anyone and anything that wants to shake their belief in whatever form of absolute truth they have been told to believe in, since birth (or probably conception, if you get my flow). Don’t worry if you are not with them, there is a fair number of them who are kind and who vouch to ‘love’ everyone regardless of their belief. Love. That’s a word for another time, but just so we all agree, love doesn’t protect against diphtheria.
I am getting to the obvious still pervasive “discussion” about autism and vaccines. It has been refuted in study after study after study. Then Mr. Robert De Niro decided to consider showing a “documentary” interviewing parents who have apparently got done “medical forensics” to identify that vaccines indeed caused their children’s autism, at the Tribeca film festival (it was pulled out later). However, it appears Rober De Niro also believes that the diagnosis of the autism happens one day after the child “catches” it, as parents remember the day of the diagnosis ( and don’t realize it is not hay fever that can spring up suddenly!). Apparently, BIG pharma owns all the peer reviewed scientific publications, and…… is…… wait for it.. paying the scientists and all “believers” in modern medicine, to speak up for vaccines.
It is true that misinformed anti-vaccination movements are now gaining global ground, even WAKEFIELD in his poorly formulated FRAUDULENT article could not conclude on a decisive relation between MMR vaccines and autism, only vaguely hinting with such statistical design as to be something even a high school statistics student would know to throw off (if there WERE, any high-school students who knew statistics) between gastrointestinal inflammation. The U.S. put anti-vaccination campaign on the map (here it started with the vaccine component: thimerosal, making it more of against ALL vaccines in general, not just MMR). I am not letting the U.K. get away, not even because they make better T.V. shows, or because at least their actors have more sense than to side with notorious scientists in the wake of much robust data, even though their politicians are equally nuts (the Blairs at the time apparently did not see fit to support vaccinations). I just have never lived there and at least they have a national health system they can all hate, together. Thimerosal is also not related to autism and is no longer used either. But it made way to the new thing about ‘overloading the immune system of kids’, another one of those things one cannot refute enough times, is also totally unfounded in science. It is interesting that with the decline in vaccinations (for, among other things, my other favorite reason to deny all logic: religion) has in fact coincided with increase in autism.
It is not surprising that both sides use the same phrases directed against each other. The rally against vaccines calls the responsible doctors and scientists ‘scare-mongerers’ because, apparently whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, rubella, polio are not really anything to be afraid of! Autism, already proven not have anything to do with vaccinations, is and in the context of vaccines only! Not one of these anti vaxxers care about ongoing research on Autism. They can’t you know, they don’t believe in evolution and of course then, all research in model animals and all drug testing is against their belief (not to mention beyond their understanding, since once you read and believe in THE BOOK, you don’t need to learn anything else). Given the utter lack of knowledge, they do know some things are just bad for you. Just pure black and bad. Everyone should be allowed to decide if they want the “toxins” in the blood, of course no one is asking the babies, parents who make the decision confidently, apparently know it all (without setting foot in a college or even a decent high school,not knowing the chemical formula of anything but water, and even then, probably not knowing ‘2’ means and why it is there, and yes that is not related to the topic of ‘what is good for ones babies’, but without knowing the alphabet, you cannot make a dictionary or write a book). They do know that vaccines may cause swelling of the brain, but you know what else can cause that, yes, you guessed it, measles and other viruses! More likely to happen too!
Some people think that for every side effect for a vaccine the doctors and the manufacturers should be held legally responsible (this was on a thread that wanted that film by Andrew Wakefield of the infamous and inaccurate article that was retracted, and I say it in a tired and monotonous tone saved for things repeated more than what logic dictates should be needed, but just for the heck of it read this) . They are. The only accountability ( both moral and legal) is shouldered by the doctors who get vaccinated themselves and promote it and they don’t want to shoulder the responsibility for idiots who can’t spell statistics and believe ‘research’ is what you do on the internet. I understand it is very hateful to call people idiots, and so mean! A logical dialogue is not possible when people try to cite 3 cases that they know of where vaccines caused injuries and want to know why vaccines are given at all, OR when the next best claim that should shake the very foundation of all of use nutters trying to promote vaccines: “They put their children first.” Well, they sure have a strange definition of first, maybe the first one that gets the whooping cough? In fact, what I should call those idiots is criminals and should their twisted words of logic on themselves: that is shoulder responsibility for the rising number of cases of whooping cough. We will all like for doctors to work for free, oh wait a minute, they DO! doctors without borders and the associated groups tackle all kinds of serious fatal diseases, like the ebola outbreak, mmm.. I am sure they didn’t do that cos the BIG PHARMA was paying them, but in this country of richer people than most other places on the planet, doctors have the right to make money and promote ideas that go far. Some people do have the call to do good, after all we don’t live in caves and in the developed world, people don’t die of tetanus or rabies.
As I am in an altruistic mode today, let me explain the WHOLE thing again with an example: just like one wouldn’t trust someone who has never driven a car, has no idea of robotics and engineering, to design and build one, even if they have been in a car wreck, I wouldn’t (and neither should you) trust someone without any idea of statistics or the scientific method, tell you how important anecdotes are and how bad big pharma is, there is no reason to believe irresponsible adults just because they have tears in their eyes and may not be making any profit for their beliefs. Someone has to make the vaccines, everything can’t be home grown (including, cars, to stretch the analogy), there are strict guidelines that need to be maintained, which not surprisingly, need sophisticated equipment and protocols. Tremendous efforts in making sure allergic reactions are restricted to the minimum levels possible are undertaken, please read these, all while the anti-vaxxer lie awake at night contemplating their next ignorant move. You can die AND KILL OTHERS if a car is not well made and doesn’t have safety measures, and cars have improved over the decades, just like drugs, but the basic mechanism that makes the car functional is still the same. Vaccines have not changed in concept either. In this analogy of cars with all general drugs, the rich can and do get the best ones. It probably is not as lucrative for the pharmaceuticals in the U.S., as the biggest purchaser for vaccines is the U.S. government for supplying vaccines to poor children, at less than lucrative prices from the point of view of the manufacturers. In general vaccines are low margin in terms of profit, even if they have large sales volume. Healthcare companies gain reputation by providing some services to the general public, they are still not doing it for free, but even the drug-store shower gel costs money and won’t be sold unless everyone involved remains in business.
Also, NO ONE IS FORCING CHILDREN WHO MAYBE ALLERGIC TO ANY COMPONENT OF VACCINES TO GET VACCINATED. Remember how you found out you were allergic to nuts? (and that, by the way, is also pretty life-threatening), that is the way they find out if a child is allergic to vaccine, also, they ask for family history and previous allergic reactions. If you, my fearless parent, can read a pubmed abstract (unless you bought the articles, haha, somehow I doubt that) and determine what the article says, you were wasted as a “C level executive” who now makes money as a blogger and radio jockey (professions solely based on public opinion with no accountability, it is like the Kardashians but with an intelligent sounding woman). The researchers who study autoimmune reactions are scientists making the progress you think contrarians are aiding (but are actually not so much). I understand your need to make people aware of things, it is a great cause and you wrap it well, being anti-drugs (After having been on them yourself). I didn’t grow up with commercials on TV for drugs, except one for cuts, sprains and headache. I understand people’s need to fix American tradition of feel good drugs, but vaccines don’t fall in that category. Basically, that’s a rich country problem and vaccines are a poor country’s solution.
Finally, there is another pervasive idea that the amount of vaccine dosage and number should be reduced and if possible made to order for each child. That will require at the very least large scale genetic testing before or immediately after birth, and additional blood tests after birth, if a scientist designs that study, living in the U.S. this is still imaginable, but imagine you don’t have the privilege to be such a ‘precious’ child.. Vaccines have worked wonders in the developing world, and at least there infants share some equality. Before all that, we need way more KNOWLEDGE acquired through real science to understand what genetic and environmental factors actually cause allergies, not mention, Autism spectrum disorders. And I Did just use a lot of lines to try and beg some part of the primitive brains or primitive part of brains of people that deals with basic survival. Yes vaccine = survival.
It is certainly possible, in the future where all economies are not hovering close to shut down and liquidation at the slightest bit of turmoil to make personal vaccines for every baby and adult (by possible I of course mean, unlikely), but other relevant research is underway (without needing blessings from irresponsible adults) e.g., how to change or make better the ways in which the vaccines are administered.
Basically, being vigilant is always important for citizens of the world, knowledge is different from information and should be treated likewise. If you want to be useful in healthcare, go to school for 10 yrs. Otherwise, all you have is an opinion that must be allowed to get overriden by people who simply know more. Research for drugs that saves lives is not conducted on the internet. Period.