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By gzt (Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:29:35 PM EST) gzt, vaccines, big bang, evolution (all tags)
Whenever my sister-in-law posts something from Mercola or anti-vaccine, I post something pro-vaccine or about how I need to get my flu shot. I like posting about flu shots in general, though, because maybe people will get reminded.


My in-laws have noticed and might be amused.

But it's funny to me - I just read, as an example in my experimental design textbook, the design of a 1976 study on whether vitamin C prevents the common cold. About 37% of the treatment group got the cold, whereas 38% of the control group got it: fail to reject the null hypothesis. It's in my textbook as an example of good design. Yet people are very willing to believe vitamin C will help the cold, partly because it's "natural", even as they disbelieve in the efficacy of, say, the measles vaccine for preventing measles, despite the fact that we have very good statistical evidence for it. They talk suspiciously about the profits of Big Pharma, how they're pushing these vaccines so they get the big bucks, while turning a blind eye to the supplement industry, a very blind eye.

So, yeah, this means I'm dinking around on the internets rather than doing my experimental design homework. It's hard to get started.

The Republican congressional candidate for my district is appallingly bad in some ways. He is also in the lead. The Humane Society tried to air some ads talking about his controversial position on dog-fighting, but a few TV stations (in the more conservative areas) refused to air them. To be perfectly fair, his remarks on the matter were intended to convey his opposition to making dog fighting and such a federal crime, as there are already adequate measures in place on the state level (in his opinion), as well as expressing his concern for the principle that it is more important to deal with injustices concerning humans than to fix animal problems. He was extremely inept in his expression of those concerns, however.

Maybe I'm turning boring and crazy. I fill my facebook feed with links about vaccination, climate change, and statistics, as well as occasional political snark.

Not that I'm a football fan in any way, but I'm very surprised that the local team is 4-1.

It really does annoy me when I see s-i-l commenting on somebody's wall posts about how they shouldn't get a flu shot since they are quite likely to follow her advice.

I've been thinking about Russian politics lately. I kind of have the feeling that it is what attempts at libertarianism would wind up producing, but I have to know more about the system than I do to say that confidently.

I played the Bill O'Reilly vs John Stewart debate in the background while "working" this afternoon. Amusing, interesting, irrelevant.

< Checking up | I may have to give up TV until November >
passive aggressive facebook war | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
statistical proof flu vaccines don't work: by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:41:29 PM EST
i've never gotten one and i haven't gotten the flu in at least ten years. reject that null hypothesis! 

better proof! by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 11:29:44 AM EST
when I was pregnant with DK, I got a flu shot.  I got the flu!!

[ Parent ]
such a frequentist by gzt (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:44:16 PM EST
i am disappoint. all true rationalists are bayesian, and all bayesians are true rationalists.

[ Parent ]
Russia and libertarianism by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:20:50 AM EST
I'm not certain that Russia has never not been a police state with a large amount of corruption. I'm not sure that I'd point to it for any examples of libertarianism. The powerful corporate interests at hand are in cahoots with the state.

It might be fair to argue that libertarianism would end up like that if allowed to run unchecked, but then you need to argue for some mechanism by which the private interests create and become entwined with the police state.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
This argument might hold by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:26:21 AM EST
if there existed a Libertarian society without large amounts of corruption. Anarchy is pretty common, and nearly always corrupt. I can't say I've ever heard of any differences between anarchy and libertarianism that didn't rely on magic.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Even so by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 11:04:25 AM EST
Russia is a particularly bad example, because they basically just threw the lever from all-state to all-privatize and let it run for a few years.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
I prefer by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:17:55 PM EST
Somalia as a much more authentic libertarian paradise anyway.

Wumpus



[ Parent ]
If only by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 11:42:43 PM EST
The US navy didn't interfere with their dynamic maritime entrepreneurs ...

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
there is corruption and there is corruption by lm (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:06:13 PM EST
From a libertarian perspective, I don't think corruption has much to do with anything except inasmuch as the corruption means that the state will use force of arms to impede freedom. Corrupt corporations? Who cares? The market will sort it out!

But in Russia, the corruption exists at the governmental level, e.g. Kasparov not being able to find any business owner with a meeting hall of sufficient size willing to rent it to him so that his party could meet the requirements to get his party on the ballot against Putin. It is the armed thugs of the state that put the fear of Putin into these hall owners.

Maybe that's splitting hairs. But it's the argument that I think libertarians would make and it's one that doesn't seem to me to be entirely arbitrary. State run coercion is a different animal than coercion by private individuals and corporations.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
it's an odd economy by gzt (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 11:44:56 AM EST
Putin et al are big on economic liberalism and state capitalism and the kleptocratic police state. I get the feeling that, outside the industries the government is directly involved in, it's a free-for-all with low taxes and lax regulation.

[ Parent ]
Free for all as in by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:22:30 PM EST
The mafia gets to confiscate any business that does too well, that is.

[ Parent ]
Good question by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:26:06 PM EST
Is there a sufficient local level corruption that gets to scarf up smaller businesses, or is it only a danger when you grow to be the highest grass?

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Big Pharma... by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:29:35 AM EST
While I agree with your position on vaccines, in general, it's worth noting that Big Pharma aren't exactly the purest of pure white knights of science: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Pharma-companies-mislead-patients/dp/0007350740

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
oh, no, they're definitely not white knights by gzt (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:17:26 AM EST
Life is always complicated.

[ Parent ]
Other proof flu vaccine is ineffective by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:16:59 AM EST
If it was, then surely I'd find someone willing to give me one. My GP won't because I'm not ill enough, private suppliers and occupational health won't give me one because I'm too unwell.

Got the flu vaccine on Saturday by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:33:52 AM EST
Right after a 25 mile bike ride.

Didn't do much Sunday.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

in re vitamin C by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 04:36:34 PM EST
there are quite a few studies showing that prophylactic administration of vitamin c does shorten and reduce the severity of the symptoms of "the common cold".

While that isn't curing it per se, the side effects of vitamin c are few and pretty benign - so actually it does make sense.

[one ref: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub3/asset/CD000980.pdf ]
-- The revolution will not be televised.

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