This is How Much Damage Anti-Vaxxers Have Caused Around the World

Are you having a good day today? Let’s fix that.

The Council on Foreign Relations has put together a map showing where all the vaccine-preventable diseases are all over the world. The fact that there are large circles *anywhere* should be horrifying.

Whooping cough, people. Whooping cough.

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“I’m Not a Scientist” Is Not an Excuse to Believe in Nonsense

David Shiffman, a University of Miami Ph.D. Student, has an article up on Slate about the “I’m not a scientist” line, and it’s very much worth reading.

As you’re most likely aware, “I’m not a scientist” is something politicians often say when they’re asked for their positions on topics like climate change, evolution, etc. They use the line so frequently, it’s practically become a punchline:

Calling it a “dangerous cop-out,” Shiffman makes the case that it is simply a “cowardly” and “exasperating evasion” from the very people who devote their lives to attaining positions that enable them to address such pressing matters.

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Researchers Find That No Facts Whatsoever Will Change Anti-Vaxxers’ Minds. The Same May Be True For You and Me

Depressing. From Maria Konnikova at the New Yorker:

[In April,] Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth, published the results of a study that he and a team of pediatricians and political scientists had been working on for three years. They had followed a group of almost two thousand parents, all of whom had at least one child under the age of seventeen, to test a simple relationship: Could various pro-vaccination campaigns change parental attitudes toward vaccines?

Each household received one of four messages: a leaflet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that there had been no evidence linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine and autism; a leaflet from the Vaccine Information Statement on the dangers of the diseases that the M.M.R. vaccine prevents; photographs of children who had suffered from the diseases; and a dramatic story from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an infant who almost died of measles. A control group did not receive any information at all. The goal was to test whether facts, science, emotions, or stories could make people change their minds.



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Judge Suggests Doctors Shouldn’t Impose Their Views on Child Who May Soon Become a Victim of Faith-Based Treatment

Several months ago, I posted about Makayla Sault (below), an 11-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The disease is treatable with two years of tough chemotherapy and has a nearly 90% survival rate… but Makayla no longer wanted to continue the chemo and her Ojibwe/First Nations parents were more than happy to oblige, seeking out useless faith-based treatments instead.

Makayla was allowed to quit the chemo, but we learned earlier this month that her condition had worsened.

And to make the issue even more on the forefront of people’s minds, it turned out another First Nations girl was in the same position — she would benefit from chemo, but she didn’t want to go through with it for cultural reasons.

This week, Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice said that the doctors were in the wrong:

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One of Ebola’s Side Effects Could Be a Dangerous Turn Toward Science

Humorist Andy Borowitz cracks wise about the current health crisis:

There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science. In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.



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