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Peer Review and the Scientific Process

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[/b] Why kick them out? There is an argument for not vaccinating your kids, but hoping/expecting that they will get indirect immunisation (from cross-infection) from the newly-vaccinated children they go to school with.
-IainB (February 11, 2015, 04:39 AM)
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Huh  :huh:?  That logic would imply that it's ok for other kids to get vaccine - in order to protect mine?!? - but not mine.  So I'd be anti-vaccine only for my child?  Something out of kilter there.
-barney (February 11, 2015, 05:08 AM)
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No - it makes sense. If you can get the benefit (limited immunity) without the risk (adverse effects), then it makes perfect sense. However, that cross-infection isn't a guarantee - it's only a chance, which is the "out of kilter" bit.

Not sure what any of this has to do with peer review and the scientific process though...
-IainB (February 11, 2015, 04:39 AM)
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Strikes me as an active example of the process, albeit by non-professionals in the field  :-\ :P.  Sort of a peer review of Peer Review and the Scientific Process, as it were.
-barney (February 11, 2015, 05:08 AM)
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We are kind of off topic, but yes - I think there is some value in it as it does beat around that bush some. Besides, the topic will die down eventually.

Huh  :huh:?  That logic would imply that it's ok for other kids to get vaccine - in order to protect mine?!? - but not mine.  So I'd be anti-vaccine only for my child?  Something out of kilter there. ...
-barney (February 11, 2015, 05:08 AM)
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In the cases I knew of, the way I understood it was that the logic would probably have been pretty calculated and more along the lines of anarchy/freedom of self-determination, as in:
"I'm not going to let anything unnatural or potentially harmful be done to my kids. Other people can vaccinate their children if they wish, but I am not going to be forced to have mine vaccinated, because of what I see as the potential risks of toxic vaccines made using unnatural/animal cultures, though indirect/cross-infection will probably not be harmful and could be potentially beneficial as it would be through a natural human vector/medium of exchange."
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So I think it would have been the uncertainty, you see. The expectation was that the vaccination programme would be successful (and it clearly was), and there was thus a de facto reliance on that leading to a greatly reduced risk that your unvaccinated child in that environment would be infected with the virulent strain of the pathogen. It wasn't an argument about the vaccines being bad/ineffective per se, but that we didn't have enough knowledge to be certain that all these unnatural things we were doing wouldn't be harmful. That of course could still generally be true today, though the probabilities/risks might be so small as to be statistically insignificant. Pretty bad luck though if your kid is the one who gets damaged by one of those "improbabilities", so you would still be taking a risk, however small, if you did have them vaccinated.

It's rather the opposite of the case (above) where the Alsatian police dogs killed the child of their human pack that they lived with. Anyone who knows anything about dog-breeding and statistics would be able to figure out fairly swiftly that the odds of that happening were relatively a great deal higher for some breeds and relatively a great deal lower or non-existant for others, and that Alsatians fell into the high risk group. It's not a good recipe for survival. You'd need rocks in your head to expose your child to such risks, but there you are, and so that DNA does not get passed on.


Not sure what any of this has to do with peer review and the scientific process though...
-IainB (February 11, 2015, 04:39 AM)
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It's tangentially related at best - as in: rather off topic. :-[

My apologies. Perhaps a mod could edit it out and move it elsewhere, or to its own thread? (Or I could just remove my OTs myself. Pls advise.)

Strikes me as an active example of the process, albeit by non-professionals in the field  :-\ :P.  Sort of a peer review of Peer Review and the Scientific Process, as it were.
-barney (February 11, 2015, 05:08 AM)
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Ouch! Painful...but true. :huh:

Guilty as charged yer Honor! (Again with apologies to all.) :-[

Actually... I think this off-topic bit has been productive. I believe that I inadvertently hit on an important point above:

Actually, this is an excellent example of where the ad hominem argument is good. (Would you hire a convicted child molester to babysit your children? Same argument and same basic case.)

For anyone reading that is not well versed in logic and argumentation theory:

Thus, a good ad hominem is:

    An argument that a person's view should not be given credence or should be rejected outright because the person is deemed to be (i) not knowledgeable, or (ii) untrustworthy, or (iii) biased.-Good Reasoning Matters! (Little, Groarke, Tindale, 1989)
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(No link - it's from a paper book!  :o )

The anti-vax argument is often ii and iii. However, there are some that claim i, i.e. that the science is wrong and that the researchers are... blah blah blah. I'm not going to bother with that as the claims for ii and iii are sufficient to illustrate that there are genuine objections that have not been adequately addressed. (Also, i has been addressed at length.)
-Renegade (February 11, 2015, 05:50 AM)
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Peer review is in part a pro hominem argument. Given the massive amounts of fraud, I think that points ii and iii in the quote above are relevant to it.

But, I think we've also gone over that before in this thread. The above is just one more illustration.

Honestly, Ren, it seems like you're either confused about several aspects of the whole virus, disease, vaccination process or just throwing out answers off the top of your head to play devil's advocate. Since I know how long I'd end up spending if I decided to respond to even the majority of it, I'll attempt to control myself and focus on just a couple posts.

This may be off topic, but I wouldn't mind some of your input here.
Recently, a lot of people around me have been getting worked about about the anti-vaccination issues.  I've been listening to the arguments, and I must say that I'm legitimately confused.  Politics or beliefs aside, the question I want to answer is, "Should I vaccinate?  How do I make this decision wisely?"
-superboyac (February 09, 2015, 05:02 PM)
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If you consult with a doctor that isn't blindly religious on the issue, most likely your doctor will recommend vaccination, but not necessarily for everything. Not all people need all vaccines. There actually is room for thought on the topic, though the current dialectic pretty much excludes any rational debate.

For example, do you need to be vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis? It's a horrible, crippling disease that utterly destroys people. Chances are that you don't as it is only found in certain places.

Are you at risk for cervical cancer? If you're male, then no. And here is where the insanity begins, because there are quite a few people that want forced vaccinations for boys.

Talk to 1 or more doctors. Read up on the issues.
-Renegade (February 10, 2015, 04:38 AM)
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I like the cut of your strawman's jib! Good thing he's no true Scotsman or else your your ad hominem left hook might not have landed.

The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is specifically recommended only for people traveling to certain areas in Asia, and, even then, only if they are going to be staying for a long period of time. The word for a doctor who recommended it as part of the standard course of vaccination isn't religious. It's quack.

The closest I've been able to come to an answer is along these lines:
Let's say there's a disease where I have 5% chance of dying.  The vaccine is available, and with it there is the 1% risk of dying.  So in that case, the gamble is mathematically worth the risk.
-superboyac (February 09, 2015, 05:02 PM)
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That's correct given that you will get the disease. If there's a 1% chance of contracting the disease, then 5% * 1% vs. 1% doesn't justify the vaccine, mathematically that is. But that doesn't take into account other possible problems from the disease, e.g. 50% chance of blindness, etc.

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Numbers derived from a false premise don't lie. In fact, they don't tell us anything at all. Used skillfully, though, they can lay the foundation for an effective appeal to consequences.

All too often people talk about mortality rates, but blindness, deafness, and many other horrible effects also come with some diseases.

Then there are diseases like rubella that aren't serious (or as serious as others). Rubella is mostly relevant for pregnant women.

But it's just not that simple.  Do we know these percentages?  What if the vaccine is for a non-lethal disease, like a cold or mild flu?  Are these risk quantification reliable?  I don't know the answer at all, to be honest.  And it's a sensitive issue in my circles as there actually are cases of life-altering mental problems that have been attributed to vaccination.  I never ask, but I want to ask how do we know it was the vaccines? 
-superboyac (February 09, 2015, 05:02 PM)
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How do we know? Good question. When you look at some of the crippling effects in some cases, and the timelines, then it's pretty obvious, but that's not scientific proof, though it is sometimes enough to get settlements from the secret vaccine courts.

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Nobody is more sceptical than me about pharmaceutical industry research. I'm familiar with the sort of nonsense they use to prop up their patent-based business model. Mike Masnick has written about them at Techdirt quite a bit over the years, and I wouldn't want to use the language that comes to mind when I think about it.

If only we had someone else who aggregated data from more reliable sources, perhaps even directly from medical professionals, and provided that data to the public. We could call it the Centers for Disease Control. CDC has a nice ring to it, don't you think? They could even put up a website dedicated to it.

Alternatively, we could just assume that the parents from those lawsuits, everyone they've told about it, everyone on their legal team, including medical professional, and anyone else with knowledge of, or access to, the data is somehow magically silenced by the same companies who can't manage to keep their own fraudulent studies from seeing the light of day.

Honestly, your appeals to emotion aren't really strong enough to warrant that level of mental gymnastics. The Russian judge gives this one a 2.

When a friend of mine gets a flu shot, he's pretty much guaranteed to get the flu -- and he no longer gets any flu shots. But, that's annecdotal.

I think it really depends on the person - not all people are the same.

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Ironically, your anecdotal evidence matches the actual science. It comes down to the nature of influenza, which has a genetic defect which causes a mutation every time it replicates. That's why each of the 3 major variants, Influenza A, B, and C, are separated not just by species, but also genus. It's also the reason the flu vaccine is constantly being reformulated.

Since Influenza C is rarely responsible for outbreaks, it isn't included in the vaccine at all. Antigens for 2-3 specific Influenza A strains are used, because it's the one that spreads globally. Influenza B is responsible for most localized outbreaks, so only a single strain is included.

Of course, that localization also makes it a near certainty some (perhaps most) people who get vaccinated will be in areas with resistant Influenza B strains. If the models, based on nowhere near complete information, prove wrong, a the strains used for a given vaccine may be irrelevant before the vaccine hits the street. Even if they're right, the virus can mutate into a resistant strain in your body before your antibodies manage to finish their work.

That's without considering the most dangerous outbreaks, which originate in other species. The most common of these come from pigs. Fortunately they're similar enough to humans, biologically speaking, that they generally don't result in pandemics. Those typically come from birds, which is why they're incredibly rare because birds don't cough. Even if they knew for a fact one of those strains would spread to humans, immunization would likely be futile since they would almost immediately combine with an existing human strain to create a very different hybrid.

It's impossible to create a definitive and complete flue vaccine for any given point in time, let alone months or years in the future. However, vaccination does also provide is with a mechanism for steering natural selection away from the most dangerous strains.

Flu shots don't make sense for everyone. For some segments of the population it would be insane not to get every new flu vaccine as soon as possible. It definitely saves lives among the elderly, children, and in medical environments. I will absolutely continue to take advantage of it for at least as long as my kids are living with us and my wife works for the public school system.

Oh, I just remembered a bit more insanity... This is fun~! ;D

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That's because it's so easy. You're cherry picking facts, avoiding any semblance of context, proclaiming your own facts without even the pretense of evidence, and stringing it all together with a framework of logical fallacies. That's why they call it pseudo science.

Of course, if your real intention is demonstrating the necessity for peer review using only blatant, real world examples, well done!  :Thmbsup:

A common argument that I read all the time is about "the children" and how people want to exclude unvaccinated kids from schools.

Ok. For the sake of argument... Let's run with that. ;)

Some vaccines turn the recipient into a carrier for anywhere from 2 weeks to 90 days.

So, for those vaccines, shouldn't vaccinated children be excluded from schools until they are no longer contagious? Not all kids can get the same vaccine at the same time (if that even mattered).

In the first bit above, we have no evidence that any unvaccinated child has any disease, but in the second instance, we have clear evidence that the child is contagious. What to do? :P

Fun fun fun~! ;D

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Here's what I would recommend doing. Check to see if your hypothetical has any basis in reality, especially if you're going to complain about mis/disinformation. In fact, since we have those requirements here, I can get you right to the relevant information for our local schools.

There are only 2 types of exemption to Iowa law, medical and religious, and I disagree with the second one. That's what you get with one of the original corporate sponsored governors running things. Regardless, if it's a religious thing, that's the parent's issue to address. If it's medical, the school nurse is more than capable of dealing with it on an individual basis. And I say that as someone living in the biggest district in the state.

@Ren - IIUC you can't (except in that rare situation with the old oral polio vaccine - which is no longer administered) come down with the illness that an attenuated-live vaccine is designed to provide immunization for unless the batch that was administered was defective. And my understanding is that cases of defective vaccine batches making it into actual circulation are extremely rare occurrences.
-40hz (February 10, 2015, 08:35 AM)
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Sorry, but no. There are some vaccines that make the patient contagious for a period of time. You only need to check the insert to verify.

You can find it in some inserts under some section  like in the below, 5.8 "Risk of Vaccine Virus Transmission". Here's a bit for the VARIVAX vaccine:
 (see attachment in previous post)
There are more. That's just one. The recommendation is for 6 weeks.
-Renegade (February 10, 2015, 10:30 AM)
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Your facts here are accurate, and also confirmed by the CDC. Once again, though, context matters. You haven't bothered to compare exposure through the vaccine to exposure in the wild.

Varicella has an incubation period of up to 16 days before Chickenpox symptoms appear, which can last as long as 21 days. That's a total of up to 37 days as a baseline, with the same recommendations for contagion. It also includes the small percentage of the population killed by Chickenpox, which has been almost eliminated by vaccination. Some percentage of those deaths were in the high risk groups that don't get vaccinated. I haven't looked for the specific numbers, but I know it was less than 100%.

If it took an extra 5 days for the virus to become dormant in just 1 person who would have died, we're already at 42 days. That's assuming they didn't just add 5 days as a margin of error. In either case, a difference of 5 days is negligible. The reduction in deaths, even among people who can't get the vaccine, is not.

Here's a bit from another insert:
 (see attachment in previous post)
That lists 28 weeks, or 7 months.

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Read it again. It still says 6 weeks.

It also says newborn premature babies born before 28 weeks have weakened immune systems. That's completely different, and certainly shouldn't be news to anyone.

Again... just what part of this is hard to understand for people? Everyone wants to believe that vaccines are some sort of magical pixie dust.



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Your comments seem to suggest it is that hard to understand. In fact understanding it is hard, like any complicated science. It's just not as complicated as you're making it. It's not even as complicated as understanding the science if you follow IainB's advice and look at the statistics.

Vaccines are, however, damn good insurance. With vaccines it's all about risk minimization and mitigation. Because at this stage of our medical knowledge and technology, that's about as good as we can make it.-40hz (February 10, 2015, 08:35 AM)
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Yes. Exactly.

But the pro-vaccine crowd almost ALWAYS touts all the positive benefits and completely ignores any of the possible adverse issues or other "inconvenient" facts. Again... this is about approaching the topic sanely and measuring benefits vs. costs.

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Do you really not see the contradiction in those statements? You're following an ad hominem attack by complaining that the people you're attacking aren't making rational arguments. That's without even applying the same test to your own comments.

Regardless, I will absolutely concede that most people who are pro-vaccine don't analyze it that way. I will even go further and say the majority are almost completely ignorant of both the medical basis or statistical evidence. That's consistent with the average person's understanding of just about every complicated issue, and also something they have in common with the anti-vaccine side. It tells us a lot about people, in general, and not a thing about this, or any other, issue.

While it's easy to see why most people would get that impression. People who are capable of understand the issues involved without a remedial class are a small minority. Those who take the time to educate themselves are a much smaller subset of that. Reduce that to those of us with the requisite skills to communicate the information effectively and you're down to almost nothing.

The other problem, and this isn't necessarily directed at you, because I suspect you already see it, is relying on the government to make a rational case. This is a societal problem in need of a societal solution. Government is only 1 of the tools in our toolbox, and, frankly, it's the wrong one for most jobs.

Government is a blunt instrument - a hammer. As the old saying goes, if that's all you have, everything looks like a nail. Just like an actual hammer, government is the right tool for a few things, an adequate substitute for others, but a disaster waiting to happen for everything else. It's about as far from magical pixie dust as you can get. It's certainly the right tool to coerce people who cause public health hazards through willful ignorance. If intelligent discourse is what you need, good luck with that.

A few of us figure things out, a larger number comprehend and adopt those ideas, and it gradually trickles down to the masses over time if it works. That last group doesn't understand why, any more than they understand why they need to study history in school. For them, acceptance doesn't require understanding. A small group will cling to their small minds, neither understanding nor accepting. We've always got the hammer for them.

I'm sorry, but nobody gets to choose what parts of reality apply to them. Unfortunately, 100% of reality applies to everyone... vaccine advocates included.

This only goes to show, yet once again, how the mainstream views are so grossly distorted and perverse.

What really pisses me off is all these self-righteous zealots who preach "science" and then want to ignore anything that doesn't fit their personally acceptable narrative. This is a recurring theme in many fields, not just in "vaccines".

Gravity applies to Wile E. Coyote just as it does to everyone else. Nobody escapes nature. Not even psychotic zealots. :P

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On either side.

Now, chickenpox (for the Varivax vaccine above) isn't very serious. But it's just one example. Not all vaccines are equal, and the zealots trying to portray them as all being unicorn farting rainbows do nothing to help the situation.

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This would carry a lot more weight if you could name just one person who fits your description. I'd prefer someone who isn't a wingnut, except those 2 requirements are mutually exclusive. It won't make your broad brush characterizations any more accurate, but at least I'll have some reference for who you consider a spokesman for "my" side.

I think I'll stop here. Since it's you, I'd be concerned if you didn't get an angry rant in somewhere. If we're really lucky, or everyone else isn't, perhaps we even avoid the basement.


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