So apparently there is something of an outbreak of pertussis, a.k.a. Whooping Cough, in California. Not Calcutta. Not Khartoum. California. The one on the left hand side of the wealthiest nation on the planet.

Pertussis. In California. How does that happen, like, ever in the U.S. let alone in large enough clusters to attract notice? Pertussis is one of the many diseases that we consider largely eradicated in the "developed" world, i.e. the parts of the globe with reliable systems in place for water treatment and waste removal. Nobody in the U.S. should be getting whooping cough anymore than they should be getting monkeypox, filariasis, the measles, or yellow fever. And none of those diseases are to be expected in this country because reliable vaccines are available, often free of charge, everywhere in the Western world.

To put the California issue in context, this is where pertussis is most prevalent:

See that dark red one, California? That is Niger. The same Niger ranked 182nd out of 182 nations in the U.N. Human Development Index. While it has little in common with California (except for Merced…am I right people? *rimshot*) a growing number of Californians are imitating the people of Niger in one respect: they are not vaccinated against basic, easily preventable diseases long ago banished to the undeveloped parts of the globe.

Thanks a pantload, retards!

America – and the rest of the planet, for that matter – has a long tradition of backward knuckleheads who prefer hokum to science and folk remedies to actual medical care. This is what poorly educated people do. They reject things they don't understand. This is why we educate ourselves as a nation, to teach people not to reflexively trust their neanderthal instincts or revert to the intellectual equivalent of shamanism when confronted with the products of an educated society. But now such impulses have the appearance of mainstream legitimacy (Just look at all this information on the internet! Some of these people look, like, real scientific and stuff!) and rather than dropping the hammer on it with maximum force, the media and your more gullible friends and relatives nurture it along.

Why? If Jenny McCarthy started a movement claiming that Pepsi or Centrum Vitamins cause autism, you would recoil in horror from the sheer violence with which the mainstream media and society at large would beat her down. It would be like watching a small puppy flattened under a steamroller. Yet in the interest of "controversy" or ratings (the stay-at-home mom audience being a large one, and being a Mommy who Knows My Child being a more valid form of medical expertise than actually practicing medicine when it comes to the vaccine-autism question) this ridiculous "movement" is entertained up to the highest levels. All of this, of course, is endlessly fueled by the internet: transparently stupid conspiracist websites, echo chamber "communities" for the afflicted (be it with illness or imbecility), and syrupy, drooling MommyBlogs where people who know a great many things As a Parent explain why science is wrong and post hoc most definitely allows us to conclude propter hoc. Every time a Mommy explains how MMR gave little Ethan autism, God adopts and drowns a helpless kitten.

The internet is the greatest thing to happen to idiots since Walter Freeman pioneered the transorbital lobotomy, and it has done almost as much to make them even dumber. Let's really go for the gold and see if we can't work up a nice outbreak of polio, diphtheria, or tetanus right on the doorstep of some of the finest medical and scientific infrastructure on Earth. You can do it, Jenny.

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66 Responses to “STUPIDITY 1, THE REST OF US 0”

  1. whardiek Says:

    This is all very interesting to me. Im reading the thread, and the all the replies and I wonder if there is a direct link to the religious fundamentalism sweeping through our country? It's like the religious right are trying to completely discredit the scientific community. Do the advances in science really present a threat to the pious? Yes, science is answering questions everyday that religion used to answer with god. If the pious acknowledge the scientific community, they are effectively cutting their own throats. This is why, IMHO, we see a tidal wive of religious fundamentalism. This fundamentalism manifests itself in the intelligent design movement, the denail of evolution/natural selection/Darwin, the denial of the Human Genome Research Project and a shift in the philosophy of religious dogma i.e. Dinosaurs walked the earth with man and the new earth theory. All calculated, premeditated and wicked perversions on manipulation and narsiccism.

  2. MadBassist Says:

    I don't think NOT vaccinating is smart, but I also think that a megadose of vaccines (a la MMR) may not be smart either. What is wrong with allowing people to choose single, individual vaccination to allow the body to recover and adjust to the shot? Apparently the PharmCos and BigMedicine (insurance cos) feel we can't choose because the present system makes too much money for them. Try to get an individual dose of Measles vaccine. Not here in the US.

    I have chemical sensitivity issues – certain smells (paints, gasoline, etc) can trigger migraines. I avoid them to keep from being sick. It makes sense that some children may be more sensitive to a large influx of vaccines and their bodies react in ways different than "most people". Give these kids the choice to get individual vaccines so that we are ALL protected.

  3. djw Says:

    It makes sense that some children may be more sensitive to a large influx of vaccines and their bodies react in ways different than "most people".

    And here in lies the problem. People like MadBassist can't tell the difference between "it seems vaguely plausible, in my non-expert free-association thinking about headaches and vaccines and what not, that X is true" and "there is a medical scientific reason to think X is true."

  4. News Nag Says:

    I just read Playboy for the medical advice.

  5. Substance McGravitas Says:

    Give these kids the choice


  6. Red Jenny Says:

    You know, there are very few things a blond with big breasts can't convince me of, but . . .

  7. Andy Says:

    A routine search on Pubmed will result in many studies that show that Autism in monozygotic twins is repeated about 80% of the time. Studies further show that in dizygotic twins, autism is repeated in only about 20% of cases. These results offer strong evidence of autism being genetic in nature rather than environmental in origin. Anti-vaccine – tards seem to have no understanding of the nature of medical research, peer-review, and interpretation of scientific data.

    As for mega-vaccination: this trend, while possibly not optimal in terms of best practices, it does speak to convenience (i.e. fewer shots overall), which is the halmark of U.S. society. By making the vaccines somewhat more convenient, parents are more likely to allow their children to be vaccinated, resulting in better herd coverage.

    As for the question for he need for a vericella vaccine: while mos peopl esuffer relatively mild and survivable symptoms from the various manifestations of varicella (chicken pox and shingles), there is significant mortality and morbidity asscoisted with this virus.

  8. hamletta Says:

    A vaccine for chicken pox? Give me a break.

    If I give you my phone number, will you call me when you get shingles, so I can point and laugh as you writhe in agony?

  9. Ruckus Says:

    If I give you my phone number, will you call me when you get shingles, so I can point and laugh as you writhe in agony?

    Can I get in on this? I'd like a chance to laugh about shingles. I've never been able to before.
    Chickenpox was a breeze compared to shingles. I was born just before the polio vaccination and saw first hand what a lot of fun people who caught it before this had. I know first hand of 4 cases. In one small town.
    No vaccinations? Idiots. There simply is no other answer. Let's review: If you don't believe in science because your sky pilot was supposed to be around before it existed, if you can't understand fairly simple statistics to see that getting vaccinated is much less risky than vaccination, you are an idiot.

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