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    If I were still a practicing ob-gyn and one of my patients said she was not going to vaccinate her child, I might try to persuade her to change her mind. But, if I were unsuccessful, I would respect her decision. I certainly would not lobby the government to pass a law mandating that children...
  • I don’t think Libertarians are dumb, and I respect Dr. Paul. But in my city of Fresno CA. we have people infected with virulent Tuberculosis, who can transmit it to others simply by sneezing or coughing. To protect the Public Health we do not give these poor souls the choice about how they deal with their dreadful disease-WE FORCE THEM TO TAKE MEDICATION THAT PREVENTS AEROSOL TRANSMISSION AND THAT MAY CURE THEM. BUT A SMALL NUMBER OF THOSE TAKING THE DRUGS GET SIDE EFFECTS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS! IN FACT WE SEND NURSES TO SEE THESE PEOPLE REGULARLY AND TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE SWALLOWING THEIR PILLS. There is no other way to effectively deal with TB without locking these poor unfortunates up in jail. I SAY LIBERTARIAN OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT CONTROL IS OFTEN JUSTIFIED, BUT NOT IN THIS CASE Very often these patients are poor, marginalized in many ways by habituation to drugs- and have been in jail for numerous criminal offenses. I ask Libertarians to answer this difficult problem with compassion and reason. TB can be eradicated These victims of the disease can be helped. But they can also be harmed. Opposition to this dictatorial governmental policy on libertarian principles is simply endangering others in our community.

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  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unwittingly ignited a firestorm earlier this week when he responded to a reporter's question in Great Britain about forced vaccinations of children in New Jersey by suggesting that the law in the U.S. needs to balance the rights of parents against the government's duty to maintain standards of public health....
  • I fully expect we will soon see the first family of a dead child (contracted measles; developed complications; severe fever affecting the brain; death from complications) who was exposed to a “carrier” in their school, to sue. Suing is the only “American way” that seems to work to expedite change. Money always talks, and if I were that parent, I would sue the family of the “disease carrier,” the pediatrician, the school, the town, the state – everyone better have deep pockets. It is just a matter of time that someone dies infected by some obnoxious parent’s decision to not inoculate their child who infected the victim.

    We have laws that dogs must have the rabies shot, among other yearly shots, and, if a dog bites your neighbor, you still get sued by your neighbor (all dog bites are settled-never go to trial since the lawyers of the dog’s family must prove that the victim was beating the dog). Now, if your dog does not have the shots on-record at your vet, you are toast. Lawyers go after vet records immediately.

    Once $$$$ from lawsuits come to play, no one gives a hoot about some family’s bs “freedom,” if there is a dead kid. Besides, autism is caused by endocrine disruptors which everyone in Finland has known/accepted for years. So, don’t have your babies/kids drink out of plastic cups, heat food in plastic containers, use carcinogenic chemicals/fertilizers in your yard & home, use pacifiers only with: PBA-free label, check-out the chemicals on toys babies suck on in general,…check what you are actually, ingesting and sticking onto their skin or your skin…the largest organ.

    As a child of a polio victim who suffered a a great deal and died of post-polio-syndrome, I loathe these anti-vaccine people. There will be increasing bans on these people for air travel ( especially to Europe), entry into institutions (like hospitals to visit grandma in the ICU), schools & universities, libraries, etc. Just a matter of time.

    And, one last caution: polio and other infectious diseases reappear in unexpected places, and, do you really want your child (no matter the age) to contract a disease they were never inoculated for in the distant future? Surviving an infectious disease is sometimes harder as an adult – and dying from a severe flu bug (happened to a relative) while on vacation, is not out of the ordinary. – weirdly, Princeton had 8 cases of Meningitis a few years ago; and, everyone was freaking out. My son’s U expects him to have a Tetanus shot, for instance…but I always make sure he takes the flu shot, etc. every year…he has to get on a lot of planes every year.

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  • If I were still a practicing ob-gyn and one of my patients said she was not going to vaccinate her child, I might try to persuade her to change her mind. But, if I were unsuccessful, I would respect her decision. I certainly would not lobby the government to pass a law mandating that children...
  • “Private property owners have the right to forbid those who reject vaccines from entering their property.”

    How exactly would this work? Require everyone to carry a card verifying vaccination? As a restaurant or hotel owner am I really going to demand to see every customer’s card? I respect Dr. Paul a great deal but every once in a while I get the impression he doesn’t think everything through…

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  • libertarians are dumb

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  • @Alam
    Would dr. Ron Paul send his kids or grand kids to a school knowing with 100% certainty, that they have kids with infectious diseases?

    I know dr Paul doesn't like public schools, but that's a separate issue.

    At the end of the day, govt has a responsibility to make sure infectious diseases don't spread thru public schools. If some. parents don't want to vaccinate their kids, they should home schoold them, perhaps.

    My kid goes to a daycare that does not admit kids without vaccination. I feel more secure in knowing that.

    “Would dr. Ron Paul send his kids or grand kids to a school knowing with 100% certainty, that they have kids with infectious diseases?”

    Surely you jest, because there already is 100% certainty they have infectious diseases of various kinds. Besides, the doctor is from my generation, and we all got measles and chicken pox, etc., because there were no vaccines for them. And nobody broke out in a cold sweat about those, they saved that for important things like polio.

    But Dr. Paul is wrong to blame “vaccine companies.” Vaccines are simply not big money-makers. It’s the politically-untouchable “Healthy People” gang that are to blame.

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  • @Alam
    Would dr. Ron Paul send his kids or grand kids to a school knowing with 100% certainty, that they have kids with infectious diseases?

    I know dr Paul doesn't like public schools, but that's a separate issue.

    At the end of the day, govt has a responsibility to make sure infectious diseases don't spread thru public schools. If some. parents don't want to vaccinate their kids, they should home schoold them, perhaps.

    My kid goes to a daycare that does not admit kids without vaccination. I feel more secure in knowing that.

    How many of those children had parents who got a doctor to agree to falsify the records? How many of the children at that daycare aren’t actually vaccinated?

    I have no legal problem with parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. I think of it as selection in action. But physicians who assist them by falsifying records? At the very least they should lose their licenses, and possibly go to jail for a long time.

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  • Would dr. Ron Paul send his kids or grand kids to a school knowing with 100% certainty, that they have kids with infectious diseases?

    I know dr Paul doesn’t like public schools, but that’s a separate issue.

    At the end of the day, govt has a responsibility to make sure infectious diseases don’t spread thru public schools. If some. parents don’t want to vaccinate their kids, they should home schoold them, perhaps.

    My kid goes to a daycare that does not admit kids without vaccination. I feel more secure in knowing that.

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    • Replies: @Melendwyr
    How many of those children had parents who got a doctor to agree to falsify the records? How many of the children at that daycare aren't actually vaccinated?

    I have no legal problem with parents who don't vaccinate their kids. I think of it as selection in action. But physicians who assist them by falsifying records? At the very least they should lose their licenses, and possibly go to jail for a long time.
    , @Grace Jones
    "Would dr. Ron Paul send his kids or grand kids to a school knowing with 100% certainty, that they have kids with infectious diseases?"

    Surely you jest, because there already is 100% certainty they have infectious diseases of various kinds. Besides, the doctor is from my generation, and we all got measles and chicken pox, etc., because there were no vaccines for them. And nobody broke out in a cold sweat about those, they saved that for important things like polio.

    But Dr. Paul is wrong to blame "vaccine companies." Vaccines are simply not big money-makers. It's the politically-untouchable "Healthy People" gang that are to blame.
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  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unwittingly ignited a firestorm earlier this week when he responded to a reporter's question in Great Britain about forced vaccinations of children in New Jersey by suggesting that the law in the U.S. needs to balance the rights of parents against the government's duty to maintain standards of public health....
  • Sure looks like these diseases were starting to become much less prevalent even before the introduction of vaccines:

    http://drtenpenny.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Decline-of-infectious-disease.pdf

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  • You folks don’t trust the government much but make a strange exception for the government vaccine program. Vaccines are inherently dangerous and the government has made extensive attempts to minimize just how dangerous they are so that parents cannot make an accurate risk/benefit assessment:

    http://www.safeminds.org/blog/2015/02/05/no-hillary-clinton-science-isnt-settled/

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  • To usurp a parent’s rights over their own children is inhuman and treacherous. I had my children vaccinated, but a friend of mine’s brother was permanently disabled when he was vaccinated. The chance of bad side effects may only be one in a thousand,but that statistic might not impress the parent whose child is the one effected. Why do you think the US government indemnifies vaccine makers from lawsuits? Worry about your own children and let others worry about theirs.

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  • “if you don’t vaccinate your children, you risk losing parental custody of them.” I think this is a straw man. My state has a (foolish IMHO) exception for personal belief, but if it didn’t have this, the consequence for non-compliance would be that you have to take care of your children’s education yourself. You can’t enroll them in tax supported schools. This is reasonable.

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  • See, this is exactly why the Average Joe thinks libertarians are completely nuts. Because, in fact, they are.

    You loons see nothing wrong with easily-preventable epidemics, because MUH LIBERTYZ !!!11ONE

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  • In the 1980′s the government abdicated their right to enforce an AIDS quarunteen and to close the bathhouse in the name of personal liberty of a small minority. We now have an intractable epidemic that has killed many and costs tax pa y ers billions.

    Measles will continue to spread and inevitably children will die. Those will be preventable deaths and they are coming.

    At some point libertarian purity collides with the real world. Human nature is ugly so we must prosecute criminals such that they lose their civil liberties to behave however they like.

    Many Children will die preventable deaths if the civil liberties of delinquents trump their right to live free of a preventable disease.

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  • You are ignoring a long history of public health exceptions to civil liberties. For example, no one but loonie-toon libertarians objects when some individuals are imprisoned against their wills and with no judicial intervention; we call it quarantine and, unless I’ve been living in an alternate universe these past several months, Governor Christie was vehement in supporting this contraction of civil liberty.

    Vaccines are only really effective against highly contagious diseases like measles when they are near enough universal to confer soi disant “herd immunity”. Until recently, the USA, with its massive innoculation program against measles had effectively erradicated this very dangerous disease. Other countries, e.g., France, took a more laissez faire approach and suffered regular mini-epidemics of measles.

    As long as there were only a very small proportion of free-riders in the USA who failed to be innoculated against measles the system could work. But now the proportion of these free riders has risen to an extent that, as has just been demonstrated, they threaten the public health. It’s time to enforce a measure that protects all of us. Either that or be consistent and argue in favor of the “rights” of people to dispose of their body wastes as they wish, to pour whatever toxins they wish in water supplies, and so on.

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  • It looks like a combination of the top and low ends of the socioeconomic distribution, Geographic clusters of underimmunization identified in Northern California: The paper is not live, but it will be here at some point. In Southern California most of the resistance has been in affluent a
  • The refusal clusters relate closely to Waldorf school locations.

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  • Don’t know if you read Crooked Timber (my only-mildly-informed guess is no), so I thought I’d send this link to you:

    http://crookedtimber.org/2015/01/30/vaccination-exemptions-in-california-kindergartens/#more-34865

    I’ll similarly give the blogger there this link.

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  • http://www.kval.com/news/local/Many-Lane-County-students-unvaccinated-289510871.html

    related. i can’t remember if Razib already posted this one

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  • @Dain
    I grew up in South Sacramento. It has a bad reputation for poverty and crime, in line with the southern portion of lots of others cities. (What's with that, anyway?)

    It's astonishing the lack of any development out there too. Things have hardly changed since the days I rode my bike miles to purchase Garbage Pail Kids.

    the southern portion of lots of others cities. (What’s with that, anyway?)

    Upstream and high ground are the most valuable pieces of urban land. Excrement flows downhill and downstream. The land farther down stream is more subject flooding and contamination.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I researched the CDC recommended vaccine schedule 25 years ago when our oldest was born. At that time the US was the only Western developed country that started vaccines at 2 months (6 months for 1st shot was the norm everywhere else.) A couple years later they started giving the Hep B vax to newborns, which is insane. The only risk a newborn has of getting Hep B is from his/her Hep B infected mother’s birth canal or from an accidental contaminated-needle stick while in the hospital. At that time, the Hep A vax wasn’t even on the schedule at all, even though Hep A risk is far higher for the general public (food prepared by foodservice worker with unwashed hands, for instance.)
    I dug around to find the reasons for the early schedule and discovered that the CDC wanted the whole country on an early schedule in order to catch the underclass families who might not take their kids to the doctor after the first couple of months or at all (e.g. the first few hours after birth might be the only chance you get to immunize that drug addicted mom’s newborn, after all).
    I didn’t feel the need to comply with policies developed for the underclass. I started my kids first vaccines (DtaP) at 6 months old, continued with the schedule, delayed Hep B until they were adolescents (when they might start having unprotected sex or share needles!!), but requested Hep A before they went to kindergarten (it still wasn’t on the recommended schedule). Had to manipulate the doctor to get Pertussis booster shots for the whole family after California’s mini-epidemic in 2005 (better to weather the 2008, 2010, and 2014 epidemics.)

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  • I’ve had a lifetime of Scientists waffling back and forth on what’s good for me, I’ve been robbed blind and lied to by my government and don’t even get me started on big Pharma. I don’t get the flue shot and if a Doctor suggests a treatment I go home and carefully research it before I take it. Too many people telling too many lies.

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  • The LA Times has a page with a listing of the number of exemptions in the 2014 kindergarten class for all schools in California with more than 10 kindergarteners.

    It’s ironic that one of the public schools with the worst rate in Berkeley is the “Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet”.

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  • @Pithlord
    Since parents with kids in private school have to pay the same taxes as anyone else, I would say it is more accurate to say BC subsidizes public schools -- which have a labour relations culture similar to Yorkshire coal pits in the 1970s.

    Fair enough lol. It’s a good policy in my opinion. Just happens to help spread measles though.

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  • @Noah172
    East Sacramento: one of the nicest parts of town, 80+% white-plus-Asian, affluent.

    South Sac: depends on what they mean. Around the zoo and the city college is mostly affluent and white+Asian. Or it could mean poor Hispanic.

    North/NE San Fran: In NE San Fran there is a swath of mixed-race poverty from Chinatown to Western Addition. The rest ranges from merely affluent to Zuckerberg.

    The stereotype of the anti-vaxxers is that they are la-di-da liberals with more money than sense. Without seeing the full study (I'd be curious if they have race/wealth/education data on the refuseniks), many of these geographic clusters seem to buttress the stereotype, while others leave (for now) the situation more muddled.

    I grew up in South Sacramento. It has a bad reputation for poverty and crime, in line with the southern portion of lots of others cities. (What’s with that, anyway?)

    It’s astonishing the lack of any development out there too. Things have hardly changed since the days I rode my bike miles to purchase Garbage Pail Kids.

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    • Replies: @Walter Sobchak

    the southern portion of lots of others cities. (What’s with that, anyway?)
     
    Upstream and high ground are the most valuable pieces of urban land. Excrement flows downhill and downstream. The land farther down stream is more subject flooding and contamination.
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  • @CupOfCanada
    In BC here the clusters have been corresponding both to geography (suburbs east of Vancouver) and religious groups. BC also subsidizes private schools that follow the provincial curriculum at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar compared to public schools, so there are a lot of religious schools. Combine the two and you get measles outbreaks. Fun times. :/

    Since parents with kids in private school have to pay the same taxes as anyone else, I would say it is more accurate to say BC subsidizes public schools — which have a labour relations culture similar to Yorkshire coal pits in the 1970s.

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    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    Fair enough lol. It's a good policy in my opinion. Just happens to help spread measles though.
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  • “Researchers used spatial analysis software and electronic medical records to identify clusters of underimmunization and vaccine refusal among Kaiser Permanente membersin Northern California”

    This study does not match the numbers here in “http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/immunize/pages/immunizationlevels.aspx” for any age. Are Kaiser Permamente members in Northern CA more likely to not vaccinate their children?

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  • “‘Shot limiting,’ in which parents limit the number of injections or antigens that children receive during a pediatric visit to two or fewer, was found to cluster in similar areas.”

    I don’t really have a problem with this practice. I recall when they gave my son three consecutive immunization injections, and thinking that perhaps it would be better to space them out more. As long as the injections do take place on a reasonable schedule, spacing them out seems like a wise precaution (it may turn out to be totally unnecessary, but I doubt the question’s been thoroughly looked into, and until it is, better safe than sorry). I feel like when you start calling people out, for spacing out their child’s immunizations, that you’re kinda getting into the territory where your primary objection isn’t to anti-vaxer lunacy, but rather to the fact that some of the peasants insist on thinking for themselves.

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  • East Sacramento: one of the nicest parts of town, 80+% white-plus-Asian, affluent.

    South Sac: depends on what they mean. Around the zoo and the city college is mostly affluent and white+Asian. Or it could mean poor Hispanic.

    North/NE San Fran: In NE San Fran there is a swath of mixed-race poverty from Chinatown to Western Addition. The rest ranges from merely affluent to Zuckerberg.

    The stereotype of the anti-vaxxers is that they are la-di-da liberals with more money than sense. Without seeing the full study (I’d be curious if they have race/wealth/education data on the refuseniks), many of these geographic clusters seem to buttress the stereotype, while others leave (for now) the situation more muddled.

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    • Replies: @Dain
    I grew up in South Sacramento. It has a bad reputation for poverty and crime, in line with the southern portion of lots of others cities. (What's with that, anyway?)

    It's astonishing the lack of any development out there too. Things have hardly changed since the days I rode my bike miles to purchase Garbage Pail Kids.
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  • In BC here the clusters have been corresponding both to geography (suburbs east of Vancouver) and religious groups. BC also subsidizes private schools that follow the provincial curriculum at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar compared to public schools, so there are a lot of religious schools. Combine the two and you get measles outbreaks. Fun times. :/

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    • Replies: @Pithlord
    Since parents with kids in private school have to pay the same taxes as anyone else, I would say it is more accurate to say BC subsidizes public schools -- which have a labour relations culture similar to Yorkshire coal pits in the 1970s.
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  • marin = upper middle class, very affluent
    sonoma & napa = wine country. socioeconomically diverse. some towns are working class, others are inhabited by very affluent people with second homes, etc.
    south sac = i believe there are some deprived areas here
    east bay = socioeconomically diverse, but aside from some areas around north berkeley probably on average more deprived that san francisco, with areas of deep poverty in oakland and richmond
    roseville, etc. = suburbia

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  • Some background on the socioeconomics and culture of these areas would be useful for people not native to N. Cal.

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  • One of the weird things about the anti-vaccination movement in the United States is that though it is often perceived to be liberal, its political orientation is pretty mixed. Chris Mooney put up a long data filled post a few weeks ago detailing this, including citing some of my old posts looking at GSS data....
  • John W.

    The issue with the antivax movement is it’s a textbook case of “groupness” at work. That is to say, it’s some sort of weird collective decision-making process among parents who socialize with one another (either in person, or online in parenting forums). Probably a lot of people who choose not to vaccinate are not really that acquainted with the subject. A friend may have forwarded them an (easily debunked) article, and they may here occasional derisive comments from people they know with older kids. From this they conclude that the modern, right-thinking parent can consign vaccines to the past, the same way that things like formula and spankings are now considered verboten for (rich, white) parents.

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  • The certainty that so many people have that vaccines have no significant downside for the general population is very disturbing to me. Not the belief, mind you, just the certainty. In my experience the anti-vaccine segment is not “stupid” as Mr. Khan suggests, it has doubts about the integrity of our institutions, and is more willing than most to draw their own conclusions. I would like very much to see a large scale study of the general health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. This shouldn’t be a very difficult study to do. Several religious groups – Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Jews, the Amish – as well as many others who decide for non-religious reasons, have chosen not to vaccinate. A systematic comparison of rates of crib death, food allergies, autism, asthma, childhood cancer, measles, meningitis, etc. among the vaccinated and unvaccinated would go a long way to putting this controversy to rest, depending on the results. But I don’t expect the study to be funded. I suspect the authorities (i.e. the CDC and the corporations with which it’s in a symbiotic relationship) are afraid of what they might find out. There is a host of immune related disorders that have increased dramatically in the last generation, along with increased vaccinations.

    There is a widespread faith in the integrity of science. For areas such as physics and astronomy I think the faith is warranted. But where the profit motive comes into play, for example in medical research, the journalist’s creed of ‘follow the money’ makes sense.

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  • The thing you have to remember when you see these rates is that just because there is a form in for a child doesn’t mean they are not vaccinated for many things. Many parents only get the most important vaccines and spread them out. Say your daughter in high school is required to have the HPV vaccine. You as a parent don’t think it is worth the risk of a negative reaction so you don’t take your daughter in to get vaccinated. Now you need to supply the school with a vaccine record and an exemption form for HPV. Well the easy way is just to give the exemption form and check everything.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Well, there’s vaccination, and political orthodoxy. Measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus? Sure. Hep-B, to which we subject every child so we don’t have to target the largely Mexican population in which it is endemic? Not so much.

    Oh, and how about targeting the wealthy with “non-commodity” vaccines, made “fresh” without thimerosal? You wouldn’t feed your child factory-farmed beef; why not have the vaccine equivalent of grass-fed beef to pump into the kiddies.

    Social engineers see us as undifferentiated particles to shove around at their pleasure. You want compliance, PULL them towards your position, don’t push them into it.

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  • data: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/los-angeles-vaccination-rates/
    pretty amazing expose if anyone hasn’t seen it

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  • Apparently a small number of deaths can be justified by the greater good in this case.

    They definitely can, and sometimes even people with a potentially dangerous reaction to the vaccine would take it. I remember speaking with a woman in her fifties who got the Smallpox Vaccine as a kid even though it posed a possible chance of a bad reaction for that reason.

    Aside from rigorous push-back and education, I’m not sure what will completely reverse the trend on this in certain groups. Sad to say, it may be something like a bad outbreak of a disease that actually kills a bunch of rich unvaccinated kids.

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  • is conspiratorial thinking just an extreme version of the “moral purity” both sides posses? are they wired to be the *most* morally pure?

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  • Over at Mother Jones Tasneem Raja and Chris Mooney have a rather alarming article up, How Many People Aren’t Vaccinating Their Kids in Your State? This is no joke. I've talked earlier about the fact that during my wife's pregnancy we were confronted by rather strong anti-vaccination sentiments within the community. Because of our generally...
  • Possibly a more relevant (though probably not) and, as it turns out, stronger and more robust state-level correlation (r = .42, p-value = .004) exists between non-medical exemption rates and infant mortality rates. The relationship is, perhaps surprisingly, an inverse one. hat is, the higher the infant mortality rate, the more likely kids in a state are to receive their vaccinations. The lower the infant mortality rate, the more likely parents are to forgo vaccinating their children.

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  • Due to background and education I have friends in both the coastal crunchy and the evangelical Christian communities. Both have their strains of anti-vax and it’s hard to pin down where it will arise. Definitely there is a strong anti-authoritarian angle for both groups and yes, my experience is that white counter-culturals are more vociferous in their belief than the Christians.

    I avoid arguing the matter, but avoided some distant family members when visiting and area with my children.

    btw, annectdotally, Illinois’s high numbers is likely mostly due to the Christian influence. There are a couple of large churches in the western suburbs that spread the anti-vax word (and have had outbreaks).

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  • I’d like to see this data mapped (proportion excepted/democratic vote share) in the bottom chart as it changes over time (in the Hans Rosling style).

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    I’m anti-vax mostly because I just don’t trust anything I’m told by “experts” anymore.

    I used Roundup for years. Now that the data on fertility, endocrine disruption, etc. is coming to light, not so much.

    I bought Dixie Lee Ray’s push for nuclear power hook, line, and sinker. Now that cancer rates post-Chernobyl have come to light, and all we know about Fukushima is that ongoing mass concealment and deception has occurred, thanks to national governments and “public health agencies,” and Hanford, WA and Oak Ridge TN are the biggest toxic pits in the USA thanks to our very own DOE, I’m not so sure the management of the science was ever all that clear.

    A recent paper in the British Journal of Medicine says that antibody titers (the only measure used by FDA and vax manufacturers to determine vaccine efficiency) does not correlate well with actual immunity. I’m no immunologist. But I’d wager that if modern medical science had a semblance of a grasp of the workings of the immune system, we wouldn’t have the epidemic of food allergies and auto-immune diseases that we apparently have. Could this mass-occurrence of hyper-immunity be due to adjuvant-laden vaccines, whose intended purpose is to hyper-stimulate the immune system?

    Recent reports on the 2010(?) Pertussis epidemic do not reflect well on the effectiveness of the vaccine. As I recall, around 2/3 of patients at Kaiser in Marin County, CA, were fully vaccinated. They had all four, at the right ages, yet they still ended up in the hospital.

    Most of the current cases of measles in CA are apparently people who have recently arrived from the Phillipines…something about the most powerful typhoon ever recorded and no clean water or sanitation. In fact, most of the infectious diseases we’re vaccinated against practically disappeared in the US before vaccines were invented, presumably because of sewer systems and clean water. So when I take my next trip to a third world country where sh%t flows down the streets, I’ll consider what Merck, CDC, and Bill and Melinda have to sell.

    If vaccine advocates can show me clinical trial data on vaccine effectiveness (not “efficiency” as determined by increased blood antibody titer) for the seasonal flu vaccine using good epidemiological protocol, comparing infection and morbidity, and reporting vaccine adverse effects, maybe I wouldn’t feel like the wool is being pulled over my eyes regarding vaccines as a whole. But no such clinical trial data has been released. What are they hiding?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The last anti-vaccine Congressional hearing was called by Tea Party hero Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) in Nov., 2012. In 2000-2001, another right-wing congressman, Dan Burton, held five anti-vaccine hearings, at which Andrew Wakefield testified. Wakefield’s fraudulent 1998 Lancet paper kicked off the whole “MMR causes vaccine” nonsense. Anti-vaccine nuttery is a regular feature at Newsmax, Fox News, and Rense.com.

    Vaccine rejecting parents tend to me white and more educated than the population at large. It’s a big tent movement, drawing in crunchy granola moms, anti-government Tea Party types, religious conservatives, personal injury lawyers, fringe medical providers and opportunistic alt-med quacks. The influence of the quack autism-cure industry on anti-vaccine paranoia should not be ignored, either. Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue, the best funded anti-vaccine group in the country, regularly promotes unproven autism treatments, including bleach enemas, chelation, hyperbaric oxygen, chemical castration drugs and anti-viral drugs.

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  • […] Khan examines the data for […]

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  • An article from today’s L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-antivaccination-20140219,0,7698897.story

    “At one Sausalito school, only 26% of entering kindergartners were vaccinated against measles. In Santa Cruz County, the rate of personal belief exemptions is a shocking 9.6%. (The state average is 2.8%, according to a report on KQED.”

    The LAT article is taking information from here:

    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/08/21/marin-vaccinations/

    As Ron White says, you can’t fix stupid.

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  • I strongly suspect that we’d see a strong correlation of anti-vax belief with home birth advocacy based on some exposure I had to the home birth vs hospital birth debate. I searched GSS but came up with nothing on home birth or vax attitudes and so I can’t confirm the impression I formed.

    From my brief exposure to the home birth issue it seemed that there was a strong liberal, kind of hippy contingent and an equally strong Christian, self-reliant group.

    Another factor in play, I suspect, is the breast-feeding versus bottle feeding battle and the cosleeping & attachment parenting advocates. The whole Mommy Wars and MommyBlogger universe provides an insight here that I think we’re missing.

    I wonder if there is a ratchet effect in play – start with concern about home birth, then transition to the breast feeding wars, then move on to attachment parenting, then move on to ant-vax because that’s the path the culture you’ve embedded yourself follows.

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  • I have to learn to copy edit better. My last paragraph (above) should have been:

    When I think of European immigrants to the US who came from forested areas, the countries that come immediately to my mind are Norway (31%) and Sweden (67%) and the corrresponding US states are: MN (32/35%), SD (47/6%) and ND(49/3%). So, with all due respect, I think you are (wait for it…)

    barking up the wrong tree.

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  • ohwilleke: it sounds like you think the phenomenon is largely localized to treehuggers.

    According to this page, “New Hampshire leads the nation in percent tree cover (89 percent), followed by Maine (83 percent) and Vermont (82 percent). On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota has the lowest percent tree cover (3 percent), followed by Nebraska (4 percent) and South Dakota (6 percent).”

    Table 2 in the linked article that the press release is publicizing shows details for each state. Excluding Alaska (which is missing the number needed for comparison), Michigan ranks 16 (60% tree cover), Oregon is 26th (41%) and Idaho is 29th (38%); pretty low ranks of tree cover relative to their standing with regard to vaccinations.

    When I think of European immigrants to the US who came from forested areas, the countries that come immediately to my mind are Norway (31%) and Sweden (67%) come to mind pretty quickly, and the corrresponding US states are: MN (32/35%), SD (47/6%) and ND(49/3%). So, with all due respect, I think you are (wait for it…)

    barking up the wrong tree.

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  • About 1970 back to the land hippies in OR started getting together with long time country folk and mixing and matching hippie and older diet and health ideas. Adventists, Mormons, chiropractors, naturopaths, New Age cults, etc. all had diet and health beliefs. Food politics has only gotten more complicated and more intense since then, and has approximated the caste system described by Dumont, where any given individual will only be able to share food with a tiny group of identical-minded people.

    I’ve been sad to see paleos produce their own version of this silliness. No one is willing to be left out, I guess. It reminds me about the way cultural conservatives adopt cultural liberal victim language when resisting the liberals.

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  • Thinking out of the box a little, there seems to be a quite strong inverse correlation in the North between the extent to which a state is forested and the vaccination rate.

    Vaccination rates are very high in highly urban, liberal mid-Atlantic areas (and Nevada) where not many people live in forests, while vaccination rates are low in liberal leaning states where many people live in forested areas like Oregon, Michigan and Vermont.

    This trend also seems to hold within conservative leaning states. Politically conservative Idaho, where many people live near forests has low vaccination rates, while treeless Texas which is similarly politically conservative at the state level has high vaccination rates.

    I doubt that this is true cause and effect, but what we may be seeing is a cultural attitude shared by people who migrated from historically forested parts of Europe to similarly historically forested parts of North America that has persisted despite political differentiation over time.

    The most obvious example of people with common cultural origins who have diverged politically in the U.S. would be the case of Mormons who have strongly New England roots despite the fact that places with high percentages of Mormons are extremely conservative while the New England remains a bastion of liberalism.

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  • This anti-vac movement seems to be more of a younger generation thing, and liberals tend to be younger… so maybe that’s the correlation. I don’t think that liberals are more susceptible to cognitive biases than conservatives… I think both are about equally lame.

    Omission bias would be the one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omission_bias

    Hmm, there’s an article about vaccines and omission biases linked in the wiki article above.

    http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/papers.htm/vac.html

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  • I think you’re right about anti-vaxxing being primarily a “liberal counter-cultural white” thing, but Michigan doesn’t strike me as particularly a hotbed of granola liberalism, and neither does Idaho. It would be interesting to see a breakdown by race of unvaccinated kindergarteners on a state-by-state basis – is Michigan’s high rate due to whites or blacks getting exemptions? (And if it’s black, why aren’t blacks in Alabama or New York doing the same?) A county-by-county map might also reveal something, if that data is available.

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  • that it’s only whites who oppose vaccination.

    no. it’s predicated on the suspicion that it’s liberal counter-cultural whites who are *passionately* opposed. white religious conservatives and blacks have various reasons to be suspicious of public health. but they don’t seem particularly organized around this issue, so they seem open to arguments from that motivated segment.

    or, better, white share of kindergarten.

    u can find this in the census (i think you can get age 5-6 specifically even without pulling down the raw data). i invite you to do so and run your own analyses.

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  • Using at Obama share of white vote seems predicated on the assumption that it’s only whites who oppose vaccination. But that assumption suggests that you should compare vote share not to percent exempted, but percent exempted divided by white share of population, or, better, white share of kindergarten.

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  • re: granularity, yes. if you follow the MoJo link some evidence from california supports this proposition. OTOH, the strongest variable is rural residence. so it seems like underlying correlations are masked. i think the strongest concerted anti-vacc sentiment is among ‘conscious’ counter-cultural Left-liberals. but it does diffuse more broadly across the spectrum through simple anti-elite suspicions, reducing the correlation.

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  • I think that to find a strong correlation between political ideology and the anti-vaccination sentiment it would be necessary to have more localized data.

    For example, I’ve been told by people who live in Colorado that the locus of the anti-vaccination movement is Boulder, a very liberal and very “hippy” community in Colorado. But those numbers are pretty much swallowed up at the state level.

    I gather Marin County is another example.

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  • Interestingly, I am vaccinated but my mom would probably now be considered anti-vax so something has changed since I was born. Another social cue to be followed. otoh, my vary conservative Christian aunt stunned me with a long pro-alternative medicine speech concerning her daughter’s “fibromyalgia” last time I saw her. I was very surprised, especially since her daughter is/was a Harvard educated doctor. I concluded that they are both intuitive thinkers (mom is a member of the Friends Church, which is basically christianity for lefties) and so are prone to this type of thought.

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  • First, if it is clear that you haven't read the post itself and leave a comment I won't just not publish it, but I'll ban you. Second, if you complain about this in the comments, I'll ban you too. Now that you feel appropriately welcome, I want to explore some of the issues beneath Chris...
  • [...] when it comes to one’s attitudes toward science in general, liberals tend to approach science more positively than conservatives, being more likely to trust [...]

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  • Are there not a lot of subtleties missed with these questions, like a distinction between ‘faith’ and ‘blind faith’? I would suggest that most liberals in regard to faith would say it includes mostly an idea like ‘this is a good recipe for how it can be better’, where most conservatives would say it includes a lot more of ‘acceptance of authority’.

    They are really completely different ideas.

    But, mostly, I do not understand how anyone who values science and the scientific method could rationalize voting for a Republican or a conservative Democrat. That is simply more a leap of blind faith than transubstantiation.

    Do you believe business, environmental, safety, food and health regulations should be thought of as ‘guidelines’ rather than rules or laws?

    Do you believe government should exist in principal but not in fact, that every court decision should be biased toward maximizing the harshness of any punitive measure or that public officials should have no accountability, and that any laws that do exist should be draconian, untempered and unquestionable?

    Do you believe that corporations are people, and that global warming is a hoax? That gun ownership is a personal right?

    Because these are all things that you get when you vote conservative, every single time. How many times does it take before you notice who’s doing it?

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  • The two axis thing only really makes sense from the perspective of the liberal/liberterian camp I think. They fail to notice that leftists are usually more radically opposed to the current social order than committed to not having one, and conservatives more directly supportive of the economic order than they are opposed to interfering in it (allowing for thoughtful dissent by the less tribally motivated of course, not to mention the influence of liberalism on both sides).

    I haven’t really heard any conservatives or socialists complain about the left-right axis: we want to tear the old order down, you want to shore it up, and the liberals want to manage things so as to get rid of such conflicts. Simple, and not conveying as much information as the double axis but, given the poisonous mental routines that get activated for any issue that fits neatly into the left-right conflict, making it easier to slot things in doesn’t strike me as a particularly wise course of action.

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  • Any reason why you did two regressions, rather than one regression with Lib/Con as a factor, potentially with interaction terms? Similarly, those R^2 terms are very low, suggesting you need quadratic terms etc. Also worth a go with the variables treated purely as categorical rather than as pseudo-numerical. Was this treating the response as straight numerical as well? I’m pretty sure R has packages for ordered categorical responses which might do better.

    since moderates are stupid i didn’t want to confuse the issue. i didn’t want to do complicated regressions since i didn’t plan on the post in the first place. the response was treated as numerical too.

    I assume this is all US data, given the apparent conflation of “left” and “liberal”. I recall commenting on a post a few months ago that by the usual (non-US) definition you are a liberal rather than a conservative, what we would call an “orange-book” liberal. We all know that left/right or lib/con is massively simplistic, and at the very least we need the two axes of economic liberal-socialist and social liberal-authoritarian, and even that’s far too simple.

    i have libertarian tendencies, but i don’t deny the validity of some social conservative viewpoints. on a fundamental level i lean against the individualism which is at the heart of right and left liberalism as determinative, though as an oddball myself i think it mustn’t be discarded in a communitarian order.

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  • The british issue is a bit complicated because of our Murdoch controlled media, any bullshit scaremongering is gonna be coming from them, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect their *political* biases. And a lot of it came from Private Eye who are pretty consistently nonpartisan anti-establishment (editors a liberal conservative but plenty of the journos are communists).

    Ultimately I suspect something like grid-group cultural theory might underly these differences, it’s not a case of being risk averse or risk neutral per se but a case of which risks we overestimate. And as with AGW the conclusions are probably more important than the source, conservatives are likely to buy conspiracies about how the villains want to tear down the successful and the strong, leftists about how the villains want to fuck over the weak and vulnerable for profit. Of course, if that’s true we’d expect leftist opinion of scientists to have risen since the 60s, and conservative to decrease,- a trend genetics research might buck.

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  • Any reason why you did two regressions, rather than one regression with Lib/Con as a factor, potentially with interaction terms? Similarly, those R^2 terms are very low, suggesting you need quadratic terms etc. Also worth a go with the variables treated purely as categorical rather than as pseudo-numerical. Was this treating the response as straight numerical as well? I’m pretty sure R has packages for ordered categorical responses which might do better.

    I assume this is all US data, given the apparent conflation of “left” and “liberal”. I recall commenting on a post a few months ago that by the usual (non-US) definition you are a liberal rather than a conservative, what we would call an “orange-book” liberal. We all know that left/right or lib/con is massively simplistic, and at the very least we need the two axes of economic liberal-socialist and social liberal-authoritarian, and even that’s far too simple.

    PS Interesting post, before I forget to say.

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  • A British perspective: we had an anti-vaccination movement based around the idea that the MMR vaccine causes autism; started in about 1998 and really peaked about 2003; it’s now still around but relegated to the fringes. In 2003 most newspapers were reporting it as a serious hypothesis.

    IIRC there was no simple left/right element. You did have the natural-is-good lefty element, and I think they accounted for most “grassroots” supporters, but in the media there was a definite right-wing/almost libertarian stream to the whole thing.

    The feeling being “the government says this vaccine is safe, and want to vaccinate everyone for the common good, but you can’t trust the government!” One should note that the government at the time was centre-left so the whole thing was a good stick for the right to beat them with…but I don’t think you can explain it all as political tactics. There is plenty of genuine anti-science on the right, just like there is on the left.

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  • but I thought I had a good point.

    your point was fine. i simply wasn’t trying to draw much of a conclusion. got bored by the time i’d collected and posted the results. so i left it to you guys :-) as someone who is moderately skeptical of the “experts” in medicine i understand where the distrust is coming from. but sometimes the right reasons can still be wrong.

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  • Drat. Is that the best I’m going to get? I’m usually not brave enough to try posting here, but I thought I had a good point.

    Oh well, maybe I was off-base after all. My apologies if so.

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  • I see where you went here, Mr. Khan… but I can’t help but think this tree ain’t the one the dog should be barking up.

    i didn’t go anywhere.

    How are you even supposed to answer a question like that? Opportunities for what – toxic waste clean up, yes. Living past 50, yes. Making a living as a blacksmith? Probably not.

    most people are stupid and ignorant. pretend you are, and don’t outfox yourself when it comes to what they were thinking when they answered.

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  • I see where you went here, Mr. Khan… but I can’t help but think this tree ain’t the one the dog should be barking up.

    The heart of the anti-vax movement is not rejection of science, but trust in flawed science. There is still trust, and still a belief that science is providing the answer being sought.

    What seems to separate anti-vax from the rest is trust in *where* the science in question comes from, and this boils down to pure conspiracy theory. Anything from Big Pharma can’t be trusted. The critique (and subsequent fall) of studies such as Andrew Wakefield’s lies not in scientific fault, but in monetary or political motivation. Big Pharma will work to discredit anyone that supports anti-vax science simply to protect their profits.

    From what I’ve seen, not only in anti-vax but also in AGW, the problem seems to lie not in distrust in science (because “science” that says otherwise is gleefully embraced) but in a distrust of the source.

    Am I off-base here?

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  • “Science & tech. Give more opportunities to next generation”

    How are you even supposed to answer a question like that? Opportunities for what – toxic waste clean up, yes. Living past 50, yes. Making a living as a blacksmith? Probably not.

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  • [...] Who “hearts” science among liberals | Gene Expression (blogs.discovermagazine.com) [...]

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  • Ok, first, I think you need to make a distinction between you calling yourself a conservative. Is it a fiscal or social conservative? I doubt you are a social conservative, IE the religious right. I don’t see you wanting abortion banned, even if IMO, it is a poor choice. (But perhaps the best of poorer choices) Ahh, your response to a post answers that question.

    Ok, catch all groups misses many points. Conservatives really are 2 groups. This is looking at political conservatives. one, the fiscal conservatives, including the libertarians want Government out of our lives, but the social conservatives want Government to regulate our lives, by banning abortion, limiting birth control, and limiting porn (strip clubs, ect) Tho only thing these 2 groups really have in common is not wanting liberals to be in power. This is the modern conservative movement.

    I gotta be honest tho, many of your posts require me to think too much, considering I read them when I should be working. Don’t stop tho, I like them when I have the time to puzzle them out. My background is not science, but history.

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  • I don’t even care where I fit on the political or religious landscape anymore but I think that although science is our best tool for understanding the universe it has yet to explain everything.

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  • Several weeks ago, just after the Japan EQ/tsunami, I predicted (somewhat sarcastically) on twitter that those people in the US who were needlessly stocking up on iodide pills because of fear of radiation fallout from Fukushima were precisely the same people who don’t vaccinate their children. I’ve no data, just cynical anecdotes, but my underlying point is that these sorts of decisions, which can often be in contradiction with each other, aren’t made on the basis of a consistent underlying philosophical, theoretical, or political perspective, but rather they’re made on the basis of fear. I wonder, is there a variable in the GSS that measures something like that?

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  • Around 1973-5 when the 60s left started breaking up one big chunk went into death and health and natural living. There they encountered old-fashioned conservatives such as Adventists, Mormons, etc. and people talked about a left-right convergence. By and large these were from the hippieish life-style left which could be quite anti-intellectual, but not always, and I know several very bright college friends who went that way.

    Some of these people stayed left and some went all the way and became nativists and anti-urban fanatics.

    In food politics, lifestyle hedonism, health beliefs, environmentalism, and localist politics have converged into a very complicated system. It’s become so differentiated that it’s hard to throw a party or decide which restaurant to go to.

    Vaccination is an issue of trust and also personal control of one’s life, and people who feel threatened by the greater world are afraid of vaccination. Not clinical paranoids, but in that direction.

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  • For the most part, yes, I agree with you. I can think of one girl I know who was a neurobiology major who didn’t believe in vaccines or antibiotics, though. She was also one of those granola crunchy earth people.

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  • michelle, ppl with a natural science background a different set. i’m not a liberal, but generally i can have intelligible conversations with people who are science-focused of any political orientation even where we disagree. it gets really hard when i talk to religious conservatives or non-science liberals. there’s a lot less “hook” of common grounding.

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  • Well damnit, what can I complain about?

    I’ve mostly been annoyed by the ~Whole Foods Movement~ in the left, probably because I was raised on Chef Boyardee and Kraft. Now that I’m getting older I’m starting to see the health benefits of those weird natural foods I never ate as a kid, but I still don’t buy into the lifestyle that comes with it for so many people. I like drugs (the prescription kind, I mean) and processed foods, and I’ll be vaccinating my kids, tyvm.

    fwiw I haven’t felt the need to replace religion with anything else after I became an agnostic, either.

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  • i realize that no everyone knows the numeric coding of the GSS demographic variables off the top of their head like i do, so i will say this: the sign of the beta in all of these variables is absolutely not surprising in terms of the nature of the correlation. e.g., the coding for “TRUSTCI” is such that higher values are associated more pro-science categories. and socioeconomic index is such that higher values are higher statuses. so the two numbers track together, and you see a positive beta. in contrast, the higher the confidence in belief in god number, the lower the trust science value, so you see a negative correlation.

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