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The Union of Concerned Scientists Got Science Champions January 14, 2016

Posted by angryscientist in About Me, Bad Science.
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UCS had a survey inviting people to vote for a Got Science Champion. I used to send them money, but became disillusioned, as I concluded they’re too compromised to deserve my support. One of their selections was California State Senator Richard Pan, who co-sponsored the bill taking away the philosophical exemption for parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated. This was their blurb about him:

3. Richard Pan: Protecting Children’s Health
Health care professionals and public health experts in California spent the first few months of 2015 desperately trying to contain a measles outbreak that began at Disneyland. At least 125 California residents were infected, and among the victims were some of the most vulnerable: pregnant women, newborns, and infants in neonatal intensive care units. This largely avoidable episode exposed the frightening consequences of the anti-vaccine movement. California State Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician by training, stepped in to address the problem by sponsoring a bill requiring that all schoolchildren in the state be vaccinated, closing the religious and ‘personal belief’ exemption loophole that many parents had leaned on to avoid vaccinating their children. The bill was signed into law in July, and since then, Pan has been the target of death threats, protests, and a recall campaign for his seat in the state legislature. He’s taking the recall effort seriously, but has no regrets about his science-based response. “I ran to be sure we keep our communities safe and healthy,” Pan told The Sacramento Bee. “This bill is a shining example of me keeping my promise to the people of my district.”

They also invited suggestions for people “who stood up for science in 2015” they didn’t include. This was my response:

Gary Null, though no doubt you, as a defender of mainstream medical orthodoxy, consider him a dangerous quack.

Richard Pan doesn’t belong on this list. His bill protects nobody’s health, but he, along with most of the California legislature, received plenty of money from the pharmaceutical industry to hype “the frightening consequences of the anti-vaccine movement.” Do the Nuremberg principles mean anything to you? Do you deny that vaccines contain toxic ingredients and that their safety and efficacy is debatable? How’s that flu shot for this year working out? How about Gardasil? You are aware of the corrupting influence of money on mainstream science, no? Need I mention genetic engineering, nuclear power, poisoning food to kill pests, VIOXX, antipsychotics, the long list of drugs and other chemicals that had to be banned after the truth of their dangerous consequences could no longer be suppressed? Why do you believe the vaccine industry is immune to this corruption?

I got no response. I wonder if they will finally realize I’m not a supporter and will take me off their e-mail list. I shouldn’t be surprised; they think the climate conference was something to celebrate. Sometimes I wonder about organizations like these, whose side are they on? Some of the mainstream environmental groups maybe really don’t know any better, so are easily fooled by political chicanery, but UCS really should know better. This bill is based on faith in vaccines, not science, since science has shown clearly that faith is undeserved, that the risks of vaccines aren’t debatable and their efficacy is. For those who don’t know, the protection rate of the latest flu vaccine is estimated at under 20%. As usual, they blame a poor match between the vaccine, which has to be based on the flu strains expected to be circulating, and the flu strains that actually are going around this year. There’s no way to predict that in advance, so the flu vaccine is based on guesswork, since it has to be produced several months before people actually start getting infected.

I had measles and chicken pox as a kid, so I have lifetime immunity. They were unpleasant, but even if I hadn’t had them, I’d never get the vaccines. As I recall, when I was a child the only vaccines considered important were for polio and DPT. The vaccination for pertussis is notoriously ineffective, and the oral polio vaccine, at best, is responsible for more cases of paralysis than it prevents.

As the number of cases of the paralytic disease fall, world health officials have to grapple with a vexing problem: a component of the most widely used polio vaccine now causes more disease than the virus it is supposed to fight.

That’s a subtitle from Scientific American, which as far as I know isn’t known for peddling unscientific claims. The full article is available only to subscribers or purchasers of the digital issue.

Is 125 people now considered something to panic about? Of course the predictions were that the outbreak would spread like wildfire, since the number of children who didn’t get their MMR shot is substantial. I’ve yet to hear these vaccine crazy scientists or politicians explain why it didn’t. One death got blamed on the outbreak, but she was taking immune system suppressing drugs, which supposedly explained why the measles vaccine didn’t protect her, and practically anything could have killed her. She developed pneumonia as a complication and died.

Gary Null has repeatedly challenged vaccine defenders to debate him on his show, but of course they won’t; they think the science is settled as clearly on their side, and that Null is a quack. He notes that many of the most vocal protestors against this bill are mothers whose children have suffered dire reactions to vaccines, and that vaccine apologists make fun of them in ways that would be considered sexist if it were some other issue at stake. Vaccines are a sacred cow for many leftists, so they feel free to ridicule these mothers as stupid and ignorant. They should look in the mirror. But then, sexism among liberals and leftists is nothing new.

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