Help Dealing with Vaccine exemption nonsense

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Dracofrost
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Help Dealing with Vaccine exemption nonsense

Post by Dracofrost » 2008-05-01 05:59pm

Okay, so my cousin is being required by the college he's about to go to to recieve the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine. First of all, he has a friend who had a heart attack when getting some vaccine (the guy was in the Navy being deployed to Afganistan; I don't know which vaccine it was), so he's wary of that, and apparently his brother has done some 'research' that shows vaccines in general to be dangerous.

When I asked him why he trusted his brother's googling (or whatever) over trained medical professionals and doctors with years of training and research actually testing the damn things, he claimed he didn't trust them because they "aren't interested in making us better, they're interested in making money."

What should I do? What should I, can I say to convince him to not be an idiot?

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-05-01 06:31pm

Alright, first off is to destroy the attack on the medical profession, the studies done to show vaccines are safe are done by independent clinicians, who make little money on their own, and if there was a large problem, the FDA, which does not make money, would have destroyed vaccines a long time ago. It is one thing to have something bad get through a clinical trial and pass the FDA the first go around, but it is another matter entirely to have something be on the market for 50 years and have it still be dangerous. Hell, vaccines dont actually MAKE much money, at least not the basic ones.
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Post by Dracofrost » 2008-05-01 07:51pm

Okay... trying to reason with the other cousin... here's how that went... Skip to the bottom if you'd prefer a short summary.
Aim Chatroom wrote: me: Yeah...
So, I hear you think vaccines are dangerous?
gigafrost19: Not really dangerous
I don't think they should be forced upon people
Sent at 6:32 PM on Thursday
me: And why is that?
gigafrost19: Here's a much better question:
Why would any freedom-loving individual want to force other people in the first place?
Fundamentally speaking, there are always risks with vaccines
me: Because no vaccine is 100% effective, and having 100% vaccination means a greater population of immunes to buffer and prevent the spread of disease.
gigafrost19: Oh yeah
and you know, if we murdered every black person, maybe there'd be less poor and thus less crime!
me: If youwant to get to fundamentals, there are risks with everything; what are the risks of not vaccinating?
gigafrost19: The ends justify the means, yes?
me: What the fuck?
How are those situations in any way at all alike?
gigafrost19: You're removing peoples' choices
And why did I know that you would pull out that "risks of not taking it" bullshit?
Because that's certainly true
me: By that logic punishing people for murder is removing their choices.
gigafrost19: but I'm not advocating forcing nobody to take it
me: And if it's true, how is it bullshit?
gigafrost19: only one side of this argument is saying we should take away peoples' rights to choose.
And, in your rush to prove me wrong, you've completely missed what I said.
Sent at 6:40 PM on Thursday
me: Yes, but it's being demonstrated now that exemptions are legal that they are leading to a rise in disease, including amongst the vaccinated. Diseases that shouldn't even occur at all are, precisely because people are being given the right to endanger themselves and others.
gigafrost19: Heart disease is also pretty high because people are allowed to eat the food they want to eat.
me: Yeah. Heart disease doesn't unnecessarily endanger the lives of people around othres though.
Unlike smoking. Which is being banned in public spaces
gigafrost19: Oh, so once again we get back to ends justifying the means?
It's also so dangerous for people to drive cars.
The more people on the road, the more dangerous for everyone!
me: That's why we require you to pass a test to DRIVE
gigafrost19: There's another freedom we should nix
me: No, but I wouldn't mind seeing the requirements for a driver's license increased.
gigafrost19: Oh, but you don't think such a test should exist for vaccines, eh?
me: The vaccines are the test.
gigafrost19: That's a pretty stupid assertion
Back it up, please?
me: In the same sense that you are required to pass a test to drive a car, so the vaccines test and prove the immune system of the person to the point where they are considered minimized and acceptable risk to the society as a whole. Or are you saying we should just let everybody drive, including the criminally insane and idiots who can't even pass the ludicrously simple requirements for a driver's license?
gigafrost19: Okay, that was really, really stupid.
That's a test for being immunized, not a test for being allowed to make a choice
me: Okay. Are you going to back up that stupid assertion, or just ad hominem me?
gigafrost19: Yeah
I just made it
As you said...
"prove the immune system of the person to the point where they are considered minimized and acceptable risk to the society as a whole"
me: Okay. Nonetheless, immunologically, if you exist in the public, you are driving (if we're going to continue this analogy), as an unvaccinated person risks their own life and the life of others.
Just like an unlicensed, untrained, (or a drunk) driver.
gigafrost19: Where-as you'd rather just risk the lives of others by forcing them to be vaccinated, right...
me: Do you know the statistical diffrence between the death rates before and after the advent of vaccines?
gigafrost19: (After all, you're not the one that will be affected by bad risks! You'll be protected!)
I know the popular sayings
me: Have you ever even HEARD of the Spanish Flu, or Smallpox? Do you know how many MILLIONS of people DIED because there weren't vaccines for them at the time?
gigafrost19: But tell me, what does that have to do with whether or not we should FORCE people to be vaccinated?
me: Did you complete not read my points at all?
me: In the same sense that you are required to pass a test to drive a car, so the vaccines test and prove the immune system of the person to the point where they are considered minimized and acceptable risk to the society as a whole. Or are you saying we should just let everybody drive, including the criminally insane and idiots who can't even pass the ludicrously simple requirements for a driver's license?
gigafrost19: Okay, that was really, really stupid.
That's a test for being immunized, not a test for being allowed to make a choice
me: Okay. Are you going to back up that stupid assertion, or just ad hominem me?
gigafrost19: Yeah
I just made it
As you said...
"prove the immune system of the person to the point where they are considered minimized and acceptable risk to the society as a whole"
me: Okay. Nonetheless, immunologically, if you exist in the public, you are driving (if we're going to continue this analogy), as an unvaccinated person risks their own life and the life of others.
Just like an unlicensed, untrained, (or a drunk) driver.
gigafrost19: Where-as you'd rather just risk the lives of others by forcing them to be vaccinated, right...
me: Do you know the statistical diffrence between the death rates before and after the advent of vaccines?
gigafrost19: (After all, you're not the one that will be affected by bad risks! You'll be protected!)
I know the popular sayings
me: Have you ever even HEARD of the Spanish Flu, or Smallpox? Do you know how many MILLIONS of people DIED because there weren't vaccines for them at the time?
gigafrost19: But tell me, what does that have to do with whether or not we should FORCE people to be vaccinated?
me: Did you complete not read my points at all?
gigafrost19: You mean like how the worst Smallpox outbreak ever happened in England after 95% of the population had been "vaccinated"?
It's kind of hard
I mean, you're making so many arguments that could be equally applied to rounding up and killing the homeless that it's not even funny!
me: What?
gigafrost19: To be honest, since I don't have sources on either, who knows?
After all, I'm supposed to take your word for everything.
me: Well I am a biology student. Where's your grouding in the biosciences?
gigafrost19: and then bend over backwards and accept that yet more freedoms should be taken from people.
Oh?
And I'm supposed to believe you, why?
me: You're the one making arguements that could be applied to legalizing murder
gigafrost19: Should you believe me when I say that the statistics are BS just because I'm a CS major?
YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!!!!!!!!!
I'm ARGUING TO LET PEOPLE DECIDCE
FUCK YOU
me: BECAUSE I'VE FUCKING STUDIED THIS SHIT, DUMBASS! Wouldn't you be pissed if I was telling you that a byte had 12 bits or some nonsense?
And I'm arguing that freedom to risk your life and lives of others UNNECESSARILY is a stupid fucking freedom
gigafrost19: No, I'd point you to some sources that show you the definition of a bit
INSTEAD OF ASSERTING IT OUT LOUD
Right, right
just like people shouldn't be allowed to say the things I don't want
Oh! And nobody should have guns! People are killed by guns!
Nobody should complain about me installing cameras in their houses because, if they're doing nothing wrong, they've got nothing to hide!
me: Thta's completely fucking different and you know. Guns properly cared for don't spontaneously go off and go on shooting sprees on their own. However, a virus will do just that with you
gigafrost19: I'm talking about peoples' freedoms, jackass
Because allowing people to have these freedoms IS A RISK
But you're so caught up in your own little world that you like to IGNORE THAT
The problem of disease can also be taken care of if you vaccinate
But we don't say everybody should be legally required to have a gun
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
me: If it removed all threat of crime, do you think it would be unreasonable to require such?
Are you fucking retarded?
gigafrost19: have a gun
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
The truth is, you really want to run everything by your dictatorship worldview
me: So all laws, even those based on perfectly reasonable mitigation of danger to the public, are part of a 'dictatorship worldview'?
gigafrost19: Oh yeah
Really good job of dodging the bullet
"It's for the protection of the people!"
me: So All police forces, and every possible government action, even of elected democratic officials, is part of a 'dictatorship worldview'?
gigafrost19: Nope
me: Is having the FDA make sure that people don't poison food part of a 'dictatorship worldview'?
gigafrost19: But you're the one that wants to take away peoples' freedom to choose whether or not to take a risk
The FDA, at best, exists to let people know of the risks
me: When they risk others lives, yes. Are Drunk Driving aws part of a dictatorship worldview? Do you advocate drunk driving? Is it wrong to take away their 'right' to take a risk?
gigafrost19: And our government, of course, creeps ever more on our rights because of our fear of these risks
me: This is completely different than surveillance and corruption and abuse of power and you know it, or should.
gigafrost19: Right...
because the FDA is never wrong...
What you're advocating is more along the lines of arresting everybody that drives that also drinks because they might drink and drive.
It's all a matter of statistics, of course.
'Cause, see, when somebody drives drunk, they're actively dangerous
Something like firing a gun in a crowd.
But, no, you don't even want people to be potentially dangerous
(which is what unvaccinated would mean in your world)
That couple refuses to be vaccinated? That's a danger to society! To the people around them!
force vaccinate
Now that person drinks a lot and drives a lot... why, he might even be drinking at home just before driving somewhere!
install cameras into his house
(to make sure, you know?)
me: You have yet to explain why someone should have a 'freedom' to be unvaccinated in the first place. Driving facilitates transportation. The homeless are human beings, killing them would be stupid. Guns facilitate the protection of the people. What good does being unvaccinated do except increase risks where they would be none?
Why not just put a breathalyzer in the car?>
gigafrost19: Wow! You mean you'd really go for that BS?!?
I thought MADD was mad, but wow...
Now, you admit that homeless are human beings?
me: No. I trust people to not be idiots. I consider refusing a vaccination as much a proof of being an idiot as driving drunk.
gigafrost19: And are... people that would be vaccinated human beings?
Include the ones who might have an adverse reaction to that vaccine?
After all, if they die, who cares!
me: It's not like you can arrest someone for catching a disease and seperate them from the population. Does driving drunk cause other drives to spontaneously become drunk?
gigafrost19: It's for the good of everyone else!
me: If less people die when they are vaccinated than die in plagues when they aren't, what do you think?
gigafrost19: Alright, and if we kill every relative of a "serial killer" to prevent genetic causes from popping up, and less people die overall from that, is that still okay?
It must be
Innocent people thrown in jail? Just as long as the guilty don't get away.
Doesn't matter
After all, only the numbers matter!
By the way, what are you doing here?
We're supposed to be the good 'ole freedom loving US!
We have the 2nd amendment, even though everybody outside the US says we're nuts and it causes problems
But, we're allowed to have our guns!
me: No, because there aren't established genetic links, and even besides, they can have proper psychological treatment even if they ARE batshit insane. Disease on the other hand, spreads and multiplies in populations. If the serial killers were vampires, YES, I would advocate the extermination of the vampires, unless they didn't feed on humans. but human centric diseases ALL FEED ON HUMANS
Throwing innocent people in jail DOES let the guilty get away, they are inequivalentand that's a stupid arguement
gigafrost19: Oh, so you have to make the killers non-human in order to justify it?
Not always it doesn't.
me: Are you going to argue that viruses are human now?
gigafrost19: You claim there are no genetic links to being a serial killer
Right, but there are links to being agressive.
But who cares!
As long as the numbers add up, right?
After all, we can pretend this is science!
(btw, forcing people to do what you want isn't science.)
me: It's not. Epidemiology IS.
No, it's using scientific knowledge to protect them
It's an application of science, just like any other form of technology.
gigafrost19: Ignoring the fact that science is a little off now and then...
Not quite
'Cause, see, we don't force the people of the world to use computers
me: And that it's on more often than it's off? That that's the whole fucking point of science?
Which is why I advocate freedom, ya know?
Because that one innocent man that didn't really kill that girl? (She killed herself. ;_; )... well, we think he might have!
We'll catch more killers that way!
me: So you're saying we should do away with the entire justice system because it sometimes fucks up?
gigafrost19: NO
me: That we should let murderers run free?
gigafrost19: ARE YOU STUPID
FREEDOM< FUCKER
me: YEAH, LIKE YOUR LACK OF FREEDOM TO RISK THE LIVES OF OTHERS UNNECSSARILY
gigafrost19: We let murderers go free when the values of our country have been fucked over
All the police evidence obtained illegally are tossed... to protect individuals
Now, actually, your argument is really stupid
See... vaccinated people, if they believe unvaccinated people are really risky, have the choice of not being around them
Work for a company that requires vaccinations!
me: You're saing people shouldn't be forced to accept vaccines. Just like they shouldn't be forced by police coercion to not commit murder, traffic illegal drugs, commit rape, etc.
What about walking in the mall?
gigafrost19: Choose a part of town that requires vaccinations!
What about it?
Why, somebody there might be a convicted serial killer!
me: Are you saying that the vaccinated should be forced to hide in their homes and go out with gas masks when they visit ANY other part of the country?
gigafrost19: He's a danger to everybody!
me: If we know that they are, yes. That's why we arrest killers and seperate them from society.
gigafrost19: Yeah, sure, why not?
me: And do our best to keep them from happening in the first place.
gigafrost19: Also, people afraid of germs...
Should live in bubbles!
me: Just like we quarantine people when they come down with tuberculosis.
If we could do something to keep people from becoming serial killers in the first place, wouldn't you think it's a GOOD THING?
gigafrost19: Right, once they cross that line of "potential danger" to "active danger"
Well, that depends
I'm pretty sure a lobotomy would do the trick
But forcing that on EVERYBODY is a bit extreme, don't you think?
And, sure, a vaccine is not a lobotomy...
me: And how the hell is a vaccination equivalent to a lobotomy?
gigafrost19: GOT YOU
me: ...what?
So you type faster than me
gigafrost19: The point isn't that a vaccine is a lobotomy
me: Big fucking woop.
So what is the point then?
gigafrost19: The point is that THE ENDS DON'T JUSTIFY THE MEANS
and what you're advocating is that people lose the right to choose what goes into their bodies because you only know of one way to stop the disease
me: If it's the main proven why, why not? What other ways would you advocate instead?
gigafrost19: You'd rather force things on other people around you, ignoring morality and consequences, so you can convince yourself that you're safe
(until we discover the science is a bit... off... and something like the MMR vaccine doesn't really vaccinate you... it just provides a temporary resistance...)
me: And that's better than no resistance?
gigafrost19: Your body already has natural resistances, moron
me: You're the one ignoring the consequences of widespread vaccination exemption.
gigafrost19: You know, that immune system, thing?
That does provide life-long immunity...
Why's that, anyways?
me: YEAH, and it gets primed to diseases either by being infected and risking a good chance at death, or being vaccinated and risking much much lesser consequences.
gigafrost19: I mean, I thought that vaccines were supposed to trick your body into producing the antibodies to give you immunity!
me: There's no immunity if you haven't been vaccinated or faced the disease before
gigafrost19: But... you're not
Oh, but of course
me: I'm not what?
gigafrost19: But at the same time, these diseases don't kill 100% of the time
You're not immune.
me: So you're saying that we should only vaccinate against ebola?
gigafrost19: Not life-long
NO
RETARD
me: That's why people get vaccinations again.
gigafrost19: I';m saying people should have the right to choose.
"That's why people get vaccinations again." Again? But... wait... that doesn't sound like what the science suggests should happen!
After all, when the MMR vaccine was given... there weren't boosters, then...
But then people were getting sick later in life when the disease does more damage...
So they have to boost
me: Yes it does. Idiot. They make new flu vaccines cause GUESS WHAT, it fucking evolves. Else we wouldn't get sick in the first place as we would have adapted in the past and things would have stayed the SAME
gigafrost19: Fix a flawed assumption by... applying the same fix again?
Good thing I wasn't talking about the fucking flu
Or do you not know what the MMR vaccine even is?
me: Yes I know what the fuck it is.
I fucking have it in me.
gigafrost19: Well, considering all my examples have been referring to that, that makes your flu reference... awfully out of place
LOGIC ERROR
me: It's a virus. It evolves. Measles are a virus. They evolve.
Your problem with that is...?
gigafrost19: Oh yeah, that's why people who get sick with it once, normally, have life-long immunity.
Why haven't we been overrun with smallpox, again?
me: BECAUSE OF FORCED VACCINATION IN THE PAST, NUMBSKULL!!!
gigafrost19: Why, I thought the entire premiss there was that cowpox would provide immunity for smallpox...
No, moron, you're the one suggesting all viruses evolve
Everything we've seen suggests cowpox does a pretty good job about that, too!
me: Are you suggesting that life forms don't evolve?
gigafrost19: Hardly
But you're being way inconsistent here
me: Then what's the problem with saying all viruses evolve?
gigafrost19: The problem is the selectively biased way you're applying it!
me: No I'm not. Genetic drift rates are different in different populations, flu evolves faster, thus yearly flu shots. Why should it be any different with MMR, just on a longer time scale?
gigafrost19: Flu evolves, fast, hence it overcomes previous immunities and has new attack vectors
me: Yes. I know that.
gigafrost19: However, Measles... evolves later...
me: Yes. So have a longer period between vaccines.
gigafrost19: but vaccinated people can get sick and people who are immune from having it before... don't?
The entire goal of vaccinations is to provide you the same immunity of having actually been sick and surviving.
Perhaps even more so!
me: Yes, and being unvaccinated increases the risk of spreading it to the unvaccinated, and also of FUCKING DYING OF IT IN THE FIRST PLACE
gigafrost19: QUIT MOVING THE GOALPOSTS, DOLT
me: Where did they go?
gigafrost19: The point is that THE VERY PREMISS THE VACCINES ARE AS EFFECTIVE AS THEY SAY THEY ARE IS QUESTIONABLE.
me: ON WHAT FUCKING GROUNDS?!?!
gigafrost19: MMR vaccine --> need boosters!
Surviving MMR illness --> don't need boosters
me: Yes. So get boosters. Where do they say not to?
That's assuming the survival part
gigafrost19: Right, right, right
me: How about not risking the death in the first place?
gigafrost19: But... people aren't allowed to choose lifelong immunity...
only servitude to your dictatorship
Now, if you're trying to promote vaccines as having a lower death risk, that's a good thing!
me: Sure they are. If you really really want it, go somewhere else and intentionally infect yourself with the fucking virus.
gigafrost19: But, forcing it on people!
me: Just don't complain when you fucking DIE
gigafrost19: Yes!
Because viruses are so dangerous it's a wonder people even made it to today!
Good thing science came along and saved us all!
me: .....are you REALLY that fucking retarded?
So you're saying science has done nothing and shouldn't be trusted?
gigafrost19: No
But apparently you are
Science has changed the distribution
But you'd rather advocate a fear-based "we're gonna die" dictatorship approach to forcing things on people...
instead of letting them choose which they prefer...
me: Just like regulating that they shouldn't allow rat poison in food, or recalling spinach infected with e.coli, rather than letting people choose to eat infected food?
gigafrost19: You know, if somebody wanted to eat an e.coli infected lettuce, I'm not sure I should allow it
But man, you really don't get things.
*I'm not sure I should do anything about it, I mean
But, putting rat poison in food without telling people is murder
It's a deliberate act to kill people
Meanwhile, you want an unimmunized person to be categorized the same way
me: No. I'm saying they should be given an immunization so they aren't a threat. Just like you take infected food off the market, so there isn't a threat.
gigafrost19: Fine, another angle
Why should an immunized person even care?
(well, ignoring the fact that an immunized person really isn't... they're just statistically less likely to come down with the disease...)
Wouldn't it be more accurate to portray the "unvaccinated person" traveling in this society to really only be a danger to those who are also unvaccinated?
me: Because, vaccines, like anything in reality, are not 100% effective. They are however good at getting the vast majority of people fully immune, which chokes of viral 'food' supply and ability to spread. Unvaccinated people are still a risk to a small random percentage of vaccinated people.
gigafrost19: WHO HAVE ALSO MADE THE SAME CHOICE?
me: No. If you want, I'll go find studies tat prove this.
gigafrost19: "Nonono" you say... the plan only works if we can force it on everybody!
me: Well, yes. It does. I'll be happy to provide evidence of this if you doubt it.
gigafrost19: (Ignoring that there are plenty of other "force them on everybody" scenarios I've already presented that you've already dismissed off-hand)
me: That's because they are inequivalent scenarios.
gigafrost19: Not as much as you'd like to think
Because to you, it's really all about the numbers!
The ends justify the means!
me: Oh yeah, poor me, I care about whether or not people die
gigafrost19: But you like to construct this elaborate lie to yourself that it isn't!
me: I'm such a fucking asshole
gigafrost19: Yes, you are, actually
Because you don't believe you're the one who will die
Instead, you'll force it onto people who didn't have a choice and it'll be YOUR actions that killed them
Not a problem
The numbers say it's okay.
me: No, I know there's a risk. It's a lesser risk, which is why I'm perfectly willing to accept it. Also perfectly willing to to grant exemptions to the small number of people that have heightened risk factors for side effects.
I'm happy to fucking die to protect others
gigafrost19: Yeah, what about the ones with unknown side effects?
me: THAT'S WHY I'M JOINING THE FUCKING MILITARY, DIPSHIT
TAT"S WHY THEY DO STUDIES!
gigafrost19: Right
and there's never reactions even after all of those studies
After all, my friend didn't have a heart attack from his vaccination...
Well, wait, actually... he did...
me: So something has to be absolutely fucking 100% foolproof or else it's worthless?
gigafrost19: Good thing he didn't die
Well, if it's not 100% then you're intentionally killing people by injecting it into them in the first place!
Do you even know why it's not 100%?
me: So you'd rather more people die?
gigafrost19: I'd rather people have a choice.
me: Yes. It's called reality.
Nothing in reality is 100% prefect.
gigafrost19: No, that's a bullshit excuse.
me: DUH
gigafrost19: It means you don't understand what's going on.
After all, why do people have a heart attack from the smallpox vaccine?
When do the chain of events start?
How can you detect who's at risk and who isn't?
Apparently, it's perfectly fine to murder people as long as you don't understand what you're doing!
me: I don't know off the top of my head. I'll be happy to find out for you if you'd like.
gigafrost19: Sure, why don't you?
Find out why we didn't know this earlier
me: I'll be happy to.
gigafrost19: (Why, could it be because we force it into people in the first place?)
Anyways, I want to go home now
Later
me: How would that change biology?

So yeah... basically he's arguing that it's evil to force it upon people without giving them a choice because there are some side effects, sometimes potentially lethal (to the smallpox vaccine, which his friend got a heart attack from apparently), and claiming that vaccines aren't as effective as they claim to be, so it's better to let people to decide to go unvaccinated because they only endanger other people that have made that choice (supposedly). Note that so far as I know smallpox vaccines are only required of the military, and this argument got started about the MMR vaccine. Has that ever killed or severely debilitated anyone? Also, he's a civilian, while I ship out to basic in July and will happily accept all vaccines (cause I'm not a selfish jackass).

Also, reliable information sources would be great, instead of just 'my word against his', like say for how medical professionals identify those at risk for vaccination side effects, or why smallpox sometimes causes heart attacks.

Oh, and get this, apparently I have an evil dictator's worldview for seeing nothing wrong with requiring vaccinations of people barring legitimate medical reasons. Oh, and apparently my arguments for mandatory vaccination are equivalent to arguments to round up and kill every homeless person to get rid of poverty? Because sometimes there are side effects of vaccines? And requiring mandatory vaccinations is a fear based method of trading freedom for safety?

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Wyrm
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Post by Wyrm » 2008-05-01 10:44pm

The problem with giving people certain choices is that people. Are. STUPID!

Look at the mortality rates of measles, mumps and rhubella in children, and compare it to the mortality rates of the MMR vaccine. A decision theoretic answer says take the damn vaccine. Yet people refuse vaccines including MMR because of an uncertain, unproven (and highly dubious) link to autism. People just don't make rational decisions. Furthermore, they make irrational decisions that endanger others. So you have to force them to make the correct decision sometimes.

As to the smallpox issue, the fact that there are severe side effects of cowpox for uncertain gain is precisely why only the military get it. Smallpox is fucking serious business, but only militaries nowadays have a significant chance of being exposed to smallpox. Therefore, a civilian like me can go through life never needing a cowpox innoculation (barring some terrorist assholes releasing this horror upon the world again).
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Post by Dracofrost » 2008-05-01 10:51pm

Yeah, the thing is, he's arguing that removing that freedom of choice is evil in and of itself, and that anyone who disagrees is an evil socialist dictator who wants to force the world to do as they want, or something like that. I'm not sure how to penetrate a skull that dense.

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-05-01 11:10pm

No. I dont give a rat's ass what a person's rights are. If it only affected them, then maybe, but it does not. Diseases like smallpox have literally wiped out nations. The spanish took mexico because of a smallpox outbreak in the aztec city they were laying siege to, we slaughtered the native americans because of small pox, the US does not own canada because of smallpox. In the 20th century between 300 and 500 million people died from it, in the 18th century, it killed 400 thousand europeans per year we do not have numbers on non-europeans. Still in the 2th century alone that is more deaths than every war in human hisotry combined.

Influenza hastened the fall of the central powers in WW1. Polio killed millions and millions of children and maimed millions more.

Vaccines are our defense. Every person that does not get vaccinated becomes a potential carrier for the illness and gives it a place to breed and develope resistances to our vaccines and bypass our immunity. So no. This is not something you can relegate to an individual right. We force people to drive sober, we force people to wear seatbelts and not use a cellphone while they drive, because failure to do so means death. We force people to be vaccinated.

As for smallpox, the vaccine kills one in a million people who are subjected to it. The guy that died of a heart attack was amazingly unlucky. One in one million. That is a far cry from smallpox, which if it ever has an outbreak will kill millions upon millions of people in our globalized economy. Imagine it. In the 20th century, we still were not globalized. SUre there was trade, but for the first half most people never left the town they were born in... Now people routinely cross the country and traverse the globe... Fuck That. Even a severe influenza outbreak will kill millions
Also, reliable information sources would be great, instead of just 'my word against his', like say for how medical professionals identify those at risk for vaccination side effects, or why smallpox sometimes causes heart attacks.

Check the Center for Disease Control. A nice organization with no profit motive.

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/va ... /facts.asp
Because sometimes there are side effects of vaccines?
Hmmm... fever and body aches for a couple days vs.... smallpox-death? Your friend is an idiot. I am sorry, but a person's right to shake their fist ends when my fist begins. If a person's medical choices endanger someone other than the person making the choice, then they should not be allowed to make the decision.

While this is not vaccine related, the same basic principle applies. Wrote it for an ethics class. It was written when an H5N1 person-to-person transmission seemed inevitable, and as a result I used it as an example.
Striking the Balance
An Attempt at Balancing the Needs of the Individual with the Needs of Society as a Whole


There are things in this world which dwarf the death toll from every war in human history. They have shaped human history, decided the course of wars, and wiped hundreds of millions of people off the face of the Earth. These things are not weapons of mass destruction, or geological cataclysms. Rather, they are organisms and biologically active particles only a few microns across that exist naturally. Despite the fact that smallpox has killed over three hundred million people in the twentieth century alone and the black plague killed two thirds of the population of continental Europe in the 14th century,( Oldstone, 1998) considerations for infectious disease was been left out of the field of bioethics. (Francis et al, 2005). Modern ethical considerations in medical ethics focus on the autonomy of a patient who’s decisions directly affect only themselves and their immediate friends and family. In the event of an outbreak of infectious disease, such as the near certainty of H5N1 Avian Influenza (or similar pathogen) mutating to transmit person to person, we will be forced to consider what to do when that individual autonomy conflicts with the preservation of the lives of hundreds, thousands, even millions of people. Measures that are traditionally taken in the event of disease outbreaks include: Isolation of infected patients either in their homes or in medical wards, tracing contacts of the infected to find those who may have been exposed, and quarantine of those who have been exposed.. Each of these measures carries with it ethical implications regarding patient autonomy, justice, and privacy (Gostin et al, 2003) I would also point out that different diseases have different ethical implications because the consequences expressed in terms of rate of infection and mortality are different; and for the sake of brevity, I will focus primarily on the ethical implications of H5N1 Avian Influenza.


H5N1 is a type A Influenza virus with symptoms similar to more familiar forms of Influenza. They include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and eye infections. As well as acute respiratory distress, and viral pneumonia. Currently, over half of those infected die from the disease. Though it is possible that the only reports are from the most severe of cases, so the mortality rate may be overstated (CDC, 2006) It is also transmitted in a similar way, through large virus-laden droplets that are generated when an infected individual sneezes or coughs (CDC, 2006) These settle in the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract of people in close physical contact to the infected. Transmittance is also possible through contact with objects which touch the mucous membranes; such as touching a door handle touched or sneezed on by an infected person, then rubbing one’s nose, eyes or mouth (CDC, 2006) Transmission in adults typically is possible one day before onset of symptoms and up to five days after symptoms end. Children can transmit for up to ten days after symptoms end.


To put influenza in a global perspective; the 1917-1918 Spanish flu pandemic killed between twenty and forty million people, and literally decided the First World War in favor of the Allied Powers. It is estimated that a fifth of the world’s population was infected, and that two to three percent of those infected died (Oldstone 1998) This horrific rate of infection was at a time in the world’s history when flight was in it’s infancy, and long distance travel was possible only by ship, which, necessarily, took a long time and tended to be fairly expensive. Few people had automobiles and many people never left their home towns.


So what does this mean for H5N1? Well, in today’s globalized economy, possible modes of transmission are everywhere. International airlines reduce journeys that would have taken days to weeks a hundred years ago, to a few hours, in relatively cramped conditions. One infected person sneezes, and he exposes everyone within a two meter radius to the virus. If he then uses the lavatory, he exposes everyone who uses that same lavatory. Automobiles and our highway system make it possible for an infected individual to traverse the united states in less than two weeks, exposing dozens if not hundreds of people along the way in bathrooms, hotels, and rest stops. Each of those people would also be traveling, and could, once they begin transmitting the virus, infect others. In short, even if H5N1 has the same mortality rate as Spanish Flu, it will infect more people in a shorter amount of time.


The following analysis of the moral status of quarantine and isolation will be undertaken with the knowledge that an infected or exposed person is victim, patient, and disease vector. The principles which form the focus of the field of bioethics, such as autonomy and privacy, need to be modified in infectious disease cases in order to take this knowledge into account (Francis et al, 2005) We need to strike a balance between the libertarian goals of protecting privacy and personal autonomy, and the utilitarian aims of protecting the public good (Selgelid, 2005) I must also talk about the moral status of contact tracing because quarantine and isolation would not exist if it did not take place.


Contact tracing, and of reporting incidences of disease by name, is of crucial importance in the event of an H5N1 outbreak. Authorities need to know who has been exposed so that they can begin the quarantine and isolation process, as well as to understand the spread of the disease and design countermeasures. However, there are ethical concerns in this technique, mainly individual privacy concerns (Gostin et al, 2003) This is an instance where the right to privacy of individuals needs to be weighed against the public good. To use the United States as an example, privacy is enshrined into the US Constitution by implication of the fourth, ninth, and fourteenth amendments. It is one of the things which has allowed it to function. From what citizens say behind closed doors about their elected officials, to who they are sleeping with, being protected from government intrusion in their lives allows their economy and political process to function as they should and have for over two hundred years. The country must be direly threatened before a violation of those principles is permitted. In addition, there are some concerns regarding social stigma attached to infection or exposure.


The risks however, of not using contact tracing and name reporting, in my view, outweigh these concerns. Unless names are reported to health and law enforcement officials in the event of an outbreak; not only will scientists and government officials be unable to adequately study the pattern of infection, but they will be unable to trace the contacts of infected patients effectively. This would have the effect of essentially leaving the exposed or infected free and able to continue spreading or potentially spreading the disease. This could endanger the lives of everyone they come in contact with, who would in turn endanger the lives of everyone they came into contact with. It is then imperative for the direct safety of everyone within a population that authorities be able to tell who is infected, and who has been exposed in order that measures may be taken to curb further transmission. Now, this does not give license to health and governmental officials to use the information at their whim. The overall privacy and economic interests of the population need to be protected. Partially for reasons of respecting their dignity, but also for economic reasons. The economic backlash of an infectious disease outbreak will be severe enough as it is. People will die, subjecting families to income loss and funeral costs. Industry will suffer from the loss of workers due to death and quarantine. In addition to this, post-outbreak insurance companies will probably increase their premiums, thus harming people already devastated by the disease. Such behavior is not only unjust, but also causes harm to society in general, and thus needs to be prevented with stringent privacy controls, such as not allowing the names of infected and exposed individuals to be used for any purpose but contact tracing and surveillance. And infection must be prevented, by legislation, from being used to increase medical insurance premiums or deny medical insurance. One could argue that an insurance company should have the ability to increase premiums or deny insurance to someone who contracted H5N1, however that would only further victimize those already devastated by a horrible illness. Thus, health officials should never release specific information to any private organization unless that data has been anonymized. In addition, the information should be permitted for pure research purposes only. This would avoid increases in insurance premiums by area, and would prevent the attachment of social stigma to large proportions of the population. If the HIV outbreak in the 1980s and the blockades set up in 1916 to prevent the passage of people who may have polio told us anything, it is that people are not reasonable when it comes to disease. Politicians will scheme and use the illness to their political advantage. People will panic and do unspeakable things to their fellow man. The disease will be blamed not on the virus, but by whatever paranoia or prejudice is popular among the common man at the time; or on whatever group of people is susceptible. (Oldstone, 1998) Plainly, such behavior does not come close to our ideas about justice and fairness; and needs to be prevented without harming the ability to fight disease.

The end result of contact tracing is finding individuals who are infected or exposed to the disease, in this hypothetical case H5N1 Avian Influenza Isolation is the separation for the duration of communicability infected individuals in such a way as to reduce the possibility of transmission of infection (Gostin et al, 2006) Commonly this is done in hospital wards set up for the purpose, so that the infected can receive treatment. This is easiest in the early stages of the outbreak, naturally. If the infection spreads faster than authorities can keep up with it, then isolation would probably have to be done in the home. Quarantine is the isolation of exposed persons during the incubation period so as to reduce the possibility of transmission. They can happen at the individual or population level, in contrast to isolation which functions at the individual level.


The ethical problems are similar between the two however, and thus they can be addressed jointly. Both of them concern patient autonomy and freedom of movement, as well as economic problems. Some literature supports the idea that patient autonomy can be preserved by making the procedures voluntary ( DiGiovanni et al, 2004) The question remains though, what happens when someone says no? Getting people to consider the ramifications of their actions is one thing. But what happens when someone does not care? Is it their choice to endanger others? Certainly, this varies from disease to disease. We wouldn’t for example, force quarantine on someone suffering from the common cold. What happens when the stakes are high? I would take the position that, at least in the case of an H5N1 outbreak with the same mortality rate of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, that the “needs of many, simply outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” (Nemoy, 1982) When the autonomy of the individual is brought up, one has to weigh their rights against the rights of society as a whole. Autonomy in a clinical setting is one thing. There, the decisions reached really only affects a few people. The individual, and his or her immediate friends and family. Generally, those choices are only ever lethal to one person, usually the individual making the decision. Their family usually at least accepts the decision, and the individual making the choice is made happy by it, or at least less unhappy (I can’t imagine a sane person being happy to die from say, cancer. That however, is an issue for another day) On the other hand, the decision of one person could doom many others to death in the case of a severe outbreak. Remember; a person with an infectious communicable disease is not only a victim of the disease, but also it’s vector. And in the case of H5N1, that vector is potentially lethal. In addition, because each subsequent infected person is also a vector for the disease; one person rejecting isolation or quarantine can lead to the infection of many more individuals than they themselves came into contact with. Some may claim that the consequences of the action do not matter as much as I may think. Perhaps they use a form of Kantian Deontology and concern themselves with satisfying the tests of the Categorical Imperative (Mappes and DeGrazia, 2006) I would respond that failing to accept isolation or quarantine would constitute a violation of one’s imperfect duty to others to promote beneficence, and failure to enforce such measures would do the same. A person cannot do that which prevents them from exercising their own autonomy. That would fail the first test for logical consistency. However, simply restricting one’s movements consciously does not do this. One could argue that forcing another individual to go into isolation or quarantine would be equivalent to treating them as means and not as an end. However, so long as they receive medical treatment and are protected from economic hardships as a result no violation of this need take place because the individual would benefit from it as well, and thus would be treated as an end as well as a means, and their dignity would be respected. One must remember though that voluntary quarantine is the preferred option when dealing with infectious disease and that is should be used when possible if for no other reason than because it does not take as much in the form of resources and manpower to maintain. Also because the concept of autonomy is important for society to function politically and economically. It would be foolish to set it aside unless the society itself was in danger of collapsing, as it would be in a severe H5N1 outbreak.

There is no question that quarantine, isolation and contact tracing raise interesting moral questions. Unfortunately these issues were not taken into account when the field of bioethics was really formulated in the mid 20th century (Francis et al, 2005) Because of this, we are left staring at a precipice. That precipice is H5N1 or whatever the next major outbreak will be. We stare at this precipice with little guidance as to what we are ethically supposed to do when that outbreak hits. The most important thing to remember when trying to work through ethical issues, is that autonomy is not absolute. The way it has been formulated has been focused on clinical settings where few people are directly affected by any given personal choice. On larger scales, where autonomous decisions affect more than a one or a few individuals, our notion of autonomy may very well break down into something non-functional. That is of course, contingent on the assumption that we care about outcomes. But that is a different argument for a different day.









Works Sited
Gostin, L., Bayer, R., & Fairchild A. (2003). Ethical and legal challenges posed by severe acute respiratory syndrom. Journal of the American Medical Association, 290(24), 3229-3237.

DiGiovanni, C., Bowen N., Ginsberg M., and Giles, G. (2005). Quarantine stressing voluntary compliance. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 11(11), 1778-1779.

Selgelid, M. (2005). Ethics and infectious disease. Bioethics, 19(3), 272-289.

Francis, L., Battin, M., Botkin, J., Jacobsen J., and Smith, C. (2005). How infectious disease got left out-and what this omission might have meant for bioethics. Bioethics, 19(4), 307-322.

Nemoy, L(Character). (1982). The Wrath of Khan [Movie series episode]. In Star Trek 2. Paramount.

Oldstone, Michael (1998). Viruses, Plagues & History. New York New York: Oxford University Press.

CDC, (2006, February 7). Key Facts About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus. Retrieved April 15, 2006, from Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen- info/facts.htm
Mappes, T., DeGrazia D (2006). Biomedical Ethics. New York New York: McGraw Hill.
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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-05-01 11:11pm

Dracofrost wrote:Yeah, the thing is, he's arguing that removing that freedom of choice is evil in and of itself, and that anyone who disagrees is an evil socialist dictator who wants to force the world to do as they want, or something like that. I'm not sure how to penetrate a skull that dense.
Well... I am a (near) socialist... and I have no problem with coercive social systems...
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Post by Dracofrost » 2008-05-02 02:00am

Thanks. I guess I just have to find a way to convince him that there really isn't a problem with such things.

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-05-02 03:48am

Dracofrost wrote:Thanks. I guess I just have to find a way to convince him that there really isn't a problem with such things.
I suggest showing him the results of other things being coerced, and ask him whether, given what we see, it is better to have people making these decisions.

Ask him if it is right for a parent to withhold life-saving medical treatment from their child on the basis of say, unverifiable religious beliefs, and ask if the child has a right not to be beholden to the demonstrable craziness of their parents.
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