by the High Priest of Prickly Bog
I have been seeing a lot in the media about measles vaccinations, accompanied by a wholesale condemnation of those opposed to it, as being unscientific, and even dangerous to our society. I felt it was imperative for us all to take a deep breath before we go off half cocked, and consider a few things:
I became involved with alternative medicine in the 1980s; mainly because going to traditional doctors and hospitals never seemed to actually help me with any medical problems. If I had a cold, for instance, the doctor would give me antibiotics. Why? I don't know… a cold is a virus, and antibiotics don't work on viruses. I suppose, as health professionals, they feel they need to appear to be doing something in order to validate your time and their fees. I usually found that the medications I took cured me in about the same time as if I hadn't taken anything.
In digging deeper, I soon discovered that hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations, and medical learning establishments were locked together in an incestuous economic relationship which would constitute a conflict of interests by any objective standard. I learned that doctors, testing new drugs on their patients, would continue to get paid by the corporations for which they were freelancing – only if they continued to get positive results for the drug in question. Doctors who showed that the drug was harmful or useless would get dropped very quickly from the trials. Now remember that it is a corporate law that board members must take whatever action is in the best interest of the shareholder, and if this conflict renders science a victim of the truth, then we have only our insane besottedness with a completely unregulated free market to blame.
Other than that, let us always remember that most scientists are just regular people with a job in science. And like most people, they are not excessively logic bound. They are perfectly happy to continue working according to the system that has been laid out for them. They will follow the instructions of those above them, and if a problem comes up, they will usually defer to their superiors as to the resolution of such. If they are told that a thing is true… or scientifically proven – just like most people – they will not question the validity of that statement, or go test the hypothesis for themselves. Let's face it, nobody has the time to go around proving or disproving everything we have been taught to believe.
However, this being the case, I personally have found it prudent not to be too sure that everything that every "scientist" tells me is true. Or, for that matter, what the "scientific community" in general believes to be true as, throughout history, it has been proven wrong time and again. Beyond that, it is even more important not to believe everything that some friend, acquaintance, blog site, or comedy show on the T.V. has told me that a scientist told them for sure. In fact, it often seems that the more popular an idea becomes, the more people seem to believe it without question.
This may be true amongst those who think that vaccines are dangerous, and cause other diseases. Most people who believe this didn't really research the idea, and followed along with a sort of group think. Of course, this meant that the sales of vaccines were down, and Big Pharma, who saw their vaccine profits dwindling, quickly realized that, whereas most people have no scientific reason for believing negative things about vaccines, they could easily apply the same law to get everyone to think the opposite. By creating a false dichotomy between the "naive new age" thinkers who seemed to be cutting down on their use of drugs for every small ailment, and those who believe in "progress through science" (the pill popping brigade) they have created a new meme of belief that it is in fact dangerous NOT to be vaccinated. It doesn't really matter what disease the vaccine is for. There is money to be made… or lost
If we observe those who believe one thing over the other, we will see that they both consider each other ignorant of the truth. But neither side is willing to question whether or not their own truth is real. We can also see this happening with the debate on climate change. If Neil De Grasse Tyson says it is so… then it must be so. No questions asked. More and more I am hearing people who don't really know anything, insisting that because "science" says so… it must be true. Let's forget about whether it IS true or not. Let's start questioning why we believe in what we believe… not just on principle, because our type of people believe that – but for each new thing that needs to be considered rationally.
Yes, mainstream doctors can criticize holism for a number of sins. But everything that they say about homeopathy — non-double blind studies, equipment contamination, data selectivity and simple incompetence… can also be said about hospitals and doctors. Modern medicine has created monster bacteriae through the overuse of antibiotics over the past 50 years. Not to mention unnecessary operations that wipe out people's life savings, and breast exams that give you breast cancer. (One researcher discovered that in every big city throughout the world, when the hospital doctors go on strike, the death rate actually goes down.)
Is it then so hard to understand why many people mistrust the "science establishment"? If we are going to refuse to believe anything people tell us without proof, then we must also demand proof of the scientific establishment on each issue, and not simply believe that they are the custodians of truth and what "they" say is correct.
And let's not draw such a deep distinction between science and religion. Religion was simply what people believed to be true at one time, based upon the information (or lack of it) available to them. It was the science of the past. Science is what we believe to be true nowadays, based upon the information (or lack of it) available to us. Science is the religion of the present. We tend to treat scientists like the priests of the new order, and believe them without question. But they are flawed… just as we all are. In many cases what appears to be true is based upon what we believe to be true. Science or no science!