Posting in Food
The assumption of dark conspiracies among people whose careers are based on helping people is a very dangerous thing. And it's bipartisan. It has been since the pandemic started.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Doubt Break '09|
Whenever I have written about the H1N1 swine flu, and attempts to tame it, I have gotten a reaction.
Paranoia. And it's going global.
A few weeks ago The Daily Show summarized it better than I can. "The government is out to get you. Science is out to get you. And oh, look behind you!"
Right now "oh look behind you" is the main scare. Some states are doing a better job communicating about the flu and vaccine than others. The flu is now widespread nearly everywhere and vaccine deliveries are slow due to problems at the factories. It's now officially a national emergency and emergency rooms are being overwhelmed.
But if vaccine supplies were plentiful, media fearmongering would not slow down. We would still have the fear, on the part of many people, that government is out to get us, or science.
In the long run this is a bigger problem than swine flu. The assumption of dark conspiracies among people whose careers are based on helping people is a very dangerous thing. And it's bipartisan. It has been since the pandemic started.
Witness my own entry into China this past May. A team in hazmat suits aimed wireless thermometers at every passenger, and anyone with a fever got one in the mouth. Everyone at customs wore masks, as did food service workers. I didn't feel the scare lift until my flight back through Chicago, by then the epidemic's epicenter, when I saw one Chinese passenger sheepishly remove his mask.
Assuming conspiracies is extremely unhealthy. We live in a complex, scientific society. Scientific attitudes change with evidence. This is how it works. The best experiments yield, not answers, but new questions. Certainty is hard to come by.
But we do make progress. A half-century ago President Eisenhower was told to eat margarine for his heart ailment. Now we know better. It's the trans-fats in margarine that cause the problem. Butter is fine.
I have a rooting interest in this one since it was a Dr. David Blankenhorn (no relation so far as I know) who pioneered the link between cholesterol and heart disease. I also had a cholesterol count over 300 before going on statins early this decade.
Yet there are people who doubt the link and science could not progress without them. Only by dealing with questions and skepticism openly and honestly can medicine progress. Or any other form of scientific inquiry.
It's paranoia, not the H1N1 virus, that is the key epidemic of 2009.
Oct 27, 2009
I think you are a good example of the assumption of ill will toward science and government that are at the heart of what I was writing about. Your great grandfather had half your life span. Half, on average. The difference between his time and ours is the advance of science, and government's willingness to create policies that conform to what science teaches. Now I know we're not yet dead, but that doesn't make any of us immortal. Those who reject the systems that have worked for so long are playing with fire. For themselves and their families, and for society as a while.
I think China's policy here is based more on the SARS epidemic than anything else. Nearly all those who died from SARS, in 2003, were in China or its environs. Firm control actions kept the disease from spreading outward. The problem is in this case the disease is coming inward.
Natural selection is the process by which heritable traits that make it more likely for an organism to survive and successfully reproduce become more common in a population over successive generations. It is a key mechanism of evolution.
Haven't we been here before? 25 years ago we were all going to die of AIDS - we didn't. Then we were all going to die of SARS - we didn't. Here in Britain we were all going to die of salmonella contracted from eggs - we didn't. Then we were all going to die of Bird Flu - we didn't. Now we're all going to die from Swine Flu - so far we haven't. What's the betting that when something hits which DOES kill a significant portion of the population it will come as a complete surprise to them? Oh, and they also tell us that Global Warming is going to kill the planet and most of its inhabitants unless we submit to their draconian taxes and totalitarian control of our lives. Hmm...
A comment on your China visit. Yes, the Chinese are very concerned about H1N1. We got the same treatment when we returned to China this year through Beijing. I think they have good reason to be concerned though. The population has no concept of safe, hygenic practices. They spit and blow their noses out everywhere, kids pee anywhere and everywhere, even on the bus (fabris seats, ewww!). Nobody washes their hands and even if they do there's no soap. They mop everything but hey nobody has heard of cleanser. So if H1N1, SARS or any other pandemic of the week took off it would be catastrophic there. That being said, I think there's an element of ethnocentrism involved also. H1N1 is very much a "waiguo", or foreigner sickness. When we were planning our trip home to the US this year, all our Chinese friends were very concerned for us. "Aren't you worried about H1N1?" they would say in a hushed, frightened voice. "Uhhh, no" we would reply, "it actually started in Asia you know." This is met with stunned silence. So, just wanted to share our story.
You're wrong. This vaccine is of the same type that has been used against seasonal flu for years. Even the production method is the same -- although as I've noted there were advances made in recent years that could deliver ample supplies. The reason we're short on supply is because each egg isn't producing as much of the new vaccine as anticipated. But it's the same type of vaccine, produced in the same way with roughly the same effect, as we've used for decades with few problems. There are reasonable fears and unreasonable ones. Yours I fear is an unreasonable one.
If one in a million, die from this vaccine, America will have 300 needless funerals. If one in 100,000, then 300o needless funerals. etc. etc. This is an untested vaccine! That is why there is justifiable 'Paranoia'..... Remember Gulf War Syndrome? ONE IN TEN!?!
Conform people! Conform! Do what you're told and take your flu shot and everything will be OK. It's free, but you're paying for it out of taxes... Hey, CDC reported that the worst of the swine flu is over, but we've initiated a national emergency anyway. DON'T WORRY, be calm but yes it's an emergency and yes take your H1N1 vaccine that contains mercury and squalene - two components that if you research thoroughly you may end up not wanting the vaccine at all! So don't do that and stop BEING PARANOID!
You are 100% right: "It?s paranoia, not the H1N1 virus, that is the key epidemic of 2009" !!! It's so regretable that the world is investing so much in this swine flu, which is after all a flu and nothing more ... People are dying from pneumonia not because it's a complication of the swine flu, but because there still exist places where the doctors are unable to identify and treat neither pneumonia, neither so many other deseases ... The H1N1 is a heavenly gift for those who try to cover their inabilities ... How sad in the 21-th century !!!