Friday, June 27, 2014

The Scientific Method Has Fallen Out Of Favor

Full disclosure -- I am not a scientist. I don't pretend to be a scientist and I don't play one on television. Some may describe me as an evangelical fundamentalist Bible-thumper and declare me to be, therefore, anti-science, but that is untrue: at least the "anti-science" part. I love science. I love discovery. I love how science has been used in the development of technologies that make my life better. I hate that under the guise of science certain entities have furthered their agendas and done damage to liberty, public and individual health and the reputation of true science. Of what do I speak, you ask? Vaccines.

If I have to hear one more accusation that I am brain-washed, that I only know one side of the debate or that I just don't "understand the science" I am going to scream. It is particularly irksome to hear these accusations from anyone who has never even read a single article, let alone an entire book, which questions the wisdom of vaccinations and cannot even reasonably state the objections against vaccines. These accusations almost always start with the straw man "I know you think vaccines cause autism, but this has been proven to be false." I have yet to tell a single person that I don't vaccinate my children because I am afraid the vaccines will give them autism. 

Besides being frustrated by the pro-vac crowd always telling me I'm ignorant and that my children live under a continual threat of death from the looming, evil chicken pox, I am also frustrated that almost no one in the anti-vac crowd confronts the underlying theory upon which the entire vaccine house-of-cards is built. I reject that theory and the vaccines that flow from it.

At the risk of having a bunch of scientists tell me I'm an ignoramus, I'm going to talk about the scientific method and why I admire it. I've taken several science classes in both high school and college. In most of those course I had to be able to demonstrate that I understand the basic concept of the method. It is called a method because it is a particular process, a series of steps, used to make discoveries. It isn't so much about proving things as it is about eliminating ideas that are not accurate. This is not how vaccine science works because the very foundation of this method is undermined. Using the scientific method any given hypothesis can be supported by testing or it can be eliminated  by testing. If the hypothesis is not tested (using the rules of the scientific method) or if testing is accepted as valid only when it validates the hypothesis, then whatever is being done is simply not science. It might be technical, it might involve scientific subjects, it might involve studies, but it is not science.

When a hypothesis is presented, a true scientist does not become so invested in the hypothesis being correct that he is unable to design or unwilling to use tests which will lead to the destruction of the hypothesis. For example, I will describe in very simple language the hypothesis behind why vaccines prevent disease. It goes something like this: In nature, if a person is exposed to a disease pathogen such as a bacteria (pertussis, for example) or a virus (chicken pox, for example), this exposure and subsequent disease process in the body cause the body to develop a resistance so that future exposure to the pathogen does not result in illness in that individual. The individual is said to be "immune." A vaccination is a process whereby the disease organism is introduced into the body in a manner that does not cause illness but stimulates the body to create the same or similar immune response as if it had contracted the illness, resulting in the individual becoming immune.

The hypothesis does not need to attempt to describe how the body creates an immune response or what the factors are within the body in order for the hypothesis to be tested. In the case of vaccines, another related hypothesis was developed which says, roughly, that the way the body exercises immunity is by creating antibodies which recognize and attack the disease organism if it should present itself to the body after the original exposure and that the existence of these antibodies is a legitimate test of immunity.  This hypothesis has already been disproved,  although support and belief in this hypothesis remains high within the pro-vac community.

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has posted an article this month dealing with the measles and the measles vaccine which shines a light on what happens when your hypothesis isn't testing out to be true and you persist in using it as a basis for dealing with disease. The information shared in this article has been around for over 50 years, that is, it is dealing with vaccine events that happened as far back as 1963 when the measles vaccine was first introduced in the United States. Reading this article just strengthened my suspicions that the whole vaccine theory is flawed.

My basic objection to the theory behind all vaccines is that the mechanism behind immunity is not fully understood by medical science nor can it be. As the above article points out, even children who have a disorder whereby they cannot produce antibodies are able to become immune to measles (and other diseases) by being naturally exposed to the virus and experiencing some level of illness from the disease, even though they did not produce antibodies against the virus that allegedly causes measles. Without knowing fully the cause of disease or the mechanism of immunity development, how can pharmaceutical companies justify creating and injecting potentially harmful chemicals and disease causing organisms into humans in the attempt to create immunity?  Additionally and also pointed out in the article is the fact that any immunity created through the use of vaccines does not mimic natural immunity and is short-lived at best and non-existent at worst. To date, not a single vaccine has been tested and shown to be as effective in creating immunity as natural exposure and none have been shown to create a life-long immunity as originally promised and as continues to be promised in the case of some vaccines.

Pro-vac folks tell me that double blind studies on humans would be unethical and that is why they are not done. But doesn't that make all humans test subjects who submit to the vaccine? In the case of measles vaccine, we see that a killed measles vaccine was introduced into the U.S. and was used for several years until it became obvious that it didn't work and was dangerous, or rather until another vaccine could be approved for use. That is the way of the vaccine market. Untested products are used on real human subjects until they are shown to be dangerous AND there is a replacement waiting in the wings. We saw the same thing with the live polio virus in the U.S. I was telling my doctor that I didn't want my children to have it because they would be shedding live polio virus for months and I was poo-pooed. 15 years later, it fell out of favor in the U.S. for that very reason, but not until a replacement was ready. If I knew about the dangers in the days before the internet, the medical community knew about it, too. But the agenda said to keep going regardless of what the science says.

So this is my beef, the theory behind vaccinations doesn't pass scientific muster. The hypothesis that injecting pathogenic organisms into humans causes an immune response that is similar to or identical to the natural immune response to actually contracting the disease is flawed. It has not been proven through scientific testing using the scientific method. There is no scientific evidence that vaccines reduce the rates of disease or the rates of death from disease.

This is enough for me. Even if I didn't have genuine concerns about the safety of injecting poisonous chemicals and dangerous disease organisms along with foreign proteins into human bodies and even if I didn't have genuine concerns about the damage these vaccines cause to the immune system and the contributions they make to auto-immune disorders, I wouldn't vaccinate my children because I have no confidence that they do any good whatsoever. Our bodies were not designed to learn to resist disease that enters our bodies by injection, which is not the normal path of infection with the possible exception of tetanus.

The theory behind vaccines also relies heavily on the questionable "germ theory" which states that exposure to pathogenic organisms is the primary mechanism behind disease rather than the theory that the state of the body, its health and vitality, determine whether a body will become diseased and the extent to which it will resist and recover from disease. There is also no consideration in the vaccine industry about whether there is any disease for which the risk of death is so low that the risks of the vaccine are greater than any benefit that could come from avoiding the disease. This is most obvious to those of us who grew up in an age where everyone we knew had the chicken pox with no apparent danger to life and limb. But as the above article documents, this was also true for measles at the time the vaccine was introduced. Not only did very, very few people die or even need to be hospitalized for measles, modern medicine had discovered very effective vitamin treatments which completely cured measles in a matter of days.

I am always open to discussion of this issue as long as there are no ad hominem attacks. I am not afraid of any facts. Scare tactics don't work on me, so keep those to yourself. There are so many more aspects of this issue that are not discussed. Please surprise me with an argument I haven't yet heard.