Skeptic’s Dictionary–Vaccines and Jenny McCarthy

Why write something when someone has said it better?

The ratio of reading to writing should be 100 to 1 or something like that.

Samuel Johnson ( b. 1709, editor of the first English Dictionary) was renowned for his sharp tongue.

When asked about a new rising writer he said “I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.”

This essay from the Skeptic Robert Carroll, who comments on the vaccine debate, Dr. Jay Gordon and the AVM crusade.

Jenny McCarthy claims that she cured her son’s vaccine caused autism with mother wit?

Please, what an ego. Either misdiagnosis or a therapeutic fantasy.

But it was natural and using the word natural is magical.

The other magical word that poisons the vaccine discussion is mercury, which has developed an iconic reputation for toxicity, in spite of the fact that it is not toxic in the amounts that were in the vaccines, or the tooth amalgams, or, for that matter, in the fish we eat. Do a search on mercury and see how the rare terrible poisonings in Mimimata, Japan and Basra, Iraq created a misunderstanding and fear that is not justified. Mercury and the heavy metals can be very toxic in big exposures with certain chemical molecular states, but those poisonings were unique catastrophes.

The Skeptic said one thing I disagree with when he claims that vaccines are unnatural. Vaccines are very natural, they take advantage of a natural process called immunity. Small pox vaccine, for example, was based on the study and use of a natural phenomena, the observation that milk maids seemed to be naturally resistant to small pox. The conclusion was a cross immunity from exposure to cow pox.

We can thank Edward Jenner for making cowpox vaccine for small pox, a live vaccine indeed, with what you might say is a pretty good reaction. I take care of military people who receive small pox vaccine which causes a local reaction of varying intensity and even a generalized rash sometimes called vaccinia, that is not a disease, just a rash from dissimination of the vaccine and a non clinical infection. That’s why live vaccines must be restricted for some vulnerable populations, but vaccines are still the way to go to prevent certain serious illnesses that maim or kill.

Millions have been saved from disfiguring severe illness or death from small pox. Small pox is now only considered in the context of weaponry for bioterrorism. The last community acquired small pox case was in Africa more than 20 years ago as I recall.

8 responses to “Skeptic’s Dictionary–Vaccines and Jenny McCarthy

  1. The observation that milk maids seemed to be naturally resistant to smallpox apparently took some effort to make and nontrivial intelligence and bravery to investigate:

    Little wonder then, that a procedure using cow-derived material became known as vaccination (the fact that makes it patently unnatural — didn’t we just establish that cows could not have evolved naturally?)

    It has a natural history predating cows, though:

    • no, I asserted that random modification and selection can’t make for functiinal complexity–not enough time for the randomness–so there is a mechanism that moves the process along in a directed way.

      Call it what you want.

      not unnatural, just unexplained by darwin or neo darwin theories. that’s all. I am not a young earth creationist.

      I have no dog in the fight about God or god and I think the selfish gene is a form or God or god for neodarwinists. and Chemicals don’t think or plan or design anything. nor do deoxy ribonucleic acids or ribonucleic acids, they are dumb because they are just molecules. There isn’t any brain or design there–we need to keep looking.

      John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

      • John, you know I was joking about cows being unnatural, right?

        But at the same time, the slight variations from the wild type they acquired are almost entirely man-made, which makes them evil for nature-worshipers. Nature = good, Man = bad.

        Seriously though, you need to stop thinking of life as random. I agree with you that random modification would not create anything, but life is so far from random that saying so is a gross abuse of the word. Life knows how to optimise itself in rational ways, to the extent that when we the intelligent ones are out of rational solutions to our problems, we turn to mimicking life (and often succeed):

        The selfish gene is just a maxim used to explain evolution to outsiders who like to dig themselves in a quagmire by trying to imagine funny concepts like “evolution of species”, as well as those who are obsessed with “complexity”, whatever it means to them. It has been observed that non-biologists attain better understanding of life, much sooner and with greater ease, if their attention is focused on the evolution of just one gene and its products, possibly in co-dependence with a limited number of genes. It is just a didactic method.

        • I don’t think of life as random.

          I assert there is nothing random about the mechanisms that produce complex functionality.

          John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

          • Very good. We are in agreement, then. Now we can scratch assertions such as “random mutations cannot create X”. We simply don’t know how life would develop if mutations were random. Real life is more fun.

  2. The only thing that the medical industry is good for is vaccines, antibiotics and mending multiple fractures. PERIOD. Twice last year I had bats dig thru my hair for mosquitos and got the rabies vaccine. I wonder if dum dum McCarthy would get her child the rabies vaccine if there was a possible rabies exposure? Or would her motherly love overpower and destroy the rabies virus? Hmm.

  3. Skeptic Dictionary also calls Milloy a quack, probably for not believing in AGW.

  4. Ugh, smallpox vaccine. :-P

    First, Olympus Mons erupts on my left shoulder (no kidding, it looked like a little 2-inch high scale model of the Martian volcano complete with the little crater at the top), then I end up with a low-grade fever and the worst fatigue, malaise and aches & pains I’ve ever felt. I’ve actually been diagnosed with the genuine flu, so that says something (at least to me).

    A week later I was finally able to crawl out of bed without the help of a family member or, for preference, a tow truck. And two weeks later, only the caldera remained of the mark on my shoulder.

    But hey, at least I never got smallpox. ^_^;;;

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