Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! And to celebrate the holiday, I think I'll give you all a bit of a holiday scare. This article by Kimberly Daniels was originally posted on Pat Robertson's website, CBN. The article didn't stay on that site for very long before it was pulled. Now, while I love kooky religious intolerance as much as the next person, Ms. Daniels has gone to far in this slanderous attack on one of my favorite holidays. Not only does she call Halloween the devil's holy day, confuse paganism with satanism, but then she had this to say:

During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

Oh, the horrors! Not the candy! I can live with the baby sacrifices and the orgies with demons, but leave my peanut butter cups alone. Wasn't the unfounded razor-blades-in-the-candy scare from the 80s bad enough? Now we have witches and warlocks running all the candy companies! Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, blogged about this story, which is where I first read about it, and had this to say:

Wow, it must be fun to live in an evidence-free world where you can simply assert whatever you want without proof or references or anything! Here, let me try: CBN is run by a TI 99-4a computer with buggy code that sometimes strings words together in patterns that almost make sense, if you squint and stand some distance away from them.

Hey, that was easy!

Isn't it fun to be scared on Halloween.

The Moon Strikes Back

Alright, the moon really wasn't trying to extract revenge for the LCROSS mission, in which NASA impacted a spent stage of a rocket into a shadowed crater near the south pole of the moon in hopes of finding water ice. However, the Earth really did get hit by an asteroid on October 8, of the coast of Indonesia.

According to NewScientist.com, an asteroid that was roughly 10 meters in diameter exploded with the force of 50,000 tons of TNT. That is three times the force of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. There was no damage because it detonated high in the atmosphere, at least 15 to 20 kilometer above the surface.

Bigger than 10 fucking meters

The scary thing, I mean the really fucking scary thing is this object was only 10 meters across! If it was a little bigger and hit a populated area, it could do some real damage. And we didn't even see it coming. While surveys have found most of the Near Earth Objects that could cause a global disaster, the ones a kilometer or so in size, only a small fraction of the objects under a 100 meter across have been found. Any of these could wipe out an entire city. The good news? An asteroid 10 meters in diameter or larger only hits on average once per decade.

Fighting Anti-vaxxers on Facebook

Recently, a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook. For those of you too lazy to click on the link, it is a video of some doctor on Fox News saying that the H1N1 vaccine is more deadly than the swine flu. Well, duty called and I just had do say something. Little did I know that I was about to begin an epic debate with Janet, the lady who first posted the video and a staunch anti-vaxxer. I'm going to copy the conversation and let everyone read it. I'll let you decide who won and who lost. I had a lot of fun debating her, I won't lie, but this conversation took hours of research, much more than I was expecting to get into when I posted my first jackass comment.

The debate is as follows:

Me: That doctor is a fearmonger. Almost everything in youtube info text is not proven or is a flat out lie. Think I'll trust the CDC over anything that is on Fox News.


Janet: Justin, I'm no Fox watcher, but I do find it strange that it was even broadcast on Fox. Now, please take a moment and do a little reading here before you go trusting the CDC. http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html All vaccines deliver foreign substances to the body. If the body does not recognize consumption as nutritive, then it must either store it, or eliminate it. No one ever died from a lack of aspirin and health cannot be found in a syringe or a bottle. Achieving and maintaining good health is the only way to prevent illness.

Me: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to characterize you in some way that you are not. However, I believe you do have a misunderstanding on how the immune system works. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle does lead to a healthier life, you are mainly cutting the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and related disorders. However, when an external germ invades your body, whether it be a virus, bacteria, or parasite, your immune system takes over. When a new virus invades your body, certain cells "read" the proteins on the virus then make antibodies. The antibodies tell other cells to recognize those proteins as foreign and to kill them on sight. But with some viruses, you can become very sick by the time this happens. All a vaccine does, is injecting those proteins without the virus, so your immune system will kill the virus on sight, with out the several day lag. There is no virus in the vaccine, many swine flu vaccines and all MMR vaccines have no thimerosal, the preservative that anti-vaxxers claim that cause autism and which, after years of study, has be conclusively shown that it does not. If you have any other concerns about the safety of vaccines, I would love to discuss them with you. I'm planning on getting my son vaccinated as soon as the shots are available.

Janet: Yes, that is precisely what I was taught in school, in college, and the like. I no longer believe any of that. For instance, you may find it interesting that the term "immune system" was not seen in textbooks or elsewhere prior to the 1980's. Every cell builds, cleanses and repairs itself at every given moment. Germs are ubiquitous and will seek food in acidic environments; namely unhealthy individuals that do not live in accordance with Nature's design. If anything, they are helping to clean up the mess like flies on garbage. Keep in mind that the germ theory is...a theory. Koch's Postulates disprove the germ theory as a causation for dis-ease. http://www.answers.com/topic/koch-s-postulates Also, Pasteur recanted the germ theory on his death bed. But, it was too late since our whole medical system now is built on a foundation of falsehoods, treating symptoms rather than removing the cause of disease. The medical model of treating dis-ease has caused more iatrogenic deaths than many wars. The numbers are sobering.

Me: First off, your claim that the term "immune system" was not used in textbooks or elsewhere prior to the 1980's is a logical fallacy. Science is constantly improving upon itself and coming up with new information. The text books are always being rewritten. This is not a failing of science, but a triumph. If science didn't progress humanity's knowledge, we would still be blood letting and having 35 year life spans. Second, people had a pretty good idea of what the immune system was and were starting to figure out how it worked as early as the 1890's.

While you are correct that every cell can repair itself to an extent, metabolize food and remove waste, the cells in a human are highly specialize. If your kidney cells aren't functioning properly, no other cell in your body is going to be able to filter out the toxins. All your cells will drown in their own waste without medical treatment.

While there are beneficial germs, ones, if fact, that we can't live without, there are also harmful ones. There are trillions of species of bacteria and to think that they are all benevolent is naive. The human body has a very complex system to keep its pH at a constant and correct level. If you eat something basic (the opposite of acidic) your stomach acids will just neutralize it, if it is to acidic you body will take care of that to. Either way, it doesn't effect the germs in your body.

Now onto germ theory! A scientific theory is not the same a the way a layperson uses the word "theory". A scientific theory is a collection of concepts used to describe the relationships between observed phenomnon. For example, if I let go of a book, it will fall to the floor. It does this every time I let go of it. This is a fact. To explain this fact, I'll use the theory of gravity. But in order for it to be a theory and not just a hypothesis, I'll have to do lots of experiments and prove beyond any doubt that it is true. That's what a theory is. We've had about 150 years of data on germs, and it is, without a doubt, a provable theory. It is one of the foundations of modern biology.

If fact, Robert Koch is on of its founding fathers. I don't know if you actual read the link you posted, but it disproves almost all your points.

From Wikipedia:

"Koch's postulates are:
The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy animals.
The microorganism must be isolated from a diseased organism and grown in pure culture.
The cultured microorganism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy organism.
The microorganism must be reisolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.

However, Koch abandoned the universalist requirement of the first postulate altogether when he discovered asymptomatic carriers of cholera[1] and, later, of typhoid fever. Asymptomatic or subclinical infection carriers are now known to be a common feature of many infectious diseases, especially viruses such as polio, herpes simplex, HIV and hepatitis C. As a specific example, all doctors and virologists agree that poliovirus causes paralysis in just a few infected subjects, and the success of the polio vaccine in preventing disease supports the conviction that the poliovirus is the causative agent."

Pasteur did not have a deathbed confession. Rumor like these have been around for ages about people who their critics want to discredit. I've heard the same things about Darwin, Newton, and Harry Houdini, who was a skeptic, atheist, and debunker of paranormal claims.

Vaccines and modern medicine have saved billions upon billions of lives in the last 200 years. More lives have been saved with vaccines than have been lost in every war, ever fought. EVER. If you would like, I can find you case studies of people who gave up modern medicine for natural cures for them selves or their children. They are either dead or in jail on manslaughter charges. If homeopathy, vitamins, wheat grass, or and of hundreds of other natural "cures" and snake oils actually worked, they wouldn't be alternative medicine. They would just be medicine. People would use them all the time and get results. However, all these things haven't been shown to be anymore effective than a placebo. That is the reason they aren't part of established medicine. No big conspiracy. They just don't work. When I say I stand behind the CDC, I'm saying I am standing behind 400 years of science, 150 years of pathological studies, and 70 years of vaccine trials.

Jordan fades back, swoosh, and THAT'S THE GAME!

If you have anything else you would like debunked, just let me know.

Janet: To say that making the claim that the term “immune system” was not used in textbooks or elsewhere prior to the 1980’s is a logical fallacy is hardly sincere. So much health news is given to us in terms of the immune system “fighting” this or that, rather than the body simply cleansing, building, and repairing itself as it does every given moment. Science today is a religion based on a very clear set of articulated beliefs, one being “reductionism”. Simply put, reductionism is that everything is equal to the sum of all its parts and can therefore be explained in terms of its parts. This approach fails miserably, in part, because the whole being, our inherent endowment, which humans do not comprehend at all, is nothing more than a set of parts to be manipulated, studied, surgically removed, genetically modified, and so on. What is lost is any conception of the organism as a whole, integral being. So, we have this illness, or that cancer, or this dis-ease, rather than conceptualizing the problems as a phenomenological response to conditions by the ENTIRE system. In other words, living organisms are greater than the sum of their parts.

You said, "While you are correct that every cell can repair itself to an extent, metabolize food and remove waste, the cells in a human are highly specialize. If your kidney cells aren't functioning properly, no other cell in your body is going to be able to filter out the toxins. All your cells will drown in their own waste without medical treatment."

Yes, this supports my earlier claim that living organisms are more than the sum of our parts. The dysfunction of an organ will affect other parts of the system as they are meant to work together as one entire system, rather than independently.

You said, "While there are beneficial germs, ones, if fact, that we can't live without, there are also harmful ones. There are trillions of species of bacteria and to think that they are all benevolent is naive. The human body has a very complex system to keep its pH at a constant and correct level. If you eat something basic (the opposite of acidic) your stomach acids will just neutralize it, if it is to acidic you body will take care of that to. Either way, it doesn't effect the germs in your body."

I don’t see bacteria and germs as either benevolent or capable of sporting an AK-47! (*smirk*) It is we that are at war with Nature. When we choose to eat in ways that increase the acidity (breakdown) of our body, we create an environment that attracts certain life forms, like a fly to garbage. Then, we eat drugs and antibiotics (“anti-LIFE”), that further the burden on the body to cleanse and repair itself.

You said, "However, Koch abandoned the universalist requirement of the first postulate altogether when he discovered asymptomatic carriers of cholera[1] and, later, of typhoid fever. Asymptomatic or subclinical infection carriers are now known to be a common feature of many infectious diseases, especially viruses such as polio, herpes simplex, HIV and hepatitis C. As a specific example, all doctors and virologists agree that poliovirus causes paralysis in just a few infected subjects, and the success of the polio vaccine in preventing disease supports the conviction that the poliovirus is the causative agent."

I listed Koch’s postulates as something to refute, actually. There are two obvious reasons why his postulates do not work. Healthy people often harbor germs that are said to cause one disease or another. This refutes his first postulate. Conversely, many people with a given disease have been shown to not harbor the “causative agent”. This also refutes the first postulate, that Koch abandoned. I would hesitate to claim that all doctors and virologists agree on anything. Here is one interesting related article that looks at the trouble with the poliovirus and explores other agents that cause polio:


It is said that Pasteur said, and yes, on his deathbed, that he confessed that microbes were not the primary cause of disease, but rather, a toxic “milieu interior” – an interior environment in which the microbes live – is the breeding ground for disease. But, I'm not really arguing what Pasteur said.

Take a look at these graphs please (real eye-opener) http://www.whale.to/a/graphs.html
and notice that vaccines are introduced when a specific dis-ease is already on the decline.

I know many people who have given up medical model thinking, and are enjoying better health as a result. My whole family is one example, and many, many others are doing the same. There are still many in the alternative health fields that treat symptoms, rather than removing the cause and creating health, to their detriment. Not all alternative methods are equal or accurate.

If you’re interested in exploring other paradigms, just let me know. I’m not competing with you, but seeking truth with wide-eyed wonderment. Peace. :)

Me: Statistics can be made to say just about anything. The problem is that many people confuse causation with correlation.

For example:


If I'm understanding your argument on the graphs that you linked, is that many diseases were in decline, some to the point of extinction, and that vaccines are just something that people came up with that don't really do anything. But if you look at the graphs all the disease began to decline around the same time, in the late 1800's. Why is that? In order for dozens of unrelated diseases to decline at the same time after centuries of being relatively constant, some thing had to have happened. That something is the development of germ theory and modern sanitation. Simply washing your hands with soap and water drastically cut rates of certain diseases. If your hypothesis is correct, and germs aren't the cause of disease, we wouldn't expect to see this drop.

If you don't mind, I would like to keep each post from becoming a novel, so I suggest that instead of throwing everything on the wall and seeing what sticks, we limit ourselves to just a few of the most relevant points and stick to those topics.

I think what this debate is eventually going to boil down to is the validity of science, so that is the point I'm going to argue. If you think other point is more important, I would love to debate about that instead.

You appear to be building a straw-man argument that science is a dogmatic religion that loves to break things down to their smallest parts and label them in its attempt to explain everything. However, none of this is true. Science is simply a process of how find an answer to a question through experimentation and reason. Science doesn't care what the answer is. For example, I'll use ESP. No one would love for psychic powers to be real more than me. However, to prove they are real, I would have to set up an experiment for a psychic to prove her powers, such as figuring out which cup out of 10 has a ball underneath it, or some other experiment in line with the claimed abilities. If she can do it repeatedly better than chance, there might be an actual affect there to study. However, since no one has ever done this better than chance in hundreds of experiments, I can only conclude that ESP doesn't exist, or if it does, it is so weak that it has no real affect on day to day life. I want ESP to be real, because, frankly, that would be awesome. But the evidence says that it is not, and I have to go with reality over my own wishful thinking.

The point about reductionism is also not true. Science never claims that everything is just a some of its parts. In fact there is something called Emergence Theory, which states that very complex systems can arise out of simple parts. Such as, a bunch of neurons sitting on a petri dish aren't going to do anything but metabolize and send electric pulses to each other. But if you get enough of them together, human conciousness emerges out of them. Not out of the neurons themselves, but out of the endless connections between them.

The point I am trying to make is that science delivers the good. In experiment after experiment, medicines have been shown to work, while natural cures work no better than chance. We may disagree on the philosophies of why the natural world is the way it is, but if you deny the evidence and you deny science, you are denying reality itself. The world works the way it works, not the way we wish it would work.

Janet: The article I linked to didn't appear to be read. You didn't mention anything from it. In short, the author explains that there are environmental causes to paralysis that can be diagnosed as polio. Viruses were not always present in those diagnosed with polio.

And he quotes, "Most of us are thus unaware of the historical importance of the hunt for the poliovirus during the first half of the 20th Century. It was the decades-long ‘Manhattan' project of virology; the project that established this science in the pattern that it has followed until today. It set out to prove a virus caused a major disease and took forty years to do so. It effectively removed from consideration other possible causes of epidemics. It would make vaccine provision a prime responsibility of governments, given this priority in practice over the provision of good water supplies and adequate nutrition."

And, "Some remembered that metal workers had suffered for centuries from a seemingly identical paralysis caused by the lead and arsenic in metals they were processing - the very same ‘heavy metals' that were sprayed up to 12 times a summer over apple orchards."

And, "A toxic cause for polio would crucially explain why farmyard chickens and animals were reported as suffering paralysis at the same time as the children. This should not have happened, according to the virologists, for their poliovirus can only infect humans."

As for the graphs, it is interesting to take a look at graph propaganda where the picture is only taken right before the vaccine is introduced. Take a look: http://www.whale.to/vaccine/graphs_lies.html

You wrote, "You appear to be building a straw-man argument that science is a dogmatic religion that loves to break things down to their smallest parts and label them in its attempt to explain everything." Rather, you appear to be inferring this from me. Please re-read what I wrote about reductionism. I did not say "dogmatic", nor did I say "smallest". I think you're missing my point. That there is "something" called Emergence Theory does not deny the overwhelming practice of reductionism. I commend you for reading about ET, just the same. Quantum physics is fun reading, too, but it's not being practiced in hospitals across the country as a method of treatment.

How can you say that science "NEVER claims that everything is just a some of its parts."? *sigh*

I'll just cut to the chase and say that I don't believe most science is valid. That is not to say I don't find some science useful in the quest for knowledge and truth. However, it is impossible to get meaningful results about true health when subjects are not optimally healthy to begin with. Our society does not study optimal health. We study disease and ways to treat it. I'd argue that virtually everyone in our modern times is afflicted with some kind of illness whether it is being overweight, diabetes, poor eyesight, cancer, or allergies. All of these are symptoms of poor health, ...of not living in accordance with Nature's design. Putting foreign substances into your bloodstream is not going to guarantee freedom from dis-ease. Only building health can liberate the body from dis-ease. It's sort of like being pro-peace, rather than anti-war.

Btw, I never once saw my mother in a hospital, or sick, until after she took a flu shot. It nearly killed her. Good luck. I wish you the best, and thank you for the discussion.

Me: Thank you for the discussion, I am really enjoying it. I would hope your mother is doing well. Flu vaccines do sometimes have very rare side effects. Like everything else, nothing is 100% safe. Does she have any allergies for chicken eggs? Eggs are used to make the vaccine and the doctor should have asked. If not, there is also the chance that it was a coincidence. Millions of people get flu shots every year, and millions of people get sick every year. Just by those staggering numbers alone, thousands will get sick following the flu shot, just as dozen will get run over by cars after receiving the vaccine. That doesn't mean they are related. Regardless, my best wishes to your mom, and I hope she had a speedy recovery.

I did read the link you sent. I didn't comment on it because, first, I would have rather made my point defending science because that's where the conversation was going and, second, the article was so full of misinformation I didn't know where to begin and didn't fill like writing a novel. Just a few of my misgivings about it: The whole article is an opinion piece by the author, Janine Roberts. She is not an expert in pathology, in fact, she isn't even a biologist. She has a phD in Theology. I don't know what your background is, but you and I are both just as qualified to as Ms. Roberts on the subject without reading any background materials. Ms. Roberts also claims that the polio virus wasn't found in the stool of patients suspected of having the disease. Her conclusion was that the people didn't have a virus, but were being afflicted with something else, namely, heavy metal poisoning. However, polio and poisoning with metals, such as lead, mercury and arsenic have very different symptoms. Polio's include fever, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, aseptic meningitis, loss of reflexes and later on, paralysis. Heavy metals on the other hand include, mental confusion, pain in muscles and joints, headaches, memory loss, nausea, paralysis, kidney failure, discolorations of the skin and a whole host of others. The only ones that are the same are nausea and paralysis. Any decent doctor should be able to immediately tell the difference between the two. (On a slightly different topic, you'll notice that autism is not on the list of effects. While we might not know for sure what causes it, we can positively rule out mercury poisoning, from vaccines or from the enviroment.) Also, most importantly, the heavy metal hypothesis fails to give an explaination for why polio is so highly contagious. Heavy metals have to be consumed, but you can pass polio on just by shaking someone's hand. Ms. Roberts DDT hypothesis about DDT being in everyones home also fail to explain all the evidence. Polio can be spread from person to person regardless of the chemicals in the home. Even during a worst case senario where millions of children were eating the DDT saturated wall paper of their homes and not just inhaling the fumes, the symptoms don't match.

And now a brief point about your graphs, and how they don't mean any thing because one describes measles deaths in America and the other is cases of infection. The graphs aren't comparing apples to apples. Plus that graph is only of America where modern medicine really started in the 1850's, there by contributing to the declining death rate. Worldwide however, the measles have kill 200 million people in the last 150 years, and I can't even guess how many were infected but survived with side-effects such as blindness and sterility.

The main thing I would like to argue, is not what we know, but how we came to know it. As I said before, science is a rigid system of checks and balances that tease the truth out by experimentation and making predictions. Scientist developed germ theory after years of collecting evidence and analyzing data. The people that you are getting your information from are either misinterpreting the work of others, or just making it up. Instead of coming up with the evidence to prove their hypothesises, these people slander real doctors such as Ben Goldacre, Michael Fumento and Rachael Dunlop (whom I've had the privelage of interviewing. If you, want the link I'll be happy to send it to you. However, be forewarned, it is more entertaining than informative.), doctors who are simply trying to get information out about evidence-based medicine. These aren't part of some big pharma conspiracy, they are only trying to save the lives of children. (sorry about that melodramatic last line. It is late and I am tired, but it is still true.)



Janet: Hi Justin,

And thank you for the civil discussion. I know that I am challenging the establishment, so to speak. And, I'm finding it a bit of a challenge to get across and express the different paradigm from which I argue my points. Too much of it warrants an introduction, which I have provided in an audio link near the end of this comment. My current perspective comes from an entirely different paradigm than the one I grew up with and have spent most of my adult life living by.

As for my mother, she died in March of '06 at the age of 77. A year after the flu-shot debacle, she fell ill to what they thought was West Nile encephalitis, then later she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, then diabetes about 6 months after that, then pancreatic cancer three months later. None of these ailments "run" in our family. She died at her home, four months later, with most of us (four out of five kids) surrounding her. Yes, it changed my life and the way I view health and dis-ease. She was a lovely woman. Think Audrey Hepburn and you have the charming woman my mother was. I am fully convinced that the medical model of treatment killed her. Unfortunately, it did not kill her hastily enough to save her from incredible suffering.

My thinking has gone through a tremendous overhaul as a result of that experience, and that of watching about twenty other close friends and family die from dis-ease, not naturally from old age. In fact, who does die naturally anymore from old age? Something is terribly amiss in Western medicine, and I know now that I had a lot to UNlearn before I could be fully ready to take in the knowledge that I have accumulated during and since my mother's illness and death.

So, we can argue back and forth the points on a point by point basis, but I suspect it is taking as much of your time as mine. I'm up now past my bedtime. Or, I can once again, cut to the chase and tell you that there is more out there than what modern medicine has to offer. I prefer to look at Nature for answers, since that is where we originate from. Yes, Nature. I belong to several raw food groups, and also a special group called the Path of Health run by an incredible person who speaks in the audio link. Please give him at least twenty minutes of your time before you decide anything (preferably the whole 90 min.) I have seen all kinds of dis-ease and illness reversed through better diet, fasting, and rest. Yes, even cancer. And, I've seen average people turn into spectacular athletes by changing their diet, getting fresh air, sun, water, and living as naturally as possible in this modern world. If you, or anyone reading this has the patience, is ready, willing, and able to listen to a 90 minute teleconference, then take a listen here:


I offer this to you as a gift. It is called, "What is Health?" It is the first of four teleconferences of which I was a part.

Ok, now if you see it completely necessary for me to argue the points you made, I'll be happy to do so, but at a later time. I simply can't devote the time for it now with my other obligations on hand.

Best regards,

Me: Thank you, I'll take a listen, although it might be later this weekend before I get a chance. I'm sorry about your mother. I've had a grandfather and a great uncle both die of pancreatic cancer. That disease probably scares me more than any other. Thanks for the conversation.
Wishing you the best,

If you, like me, thought the conversation was over, you are wrong.

Janet: Ok, so I'm still here. Did you get a chance to listen to the audio? Just curious. You might be interested in learning about some other interesting facts regarding vaccines.

Take a look at this:

And, to add to it, here's a video that should leave anyone a little shaken (if you have an hour).:

Darn, there's more. Here's another article of interest:

Peace out,
Janet - who is tired and ready to read in bed about the beef industry. Yes, I constantly research many topics.

Me: Sorry its taken me so long to respond. I've been very busy lately. I didn't have time to watch the video, but if it brings up any points that we haven't covered, I can trust that you will point them out to me.

It seems to me that Dr. Blaylock is making the claim that there is a vast conspiracy involving Big Pharma and the government in order to keep the population sick while at the same time making billions of dollars. He also claims that vaccines in general, and the H1N1 vaccine in particular are worse than the diseases that they are supposed to prevent. He also claims that the thimerosal that is used as a preservative in some vaccines actually causes mercury poisoning that leads to autism. Now, I can tear apart Dr. Blaylock's crediblity, poke dozens of holes in the conspiracy, and spend pages talking about how molecular chemistry works and the differences between ethylmercury and methylmercury, and the powers of one single atomic bond and how that can influence the world, but you and I both know that all of that won't change your mind. You believe what you want to believe and no amount of evidence will persuade you. So, what I'm going to do instead, for the sake of argument, is assume that all your claims are true. If they are true, it should be pretty easy to make predictions and find the evidence for them. All we have to do is ask and truthfully answer just a few simple questions.

1. Thimerosal causes autism

I'm starting with this one because it is the easiest to prove. If thimerosal causes autism, we should see a clear link between vaccination rates and autism rates. The more kids that get injected with thimerosal, the more kids should get autism. Now, we can talk about conspiracy theories and chemistry and ethics and whatever, but that is all skirting the point. Does thimerosal ACTUALLY cause autism? Lets look at the data. Thimerosal was removed from the MMR vaccine in 2002 and most other vaccines that children get before the age of one. We should see the autism rate in children plummet after 2002 because kids are no longer being exposed to thimerosal. What actually happened? Autism rates stayed the same. How can this be? The only answer that I can think of is that thimerosal does not cause autism. That is my first question to you. HOW CAN THIMEROSAL CAUSE AUTISM WHEN THE AUTISM RATES STAY THE SAME WHEN KIDS ARE NO LONGER EXPOSED TO IT?

Now, you can make the claim that why was it removed if it wasn't harmful? That question is just beating around the bush. It could be that is was removed for cost saving reasons. If it was harmful, the data would show it.

Also, on a related note, a recent study has found that autism rates have increased to 1 in 100 kids, up from 1 in 150. If there was some enviromental factor that was causing more and more kids to autism, we should be able to see that. As the the toxins increase in the enviroment, younger kids should get autism at a higher rate. Autism first appears in very young children, so there should be more 3 year olds with autism than 30 year olds, because the toxins, what ever they are, have increased since the 30 year olds were kids. But if we look at the age groups of the people with an autism spectrum disorder, we find that autism rates have increased across all age groups. How is this possible? All we have to do is broaden our definition of what falls on to the autism spectrum. If we do that, then more people from all walks of life will now be classified as autistic, even people who are mildly anti-social or introverted. Many of these people have such slight symptoms that no one would notice that they are autistic. If we look at the rates of the severally autistic people, they have held steady for decades. There is no out break of autism, just a change in the definition of autism. That is my second question to you. IF AUTISM RATES IN CHILDREN ARE INCREASING DUE TO AN ENVIROMENTAL TOXIN, WHY ARE THE AUTISM RATES OF ALL AGE GROUPS INCREASING BY THE SAME AMOUNT?

Now, you can't say that a 30 year old suddenly came down with autism, because that simply isn't true. There is no evidence for that ever happening. People in the older age groups have had those symptoms all their lives, but weren't considered autistic until recently.

2. Vaccines are worse for you than the disease.

If this is true, there should be more sickness and a higher mortality rate in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated. Now, I would like to point out before I go any further, that nothing is 100% safe and there will always be some risk involved, whether it is getting vaccinated or eating a peach. We just have to is if the benefits out weight the risks. In the case of the peach, it is easy to make the case that the benefits win out over the odds of choking on it or it being tainted. Now lets look at vaccines. I'm going to use the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. All the same claims have been made against it as the swine flu vaccine, so the comparison is valid. Lets look at the facts.

20,400,000 million people have been given the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer as of August 31, 2009. 10,326 people developed side effects, from sore injection spot and rash to nausea and fainting. Of those, 722 developed serious side effects, from serious fainting spells to blood clots. 20 people died within a year of getting the vaccination. However, all of those girl died of a variety of causes, such as stroke or heart attack. The lack of a pattern of symptoms would suggest that the vaccine didn't cause the deaths. Plus, the death rate is about the same as the unvaccinated group. With enough people, some will die by chance after any arbitary event. If a million people read this post, chances are 1 or 2 will die within a week, but I can be fairly certain this post didn't kill them. But, lets pretend for a minute that the vaccine did kill those 20 people. That would mean the chances of dying from the vaccine are 1,000,000:1 and you lifetime risk is 145,000:1. The odd of getting hit by lightning are 75,000:1. So if the vaccine does kill some people, you are twice as likely to be hit by lightning.

What are the chances of dying from cervical cancer? 500:1. Studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is nearly 100% effective in preventing the virus that causes 70% of cervical cancers. Even if it was only 25% effective, you are still better of taking it than going with out. If the vaccine is worse than the disease, how do you explain those numbers? The mortality rate of the vaccine should be higher than 500:1. Instead it is 1,000,000:1. You have a 50,000 time greater chance of dying from cervical cancer than the vaccine.

3. Vaccines are part of a conspiracy by Big Pharma to make billions of dollars.

My answer to this may surprise you. If it is true, so what. It is completely beside the point. The ONLY thing that matters it that vaccines are effective and cause much less pain and suffering than the diseases they are trying to prevent. As I've shown above, they accomplish that with flying color. If there is a big conspiracy to keep people sick, they are doing a crappy job of it. Now, don't get me wrong, those companies aren't saints. They are out to make a profit. But there are safeguards in place to protect the public. Every now and then something like Vioxx slips threw and shows that it is not a perfect system. But the system works better than the alternative. By which I am referring to the alternative health product companies which are totally unregulated and sell all kinds of snake oils and potions. If you're lucky, the products simply won't work. If your unlucky, they can have serious side effects, such as Airborne and ear candles. Some products can actually kill. Now, not all of this is quack medicine. But if it actually works, it becomes actual medicine. For example, there is a compound in willow bark that can treat minor aches and pains. Instead of giving people bark to chew on, which would have varying amounts of this compound, scientists isolated it and standardized it. Now this compound from the willow tree is known as aspirin.

Now, I've asked a few question here that your theory can not explain. And there are a few others, such as without the germ theory of disease, how can illnesses be spread from person to person? You can cherry pick the evidence all you want. You can pull out a quote here and a fact there, but you are still buried under a mountain of data that proves you wrong. If 99% of the scientific community agrees on something, chances are that 1% is not the lone voice of reason in a vast conspiracy. Chances are that 1% is deluded. I would take you seriously if you produce a study that is repeatable, that had a sample size of more than 15 subjects, and stood up to scientific review. But you can't. But you can't. All you can do is cherry pick the data for studies like the 1998 Wakefield study (which as been thoroughly debunk and retracted by everyone involved except Dr. Andrew Wakefield) while ignoring hundreds if not thousands of other studies. If you could look at all the data in an honest way, and put aside your predetermined beliefs, you would see that you are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being mistaken, it happens to everyone. But are you to proud to accept that? If you can produce the mountains of evidence, the hundreds of well designed studies, the scientific proof, instead of the conspiracy theories, bogus studies, and random people claiming to be experts, I would happily change my mind and admit I'm wrong. Can you?

Wow, did you read all of that? Congrats if you did. I didn't realize it was so long while writing it but now looking back at it, one would think it was a huge waste of time. I thought so too. After Janet's second post, I realize that I could never change her mind, but I was too proud to let her when the argument. A few days later, while at the coffee shop, an acquaintance stopped me and thanked me for writing all of that. A few other people had read all of that and had gotten some useful information out of it. Here's the kicker, after thanking me, the acquaintance apologized to me for not getting the flu shot yet!

Edit: There is an audio link in one of Janet's post that I had to disable the link on. For some reason it was showing up on the podcast feed. If you want to listen to it, just copy and paste the URL.