Thursday, September 22, 2011

Randall Hoven IS either stupid, or a liar.

Hoven writes for the rightwing rag “American Thinker.” A superb example of how this creature from the far-right ga-loon is not in any way a “Thinker” is his September 22, 2011, article called “Science for Stupid Idiots.”

I think he might have got that one part correct- he might have been referring to his rightwing pals as “stupid idiots,” in which case he was admirably direct and perspicacious. On the other hand, it could be titled “Stupid Idiot Mangled Sciences,” depending on your assessment of Mr. Hoven’s intellect and honesty. I put it low.

He makes a general attack on science, but takes particular aim at medical literature on vaccinations, dietary salt, physics/cosmology (dark matter, Big Bang), global warming, brontosaurus, museum aircraft displays, evolution, Steve Gould’s “Mismeasure of Man,” and the CERN search for the Higgs particle.

He might have had some valid points on museum airfoil displays, and Steve Gould. I don’t care. I’ll take on the rest of his bullshit in the order that he dropped it.

Starting with his anti-vaccination screed,
“Here's my thinking on a vaccine, before injecting one of my kids with one: what are the chances of harmful effects without the vaccine, and with the vaccine? I want two numbers. My nutty logic is that I want to minimize the chances of harmful effects on my child. To calculate that for a particular vaccine, I need those two numbers. An emotionless robot or computer would need those two numbers. Yet we are rarely given even one of those numbers, much less both. Not from my doctor. Not from the CDC. Not from geniuses who write articles about how dumb I am for not simply believing their repeated assurances. They tell me it's all about informed consent, but they don't inform me (with the two numbers I need), and they don't ask for my consent. (Sometimes you can opt out, but try that with Hep B shots for your kid.)”

The reason why this is apparently reasonable, but is really stupid will follow.

Case in point: a recent press release from the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS told us that "few health problems are caused by vaccines." That report was then used to tell idiots like me, "For Pete's Sake, Go Get Your Kids Vaccinated Already!"

The NAS did not put a number on "few." Even if it did, that would be only one of the two numbers needed. In fact, the NAS explicitly said it doesn't have those two numbers. It said this about its study committee. “It did not examine information that would have allowed it to draw conclusions about the ratio of benefits to risks.”

So the NAS cannot draw conclusions about the single thing of importance to a parent. But somehow everyone else can. You see, "fact-based" people can draw conclusions even where the NAS can't. And therefore, you are an idiot to not vaccinate your kid.

If you want us to be fact-based, you ought to provide us some facts.”

So, let us be so bold as to give Mr. Hoven some facts. In fact, we will give him facts from the very reports he either never bothered to read, or was too stupid to understand. (Alternately, Mr. Hoven is relying on the stupidity of his readers to cover for his, or he is lying). The first fact is that the 800 page full report is freely available on-line, and if Mr. Hoven has problems with the press release, he should read the full report. But, even the six page short form “Brief Report” is enough to show Mr. Hoven, and us why he is either stupid, or dishonest (Is morbidly lazy an option? Maybe).

I wouldn’t want Mr. Hoven to suffer from eye strain, so not only will I limit my comments to the Brief Report, I’ll only need Mr. Hoven to look at a single page of the six, the one with Table 1.

Can Mr. Hoven see why he is either dishonest, stupid, or morbidly lazy?

I’ll point it out.

The worst that can happen to a child, or adult receiving one of the vaccinations studied, is no greater than the risk of having the disease! I’ll rephrase, there is not any additional risk to receiving a vaccination compared to having the disease, and vaccinations will protect millions and millions of people without any adverse effect at all. The key provision is that nearly a majority of people will need to be vaccinated. And this is where Mr. Hoven stands out. People can freeload on vaccinations. Granted that vaccinations have less average risk than the pre-vaccination disease rate over a population of people, they cannot be made entirely risk free. If nearly everyone is vaccinated against a disease, then the disease cannot reproduce itself with enough social density to be a general danger. A freeloader like Mr. Hoven lets everyone else assume the risk and they count on taking all the advantage.

Right-wingers like Mr. Hoven want us to assume the risks for him, and absorb the costs for him, so he can get a free ride and then complain about how he is oppressed.

What a crooked dumb ass! And what a typical right-winger!

I continue my remarks regarding Mr. Hoven's lack of ability in Part II.


CycleDoc said...

Greetings. Stumbled upon this, and, as a practicing internist for the past 36 years would suggest that you browse thru for some more info. "Herd immunity" is a failed concept. Now do not take that to mean that I am antivaccine, but many of the pro vaccine crowd simply do understand the limitations. And vaccination most definitely does NOT = immunization. IgG antibodies often confer nothing in terms of protection, and they do fade over the years even with the toxic boosters (containing alum salts as an adjuvant). The recent measles outbreaks occurred in VACCINATED individuals. For more on the inadequacies in vaccine claims, just look at next years FluMist. It was just condemned by the CDC subcommittee for 2017 but is being marketed anyway. It is worthless.

We, as responsible clinicians, are obligated to asked the right questions of the vaccine makers who at times are just as dishonest as the deniers.

Chris Foley MD

Gary S. Hurd said...

Thanks for your comment.

However, there is a strong empirical case for "herd immunity" in human populations from a significant number recent studies on a range of infectious diseases. I'll give you just a few examples below selected because they are recent, they are easily available, and having read them I find them to be competent.

But also important, they are from actual scientifically reviewed professional journals rather than the anti-vacc propaganda market. Since the real issues are scientific rather than a clinical practice, I'll use my 40 years of experience over your years as a clinician.

Tabrizi, S. N., Brotherton, J. M., Kaldor, J. M., Skinner, S. R., Liu, B., Bateson, D., ... & Malloy, M. (2014). Assessment of herd immunity and cross-protection after a human papillomavirus vaccination programme in Australia: a repeat cross-sectional study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 14(10), 958-966.

Kristiansen, P. A., Diomandé, F., Ba, A. K., Sanou, I., Ouédraogo, A. S., Ouédraogo, R., ... & Clark, T. A. (2012). Impact of the serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVac, on carriage and herd immunity. Clinical Infectious Diseases, cis892.

de Cellès, M. D., Riolo, M. A., Magpantay, F. M., Rohani, P., & King, A. A. (2014). Epidemiological evidence for herd immunity induced by acellular pertussis vaccines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(7), E716-E717.

Flasche, S., Van Hoek, A. J., Goldblatt, D., Edmunds, W. J., O’Brien, K. L., Scott, J. A. G., & Miller, E. (2015). The potential for reducing the number of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine doses while sustaining herd immunity in high-income countries. PLoS Med, 12(6), e1001839.