Stop the Anti-Vaccine Gospel

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Through the advancements of science, we now have vaccines that prevent some of the worst diseases that have affected millions of lives: smallpox, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella, measles, mumps, and chickenpox to name a few.  We no longer bear witness to children in leg braces or iron lungs, or the scars from smallpox.


 

 

  

Vaccines have saved millions of lives as well as improved the quality of life and yet there are those who, whether through abject ignorance or dogmatism, would bring back the ravages of disease.  Vocal anti-vaccine propagandists have already fostered outbreaks in the US and UK, as gullible parents choose to leave their children unprotected. Religious dogmatists have long been among those leading the charge against the advancements of science and medicine, hiding behind the 'right' to practice their faith

Texas pastor Kenneth Copeland is just another in a long-line of benighted religionists who encourage parents to ignore facts putting at risk not only children in their care, but all of us because of epidemiological considerations.  >Preventable diseases are on the rise including a new outbreak of measles and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of pertussis have affected Texans, with two infant fatalities. All preventable. All inexcusable.

This is not just a fight against dogmatic ignorance, this is literally a fight for the lives of innocents. Please join me along with my foundation in the battle to stop this harmful propaganda against vaccines. Donate now and do not remain silent on this issue.

-Richard

 

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Written By: Richard Dawkins
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60 COMMENTS

  1. Wouldn’t people feel better about getting vaccinated if the physicians would start explaining to parents and children what a vaccine is, how it was discovered, how it’s made and how it works. Tell them that they have done lab experiments in school maybe which let them observe the theory in action and express their own trust in the process. Give a short history on when and how vaccines were discovered and the successes that have happened etc… Also, the cocktail may also be scaring people. Why doesn’t the cocktail create something unknown and scary? I know it’s the internet age and we can get a great explanation from people here or on Wikipedia, but, knowing that your doctor has worked with viruses in school and getting his story about it would ease fear. How about in the waiting rooms instead of Muzak, fashion mags, garbage TV they put only science and medicine related material giving information about the most misunderstood and feared procedures. I don’t fear vaccines btw.

    • In reply to #1 by DWH:

      Wouldn’t people feel better about getting vaccinated if the physicians would start explaining to parents and children what a vaccine is, how it was discovered, how it’s made and how it works. Tell them that they have done lab experiments in school maybe which let them observe the theory in action a…

      Well, perhaps…. But physicians (at least in the US) have a very limited time with patients. A 30-minute lecture on the science of vaccination (which should have been covered already in HS Biology or Health class) is a little beyond the scope a well-baby office visit. And even if this were feasible, they are going up against the likes of Jenny McCarthy and her new bully pulpit on The View (a popular daytime TV show in the US for any who don’t know).

      Yes, many physicians can do a better job of explaining the benefits (and risks) of most everything they do. Physicians should certainly try and listen to and thoughtfully counter any objections patients have (outright dismissal and scorn will rarely accomplish much), but it is an uphill battle and any help people like Richard can give would certainly be welcome.

  2. As a natural skeptic, I would have to give some weight to the argument that the vaccines are not always pure and it’s the “other” stuff in them that causes problems. And some say that the body’s reaction to them when given too close together is the real problem.

    This site: http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.nl/2007/06/no-evidence-of-any-link.html

    has a list of studies showing dangers. I haven’t the expertise to determine if these studies are real or significant.

    But some of their arguments make sense. Many health problems are caused by an overactive immune system. From what I’ve read, the immune system evolves during one’s lifetime and thus is different in each individual – possibly invalidating the usual testing methods. Many of the concerns I’ve read speak of spreading out the vaccines so there isn’t as big of a cytokine storm – which can be quite damaging to a young child.

    And we all know that the pharmaceutical industry isn’t perfect. While I would still vaccinate my children, I don’t think they are 100% safe. Nothing is after all. What level of concern one should have is beyond my ability to judge. But a little skepticism isn’t all that bad.

    • In reply to #3 by rocket888:

      As a natural skeptic, I would have to give some weight to the argument that the vaccines are not always pure and it’s the “other” stuff in them that causes problems. And some say that the body’s reaction to them when given too close together is the real problem.

      This site: http://adventuresinauti

      Popular New-Age anthropocentric cults like the ‘Natural Skeptics’ will fizzle as education prevails. Conspiracy theories drive those who reject whole branches of science, as we see with immunology and climate science most conspicuously.

      A pity these devotees aren’t even a little sceptical of their leaders. Furnishing us with a link to fraudulent science by a Xian con-man like Andrew Wakefield was silly move in a forum like this.

    • In reply to #3 by rocket888:

      As a natural skeptic, I would have to give some weight to the argument that the vaccines are not always pure and it’s the “other” stuff in them that causes problems. And some say that the body’s reaction to them when given too close together is the real problem.

      This site: http://adventuresinauti

      Heres a critique of the first study in that list
      http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/09/17/another-weak-study-proves-vaccines-cause-autism/
      If you look closely at the rest of the list you will see that none claim to prove causation between vaccines and autism ; most are tentatively suggesting autoimmune causes for autism. You would need to prove that vaccines cause autoimmune disease ( and not say the environment) and they don’t make that link.
      The real red flag about this blog is the way they have cherry picked the research and not included the many studies that show no link between autism and vaccines. That’s the definition of bad science. Try and find more credible sources for your information.

  3. Except these things keep popping up, Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?, these pesky straight lines. Or Relative trends in hospitalizations and mortality among infants by the number of vaccine doses and age, based on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1990–2010. These are certainly alarming, what is the thought behind the rapturous support? Shouldn’t someone other than the corporations selling this check? What is wrong with these studies because this is in SAGE journals?

    • In reply to #6 by Jacques Bernheim:

      Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: these pesky straight lines…

      You joined today (welcome, incidentally) to assert that there is a “high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates,” without furnishing any credible supporting evidence.

      How do you justify your ridiculous claim that “closer inspection of correlations between vaccine doses, biochemical or synergistic toxicity, and IMRs is essential” when after applying our honesty-detector protocol, aka Tukey-Kramer post-hoc correction to those deadly linear, illusory, “pesky straight lines” or your’s simply evaporate when analysing populations administered with common dosages?

      Now that’s significant.

      These are certainly alarming, what is the thought behind the rapturous support?

      Insufficient or inadequate education among populations I think. Ignorant and passionate believers simply adore a conspiracy theory. Anti-vaxxers reliably reject climatology too.

      Please correct me if I’m mistaken. Your second linked paper suggests that some babies aged precisely 7 months, not more or less, when administered 8 vaccinations, are occasionally hospitalized with complications (per ANOVA).

      Additionally, following statistical analysis, an insignificant proportion of new-borns die.

      I do regret not going straight to the end to find this telling declaration:

      Conflict of Interest Statement: Neil Z Miller is associated with the ‘Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute’.

      He’s a quack.

      • Len Walsh replied and tried to scratch my eyes out? Wow, what a sensitive little flower. I asserted nothing, I cited published articles in recognised journals which apparently have a peer review process. Placing the titles of the article as the link is hardly an assertion, as you so amusingly assert. Do you know what ‘assert’ means? I did not ‘state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully’ at any stage. Then in a schoolboy howler you write “How do you justify your ridiculous claim that “closer inspection of correlations…” – I made no claims at all, I do not and did not justify anything other than a possible reason why unread and frankly unqualified people get so angry about things they are incapable of comprehending – sadly this is just what Len did. I was amused by the ‘certainty’ displayed in the dangerous garrotted statistical struggle to find ‘errors’ to prove an opposing view. I am not really sure why you are attacking me for highlighting the problem in these journals. So after you have wiped yourself off of whatever toilet wall you were spreading yourself all over, you then state ” following statistical analysis, an insignificant proportion of new-borns die” – and expect that to be a meaningful? I always love when titles have to be misquoted and combined with some other copy and pasted words to generate a false statement for the creationists to splutter over. I try to avoid those techniques Len, but it is clear you are far less choosy.

    • In reply to #6 by Jacques Bernheim:

      Infant mortality rates… synergistic toxicity?…hospitalizations…mortality among infants by the number of vaccine doses and a…

      Mr Bernheim, so sorry. In my haste to respond to your DoomsDay Gospel I completely neglected your final questions.

      Shouldn’t someone other than the corporations selling this check?

      Epidemiology is a robust, scrupulous, evidence-based science with increasing utility. If you don’t believe that you need a new book.

      What is wrong with these studies because this is in SAGE journals?

      Being fraudulent they effectively cause serious harm to the health of children and adults alike. When a club mate or fellow parishioner distributes faked data they become frightened and easily persuaded its legitimate, reject science, and endanger the entire herd including those of us who know better.

      Was that all you needed to know, Bernheim? Because others here are better informed than me, and they’re very helpful, so feel free to ask.

      • In reply to #15 by Len Walsh:
        Indeed, haste being your word, not mine. You do certainly seem to have completely misunderstood the content and reason for the post and assume your own agenda. These papers are specific examples of this problem you seem blissfully unaware of. I caution you to moderate your tone, my doctorate is not in question and neither is my comprehension of science nor faculty tenure. I have no ‘religion’ and never have – I knew that in the 70′s as a small child diagnosed with diabetes. The ‘rapturous support’ for papers as I posted is rife. Posting a reference on this chat forum need not be an indicator of ‘support’ or ‘belief’ – what an idiotic construct. This article is entitled “Preaching the Anti-Vaccine Gospel Leads to Outbreaks of Preventable, Deadly Diseases” and I offered examples of this problem, only to be screamed at by you, accused of all manner of your fantasies, non-contextual and complete re-writing of a very short post and a variety of other repellent scribblings. You were asked nothing. One thing of value however was your acknowledgement that “others here are better informed than me”, albeit a statement of the obvious.

        • In reply to #32 by Jacques Bernheim:

          In reply to #15 by Len Walsh:
          You do certainly seem to have completely misunderstood… I caution you to moderate…

          No. If you could provide evidence to support the rapturous Gospel you’re so desperately peddling, that would be entirely different. We scientists would have noticed evidence had it existed, you may be reassured of that.

          You were asked nothing.

          I answered each of your questions carefully and deeply regret you have taken my expert criticism of your world-view so personally.

          only to be screamed at by you

          My gentle rebuke for proselytizing your faith in the Anti-Vaccine Gospel with crafty propaganda wasn’t intended personally. I know you visited in good faith with a flawed message others have seduced you with. Faked science can look mighty impressive to anyone not familiar with the process.

          repellent scribblings.

          Unfortunately science can be very confronting, even scary whenever it threatens our most cherished beliefs. As I explained however, just because a scientifically-illiterate friend has reassured you that the faked data you quoted is significant, doesn’t mean it is so.

          • In reply to #33 by Len Walsh:
            It is always amazing what a failed GCSE in Chemistry can lead some angry and ignorant wannabes to believe about themselves, their ability or even their thinking.

          • In reply to #50 by Jacques Bernheim:

            In reply to #33 by Len Walsh:
            It is always amazing what a failed GCSE in Chemistry can lead some angry and ignorant wannabes to believe about themselves, their ability or even their thinking.

            Agreed.

            When pretenders feign scientific expertise or distribute fake statistics, real scientist like myself can quickly identify their crafty propaganda. To their target audience however, they can sound utterly convincing. To be successfully conned by the Anti-Science Gospel the rapturous support of fellow parishioners is essential, because real scientists respect statistics.

  4. So one day there will be a real pathogen and all those anti vaccers will not take it . O bloody hell ‘ It’s poetry in motion and think of the irony ‘that the most popular views of the conspiracy theories are that vaccines are to depopulate
    So seriously ‘ If I was a really evil Illuminati ‘I would first do a few scares and then when the complacency is sufficient then release the real deal . I can think that and I’m not Satan

      • In reply to #9 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #8 by ccr5Delta32:

        Almost makes me want to engine… no wait, I’m not a Social Darwinist! :D
        I wish Richard Dawkins or/and someone as eminent in the field would weigh in on that one ” Social Darwinism” It’ almost as stupid as the girl who say’s she found God’s plan for her after having acid thrown in her face , Yes ! almost !

          • In reply to #12 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #10 by ccr5Delta32:

            As you realise, Dawkins has! Pls fix your formatting.

            I just click ” Reply “

          • In reply to #13 by ccr5Delta32:

            Try clicking “Help with formatting click here”

            Odd how you got it right this time.

        • In reply to #10 by ccr5Delta32:

          Almost makes me want to engine… no wait, I’m not a Social Darwinist! :D I wish Richard Dawkins or/and someone as eminent in the field would weigh in on that one ” Social Darwinism” It’ almost as stupid as the girl who say’s she found God’s plan for her after having acid thrown in her face ,

          Dawkins has “weighed in” on social darwinism plenty of times. In The Selfish Gene, which I think was his first book, he was very clear that he was not siding with all the misinterpretations of darwinism to right wing social agendas. Steven Pinker is another eminent person who has said the same thing.

          • #10 by ccr5Delta32:

            Almost makes me want to engine… no wait, I’m not a Social Darwinist! :D I wish Richard Dawkins or/and someone as eminent in the field would weigh in on that one ” Social Darwinism” It’ almost as stupid as the girl who say’s she found God’s plan for her after having…

            It’s the worst sort of dishonest strawman to claim Richard Dawkins favors Social Darwinism. And to assume he does despite his many comments to the contrary is, basically, the error of the naturalistic fallacy. It’s the error of thinking a person who says “It is true that events happened this way” is automatically saying “Its morally good that events happened this way.”

            Nobody would dream of accusing a historian of favoring genocide just because the historian accurately described a genocide that occurred. And they wouldn’t dream of accusing that historian of preferring genocide even when that historian is a vocal advocate for making sure people are taught the truth about the historical fact that the genocide happened.

            But when it’s a scientist talking about the world, suddenly people mistake being passionately happy about teaching the truth with being passionately happy THAT a thing is true. Those are NOT the same thing.

            And I think the fallacy stems from the dishonest practice known as “faith”, combined with a bit of projection. A person who themselves employs the magical thinking of faith has deliberately chosen to conflate in their minds the concepts of wishing with believing. They’ve gone through the deliberate effort of brainwashing themselves with this notion until finally they’ve warped their minds enough that they now see wishing and believing as two words for the same thing. So when they hear someone else express belief that a thing is true, they automatically assume that person is simultaneously expressing a preference for the thing – wishing it to be true.

            And that’s where people start assuming someone passionately saying “Darwinism is true” is saying “Darwinism is wonderful and we should use it as our moral guide”.

            Most biologists who REALLY understand the world of nature do NOT go around talking about how wonderful of a model it is to emulate. They describe it as brutal and unfair.

  5. I think people would feel better about getting their child vaccinated if vaccines linked to Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation had not been responsible for fourty eight thousand cases of child paralysis only this year. This was raised with Gates at a public forum, and staggeringly, he never denied the figure. He simply waffled on about vaccines being the best way to bring the population down. The more extreme accusations that they are some weird eugenics solution become much harder to dodge when Mr Gates is a poster boy for the industry.

    People know very well what a vaccine is. They know what it’s supposed to do. But the fact remains that cases of severe disorders do follow vaccinations, even in America, and authorities seem to have no idea why; they don’t really seem to care. They just say, go and have them and hang the risk. The laws in America are biased to such a degree that the vaccine companies are even exempt from damages, just like Monsanto is now exempt from any damages resulting from their tampered crops and pesticides. It is puzzling that the country which eats pesticides and worm poison can’t find a cure for cancer! The government is seen as corporation masquerading as a government. This has affected the perception of vaccines too.

    With social media, it is very difficult to keep all these things under wraps, which is why many people are questioning the “official shouting.” The government has an appalling track record in cases of public safety. I myself started life on Hall Green Estate, later found (after 50 years of denials) to have been built on a toxic waste dump. Nickel, cadmium, mercury and a dozen other hard-to-get-rid-of factory wastes had been dumped on a massive site there after the war, and then – hey! Let’s build a housing estate on it! After people got sick, and children were told not to play in the gardens because toxic sludge was oozing out of the flower beds, the government got all bashful and said they had no idea what it could be. Decades passed with no admission.

    In any case, you can hardly encourage people to be skeptical, and then forbid them to be skeptical about vaccines. They don’t refuse vaccines in order to be stubborn and chalk one up against the man in the peaked cap; they do it because they feel they have a very good reason. Unless you respect that, deal with it, and stop making them out to be some kind of loons, you’re just turning up the volume on some awfully tedious music we’ve all heard before.

    • In reply to #17 by iain399:

      …responsible for fourty eight thousand cases of child paralysis only this year…

      I think I found the source of this Anti-Vaccine Gospel. Please correct me if I’m wrong. The first narrative came from the Book of alt-Epidemiology, 4:20, where it came to pass and Bill Gates publicly announced that vaccines could help reduce the world population by 15%.

      An amusing fairy tale and quite understandable in the intended context, to terrify the flock.
      I hadn’t heard of Alex Jones though I recognized his paranoid style. We suffer a similar media conspiracy theorist, or shock-jock, named Alan Jones. His spiel is that the communists, climate scientists and the extreme greenies conspire to de-industrialize the world.

      Or was that tract from the discussion forum at homeopathyworldcommunity?

      you can hardly encourage people to be skeptical, and then forbid them to be skeptical about vaccines…

      You can’t peddle parables and expect people to accept them uncritically. Doubting the integrity of entire scientific disciplines (epidemiology, climatology, psychiatry) isn’t scepticism.

      they do it because they feel they have a very good reason. Unless you respect that, deal with it, and stop making them out to be some kind of loons

      Feeling you have a reason isn’t adequate. You would need a powerful reason to follow the Anti-Vaccine Gospel, not a feeling.

      • You can read about the thousands of children suffering paralysis on many news sites – it’s been investigated, and nobody has denied it. WeAreChange.org were the ones who actually confronted Gates about it during a question and answer, and even he didn’t deny it. He didn’t even react – which is most odd.

        I did see a video of Gates talking in which he claimed vaccines were a good way to reduce population. he said it – I can’t make sense of it. I don’t for one moment think that he used vaccines to destroy people. But you can understand why people might assume such a thing when he doesn’t react, doesn’t deny, doesn’t care much. 48,000 is about half the population of the town I live in. That’s a lot of damage!

        The point is, you’re asking people to accept a risk of which they were not aware before. To conflate that risk aversion with some kind of act of blind faith is weird. People are more aware now, and in a toxin-saturated world, are far more cautious when it comes to their children. Explain why some people’s lives are ruined by vaccines, statistically correlate those numbers with risk of infections, and you have some kind an argument. But just stand there shouting “yah boo sucks” and you make the whole thing sound even less credible than before!

        • In reply to #23 by iain399:

          yah boo sucks

          “yah boo sucks”

          Will Yah Boo protect any children who haven’t been immunized against pertussis?

          Can you guarantee your Yah Boo won’t kill summarily?

          If we do accept your Anti-Vaccine propaganda, should Richard Dawkins face prosecution for complicity in those 48,000 deaths?

        • Thanks to Ignorant Amos for the link –
          368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages from Anti-Vaccination Gospel

          In reply to #23 by iain399:

          48,000 is about half the population of the town I live in. That’s a lot of damage!…

          The toll from your Gospel now exceeds half a million victims, and look at the monetary cost.

          they are some weird eugenics solution

          If you believe Richard Dawkins, through his foundation, is promoting some eugenic solution, why did you join?

          675,000 victims Iain399, why that’s a lot more people than live in your town.

        • In reply to #23 by iain399:
          Ok Iain, I’ll explain why vaccines can reduce the world’s population in words that you may understand.
          The current population growth is clearly a problem, especially in counties where it is difficult to sustain large families due to poverty and famine. High child mortality also leads to high birth rate, as people have low confidence that their children will survive. The best way to encourage people to reduce their family size, and therefore reduce poverty, is to increase their confidence in the survival of their children. This is achieved by the success of the vaccination programme.

    • In reply to #17 by iain399:

      With social media, it is very difficult to keep all these things under wraps, which is why many people are questioning the “official shouting.” …

      Are you supporting Richard’s call to speak out about this, by complaining that you want your donation to his foundation refunded?

      Or are you merely manufacturing an excuse to avoid donating?

  6. Professor Dawkins’ attempt to blame religious teaching for the failure of vaccination programmes betrays his obsession with making religion the scapegoat for all the world’s ills, even when he has no evidence to support his opinion.

    Anyone in the UK concerned about the efficacy of vaccination programmes would start by looking at last year’s measles outbreak in Swansea, with 1,200 reported cases and one death. Vaccination levels in the area (and across the whole UK) fell significantly after the publication of a 1998 medical paper in The Lancet that linked the MMR vaccine to autism and other medical conditions. This paper was later found by the British Medical Journal to have been fraudulent.

    Not even Professor Dawkins can blame religion for this outbreak, which is presumably why he had to go all the way to Texas to do some anecdotal scare-mongering. What evidence does he have that the 2,000 cases of pertussis are linked to Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s teaching? Specifically, how many parents chose not to vaccinate their children based on his advice? How many parents chose not to vaccinate their children for other reasons and, crucially, what were those reasons? If Professor Dawkins has this data, he has a duty to share it. If he doesn’t, this article is nothing more than random, unfounded speculation.

    If Professor Dawkins really cared about saving children’s lives, he’d be raising money for the education of all parents about the benefits of vaccination instead of hijacking the cause to advance his own anti-religious obsession.

    • In reply to #21 by Humbug:

      The strawmanning is strong in this one.

      What evidence does he have that the 2,000 cases of pertussis are linked to Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s teaching?

      Where does he say the 2,000 cases of pertussis are linked to Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s teaching?

      I’ll help you with your reading and comprehension skills. What RD wrote was…

      “Vocal anti-vaccine propagandists have already fostered outbreaks in the US and UK, as gullible parents choose to leave their children unprotected. Religious dogmatists have long been among those leading the charge against the advancements of science and medicine, hiding behind the ‘right’ to practice their faith.”

      Where he gets off mentioning Pastor Kenneth Copeland as an example of Religious dogmatist leading the charge against the advancements of science and medicine, hiding behind the ‘right’ to practice their faith? Why from Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s own church of course.

      There’s a Measles Outbreak at Vaccine-Denying Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s Fort Worth Church

      “He’s[the pastor] far from the most vocal proponent of the discredited theory that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism, but, between his advocacy of faith healing and his promotion of the vaccine-autism link on his online talk show, he’s not exactly urging his flock to get their recommended shots.”

      Specifically, how many parents chose not to vaccinate their children based on his advice?

      Well you are obviously aware that it was the fudged Lancet paper and media bandwagon that caused the problems in the UK, that’ll be the “Vocal anti-vaccine propagandists” that Richard Dawkins mentions. If it’s testimony as to how vaccine denial works out, including backward religious influence, check it out…What’s the harm in vaccine denial?

      How many parents chose not to vaccinate their children for other reasons and, crucially, what were those reasons?

      Well that’s one for you to answer…good luck with that enterprise.

    • In reply to #21 by Humbug:

      Professor Dawkins’ attempt to blame religious teaching… Specifically, how many parents chose not to vaccinate their children based on his advice? How many parents chose not to vaccinate their children for other reasons and, crucially, what were those reasons?…

      Religious indoctrination seems to prune many neurons crucial to developing a module for effective reasoning .

      Every death from pertussis or measles can be attributed to Andrew Wakefield’s defective Xian parenting.

      It was Wakefield who originated the Anti-Vaccination Gospel we now find being peddled here by some contributors. Wakefield is an ignorant Xian swindler, unqualified in epidemiology to begin with, and no longer considered a doctor of medicine.

      Following his deregistration for fraudulent behaviour in Britain he abandoned gastroenterology to take up a position in a Texas alt.medicine woo facility funded by Xian fundamentalists, adding relevance to Richard’s location.

      If Professor Dawkins really cared about saving children’s lives

      If you cared your complaint may instead have been a donation.

    • In reply to #21 by Humbug:

      Professor Dawkins’ attempt to blame religious teaching for the failure of vaccination programmes betrays his obsession with making religion the scapegoat for all the world’s ills, even when he has no evidence to support his opinion.

      Anyone in the UK concerned about the efficacy of vaccination progr…

      Could it have been Richard’s selection of the word ‘Gospel’?
      Was that it Humbug?

      Was Dawkins grandstanding outside his proper domain with deranged lunacy, to use what I’ve been led to believe is a celibate colloquialism for ‘untidy fraud’?

      A free, evidence-free, diagnosis that Richard Dawkins suffers from obsessive disorder doesn’t quite cut it, scientifically, theologically, horticulturally, aerodynamically.. gee… it’s just a fail any way you look at it.

      Support childhood vaccination! Globally, and Swansea will catch on.

  7. In reply to #25 by Len Walsh:

    If you cared your complaint may instead have been a donation

    The request is for a donation to the Richard Dawkins Foundation, whose stated activity is “the advancement of rationalism and humanism”. Given that RD is not renowned for work in improving vaccination rates, he needs to demonstrate that he is more than a celebrity adopting a cause of the week, particularly if he is going to be spending the money himself rather than donating it to a medical charity. What is his strategy? How much will it cost? Which geographical areas is he targeting? In other words, where will my money go?

    Crucially, if the priority is vaccinating children, why is he focusing on nine cases in the USA when there’s a far larger issue on his own doorstep? Isn’t it because his priority is to attack religion, not to improve vaccination?

  8. In reply to #27 by Humbug:

    In reply to #25 by Len Walsh:

    If you cared your complaint may instead have been a donation

    Humbug, perhaps if you were to read Richard’s OP reason could yet prevail.

    What is his strategy?

    How much will it cost?

    Which geographical areas is he targeting?

    In other words, where will my money go?

    What evidence does he have… Specifically, how many parents chose…How many parents… crucially, what were those reasons?

    Dawkins’ attempt to blame, when he has no evidence to support his opinion.…

    Dawkins anecdotal scare-mongering…

    Dawkins article is nothing more than random, unfounded speculation.

    Dawkins (is) hijacking the cause to advance his own anti-religious obsession.

    Richard explained it thus – Rejecting epidemiological considerations through abject ignorance or dogmatism kills and maims kids

  9. In reply to #28 by Len Walsh:

    Rejecting epidemiological considerations through abject ignorance or dogmatism kills and maims kids

    Len, I agree that misinformation is putting children’s lives at risk. I understand that Pastor Kenneth Copeland spread that misinformation and that this resulted in 9 cases of measles. However, even Ignorant Amos quotes that “he is far from the most vocal proponent of the discredited theory that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism.” I think all people who choose not to vaccinate their children should be given the facts, not just those who were told not to by a pastor. With that in mind, I think 1,200 cases of measles in Swansea is a better starting point than 9 cases in Texas.

    Every death from pertussis or measles can be attributed to Andrew Wakefield’s defective Xian parenting

    Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent research was not based on his religious beliefs. His data was analysed, interpreted and presented on a scientific basis, his findings were published in his capacity as a qualified doctor in a medical journal and publicised by the secular media. If we want to stop damage like this recurring, we need to look to the way medical papers are commissioned, published, peer-reviewed and reported on in the media.

    This is a scientific issue, not a religious one.

    • In reply to #29 by Humbug:

      This is a scientific issue, not a religious one.

      Len, …

      Religion poisons science.
      Blaming science for creating the indefensible Anti-Vaccine Gospel being ventilated in this thread by the hit ‘n run contributors is religious politics. So no, it’s just ridiculous humbug to call politicking Anti-Vax propaganda a scientific issue when science is the victim.

      Blaming Dawkins for “random, unfounded speculation” is priest-like ignorance and eviler yet.

      I think 1,200 cases of measles in Swansea is a better starting point

      Naturally. Your most ‘crucial’ need appears to be for something to foam about Dawkins, and is both apparent, and puzzling.

      You argue like a celibate Scientologist with a first-aid badge… or perhaps Pastor Copeland’s indignant, frothing, Abstinence-only mother.

      Meanwhile, those of us supportive of reason, science and healthy sexual development remain convinced that epidemiology is a global concern. The Gospel of Wakefield’s victims will likely number in the millions before the fruits of this particular version of scientific denialism is fully realized . You may enjoy bragging rights for originating this Gospel where Wakefield devised it, but he works for evangelical Xians in Texas these days, not Swansea.

      Texas? Now that place rings a bell. Oh yes, that’s where Richard is too.

      Wakefield’s fraudulent research was not based on his religious beliefs

      How do you know this? I disagree. Wakefield is a celibate Xian fraudster. You insinuate it was scientific and distributed by secular forces when the deception wasn’t based on science.

      Wakefield remains lovelorn and unqualified with no credible theory, but he didn’t misunderstand or confuse the science. His interest was personal and his efforts were funded by American litigants, almost exclusively non-celibate Xian fundamentalists and a handful of Scientologists. Wakefield falsified data, switched temporal relationships of vaccines to symptoms, and invented pathology findings using fictional patient records. Such fudging of data was intended to discredit epidemiology wholesale, which it successfully managed to do for over a decade. Secularism and science didn’t create this evil Gospel. They were hijacked by Wakefield and the millions of devotees who now reject epidemiology. Many don’t know it was Wakefield who wrote this gospel but they don’t know who wrote their bible either. Manufacturing data to discredit established MMR inoculation programs worldwide has been judged unscientific and fraudulent.
      Wakefield’s motivation was to create an instantaneous worldwide market for his own patented measles vaccine.

      Vocal anti-vaccine propagandists have already fostered worldwide outbreaks by appealing to gullible parents. Dogmatic religionists are the most prominent among celebrity promoters like McCarthy, Carrey and Angela Dorey. Copeland is just another one. One who is in Texas promoting Wakefield’s evil Gospel and also where thousands of kids are suffering or dead as a direct consequence.

      Now, you insist the press is to blame for disseminating this Gospel, this Preaching of the Anti-Vaccine Gospel which is Proven to Lead to Outbreaks of Preventable, Deadly Diseases.

      • In reply to #34 by Len Walsh:

        You cannot escape the fact that Andrew Wakefield made no use of religious arguments or dogmas in his report. In other words, what he did could be done by any person, regardless of whether they’re religious or not. Your theory would only stand up if fraud in the scientific community is exclusive to religious people. If you believe that, you’re as misguided as the religious fanatic who believes his pastor is infallible.

        Religion poisons science

        That is only true if you define religion, as RD does, in such narrow terms that it is unrecognisable to any of the main Christian denominations. You will be aware of many ground-breaking scientists, both now and in the past, who are also committed Christians. Rabbi Jonathan Sachs explains the complementary relationship between science and religion very clearly in his “letter to a scientific atheist” in his book The Great Partnership. I’d be interested in your thoughts on it.

        If you restrict your reading to atheist writers only, try Professor Richard P. Feynman, “The Meaning Of It All”, which addresses very similar points.

        You argue like a celibate Scientologist with a first-aid badge… or perhaps Pastor Copeland’s indignant, frothing, Abstinence-only mother.

        How does a “celibate” person argue? If I told you that I wasn’t a celibate Scientologist with a first-aid badge or an indignant, frothing, abstinence-only mother, would that make my points any more or less valid?

        In a similar vein, how do you know that Andrew Wakefield is “lovelorn” and, even if he was, what relevance does that have to his scientific theories? If the theory is invalid, it should be condemned on its own terms, not because of the personal life of the person proposing it.

        • In reply to #35 by Humbug:

          In reply to #34 by Len Walsh:

          Humbug.
          In other words you can’t prove Wakefield wasn’t raised by Xians to adopt specific values. Next thing you’ll deny Xian indoctrination adversely influenced the developing moral fibre of Robert Mugabe, Stalin and Hitler.

          We can’t say with absolute certainty that Kim Il Sung’s historically devout Christian family caused Nth Korea’s current predicament exclusively. Nor can we say with eternal precision that violently-abusive, biblical parenting provides the complete or total account of why young Adolf, Robby or Joe eventually ran amok. Their Christian schooling, doubtless, also contributed significantly, but how would you expect to measure the respective contribution now?
          In Pol Pot’s case the prestigious Catholic school École Miche, in Phnom Penh, appeared to be more developmentally influential than his family’s Theravada Buddhism, but Jesuit schooling can do that.

          All we can say now with any real precision is that religious people contrived this evil Anti-Vaccination Gospel, and religious people continue to proselytize it.

          I’d be interested in your thoughts on it.

          I doubt that. Feynman wouldn’t promote the Anti-Vaccination Gospel.
          In any case my interest lies in how people develop their weird ideas, especially contempt for epidemiology or climatology. Occasionally grown people will accept real and serious physical handicaps as gifts to be respected, provided their parents had already impressed them. Examples include hair lips, deafness and virginity.

          If I told you that I wasn’t a celibate Scientologist… what relevance does that have to his scientific theories? If the theory is invalid…

          Your combative and frustrated style don’t manage to validate Wakefield’s theories as being flawed scientific constructs rather than a devious scam to discredit science for personal gain. Wakefield’s plan was to generate the anti-science gospel you are helping to promote by attacking Richard Dawkins.

  10. The only solution to the religion problem in the world is to SILENCE THE CLERGY. No longer can governments stand by while the clergy incite hatred, violence, bigotry, and more to fleece the gullible and treasuries. There are laws for fraud and they certainty apply to the clergy. For the common good of all and for a more civil society the clergy must be silenced, lest we should go to a bloody war to save reason. SILENCE THE CLERGY!

  11. In reply to #36 by Len Walsh:

    Wakefield’s plan was to generate the anti-science gospel you are helping to promote by attacking Richard Dawkins.

    The suggestion that Andrew Wakefield’s paper was part of a conspiracy to generate an “anti-science gospel” is an intriguing one. The obvious question is why the scientific community promoted it on his behalf? How could someone so deranged qualify as a surgeon and have his paper deemed to be eminent enough to be published in The Lancet? Even after the scandal broke, it still took the General Medical Council twelve years to strike him off the medical register. Are the best medical minds in this country unable spot a raving lunatic when he’s working in their midst?

    Daring to ask Richard Dawkins to adhere to scientific principles is not anti-science. On the contrary, I’m following the very principles that he claims he wants everyone to follow (i.e. don’t just believe it because someone tells you – ask yourself what evidence there is to support what they are saying). When I made similar observations about the lack of scientific evidence for his criticisms of Muslim doctors, The Grapes Of Roth also attacked me for daring to question Dawkins and commented: “As a critical thinker, I think the best thing to do is uncritically accept everything Richard Dawkins says.” That would seem to be a betrayal of the very principle RD stands for.

    you can’t prove Wakefield wasn’t raised by Xians to adopt specific values.

    What “specific values” are you referring to? I am unaware of any mainstream Christian teachings that compels a person to reject vaccination. You’re getting very close to an Andrew Wakefield style paper (i.e. a vaccinated child had autism, therefore the autism was caused by the vaccination; a fraudulent surgeon was Christian, therefore the fraud was caused by his Christian upbringing).

    Next thing you’ll deny Xian indoctrination adversely influenced the developing moral fibre of Robert Mugabe, Stalin and Hitler.

    I don’t know enough about the formative years of any of these individuals, but I do know that what they came to stand for as adults directly contradicts the Christian message. As with Andrew Wakefield, please explain what Christian indoctrination they received and how that was the cause of what they went on to become.

    • In reply to #37 by Humbug:

      In reply to #36 by Len Walsh:

      Andrew Wakefield’s paper was part of a conspiracy…

      Ah. Any evidence for that Humbug?

      …why the scientific community promoted it on his behalf?

      They didn’t. Religious folk routinely imagine science conspires against them. We call that paranoid delusions. Gullible folk, uninformed parents, media commentators, celebrities, global warming deniers, adult virgins and Christian bloggers excited the amygdala of each other until widespread hysteria developed against the science of epidemiology.

      How could someone so deranged qualify as a surgeon…

      Wakefield isn’t deranged. Simply denouncing a fellow Christian as mentally ill for his evil behaviour while slandering Dawkins is very Xian of you. Wakefield is an intelligent, self-aggrandizing Christian swindler, smart enough to concoct the scam I’ve already described. His biblical parenting was chiefly responsible for his moral development. People aren’t born equipped to become a surgically-competent Liar for Jesus.

      best medical minds in this country unable spot a raving lunatic

      Alt-psychiatry now Humbug. Audacious move that.
      The best medical minds in world agree Wakefield isn’t a lunatic. He’s a Christian who used to be a doctor, now officially disgraced. Please try to address the original topic instead of feigning psychiatric expertise. He isn’t insane, he’s a Xian.

      What “specific values” are you referring to? I am unaware of any mainstream Christian teachings…

      I have discharged my responsibility to explain your errors. Your delinquent notes leave your responsibility to this forum and to Richard unaddressed. We can distil your remaining obligation to a justification of your attempted assassination of his character.

      Muslim doctors, The Grapes Of Roth

      Off topic. Informs to your motivation however, so thanks, because I had already questioned that.

      I don’t know enough about the formative years of any of these individuals… please explain what Christian indoctrination they received and how that was the cause

      I could easily do that, but again – Off topic.

  12. In reply to #38 by Len Walsh:

    In reply to #37 by Humbug:
    .
    Andrew Wakefield’s paper was part of a conspiracy…Ah. Any evidence for that Humbug?

    You need to be careful with selective quoting. I was saying that your theory that “Wakefield’s plan was to generate the anti-science gospel” was intriguing. I didn’t say I believed it; in fact, all the questions I go on to ask demonstrate why I don’t believe it.

    Religious folk routinely imagine science conspires against them.

    There are rather a lot of “religious folk” out there. Which ones are you referring to? Earlier on in this thread, I referred you to Jonathan Sacks and Richard P. Feynman to explain why all of the mainstream Christian religions are entirely comfortable with science and religion’s relationship with it. So, if you’re worried that there are many religious people out there imagining a scientific conspiracy against them, you can rest easy.

    Gullible folk, uninformed parents, media commentators, celebrities, global warming deniers, adult virgins and Christian bloggers excited the amygdala of each other until widespread hysteria developed against the science of epidemiology.

    You think adult virgins are part of the problem?!

    Simply denouncing a fellow Christian as mentally ill for his evil behaviour while slandering Dawkins is very Xian of you.

    I described Wakefield as “deranged” in the sense of throwing (something) into confusion; causing to act irregularly. It was not a diagnosis of mental illness. Bearing in mind that I’ve never professed to have any psychiatric qualifications, why on earth would you interpret that word so narrowly?

    Please try to address the original topic instead of feigning psychiatric expertise.

    I’m pretty sure that “raving lunatic” isn’t a recognised psychiatric term. Again, why would you think I was using it to feign an expertise I’ve never professed, when the term is widely recognised as a colloquial one?

    I have discharged my responsibility to explain your errors. Your delinquent notes leave your responsibility to this forum and to Richard unaddressed. We can distil your remaining obligation to a justification of your attempted assassination of his character.

    I have no desire to assassinate RD’s character – I am only interested in engaging in the debates he is provoking and challenging the statements he makes. Instead of responding to the points I raise, you are resorting to an emotional, rather than scientific, defence. That is not in line with RD’s own teachings on critical thinking.

    If I’m setting out to challenge RD’s statements, shouldn’t I be engaged in debate? Or is debate on this site only for people who already agree with everything RD has said or will say?

    Muslim doctors, The Grapes Of Roth. Off topic. Informs to your motivation however, so thanks, because I had already questioned that.

    I thought I’d made it abundantly clear that my motivation is to challenge RD’s statements in the way he himself advocates and thus expose their weaknesses. This is what scientific debate is supposed to do, isn’t it?

    I could easily do that [explain what Christian indoctrination Hitler and Stalin received and how that was the cause], but again – Off topic.

    … but you were the one who brought them into the debate?! I was only asking you to justify the point you yourself raised. If you think they are off-topic, that betrays more about your method of debating than mine.

    • In reply to #39 by Humbug:

      In reply to #38 by Len Walsh:

      ..
      your theory that “Wakefield’s plan was to generate the anti-science gospel” was intriguing… I don’t believe it.

      No, I’ve simply related the historical facts as we know them. Your belief is optional.

      There are rather a lot of “religious folk” out there. Which ones are you referring to?

      Wakefield, Dorey, McCarthy, Copeland and Miller. Religion was functionally-archaic science and continues to vie for attention. Science explains epidemiology and religion, which is why religious folk are so suspicious of science.

      why on earth would you interpret that word so narrowly?… It was not a diagnosis of mental illness.

      Wakefield is an evil Xian you’re determined to disown. Casting him as a deranged doctor while redefining psychiatry is overly ambitious. You claim that the scientific community promoted it on his behalf and you question how can someone so deranged qualify as a surgeon mocking the best medical minds in this country unable spot a raving lunatic when a proper diagnosis is so glaringly obvious to you.
      Your ahistorical theory is that Wakefield is insane because authentic Xians aren’t evil, by your acute definition. How do you know this when the best medical minds don’t?

      you are resorting to an emotional, rather than scientific, defence. That is not in line with RD’s own teachings on critical thinking.

      I’ve simply challenged you to support your unfounded allegations and you failed. Critical thinking cures religion.

      You think adult virgins are part of the problem?

      The cause of adult virginity and the Anti-Vaccine Gospel can both be traced forensically. Briffault explained: “The effects of infantile instruction are, like syphilis, never completely cured.”

      shouldn’t I be engaged in debate? Or is debate on this site only for people who already agree with everything RD has said or will say?

      Have your arguments been removed by the moderator? If you want to debate I’d be delighted to engage you, as would others. And don’t worry about RD because discussion is the purpose here.
      What is it, specifically, that you’d like to debate?

      …my motivation is to challenge RD’s statements in the way he himself advocates and thus expose their weaknesses. This is what scientific debate is supposed to do, isn’t it?

      No, your objection is purely emotional, lacking substance, and you’ve offered nothing in support but your indignation. You imagine an allegedly nasty tone disqualifies Richard’s argument.

      …your method of debating…

      Again, what is it you wish to debate? Pastor Copeland is obviously religious, yet you insist he isn’t. Failure to establish Wakefield is a deranged non-Xian or that others assisted him in a conspiracy augers poorly for your prospects at debate, but go ahead.

  13. Len, a number of the opinions you’ve attributed to me are not what I said and certainly not what I believe. I’ve tried to correct them so we can both debate what we truly believe, not what the other one thinks we believe.

    Wakefield is an evil Xian you’re determined to disown.

    I do not deny that Wakefield is a Christian. What I do question is how his medical fraud was driven by his religious upbringing, especially since his actions are directly contrary to Christian teaching.

    Your ahistorical theory is that Wakefield is insane because authentic Xians aren’t evil, by your acute definition.

    My theory is not that authentic Christians aren’t evil. Christians, like everyone else, are capable of great good and great evil. Nevertheless, I believe that mainstream Christian teaching guides a person away from evil and towards good.

    What is it, specifically, that you’d like to debate?

    In the article above, RD presents religious dogmatists as the main culprits behind the fall in vaccination levels. The only evidence he quotes to support this is 9 cases of measles traced back to Pastor Kenneth Copeland. This is in the face of extensive coverage of Wakefield’s report in the secular media which led, for example, to 1,200 cases of measles in Wales last year.

    With this in mind:

    • What evidence is there that religious ministers or institutions, rather than the secular media, were key to the spreading of Wakefield’s theory and the subsequent fall in vaccination levels?

    You went on to argue that Wakefield’s fraud was driven by his Christian upbringing. Identifying him as a Christian is not the same as demonstrating that his Christian beliefs caused him to commit medical fraud.

    • What evidence do you have that Wakefield’s fraudulent actions were caused by his religious upbringing as opposed to other psychological or environmental factors?

    • With regard to his anti-vaccination agenda, what mainstream Christian doctrine advocates this position?

    We all share a desire to see more children vaccinated. My fear is that, if RD thinks that religious dogmatists are those “leading the charge” against vaccination, he will not get to the heart of the matter. I think that makes it important enough to carry on the debate.

    • In reply to #41 by Humbug:

      I do not deny that Wakefield is a Christian. What I do question is how his medical fraud was driven by his religious upbringing, especially since his actions are directly contrary to Christian teaching. …

      Biblical parenting teaches by example rather than by doctrine, witness the developmental results on Pol Pot, Stalin and Kim Il Sung.
      Coveting became a traditional practice following the apple indiscretion. Atheists may be ambitious or occasionally envious. Nothing precludes an atheist being pathologically jealous. But only a Christian covets properly, and the habit is so ingrained a proscriptive Commandment was deemed essential. To a Christian like Wakefield being told not to covet was a red rag to a bull.

      My theory is not that authentic Christians aren’t evil. Christians, like everyone else, are capable of great good and great evil. Nevertheless, I believe that mainstream Christian teaching guides a person away from evil and towards good.

      Evidence reveals the opposite to be the case, disproving your dogmatic belief.
      We know them by their fruits.
      We’re arguing about behaviour, not dogma. Devout Xians like Myra Hindley, Jeffrey Dahmer and Timothy McVeigh didn’t credit bible passages like Islamic terrorists to justify their behaviour. They just mimic their parents’ proclivities and behaviour, amplified biblically, scarcely mentioning scripture.

      RD presents religious dogmatists as the main culprits behind the fall in vaccination levels. The only evidence he quotes to support this is 9 cases of measles traced back to Pastor Kenneth Copeland. This is in the face of extensive coverage of Wakefield’s report in the secular media which led, for example, to 1,200 cases of measles in Wales last year.

      Your narrow concern is to prove two deaths in Texas didn’t result directly from particular scripture you support dogmatically. You expect RD to quote from your official gospel to show where Copeland has erred. Consequently the global dimension of this Gospel escapes your attention.

      “With this in mind” the first thing we ought to acknowledge is how conspicuously Christians have failed to take Richard Dawkins lead in opposing the Anti-Vaccine Bible. Standing up for children, by example, globally, and yet they still can’t take a cue. Fortunately Richard’s foundation is supportive.

      • What evidence is there that religious ministers or institutions, rather than the secular media, were key to the spreading of Wakefield’s theory and the subsequent fall in vaccination levels?

      Pastor Kenneth Copeland’s tendency to covet billion-dollar, secular media assets so obsessively is quite suspicious. His private airstrip, jet, and godly staff assist 307 secular outlets across Texas to disseminate his Gospel effectively.
      There’s the vaccineliberationarmy.com for example.
      Try http://www.dilutedthinking.com/ to discover Richard was right, or reasonablehank.com to read about the Gospel of science by Judy Wilyman, who preaches that vaccination is evil “post-Christian neopaganism.”

      You went on to argue that Wakefield’s fraud was driven by his Christian upbringing. Identifying him as a Christian is not the same as demonstrating that his Christian beliefs caused him to commit medical fraud.

      No, in science we settle for the most plausible explanation.

      • What evidence do you have that Wakefield’s fraudulent actions were caused by his religious upbringing as opposed to other psychological or environmental factors?

      It’s the only plausible construct to identify the common denominator for us. While important to acknowledge most people do recover from religion the moment their frontal lobes obtain a vote, whereas some famously don’t.
      Pinochet, Franco and Mussolini attest to this phenomenal development trajectory of fraudulent behaviour.

      • With regard to his anti-vaccination agenda, what mainstream Christian doctrine advocates this position?

      http://www.bible.ca/ Dogmatic Christians preaching “Drugs may help a bit, but are not solutions.”
      Their prosperity Gospel persuades them that pharmaceutical drugs are a get-rich scam devised by scientists who don’t understand biology as well as a Pope can.

      Christians are taught to covet things. Anythings. Other people’s things. That’s why they famously need the grandest building atop the most prominent (valuable) hill. And jewels. It’s never enough. It such a big problem for people of the book that a special Commandment was issued specifically covering it. Envying an ox is a serious infraction, whereas sexually abusing a child has never generated a prohibition. Scripture clearly hasn’t worked. Coveting is good albeit illicit behaviour to Xians, rendered delicious by sinfulness.

      We all share a desire to see more children vaccinated. My fear is that, if RD thinks that religious dogmatists are those “leading the charge” against vaccination, he will not get to the heart of the matter.

      Your fear is unfounded. Richard is precisely correct.

  14. Len, separate to the vaccination issues below, I thought it would be helpful to explain why I, and countless other religious people, are not afraid of science.

    Religion was functionally-archaic science and continues to vie for attention.

    Mainstream Christianity celebrates, supports and advances science. “All things in creation have their own stability, truth and excellence. These should be respected, as should methods proper to every science.” (Vatican II, Gaudium Et Spes, para 36)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_scientists

    Science explains … religion

    Not according to Professor Richard P. Feynmnan: “If a thing is not scientific, if it cannot be subjected to the test of observation, this doesn’t mean that it is dead or wrong or stupid. … Scientists take all those things that can be analysed by observation, and thus the things called science are found out. But there are some things left out, for which the method does not work. This does not mean that those things are unimportant. They are, in fact, in many ways the most important. In any decision for action, when you have to make up your mind what to do, there is always a “should” involved, and this cannot be worked out from “if I do this, what will happen?” alone. You say, “Sure, you see what will happen, and then you decide whether you want it to happen or not.” But that is the step the scientist cannot take. You can figure out what is going to happen, but then you have to decide whether you like it that way or not.” (The Meaning Of It All, Penguin, 1998)

    Critical thinking cures religion.

    Critical thinking challenges fundamentalism, which is precisely why all the major Christian denominations actively advocate it. The reason I participate on this site is to critically appraise my faith. However, we can’t enter into a meaningful debate until we both understand what each other believes, and that means being prepared to let go of our stereotypes.

    • In reply to #42 by Humbug:

      Len, separate to the vaccination issues below, I thought it would be helpful to explain why I, and countless other religious people, are not afraid of science.

      Physics is Feynmnan’s domain, not neuroscience. That’s tantamount to citing Dawkins on space vehicle re-entry dynamics, as an authoritative scientific opinion.

      We’re enjoying wonderful insights into how religion incapacitates otherwise healthy minds from neuroscientists. This knowledge will help develop efficacious treatments for the galaxy of religious symptoms that currently may progress to aberrant behaviour, of which drug and sexual abuse are most representative.

      Epidemiologists, criminologists, immunologists, climatologists, neuroscientists, psychologists and most psychiatrists would take exception to your claim I think.

      Mainstream Christianity celebrates, supports and advances science…

      Which mainstream organ or facility or group or publication or school supports scientific research into any of the authentic disciplines I nominated? Catholics who have obtained any credentials to wave as a badge of authority, giving forth about souls, demons, spirits, eggs or anything else involved in sex or reproduction, should be dismissed automatically. If such a person ever did discover anything true or useful, other scientists around the world would rejoice so loudly you’d hear them.

      Truth is that religion has never taught us anything about science or nature, ever, and I challenge you to disprove that. Religion has never revealed anything novel or useful at all, when you think about it critically.

      Critical thinking challenges fundamentalism, which is precisely why all the major Christian denominations actively advocate it.

      Your own source is emphatically anti science with this: “Homosexuality is objectively disordered,” Pope, 1998, directly contradicting biological science.

      Or this gem from an infallible senior Cardinal who, while not contributing any taxes himself, profits from providing the secular press with “accurate and reputable historical and scientific evidence,” according to his London lecture promoting the “Christian Perspective on Climate Change”“I study the scientific evidence, there is no such a thing as climate change,” he infamously claimed. “Uncertainties on climate change abound … my task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality,” George Pell, Chief Scientific Advisor, Australian Federal Parliament.

      I have never known, read or heard about any Christian who understood critical thinking, much less teaching of the skill. Therefore I’d need a hint or whiff of supporting evidence. Nominating any Xian, living or dead, who has ever advocated critical thinking would satisfy me I’ve made an error.

      • In reply to #45 by Len Walsh:

        Physics is Feynmnan’s domain, not neuroscience. That’s tantamount to citing Dawkins on space vehicle re-entry dynamics, as an authoritative scientific opinion.

        Up to now, you and I were talking about science – why are you now narrowing the field to neuroscience and excluding an eminent scientist who, I’m sure you’re aware, is also a committed atheist? Incidentally, RD isn’t a neuroscientist but an evolutionary biologist. Does that mean his opinions on religion aren’t valid either?

        This knowledge will help develop efficacious treatments for the galaxy of religious symptoms that currently may progress to aberrant behaviour, of which drug and sexual abuse are most representative.

        Please cite the scientific research that shows that religious people are more susceptible to drug and sexual abuse than non-religious people.

        Catholics who have obtained any credentials to wave as a badge of authority, giving forth about souls, demons, spirits, eggs or anything else involved in sex or reproduction, should be dismissed automatically. If such a person ever did discover anything true or useful, other scientists around the world would rejoice so loudly you’d hear them.

        Here is a list of Catholic scientists: http://goo.gl/oqo8fd

        … and Catholic clerical scientists: http://goo.gl/1nFkIi

        You’ll find plenty of “true or useful” things there.

        Truth is that religion has never taught us anything about science or nature, ever, and I challenge you to disprove that.

        This statement is misleading. The issue we have been debating is not whether religion has informed science but whether a Christian can be an effective scientist. Religion hasn’t informed science any more or less than literature, art or music have or law has.

        • In reply to #46 by Humbug:

          Up to now, you and I were talking about science – why are you now narrowing the field to neuroscience and excluding an eminent scientist who, I’m sure you’re aware, is also a committed atheist? Incidentally, RD isn’t a neuroscientist but an evolutionary biologist. Does that mean his opinions on religion aren’t valid either?why are you now narrowing the field to neuroscience and ex…

          On second thoughts, I doubt the mods will allow the digression.

          Consensual digression is still digressing.

  15. In reply to #43 by Len Walsh:

    Len, you have still not given any scientific evidence to support your opinions.

    Evidence reveals the opposite to be the case, disproving your dogmatic belief. We know them by their fruits. We’re arguing about behaviour, not dogma. Devout Xians like Myra Hindley, Jeffrey Dahmer and Timothy McVeigh didn’t credit bible passages like Islamic terrorists to justify their behaviour. They just mimic their parents’ proclivities and behaviour, amplified biblically, scarcely mentioning scripture.

    The only thing that your evidence demonstrates is that some Christians commit crimes. This was never in dispute. You provide no evidence that:

    • Their behaviour as adults was caused by “their parents’ proclivities and behaviour” as opposed to other environmental, psychological or genetic factors.

    • Their parents’ proclivities and behaviour were adversely affected by their Christian beliefs.

    Atheists may be ambitious or occasionally envious. Nothing precludes an atheist being pathologically jealous. But only a Christian covets properly, and the habit is so ingrained a proscriptive Commandment was deemed essential. To a Christian like Wakefield being told not to covet was a red rag to a bull.

    This is a statement of opinion with no evidence to substantiate it.

    What evidence do you have that Wakefield’s fraudulent actions were caused by his religious upbringing as opposed to other psychological or environmental factors?
    It’s the only plausible construct to identify the common denominator for us. While important to acknowledge most people do recover from religion the moment their frontal lobes obtain a vote, whereas some famously don’t. Pinochet, Franco and Mussolini attest to this phenomenal development trajectory of fraudulent behaviour.

    Again, this is all unsubstantiated opinion with no scientific evidence to support it.

  16. I’m afraid you’ve confused this topic for an attack on religion. Unless you have some supporting evidence for that accusation, your attempt to debate the issue has failed.

    Neuroscience doesn’t claim to have all the answers, and even if it did, you would still reject it because it explains your beliefs.

    ‘Uncertainty’ by Richard Feynman. 54 seconds of YouTube succinctly accounts for why science frightens theists so.
    Understanding religious beliefs through science is terribly confronting to the religious.
    You can certainly imagine religion and science being compatible but, as Feynman says, all the evidence points the other way.

    Truth is that religion has never taught us anything about science or nature, ever, and I challenge you to disprove that.

    This statement is misleading. The issue we have been debating is not whether religion has informed science but whether a Christian can be an effective scientist.

    This illustrates why religion is cured by critical thinking. It took a very long time, numerous posts and precisely focussed pleading to persuade you to even announce what it was you wished to debate. When you eventually did so I promptly demolished it. You give every appearance of not having noticed that fact.
    I could ask you for evidence of a single, solitary thing that religion has ever taught us throughout history, but I already did that. I also challenged you to disprove it and you didn’t bother answering.

    Was there anything else?

    • In reply to #47 by Len Walsh:

      I promptly demolished [your argument]. You give every appearance of not having noticed that fact.

      I certainly haven’t noticed you demolishing my argument. You have expressed a series of opinions, but not given any objective evidence to back them up. As a scientist, you should be very clear on the difference.

      You have repeatedly changed your position and contradicted yourself: for example, you claim Professor Feynman is not qualified to comment on the issue when I quote him (post 45), but quote him yourself when you think it will support your point (post 47) When I said, “this is a scientific issue, not a religious one” (post 29), you argued extensively that this was a religious issue, only to state now, “I’m afraid you’ve confused this topic for an attack on religion.” (post 47)

      I took great care to ask very clear, specific questions in post 46. Please could you answer them before claiming to have “demolished” my argument? Saying that “I doubt the mods will allow the digression,” rings hollow when all the points are ones that you originally raised and were permitted by the moderators.

      • In reply to #53 by Humbug:

        In reply to #47 by Len Walsh:

        I promptly demolished [your argument]. You give every appearance of not having noticed that fact.

        I certainly haven’t noticed you demolishing my argument…As a scientist….

        As a scientist I did all I could possibly do to help. Blaming your inattentiveness on me seems unfair.

        I’m afraid I’m not as good with words as you. My formal education was interrupted while I raised a family and worked as a technical specialist in the aeronautical industry. For decades I didn’t write more than a single word or numbers. I’ve seldom sent or replied to greeting cards. So writing is awkward for me, whereas you appear confident and use words with meanings I’m not familiar with.

        Despite being a distinguished expert performing with highly-valuable skills in a strictly scientific environment, I didn’t learn about critical thinking until I resumed university studies, again in a scientific discipline.

        My current scientific research into paranoid biblical psychoticism informs me now, even if I can’t explain things as well as you do. I’m hoping practice will assist me to improve and I can thank you for helping a bit.

        To topic, you asked what prompted the Anti-Vaccine Gospel, disputing religion had anything to do with Pastor Copeland’s behaviour. Another contributor asked how the Gospel had aroused such rapturous support. Both sought psychological explanations so I gave my opinion, based on my extensive experience researching the aetiology of schizotypal behaviour.

        You reject my opinion, as is your right. Please seek another instead of insisting my expert analysis is flawed. My conclusions are tentative because they’re scientific. You are under no obligation to accept them. And explaining how Ellis derived rational behaviour therapy, or how that led to CBT, of why religion poisons minds, exactly with proof, is asking too much I reckon.

        Proving biblegod or his devotees oppose science or were implicated in the Anti-Vaccine Gospel, or enjoy employment in scientific fields, is off-topic. Your very specific questions too. Unless it’s my way with words again…

  17. In reply to #41 by Humbug:

    In the article above, RD presents religious dogmatists as the main culprits behind the fall in vaccination levels.

    “The Vatican Curia has expressed concern about the rubella vaccine’s embryonic cell origin, saying Catholics have “…a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems.”

    It does go on to say…

    “The Vatican concluded that until an alternative becomes available it is acceptable for Catholics to use the existing vaccine, writing, “This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”

    Pontifical Academy for Life (2005). “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human foetuses”. Medicina e Morale (Center for Bioethics, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart). Retrieved 2008-12-03.

    But the moral dilemma dice had been cast in the foremost comment.

    ‘To someone whose god is science, vaccination makes sense. But to someone whose god is God, it is appalling’ – Dr. Golden.

    While many of the religious have no problem using vaccination to immunize their babies, good on them, there is definitely a culture within religions that abhor the practice on grounds of faith and scripture.

    Andrew Wakelfield is an unscrupulous bastard that has no regard for anything but his own personal gain. That his Christian upbringing had any impact on this aspect of his existence is certainly debatable, what is not debatable is his use of Christianity and its gullible adherents to further his own interests. This criminal individual has caused the suffering and the lives of countless children with his greed driven hoax.

    “To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one,” says J. B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, a group that disputes vaccine safety. “He’s a symbol of how all of us feel.”.

    In any case, it appears he can play a crowd like the best of the snake oil peddling evangelical Billy Graham types with no regard for the science refuting his ignorant and debunked theses.

  18. Richard,
    congratulations for encapsulating this problem with the words Preaching the Anti-Vaccine Gospel Leads to Outbreaks of Preventable, Deadly Diseases.

    Gospel followers attracted here have demonstrated the effects of Preaching for all to read. One angrily pretended his Anti-Vaccine Gospel enjoyed statistical support. I corrected him politely. Another supports vaccination but felt you were being unscientific to impinge on divine Catholic laws. It was the disease outbreak in Swansea which was caused by a conspiracy of evil secularists he said. Somehow Richard Feynman thinks you’re mistaken too, although I found that bit hard to follow

  19. Len,perhaps I could bring our debate to some semblance of a conclusion by sharing something of my own perspective on religion:

    I am under no misapprehensions that religion is a powerful force that is open to abuse. In that sense, it’s no different to any other concept, including democracy, liberty and the rule of law. I also recognise that Christians sometimes (often?) fail to police such abuses. We all have a duty to challenge those in authority when we see wrongs being committed (in Christian and Jewish tradition, it’s referred to as the prophetic ministry) and, in the absence of effective accountability inside the Church, we must look to those of goodwill outside it for that challenge.

    However, the more that I have studied the Catholic faith, the more I realise that the problems I have with it stem from the actions of those in authority who do not practice what they preach rather than the teachings themselves. This was particularly difficult to come to terms with because there are such widespread misunderstandings about what the Church really teaches, due in no small part to misinformation provided by those within its ranks.

    My father, a committed Catholic, taught me by example to challenge those in authority when they did something wrong. He was very unpopular with a number of people in the Church, up to and including the bishop. He paid a very high price for this: when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and my Mum were ostracised from their parish community and given no spiritual, social or practical support. Nevertheless, Dad died at peace in his faith and we as a family were able to celebrate a life inspired by Catholic teaching and uncompromising in his search for truth and justice.

    I like to think that I am following in Dad’s footsteps. I am already experiencing some of the problems that Dad experienced, but I remain convinced that I am fighting for Christianity as expressed in the teachings of the Catholic Church, even if that means challenging some of those in the Catholic hierarchy. I should say that, while this might still be a minority view, it is one that I have heard shared by many people at all levels within the Church – I am by no means a lone voice in this.

    Your experience of studying paranoid biblical psychoticism gives you an important responsibility to share that understanding in an attempt to encourage people to lead more fulfilled lives. My only observation is not to tar all people of faith with the same brush. As a Christian, I may be delusional (and more than one person on this site has concluded that) but I hope you will not fall into the trap that they do of assuming that you already know what my delusion is without asking me about it.

    Peace.

    • In reply to #56 by Humbug:

      Len,perhaps I could bring our debate to some semblance of a conclusion by sharing something of my own perspective on religion:

      OK, but first, you mentioned “the more that I have studied the Catholic faith, the more I realise that the problems I have with it stem from the actions of those in authority who do not practice what they preach rather than the teachings themselves.”

      Was this your reply to the reliably on-topic Ignorant Amos, who has responded to a number of your criticisms in detail (as I should have done), complete with pertinent quotes and links to help you to expand your subject knowledge?

      Pursuing diversions, whoever initiated them, necessarily involves ignoring other contributors who have bothered to remain on-topic. The issue of the Anti-Vaccine Gospel is important and doesn’t deserve being subordinated by our speculations about religions relationship with science.

    • In reply to #56 by Humbug:

      Len,… My father, a committed Catholic, taught me by example to challenge those in authority when they did something wrong. I like to think that I am following in Dad’s footsteps.

      Yes, you do that I think. Me too, in so many ways. Hutton Gibson has a son like that, named Mel, who’s a real prick, unlike us. Sedevacantism is merely disobedient Catholicism I reckon. Oops. You got me again my friend, didn’t you?

      Please consider reading the whole thread again Humbug. I did and it was a bit embarrassing to see how we’ve excluded others by our enthusiasm to counter each others points. I hope you will agree.

      I am sorry your dad was so unappreciated by the very institution that help to form his thoughts in the first place, and which he sought to improve. That’s some legacy for you to inherit. And I understand better why you do what you do. Kudos Humbug. Your sincerity is unquestioned but I hope you can see why this thread isn’t the best place for us to indulge ourselves.

      My father, a committed Catholic, taught me by example to challenge those in authority when they did something wrong. I like to think that I am following in Dad’s footsteps.

      Yes, you do I think. Hutton Gibson has a son like that, named Mel. Not a nice bloke at all, unlike us. To me Sedevacantism is merely disobedient Catholicism, as with any other heretical teachings, but there I go again….

      Humbug, your original intention may have become obscured by our off-topic discussion, which never was a debate. An inflammatory, introductory tone and the baseless allegations you levelled at RD got me off-side immediately I’m afraid.

      Your motivation for posting to this topic appears to have been to defame the author rather than address the important health issue he raised, while insinuating Richard was unconcerned about children’s lives. His topic is “random, unfounded speculation” you said. You arrived empty-handed, without a skerrick of evidence, and only another homespun, pseudo-psychiatric opinion which you’d much rather avoid supporting, while diverting attention away from your unfounded initial slurs. Among the baseless allegations you have deposited was to accuse Richard of deliberately hijacking this important (global) issue for the sole purpose of satisfying his alleged obsession with discrediting religion. The fact that Richard was in Texas and commenting on such an influential Texan offended you, because you felt piously that Swansea’s outbreak was epidemiologically more significant, despite your lack of relevant expertise. You wrote RD went “all the way to Texas to do some anecdotal scare-mongering” without furnishing any evidence other than your conviction you know how Dawkins thinks. Any consequent debate in which I never agreed to participate avoids your initial premise.

      On reflection I should have dealt these numerous positive claims and slanders, rather than to have allowed you to so easily distract me with such obvious off-topic diversions. My error that was, to have provided ample bait you couldn’t be expected to resist, instead of simply calling you out in the first place. You presented with such absurd questions. “How many parents chose not to vaccinate their children for other reasons and, crucially, what were those reasons?” I thought you were being obtuse deliberately. Reading all you have written again, I can see I was wrong about that.
      Peace!

  20. Much like environmentalism being the religion of urban secular humanists, pro-vacine theory seems to be one religion of this site.
    As a physician, parent, and prospective patient, my bias, of course, is that vaccines be safe and effective. However, I am troubled by these data: if you plot the incidence of diphtheria, pertussis, typhoid fever, and tuberculosis from 1900 to today, you will find that 75-90% of the decreased incidence occurred prior to generalized vaccination (and only the first two conditions had mass vaccination programs in the US). Something other than vaccination caused the drop in all these diseases (?nutrition, sanitation, climate control…?).
    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of money to be made in vaccination. That always corrupts science.

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