Vaccines

Gov. Chris Christie Backs Off His Bad Medical Advice on Vaccinating Kids

The balance of risks and benefits tilts overwhelmingly toward getting your kids vaccinated.

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Chris Christie
wikimedia

The Governor of New Jersey is touring the United Kingdom seeking to garner some foreign policy cred in advance of running in the Republican Party's presidential primaries next year. While visiting a pharmaceutical plant Christie was asked what he thought about the measles outbreak in the United States. According to the Washington Post he replied:

"Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated and we think that it's an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health," Christie told reporters here Monday. But the likely Republican presidential candidate added: "I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that's the balance that the government has to decide."

What did Christie mean by "balance"? The Daily Beast is reporting that Christie had expressed concern back in 2009 that autism could be linked to vaccination:

While running for governor in 2009, Christie wrote a letter wherein he seemed to acknowledge a link between autism and vaccinations—a theory for which there is no scientific proof.

"I have met with families affected by autism from across the state and have been struck by their incredible grace and courage. Many of these families have expressed their concern over New Jersey's highest-in-the-nation vaccine mandates. I stand with them now, and will stand with them as their governor in their fight for greater parental involvement in vaccination decisions that affect their children."

The governor is now trying to clarify the medical advice he dispensed in Britain:

The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated," Christie's office said in a statement. "At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."

The plain fact is that the balance of the risks and benefits of vaccination tilts overwhelmingly just one way: Get your kid vaccinated.

But let us not forget that other politicians have shared their medical insights about the risks and benefits of vaccination with their fellow Americans:

Barack Obama (2008): "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it."

John McCain (2008): "It's indisputable that (autism) is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it. And we go back and forth and there's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines."

Hillary Clinton (2008): Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionnaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was "Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines." And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: "Yes. We don't know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism—but we should find out."

Rand Paul (2015): Most of them ought to be voluntary … while I think it is a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that's a personal decision for individuals to take and when to take it….

Meanwhile thanks to anti-vaccine disinformation the current outbreak has spread to 14 states and infected 102 people so far.

For more background see Reason's debate "Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?"

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  1. Vaccinate them against deep-dish pizza.

    1. I got my vaccines injected into my foreskin.

      1. They’d be better off using the eggs to make artisinal mayonnaise instead of vaccines.

        1. eggs are too valuable as the currency of the future.

    2. I’ve always thought we need to create and mandate all manor of vaccinations….Kid sleeping around? Vaccinate them…they eat too much candy? Vaccinate!…Disrespect your authorotae!? VACCINATE!

  2. Autism is correlated with the compounds found in trophies.

    Not every child is susceptible but if you give every child a trophy, then you’re going to see the rate of autism go up.

    1. Is that what happened in the late 90s?

  3. It might be worth noting that, unlike everyone else in this article, Rand Paul is at least a real doctor who is qualified to give medical advice and opinions.

    1. Politicians are fully qualified to impose themselves where they don’t belong and fuck everything up in the process. It’s what they do and they do it well. It’s Rand who is blessedly unqualified to being among their ranks.

    2. I’d also add that Paul is the only guy this comment fits with principle. If a libertarian tells me he’s opposed to mandatory vaccination, I can respect that his position might likely come from a belief in the liberty of the people who’d be vaccinated. On the other hand, a statist asshole like Barack Obama, Chris Christie, John McCain, or Hillary Clinton tells me they go along with this bullshit, I know they’re just pandering to stupidity.

      1. Christie said, “parents need to have some measure of choice”, so that looks like a belief in liberty.

        1. It’s Chris Christy. Keep In mind that sometimes things aren’t what they look like.

    3. RC beats me to the punch again…..

      “While running for governor in 2009, Christie wrote a letter wherein he seemed to acknowledge a link between autism and vaccinations?a theory for which there is no scientific proof.”

      Having politicians weigh in on issues of science is a bad, bad, BAD idea. I think everyone here knows what I am talking about.

    4. Isn’t he an ophthalmologist?

      Do you want a foot doctor telling how to treat your cancer? Perhaps an OBGYN giving advice on how to treat a parasitic infection?

  4. Get your kid vaccinated.

    Who’s gonna make me? If you’re saying “the government”, well there’s all kinds of things they can tell us to do or not to do in the name of “public health”.

    1. Assuming that your kid has no immunological problems that contraindicate vaccination, common sense should make you have it done.

      1. Yes, but that doesn’t mean the government should get involved.

        The best way to handle anti-vac nuts is not by forcing them to get vaccinated, but by society ostracizing them. Don’t want a needle? You can’t go to this private preschool. No vac? You can’t come in this Chuck E Cheese.

    2. Common sense isn’t enough to make you do it?

      1. Common sense is anything but common.

        1. Well, it’s fairly common when it comes to vaccinations. Most people don’t really question that that is what you do.

        2. axioms about axioms are anything but axiomatic.

          1. Is that an iron law?

            *runs from room*

  5. a theory for which there is no scientific proof.

    Who needs scientific proof when you’ve got… CONSENSUS!

    1. It’s almost like people just don’t understand how science is done these days. The old ways of testing and verifying hypothoses is dead. Now it’s all about consensus baby! Science by committee, FTW!

      1. Old science vs. new science, as Dr. Science puts it.

  6. Rand Paul (2015): Most of them ought to be voluntary … while I think it is a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that’s a personal decision for individuals to take and when to take it….

    Most of them ought to be voluntary? Who’s going to compel, pray tell? What ethical principle supports that?

    1. What ethical principle supports that?

      I’m thinking that not being vaccinated is akin to your property being a public nuisance.

      You should get vaccinated for the same reason you are not allowed to keep a waste dump on your property that spreads disease to surrounding properties.

      And, yes, while the victims of your nuisance can get paid off in cash, they can also get a court order to require you to abate the nuisance.

      Its an analogy that just occurred to me. May not stand up under scrutiny, but its something to think about.

      1. You should get vaccinated for the same reason you are not allowed to keep a waste dump on your property that spreads disease to surrounding properties.

        Hmm… having a bird bath full of water can lead to mosquitoes that spread disease even without your property being a dump or unkempt…

        Similarly, getting vaccinated does not guarantee that you will not get and spread the disease. Vaccinations are not 100% reliable.

        Not getting vaccinated does not guarantee that you will get sick and expose others. It only increases your chances IF you are exposed.

        It is fair to argue liability if someone gets sick and knowingly exposes others, but that would have to apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated equally.

        1. I don’t think that makes sense.

          It’s more like a case of negligence. If you get vaccinated, you have done what can reasonably be done to avoid spreading disease. In many situations you can reduce or eliminate your liability if you take reasonable precautions against a bad thing happening even though some chance may remain.

          1. If you get vaccinated, you have done what can reasonably be done to avoid spreading disease.

            You’ve done yourself and everyone else a favor, yes. But what principle supports the idea that you owe other people a favor?

            If my neighbor builds a mansion next to my house it will increase my property value, does that mean he owes me a mansion to live next to?

            1. What principal supports this, well the principle of not creating a serious and deadly health hazard to those you share this space with. There is of course the logic that you find when you compare living in a society pre-vaccination versus post vaccination. The evidence and outcomes are not really debatable at this point in history.

              People do not remember that neighborhoods commonly had more than one child crippled, confined to an iron lung, or dead from polio.

              When you look at pertussis, rubella, diphtheria etc. there is only logic on the side of vaccination.

              Ideology might say society/government has no right to mandate but logic and the millions of families spared the tragedies that are real vs the unsupported negative effects related to vaccines says vaccinate everyone when the ideology saves no lives and vaccination saves millions.

              While I am a vehement supporter of many personal rights, logic demands that I not support taking a pass on vaccines or allowing your septic tank to be placed above my water supply etc.

          2. It’s more like a case of negligence.

            If you get vaccinated, you have done what can reasonably be done to avoid spreading disease.

            So, getting vaccinated is all one needs to do (“what can reasonably be done…)? That sounds like Risk Compensation; suggesting you don’t need to do anything else, but…

            That is not all that “can reasonably be done to avoid spreading disease.” How about washing your hands regularly? covering your mouth & nose when you cough or sneeze? not wiping your snotty hands on common / public surfaces? staying at home when you know you are sick? actually exercising your immune system by not over-sanitizing? and etceteras

            You know; all kinds of precautions the unvaccinated can take as well.

            At best vaccinating decreases your chance of getting sick when exposed. At worst, not vaccinating increases your chances. Neither are guaranteed.

            1. So, getting vaccinated is all one needs to do

              things no one actually said for $800, Alex. You keep bring up guarantees, which no one else has mentioned and for good reason.

              You might have heard about a measles outbreak in this country, resulting from a lack of immunizations. It’s been accompanied by articles of a few docs refusing to take on such patients for not wanting to endanger the rest of their clients.

              I suppose you can say there is some right to not having the kiddies immunized just like there is a right to not using birth control and having as many children as can be produced, but there is no expectation that the rest of us has to support, subsidize, or otherwise accept your choices.

              1. So, getting vaccinated is all one needs to do

                things no one actually said for $800, Alex…

                Uhm… read the fucking quote: Zeb said:

                If you get vaccinated, you have done what can reasonably be done to avoid spreading disease [emphasis added].

                By getting vaccinated, according to Zeb, “you have done what can reasonably be done“. That statement suggests that there is nothing else that can reasonably be done.

                Zeb predicated that with, “It’s more like a case of negligence.” Thus, the clear implications there is that nothing else can be reasonably done therefore, not vaccinating is (like) negligence.

                So, fuck off with your pissaunt Jeopardy ad hominem

              2. You keep bring up guarantees, which no one else has mentioned and for good reason.

                Hrm, have you been paying attention? The voluntary unvaccinated are being hyperbolically villified for the recent outbreaks; the victims of which ammount to a statistically insignificant percentage of the population. The hysterical arguments allude and imply that if you do not vaccinate your kids then they will get sick and they will spread the disease.

                That is presented as, if not with the word, then by a meaning of the word, a “gaurantee”.

              3. You might have heard about a measles outbreak in this country, resulting from a lack of immunizations…

                No, I have heard a lot of hysteria about measles outbreaks and people blaming them on the unimmunized. I have not read anything that clearly lays the cause on the unimmunized. I certainly have not read anywhere that they have clearly identified any “Patient Zero”s, so there’s no way to know if the originator was vaccinated or not.

                How do you blame the unvaccinated for, “Editorial Note: This outbreak demonstrates that transmission of measles can occur within a school population with a documented immunization level of 100%. This level was validated during the outbreak investigation”?

                And, how about, Measles Outbreak Traced to Fully Vaccinated Patient for First Time?

      2. I’m thinking that not being vaccinated is akin to your property being a public nuisance.

        No, the benefits you receive from me from vaccinating myself is a positive externality, i.e. a favor. You don’t owe people favors by default.

        You should get vaccinated for the same reason you are not allowed to keep a waste dump on your property that spreads disease to surrounding properties.

        You’re not accounting for the existence of common law easements in your analogy but that aside… No, the default state of an unvaccinated person is not akin to an actively polluted piece of land.

        And, yes, while the victims of your nuisance can get paid off in cash, they can also get a court order to require you to abate the nuisance.

        Its an analogy that just occurred to me. May not stand up under scrutiny, but its something to think about.

        A better analogy would that of a rancher living next door to your woods. Are you obliged to kill all the wolves in your woodlands to prevent them from eating your neighbor’s cows?

        Are you obliged to set traps all over your land, for the benefit of the neighboring cattle rancher? Are you responsible when a predator passes through your land and eats the neighbor’s livestock? Are you responsible for the woodpecker that nests in your woods and everyday flies a mile away to chip away at some guy’s wood siding?

        1. If you run a garbage dump in your yard and draw rats and vermin to your neighborhood under current law you can be held liable.

          Really, if you want freedom, you need to accept responsibility. I’m okay with people not vaccinating, so long as we establish tort claims for damages for those infected by vaccine avoiders. Additionally vaccine objectors should be denied certain public privileges, such as public school, access to entertainment venues of large capacity, and publicly subsidized health insurance of any sort. By all means if you want to go off the grid and eschew modern civilization do whatever the fuck you want with your disease vectors.

          1. If you run a garbage dump in your yard and draw rats and vermin to your neighborhood under current law you can be held liable.

            As I told someone earlier, an unvaccinated person is not akin to a garbage dump and you are leaving out the issue of easements regarding the liability of the dump owner.

            I’m okay with people not vaccinating, so long as we establish tort claims for damages for those infected by vaccine avoiders.

            How about tort claims for a woodpecker that nests in your woods and damages a neighbor’s wood siding?

            How about tort claims when wolves cross your property to eat your neighbor’s cows?

            How about tort a claim for basically any act of nature?

            Additionally vaccine objectors should be denied certain public privileges, such as public school, access to entertainment venues of large capacity, and publicly subsidized health insurance of any sort.

            How peculiar that you chose John Locke as your handle while you support that nonsense. Public schools have been virtually monopolized by the state, declaring who can and can’t attend entertainment venues is a violation of free association and subsidized health insurance is pretty important to have when your health system has been made unaffordable by state action to begin with.

            And none of it justified by any ethical principle other than the imaginary one where you’re entitled to demand positive externalities from others.

            1. I think this is where you might be parting ways.

              Not having a garbage dump on your land isn’t generating a positive externality for your neighbors. Its merely not imposing a negative externality on them.

              Not getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily create a positive externality for your neighbors, unless you include your tiny contribution to herd immunity.

              Rather, its not imposing the negative externality of you becoming a carrier that they can catch an infectious disease from.

              And its not analogous to wildlife merely living on or crossing my property. The infectious disease is more like the rats that come to live and breed in my garbage dump and then spread it to you and your property.

              Its not a perfect analogy, but I think its better than you give it credit for.

              1. I have a fragrance sensitivity. Your choice of shampoo is a negative externality, and I demand the State always prevent you from sullying my life with your mere presence.

              2. Not having a garbage dump on your land isn’t generating a positive externality for your neighbors. Its merely not imposing a negative externality on them.

                Never said it was.

                Not getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily create a positive externality

                Not getting vaccination absolutely does not create a positive externality. Actually getting vaccinated does.

                Rather, its not imposing the negative externality of you becoming a carrier that they can catch an infectious disease from.

                I don’t think you understand the concept of externalities. Being unvaccinated is the natural state of affairs, simply not having an immunity to something isn’t imposing an externality on others. Being sick and then sneezing in someone’s face actually does impose an externality.

                And its not analogous to wildlife merely living on or crossing my property. The infectious disease is more like the rats that come to live and breed in my garbage dump and then spread it to you and your property.

                No it’s not. An an unvaccinated person is more akin to an uncultivated piece of land than a garbage dump. If the unvaccinated person were akin to a garbage dump, that implies that they are actively working to harbor such diseases in their body.

                Its not a perfect analogy, but I think its better than you give it credit for.

                Your analogy is total shit.

          2. Really, if you want freedom, you need to accept responsibility. I’m okay with people not vaccinating, so long as we establish tort claims for damages for those infected by vaccine avoiders.

            What about people that are fully vaccinated, but cause outbreaks?

            Vaccination status is, frankly irrelevant. The risk is not from the unimmunized. If I have not been immunized and am not infectous, then I am no risk to you or anyone else.

            The risk is from infectous people exposing others. Not getting immunized is NOT THE SAME as being infectous.

      3. So, if I’m not vaccinated against some contagion, but have never been exposed to it, nor am I likely to be, I’m equivalent of someone polluting your yard?

        In your analogy, you are equating vaccinated with non-contagious, and non-vaccinated with contagious. Neither of which are necessarily true, and in reality, are very infrequently true (of the non-vaccinated).

        1. In your analogy, you are equating vaccinated with non-contagious, and non-vaccinated with contagious.

          Kinda, except I’m not trafficking in absolutes and saying that if something isn’t 100% effective its completely worthless.

          Just like I can have rats living naturally on my property and that’s fine, but I can’t have a garbage dump which leads to an explosion of the rat population.

          Generally speaking, people aren’t contagious unless they are sick (I know, there are non-symptomatic carriers and I don’t know how vaccination might affect them). I would bet that the correlation between vaccinated and not contagious is very high.

          Naturally, the correlation between not vaccinated and contagious isn’t nearly as high. But I bet the converse is true: the correlation between contagious and not vaccinated is pretty high.

    2. There’s an argument to be made (that I’ve seen made elsewhere) that failing to vaccinate your children is a violation of the NAP. It’s an interesting one, and I’m not sure it goes quite that far, but I think it’s a reasonable argument at the very least.

      1. It’s only a fair argument if you assume that vaccinated=not-contagious, and un-vaccinated=contagious. Preposterous.

      2. There’s an argument to be made (that I’ve seen made elsewhere) that failing to vaccinate your children is a violation of the NAP.

        It is a logic made from horribly faulty logic. It assumes implies that being unvaccinated is the equivalent to being infectous and negligently exposing others. It implicitly denies the possibility that the unvaccinated could be healthy and non-contagious.

        Some have even likened being unvaccinated to walking down the street and randomly shooting a gun in the air. That analogy fails because the latter is willfully acting in a manner that puts others in jeopardy. The former, however, puts nobody at risk IF THEY ARE NOT INFECTOUS.

        In the end, it is not the vaccination status that matters; it is the infection status.

        The CORRECT and logically consistent argument is that, BEING KNOWINGLY SICK, and possibly infectuous, but taking no, or minimal, precautions against exposing others to contagion is a violation of the NAP.

        1. Grrr…

          It is an argument from horribly faulty logic…

          Edit button, please?

  7. Meanwhile thanks anti-vaccine disinformation the current outbreak has spread to 14 states and infected 102 people so far.

    “You should only have free speech if that speech is correct!”
    -Ron

    Just busting your nuts guy.

    1. He’s not your guy, buddy.

      1. Let Ron speak for himself friend!

      2. He’s not your buddy, pal.

        1. I’m not your pal, friend!

  8. Vaccination thread! Yay!

  9. I wonder if there’s a correlation between AGW cultists and vaccines-cause-autism nutters…

    1. AGW cultists seem to be a much larger group. But I’d guess a lot of the vaccine nuts are also sold on catastrophic clobal warming.

    2. I think you’ll probably find a correlation between a lot types of stupidity.

    3. I’m sure there is a strong relationship, plus an anti-GM overlay. This is a solid Prog voting base.

  10. Oh, and anyone who talks about an “autism epidemic” or “a skyrocketing autism rate” is a scientific illiterate who should be laughed at when making any statement about a scientific subject:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicin…..-20-years/

    1. Science based medicine is a really mediocre site. Not recommended. At least in this posts, they admit they are half-wits with statistical methods.

      1. Also, to the extent that it has increased it more likely due to “Sheldon Cooper” style people who were formally just considered weird being reclassified as high functioning ASD’s rather than an increase in traditional “Rain Man” style autistics.

        1. ^Probably this^

        2. Also, to the extent that it has increased it more likely due to “Sheldon Cooper” style people who were formally just considered weird being reclassified as high functioning ASD’s rather than an increase in traditional “Rain Man” style autistics.

          I would concur from both sides of the argument as well. It’s likely that scientists and engineers of the past were autistic, but were such damned virtuoso’s nobody wrote down, ‘Tesla was autistic.’ or ‘John Browning is clearly OCD.’ and nobody thought, ‘I wanna be Nikola Tesla when I grow up.’

          Since scientist is now better associated with a socially-awkward, scifi-loving, arcanely-skilled (maybe), perpetual student; the appeal of being associated with being moderately autistic (or OCD) increases.

      2. Three things have happened resulting in an increase in autism.

        1. The definition has broadened, it is now not a disease, but a spectrum of diseases.

        2. Education among primary care doctors has increased in regards to autism, overall awareness has increased. So children who a generation ago would have been labeled “slow” are now autistic. The kids always existed, it is just semantics.

        3. There are three absolutely true scientific indicators for autism. Your odds of having it increase if you are 1. male, 2. have a sibling or relative with it, 3. were born to a woman later in child bearing years. The first two show a strong genetic basis for it, the third is related to the ways our society has been changing with women putting off having children.

        But in general, the overall rate of disease hasn’t budged much, just the overall rate of diagnosis of the disease.

        Source: I sleep with a psychiatrist who treats autistic kids every day.

  11. Paging SugarFree. SugarFree please come to the courtesy phone.

    Nick Gillespie ?@nickgillespie 2m2 minutes ago
    A libertarian advice column? Send your questions to dearreason@reason.com cc @kmanguward

    1. This is my dream come true. Even if they won’t let me do it officially, I will answer with my own advice anyway. Because I care.

      1. Dear Miss Liberty,

        I’ve been dating an IRS accountant. Is this morally wrong? Also, is oral sex consistent with a freedom-based relationship?

        Audited in New Orleans

        1. Dear Audited,

          First- yes. it’s disgusting and the dirtiest type of way possible- unless you are planning to use your relationship to convince him/her to hinder the behemoth from the inside.

          Second- are you giving or receiving. Receiving is almost always consistent with a freedom-based relationship.

        2. Dear Audited,

          Sleeping with a liar and a thief can be quite exciting until she steals your penis with her black magic and super science. Get one last blow job from her, but only after crumbling an Ambien all over your dong. When she passes out, bind the creature with a ring of salt around the bed and then move to Tahiti. Girls rarely wear tops down there, or at least that’s what Gauguin told me.

      2. I, for one, welcome SugarFree as our new advice column overlord!

        1. I think I need to see his qualifications.

          1. Bitch, I got my qualifications right here. [smacks Spencer so hard her wig flies off]

            1. Haha, that wasn’t even spencer and the wig was only a disguise!

              1. And you expect people to trust you for advice?

                1. No. I never expect trust from anyone. But, you can trust my advice to always have a decoy because you never know when someone will try to slap you to prove their qualifications!

    2. Dear Reason,

      How and why is it acceptable to use taxation as a tool for behavior modification?

      Also, do you think Christ Christie is dreamy?

      1. Never. And I have had a nightmare about Chris Christie tripping and landing on me, does that count as dreamy?

        1. I could see him as a part of the cast of “Mystery Date” where certain girls would just swoon at his combination of statism and cronyism.

  12. Be sure to declaw you cats. And circumcise the male cats.

  13. Vaccination is a little bit like voting. It really doesn’t matter if any particular individual does or does not vote. But if enough people don’t vote, an election doesn’t seem so legitimate. Vaccination is a bit different in that it can actually do some good for the individual, unlike voting.

    I’m not in favor of voting or vaccination being required by law.

  14. This guy is a moron. I have no clue why he’s nationally famous. He’s bad at policy. He’s bad at government. The only thing I like about his is we cheer for the same NFL team… and even then I don’t think he would have been there in the early 2000’s.

    As a fat man, which I most certainly am, I wish he’d represent better.

    1. I think he came across a little like Scott Walker in the early point of his administration, but now he’s just a fat fuck from New Jersey.

  15. Let all the left wing schmucks like Jenny McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy’s dopey son have their kids educated in quarantine facilities.

    If you have any sanity whatsoever, you understand that preventing and mitigating the outbreak and spread of highly communicable diseases when possible is a legitimate role of the government.

  16. I went to a Neil Degrasse Tyson lecture last Friday and he was all about increasing “scientific literacy.” I asked the friends that I went with, who are big fans, how they would define “scientific literacy” since not everyone can be an actual scientist. Their answer was basically that everyone should know how important science is, to respect scientists, to understand the scientific method.

    The whole lecture was basically about how science wasn’t respected in American culture – because we don’t put scientists on our money, basically. He didn’t talk about how the word “science” can be slapped on practically anything, and if you don’t blindly believe it, then you’re a “science denier.”

    He’s also of the opinion that the peer review process is practically perfect, or at least it’s the best thing that we’re ever going to have.

    1. One of the best kept secrets of the last few years is that Neil Degrasse Tyson is a fucking idiot.

      1. He told a 13 year old that her grades didn’t matter in the Q&A.

        Why would he say that? Does he want her to become the janitor that can solve integrals?

        I hate GPAs, but the academic system is set up on the assumption that grades matter. At some point, you have to admit that you need some credentials to get where you want to go, and credentials require grades.

        1. Why would he say that?

          Because he’s another disciple of Saul Alinsky whose dream is to destroy America from within.

        2. I hate GPAs, but the academic system is set up on the assumption that grades matter.

          Q: What does an engineer with 2.5 GPA say at their job?

          A: “Would you like fries with that?”

        3. Because it’s true. Who cares what grades you got as a 13 YO? Come to think of it, within a couple years after you leave school entirely, who cares what grades you ever got?

          1. You have no idea how stupidly competitive college is now if you are seriously saying this. Your grades at 13 may determine whether you get in the class where an A gets you a chance at a good college, or the class where even an A gives you no chance to go to a good college.

            1. But college is a racket! Once the bubble busts, there won’t be much competition to get in. And besides, even now, once you’re out of it a couple yrs., nobody cares which college you went to.

      2. to be fair, I think he’s only filling a void of desire for someone, anyone, to speak to these issues.

        it doesn’t hurt that he’s got a “self made” background.

      3. He’s not a real scientist anymore. He’s a celebrity posing as a scientist. It’s not because he’s not smart (book smart anyway), it’s that he’s exceptionally lazy, and being a celebutard is a lot less work than being a real scientist.

        1. As a scientist that also does a podcast and lots of outreach, I would say that science education is much harder than science, if only because we’re trained for years and years to do science, but are left to our own talents and self-training to do outreach.

    2. I’m very much pro-science and technology, but I also want those things to stay mostly in the marketplace and not to become hopelessly entangled with government. Not to mention that a technocratic autocracy operated by scientists doesn’t appeal to me anymore than the current one run by venal morons.

      1. Bill nye disagrees. AND, he’s on TV, so you are wrong.

        1. I’m fine with Mr. Nye doing his science show for kids, but beyond that, he’s a nonentity for me.

          1. and you don’t think a tv show for kids in the most powerful tool for indoctrination that’s ever existed?

            (I don’t, but I’m not sure I believe true indoctrination is possible unless they already agree.)

            1. I dunno, the show never seemed as preachy as he’s become in recent years.

            2. Having been partially raised on Nye’s old stuff, I don’t recall him being anywhere near as preachy in the past, his show was much more about just showing basic scientific principles in goofy ways kids could understand.

              1. This is definitely a disease than can be caught by popularizers. I mean, Nye, Tyson, Plait. . .there’s a list of these guys.

              2. They run out of facts, so they start presenting opinions.

                1. Which is frustrating, because there are *lots* of facts out there to talk about!

    3. The peer review process has got to be the single MOST broken thing about modern science. It is a cluster fuck of sycophants and echo chamber maids. It can’t filter out crap and it doesn’t let in real science.

      1. Which is why I should be spontaneously acclaimed Science Czar. I will deem things worthy or unworthy.

      2. In some circles of science, certainly.

        The autism/vaccine link though… that was debunked years ago, like in Bush’s 1st term, because peer reviewers couldn’t get the same results. The doctor lost his license (and was found to have been financially motivated). The publication issued a retraction, etc, over 10 years ago. Its just all the idiots keep repeating nonsense.

    4. because we don’t put scientists on our money, basically

      I’ve noticed that countries which do put scientists on their currency tend to be either communist shitholes or Germany.

    5. I can agree with the part about understanding the scientific method. Maybe then people would understand why I can’t stop myself from laughing everytime I hear the phrase “the scientific consensus” used as if science was a democratic process.

      1. irony: people talking about the importance of the scientific method but avoiding it where their hobby horses are concerned.

      2. I can agree with the part about understanding the scientific method.

        IDK, about half the time I hear someone use the term ‘scientific method’, they’re using it in some sense that makes it sound like only someone with grant money and advanced degrees can do it properly and, when asked to define it officially, they describe methods and behavior that can be identified in a significant chunk of mammalian species. Or any mammal capable of using tools at least.

    6. And if you add “Science Editor” no peer review required…you speak for God.

    7. we don’t put scientists on our money

      What am I, chopped liver? – B. Franklin

      1. What am I, chopped liver? – B. Franklin

        Worse. You are a white guy who lived, like, 100 years ago.

    8. Peer review as usually practiced is a mixed blessing/curse. It has too many conflicts of interest, and it depends too much on the reviewers’ degree of interest in a submission, but it does work somewhat, but takes too long. Journals want exclusives on submissions, so you wait until one referees one, and can’t submit to the next one until you get a rejection.

      Fortunately, the Internet is making possible the fact forums that Eric Drexler wrote of.

    9. How would he know that the peer review process is practically perfect when he has virtually no experience with it?

  17. Where does Chris Christie stand (figuratively) on BMI?

    1. I’m sure he thinks it shouldn’t be forced on you, but most people should use the measurement.

      BMI is the least scientific indicator of health ever. I’m not unhealthy because of some magic ratio. I’m unhealthy because pizza and beer taste better than exercise.

      1. where does he stand on the issue of mandatory cremations instead of burials?

        1. “buried in a grand piano case”?

          1. Do they just save those up for these situations?

      2. Oh, I though you meant where he was on the BMI scale…

        1. Obviously he’s 4 feet too short.

          1. “Everyone knows the taller candidate wins. Get the rack ready, we’ve got some stretching to do.”

            [Emerges in 2016 10′ tall.]

  18. Something something… abortion… mumble mumble… deep dish pizza… blah blah circumcision…

    *thread explodes to over 1000 comments*

    1. what’s the record?

      1. I think Sheldon Richman’s article the other day where he compared Chris Kyle to Adam Lanza is over 800 comments last time I checked, which is the most I’ve seen.

        I’ve heard rumors and legends that there was a thread that blew up to over 1000 a few years ago (don’t remember why or what the thread was, I think it was live blogging one of the Repeblican primary debates in 2012).

        1. Pretty sure one of Cathy Young’s articles on gamergate went over the 1000 comments mark, largely because some people from other sites started jumping in to get slaughtered.

          1. EDIT: Nevermind, it was only over 700 comments.

        2. The Salty Tears thread must’ve had well over that before it was destroyed.

          1. I think that’s the one I was thinking of. Was it a live blog of a debate, or am I mis-remembering? I wasn’t in on the fun that night, I just heard about it later.

            1. It was about Santorum withdrawing from a race or getting voted out of office or something else wonderful like that. Viking Moose was in that thread and was lost when they destroyed his native habitat. Reason should be ashamed.

        3. live blogging shouldn’t count.

          I think, then, richman needs to write an article about vaccine’s vs. circumcision when it comes to mandatory practices to prevent sti.

        4. One of the White Indian/rather/Mary Stack super troll threads was over 2000, but they sent it down the memory hole.

          It was a good one, too. MNG admitted that I had been right all along, but Tulpa sided with White Indian and Mary Stack instead letting me “win.”

          1. When you’d rather side with a bona-fide psycho nutbar like WI and Mary than let someone else win you need to take a step back and take a long hard look at your life.

          2. it’s convenient that the one thread where he admits you’re right is one they destroy…

            1. Isn’t it. dun-Dun-DUN!

  19. In 1963, before the vaccine, there were something like 450 deaths in the U.S. from measles. In the last ten years, the average annual death rate was 11 from the measles vaccine. I like those odds. Let the free market figure out how to shun those who refuse to vaccinate their kids.
    I heard one theory that the outbreak at Disneyland could have come from one of those tens of thousands of children who snuck into the U.S. and then were dispersed by the Obama administration. Did those kids get any kind of health screening before being sent out to wherever (where 95% of them have failed to show for hearings)?

    1. pshaw- like poor people get to go to disney.

  20. I’m sure the antivaxxers are clogging this thread with their typical nonsense. But let me just say, politicians sure can be idiots. Was it Rick Perry or Michelle Bachman who said the HPV vaccine caused retardation or some other nonsense? It isn’t as if the study showing a link between vaccines and autism wasn’t debunked over a decade ago, and the doctor who published it had his license revoked and was found to have been fueled by a conflict of interest whereby he was being paid by a group aiming to profit off of a switch away from certain vaccines. This is all very old news and still, in 2008, Obama, Clinton, and McCain hadn’t got the message? These are our leaders? Rand Paul’s position is at least defensible, even if I disagree with it, but as a medical doctor he would know that vaccines do not cause autism. The rest of them… well I guess these are the same people who bring us global warming alarmism.

  21. Voluntary, you damn fair-weather libertarians. Christ, it’s not like even the proponents say they’re 100% safe. There is a chance, albeit it small, of death.

  22. The balance tips away from the oral polio vaccine and away from anthrax.

    Is it unreasonable to think it tips away for other vaccines as well?

    It wasn’t long ago that docs wanted to put Lexapro and statins in the drinking water, and now we are learning those aren’t necessarily quite as safe as we thought.

  23. While I am not against vaccinations, I do think that this hyperventilation over the measels “outbreak” is out of hand. There were something like 600 cases last year.. in a country north of 300 million. Isn’t there something more news worthy, like the complete ineptitude of Pete Carrol?

  24. Well both stupid bridgegate Christie and stupid no gay marriage Ron Paul are done as candidates for 2016. Too bad Libertarians need a stong candidate not a pandering moron like these two. If only Ron Paul was younger.

    1. Stupid Rand Paul, not his father who stands up for sensible things.

    2. But if they did marry each other, what would their children be like?

  25. Come on, Ronald. At least be accurate.

    Your quote from President Obama is completely misleading, as this piece in Politico points out. You should watch the video linked.

    http://www.politico.com/story/…..14837.html

    And he makes it clear that all of the benefits of vaccination. At worst, is your complaint that he said we should continue research? That is only demonstrating prudence, not doubt. I’m sure you think we still should be researching climate change.

    But lets hold your take on Obama anyway, even though its wrong. That was 2008. He could not have been clearer as to his stance on vaccines today. He just told everyone yesterday that parents should get their kids vaccinated.

    Why don’t you explain Rand Paul not doing the same….yesterday.

    1. Just to make it clear, since I am sure most won’t check the video, when Obama said, “including this person” he was pointing to another person in the audience who had shown skepticism, he wasn’t referring to himself.

  26. “Meanwhile thanks to anti-vaccine disinformation the current outbreak has spread to 14 states and infected 102 people so far.”

    OMG! The SKY IS FALLING! A measly 3.4E-5% of the population (using the conservative figure of 300,000,000 total) has contracted one of the least dangerous diseases ever discovered! Better inject a bunch of toxic, autism-inducing chemicals into our children to prevent it! RUN! HIDE! THE SKY IS FALLING!!!

    You low-info Chicken Littles rank among the most pathetic shitferbrains ever hatched.

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