Sunday, February 06, 2011

Black Swan Theory anyone?

I am against mercury in my environment.

I have not been advocating against vaccines, and yet, I see that people who think the way I do are called anti-vaccine. I am for safe vaccines. I want all the disease strains I am vaccinated with to be as safe as they can be. I want two things:

1. I want mercury out of all my vaccines, and 2. I don't like any multi-valent vaccines (DPT, MMR etc.) because it is largely unknown how the immune system deals with an onslaught of several different disease-causing agents simultaneously, especially when they are alive, as is the case with MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).

Why are those two questions not addressed by the government or the vaccine makers? The question that forces itself into my mind is "are there market forces at work that have absolutely nothing to do with vaccine safety and do they have everything to do with wilful denial of a problem?"

That brings me to Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Black Swan Theory:

The Black Swan Theory or Theory of Black Swan Events is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept that The event is a surprise (to the observer) and has a major impact. After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight.

It has been used in the context of the recent financial crisis. But it could also be applied to the vaccine debate.

The vaccine manufacturers are making sure that all the propaganda is used to deny credibility to those of us who like to err on the side of caution. Brooksley Born [] raised objections to trading in derivatives. She was not allowed to be heard when it would have mattered in 1998.

Is the vaccine situation such a Black Swan Event? The people who are raising their voices about the possibility that certain adjuvants in vaccines might cause autism (and other adverse effects) are merely wanting to implement some basic studies to ascertain that vaccines are as safe as they can be.

I would like to see a study that compares vaccinated children to unvaccinated ones. This has not been done. Also vaccine makers should make individual vials available that have not been preserved with Thimerosal; also they should not contain large amounts of aluminum and other adjuvants. I also would like to see a requirement to make vaccines available that contain only a single disease agent.

Vaccine manufacturers and the government would be trusted more if a sincere effort were made to come up with something in that direction.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What really is it that makes science science

Long ago I learned that science is a way of thinking. It is not following a formula although that may be part of it. Science is the act of discovery. It is the formulation of discovery so it can be replicated and thus passed on as fact.

It is not science when tired old truisms are wrapped in new clothes. Following a standard formula and using big words does not science make. Description of a scientific study also is not science, although it may be a way to science. So what then is science?

Science is finding the truth through trial and error. That means you may even be wrong at first. But you keep looking, and you keep wondering until finally the revelation shines as a bright lantern. Science means observation. It means to get to know something. Science is organizing those observations into a testable statement.

Science is finding the truth through seeking. It may be a winding path. But once the goal is in sight, it will fulfill all the requirements of a deeper truth. And that deeper truth is the beginning of the understanding of science.

Science can't be corrupted. It has to be honest. It has to stand alone and wait for confirmation and discourse until more knowledge changes the concept to an even greater truth.