Sunday, December 8, 2013

Katie Couric the Antivaxer or Telling both sides is great pseudoscience

Katie Couric is a practicing pseudoscientist. As a former morning show mavin, she certainly has the qualifications. Her topic recently was the HPV vaccine.

HPV is a vaccine that prevents the  human papillomavirus. HPV is credited as a source for cancer in women. It is also one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. So, if you are looking for a candidate of vaccine that could benefit mankind (and of course womankind) HPV vaccine is a good one.

Back to Dr Katie. The topic of her December 4th, 2013 show was on the HPV vaccine and as she promised in her tweet the day before, "We're hoping to tell both sides so parents can make informed decision." Of course, "tell both sides" is our secret code for pseudoscience. Usually, especially when it comes to vaccines, there isn't ever a legitimate "other side" that is worth pitting against science.

Not saying there isn't another side. All vaccines have a risk. You could be allergic to something in the vaccine preparation, like eggs. Your body is of course going to react to the vaccine and your body will learn to recognize and fight against the virus you are being exposed to. These effects are mild an risks very very very low. According to the CDC, "mild side effects included pain where the shot was given, fever, headache, and nausea." Of course, most of these could in fact be nocebo affects because these are common side effects of similar vaccines.

According to Dr Katie's guests, the anecdotal claims include death and other slightly less worse outcomes. These guests were of course highly trained non-doctors. 

Why is this pseudoscience? Simply, the antivaxer claims are non-science. Like on Dr Katie's show, the people that are affected are not statistically significant, except to the ratings of the TV show that they are guests on. Their claims are also usually not exposed to the light of deep examination by experts. Instead, Katie's producers are trolling for the 'other side' of the story and find grieving families that blame the 'establishment' for harm and conspiracy to do harm.

To illustrate what is happening, let's look at aspirin. Did you know that aspirin kills people? That's right! If you take an aspirin, you have a 1 in 6 chance of death by heart attack. Of course, if you don't take aspirin, your odds are also 1 in 6 chance of death by heart attack. That is because we all have a 1 in 6 chance of death by heart attack. This is also known as death by statistics. 

Same goes for vaccines. If we all have a 1 in 6 chance of death by heart attack, the odds are quite high that after getting a vaccine that you die of a heart attack. It is also easy to prove that not getting a vaccine might be the culprit as dead people rarely get vaccinated. Q.E.D. vaccines cause heart attacks. They also cause 1 in 7 to die of cancer and 1 in 160 to die in a car accident. Of course there is a 100% chance that you will die after taking a vaccine because their is no vaccine for death.

The "other side" to vaccines is of course science. Ever since they were first created, they have had a pretty good track record. They have also eliminated or almost eliminated diseases like Polio and Smallpox. Vaccines, to be effective, need to be given to most people. Take for instance, measles. If enough people don't take the vaccine, you easily get an epidemic. It is even worse in Texas where folks don't cotton to being told what to do. At a Texas mega church and surrounding area, there was an outbreak caused by these folks not getting their vaccines. Of course, those that did, did not get measles, though are in eminent danger of slipping and falling in the tub.

Experiment: Cheat Death

Because 1 in 171 people die from falls, you can cheat death. Lie down and stay down. Note: You have a higher chance of death from other sources like diseases caused by a lack of activity.