Shot of Reason

Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized


We all know how I feel about vaccines. Vaccines do not cause autism and there is no reputable study that proves this.

A recent study released shows that campaigns intended to lure anti-vaccination parents back to the dark side of reason have backfired, turning parents who were lukewarm to the idea into total crusaders against the needle.

What bothered me about the story was not the argument of vaccination vs. anti-vaccination. It’s the core issue of people being turned off when they’re confronted with an opposing view. There was another study done in 2006 when people who considered themselves conservative were shown a fake report arguing the case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They were then given a report that factually refuted false report’s claims. Did the test subjects shift their thinking? Nope. Apparently being accosted with facts only strengthened their resolve.

That’s a problem with people that has always bothered me. And this isn’t about conservative vs. progressive, science vs. God, global warming vs. Big Oil. It’s about basic logic and how our biases can so easily overpower our abilities to think straight.

I’ve touched on this before, about thinking. We become quite entrenched in our beliefs and once we reach that state, we can’t be convinced otherwise, facts be damned. We’ll result to all different types of faulty arguments to hang on to our cause, strawman logic, anecdotal evidence, sometimes just outright denial.

But why? Why do we latch on to our personal ideas and refuse to let go? The problem really boils down to one thing: laziness. That’s a dangerous combination. Considering two sides to a debate takes work. Keeping an open mind actually requires intellectual energy that we are either too lazy or too obstinate to maintain.

A closed mind requires no energy. It requires no thought process. It requires no ability to comprehend. It makes life simple because we don’t have to waste time trying to understand a different point of view.

The other danger non-thinking laziness presents is that it propagates pseudo-debates. Thanks to petroleum-funded “research” about global warming, they have managed to create a “debate” about the issue that does not exist. More than 95 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and that it’s our fault. But those who stand to lose billions and possibly trillions to CO2 emissions caps and other regulations have created an image of a two-sided issue. You don’t really need to have a debate, just the appearance of one, to confuse those who haven’t yet made up their mind. Once the undecided people find out which side they’re on politically, they gravitate in that direction and there you go, a contentious issue where there previously was none.

The anti-vaccination folk have now done the same thing and they don’t even have well-funded, contrarian research on their side. The numbers of those without vaccines are going up, as are the number of cases of preventable diseases like whooping cough.

How exactly do you solve this problem? How do you get people to stop blindly going in the direction they’ve always traveled?

It starts with one thing: thinking. But that can’t happen with a closed mind.


Flu Blues




Dear Evolution,

I really wanted to thank you for demonstrating that you are in fact the method by which life progresses both to the benefit and detriment of mankind. I’ve always felt a close connection to you what with all the time I spent in biology and philosophy courses discussing your fundamentals established by Charles Darwin.

While we can always argue that God kicked you in to gear or that you came along and began yourself, you no doubt have expressed that you are definitely in charge when it comes to biological laws.

There are those who doubt you. After all, you challenge the very basic notion of God’s role in life and its ever-changing nature.

But you demonstrate your might on a regular basis, most notably in life’s smaller forms including bacteria and viruses.

Just three weeks ago I received a shot for influenza in hopes of staving off a possible infection. I have a 4-month-old baby and was doing my best to preserve her still pristine immune system.

I was assured that the particular inoculation I received was engineered to combat the particular strain of influenza passing around these days.

Just yesterday, after dealing with a bout of chills and sore muscles, a nurse jammed a swab up my nose to test for the flu. Results came back— Type A.

The doctor told me that the flu shot this year has been quite effective, although I was the second patient that day to report getting the flue after getting the vaccine.

Thanks for nothing Evolution. This is what I get for defending you.