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Idiotic comment of the week

In a nod to fellow ScienceBlogger Ed Brayton, with his hilarious Dumbass Quote of the Day, I hereby inaugurate the “Idiotic Comment of the Week,” culled from this very blog. I don’t guarantee that I’ll do it every week, but when I see neuron-necrosing idiocy below and beyond the usual call of pseudoscientists and quackery boosters who occasionally like to try to match their “wits” (such as they are) with my reality- and science-based commenters, usually to hilarious effect, I’ll give it the “honor” it deserves. This week, despite highly intense competition (thanks to a recent infestation of new anti-vaccine trolls even dumber than the old bunch of anti-vaccine trolls), this particular comment sank below all the rest with its sheer unrelenting level of utter ignorance:

May I make a suggestion? ….wash your hands, exercise, eat well, live healthy, & fight off bacteria and viruses the old fashion way (like humans have done for 50,000 years.)

Yeah, because that worked so well, say…350 years ago. Back in London in the 1600s, John Graunt compiled one of the earliest examples of vital statistics. In 1662, he published Natural and Political Observations Mentioned in a Following Index and Made Upon the Bills of Mortality. In this book, Graunt was the first to attempt to construct life tables and mortality tables based on the numbers of births and reported deaths in London. As a tercentenary tribute stated:

300 years ago John Graunt, a London draper, published some “Natural and Political Observations on the Bills of Mortality.” These observations represent the 1st, as well as an extremely competent attempt, to draw scientific conclusions from statistical data. The present study illustrates Graunt’s careful scientific approach, his ability to extract the essence from what by modern standards are distinctly untrustworthy demographic data, and his intuitive appreciation of the amount of interpretation his findings would tolerate. Based upon ratios and proportions of vital events and consideration of the way in which these changed in different circumstances, his analysis is amazingly free of major statistical errors. His statistical understanding was consideration. He is responsible for the 1st scientific estimates of population size, the concept of the life table, the idea of statistical association, the 1st studies of time series, and a pioneer attempt to draw a representative sample. Graunt’s book continued to be worthy of reading today, for it laid the foundations of the science of statistics.

So what did John Graunt find?

Graunt found that the average life expectancy in London was 27 years, with 65% of people dying before age 16, the vast majority due to childhood infectious diseases, diseases, I note, that have now been largely brought under control by vaccines, antibiotics, and advances in medical care. Steve Rappaport reports in Worlds Within Worlds: Structures of Life in Sixteenth-Century London that, a century earlier in the 1500s, of men who made it to age 25 to 26, the ages at which most men became full citizens, the average further life expectancy was 28 years, meaning that men who made it to adulthood would have about a 50-50 chance of living to be older than 53 or 54. One-tenth died by their mid-30s, and only around one-third lived to be older than sixty. I’m not quoting these statistics for precision, but merely to show that life expectancy sucked until fairly recently. Indeed, most of the gains in life expectancy that we’ve experienced have occurred in the last 150 years or less.

As for prehistoric humans 50,000 years ago, it was uncommon for them to live past age 40.

So, yeah, it would be a really good thing to go back to how we “kept microbes at bay” 50,000 years ago. That worked so well, didn’t it?

Finally, comes a comment that plumbs the depths of stupid even more than the first comment, making this award a two-fer. First, commenter Joseph C wrote a very reasonable response to the first comment:

If you want to go back to the life expectancy humans had 50,000 years ago, then go for it. Also, most biologists believe that homo sap is much older than 50,000 years.

Indeed. But then a commenter named brian responded:

how long did people live 50000 years ago?
At least they didnt have any iatrogenesis to contend with!

Yikes! At first I thought he was making fun of anti-vaccinationists, but perusing the rest of his comments (for example, this one) shows me that he was serious. He really does appear to think that iatrogenic injuries kill more people than infectious diseases did 50,000 years ago.

As I am wont to say, perhaps more often than I should, against such ignorance the gods themselves contend in vain.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

181 replies on “Idiotic comment of the week”

I wonder what we were doing before 50,000 years ago?

Dying of iatrogenic diseases. Then the secret of not seeing doctors was found, and people lived happily until quite recently when it was lost again.

Which would obviously be why all those paleolithic and neolithic burial sites are full of babies, children and people in their 40s. Because they lived such happy, healthy lives, right? :-/

I got to see skeletons excavated from a neolithic site, once; rickets, lesions in jaw bones from tooth infections, one very badly healed broken arm, and in every one damage from parasites. Yay.

Kind of like saying, “sure my magic carpet doesn’t fly my anywhere, but at least I won’t die in a plane crash with it.”

More like saying “sure my magic carpet won’t fly me off the top of this active volcano, but at least I won’t die in a plane crash with it.”

Ah the smell of burning stupid in the morning.

On top of the excellent points made in the post in the comments, the blame-the-victim attitude of these self-righteous jerks just irks me.

Children in Africa? Oh they deserve to die because they don’t eat right. That young mother with cancer? Tsk, she’s got that from injecting herself with those filthy vaccines.

As my mother would say, “come here ’til I slaps you upside the head.”

Stupidest Headline I’ve Seen in Quite a While(courtesy of Mike Adams, NaturalNews – where else?):”Massive US health care reform bill contributing to deforestation:1,990 pages and 19.6 pounds of paper.”(11/8/09)

Well, sure, individuals have survived diseases for hundreds of thousands of years – that’s why we humans are still here. And for the majority or that time, survival was accomplished without “modern” medicine.

But…

Here’s what the naysayers don’t understand. They don’t get to choose who lives and who dies – survival (without medical intervention) depended on a number of factors, many of which a single person (or family) cannot have influenced (eg. did they have enough to eat that winter? Depends on the harvest, the wealth of the family, etc.).

If someone wants to choose alternative medicine, have at it. But I prefer them to do so with their eyes open, and not with some utopian idea of the past.

It’s not like ‘wash your hands and eat well’ are bad advice, they just are woefully insufficient. It’s like saying ‘drive defensively and you’ll survive any crash — you don’t need all those safety devices like seatbelts and airbags on your car’. True, not driving like a maniac and assuming people on the roads can be idiots will prevent some crashes, and mitigate others, but there’s always going to be that patch of ice, or the pickup out of nowhere, or deer.

(For that matter, airbags do hurt people when used blindly, which is why you note when they’ll do more harm than good in a crash and turn them off, not just blindly read about airbag injuries and assume they are worse than getting hit in the first place.)

childhood infectious diseases, diseases, I note, that have now been largely brought under control by vaccines, antibiotics, and advances in medical care

Not to give these fantastic advances short shrift, but I’m fairly sure that public health, sanitation and improvements in living standards did most of the work before the 1950s (when antibiotic were introduced, and many vaccines didn’t yet exist).

After that, modern medicine really took off and brought these now rarer disease to the brink of non-existence.

Well since Vaccination started in the 18th century I wouldn’t chock it all off to public health improvements.

Interestingly the first vaccines killed off something like 10% as many people as the regular infection and still people wanted vaccines.

These days, people freak out if a vaccine has a possibility of being 0.00001% as deadly as the disease.

He really does appear to think that iatrogenic injuries kill more people than infectious diseases did 50,000 years ago.

Which, I suppose, if estimates are to be believed, might well be true. On a per capita basis, on the other hand, not so much.

“On a per capita basis, on the other hand, not so much.”

I’m not so sure even that’s true. It probably depends on your definition of iatros, but I can imagine a “healer” 50,000 years ago desperately trying out one herb after another on dying children, and accidentally poisoning a few of them.

“health, sanitation and improvements in living standards did most of the work before the 1950s ”

So which advance in the aforementioned fields was responsible for the decline of small pox in Washington’s army after his decision to begin vaccination after the Quebec debacle? Also, why did the British army fail to discover or implement this advance once their American camp followers, tory soldiers, and the escape slaves in their ranks began to fall ill?

As I just posted as commenter 329(!) over at the original thread:

Orac,
Nevermind “Idiot Comment of the Week”, you clearly need to create an “Idiot Commenter of the Year” award for the brians. I say “brians” because I’m fairly certain that there are several different people posting on the same spittle-flecked keyboard over at AOA, or perhaps Dr. Buttar’s basement.

One of the posters is just a frothing loon who can’t spell or punctuate. One of them is just as loony as the first, but less frothy and has some command of English which includes the use of capital letters and diacritical marks (in the correct places). I haven’t identified a distinct third brian, but the sheer volume of spume is just too much for one person to generate.

That said, perhaps Occam’s Razor should be applied, in which case brian is probably just a lone poster in his parent’s basement, jacked up on Red Bull and Jolt with his tinfoil hat screwed on just a bit too tight. This scenario might explain the multiple personality effect.

Whatever the source of these posts, their vast numbers, utterly credulous nature, slightly off-target snark and conspiratorial ardor places them among the pantheon of posters worthy of the soon-to-be coveted “ICOY”.

People, stop trying to argue with stupid. Call it a bad hangover in our post-politically-correct phase, but we all need to get past this silly notion than any ‘argument’ in opposition is worthy of attention.

The anti-vaccine fools skew towards marginalized, uneducated losers. This almost all-white group uses the internet to overcome what would otherwise be well-deserved obscurity. They do not occupy positions of power nor do they they exert leadership in any meaningful forum. If you respond to lunacy, credit only goes to the lunatic.

Anti-vaccine arguments are so overwhelming crushed by science and history that they are ‘not even wrong’. Borrowing Christopher Hitchens well-articulated distinction between the ironic mind and people who, for example, accept a 2,000 year old collection of stories as literal truth, your articulate arguments are useless.

The good news is that the AVF (‘anti-vaccination fools’, ‘natch) is a minority anyway you dice the demographics. Better still, they are a shrinking minority. Uneducated white people in America are much heavier users of tobacco and they are simply much heavier, on average. As America gains 2-3 million population each year the AVF dies off faster than the rest of us and their proportional numbers fall even faster.

So between now and the day when America will finally rid herself of the 12th century borderlands mentality that drags public discourse back to the Reformation, limit your attention to those who are worthy.

Let the AVF chatter amongst themselves as they look to radio clowns like Glenn Beck, racists like Limbaugh or other Fox simpletons for direction. We are much, much bigger and as we so ably demonstrated on November 4, 2008, we’re in charge.

PS – note to any ambitious prosecutors out there – can’t speak for the laws in your jurisdiction, but you’ve clearly got enough science with which to lock up parents who fail to vaccinate their kids.

I am paralyzed with fear that this will induce the other idiot commentors (doctrinalfairness) to try and win the award.

@TheRaven,

The anti-vaccine fools skew towards marginalized, uneducated losers. This almost all-white group uses the internet to overcome what would otherwise be well-deserved obscurity. They do not occupy positions of power nor do they they exert leadership in any meaningful forum.

Actually, the anti-vax position tends to skew towards widely accepted, fluffy New Age woo among college educated, well to do parents. Who do occupy positions of power. Who do have the ability to exert significant influence.

This is why there are now pockets of populations in which vaccination levels have dropped below the 80% to 90% herd immunity threshold and infection childhood diseases have started coming back with a vengeance.

You dismiss anti-vaxers at your own risk. Yes they’re woefully uneducated about medicine and simply repeat whatever half-baked pseudoscience they read on random blogs that support their phobias. But they’re not losers who can be easily ignored and they have more than enough potential to do serious harm. In fact, they’re doing it now.

If most humans didn’t live past 40 50,000 years ago, why do all women who go through menarche also go through menopause at 55? There’s a 15 year discrepancy. Is it because males died significantly younger than women?

Are you really comparing life 350 years ago to life today? Antiseptic medical care was practically nonexistent. Infrastructure was woefully inadequate. Changes in the modern diet certainly began to occur, and like all adaptation, it has occurred very slowly – and not all of it good. Yet, here you are, acting as if these changes had positively nothing to do with life expectancy or susceptibility to any given pathogen. Rubbish, at best – intellectually dishonest at worst.

In your own words, you can’t perform an observational study on vaccinated and unvaccinated kids due to confounders – but you can compare life in the year 2000 to that 300 years ago. Okey dokey.

Actually, the anti-vax position tends to skew towards widely accepted, fluffy New Age woo among college educated, well to do parents. Who do occupy positions of power. Who do have the ability to exert significant influence.

Exactly. And due to their well-financed and aggressive PR campaigns, they have an enviable presence in both the print and television media, where they have been able to exploit the journalistic favoritism paid to controversial, maverick ideologies, david v. goliath stories, ‘D-list actress finds a *CAUSE*’ drama, and the like. In my opinion, the failure of science-based medicine advocates to respond soon enough or often enough to these people is partially responsible for their current level of success.

And, TheRaven, please note that the majority of the responses to the antivax posters on this blog aren’t merely to try and reach the trolls themselves (indeed, in most cases we recognize almost immediately this is would be an exercise in futility), but to provide counterpoints for the fence-sitters to weigh against the glut of antivax fearmongering they’ve absorbed from friends, or for the pro-vaccine laypeople who recognize the batshit insanity of the opposition but don’t know enough science to counter them.

It’s a growing movement. It’s important not to be silent and dismissive of this lunacy when health and life is at stake to this regrettable degree.

If most humans didn’t live past 40 50,000 years ago, why do all women who go through menarche also go through menopause at 55?

Uh…because they’re now living long enough to reach this end-stage of their reproductive process?

“Are you really comparing life 350 years ago to life today?”

Well, it makes a lot more sense than comparing life 50,000 years ago to life today. Many diseases that we vaccinate for did exist 350 years ago but did not exist 50,000 years ago, e.g., measles and chicken pox (they spread person-to-person, create permanent immunity, and have no animal reservoirs, so they die out in small populations). We are exposed every day to a lot more people (and thus, communicable diseases) than was normal 50,000 years ago, and much more comparable to the numbers one would encounter 350 years ago.

They must have had some excellent birth control and family planning back then. If we consider a ~1,000 generation period from 50k BCE to 25k BCE, if the average woman had 2.1 children, then world population must have been pretty high. (1.05^1000 = 1.5e10^21).

To be fair, in the 1600s people didn’t really wash their hands to speak of. Of course, plenty don’t now…

The anti-vaccine fools skew towards marginalized, uneducated losers.

Sadly, no.

You underestimate the power of crank magnetism combined with the over-representation of media and marketing professionals among alternative medicine promoters.

Crank magnetism likely arises from the social reality of sympathy toward anyone fighting the same enemy. The internet has made it possible for cranks to link up and help each other in ways humans haven’t really had to deal with before.

New recruits to the alt world, whether entering via energy medicine, herbalism, anti-pharma, detox, chiropractic, naturopathy, or Scientology, all get the same Welcome Wagon gift basket stuffed with “immune system” and “toxin” memes. These notions link to a long history of rejected medical writings. Anti-vax is part of that history and so it’s not going away.

I haven’t checked but I’d guess that Suzanne Somers is an anti-vax sympathizer, even though vaccine issues aren’t directly connected to cancer treatment. Might be worth checking as a test of the magnetism hypothesis.

A free marketplace of ideas is self-corrective against lone crackpots. Unfortunately it’s not effective against coordinated misinformation campaigns capable of creating the appearance of multiple unrelated experts all independently reaching the same conclusions.

The fact that over 40 of our top medical schools now promote integrative medicine proves my point.

We can’t remain silent and expect that the anti-vax tribe will simply wither and die.

I’m sure someone by now has thoroughly demolished the common argument that improved sanitation and increased standards of living — rather than vaccines — were what knocked down the levels of the infectious diseases that used to kill so many. (I’ve heard this argument again and again from anti-vaxxers.) Where can I find a link to a thorough, careful takedown of this myth?

@daedalus2
It wasn’t birth control. It was high death rates. Like most animals. Populations kept in line by famine and disease when they got too high

Are you really comparing life 350 years ago to life today? Antiseptic medical care was practically nonexistent. Infrastructure was woefully inadequate. Changes in the modern diet certainly began to occur, and like all adaptation, it has occurred very slowly – and not all of it good. Yet, here you are, acting as if these changes had positively nothing to do with life expectancy or susceptibility to any given pathogen. Rubbish, at best – intellectually dishonest at worst

I didn’t see anyone making that argument,only that improved medical care (and in latter days vaccinations) surely were a component in what is undoubtedly a multifactorial answer.If I’ve read wrong please show me the quote.This post appearedto be a response to “live right and fight off viruses the old fashioned way” which is patently absurd as the old fashioned way didn’t include any of these factors( hygiene, improved nutrition or potential for same, improved medical care). This begs the question, “What is the ‘old fashioned way’?” And to Azkyroths point yes, I don’t think the few handwashing studies I’ve seen have been very encouraging.

But along that same point, if its silly and dishonest to say that hygiene and nutrition had nothing to do with extending our lives, isn’t it just as silly and dishonest to be so adamant that these were the only factors and vaccinations had nothing to do with it and be certain that this is so? I’m not claiming this is your argument, only that its one I’ve seen crop up here several times.

Re the canard about sanitation and lifestyle bringing down death rates before vaccination: I was there.

I 67 years old. I grew up in the time before vaccination was available for most of our childhood diseases, the 1940s and early ’50s. (Some vaccinations came along only in time for my own children.)

My mother was a nurse. She was fanatical about sanitation and proper nutrition. No junk food, no overeating, no skipping veggies. And she taught me how to scrub for surgery. As a daily clean-up task.

Still, I and my brothers came down with measles, chickenpox, mumps. I got typhoid and rheumatic fever from the ever-present strep. One brother got polio, thankfully without serious complications or residuals.

We weren’t unusual. We lived in dread of polio; I had seen many children with residual paralysis and deformities from it. Many ended up in the iron lung, entire ward-fuls of kids. Many died.

Many died of whooping cough, pertussis, too. Does anybody even remember whooping cough now? It was frightening; the hopeless, unceasing, racking cough, convulsing the whole body. (The “whooping” in the name comes from the “Whoop!” sound made by the sufferer, usually a small child, as they tried to catch a breath after a bout of coughing.) Children died, eventually, of exhaustion. My father lost his brother that way. We watched all coughs carefully in those days.

Then the vaccine came along. What a relief for parents!

Everybody got measles. We had to sit in a darkened room, no TV, no reading, for two weeks (over Christmas!) to avoid eye damage.

Boys who got mumps before puberty were lucky. If it came later, they could end up incapable of fathering children.

Young women feared German measles, which would damage unborn children in the womb.

TB was rampant. A relative died of it. “Galloping consumption”, we called it in those days; sometimes it took an apparently healthy person in a few short weeks.

There was still no vaccine for chicken-pox in the early ’60s, when my children were toddlers. I watched the disease march through an entire children’s ward in the hospital where my son was for syndactilia correction. All surgery was halted, all visitors gowned and masked, all discharges postponed, the entire ward under quarantine, until a week after the last case had subsided. Every single kid got it. None died; at least people didn’t usually die of chicken-pox. They were just miserable. And then they grew up and came down with shingles from the virus still in hiding in their bodies. Painful.

Sure, that’s anecdotal. But it’s a report on the general state of things not so terribly long ago, in this well-fed, well-cared for developed world.

People have such short memories, these days.

Would someone care to explain HOW eating a healthy diet is enough to stop the spread of infectious diseases, exactly?

I especially loved the commenter’s vague recommendation to “live healthy”. Would this not include regular physician appointments and immunizations?

Commenter Brian in the referenced thread wrote:

how long did people live 50000 years ago? At least they didnt have any iatrogenesis to contend with!

If they were using herbs as therapeutics, they had iatrogenesis to contend with. In 3000 BC China people were using ephedra for bronchial problems, and this would have killed some people through the spikes in blood pressure it can produce (which is why herbal remedies containing Ephedra are banned in many countries). If they were using opium poppy for pain releif (which the Chinese certainly did an the Assyrians from at least 1900 BC), then morbity and death from opium overdose certainly occured. If they were using any of the salicylate containing plants for pain relief (which the Egyptians did since at least 1500 BC), then the side effects of salicylates such as gastric bleeding and ulceration (which can lead to death), were certainly present. The popular crocodile dung pessaries were also likely to have iatrogenic effects. (see Murder, Magic and Medicine, John Mann, 1992 for some nice history of herbal therapies and the Ebers papyrus for more on Egyptian medicine)

Any therapy that has enough physical effects to change the course of a disease will have iatrogenic effects. Herbal remedies, “natural” though they may be, also produce iatrogenic effects. That they are not widely known is due mostly to ignorance on the part of herbal users.

Excellent post, Susannah. I may reference it in the future for those occasional idiot parents who say “Pertussis isn’t so bad!”

Hell, people were using *mercury* and *arsenic* as cure-alls.

Jonathan @ 20:

You’re assuming there’s a reason why women go through menopause. This isn’t actually clear, though some biologists seem to enjoy coming up with evolutionary “just so” stories to explain it. It may just be one of those things.

Note also that the age of menopause is highly variable, and the average today may be different than the average 50,000 years ago.

@ 12:

Interestingly the first vaccines killed off something like 10% as many people as the regular infection and still people wanted vaccines.

I was interested whether the death rate was really that high and found a very interesting article about the history of small pox.

Two to three percent of variolated persons died of smallpox; became the source of a new epidemic; or developed other illnesses from the lymph of the donor, such as tuberculosis or syphilis [39]. Nonetheless, case-fatality rates were 10 times lower than those associated with naturally occurring smallpox, and artificial inoculation was widely practiced until Jenner’s discovery; indeed, Jenner himself was variolated at 8 years of age. The primary side effect of the procedure was the appearance of smallpox itself; however, in 1722, in one of the first applications of statistics to a medical and social problem, James Jurin [40] observed that the smallpox-associated case-fatality rate was 1:14 in noninoculated children and 1:91 in inoculated children.

Another article shows that anti-vaxxers didn’t change much since the 18th century:

Much publicity and some opposition by the clergy and the medical profession followed. The Reverend Mr. Edmund Massey in a sermon entitled “The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation,” which was delivered on 8 July 1722 from the pulpit of the Parish Church of St. Andrew’s Holborn, referred to variolation as “a diabolic operation which usurps an authority founded neither in the laws of nature or religion and which tends to anticipate and banish Providence out of the world and promotes the increase of vice and immorality.” The surgeon Legard Sparham in a pamphlet entitled Reasons against the Practice of Inoculating the Smallpox, which was published in 1722, argued against inserting poisons into wounds and bartering health for diseases (96).

As for prehistoric humans 50,000 years ago, it was uncommon for them to live past age 40.

Do we still know that ? I thought the common knowledge had evolved to thinking that pre-agricultural societies were actually healthier than later ones, because they had a more balanced diet and fewer infectious diseases (because infectious diseases need high densities and lots of inter-species contact to evolve, and hunter-gatherer societies didn’t have much of either).

Jonathan : If most humans didn’t live past 40 50,000 years ago, why do all women who go through menarche also go through menopause at 55?

Jennifer B. Phillips : Uh…because they’re now living long enough to reach this end-stage of their reproductive process?

I think Jonathan means that menopause is an event that was shaped through evolutionary forces, which wouldn’t happen if nobody lived that long. Although Calli Arcale addresses that.

I’m sure Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s polio infection was due to his poor nutrition and living in squalor.

Chris (there is more than one of us!):

I’m sure someone by now has thoroughly demolished the common argument that improved sanitation and increased standards of living — rather than vaccines — were what knocked down the levels of the infectious diseases that used to kill so many. (I’ve heard this argument again and again from anti-vaxxers.) Where can I find a link to a thorough, careful takedown of this myth?

I don’t think there is a single link to this information, because there are so many tangents to this point.

Polio has already been pointed out with a link to a very good history (short story, sanitation delayed infection with polio virus to a point past when it was still mild… before sanitation most babies were infected and they were not so very infected).

Sometimes I bring up the fact that measles, which was becoming rare before a certain fraudulent Lancet paper was misrepresented by its author, returned to Japan and England in numbers large enough to become endemic (and is coming back to Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries). I ask if the increase of measles was due to a sudden reduction of vaccination or a declination of vaccination.

I never really get a good answer.

Sometimes I get stupid answers like polio is now called meningitis, or that Hib is called something else. At that point you realize you are dealing with a whale.to/naturalnews nut, and no amount of reasoning will penetrate into whatever gray matter they possess. All you can do is silently laugh at them, while you hope that any information will be useful to reasonable people who were first intrigued by their silly arguments.

Oh, I forgot… sanitation actually is very helpful for diseases that are transmitted through water and certain insects. Sanitation has helped reduce cholera, typhus, typhoid and even bubonic plague.

Does the pediatric vaccine schedule in the USA include vaccines for those diseases?

(By the way, I was born overseas and my pediatric vaccine schedule included typhus, typhoid and yellow fever… the schedule did have a place for cholera, but it was never used!)

There is a strong movement afoot among the worried wealthy to “get back to nature”. People romanticize about going “back to the good old days” all the time. For most of them its just a desire to return to their childhood. For some, like the referenced commenter, they wish to return to pre-technology times, when they didn’t have the choice of 7 varieties of rice at the grocery, or have to worry about “western medicine” because it didn’t exist yet. Most of them realize it is a fool’s wish, and when pressed, accept that no, they really wouldn’t want to live without technology after all.
Some are even self-deluded enough to believe they really do want to live without technology and without science. Now, if only they would move to some remote locale where they could have what they want without dragging the rest of us down with them. They would die off in a few years and relieve the surplus population.

@daedalus2u, #25: sure, if you consider rampant infant mortality to be birth control, and deliberate infanticide to be family planning. that is in fact how some primitive societies control their numbers to this day.

those old stories we can read about how the ancient Romans decided to expose infants they didn’t want to raise? that was how pretty much the entire species did things up until cultural values shifted enough to make the practice unacceptable, what with the rise of christianity. (that wasn’t the first time that cultural mores had made infanticide taboo — ancient Egypt was famous for it — but it may have been the first time such a taboo became so dominant, influencing the lives of so many people.)

Which would obviously be why all those paleolithic and neolithic burial sites are full of babies, children and people in their 40s. Because they lived such happy, healthy lives, right? :-/

I got to see skeletons excavated from a neolithic site, once; rickets, lesions in jaw bones from tooth infections, one very badly healed broken arm, and in every one damage from parasites. Yay.

Yup. I’ve yet to hear of any skeletons of eighty-year-olds found in these sites.

And yes, if sanitation was all it took to stop polio, then rich Twentieth Century Americans like FDR would never have caught it.

Furthermore, as Historypunk has pointed out, life for troops in George Washington’s army wasn’t exactly sanitary — yet once they started getting inoculated against smallpox, the rate of pox dropped dramatically.

Here’s an interesting write up of a study in human evolution that considers the cost/benefit of establishing an optimal age for menopause:
http://primatediaries.blogspot.com/2007/09/evolution-of-menopause.html

Sorry if my initial response to Jonathan was flippant. I honestly didn’t know what he was asking, and the question as posed seemed to posit some effect of the male lifespan on the female reproductive cycle. My bad. It’s definitely an interesting subject. I’d love it if Dr. Amy were to do an SBM post about this at some point.

>I thought the common knowledge had evolved to thinking that pre-agricultural societies were actually healthier than later ones, because they had a more balanced diet and fewer infectious diseases.

The main causes of death among hunter gatherers are still murder, childbirth and starvation. Among pygmies (I know, you spell it with an ! now), superfluous babies and seniors are left out for the jackals to eat.

1.
Nomen nescio, I’d be interested in just how Christianity decreased infanticide by exposure. There’s quite a bit of it going on in the US today, even though it is quite illegal here. The perps are typically very young women who had unwanted pregnancies. If anything, Christianity makes these unwanted pregnancies more prevalent…

No, I think infanticide is seen as evil because of moral inflation which occurs as standards of living and life expectancy rise. What a prior generation might have seen as “the way things are” becomes a horror to a more comfortable, affluent generation. “Each child as special” is a meme that can only exist when households have very few children.

2.
It would be a horrible mistake to assume that vaccine refusers are the ignorant poor. The poor are the reason that doctors push multiple vaccines at once, running roughshod over parents. This is because they “can’t be trusted” to continue returning for prenatal care. (Because of their jobs/lack of transportation/barriers to receiving care.) Middle class parents of course are insulted by and resist this monolithic and authoritarian standard of care and so begin refusing vaccines simply because they do not think they or their child should be “forced” to do anything. The herd immunity argument only brings out the resistance more.

Wakefield and so on then come in for the really evil act II, providing a rationalization for the middle class parent’s inchoate emotions, taking the grumblers to outright resisters, leading to the outbreak of what should have been preventable, often deadly disease. Therefore it is very important to impress upon these generally well-informed people just how dangerous measles, pertussis, etc, are, and make it clear to them that low vaccination rates will end up signing the death warrant of those children who don’t develop immunity from the vaccine. These facts should be hammered again and again until they stick.

Let’s face it, the middle class is a bourgeois, and the bourgeois are inclined to be piggish. If Mommy Oinks gets it through her noggin that little Skyler could DIE if enough kids at the school aren’t vaccinated, your vaccine refusenik will become a vaccine crusader.

3.
Toxins. A favorite Boomer woo. It’s not hard to see how they acquired these beliefs, what with the fact that they grew up being exposed to really toxic shit (lead in the gasoline! Carbona! cyclamates!) promoted as being the awesome wonders of science. They’re a little skeptical now. And it only takes a little dash of lazy thinking to accept the idiotic idea that bodyfat comes from toxins in the environment settling in your body rather than from eating too much. Cut out the coffee cake AND the coffee enema, and maybe you’ll get somewhere. That woo about detox-spas-cleanses-whatever is getting really nauseating–we need some faked ford pickup fire tv journalism about deaths from chelation and coffee enemas. Now THAT’s infotainment!

4.
Part of the reason the elites believe woo woo is that they have liberal arts degrees. In HS and college they aren’t required to learn much if any science. It involves math, which liberal arts majors are allergic to, and since nobody is making them do it … well … so much for being part of the reality-based community. Instead, they study the “history of ideas” and “western canon” where they spend valuable classroom hours on stupid, discredited ideas about physics, physiology, psychology, social science, and so on. Proper medical science exists only as a thread until about 150 years and most of the major advances within the last 50 years, so naturally none of this is known to any of the deep thinkers they are supposed to study and regurgitate in detail. Even if they study “moderns” like WEB DuBois and Sartre their view of human nature is either purely political or involves Freud/Jung-influenced I-pulled-this-out-of-my-ass-after-smoking-hash attempts at understanding human nature/psychology. Your typical liberal arts major leaves school with the impression that thinking deeply about something in the coffee house will result in profound insights that will change the world. They have a passing familiarity with logical fallacies–from a rhetorical point of view–but no notion as to how one sets out to construct and test a hypothesis in order to advance human knowledge. The medical, neurological, and evo-devo advances in our understanding of human behavior, the origin of morals, and decision-making are completely unknown to them. Heck, the germ theory of disease is just an “idea” which can be tossed out in a passing fancy, just as one might discard Hobbes for Rousseau.

I once talked to this “deep” musician dude who had so little practical knowledge that he didn’t understand the mathematical relationship between string or tube length, frequency, and pitch. He kept saying “wow” to 9th grade physics. A grown man!

Oh, and although Galen is in the Western Canon, I don’t think he’s much read outside pre-med majors. It’s much more likely that a liberal arts major has wasted a severe number of braincells on Descartes (and I don’t mean his valuable contributions to mathematics). When really, those brain cells were much better wasted on beer. *g*

Many of these people go on to be journalists and other “elites”. They think they are well-educated because they’re well edjumacated with all the wrong, muddled, misleading, and misogynistic drivel that’s been sold as pure gold by some men in muu muus and silly hats over the centuries. In fact, today the putrid stench of these rotted old theories is so bad that the prof often affects the pose of criticizing the dreck, but when you’re knee-deep in shit it not only gets in your clothes but little flecks of it land in your nostrils… I naively took one of these classes and found myself trying to explain a simple point of mathematics to the prof when he was expounding on Alexander Pope and the ladder of creation. Of course Mr. Prof thought the idea was absurd–truly! But he himself was a giant ignoramus who could not comprehend the difference between a finite number and an infinite number, something any 12-year-old school child could explain. Er, that is, had they read “1, 2, 3, Infinity…” by George Gamow, and I will have you know that a goodly number of 12-year-olds with mathematically, technically, or scientifically minded parents have!

Is there no value in this old stuff? Well, sure there is, that’s why we have professional historians, but it’s idiotic to waste millions of young minds on hours upon hours of muck while not exposing them to the best our science has produced. Even allegedly “scientific” majors do a cruddy job… in 1997 when I was in college I was subjected to Psych majors doing “subliminal message” experiments with the classic “flashing word” crap they picked up from some movie. IT DOESN’T WORK. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the original definition of subliminal messages. IT’S PLAIN STUPID. Why not teach them all how to make their own home dowsing kit? Honestly.

I have seen a lot of stupid and a lot of crazy in blog comments elsewhere, but your trolls take the cake. I have also learned (for the 23rd time) the folly of feeding the trolls. This time I promise not to do it again.

@ not a gator

Sadly, I agree with much of what you wrote. However:

Many of these people go on to be journalists and other “elites”.

You have your scare-quotes transposed in this statement — “journalists” such as the talking-heads that comprise the mainstream commentariat* certainly deserve to be lumped into the derisive category you’ve constructed.

In contrast, actual journalists — whether the product of your hated liberal arts curricula or otherwise — perform a literally vital (and largely thankless) task in society, and some of them even demonstrate a firm grasp of logic and the rudiments of the scientific method.

Baby ≠ bathwater.

* And are themselves part of the elite, regardless of the demographics of the brands they respectively represent.

[N.B. I am not a journalist, nor is anyone in my immediate family.]

Gee whiz, not a gator, don’t hold back; tell us what you REALLY think. 😉

You left something out, though. While all of that may have some degree of truth, you forgot about the elephant in the room, which has been noted by other people, most wonderfully by Susannah: personal experience influencing perception of risk.

FWIW, my sister has been a family practice doctor for, um, decades now, and we were just having this conversation in September. Her experience has been that the poor, and the immigrant populations, which her clinic serves have been very, very keen to have their kids vaccinated, often because they have witnessed (or have first-hand experience) of serious infectious disease. On the other hand, her yuppie-middle-class white-bread moms grew up without ever witnessing measles, or mumps, or whooping cough, or polio, and these are the people who probably didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to their own parents’ stories. So to them, these diseases are distant, not scary, and the only personal-experience guage they have to judge them by would be their own childhood coughs and colds, so hey, not that bad, right? But pollution, and the parents’ nightmare of having a special needs kid, THAT they can relate to.

It’s like, in the absence of common experience of truly life-threatening dangers, they take the little dangers they have experience with and inflate them to fill the available space and assign them a far higher probability and then work to find some scary causes. Sometimes I wonder if it is simply part of being normal to have a certain amount of being scared in your life, and if you don’t have the experience or knowledge to grasp the real big issues you just invent some out of imagination.

On another level, the abysmal level of science education in the general public, the unwillingness to evaluate evidence according to rational standards as opposed to emotive ones, and the culturally hyperinflated cult of emotion being way more acceptable to people than “cold, arrogant ‘rational’ elites” certainly feeds into poor decision making.

My mother, who is in her 80s, liked to tell people who talked about “the good old days” of natural medicine about her brother, who died at 9 of amoebic dysentery, and seeing wards full of children and adults in iron lungs, thanks to polio.

I remember as a kid in the ’70s, the number of special schools that existed for children who had become deaf or blind because of HIB. I also remember the real fear my mother had when we got various at the time inevitable childhood diseases – I got chicken pox, measles, and mumps, my brother got whooping cough, measles, and chicken pox, and my sister, who was slightly immune compromised, had to be kept isolated (which was tough because she was special needs, and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t be with us).

My mother says that being able to get the polio vaccine for all three of us was *amazing*, and wonderful, and that she could look forward to us growing up.

She also thinks anti-vaxxers are *insane*. I think their stupidity has not hurt them yet, and when it does, they’ll change their minds pronto.

OurSally : The main causes of death among hunter gatherers are still murder, childbirth and starvation.

None of which are diseases, and two of which can happen to healthy people so that doesn’t say anything about the relative health of hunter-gatherers vs agricultural societies.

Btw, just to clarify in case someone misunderstood, “healthier than later [agricultural societies]” doesn’t mean “healthier than modern industrial societies”. It might mean “healthier than 1500 London” which, you know, not such a high bar apparently.

Anyway, my main source for that idea is Jared Diamond, is he wrong on this one ?

I once talked to this “deep” musician dude who had so little practical knowledge that he didn’t understand the mathematical relationship between string or tube length, frequency, and pitch. He kept saying “wow” to 9th grade physics. A grown man!

There might be something more to your statement, but speaking as a musician myself, you don’t need to know the relationship between string/tube length, frequency, and pitch to be able to play; you don’t even need to know theory to play, which is far more practical. (Doesn’t hurt, though.) This doesn’t exactly seem like a useful example, especially given your derisive “9th grade physics” comment (many schools don’t offer any sort of physics to lower grades, if they offer it at all).

My antecedents (and I am in my 50s) suffered and sometimes died from polio, mumps, measles, and various unidentified childhood ‘infections’. I still have living relatives who survived the polio epidemics in Australia, and tell stories of living in fear of when and where this disease would strike next.

My lovely family GP tears her hair out with distraction over dealing with the ‘worried well’: going berserk trying to find the best medication that won’t conflict with the ‘natural’ crap her patients insist on taking.

Can we please find some unoccupied island where these cranks can go and live, as long as there is a cafe that can provide the perfect latte and designer drapes? Grrrr

If people did a little research into their own family history, they could find some pretty unhappy news about the “good old days.” For instance, my mother’s mother died when Mom was 6 months old, probably of TB, in 1915. Hy great-grandmother on my father’s side died when my grandfather was barely 2 years old, perhaps from an infection. His step-mother gave birth to nine children; only four survived to adulthood. Two had died before age one. That was all before 1880.

My father’s elder brother went swimming one day at age 32, got some kind of infection and died a few weeks later. That was in the 1930s. My dad had scarlet fever as a child, which left him with a heart murmur. It kept him out of combat in WWII, but contributed to his eventual death at age 76 after his second heart valve replacement.

Every family has these stories, even, as we know, the New York Roosevelts. What we need is more “old folks” reminding us of how bad the “good old days” really were.

If most humans didn’t live past 40 50,000 years ago, why do all women who go through menarche also go through menopause at 55?

The question answers itself. If a gene is living in a survival machine (body) that typically does live past 55 years, then if that gene brings about menopause, it would be maladaptive and would be (eventually) selected out of the population. However, if the survival machine the gene is living in typically dies before then, then the menopausal nature of it is no longer maladaptive — it can proliferate throughout the population if it causes, as part of the tradeoff, even a modest improvement in reproductive success during the first 40 years of life.

In fact, due to genetic drift, it would be possible for a gene that caused menopause at 55 and had absolutely no adaptive effects to proliferate throughout the population. It has been shown that these sorts of “neutral” genes can indeed accumulate and even become dominant in a population to due to the messiness of the selection process.

So yeah, the question answers itself. Menopause-at-55 was able to evolve only because female humans usually died before then. If they didn’t, it would have been maladaptive and would have been selected out.

(And in fact, there is some evidence — very preliminary evidence, so don’t take this as gospel — that genes which defer the age of menopause are being selected for, since now those confer a reproductive advantage that they did not previously in history.)

Chris @ 43 and everyone discussing sanitation vs. vaccines – my partner took a course recently taught in the engineering department. The engineers very much like to take credit for reducing disease by developing sanitation systems. As Chris said, they are probably right in regards to certain diseases, mainly those transmitted by contact with feces. I suspect that the anti-vaxxers, given their incredibly poor understanding of diseases, don’t have any idea that the benefits conferred by city planning and the benefits conferred by vaccination barely overlap.

And not a gator – get over yourself. I have a liberal arts degree (US History) and I’m familiar with basic scientific concepts and critical thinking. I suspect that those who had no interest in critical thinking in the first place actively avoid it during their college years. Most of those liberal arts majors never end up working in their field, so they don’t exactly have to master actual research, analysis, or theory.

@#50:

I’d be interested in just how Christianity decreased infanticide by exposure. There’s quite a bit of it going on in the US today, even though it is quite illegal here.

at levels comparable to what you’d see when (1) it is a socially accepted way of choosing which children to raise and which not, while (2) there exist no reasonably effective methods of birth control, and (3) no effective social safety net to take on unwanted infants and raise them in your stead? i would be extremely surprised to find the numbers remotely similar. in fact, that claim seems so extraordinary to me that i’ll have to ask you for some evidence.

as for how christianity reduced infanticide, the religion made murder a crime (in most cases) even as it rose to become politically dominant all over Europe and somewhat beyond. it enforced its dogma relatively strictly, while at the same time ensuring that dogma would be preached as the only morally acceptable way to live, making living in abject poverty with however many infants you could manage to keep alive be considered a virtue of sorts.

pre-christian cultures viewed things rather differently; in them, the majority of people might still suffer abject poverty, but they usually weren’t threatened with hellfire everlasting (and execution more immediate) for abandoning an infant to die. christianity, by and large, was successful in convincing people they would indeed burn in hell for such acts.

The perps are typically very young women who had unwanted pregnancies.

when we speak of “unwanted pregnancies” today, it carries inescapably the undertone of “could have been averted”. when discussing societies of more than one or two centuries in the past — or far enough out into the third world, even today — a pregnancy might still be/have been unwanted, but the connotation of preventability just isn’t there in any comparable fashion. that means the social stigma attached to the events, and to what one might do in response to such events, are not easily compared.

I think infanticide is seen as evil because of moral inflation which occurs as standards of living and life expectancy rise.

if this were true, infanticide ought to have been more acceptable in western Europe during the high middle ages than during antiquity and late antiquity. that should be possible to provide evidence for, and the claim is extraordinary enough that i feel justified in asking you for some.

Would someone care to explain HOW eating a healthy diet is enough to stop the spread of infectious diseases, exactly?

The argument is not that a healthy diet will prevent the spread of disease a whole lot, but once you get the disease, you might be better able to survive it. So it could presumably have some effect in mortality figures, although I don’t believe this has been measured.

I guess another argument might be that you don’t get a severe enough case of the disease, so it might not be recorded in hospital admission stats.

Measles, though, had a very stable incidence between 1912 and 1965. This begs the question as to why the great improvements in sanitation and diet didn’t have an impact in the spread of the disease and the number of known cases.

Mortality from measles did drop considerably at the same time. The simplest explanation, in my view, is that medical advances other than vaccination are responsible for this. That is, of those who were hospitalized, fewer died.

I think the idea of menopause as a “feature” added to a default female without menopause is misguided. To me is seems much more likely that as humans evolved a long life (i.e. the delayed senescence of all organ systems), the delayed senescence of the female reproductive system didn’t provide enough of a reproductive advantage for it to be selected for.

Prolonging life, the delayed senescence of all organ systems, has to be more difficult than the delayed senescence of a single organ system (female reproduction).

Instead of talking about the gene that “causes menopause at 55”, shouldn’t we be talking about the gene that causes fertility until about the age 55?

Instead of thinking of menopause as some new condition, think of it as the _return_ to the infertile condition with which we are born (pre-puberty). So instead of asking “What causes menopause at 55?” the question is, “Why does fertility only last until 55?” In that context, it is trivially obvious: because most women were dead by then.

Why did women’s body evolve to only be fertile until they were 55? Because they didn’t need to be fertile beyond that.

Remember, menopause is the not onset of something, it is the cessation of it.

my sister’s a rabid anti vaxxer, despite growing up in the same years I did (younger by 3) and yet, she doesn’t recall the HiB outbreaks, the whooping cough, mumps and chicken pox that went through our communities as recent as 20 years ago.

She has no clue just how serious these can be, but she herself was vaccinated.

I don’t know how to explain to her why it’s important that her son get these shots, but she’s convinced all science is gonna get us, fueled by the cult of celebrity non vaxers.

Meanwhile everyone around her is scrambling to get seasonal flu shots. So in essence, we’re protecting her empty head and she doesn’t know it.

If someone could please tell me how to explain this to someone with a jr high level grasp of science, I’d sure love it.

pablo: I don’t think that works, because the majority of mammals are in fact fertile right up to the point they die, including most of our closest primate relatives; I think something that turns off female fertility *before* senescence is an addition.

And, the fact that *most* people died before they were 50 didn’t mean that absolutely everyone did. In fact, even if 10% of the population made it to 50 and above, there is a good chance that they made a significant contribution, not just to collective knowledge for the group but also possibly to child care. While I am hardly a fan of the whole “return to the ways of your forebearers” crowd, I don’t actually think it’s legitimate to pass off the whole “grandmother effect” as entirely an artifact or accident either.

@ wheatdogg: Yes! Last week (@PalMD’s place), I commented that we might use *personal* stories from elders and *emotional* stories about present-day higher-risk people as a way to combat woo.From my own family history:c. 1900, my grandmother had to live with her aunt in NYC, because her mother, upstate,had TB and eventually died;my *other* grandmother lost a young child to influenza in 1918; my father’s sister died of infection following appendectomy;my maternal aunt lived with heart valve damage, following (probably)scarlet fever-her son and daughter sustained similar(albeit milder) damage.All of these people were/are at least middle-class and reasonably well-educated for their time.

I don’t think that works, because the majority of mammals are in fact fertile right up to the point they die, including most of our closest primate relatives

But that’s exactly the point!!!!!

The only reason we aren’t fertile up until we die is because we have developed means that extend our life expectancy well-beyond what it was naturally. We USED to be fertile right up the point where we died, or most did, but now we live much longer.

Those primate relatives of ours are living, what, into their 30s? That’s what nature was working with, and it granted us fertility long past that time. We are still outliving it.

Nature equips human women with 40some years worth of eggs in their ovaries. Historically, that was enough. Nowadays, it isn’t.

Well, no — chimps can live into their 50s too — but even though most of them don’t, of those that do, they stay fertile the whole way, even after they enter senescence. The key issue is senescence. Human fertility stops before senescence, the only mammalian species I can think of off the top of my head where that happens. And there is a whole heck of a lot more going on in menopause than just “running out of eggs”!!! In fact, we DON’T run out of eggs — we still have plenty of eggs, way more than will mature in a lifetime — but hormone production goes through this whole shift-and-shutdown in a way which means we won’t use them any more. That is different; it is not unreasonable to ask why we do that.

@ not a gator

Speaking as a professional musician (and former liberal arts major), I just want to say that we’re not all woo-drinkers. Beer drinkers, yes.

And whenever bandmates get all “whoa, man, like, the universe…” on me, I make them watch stuff like this.

That’s right, blow their minds with science.

Let’s just get this straight …

In order to remain ‘healthy’, we should:

– Inject ourselves with mercury and aluminum.
– Inject ourselves with multiple live viruses at one time.
– Inject our healthy babies with the Hep B vaccine (unnecessary) when they are hours old.

Really? Ok, Orac… Whatever you say…. Too bad that only leads to more autism, food allergies and autoimmune diseases. Way to go!

I have no idea about this Hep B vaccine Susie Q, so I hope some others will respond to that. I have no idea if it is unneeded but you give no reason for me to think it is.

But my main problem is your first and second point. You act as though it is obvious both of those are actually bad, that they are obviously bad things, when it is not at all obvious that the amounts and forms of mercury or aluminum in vaccines are actually harmful. Especially considering the lack of evidence that they are a problem.

May I make a suggestion? ….wash your hands, exercise, eat well, live healthy, & fight off bacteria and viruses the old fashion way (like humans have done for 50,000 years.)

Yeah, because that worked so well, say…350 years ago.
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Orac, the London of the 17th and 18th centuries was not a world of organic farmers markets and 24 hour fitness centers. Let’s see how Dickens describes life in a typical London slum:

rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem to be too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations, every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage: all these ornament the banks of Jacob’s Island.
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As for prehistoric humans 50,000 years ago, it was uncommon for them to live past age 40.

So, yeah, it would be a really good thing to go back to how we “kept microbes at bay” 50,000 years ago. That worked so well, didn’t it
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Microbes probably weren’t much of a problem pre-neolithic revolution, so I don’t know where the 50,000 years comes in.

Anyway, just out of curiosity, and I’m not disagreeing with the number, but does anyone have any good data regarding the widespread belief that cavemen lived to twenty. After all the bible speaks of some who lived as long as 900 years.

“I have no idea about this Hep B vaccine Susie Q, so I hope some others will respond to that”.

I’m sure that some here – perhaps even you – will go ape-sh*t over my next comment but here it goes…

Then go do some homework. Study up. Clearly, you have no clue what is going on.

Due to your ignorance on an important point, I must ignore the balance of your commentary. You have proven that you don’t know much (if anything) about the vaccine controversy… therefore, it’s a waste of time to discuss the issue with you.

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