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Measles back but democracy works

We are all experts on everything and any person’s view on any topic is just as valid as that of any other person.  We live in an intellectual democracy. The crazies at Quadrant and Catallaxy and other blogs know more about climate change than the thousands of scientists who have spent a lifetime studying it.  Religious crazies tell us the world began years ago in Garden of Eden and that humans ran around the countryside being chased by dinosaurs.  The fossil evidence is irrelevant and possibly being fabricated by left-wing atheists.

And of course the anti-vaccination lot are still telling us that vaccinations damage our kids despite science showing such claims are false. Never mind – these nitwits are just as entitled to their erroneous views as medical scientists. In this case the damages from such erroneous views are already being experienced. For example measles is back with a vengeance.

The ignorant now dictate what is taught in universities.  We must have “market-determined” and “demand-responsive” courses that address the concerns of potential students.  Hence let’s scrap economics , mathematics and statistics and teach “Business Management” courses to students whose employment experience is often restricted to a spell at McDonalds.  Exaggerating? I don’t think so – look at the types of books on sale in university bookshops.  Popularized low-level nonsense dominates.

 

 

14 comments to Measles back but democracy works

  • Sean

    I think this sums it up, replace MBA with Business Management…

    http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Mba

  • […] is a lot to annoy HC* today, but this particularly […]

  • Jim Rose

    Concerns about pesticides, atomic energy, drug safety and the precautionary principle are all examples of the anti-science left.

  • conrad

    I guess teaching starts again soon then? Make sure you don’t catch anyone for plagiarism, don’t teach anything hard, and don’t force the students to do or read anything, lest it affect your teaching ratings which management will then complain to you about.

  • rog

    That’s a silly comment Jim Rose, people hold legitimate concerns over being poisoned and pesticides are poison.

    Recently 23 school kids in India died from eating pesticide contaminated food and you label concerns as being anti-scientific?

  • rob

    Thanks for this informative article:)

  • Jim Rose

    Rog, drugs and vaccines are poisons too. Vaccines can even give you a mild dose of the disease to give you immunity!

    All drugs are tested for safety; the strongest drugs for the worst illnesses often have bad side-effects. chomo is an example.

    The anti-vaccine movement and the precautionary principle, which is so much more acceptable in polite society, are fellow travellers.

    Cass Sunstein wrote that in its strongest and most distinctive forms, the precautionary principle imposes a burden of proof on those who create potential risks, and requires regulation of activities even if it cannot be shown that those activities are likely to produce significant harms.

    The critics of the precautionary principle are not from the purported pro-science left.

    Sunstein is a moderate democrat whose white house appointment to the head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was opposed by the Left of the democrat party because of his views on the precautionary principle and his support of cost-benefit analysis as a primary tool for assessing regulations.

    The epitome of antiscience is support for the precautionary principle and opposition to cost-benefit analysis is assessing regulations. Which side of politics is guilty of this?

    The dead are many because of regulatory delays in introducing new drugs.

  • rog

    Jim Rose, by the simplest of definitions drugs and vaccines are not poisons!

  • rog

    That was a regrettable lapse on my part, Jim Rose is a troll and should not be fed.

  • Jim Rose

    Does teaching ability count at universities in performance evaluations? I thought itwas all about publications?

  • conrad

    Jim — at some universities it does, and the more management take them seriously, the more of the above you will get from staff who feel like they are punishing themselves doing the right thing. Many of these staff will then work out the simplest way to avoid cheating etc is to make courses so easy people don’t need to cheat etc., and students will love them for it (presumably until they try and get a job, when they are long gone!).

  • wjr

    I am not an economist, but I think that most of the economists who have commented on this issue have missed a basic
    economic fact, viz. that those who choose not to to vaccinate their children are free riders on those who do so choose.
    There is a “Tragedy of the Commons” feature – think of the commons as a disease-immune population. When some
    citizens choose not to vaccinate their children they are benefitting in a small way, by reducing a perceived risk of side effects
    but they are harming others by increasing the overall risk of the disease. When enough take this action epidemics will occur
    (as with measles at present) and then presumably, assuming the disease is dangerous or frightening enough, some people
    who previously would have eschewed vaccination will now get their kids to the front of the line. Eventually some sort of (dynamic)
    equilibrium should occur in which vaccination rates drop to some threshold value, then an epidemic occurs and vaccination rates
    jump up, followed by a slow decline and a repeat of the cycle.

    Does anyone have access to data that could validate this hypothesis? or are we only in the first cycle at the first epidemic?

  • hc

    Bill, Many economists treat it as a Prisoner’s Dilemma issue that is resolved by introducing strong penalties on non-compliance. I certainly do in first-year classes. In Australia you are excluded from child care facilities without the vaccinations.

    Your dynamic story is interesting – as epidemics develop it becomes more and more costly to not immunise so you take it up again. Maybe a limit cycle or damped oscillations? Its not a 1-shot game.

    I guess time series of mmunization rates could be investigated to determine this. Also get active campaigns to immunise as rates of non-immunization increase.

  • Jim Rose

    Yes, vaccination is a good shot public good.

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