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Immunizations in History; Empiricism

 

Hilton Terrell, Ph.D., M.D.

 

You might be interested in a "time line" on immunizations made by Andrew Maniotis, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, for the period 1717 to 2006.  You can find it at www.oism.org/ddp.  It may still be up though its posting dates to August.  The general take-away message on the history of immunizations is that the practice is a good deal more checkered in its past than we have known.  We are in an era at present, I think, in which the vendors of vaccines and their stooges, the regulators of them, have a hammer lock on the information that gets readily to the public. 

 

Without proof at all, yet I have a rising suspicion that the autistic spectrum disorder rise is substantially due to the corresponding rise in the number of immunizations and the co-administration of them.  Even the parenteral route of administration could be an issue.  Who knows, for instance, what kind of pre-processing goes on by our immune system when an antigen crosses a body membrane, the skin, respiratory, or bowel mucosa?  Parenteral administration bypasses anything that could be occurring there.  As usual, we are enthralled by what we do know and dismissive of what we might not know. 

 

The "studies" of adverse reactions to immunizations are often just exercises in pacifying the natives and are poorly-designed to answer any real question.  They are designed to provide a footnote to statements of the following form: "Studies have shown that ..."  Well, in the 1950's "studies showed" that the Salk vaccine was free of hitchhiking viruses.  The problem was that the cytopathogenic effect used to detect hitchhikers was insensitive to Simian Virus #37.  In the "oops" which followed discovery of SV#37 a study was done to smooth over the error.  I have read that study with interest, since I very likely have SV#37 courtesy of the Salk vaccine (it was in most batches).  It is a sorry study, serving to pull back a corner of the carpet so that the error could be swept beneath it.  The above-referenced timeline has, as I recall, several such instances I had not heard of.  (Note again how I am improving in adding terminal preposition s.)

 

In a larger context, I continue to marvel at the limitations of all empirical methods for truth.  We look at outcomes we want or expect and imagine that we have looked at most possible outcomes.  Not so.  Even in a silly 1870 novel, a movie version of which Marcia and I watched, this could be seen.  Anthony Trollope (chick flick author even before movies were invented) worked for the post office in the UK in his day job.  In the middle 1800's he invented the street corner postal drop box, a red octagonal pillar with a slot at the top bolted to a masonry foundation.  Until that time, you had to summon a mailman to your home to hand him your letters.  A habit of Victorian England was to have the head of the household actually read and approve (or not) all letters sent out by his unmarried daughters.  This invention of the pillar postal box circumvented that practice and secret communications became possible, with not entirely positive results as illicit trysts were arranged.

 

Only an omniscient Mind can know the entire, eternal outflow of the fall of every sparrow.  Even if we were not sinful, our finitude would bring us often to grief.  A proper teaching in Christianity is that, though the age of grace began after our fall into sin, grace was nonetheless present and necessary even prior to that fall.  We had no intrinsic claim upon the fruits of Eden, or on a helpmate, or on having an occupation.  I have occasionally thought about Samuel F.B. Morse's inaugural telegram: "What hath God wrought!"  As a child I thought it puzzling, since Morse, not God, had invented the telegraph.  Later, of course, I realized that Morse was amazed at the electricity created by God, enabling us to send messages now at the speed of light, or at least at the speed of the telegrapher's tapping finger.  Yet, the actual effects of electronic communication over distance, insofar as we can know them, are at best mixed.  People y ak incessantly on cell phones, yet the conversations they don't mind being overheard are mostly vapid if not actually pernicious. 

* Who is responsible to provide medical care? That is, where does the authority lie and the obligations? Our Democratic presidential nominee this week proclaimed that medical care is a [political] right. Hence, it is Caesars' obligation and he will take what resources he deems necessary to provide it as he sees fit, empowering (and forbidding) those whom he favors.

* The effectiveness of medical care almost certainly will not be mentioned by anyone, so powerful is the assumption today that our methods work. Actually, of course, we have made a near idolatry of our scientific technology. Our use of medicine is inordinate -- that is, not wrong in itself but wrong in the degree which we pursue it and what we trample on in our pursuit.

 


 

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