Westover makes an epidemiologist his bitch

After a state employee nearly has the vapors about the possibility that the dozens of shots he is trying to force on parents might be bad for their children, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Craig Westover kicks him while he’s down:

So, what is Dr. Hull’s evidence that my sources are not objective and unbiased? They have looked at the facts and drawn a conclusion. Is that the new definition of biased? To make a judgment?

No, I have not looked at all the information, but I have looked at the boxes full of information that litter my office — information on both sides of the issue, for, as I wrote, I was very skeptical going into the research that there was a connection outside the mind of a few conspiracy theorists.

No, not all, but I have looked at enough to know that there is good science that has forced even the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to admit there is “biological plausibility” for a connection and there is virtually no hard scientific evidence and certainly no overwhelming body of scientific research that disproves a connection between mercury and childhood vaccines and autism. What there is are a plethora of denials and studies attempting to discredit the science of honest researchers painstakingly working along the path from hypothesis to theoretical justification to hard science plausibility to (and not there yet) definitive causal connection.

Westover is apparently on the verge of becoming an anti-vaccine convert, as I have been for years. The fact that the pro-vaccine lobby absolutely refuses to look at the facts but instead waves its hands and shouts louder makes anyone with half a brain extremely suspicious as to what they are trying to hide.

But that’s not why I am absolutely radical on this subject. To discern the truth, you need only follow the money. Have a look at how difficult it is to prove that a vaccine damaged a child, then look at how much money the organization set up by the US Congress to compensate the parents of vaccine-damaged children has paid out. Furthermore, if these little polls of scientists assuring all and sundry that vaccines are actually healthier than spinach actually meant anything, then there would be no reason at all for Congress to protect vaccine manufacturers and those administering the shots from being liable for their products and actions. The money trail never lies.

And let’s face it. Since the government insists they’re good for you, what are the odds that they’re actually right for once?

Mailvox: contrasting views

Some kudos from a fellow columnist:

Especially brilliant piece today. You are a visionary and an overarchingly original rational thinker who goes beyond labels to arrive at great truths nearly no one else has the courage to articulate. and that’s a good thing. I mean that. I hope this piece gets circulated widely.

While, unsurprisingly, a number of regular readers disagree. SM writes:

I contend the death penalty serves at least two purposes:

1. It removes a dangerous element from society (never to be paroled)

2. It brings closure to the bereaved (justice has been served). Without this closure the bereaved become lifelong living victims.

When the State or a corrupt judiciary supplants God’s higher moral authority then forced abortions, mass starvations and gas chambers occur. Our Constitution and its implementation by Government will only be just and upright when the people practice Christian morality and virtuosity.

Both purposes are irrelevant. As for the first point, there are approximately 16,000 murders per year in the United States. 70 of those murderers are executed annually. Removing less than half of one percent is neither a deterrent nor a safeguard. With regards to the second, the bereaved are ALREADY lifelong victims. Even punishing the guilty with fifty years of the most sadistic torture will not bring back their beloved nor will it prove much of an emotional palliative.

Washington has already supplanted God’s moral authority, at least in its own eyes. Therefore, every opportunity to strip it of the means of visiting the usual devastation on the populace must be pursued.

Meanwhile, WF manages to argue my own case for me in an email entitled “WRONG”:

No, death penalty proponents in the Christian camp will go to the command given to Noah in Genesis, when Noah was the only civilization there was. God felt that it was important enough to give that command before there was any government to enforce it. The defining factor (for people like me) is innocence or guilt, not legality, not statistics, not anything else. Schiavo (and the unborn) was innocent of any crime, Ted Bundy (for one example) was guilty. The innocent should be protected, the guilty slain.

Hmmmm, so the command existed prior to the government… reasonable minds should therefore logically conclude that the death penalty exists outside the apparatus of government and may very well not be a legitimate power of government at all.