Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vaccinating Against Ignorance

One of Lisa's friends recently posted a video advocating a new cure for Autism:

So the basic gist is a couple really wanted a baby. They got a healthy baby. The doctor gave the baby evil vaccines that caused autism. The mother did research and found a homeopathic doctor. He cured the baby. He is now asking for your donations to help spread the word.

Clear Enough

I have a few problems with this video. The first being how parents stated in the video that they didn't see any symptoms until 2 months after the vaccinations. It takes less than two weeks for a vaccination to clear a person's system. If there was any damage to be done, it would have happened in those two weeks and would have shown up in that time. Even stretching out the time scale to a month still leaves another month without symptoms. My guess is that the child was going to develop autism with or without the vaccines.

But the studies...

You are right. There have been studies that say they show a correlation, but none have provided solid evidence (Weak Study Example, Article on MMR & the CDC). I do understand how someone could come to this conclusion. Statistics show as number of vaccines have increased the number of autism cases have increased. Also children receive a lot of vaccinations before the age of 5. Nearly all autism cases are diagnosed before age 5 and probably within a few months of a vaccination shot. So it is easy to see how a logical causation theory might evolve. However, the number of wireless devices, tickle me Elmos and complaints about Corporate America have increased during that same time. Children also go to McDonald's, grandparent's houses and have their diapers changed around the time of vaccines. Who's to say none of these are the cause?

OK, what else?

Glad you asked (I might've gone on ranting about the vaccines cause autism thing, I mean don't get me started on Jenny McCarthy. My friend Matt ranted about the vaccines are bad thing, I'm ranting, anyways). She found a book on Homeopathy and thought it looked promising. Really? Is this the same Homeopathy I've heard about? Here's a very good explanation of what Homeopathy is:

I can boil the whole industry down to one word "placebo." Placebos only work when the person they are given to thinks that they should work. Five year olds are not aware of psychological disorders, let alone having one. Also if it is in fact autism then the problem is caused a chemical imbalance or a genetic disorder. Either way it slows the development of certain parts of the brain causing a problem that cannot be fixed by a diluted solution or any other medication. That would be like trying to fix someone cut off at the knees with a pill. Unless you have a leg growing pill, that would be handy.

So, it worked.

Did it? Or did it work like a placebo on the parents? The child improved (which is totally awesome). I don't think it was the Homeopathic Acupuncturist (which is, by the way, not a doctor). If you take the Homeopathic remedy for a headache and you get better it doesn't mean it was the "Headache Medicine." On the box of homeo-aspirin it says it might take up to 12 hours to take effect. The average headache is gone within 12 hours.

But, the Testimonials.

They're just that, testimonials. I can say anything I want about a product. I can even create circumstances where people will believe and repeat what I say about the product. It does not, however change the fact that it is wrong and does not work. Learn for yourself if the information is true. An informed person is a safe person. Unless you've intercepted top secret Mafia/FBI/KGB/LDS/CIA/MSN/TLA papers, then you're in big trouble.

Be sensible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The LDS Church Supports Gay Rights

On Tuesday (Nov 11th, 2009) the Salt Lake City Council passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and educational institutions. Being that these ordinances involve equal treatment of gay and trans gendered individuals it is easy to assume that the LDS Church opposed them.


Salt Lake City SkylineYes, not only did the church not oppose them it actually gave it's support on the issues. You heard me right. The same church that supported a ban on gay marriage supported anti-discrimination laws for the same community.


That would be one word folks would use. Some groups used other words:

  • Affirmation: "...applauds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for endorsing the employment and housing non-discrimination act...It is commendable that the LDS Church is taking a step toward living up to its own teachings"
  • Equality Utah: "This is a great step"
  • Bishop Robinson (Gay Episcopal Priest): "And I think this may be the first gentle melting of what has been a pretty solid opposition on their part, and I really congratulate them for that."

Comin' Round

All this is fine and well. It doesn't surprise me a bit. Where I start running into a snag is when I hear statements like "the Mormon Church was at least at the very beginning of rethinking their stance," "it's nice to see them finally coming around," and my favorite "Proposition 8 was a big black eye for the church and now they are trying improve their image." This shows that most people don't know very much about the LDS Church.

The decision to support these ordinances fits right in with all our other doctrines. The late Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley has always counseled against hate and discrimination. In letters read in General Church meetings the leadership advocated to love our opposition. Even our own Articles of Faith state that people should be able to live according to their own conscience.

And the political stuff?

We have the unique opportunity in this country to not only vote our conscience, but to help persuade others to do the same. The LDS Church still does oppose gay marriage, as it always has. It still supports being civil with our brothers and sisters, as it always has. As for saving face, they don't care, they have never cared about what the rest of the world thinks about them. The LDS Church has never changed their doctrine to look good or to gain more members. They will, from time to time, become indignant or annoyed at other people's thoughts, but who doesn't. Such is the state of men.

Be aware.