Logic Fail

This isn’t a movement of stupid people, or uneducated people, although some anti-vax posters on social media might persuade you otherwise. The demographics skew heavily in favour of reasonably affluent, reasonably well-educated middle-class white women.

The proof that educated middle class women are not stupid is what?

46 comments on “Logic Fail

  1. Reasonably well-credentialed middle class women.

    Being middle-class and partly educated seems to be a pre-requisite for believing absurd conspiracy theories, given the Russia hysteria which has been going around. The working classes seem a lot more sensible on these things.

    I suppose the closer you are to reality in your daily life (I.e. actions producing actual immediate consequences in real time) the less likely you are to believe bizarre crap.

  2. There’s an outbreak of measles in Manila at the moment. Several kids are dying everyday.

    As ever these anti-vaxers have no idea how bad these diseases can be because western civilization has largely forgotten…. thanks to vaccines of course.

  3. “I suppose the closer you are to reality in your daily life (I.e. actions producing actual immediate consequences in real time) the less likely you are to believe bizarre crap.”

    Nail/head interface there, Rob…

  4. “Being middle-class and partly educated seems to be a pre-requisite for believing absurd conspiracy theories, given the Russia hysteria which has been going around. The working classes seem a lot more sensible on these things.”

    We can add the worst accesses of the AGW and assorted list of greenies to that list of organisations they’ll believe without question.

  5. I think it was proven through some study that the people who were more likely to be scammed were highly educated people. Something along the lines that because they thought they were intelligent they couldn’t be fooled.

  6. To be educated is to be capable of critical thought – to be able to recognise bullshit. Only 5-10% of the population can be educated in that sense. ‘Educating’ the rest involves instructing, training and indoctrinating. The more you have of such ‘education’ the less you can think for yourself.

  7. Pat,

    “Indeed Rob those judged “best educated” are those least likely to question what they are told.”

    A lot of education in all sorts of subjects is about people complying. There’s a lot of lecturers out there who just want history students to write the same conclusions they reached. And they pass a degree for doing so.

    You meet a lot of these people and the mantra of “university teaches you how to think” is just bullshit. I’ve met ex-squaddies with better developed BS detectors

  8. @Theo
    “To be educated is to be capable of critical thought…”

    I’ve sincere doubts it’s possible to be educated to be capable of critical thought. In the sense of being a capability on can instil in someone else. It’s something one acquires by experience. Best you can do is put them in the position they might stumble across it. Some do. Some don’t.

  9. Being well educated and being stupid have never been mutually exclusive. Proof beyond Richard Murphy?

    Amanda Marcotte. Jessica Valenti. Matt Yglesias. Polly Toynbee. Owen Jones. Joe Biden. George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren. Mitt Romney. John McCain. John Kerry. Sandy Occasional-Cortex. Just about every PM since Maggie Thatcher. Anyone who heads up Labour. And on and on and on…

  10. I’ve sincere doubts it’s possible to be educated to be capable of critical thought.

    Agreed. To be capable of critical thought one must possess a certain amount of common sense, which is not teachable.

  11. She passed one A-level, obtained a scholarship to read history at St Anne’s College

    By pure coincidence, Polly’s grandfather was a famous historian.

  12. On topic, I’ve noticed some of my professors are very well educated but lack intellectual curiosity. They’ve rote-learned their subjects to the point they know lots about them, but if you chuck a new or odd piece of information at them they have no idea what to do with it, and get very defensive. And yes, the women are worse than the men on this score.

  13. It isn’t a question of education or even critical thinking. The vaccination issue, or more accurately the MMR part of it, is an issue of trust. Would the government/doctors/the NHS/Public Health lie to the public because the importance of herd immunity outweighs the chance of damage in individual cases? Of course they would. Maybe they should, too. For the same reason as project fear. For your own good.

    (In my opinion, they lie to us all the time. The truth is not allowed to set you free.)

  14. BiS

    “I’ve sincere doubts it’s possible to be educated to be capable of critical thought. In the sense of being a capability on can instil in someone else.”

    I beg to differ. Experience certainly contributes. But the scientific method, statistics and logic – and their application – are things that you either learn from a book or are taught. You won’t stumble across them on your own.

    DtP

    “To be capable of critical thought one must possess a certain amount of common sense, which is not teachable.”

    Commonsense is something we all possess, because it’s, er, common to us all. It’s not particularly reliable — commonsense said the earth was flat and that flies spontaneously generated in rotting meat — but it is often a good starting point. ‘Education’ in the form of instruction and indoctrination will, however, soon destroy commonsense, as will educating someone beyond the level of their intelligence (the clever sillies phenomenon).

  15. “Would the government/doctors/the NHS/Public Health lie to the public because the importance of herd immunity outweighs the chance of damage in individual cases?”

    I was only thinking about this the other day. Mainly because a friends (perfectly healthy) dog had one of its immune booster shots and within days had come down with some bizarre random (and very rare) immuno-deficiency type illness where its white blood cell count dropped through the floor (its still alive, just, at the mo). And I was thinking about childhood vaccination, and the people who swear blind their kids have had booster shots and immediately got some rare disease. And I did wonder ‘The State swears blind vaccines are 100% safe. But if there was a very tiny % who could have an adverse reaction, and they knew about it, would they admit it?’

    And my conclusion was no, they wouldn’t. Its one of those cases where you cannot actually trust anyone in a position of power, because they have a massive vested interest to lie, because admission of the truth (if it were the case that vaccines could be harmful) would destroy the entire vaccination system. So the government’s and the medical profession’s protestations of safety mean absolutely nothing, because there are no circumstances in which they would admit to being wrong, even if they were. They will always say ‘100% safe’ even if its not.

    The only way round this would be for all medical professionals and politicians to be forced by law to have their children vaccinated in public. So everyone can see that those espousing the 100% safe mantra are practising what they preach. Otherwise there is no evidence that the average person can rely on.

  16. @Tim N,

    Doing a recreational MA recently (as opposed to the more vocational BEng(Hons) and MSc) it was notable that in some subjects, the students were well to the right of the lecturers.

    However… this sparked discussion rather than defensiveness. My essay on To what extent do structural theories help us to understand the condition of the poor in the developing world? pinned the blame firmly on corruption rather than evil capitalists as the main cause of poverty there; my lecturer disagreed vehemently – while awarding me a distinction for making a good case.

    But then, this was a fairly specialist MA with a known target customer base, so the staff were probably coming to us on the basis that “these folk will probably shock you a bit, anyone teaching them needs that to be a feature not a bug…”

  17. So the government’s and the medical profession’s protestations of safety mean absolutely nothing, because there are no circumstances in which they would admit to being wrong, even if they were. They will always say ‘100% safe’ even if its not.

    That would be a massive, widespread cover-up sustained for a long time. They’re just not that good.

  18. @Jim,

    Having first heard the “are vaccines dangerous?” in the late 70s/early 80s when there was a shock! horror! about whooping cough vaccination, the issue is not that anyone credible is saying “injecting infants with a cocktail of chemicals and dead pathogens is perfectly, completely, 100% safe” – it’s the problem of headline-grabbing wails that “if vaccination harms even one child it is EVIL and must be BANNED!” (because life was so much better when smallpox, diptheria, tetanus, TB et al were endemic….) when the risk of “there is a small but non-zero risk of a bad reaction to the vaccine” outweighs the “this disease can kill your child and any of their friends whose parents refused to vaccinate them”.

    (And I know that vaccines aren’t innocuous – the cocktail I got before deploying to Iraq left me sick as a dog for a day or two. Still rather have put up with that, than yellow fever or typhoid…)

    Remember when seatbelts were made mandatory and everyone and their dog had a story of their uncle Fred who refused to ever belt up, and when he was hit by a pantechnicon on the A1 he was thrown out of his Ford Prefect and landed safely on the verge as his car caught fire, if he’d belted up he’d have burned to a crisp, can’t trust them seatbelts they’ll kill you?

    Humans are spectacularly bad at risk assessment, as anyone who’s watched a protestor break off from their rant about how nuclear power will turn us all into cancer-riddled zombie mutants to light another cigarette (and then drive off to follow the speaker to the next venue) can attest.

  19. “there is a small but non-zero risk of a bad reaction to the vaccine”

    Is that what the medical profession and politicians tell parents facing having their children vaccinated? Or do they just make blanket statements that its all ‘very safe’? And deny vehemently that any case where a child appears to have a bad reaction is anything to do with its shots?

    If there is a non zero chance of a bad reaction, then that means some will happen, given the numbers involved. So can you name one case where the medical authorities admitted that a vaccine shot did cause a child to have a bad reaction? Or do they always say its nothing to do with the vaccine, in EVERY case?

  20. I can see there’s a trade-off between herd immunity and the individual case. I don’t know whether they have some sort of algorithm as to what risk is tradeable. My concern is that the establishment goes into denial in order to protect themselves from the realization of the public that such trades are made. An honest approach might be to compensate the unlucky victims. Yes, I can see problems with that, uncertainty, cheating and so on. But it would be honest.

    Brexit, climate change, alcohol, vaping, fast food, fat, salt. All examples where the establishment position of certainty is wrong or at least questionable. ‘They’ are quite willing to lie to us and no extensive cover-up is required.

  21. “Humans are spectacularly bad at risk assessment, as anyone who’s watched a protestor break off from their rant about how nuclear power will turn us all into cancer-riddled zombie mutants to light another cigarette (and then drive off to follow the speaker to the next venue) can attest.”

    Which is another reason why the State will always lie about risks, because they know if they tell the truth people won’t do what they want them to, even if it may be in their own best interests.

    I would still like to know whether the actions of the great and the good match their rhetoric on vaccination. Actions speak far louder than words.

  22. “That would be a massive, widespread cover-up sustained for a long time. They’re just not that good.”

    Its not a cover up if they believe it, and/or believe it to be for ‘the greater good’.

    The other point is – who would expose the cover up? We’ve seen what happens to people (professionals) who question the official line, they get squashed by all the power the State has at hand. So if you were a researcher, and had doubts about the safety of vaccination, would you a) risk your entire career on trying to prove them right (and you might be wrong anyway) or b) go away and research something else?

    There’s actually not many people who have to toe the line to keep a scientific lie in place – ‘global warming’ shows us how a very few people can control the scientific literature who gets published, who gets promotion. Whether vaccination is 100% safe or not can only be proved by people working within the scientific and university system, everyone else (including the medical profession and the politicians) is taking the word from on high. You control who writes the word on high and you can control a system of millions of people.

  23. @Jim,

    In one of my jobs, we have some serious (and interesting and enjoyable, if you’re geeky enough) study mandated – based entirely on the scars from “the Great and Good gang-banged the pooch with a bukkake finish, we need to work around their failings and foibles so that when they screw up next time they can’t blame us”.

    I’d actually expect Important People to assume that “only the petty folk should abide by these rules, we’re above all that”. Doesn’t make them wise or right, just arrogant and stupid.

  24. “And I did wonder ‘The State swears blind vaccines are 100% safe. But if there was a very tiny % who could have an adverse reaction, and they knew about it, would they admit it?’”

    They do.

    Anaphylaxis occurs around 3.5-10 cases per million doses. Seizures in about 1 in 3,000 doses. Thrombocytopenia in about 1 in 30,000 doses. Encephalopathy about 1 per million doses. Aseptic Meningitis in about 1-100 per 100,000 doses. Life-threatening complications are about one in a million.

    However, if you catch measles, it commonly causes pneumonia (6%) and can cause seizures, blindness, partial deafness, inflammation of the brain. About 0.2% die. Catching Rubella very definitely *is* associated with some horrible birth defects. Nothing is 100% safe.

    The vaccine is about 2,000 times safer than the disease, but if your chances of catching the disease are less than one in 2,000, then it’s arguable that not getting vaccinated is safer. But if that’s the case then it’s only about 1 micromort anyway, about the risk of travelling 10 miles by bicycle. People are not deciding what to worry about on any sort of rational basis.

  25. NiV, don’t spoil the argument wit hfacts.

    Seriously though, if that info is in the leaflet you get with the jab, that is one thing. If it isn’t and comes from the scientific literature and you need to look it up, that’s another.

    And yes, obviously, we are ALL irrational about risk.

  26. “Anaphylaxis occurs around 3.5-10 cases per million doses. Seizures in about 1 in 3,000 doses. Thrombocytopenia in about 1 in 30,000 doses. Encephalopathy about 1 per million doses. Aseptic Meningitis in about 1-100 per 100,000 doses. Life-threatening complications are about one in a million.”

    And how many people have received compensation either from the State or the makers of the vaccines for these post vaccination reactions?

  27. I was sure risks were discussed when our son was being vaccinated as my wife was concerned about him getting a 2nd MMR as he’d already had one and whether that increased risks.

    Anyway, out interest I’ve had a quick look around. The NHS talks about side affects but seems to be a bit coy about serious risks and the probabilities of them happening. The WHO is a lot better and has a number of fact sheets.

    I had a look at the WHO MMR fact sheet but it doesn’t discuss the risks of not having them and herd immunity issues.

    Herd immunity isn’t played up enough IMHO, and more needs to be done to put moral pressure on the healthy who are avoiding them because of the risks to those who really can’t have the vaccinations.

  28. Incidentally if you’re at my house, and I offer the choice of a game of Russian Roulette with one in a million chance you blow your head off, followed by a 100% guarantee that you will arrive home in one piece, vs you can drive yourself home right away instead, who here will take the revolver and who will pick up the car keys?

  29. What was that jab you got at infant school with six needles in a circle? That left me with an achingly sore arm for about a week. I’ve never caught whatever it immunised me against though.

  30. “NiV, don’t spoil the argument wit hfacts.”

    Heh! 🙂

    “Seriously though, if that info is in the leaflet you get with the jab, that is one thing.”

    Well, the NHS website points you to the “patient information leaflet” here: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.6307.pdf Guess what? 🙂

    But I agree it’s an interesting moral question. If you can save lots by hurting a few, should you? It’s the sort of thing the NHS has to do all the time, and then gets castigated for doing so by all sides for not treating the value of human life as infinite.

    While the autism thing appears to be bollocks, it’s possibly true nowadays that the risk of the diseases has dropped below the point where it’s arguably safer not to. Except that if everyone notices and takes that advice, the risk of epidemics will rise and they’ll suddenly all be wrong. It’s only good advice so long as virtually nobody takes it. Which is kinda interesting, and a fun idea.

    I’m sure they’ve considered the merits of lying to people, but seem to have decided it’s a bad idea in this case. Although who knows? Just because they admit it’s non-zero doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth about how close to zero it actually is. People tell me the medical research literature is full of lying politically-correct SJW propaganda anyway, not a word of which can be believed, so who can say?

    🙂

  31. “Incidentally if you’re at my house, and I offer the choice of a game of Russian Roulette with one in a million chance you blow your head off,…”

    I want to see your revolver with a million barrels!

    (Since driving 230 miles is reckoned to be about 1 micromort, the answer to your question is “anyone who lives more than 230 miles away from your house…”)

  32. We have managed to dam evolution for a few years but the reservoir is full and the dam looks weak, mighty weak.

    Evolution thinks it’s time for some action, a few weaklings need to be allowed to wander into the tall grass.

  33. “I would like to clarify that the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) is
    not a compensation scheme, and was never intended by Parliament to be
    such. It provides a one off, tax-free, lump sum payment of £120,000 for those
    who are severely disabled as a result of a vaccination against those diseases
    listed in the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 and those diseases that
    have been specified since 1979 by statutory instrument.
    From 2007/08 to 31 January 2017, there have been a total of 759 claims and
    11 awards made. It should be noted that an award might be made in a
    different year to that which the claim was made.”

    So, about 70 or 80 cases a year……

  34. Because this is the system before the courts. This is just that admission that there are going to be damages from vaccinations. Here’s the system to deal with them. Without requiring a decade fighting the NHS.

    That the NHS can also be negligent as well means entering that court system.

  35. Tim Worstall said:
    “From 2007/08 to 31 January 2017, there have been a total of 759 claims and 11 awards made.”

    They’ve only paid out 11 times in ten years, and they only accept about 1 in 70 claims?

    Either there’s very little risk and a lot of fraudulent claims, or they’re being very stingy with the definition of “serious”.

  36. Not really. Take the 1 in 1 million number for encephalitis. Yes, I know it’s not the only thing but bear with me. There’re how many kids born a year? 600 k? 1 in 1 million gives us one case every 20 months, 11 over a decade isn’t that bad…..

    BTW, I don;t claim that the system is perfect, not at all. I do though insist that the existence of the system is proof perfect that officialdom recognises that vaccines are not safe, only less dangerous.

  37. Yes, no problem with that – it was the big difference between 759 claims being made and only 11 paid out on that surprised me.

  38. “it was the big difference between 759 claims being made and only 11 paid out on that surprised me.”

    The State is fine with handing out billions to every foreigner who turns up on our shores, shelling out some a few tens of millions to some natives whose children its just purposely disabled, not so much.

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