Monday, October 26, 2009

From the people who brought us the swine flu vaccine shortage....

From the people who brought us the swine flu vaccine shortage. Here's the Washington Examiner:

On Sept. 13, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, told ABC's This Week program that the government was on schedule to deliver an "ample supply" of swine flu vaccine by mid-October:
"We're on track to have an ample supply rolling by the middle of October. But we may have some early vaccine as early as the first full week in October. We'll get the vaccine out the door as fast as it rolls off the production line."
But here we are five weeks later and news reports are coming in from across the nation of long waiting lines of people wanting the shot, but being turned away because of grossly inadequate supplies. The typical explanation from public health offiials is that the swine flu vaccine requires more time to be cultivated than seasonal flu vaccine.
That's no doubt true, but did federal public health officials just discover that fact? These are the same government officials who will be in charge of your health care under the government-run health care system being sought by Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress.

Someone named Mike O'Keefe brought the entertaining signage. Links from Instapundit.


Cedric Katesby said...

Allen, do you thing people should be taking the vaccince?

Cedric Katesby said...

Darned typos.

Allen, do you think people should be taking the vaccine?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I can't speak for them, only for myself.
I've followed Obama's lead in this case....He hasn't had his daughters innoculated. My daughter hasn't been either. I haven't either.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

But it seems that your typo virus is contagious.
I can't spell "inoculation" properly.
I'll get in line for a shot.

Michael said...

The guy holding the sign isn't very smart. He does realie that the vaccine is being made by private companies, not the government. It is the private companies that aren't making it fast enough.

Cedric Katesby said...

(Part One of Three)
Dear Allen,
This double/triple post started off as a short missive and then bulged out of all proportion.
Sorry about the size.
I just hope I’m successful in getting across my mind-set when we wrangle over AGW on your blog.
No offence is intended by any means. If, despite my strenuous efforts, I have still managed to anger you with a carelessly chosen phrase or two then I apologize in advance.

I can't spell "inoculation" properly.


I wanted to know your position on the vaccine because it's a prime example of what I continually harp on about with regards to science and the public illiteracy on science matters.

I don't have the background to seriously evaluate Warming, Cooling, Change, or whichever condition we're currently going to have an uproar about.

I put myself in the same boat as you. I too, am not a scientist. I've read a lot on the Internet. I watched the videos and I've read the newspapers. Compared to an actual climatologist (not just some 'scientist', I mean an actual climatologist) I know nothing about climatology. NOTHING!

This is why I rely on the very best. This is why I rely exclusively on the big names like NASA and the NAS and the Royal Society etc.

I see Denialism as a bad thing.
All forms of it.
HIV Denialism.
Evolution Denialism.
Moon Landings Denialism.
Global Warming Denialism and the depressingly large list of others.

If you accepted (for example) the science behind vaccines then I would berate you for having a double-standard given your rejection of AGW.
Let me explain.

All scientific work is measured using the same yardstick.
No one particular scientific discipline gets "special treatment".

A Creationist that denies evolution and yet will happily use antibiotics is being the ultimate hypocrite. The scientific method is responsible for both and both are subject to the same rigour.

Science is a package deal.
People don't get to pick and choose.
The same goes for a Creationist that accepts the existence of atom bombs or uses the Internet.

The video I just linked to is one of my favourites because the scientist elegantly explains how science as a whole works. Even though he's talking about creationism, he might as well be talking to about any other form of denierism. (HIV, Moon Landings, Global Warming, whatever.)
The logic of his claims about how science works and how the different fields mesh together strongly appeals to me.

When we get into an argument over AGW, I always try to honestly compare your reasons for rejecting AGW to other deniers in another field. Invariably, they are essentially the same to me. That's why I have to reject them.
I'm not trying to be a bastard or trying to annoy you. I mean that. I'm trying to be ruthlessly honest about the evaluation of scientific evidence. No exceptions made.

Cedric Katesby said...

(Part Two of Three)

For example, you talked about public opinion.
That slots in perfectly with other denialism.
I'm not kidding.
It's a seamless fit.
It's a classic red flag.
The Discovery Institute makes the same appeal.
As do the homeopathy people and the anti-vacc deniers.
Plenty of otherwise normal, sane people have irrational fears of vaccinations and these fears are fed by a news-hungry scientifically illiterate media that knows no shame.
Deniers and snake peddlers will always make a direct appeal to the public. Their battle-cry is "Think for yourself".
Sounds good, right? After all, we can't be fooled, right?
Ordinary people are suckers. Five minutes on the Internet does not equal 6+ years of post-grad research work.

All frauds pitch exclusively to the general public because it's a soft vulnerable target.
How about pitching a dodgy cure for cancer to a scientist that has a specific background in the subject concerned?
Heavens no. That's a HARD target.

Then there's the reflexive "Al Gore this, Al Gore that" stuff.
Red flag.

You know what I hear when you say that?
"Darwin this, Darwin that".

It's exactly the same style of rhetoric.
Al Gore's electric bill does not equal a serious discussion on the science of Climatology, no matter what suspicions you may have.
Charles Darwin may or may not have recanted "Darwinism" on his deathbed.
(He didn't)
Yet even if he did, I frankly don't give a damn.
Charles Darwin is not modern Evolutionary Biology. When you say "Al", I just shrug my shoulders and accept that you are not going to be talking about science again.
I wish I could convince you to drop it.

There are others.
Your continual desire to label global warming as a "religion".
Red flag.
That's a page taken straight out of the Creationist handbook.
Any of these phrases ring a bell?

"worship Darwin"
"Church of Darwin"
"Darwinist dogma"
"St Darwin"

Then there's your conviction that "they are only in it for the gold".
Big, fat, hairy, super-sized red flag.

Once again, this is what ALL deniers say.
HIV deniers say that to justify their beliefs.
As do homeopaths and the anti-vaccers.
It's all "Big Pharma", see?
They're pushing their drugs onto people for big profits.
If only people would come to their senses and take honey extract with a light coffee enema, there would be no more HIV and diabetes blah, blah etc.
Ask yourself this:
Why should anybody just take your word that "they are all in it for the gold"?
You never offer any evidence.
You can't explain in any meaningful detail how it all hangs together. If I ask any follow-up questions you just disappear. It's a dead end.

Cedric Katesby said...

(Part Three of Three)

If you can reject science with regards to global warming then you can reject all other science, including vaccinations and the Age of the Earth. It’s part of the warp and weft of the same tapestry.

The very logic that you use to cavalierly dismiss peer-review, the baseless suspicions you harbour about the integrity of the entire planet's supply of scientists is 'sauce for the gander' for all other denialism.
Just switch the labels around.
I always do. When they match up, that sets off my baloney kit detector.

Nobody gets to say "Oh but that's different 'cause that's ok 'cause I just know that is".
That would be cheating.

No special pleading allowed. It's dishonest. Either you have a rigorous process to weed out real science from the pseudo-science...or you don't. I don't accept it from creationists. I don't accept it from others.

Could I be pursuaded that global warming is all wrong?
Firstly, I want to see a mountain of peer-reviewed papers that refute global warming.
Research that represents sweat.
Real work by active scientists as opposed to armchair retirees peddling books and blog articles.
The kind of work that is so damn solid that it sways other professionals by the truck-load.
Papers where the authors themselves robustly agree with the conclusions that anti-global warmers draw. None of this hi-jacking crap or quote mining. You know what I mean.

I want to see a mountain of peer-reviewed papers stacked up on one side and a forlorn, unloved handful of papers on the other.
So far, it's as clear as day that the mountain is on the AGW side.
(And a big fat mountain it is.)
Big fat mountains of peer-reviewed evidence impress me.
Reverse the situation in favour of anti-global warming and we have something serious to talk about.

I want to see NASA and all the other scientific communities reverse their consensus position in direct response to this mountain of evidence. Publicly and openly.

Public opinion? Screw it. I don't care about it. If it's a choice between what your average Homer thinks and what the scientific community thinks, I'll take the latter any day of the week.

It's the same standard I would expect if a creationist wanted to change my mind about the Theory of Evolution or Germ Theory. I'm not making an unfair hurdle for the global warming deniers to jump through.
The scientific arena is there. The gates open.
Enter it. Come out victorious.
Then we talk.

Ah, but I hear you cry.
The scientific process is rigged!
The commies have taken over NASA.
The global scientific community have collectively cooked the books/been taken over by lizard people/have an unconscious bias/black helicopters stole my homework etc, etc, etc.

If it has, then do the detective work. Speculation and vague suspicions don't cut it.
Give me something (a lot of heavyweight something) that doesn't sound like you copied it verbatim from a creationist.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

It's getting colder.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

I think the observable fact that for the last 5 years I have had to kindle the wood stove several days earlier than previously is as good evidence as "peer review" of computer models by politician funded "scientific" communities.

Cedric Katesby said...

I think the observable fact that for the last 5 years I have had to kindle the wood stove several days earlier...

Nope. That's not a fact.
What you are doing is telling a story from memory. An anecdote.
The plural of anecdote is not evidence.

If you seriously want to find out what's happening to the global temperatures, you have to do some work.
Real work.
(Thirty seconds of "thinking" between commercial breaks does not count.)
Scientists actually get paid to do this work.
Just like a doctor gets paid to do their job.

They are paid because they are good at their jobs and they get tangible results.

You don't like what a doctor tells you?
Fine, get a second opinion.
Heck, get a third opinion!
Get as many opinions as you can afford.
Yet if they all tell you have throat cancer and you need an should listen.

What you should not do is listen to some quack homeopath who will tell you what you want to hear and perhaps get you killed.

The same process of peer-review that protects you from medical quackery is the same process that covers all branches of science.
That includes climatology and all of the other physical sciences.

The reason why you put scare quotes around peer review is because you have nothing else.
Sour grapes.
AGW Deniers lost the process of peer-review long ago.

A genuine scientific debate does not take place in the media, it takes place in the scientific arena.
The weapon used in that arena is the peer-reviewed paper. Lots of peer-reviewed papers.

Deniers can't compete with that so they diss the peer-review process that they never really understood in the first place.

They can't handle the fact that no scientific communities on the planet deny the science of global warming or claim that it's all a hoax.
Concoct all the idle, fanciful conspiracy theories you want to explain why those durned scientific communities just don't see it your way. If you are too lazy to make up your own, just borrow some from the creationist nutters. They don't like the scientists of planet Earth either.

Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. A few organisations hold non-committal positions.

This includes the really cool ones like NASA and the Royal Society and the AGU and The British Antarctic Survey and NCAR etc.
They are all good.
Get your science from science sources.