Actually, vaccines are safe. I’m not going to say perfectly safe, because nothing in this world is perfectly 100% safe. Even pure spring water can kill you, and oxygen, and kale…and reading ‘Goop’. But some people think that vaccines are dangerous and cause autisme, or other things. But I thought it would be interesting to replace the word “autisme” by “hit by a bus”. Because the problem with causal inference is that, on the surface, it sounds logical. Let’s take another one: “I drank coffee and my headache went away.”  You’re taking coffee (X) and drinking it (the action) and the result is no more headache (Y). So you think, “Oh! X + Y = no more headache!” So using this, scientists can study coffee, and brains, and headaches, and find out if coffee does stop headaches, and it turns out that sometimes it’s the sugar we put in our coffee, and sometimes it’s the caffeine, and sometimes it’s the aspirin we took when the headache kicked in – but at any rate, it’s studied and papers are written, and people make silly memes about it. Résultat de recherche d'images pour "coffee and headache meme"

And then there is Goop, Gwenyth (Superflake) Paltrow’s site which encourages women to put jade eggs in their “yoni” (you know something is wrong when you can’t even use the correct term for vagina). The idea is that the egg (X) shoved into your “yoni” (Y) = life changing into a wonderful powerful kaleidoscope of  self appreciation and love. I’m looking at a whole roomful of scientists making bug eyes at each other wondering how they will verify that, and half hoping they’ll be chosen to work on the project – as long as they can choose the Y subjects themselves.

Now let’s go back to our vaccines and make a causal inference: Getting vaccinated caused my child to get hit by a bus.  The facts:  Over 200,000 kindergarten age children were vaccinated in the state of Florida. 42 children ages 5 – 7 died soon after, hit by a bus.  Causal inference: the child was vaccinated – the bus hit them – the vaccine caused the child to be hit by a bus. More facts: the child was fine until he was hit by the bus, which happened shortly after the vaccine. In fact, up until he was vaccinated, the child had no trouble crossing the street. The cause and effect seems clear – the child was fine. The child was vaccinated. The child was hit by a bus. Ergo – vaccines cause bus collisions with children.

Wait a minute, you say. That is just plain silly – that can be easily disproved.

All right, I say – go ahead – convince me it’s not true.

Well, you sputter – getting hit by a bus is an accident – it can happen for any number of reasons! Vaccines have nothing to do with it. 

Me: Have you no empathy for the families of these children? What about the little boy in a coma! He was dizzy when he crossed the street, he fell down, the bus hit him. I think he was dizzy from the vaccine. There has to be a link. Too many kids were hit by a bus last year. They were all vaccinated. There is definitely a link.

You: This is ridiculous. You can’t really believe that vaccines cause kids to get hit by a bus. 

This is true. I do not believe vaccines cause bus collisions with children. But if you replace bus collision with the words “autism” or whatever else – you see the problem. The inference is causal – there is no scientific proof. And until there is, I will continue to advocate vaccinating children and adults. And people make silly memes about that too.

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