It’s not about science: it’s about control

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Give her the shot

Once again childhood vaccines are at the news forefront.

Seems that one of the presidential hopefuls thinks vaccines cause autism.

I viewed this week’s debate through the periscope of the internet. Here’s what I learned:

Donald Trump says vaccines cause autism.

You have to ask the question: how do individuals continue to believe a myth?

The original scientific report that appeared in The Lancet about the so-called link has been debunked, retracted and vilified.

But the myth still lingers.

Here’s the science: researchers, looking for as association between vaccines and autism, have found no link. Period.

The study that suggested a link fudged the data.

Why would anyone continue to believe there’s a link?

Some critics opine that people look for evidence to support their beliefs: it’s called inductive reasoning. It’s called being human.

And we all fall victim to our foibles: we pump up our arguments with data we hand-pick to build our case.

Other critics charge that it’s not about science: it’s about control.

If you think there’s a chance your infant daughter will be harmed by a vaccine, then you pause to consider the risks and benefits.

But the life-threatening prospect of measles, diphtheria, polio and pertussis push me over the edge: give her the shot.

In this case, giving my child the shot gives me a slice of control.

And given a choice, folks who demure when it comes to vaccines prefer to avoid them, despite the risk to disease. They get to choose.

Now that California has tightened the reins on parental choice, more children are receiving vaccines.

So when I look at the presidential candidates, the common theme is one of control.

I want to control my kids’ vaccines. I want to control the way the government functions. I want to control you.

Problem is, if these candidates get their way, then they have control over you.

Social security? Destroy it.

Health care for all? Don’t need it.

Birth control for women? No way.

The heart of the debate has been framed as one that affords individuals greater control over their own lives.

This is a sham.

The reality is that candidates such as Trump want control over how you and I make decisions by reducing those choices.

Engraving of Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,



About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in affordable care, american indian, authenticity, framing, health, health insurance, heuristics, native american, vaccine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to It’s not about science: it’s about control

  1. Yes, it is about control, and likely, greed.

    As I read about the debates, I am reminded of the Acts of Enclosure that changed the face of Britain by emptying the countryside and providing a “labor force” for the industrialization of the empire. It also made a few individuals and families enormously wealthy. I wonder whether the people of the countryside would have voted for the members of Parliament who were about to impoverish them.

    I am as concerned with the candidate’s refusal to address any of the real problems in the world. It is as though they believe that by denying the now obvious, the problems will go away. Or maybe they imagine they can profit from the misery those difficulties produce. Either way, I am both dumbfounded and terrified by the process.

    Liked by 1 person

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