A Question of Science

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by S.J. Faerlind, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Ahhhh...dealing with grey areas......
    I'm not sure about where you live, but here, at least, the answer to your question is largely irrelevant. I'll illustrate why with an example. Did you know that in Ontario, Canada, if you are an alcoholic who drinks to excess and by doing so, you endanger your own safety and that of other people, there's nothing anybody can do to stop you from drinking? Unless you want to help yourself, you're free to continue drinking as much as you want to. It's irrelevant to the healthcare system that such a person is a drain on its resources because they're sick and/or hospitalized all the time. It's irrelevant that the damage alcoholics inflict on those who know and love them is considerable, or that public safety is at risk if such a person gets behind the wheel of a car while drunk or if they become violent. To my way of thinking, such an affliction is profoundly dysfunctional and it's ironic to me that a person who tries to commit suicide from any other type of mental illness can have their freedoms taken away to protect, and hopefully rehabilitate them, while an alcoholic can commit suicide slowly over decades and they're totally free to do it.

    By comparison, your example of someone refusing vaccination seems like a much lesser danger to society. Just because someone refuses vaccination doesn't guarantee they'll contract a disease or even that they'll die from it if they do. Though they might allow disease to retain a foothold in the population by choosing not to vaccinate themselves, everyone else is still free to choose vaccination and protect themselves anyway.

    There are different degrees of functionality, and frankly, we all have dysfunctional habits, so where do we draw the hard line and pick these "fights" you asked about in your post? Do we pick them with smokers? People who play extreme sports? People who eat a whole bag of potato chips daily? People who never exercise? People who refuse to eat broccoli 'cause they just don't like it? (lol)

    The grey areas are always a slippery slope and no matter how society regards them, its task is to develop a policy that balances public safety and welfare with freedom for individual choice. At some point, society has to decide where along the spectrum of danger a dysfunctional reality or belief becomes a significant risk that individual freedom becomes a secondary consideration. I actually did consider this point in my original post on the idea of regarding beliefs as functional / dysfunctional vs "right" / "wrong", but hopefully I've made it a little clearer this time around. :)
     
  2. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Thank you for the post. I hope I wasn't being too argumentative. I just like to see other people's inputs on such grey areas as a means to broaden my own view point to better understand aspects that my own reality or upbringing left me blind to.
     
  3. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Oh no worries! I never thought you were being argumentative at all. Your posts are well thought out and respectful, even with a difference of opinion or when questioning another's viewpoint. How could I possibly have an issue with that? :)
     
  4. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I believe that's how it is in most parts of the world, not just Ontario.

    There is a difference between committing suicide and alcoholism. The goal of one is to actively seek to end a life. The other is, usually, that of habit, self-medication or both. Usually both. It's like the difference between a gun and a baseball bat. I mean, both are formidable weapons - perfectly able to kill a man. But one is created and designed to hit a baseball as hard as you can. The other one is, intrinsically, designed to kill. Suicide is designed to kill yourself. Alcoholism, whilst possibly having the same effect over time, isn't.

    Now, the fact that suicide is taken as serious as it is, is, in my perspective, a religious thing. I mean, when all comes down to it, and everything is taken from you, there is only one thing left within your grasp and control. And that is you, your own life, your own consciousness. Cogito ergo sum type of deal. The one owns itself. And, under everything we, as a society, understand as ownership, that one is the only party who can seek to undo that. One can read this as a statement against capital punishment, but I also feel that it applies to suicide.

    Now. Religion, as I have encountered it, understands this differently. The self, life, or the soul as it is usually called is typically a God-given value. Taking, or undoing it, is an act against God. You will see that that the way society deals with suicide is somewhat reflected by its religiousness.

    But, to be honest, I don't agree with your assessment of dysfunctionality and the need for government to step in. I am a liberal, and I really do believe in the freedoms people can take to go about their lives. I mean, as it is, there is a hugely strong incentive not to become an alcoholic. You will typically find yourself out of a job and on welfare fairly soon, for starters. Most alcoholics will stop being fully functional members of society, with everything that comes with it. It's not a place you want to find yourself in.

    I don´t believe that you should somehow be called to a stop just because you´re a potential danger, up to a certain extend at least. We, as a society, have never been safer from harm than we have been in the 21st century. Without much resorting to limiting of liberties. Sure, a lot of alcoholics don´t manage to keep a driver´s license (though the one alcoholic I know manages to keep the two separated well enough). But, on the whole, I value the imperfection of a free society with alcoholics and other dysfunctional members far, far higher than the imperfection of a society that limited those freedoms for the sake of safety.
     
  5. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    But I don't accept that Western Europeans are truly Liberal.
    Your view is pretty standard among Europeans, to live and let live; so I wonder why European societies are so homogeneous compared to the United States? In America, we can just about say and do anything within the framework of our Constitutional Rights, which are extensive.
    European governments, on the other hand, have consistently trampled analogous rights, outlawing publication of hate speech, trade in Nazi paraphernalia, and the wearing of distinctive religious clothing, to name but a few recent examples. A true Liberal would find such developments abhorrent and unacceptable. Freedom of speech and expression, the foundation of liberty, has been reigned in to mean "freedom from being offended".
     
  6. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    You, my son, need to get out more.

    Obvious troll is obvious, I'll stand over there -->
     
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    ... well I don't know, when was the last time you ventured beyond Europe?
     
  8. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    That is not exactly true. There are people who can't vaccinate themselves, like newborn babies or people with some illnesses. I, for example, can't freely vaccinate myself because I suffer from an autoimmune disease. Every time a virus enters my body, even in the form of a vaccine, there is a possibility that my body will see it as a threat and attack my own nervous system. I have to depend on herd immunity to stay healthy and safe. And it really does make a difference to me if other people vaccinate or not. If they don't, and they pass the illness on to me, it may also trigger my disease which can eventually cause a serious disability.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  9. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    My younger brother is in the same boat.
    My little sister gave him a kidney many years ago, and as such he must take drugs for the rest of his life to suppress his immune system from rejecting the foreign organ. I have no problem if parents elect to have their child not be vaccinated based on religious beliefs, or they actually believe it can cause autism, but that kid should not be allowed to attend public schools.

    I choose not to be vaccinated against anything, because I don't like needles.
     
  10. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    Really? You choose to endanger your brother and loads of other people because you don't like needles? Well, I hate needles too, yet I inject myself with my meds every other day and I don't moan about it. It hurts like hell and it doesn't help that I have to do it myself, but if you have to, you just do it. And you'd have to get vaccinated like what, once or twice a year? It takes a few seconds and you have a nurse do it for you. What's the big deal?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  11. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    It's not only vaccines I don't get, I prefer to not take any medication at all.

    Two years ago I had eight titanium implants screwed into my jaw, four upper and four lower. I was prescribed 20 Oxycodone tablets, which are for severe pain. Other than some discomfort for a day or two, and residual bleeding, I was fine. Never took so much as a Tylenol. I also tossed out the antibiotics I was prescribed.
    I'm of the opinion that whenever possible, let your body fix itself.

    As far endangering other people... I haven't talked to my asshole brother in three years. If he dies, the world is less one lawyer. I'll send flowers and a card to his funeral.;)
     
  12. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    Well, if you don't take your medication, it's fine by me. If it just affects you and no one else, it's your choice. But by not vaccinating you put people like me in danger. I get it you don't care about your brother and I get it you don't care about people you can accidentally infect on the street / at work / in the park / at the mall. But to me it makes a great difference. If healthy people get sick because they chose not to be vaccinated, it's ok. But if I get sick because they didn't get vaccinated and I end up in a wheelchair - that's unfair and just so so so unnecessary.
     
  13. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    Honestly, lots of people is programmed to believe what most of the population believes and automatically tags anybody who disagrees as a moron.

    Let's put it the other way around.

    What if you actually thought that a certain group of vaccines was dangerous, based on data you have researched? You would regard people trying to force you to take such vaccines or to discriminate you on those grounds to be mini-tyrants that act from ignorance.

    I am not into the vaccine debate, but I can come up with many "safety" procedures that are currently enforced by law and that are actually counterproductive, but not carrying them out will mark you as a moron for the reason expressed in the first paragraph.

    I think people is responsible of their own security, and as such, they should have the freedom to manage it responsibly. When you enforce an industrial worker to use faulty security procedures because the law says so, what you are indirectly doing is placing the burden of responsibility on third parties (lawmakers, tax payers, security workers liable by law). You are also taking away the freedom to adopt sane security plans from the people who is deployed in the field and who knows their job better than you do.

    Guess what, I know what having security plans enforced on you looks like, and when you have reasons to think they are stupid and you have them enforced anyway, it is just plain bad. That is why I don't look kindly on discrimination performed on people that does not want to follow enforced security plans, including vaccination schedules.
     
  14. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    There's the problem. It doesn't matter what you think. Most people aren't competent enough to judge if a vaccine is dangerous or not. That's why we leave it to the professionals, and that's why there are many tests and requirements that have to be met, before a vaccine is declared safe to use. I agree wholeheartedly that those requirements should be strict and that vaccines and medications should be thoroughly tested before they end up in our bodies. But still, you can think that the Earth is flat and it still doesn't make it so. If you have doubts, do research, I'm all for it. But many anti-vaxxers still think vaccines cause autism, even though this particular myth has been busted lots of times - they apparently do NOT do their research.

    I'm not defending "stupid safety procedures". I also think that some rules don't work at all and should not be forced on people. Still, I think some safety rules are necessary in a society. There are people saying speed limits are stupid, but I'm pretty glad you can't speed 100km/h through a town. Should we allow drunk drivers to get behind the wheel because they think they are perfectly capable of managing their own safety? I don't think so. As said before, if the consequences of your actions only affect you, you can do what you want. But if it affects the rest of the society, safety measures aren't a bad idea.
     
  15. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    Because Big Brother is doing the thinking for me so I don't need to have my own opinions? ;)

    Let's accept most people is not competent in scientific field A.

    People who is not professionally competent in certain scientific field cannot make valid judgements regarding activities in that scientific field.

    Deciding if a professional is competent in field A is a judgement regarding an activity in the scientific field A.

    Since most people is not professionally competent in scientific field A, they are not competent for deciding that somebody is competent in that field. Bonus: Even if the professionals selected for deciding what is better for us in field A are actually competent in their field, you cannot guarantee they will act in good faith. This is, their decissions could be biased because of many social reasons. You may have noticed that different factions of people draw different conclussions from the same scientific and technichal studies.

    With your given premises, I can argue that people is not competent enough for deciding who are the professionals that should decide what is better for us. Therefore, accepting a security plan made by professionals selected by the masses (say, the common democratic system) is not better than accepting a security plan made by the people who is working in the frontline of field A.
     
  16. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    No. Because some things are simply true or not true, and thinking they are eather way, doesn't make them so. The only way to finding out the truth is scientific research (preferably by competent people). And yes, some people are not as professional as they might seem, some are biased, some people are corrupt. Yes, sure thing. I'm all for sceptisism and checking twice. But it's one thing to be sceptical, and another thing to refuse to believe the facts because they aren't convenient for you, or because they don't agree with your view of the world.
    Do you really think that each of us should be in charge of our health care? I mean, should we concoct our own medications at home? Should we feed those concoctions to our kids? There are people out there who refuse to vaccinate their children and instead inject them with urine. Is that supposed to be ok? The field of medicine has developed immensly in the past few decades. Should we just throw it all away beucase someone might have been biased at some point? Scientific method tends to expose such individuals, as it also tends to correct the human error over time. It is not perfect, but it's the best we've got.
     
  17. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    You have established that people is not competent enough for knowing what the truth is in a scientific field.

    I have used that point to establish that, accepting such premise, people is not competent enough for deciding who is competent enough for taking decissions both in their name nor in the name of people refusing to accept them.

    The truth might be a Single One (this is a can of worms for certain people), but the fact is that decision making does not come from the truth. It comes from data that hints at the nature of the truth -we have established that the trush is largely unknown anyway. Options are often selected taking partial or wrong information, or for reasons that are political instead of practical.

    I think everybody has the right to select a security plan for themselves, or a professional for making one for them, instead of having one selected by a third party that might not a)know enough about the subject b)not care about the person at all c)have its own agenda (like selling you the helmets his cousin makes).
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  18. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    I agree that we can't know everything, and I agree that people have agendas. That's the human factor. Yet I still believe that over time scientific method advances our knowledge of reality.

    I agree that you should be able to make those choices when it's only your health at stake. When it's the health of the whole community, you may have to make some compromise.
    To make an analogy with the helmets: both helmets and vaccines should be chosen in terms of their effectiveness and not because someone's cousin makes them. If they are not, then there's something wrong somewhere. But it doesn't mean people should stop vaccinating or using helmets where it is necessary. Also, if you don't wear a helmet and something falls on your head - well, tough luck. But if you operate heavy machinery on drugs, you can put not only yourself in danger, but also the others. And that should not be allowed.
    I'm certainly not going to make everyone vaccinate themselves against everything. But not vaccinating your kid against polio is simply riddiculous and endangers other kids who come into contact with them. Once again: herd immunity.
     
  19. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    Believe me, I know you're right on this.
    And if I wasn't such a baby about getting blood drawn and getting shots, I'd get vaccinated without worrying about it.
    But the fear of fainting in front of my doctor (a woman), her young female assistant, the receptionist, is just too much to handle.:eek:
     
  20. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    If you live in a democracy, there is no Big Brother.
    There are mechanisms in every democracy in which to replace, repeal, or overturn bad politicians and bad laws. I find that the folks who complain the hardest about an overreaching government, are the very same people who haven't so much as voted in decades, and aren't politically active in the least.

    Government does all sorts of things that help keep us safer... insure the food we eat meets certain standards, the vehicles we drive are up to snuff, and thousands of other rules and regulations that limit our exposure to danger. Not a perfect world by any means, but no reason to get paranoid that Big Brother is creeping into our lives.

    One great example, are laws that require drivers to wear a seatbelt, and motorcyclists to wear a helmet. You don't get to make those kind of decisions anymore, they're made for you. Same with the legal drinking age, and so on.