More Wrong by calculated effort

Just a brief comment on my interactions with Less-Wrong.

I am not very familiar with the website, but I’ve understood for a long time it was a group devoted to understanding the cognitive biases that affect human thinking and training themselves to become “less-wrong” by overcoming their biases.

So I went over there and made a few comments that were pertinent.

And as you see I rapidly escalated my negative score, to the point where I can’t post and stuff.

So my quick observation of Less-Wrong, and its relationship to the world as I see the world, and as usual I’d love to be corrected with a reason and a link in the comments, is that
(1) The Less-Wrong community has zero appreciation of Crowd Think in the sense of Le Bon, see post 4 herein.
(2) Crowd think is the dominant source of cognitive bias in the modern world. And of course, its crowd think that causes people to miss this observation.
(3) Based on my limited experience, the Less-Wrong community is itself a Psychological Crowd, that has adopted training and mental attitudes and even web scoring system, that all serve to perpetuate their own crowd think opinions and likely increase their overall cognitive bias well beyond that of random members of the population who are not Less-Wrong members so that the Less-Wrong members tend to more confidently believe more false statements about the world than random people do and are less likely to listen to correctly reasoned arguments against them.

Big Lies

A few random web pointers, not from the scientific literature.

The Kenyan Catholic Bishops are accusing the UN and WHO and Kenyan government of implementing a mass sterilization campaign by inserting sterilization vaccine into a tetanus vaccine, based on what seems like airtight evidence. As their spokesman says:
Either we are lying or the government is lying. But ask yourself, ‘What reason do the Catholic doctors have for lying?’” Dr. Ngare added: “The Catholic Church has been here in Kenya providing health care and vaccinating for 100 years for longer than Kenya has existed as a country.”
See also

Just curious: anybody out there think any significant portion of the US media will report this?

Dr Oz, a big public vax supporter, mentions not vaxing his own kids.

All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.” –Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

Read that and ask yourself if it might apply to you: are you missing those impudent lies?
Hitler was inspired by Le Bon, see post 4.

While I’m on quotes:
Vaccination is a barbarous practice and one of the most fatal of all the delusions current in our time.

Conscientious objectors to vaccination should stand alone, if need be, against the whole world, in defense of their conviction.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Flu Vaccine Cost Benefit for Adults

Here is a 2014 Cochrane Report on
Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults

Key results
The preventive effect of parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine on healthy adults is small: at least 40 people would need vaccination to avoid one ILI case (95% confidence interval (CI) 26 to 128) and 71 people would need vaccination to prevent one case of influenza (95% CI 64 to 80). Vaccination shows no appreciable effect on working days lost or hospitalisation. The protection against ILI that is given by the administration of inactivated influenza vaccine to pregnant women is uncertain or at least very limited; the effect on their newborns is not statistically significant. The effectiveness of live aerosol vaccines on healthy adults is similar to inactivated vaccines: 46 people (95% CI 29 to 115) would need immunisation to avoid one ILI case.
The administration of seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine is not associated with the onset of multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve of the eye) or immune thrombocytopaenic purpura (a disease that affects blood platelets). The administration of pandemic monovalent H1N1 inactivated vaccine is not associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (a disease that affects the nerves of the limbs and body).
Evidence suggests that the administration of both seasonal and 2009 pandemic vaccines during pregnancy has no significant effect on abortion or neonatal death.

Quality of the evidence
The real impact of biases could not be determined for about 70% of the included studies (e.g. insufficient reporting details, very different scores among the items evaluated). About 20% of the included studies (mainly cohorts) had a high risk of bias. Just under 10% had good methodological quality.

OK, so the Cochrane reports that it takes a lot of flu vaccines to prevent any influenza, and the evidence demonstrating even this gain is fairly crummy, so maybe it might not be real at all. They found no appreciable impact on working days, for example.

Kind of a contrast to the constant media blitz.

But here’s my problem with this: its hellaciously optimistic. It assesses the benefits of the vaccine, and finds them minimal if that, but IMO it doesn’t adequately assess the costs.

The costs I would worry about most, would be that the vaccine might damage the immune systems of the recipients, and that mercury or contaminants in the vaccines might add to total load and cause long term problems. Previous posts here have suggested these possibilities should not be overlooked.
I have not seen research I would say shows these things are happening, but also I haven’t seen the long term studies I think there should be asking the question either, so I have no confidence they aren’t happening. They represent a risk, IMO.

I think its worth pointing out that the Cochrane, pessimistic as it is, is not based on studies looking at long term health.
If the vaccine were to damage your immune system, you may suffer from that every year till you die.
If the total metal load is a problem, you may suffer from that every year till you die.
Any conceivable benefit of the flu vaccine, however, is almost certain to come in the first year, because after that the flu strain will have moved on.
I would like to see studies on flu vaccine recipients’ health in the 2nd year after the vaccine.
There is a bias in the literature, that these extended costs are not being considered, so far as I can tell, in cost-benefit estimates of the value of the vaccines.

The CDC and Cargo Cult Science

The CDC’s webpages tout a large number of studies of the short term effects of vaccination, events say within 72 hours of receipt.

However, they don’t cite any studies on the long term effects of vaccines. Can vaccines damage development in infants? Do they stunt your growth or make you fat? Do they make you stupid? Do they damage the immune system? How long does vaccine protection last? Does its nature change qualitatively over time in ways that might create danger? For example, after a period of years, may your immunity wane to the point where you can become a carrier of diseases for which you were vaccinated? They don’t report data on these subjects.

The CDC says
No evidence suggests that the recommended childhood vaccines can “overload” the immune system.”
(Emphasis added.) This is a blatant lie (eg: and much much more below and elsewhere), but also it begs the question:
why don’t they report empirical studies on the subject rather than asserting ignorance? Aren’t they in charge of studying such issues?

There is a scientific literature on these matters. Virtually every study of which I’m aware, that studies the long term effects of vaccination on the development of children’s or infant animals’ immune systems or brains, finds that vaccines are highly damaging to development.

This includes studies injecting infant animals with the aluminum in the vaccine series or with antigens, which unanimously report the animals develop abnormally, including brain damage and auto-immune disease. Examples are and and and

The literature also includes randomized placebo test of a flu vaccine in children, followed by following their health for a sustained period. The vaccinees got 4 times as many respiratory illnesses as the recipients of placebo.

Other studies, both human and animal, report that flu vaccines can damage the immune system

The literature also includes epidemiological studies, that compare kids who got more and earlier vaccines to those getting fewer and less. For example, nations with fewer vaccines in the series have much less infant mortality
States with lower vaccine compliance have much less autism. etc. There are many more.

The study the CDC touts as evaluating parents’ concerns of “too many vaccines too soon” and autism is
(a) written by a lead author who also was lead author on another study which his own collaborator says was improperly manipulated to hide a vaccine-autism connection. Do they really need to rely on him as their sole source for arguing vaccines don’t cause autism?
(b) compares patients by the number of “antigens” they receive, rather than the number or earliness of vaccines. Table 1 in De Stefano et al 2013 defines what is meant by this. DTP has 3002 antigens while no other common vaccine in their data set had more than a handful. That means that patients who got DTP and other vaccines had more than 3000 antigens and were the high antigen group, compared to patients who may well have gotten equally many or earlier or more vaccines, but didn’t get DTP. (Many of them got DTaP instead.) This study compared two groups of patients that seem likely to have gotten roughly the same number of vaccines, and the same earliness, and the same aluminum. It doesn’t seem they would have found a different result, for example, if the aluminum in vaccines were the sole cause of autism.

The CDC also don’t tout any papers on how long vaccine protection lasts. In fact peer reviewed articles (see previous blog post) indicate that a few years after last booster, immunity may be waning for most people to the point where they can become carriers of the disease. So the vaunted “Herd Immunity” seems more, according to the published science, like “Herd Weakening and Contagion”. As far as you might gather from the CDC’s site, vaccine immunity is eternal and unpiercable.

If the CDC were seriously interested in regulating the manufacturers, (and they should be since Congress has indemnified the manufacturers, so if the CDC doesn’t regulate them, who will), after seeing a placebo controlled study showing that a flu vaccine destroyed the immune systems of the kids who received it they would surely at a minimum demand such a study for every vaccine. For flu shots the results would of course come too late every year, but at least they might get some confidence over time. And they might compensate the recipients of vaccines that placebo controlled studies showed had gotten damaged immune systems. Heck, the manufacturers could offer a guarantee: we’re doing a double blind randomized test on the side. If you get our vaccine, and the placebo test shows it destroys your immune system after all like the last placebo test did, we’ll refund your money, and buy you an ice cream for the inconvenience.

According to Richard P. Feynman, it is incumbent on a scientist to emphasize everything that could be wrong with his theory, not sweep it under the rug. When this is widely disregarded, cargo cult science results.

I genuinely don’t want to do Cargo Cult Science so if anybody reading this knows of any citations to studies looking at the long term effects of vaccines and finding them benign or beneficial, please, be sure to post them in the comments.

Are the Vaccinated Spreading Disease?

Chen et al, Measles antibody: reevaluation of protective titers
reported on data from a measles outbreak that came just after a school blood drive. So they had before and after titer information on the students. They observed that 7 out of 8 donors with titers below 120 got clinical measles, compared with none having titer above 120. So a titer of 120 appears to protect against getting clinical measles. However, 70% of donors with titers between 120 and 1050 reported symptoms without getting the rash, as did 30% of donors with titers above 1050, and about 70% of patients in the 120-1050 group
also had their titers go up by a factor of more than 4, indicating that they had had a measles virus infection, even though short of clinical measles.

So the conclusion: below 120, vulnerable to measles. Above 120, won’t get clinical measles, but may get ill without rash and become contagious for measles. Below 1050, 70% chance of getting ill and becoming contagious for measles. Above 1050, less than 30%.

Le Baron et al, Persistence of measles antibodies after 2 doses of measles vaccine in a postelimination environment,d.cGU

studied how long titers persist in kids after their last booster. The results are plain in their Figure 3. They report that around 95% of recipients of the MMR have a titer over the 120 that Chen et al predict should prevent one from getting clinical measles for at least 10 years. (After that the percentage vulnerable starts rising rapidly.) That’s the good news.

The bad news is, they report that 2 years after their last booster, more than a third of kids will have titers below 1050, the region where, according to Chen et al, such kids will have a 70% chance of becoming ill and contagious if exposed, although they won’t show the rash. And 30% of kids with titers not far above that, and there are many of those, may also become ill and contagious. As each year passes from the MMR, still more kids fall into the camp vulnerable to illness and contagion, although not yet clinical measles. In a fully vaccinated population, even if most people are protected from clinical measles, most will be subject to infection by and transmission of measles virus.

This is why, I expect, you see constant epidemics in near 100% vaccinated populations, and herd immunity is a marketing slogan of the vaccine industry. For example, New York State boasts a 97% compliance rate for MMR in kindergarten .
Yet they have measles outbreaks every year or two, including a measles outbreak starting with a fully vaccinated index case
and a measles outbreak with 90% of the patients vaccinated

In fact, it seems very likely that the pool of vaccinated carriers may well be keeping measles from being eradicated. As we saw in the NY case (although she apparently had a rash), a vaccinated carrier may not recognize they have measles or may not be quarantined, preventing the disease from being eradicated. Measles may travel from vaccinee to vaccinee, not getting the characteristic rash or being recognized, until finally it lights into an unvaccinated individual or one whose titer has faded below 120, and is declared measles.
If we persist in vaccinating, the disease may never go away, whereas it might well be that if we simply stopped vaccinating, the disease would vanish from the means that have likely eradicated most of the other diseases that have gone away: quarantine and better nutrition.

Update: There’s other evidence on this. Maybe I’ll post on it later. For example, vaccinated baboons (but not naturally immune baboons) when exposed to pertussis carried the virus and could spread it for 35 days. Seemingly, as titers fade, the problems of original antigenic sin may mean the carriers take very long times to clear the virus if exposed.

For which diseases do we see more continuing outbreaks:
Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Bubonic Plague, Scurvy — all once major killers, hardly anybody in the population vaccinated against any of them, or
Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox, Whooping Cough– nearly 100% vaccinated population, potentially providing a population of virus carriers.

More Evidence of Vaccine Damage to Immune Systems

I’ve previously posted links to a few studies indicating that flu vaccines had damaged children’s immune systems
(Previous posts: ). Here’s another such study:

“Here we compared the virus-specific CD8(+) T cell immunity in children vaccinated annually with that in unvaccinated children. In the present study, we compared influenza A virus-specific cellular and humoral responses of unvaccinated healthy control children with those of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) who were vaccinated annually. Similar virus-specific CD4(+) T cell and antibody responses were observed, while an age-dependent increase of the virus-specific CD8(+) T cell response that was absent in vaccinated CF children was observed in unvaccinated healthy control children. Our results indicate that annual influenza vaccination is effective against seasonal influenza but hampers the development of virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses.”

In other words, while these flu shots seem to have focused the immune system to fight certain specific strains of virus, they seem to have also hampered immune responses to other new viruses. This could plausibly predispose to pandemics if new viruses evolve to exploit these defects.

These results are confirmed in mouse models, showing that flu vaccines hamper mouse CD8+ T cell response

and prevent the induction of heterosubtypic immunity against other flu virus.

According to this link:
the new disease Entovirus EV-D68 which has infected more than 150 children in the US, sending dozens to intensive care units, has yet to infect a child who hadn’t received MMR, polio, and flu vaccines.

I’m seeing lots of articles in the main stream media on why children should get their flu shots and the like. Haven’t seen one talk about these issues or citations yet, however.

Effectiveness and Social Importance of Tetanus Vaccine

I found an interesting study that will let me say something positive about vaccines for a change:

The authors looked at all the reported US national reports of child tetanus cases for the years 1992-2000. They found there were 15 cases in the 8 year span. No deaths, but some hospitalizations. 12 of the 15 were un-vaccinated. (I’m assuming all or most cases get reported, which I think is likely. Otherwise you’d need a factor for reporting frequency in the back of the envelope calculations below.)

The first thing their survey tells you is, the tetanus vaccine seems to protect against tetanus. Something like 90% of the population is vaccinated according to the CDC, yet only 20% of the tetanus cases are. That suggests the vaccine is something like 97% effective at protecting against tetanus, which I think makes it probably more effective than any other I know of. If every child were vaccinated the number of cases over the 8 year period might well have dropped from 15 to the 3 vaccinated cases they had or maybe 4 if they got another.

The second thing it tells you is, even if all the vaccinated had been UNvaccinated so they all got it 30 times as much, you might only expect 100 cases nationwide over the 8 year span. (How does that compare to the number of serious complications from the vaccine?) The chance of an unvaccinated child getting tetanus over the 8 year span seems maybe to be something like 1/500,000 or less, figuring that roughly 50 million vaccinated kids generated 3 cases so vaccinated maybe has 3/50 million, unvaccinated maybe 30 times as great or 1/500k.
(The 10% unvaccinated are maybe 5 million who generated roughly 10 cases, which checks the math.)

According to this history there used to be 200 cases per 100K people per year. (Caveat: This may be an overestimate for children, so I’m not quite apples to apples to the above figures which are of children. There maybe should be a fudge factor for that.) A frequency of 1/500. So tetanus frequency has dropped by a factor of maybe roughly 30000, of which maybe a factor 30 was due to the vaccine and 1000 was due to other factors unknown. I don’t see how this drop can possibly be attributed to herd immunity, since tetanus is not passed between humans. So tetanus is another example of a disease that largely vanished where a vaccine seems NOT to have been the major factor in the vanishing.

Evolution of IQ

Michelle Budig, in a new paper,, cf also

regressed data in National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 2006 and claims that guys who had a kid they lived with had earnings increase 6%, while women’s decreased 4% for each child they had.

Naturally, she interprets this as implying discrimination against women. But I regard it as pretty good news for the future. If women’s earnings decrease 4%, that likely mostly shows that women are choosing to invest in their children rather than focus on their jobs.
If men’s earnings are actually increasing by 6%, that doesn’t seem likely to be because their employers think:
“this guy’s joined the Old Boys Network, I should give him a raise” just at the time when a lot of guys do lose sleep and devote time to child raising that might have been devoted to their job and have a new dependent to weigh further on the company’s health care premiums. I think its much more likely showing that women choose to have kids with guys who are going somewhere, not losers, and guys choose to have kids when they think they will be able to support them (and have a woman who thinks they are worthy). (But I’d like to see the data on men who had kids they didn’t live with.)

This sounds like good news for the IQ of the population. Income is presumably a reasonable proxy for IQ, since IQ is supposed to be about an ability useful for solving general problems, and earning money is a particular example of a general problem people are motivated to solve. If IQ means much, any problem people are motivated to solve that involves intelligence is something of a proxy for IQ, and they all should give similar results.

It is sometimes said that the population IQ must be decreasing, because poorer, and hence on average lower IQ women are said to have more children than wealthier and on average smarter ones. I’ve seen this claim from liberal Princeton Bio-ethics professors (Silver in a public lecture) to reactionary British ones and widely on the man-o-sphere (cf comments at ) I’ve long critiqued it because it discounts men, and sexual selection, which I have long believed to be possibly the primary force in the evolution of human language, among other things.

But in this study, men’s incomes increased more than women’s decreased, and both were likely weighed upon further by lifestyle/child investment decisions and the actual costs imposed by child raising on the employer, so that the income proxy probably systematically under-estimates the correlation between higher IQ and more children. This suggests that the amount that mean paternal IQ is higher than mean IQ much more than compensates for the amount that mean maternal IQ may (or may not) be lower than mean IQ.

Syrian Measles Vaccine Deaths

It looks like the 15 kids in Syria that died after getting vaccinated for measles died because the vaccine was mixed with a neuro-muscular blocker by mistake.

Here’s the thing, The Institute for Safe Medical Practices published a report in 2005 pointing out that this mixup is fairly common. They’d received 50 reports of it happening in the US in the past year.

So here’s my question: if you get a measles vaccine, are you more likely to be injected with Atracurium than you would be to get measles if you don’t get the measles vaccine?

There are something like 600 US measles cases in the last year, but they are probably way better reported than the mix-ups, and the mix-ups may have affected many people each.

Cargo Cult Science

Definition: A discipline is a cargo cult science if authors often ignore rather than rebut results or possibilities contradictory to their theory.

Source (more or less): Richard P Feynman, Cargo Cult Science

According to Feynman, it is incumbent on a scientist to emphasize everything that could be wrong with his theory, not sweep it under the rug. When this is widely disregarded, cargo cult science results.

In post 1 and other posts above, I have demonstrated by explicit lists of citations that there is a sizeable scientific literature indicating dangers and problems with vaccines.
I have demonstrated by explicit search of safety surveys etc. that the vaccine promoters at the CDC and the Institute of Medicine and Pediatric organizations do not cite, discuss, or rebut this literature.

Vaccinism is a Cargo Cult Science.