How can you be sure you have the best answer to such complex questions? How can experts be sure?

TRUTHSIFT not only gives you the best answer available, one which optimally combines the wisdom and expertise of everyone who cares to contribute, but it diagrams why this answer is declared best so that you can see for yourself.

TRUTHSIFT combines our collective wisdom in the only known way that gets the best answer: rational thought. Rational Thought isn’t a popularity contest, and it isn’t one expert’s opinion, and it isn’t what we might think, hope, or want to be true. As neuroscience research has taught us, it is also something that humans are not naturals at. Its determined by logic. TruthSift is revolutionary because we combine people’s intuitive inputs logically to arrive at the best answer, as only cool logic can.

This method of combination brings out the best interactions of people, by naturally dividing the issue into logically connected sub-issues. People contribute to the sub-issues they have expertise in, and are guided to overcome any biases or incorrect ideas or emotional viewpoints by the contributions of others, which directly address these with proof.

Screenshot 2016-02-09 13.28.01
A Diagram in centered on topic, showing 2 layers. The topic is gold, Pro are blue, Con red. Thick border for Tentatively Established, thin Refuted. The black triangles indicate other connectors not shown, including refutations of n3 and n10. The full diagram is here.


TruthSift displays whether each statement is logically established (Bold border) or has been logically refuted (thin border) based on all the contributions of members to date. For every statement people care to debate, one of these alternatives is true and TruthSift reveals which is the case, and lets you explore the proof or the refutation, or add to them.

TRUTHSHIFT’S PROCESS IS LIKE PUBLISHING IN The SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE, BUT EASIER. TruthSift asks you to contribute to a diagram any time you have a rational point to make that hasn’t been made yet on that diagram. If you see something somebody has posted that is wrong, and you can explain why you think its wrong, and nobody else has yet pointed this out, please post. If somebody has challenged a post, and you can correct the post or explain the misunderstanding, please do. If you have something you want to say, and you think you can prove or disprove it, please do. The goal is to build diagrams that show what is logically established, and how the plausible refutations are refuted, to which nobody has any remaining objection.

TruthSift asks of its members that you believe every public post you make is correct, not duplicative of a parallel post in the diagram, and clearly stated. By correct we mean, does rationally prove or refute its conclusion. Attacks directed at people rather than the statements themselves are not permitted.

The world has suffered greatly from group think, as we expect TruthSift to reveal. Without the discipline of TruthSift, experts draw false yet confident conclusions to a far greater extent than most realize, and these errors propagate and cascade. However, with TruthSift, a new world will be revealed.

We urge you to join us in creating a collective intelligence greater than any that has hertofor existed on Earth.

TruthSift also supports private diagrams, where only invitees participate. Large organizations are particularly prone to group think, and to known distortions in propagating information up the hierarchy. TruthSift will let all your members contribute to decisions or planning or reports exactly where their comment is pertinent, and reveal the logical consequences. TruthSift instills and enforces critical thinking.

Basic Membership is free and only requires an email address.

Welcome to TruthSift invites you to try our platform for crowd rationality in alpha.

The world hasn’t had a good method for deciding truth and establishing it in a transparently correct way. TruthSift solves this problem.

How it Works

TruthSift members engage in a process analogous to publishing in the scientific literature, but easier. If you think you can prove something, you can post a diagram of your proof. Or if you have a statement you’d like to know if others can prove or refute, you can post that. To get started you can just “Add Topic”, which will give you an edit window for a first statement in a new diagram. Or if you see a post that is wrong, and can give a not-yet-posted reason why, you can post a challenge.

Diagrams are composed of statements, represented by rectangles, with connectors represented by colored arrows: proofs are black arrows, assumptions blue, challenges red, remarks purple, and tests pink.
Statements have a title and a body. The title is shown on the diagram, the body may be viewed as a web page by selecting View from a menu displayed after rightclick on the statement.

Diagrams may be browsed in different layouts. Clicking on the Gold, Red, or Blue Box on the home page will take you to a view centered, respectively on either the Topic, most recent Con, or most recent Pro statement. You can walk around to see the rest of the diagram by double click on other statements.  This focused view is recommended for large diagrams. Alternatively, Clicking on the Diagram Title on the home page will display the whole graph. Double click on a statement or Layout in the right-click-on-whitespace menu lets you switch layouts.

TruthSift rates a statement “Tentatively Established” only when there is a proof of it with no step in active dispute. A demonstration that begins from observations that are unchallenged and proceeds through unchallenged proofs with no step of the demonstration in dispute.  Tentatively Established statements have thick black borders.

If anybody disputes any component of your proof, and can state a reason why its in error, they can add a challenge to the component, and if they want a supporting network of proofs and assumptions for their point of view. (EXAMPLE 2)

Now you or someone else may respond to this challenge. For example, you may edit the challenged component of your proof to fix the problem that was pointed out, or explain more clearly why the challenge is mistaken if it is. And you may counter-challenge the challenge if you believe the challenge was mistaken, or is mistaken after your edits, and you can state why. (EXAMPLE 3)

TruthSift keeps track of which statements are established by demonstrations that have no actively disputed assumption or proof.
Every Tentatively Established (TE) statement is easily recognized by its thick border and thick outgoing connectors. To have a thick border, a statement needs all of its incoming blue assumption connectors to be TE (thick), no incoming thick challenge (every challenge has been rebutted by a TE counter-challenge), and if it has incoming proofs, at least one must be thick (it has at least one TE proof).

TruthSift members lay out all the proofs and refutations members believe are pertinent to an issue until they run out of rational objections.
Like the scientific literature, the process naturally divides up a question and its field into important underlying issues and harnesses group intelligence in an optimized way. At the end what can and what can’t be rationally established, and why, is laid bare, together with a  demonstration that no literally no member can raise objection to any point in the proof. Every statement is either proved by a TE demonstration, or Refuted by a TE refutation.

Where users still unavoidably disagree, TruthSift diagrams include stipulations.  Stipulations make explicit any underlying assumptions that some still challenge, the arguments against them, and the differing consequences if they are true or misguided. Statements whose status depends on any of the stipulations in the diagram are shown with rounded corners. A statement that would be Tentatively Established if all of the stipulations are true, and Refuted if some of them fail, will have rounded corners and thick borders. A statement that will be Refuted if all the Stipulations are true but Established if some of them fail will have rounded corners and thin borders.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.47.25 PM
A Stipulation has been added that ele41, shown in green, is true. Ele41, ele33, and the topic statement ele0 all have conditional status and rounded corners. The topic node has thin borders, because it is Refuted conditional on the stipulation.

TruthSift Probability Mode supports construction of flexible and powerful statistical and causal models. TruthSift supports probability values to be entered into the statements, and then estimates the probability each different statement is true, marginalized over all the probabilities entered in all the statements of a diagram. Test statements affect only probabilities, but not the establishment status of statements. Test statements include an estimate of the likelihood some observation would have occurred given that its Target statement is True, and an estimate of the likelihood the observation would have occurred given the Target statement is False.   All statement types also have a Proposed Probability, which indicates the expected probability the statement has its claimed effect. For example, statement A may be a cause (proof) of statement B 0.3 of the time. Probability Mode does a Monte Carlo calculation reflecting all of the causes and tests in the diagram, and reports for each statement its probability of being true, printed at the bottom of the q-tip displayed when the mouse pointer hovers over the statement.


TruthSift asks of its members that you believe every public post you make is correct, not duplicative of a parallel post in the diagram, and clearly stated.

By correct we mean, does rationally prove or refute its conclusion. Ad hominem attacks are not permitted. The goal should be to create a clear exposition of what can be proved, and how the principal challenges fail. Think of yourself as publishing a paper in the scientific literature.
TruthSift also encourages editing of previously posted statements to improve clarity of the diagram. The default setting on statements is collaborate, which allows others to edit your statements, but if you don’t like their edits you can restore your previous statement from your my participation page or change the setting.

Quick Start Guide

In TruthSift, statements are represented on diagrams by boxes displaying a title, and containing a body that may be viewed as a web page. Connectors are represented by colored arrows joining the boxes: proofs are black arrows, assumptions blue, challenges red, remarks purple, and tests pink.

The topic statement of a diagram has a gold box, and the other statements are boxes shaded blue if they support the topic (PRO), red if they oppose it (CON), or grey if they don’t definitively do one and not the other.

Right-click of statements, whitespace, and connectors each display menus that together control most features.

Diagrams are represented on the home page by a title and 3 boxes. The Gold Box is the Topic statement, and it is Tentatively Established if its border is thick, else it is NOT-TE. The Blue Box is the most recent PRO Statement, and the Red Box is the most recent CON statement. Clicking on a box will take you to a focused view of that statement and its immediate neighbors in the diagram. The title links to a view of the full diagram. From the full diagram, Center-on-view (available from the statement right-click menu or by double-click on the statement) focuses on any selected statement and its incomers and outgoers.

The Add Topic Button at the top of every page launches an edit window where the Title and Body of a new topic statement may be added, initiating a new diagram.  Additional statements may be added to a diagram by right-click on an existing statement, which displays a menu including “Add In Statement” and “Add Out Statement“. Mouse over one of those will display a submenu that allows selection of the type of connector. Selecting a connector type will pop an edit window where the title and body of an additional statement may be added. Right-click on whitespace displays a menu allowing to save one’s new diagram, or one’s edit of an existing diagram.

On the edit window, a statement may be designated a citation. It will then be drawn with a dashed border. This may be used to indicate statements linking to (and perhaps summarizing) some trusted source, like a publication in the peer-reviewed literature. (Citations are  treated exactly like ordinary statements in terms of computing establishment status, however.)

The default save of a new topic is to Draft mode, but there is a choice on the save menu to choose Public, or drafts may be published from your My Drafts Page on the My Account dropdown. Once it is saved to Public, others will be able to edit it.

Every new statement that is added is initially TE, because it has been asserted and nobody has challenged it. This means that if you raise a challenge to any statement anywhere on any diagram, your challenge statement will be TE, and the statement you challenge will be classified Refuted until your challenge statement is responded to, and any other statements that are relying on that challenged statement in their Demonstration, will also be considered Refuted until your challenge is responded to. Your challenge of an underpinning deep in a graph may change the status of the topic statement, if its demonstration logically relies on the statement you challenge.

A statement will be TE only if all of its incoming assumption connectors are thick (TE), none of its incoming challenge connectors are thick, and, if it has incoming proof connectors, at least one of them is thick. Once proofs are added for a statement, we insist it have at least one TE proof to be TE. (If no proof has been added to a statement, we presume it self-evidently provides its own proof but it is perfectly valid to challenge it demanding further proof if you argue it doesn’t.) Each time the diagram is edited, the system rates all statements by starting at the statements with no incoming connectors, which are TE by definition, and updating statements once all of their parent statements have been updated. Statements will be graded Tentatively Established if all their assumptions are TE, and at least one proof is TE, and no Challenge is TE.

If you see a statement that is bordered in thick, you know there is a demonstration for it nobody has validly rebutted any statement of. On the other hand, if it has thin borders, then there is a TE challenge of it, or of every proposed demonstration of it.

The key to creating useful content with TruthSift, required for all posts by the Guidelines, is that every statement you add to an existing diagram should have a body you believe is rational and novel within the diagram. For example, if you add a proof for a statement, your proof should in your view prove the statement is true, and it should not duplicate a statement already added to this diagram, and likewise if you add a challenge for a statement, it should rationally show (and give a novel proof) that the statement is not true. If you believe an existing statement can be re-used for another purpose, you may add an additional connector to it by selecting the target with a left click and then right-clicking on the existing statement. If you can supply a reason why a statement does not imply a result given by an outgoing connector, you may challenge the connector after right-clicking on it. It is valid to challenge a proof connector if you can state a reason why it does not provide a proof.

As long as people only post serious proofs and challenges, statements and connectors respecting the guidelines(LINK), a diagram should be created where people explain what is wrong or right with the proofs and challenges that are suggested, and which publishes transparently whether there is or is not demonstration for each statement to which nobody has raised a valid objection.

One suggested way of dealing with difficulty in providing absolute proof of statements, is to edit the statement into a form that can be proved, eg if “X” can’t be proved, you may be able to prove “All of the peer reviewed papers in the literature report X.” Note this latter is readily challengeable with a counterexample.

If there are underlying differences that simply can’t be resolved, statements may be stipulated using the right-click statement menu. A diagram with stipulations added may then be created (leaving the diagram without the stipulations intact). In this new diagram, statements then will be rated relative to the stipulations. In this case we provide the next best thing to consensus establishment: consensus establishment relative to key stipulations, and provide (as an aid to the user to form an opinion), the proofs of and challenges to the stipulation. Statements whose TE status depends on the stipulations are drawn with rounded corners. Stipulated statements on a diagram are shown in green.

Please collaborate with others in the search for and transparent publication of truth and proof, avoiding ad hominem attacks and other such banned frivolity. Users repeatedly posting irrational or ad hominem or other banned content will be banned. Unpopular content or content others feel is stupid is ok so long as you are genuinely trying to be rational—if someone feels its stupid they should explain why.

It is encouraged to edit a challenged statement, if you can improve it so the challenge is no longer correct, and then to add a challenge to the challenge pointing out that it has been responded to. It is also encouraged where appropriate to split the original challenged statement into a small multiplicity of statements, for example breaking down part of the original intent into a separate assumption or proof, if the challenge seems to be addressed to only part of the original statement, thus breaking out the parts where there is no discord, and specifying more precisely and narrowly points for which differences remain.

The edit history of each statement is available on its View page, which may be displayed using the statement-right-click menu.
The default setting for statements is collaboration mode, others will be able to edit your statements if they believe they can improve the proof or the clarity. If they do and you don’t like the change, you may restore your version using the history available from your My Participation page (and may change the setting).


Right-click on whitespace displays a menu that supports a selection of Layouts, 3 showing only a single statement and a small neighborhood of the diagram, and two showing the whole diagram. Center-on-view available from the statement right-click menu allows one to step around the diagram in tight focus. You may also center-on-view by double click on the statement. If a statement has connectors not shown in a focused view, they are indicated with an inward pointing triangle or an outward pointing triangle. The full diagram layout shows all statements arranged with all connectors pointing right to left. In the Community Layout, statements may be dragged and positioned. The Community Layout shows the last saved positioning.

If you position the mouse pointer anywhere on the document, you may zoom in or out of the pointer using the mouse roller. If you position the mouse pointer on whitespace and hold the mouse button down for a few seconds, it will display a small dark circle and you may then drag the diagram, allowing to look around a large diagram.

All members may post and edit public diagrams. Premium membership (automatically included now, later free for the first 3 months, $2/month thereafter) allows a user to host and participate in private diagrams for associates or colleagues. We hope you will find this useful for your work, planning, and studying. Invitations may be controlled by following the sharing link below your private topic.

We are in alpha and users with comments or suggestions for features or improvements you’d like to see are kindly requested to email them Here( or post or participate in a public diagram arguing for them.

TruthSift offers many features not described in this brief intro. More extensive documentation is in preparation.

Is the Aluminum in Vaccines Making People Stupid?

I came across a direct measurement of the impact of parenteral aluminum on developing humans– in the experiment,  1.85 kg preemies.
Hospitals give intravenous feeding to preemies, and there was a little residual aluminum in it, so the authors decided to test if reducing the aluminum in the intravenous solution would lead to better results on a mental development index tested at 18 months. If you look at table 1, you can see that a less than 1.85 kg preemie got about 75mcg= 1.85kg*40 mcg/kg more aluminum per day on the normal aluminum than the low aluminum. And it cost him per day about 1 point on the mental development scale at 18 months, which seems projectable to 1 IQ point when he grows up, although it might be they will recover later. It also might be the impact on development will continue and get worse, there’s no obvious reason to believe one over the other. Their bone structure is also still apparently damaged at 15 years old.

Let’s estimate what damage the vaccines are doing under the assumption suggested by this data that 40mcg/kg of injected aluminum early in life costs you an IQ point on average. (and some bone density, and maybe other things.)

The Hep B vaccine which administered at birth, and at 1 month, and at 6 months has 250mcg of aluminum, and according to the CHOP guide reassuring parents on aluminum there’s  4000 mcg in the whole series before 6 months.

The average infant birth weight is 3.5kg and the average 6 month old is 7.5 kg. The single Hep B at birth is about 70 mcg/kg by itself, which might translate into almost 2 IQ points. The whole series is something in the vicinity of 600 mcg/kg which might translate into something like 15 IQ points. Maybe the aluminum isn’t as damaging at birth as a few weeks early, or at 6 months, but maybe it is. There’s still plenty of brain development going on.

Of course we’ve covered before the mouse experiments reporting injecting the aluminum in the US vaccine series made mice behaviorally damaged and obese, 50% heavier as adults,
and reporting association between hep B and learning problems   and autism
and reporting that an increase of 1% in vaccine compliance correlated with 670 additional SLI and ASD  cases.

There are also papers like this linking vaccine aluminum and autism.

There have been recent estimates and a fair amount of evidence that people are stupider than they were in Victorian Times by about 15 IQ points (for example ), and SAT scores fell dramatically during the 1970’s, there were 40% fewer verbal scores over 650 in 1980 as 1970 in spite of the fact many more people took the test, (and they have been renormed ever since so its hard to tell what’s happening) so some substantial IQ fall due to aluminum doesn’t seem implausible on its face. There’s also the  “Flynn Effect”, whereby IQ’s had been reported  to be rising by 3 IQ points per decade, perhaps due to better nutrition and environmental stimulation, which also has been said to have reversed recently in the developed world. A vaccine decline could be obscured by a Flynn effect, or could be what cancelled it. Also the average IQ today would have to include as never before the  ASD who comprise maybe 2% of the infants now and who are down maybe 30 points in IQ on average.

The recent and dramatic debacle the US millenials had in world testing
may also be a symptom. The US has by far the most exensive vax schedule and the countries at the top of the lists all have much shorter schedules. Examining the rankings further, Italy and France were the only 2 countries in Europe to be vaxing infants for Hep B well before 1995, and some regions in Spain were as well, and these nations round out the bottom of the chart with the US. South Korea (which did fairly well) seems to have only added Hep B to the official series in 1995 (too late to have had impact on most of the millenials taking this test). Japan and the other nations near the top either don’t give it routinely, as far as I can tell, or started recently.

I expect most of my readers recognize that Hep B is a sexually transmitted disease, and that by the time these infants are sexually active  protection they get from this vaccine is likely to long be history. The measurement of aluminum toxicity discussed at the beginning was published way back in 1997. So you should ask yourself why almost two decades later Doctors are still injecting neonates with Hep B shots while their mothers are  birthing the placenta. (A mother told me that literally happened to her infant.)

As always I’ll remark that I’m utterly unaware of published empirical data contradicting the above assertions and suggesting that vaccine aluminum might be safe, and I urge any readers who discover any such beast to post a link in the comments.

Note added: Readers might be interested in what the FDA says on the subject which is to cite Mitkus et al.

As I already discussed in the first post of the blog,  Mitkus et al is a model, not reporting any empirical results, and not informed in any way about the toxicity of injected aluminum in neonates. Mitkus modeled the blood aluminum levels of infants and compared the model to an MRL derived from dietary experiments on post weaning animals. Their model agreed that infants have hundreds of times as much aluminum enter their blood from vaccines as from diet (see their graphs). The paper represents a theory of how the vaccine series aluminum might be safe if aluminum had the same toxicity when injected in neonates as when ingested by  adults.
Why does the FDA look at a model of the toxicity of dietary aluminum in animals, when what is needed is a measurement of the toxicity of injected aluminum in neo-nates, and Bishop et al, as discussed at the top of this post, provided exactly that?


There’s no compelling reason to believe the vaccine was relevant to the disappearance of polio, or at least was the major factor.

Before the polio vaccine, Doctors used to routinely call any childhood paralysis polio. It played well on insurance forms. Here’s an analysis of the Detroit polio epidemic of 1958. They had a big epidemic, but when they went in and examined the cases, it turned out that less than 1/3 of the patients even had polio virus, and whether it is what was causing their problem is of course even then unclear. Maybe they would have beat it easy without some other factor (eg DDT).
So how did the polio vaccine stop a disease where at least 2/3 of the cases didn’t have the virus? It seems plausible that most polio cases back in the day were mostly or entirely DDT poisoning. Polio is normally a very mild disease. DDT exposure makes you more vulnerable. Rich people used to spray DDT around to keep bugs away, prevent polio. In so doing, some gave their kids polio, much like parents today, thinking to protect their kids, are vaccinating them and making them sick.

No American has gotten polio in 30 years, yet hundreds of millions of kids have gotten polio shots. Statistically, those shots damaged and likely killed many many kids. Almost nobody who gets polio even has symptoms. Its normally a very mild disease. I’ve seen estimates of the fraction who are symptomatic at all ranging from 1/20 to 1/200, but even those who have symptoms usually make a full recovery. Right now, normal US kids getting the vaccine series have a 6/1000 chance of dying as an infant and a chance approaching 1/25 of getting autism, and maybe over 1/2 of getting some chronic problem like peanut allergy, obesity, autoimmune disease, ADHD, depression, diabetes, damaged immune system etc etc. all of which are epidemic and increased greatly as the vaccine schedule was increased and all of which are tied by scientific papers to vaccines. When you see the boys failing in the schools, you shouldn’t forget that many of the animal experiments show injections damage male models more than female.

One also shouldn’t forget that the polio vaccine was contaminated with other live and contagious viruses including SV-40, which was believed then and is believed now to cause cancer, and quite likely Simian HIV. The vaccine was made from pus from monkeys that were diseased because they were kept in cages in close proximity to each other, and passed around epidemics. This reference reports that polio vaccine was still contaminated with SV-40 as recently as 1978:
Merck Chief Scientist Discusses on Video How SV-40 was knowingly administered in polio vaccines although it was understood to likely cause cancer:
The polio vaccine is a very plausibly source of HIV in humanity. There are various stray retroviruses and the like in vaccines to this day.

Also, its worth noting again that every single scientific paper comparing kids or animals that had more injections or more injected aluminum to ones who had less injections or aluminum, finds more causes damage and less is healthier (with the exception of a few papers with ridiculous methodological problems I discussed in post 1.) The paper the CDC or the Pediatricians sometimes cite as comparing more vaccines to less and finding no damage, De Stefano et al, if you read it doesn’t do anything of the kind, it effectively compares patients who got DTP and dozens of vaxes to patients who may have got DTaP but didn’t get DTP and got dozens of others. Literally every single animal result and every single epidemiological result I’ve ever found in the scientific literature shows comparing more to less vaccines, more vaccines do damage. If you think I’m wrong, please cite a paper contradicting me.
Media, stop lying to us and tell us the truth. The scientific literature does not say what you are pretending it does. You are ignoring all the papers that are actually relevant and focusing on papers that don’t measure anything useful but pretend they do.

NOTE ADDED: Hey, I just found this (which was just published):
which concludes:
“This comprehensive five-year, case-control study, which closely examined the effects of pediatric vaccines on early primate development, provided no consistent evidence of neurodevelopmental deficits or aberrant behavior in vaccinated animals.”
However, we also find this comment at the pubmed page:

Dan Laks2015 Feb 20 10:31 p.m. (4 days ago)edited 0 of 2 people found this helpful

Supplementary Figure 5 clearly shows a drastic reduction in learning in the thimerosal exposed group. The authors discussion: “In the present study animals in the TCV group appeared to perform poorer than controls in learning set testing but showed little evidence that their responses had organized into a strategy that was different from that of the control group.In fact, the reported difference was only found in the overall mean averaged across all of the blocks and trials, not in their learning across trials or blocks, which is the outcome needed to indicate a strategy difference.” But in fact, a deficit in learning seems to be in multiple groups, for if one looks at group E, there seems to be a slope difference from the control signifying a key difference between exposures for learning strategy. These results are not reported. Perhaps Supplemental Figure 5 results should have been the title of this study instead: “Ethylmercury from vaccines reduces learning capacity.”

The Fine Print on Vaccine Efficacy and Vaccine Effectiveness

The CDC has two different terms. Vaccine Efficacy is measured using a double blind randomized placebo test.
If the people who got the vaccine got the targeted disease 20 times less than the people who got the placebo, then the vaccine efficacy would be 95%. Getting the vaccine seems to make you 20 times less likely to get the disease than you would if you’d got a placebo.

Vaccine Effectiveness is what they usually talk to you about.
Here’s how they often measure vaccine effectiveness, especially I’ve noticed for flu vaccines. “Vaccine effectiveness was estimated as 100% x (1 – odds ratio [ratio of odds of being vaccinated among outpatients with influenza-positive test results to the odds of being vaccinated among outpatients with influenza-negative test results])
In other words, they take people presenting to the Doc for a respiratory illness and divide them up into 4 groups, first by whether they got the flu vax, and second by whether they have the flu or some other respiratory complaint. Let VF be the guys who were vaxed and have flu,  VI be the guys who were vaxed and have some other respiratory infection, NF be guys who weren’t vaxed and have flu, and NI be guys who weren’t vaxed and have some other respiratory infection.
Vaccine Effectiveness = 100% X (1-(VF/NF)(NI/VI))

Now the obvious problem with this is, you get a high Vaccine Effectiveness if a lot of people who get the flu vaccine get sick with other respiratory illnesses, independent of whether it helps with the flu. There are three problems with this.

(1) This formula seems likely to generate a substantial VE even if the vaccine were actually a placebo. It seems very plausible that people who are likely to go to the Doctor with a respiratory illness are more likely to get Vaxed for flu, either because they are more reliant on doctors, more hypochondriac, or genuinely sicklier. People who never get colds are unlikely to go for flu shots. On the other hand, when they actually get the flu, they’ll come in. If many vaccinees are coming in with imagined or minor respiratory complaints and non-vaccinees are not, that would generate a good vaccine effectiveness for a placebo. etc.

(2) Even more importantly, a flu vaccine will get a high effectiveness rating if it causes recipients to get a lot of non-flu respiratory illnesses by damaging their immune system. If the only effect a flu vaccine had was to cause recipients to get 4 times as many non-flu respiratory illnesses as placebo recipients, then you would find a vaccine effectiveness of 75%.
If a flu vaccine made you twice as likely to get the flu and 4 times as likely to get another respiratory illness, you would find a Vaccine Effectiveness of 50%.

By a striking coincidence, vaccine recipients getting 4 times as many respiratory illnesses as placebo recipients is what was reported in the only Randomized placebo control of a flu vaccine that followed the health for more than a few months that I’ve ever seen.
Of course, since this landmark placebo controlled study, not only have I not seen it repeated with other flu vaccines, I also haven’t seen the authorities question measures of vaccine effectiveness which would only conceivably make sense if the vaccine were already known not to be doing damage.

There is also a consistent case in both human and animal studies reporting that flu vaccines damage CD 8+ T cells and harm immunity to other diseases than the vaxed. Vaxed animals died from diseases the placebo animals fought off. Children seen at the Mayo Clinic for flu 1996-2006 were 3 times as likely to be hospitalized if they had had a flu shot as not. Association between the 2008–09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring–Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada

(3) The second law of thermodynamics says its a lot easier to screw things up then to fix them. If vaccine makers are being rewarded for screwing up immune systems, you can bet they’ll figure out how, especially if they are indemnified against any damage they cause. Even if they have the best of intentions. Getting a vaccine that protects against a specific flu strain you can’t even predict easily, without in the process screwing up the immune system or the health of the recipient, that’s an incredibly hard project. I don’t believe anybody is even capable of it. Getting an injection that screws up the immune system so recipients get more respiratory illnesses? You could probably do that pretty quick by trial and error. When you blundered into it, you’d get rich and everybody would tell you you were a genius and saving mankind.

Crowd Think and Profit in Western Medicine

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. “– Marcia Angel

I’ve blogged a lot on vaccines here, but I think the Crowd Think Phenomenon in Medicine goes way beyond vaccines.
Everybody who’s seriously looked into it, finds that at most 10-30% of western medicine has a scientific basis.

Then we have studies like this:
Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60.
The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies.
Morgan G1, Ward R, Barton M.
RESULTS: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

And we have a recent article from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
They reviewed all the articles published for 10 years in a high impact journal. The majority of the articles surveyed study a new practice, but of the 27% that test an existing practice, 40% reverse the practice and 38% reaffirm. My remark on this is: 50%-50% would be what you’d expect if the result of the test were random. So this indicates they are doing no better than random in introducing new practices replacing old ones. If you go on a random walk with each step forward or backward, how long does it take before you know nothing?

IMO, Modern medicine seems mostly the result of crowd think decisions under the positive reinforcement stimulus of money. It built a cargo cult science to pretend it is scientific, and uses this to justify decisions made largely to maximize money. The participants don’t consciously understand this, but its the crowd think result. It’s exactly what you should expect to see result from randomized medical decision making, which the Mayo Clinic study showed they make, positive money reinforcement learning, which even snails are capable of, and crowd think dynamics.

Interestingly, on the other hand, the naturopaths I read or talk to, are attempting to do actual science. They read and cite the actual scientific literature. They also have a healthy pre-disposition to consider remedies that are natural and have histories of human consumption are thus pretty clearly not very toxic, thus paying attention to “first do no harm”. Not only that, almost all the remedies they consider are readily available and not expensive. In general it seems to me naturopaths I’m acquainted with are far more scientific than most doctors.

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.