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Comment: Deccan Traps (Score 2) 151

by Roger W Moore (#49541965) Attached to: Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized

A super volcano could be extinction event if it is big enough.

Not unless it is a lot bigger. The one that occurred around the time of the extinction of the Dinosaurs gave rise to the Deccan Traps.

To put the scale of this extinction-level eruption in context the article mentions that the new, larger chamber under Yellowstone contains enough magma to fill the Grand Canyon which according to here is 4,170 cubic kilometres. The Deccan trap eruptions produced 512,000 cubic kilometres over 30k years. A Yellowstone eruption would certainly cause a lot of devastation over a large area of North America but its peanuts compared to an extinction level event.

Comment: Cut the rhetoric, look at the evidence (Score 0) 338

by Roger W Moore (#49538617) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

Contrary to your argument, those who receive the chickenpox vaccine seem to have proven to have a lower risk of shingles [] (scroll to "Risk Factors").

...and yet the vaccine prevents those people who already had Chicken Pox as a child being re-exposed to it the virus later in life which has been shown to prevent shingles in adults.

Now I could accuse you of spreading lies and deceit but really that would be behaving exactly like the anti-vaxxers: adopting a preconceived notion, ignoring all scientific evidence to the contrary and getting mad at anyone who disagrees. So how about we adopt a more scientific stance which is that for the specific case of the Chicken Pox vaccine there is no clear evidence that it is a net benefit to individuals or society over just catching the disease as a child and recovering? The risk of the vaccine is not measurably less than the risk of the disease and there are clear questions about the net affect of susceptibility of adults to shingles: it might be good or it might be bad but we really don't have a clue either way.

My position is that if there is no clear evidence for any benefit from a medical procedure then you don't do it. If that changes with more studies and they can show that there is a clear benefit then great I'd be 100% behind it. In the meantime I would argue that it is unethical to coerce people into undergoing a medical procedure for which there is no evidence of a net benefit to them or to society. Worse, because in this one specific case, the evidence is lacking you give the anti-vaxxers ammunition which they can use to shoot at the cases where the vaccine is incredibly beneficial and absolutely should be taken by everyone.

Comment: Re:Agreed but there is a point (Score 1) 338

by Roger W Moore (#49533251) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

You speak as though getting chickenpox will prevent shingles which it won't

Correct - once you have the virus you never lose it and shingles can emerge if something compromises your immune system. However if you have the vaccine and then the immunity wears off and you are exposed to the virus again then you can get shingles even without a compromised immune system.

Comment: Re:Agreed but there is a point (Score 1) 338

by Roger W Moore (#49533237) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

Wrong to an extreme. Shingles is a resurgence of the virus which causes chicken pox. Once you get chicken pox, the virus is dormant in your body, your immune system continues to fight it. When your immune system is weakened, you get shingles. how is it wrong to say that Shingles and Chicken Pox are the same disease given that they are caused by the same virus? All you stated I already knew. Indeed Shingles often emerges when the immune system is compromised.

However if you had the vaccine and so never caught Chicken Pox. Then your immunity wears off (which does not happen with Chicken Pox since you have the virus inside you) then when you then get exposed to the virus again you will have no immunity and so end up with Shingles EVEN IF your immune system is fully operational.

Comment: Empirical Evidence (Score 1) 605

by Roger W Moore (#49533183) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

I don't claim the measles vaccines do not work, only that anyone claiming to know is lying to themselves.

If the measles vaccine does not work then why is the rate of cases so much lower than before the vaccine? At this point the vaccine has been given to so many people the evidence that it works is because nobody worries about their child dying or going blind from measles any more... unless there is some reason why this was due to some other factor?

Comment: Re:Seems to be OK all around then (Score 1) 605

by Roger W Moore (#49533101) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

How about my freedom to spread dangerous germs?

So should it be illegal to go out in public if you have a cold? People with weaker immune systems, such as the elderly, could die if they caught your cold.

A better law to fix this problem would be to allow kids to consent to having vaccinations without parental knowledge. As it is this law will encourage anti-vaxxers to home school and spread their ignorance to the next generation. Allowing kids to consent once they are, say 10, would let you educate them about the advantages of vaccines and then let them have the benefits without their idiot parents getting in the way. It also means that there is no need to force anyone to undergo a medical procedure which they do not want.

Comment: Can't Outlaw Stupidity (Score 1) 605

by Roger W Moore (#49533051) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

I can't be vaccinated, so I need to rely on herd immunity instead. So at what point does your right to avoid vaccinations end, and my right to avoid the unvaccinated begin?

It ends at the point that you force someone else to have a medical procedure for your benefit. Anti-vaxxers are ignorant idiots but you do not cure ignorance or stupidity by making it illegal (tempting though that is) cure it through education. However the ironic thing about this law is that it encourages these idiots to home school their kids where they will be able to propagate their ignorance to the next generation.

The moment you force people to have medical procedure you are on a very slippery slope. Vaccines are incredibly safe but there is no zero risk medical procedure: one in every N million vaccines will produce severe complications and sometimes even death. So, to flip the argument around, how many people's lives is it fair to risk to reduce the risk to yourself? Now I realize that this is not entirely fair since, by not having the vaccine the risk if they catch the disease it prevents is far higher but the fact that either way there is some risk means that the proper solution is to educate people about the risks and then let them make their own decision which, will hopefully be to get vaccinated. If not then why stop at forcing vaccinations? Think how many lives could be saved by forced live kidney and liver donation!

Comment: Agreed but there is a point (Score -1) 338

by Roger W Moore (#49524131) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism
The OP got the figures very wrong - there is no way a vaccine with a 1 in 30k chance of death would be approved. However lurking in all that misinformation there is a point struggling to get out. The rate of severe complications and/or death from the Chicken Pox vaccine is probably comparable to the risk of serious complications or death from the disease at least to within the limits of statistical analysis because the risk from either is so incredibly low.

There is also something particular to Chicken Pox which makes the vaccine even less desirable: length of immunity. If you actually catch Chicken Pox you get immunity for life. However if you vaccinate against it you need to continuously remember to get boosters - I believe currently every 10 or 20 years - otherwise your immunity may lapse. What is bad about this is that Chicken Pox for adults is known as Shingles which is far nastier than Chicken Pox. So in this case taking the vaccine to protect against a very mild childhood disease may lead to an increased chance of a more serious disease later in life...unless you set a 20 year alarm so you never forget a booster shot!

Pushing extremely dubious vaccines like Chicken Pox is a very bad idea. There are very legitimate questions you can ask about the value of this vaccine - it's certainly not dangerous but it is of very questionable benefit. The problem is that idiots then make the illogical leap that if one vaccine is dubious they all must be.

Comment: Actually it should be farthest (Score 2) 94

Furthest-most? When "furthest" is just not far enough?

Technically it should actually be "farthest" since it refers to a physical distance whereas "furthest" means most distant in a figurative sense. For example you say "furthest from the truth" not "farthest from the truth" but "Cape Spear is the farthest east you can go in Canada" not "furthest east". So to summarize: "furthest-most" should not have a hyphen, should not have the 'most' added since it is redundant and finally should actually be "farthest" since it refers to a physical distance.

As for the origin of the "cold spot" I understood that it was completely statistically consistent with quantum fluctuations in the early universe. So how about we rule out that explanation first before coming up with multiple universes or other crazy stuff.

Comment: We Remember things which Affect Us (Score 1) 300

If you mention Pol Pot they have no idea who he was, if you mention the Armenian genocide they will also have no idea what that is.

I bet they would if you went to regions concerned. The holocaust is well known in the west because we were all involved in the war that was fought to stop it and many families lost members fighting it. We were far less involved in the Armenian genocide, Pol Pots regime or the countless other genocides (like the more recent one in Uganda). That does not make them any less terrible but it does make them far less a part of our history than WW2.

Comment: Trekkies (Score 1) 700

by Roger W Moore (#49481073) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Honestly, Scientology is a religion founded by a science fiction writer who famously said "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

Isn't this the crux of the debate though: is scientology a religion or just bad science fiction? Indeed perhaps this is a good way to look at it. If scientology is classed as a religion then why not Trekkies or Star Wars fans? There is just as much "religious" fervour in those groups, if not more, and the science fiction is better written.

Comment: Need a cure not a symptom reliever (Score 1) 517

Properly done, affirmative action simply means getting more of the unrepresented group to apply.

The problem with this approach is that you are making a potentially unwarranted assumption and, even if that assumption is valid this is the wrong way to fix the problem. You assumption is that fewer of one group apply because they are actively discriminated against. This survey challenges the perceived notion that the reason that there are fewer women in science is due to discrimination and suggests that it might actually be reversed. If the reason that one group is under represented is because that group is not interested then there is not a problem. We do not see ballet schools targeting boys because they are underrepresented because its clear that fewer boys are interested in ballet.

The second problem is that affirmative action reinforces the very prejudice that it is designed to address. By lowering standards for one group over another those that get the positions will, on average, be weaker than most. These people will then be used by some to justify their prejudice. In addition the very fact that affirmative action means being prejudiced can be pointed to as an example of why such a prejudice is "ok".

Affirmative action is nothing more than an attempt at a quick fix to the symptoms of a problem which can only be properly cured through education. It's like taking an aspirin and hoping it will cure something like TB: it might bring temporary quick relief from the symptoms but the underlying disease is just masked and still needs to be cured by antibiotics...and in the meantime the person with TB feels fine and spreads the disease to others.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.