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Comment Re:cross specises mating (Score 1) 710

An extra chromosome does not appear out of nowhere. It occurs by a break in an existing chromosome. The broken chromosome will line up with the unbroken chromosome to allow reproduction. But reproductive success will be improved by the broken chromosome aligning with another broken chromosome. Over time, the broken chromosome mutates further, so that reproductive success with the parent (unbroken) chromosome declines. At this point, there is a new species.

Comment Re:Theory vs. Hypothesis (Score 1) 710

Well, a hypothesis can exist as an untested proposition. However, to draw conclusions from evidence according to a hypothesis one must also disprove the null hypothesis. Statistically the null hypothesis must be less likely than the original hypothesis.

"Null hypothesis" is a statistical term of art. It has no accepted scientific meaning outside of statistics. The null hypothesis is not a general default assumption, but rather the hypothesis that there is no statistical difference between measurements. So the null hypothesis about evolution of species would be that species have not changed over time.

Comment Re:Double standards... (Score 1) 710

Nobody is suggesting that early notions of creation cannot be mentioned. The objection, rather, is to giving the students the false impression that modern scientists consider creationism or "intelligent design" to be an alternative to evolution. This is equivalent to giving the geo-centric theory equal time with the heliocentric theory, and suggesting that the question is undecided and that students should make up their own minds.

As a biologist, I don't mind creationism being taught in a religious class. My objection is to teachers and textbooks lying to students by concealing the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists have rejected creationism.

Comment Re:Creationism = religion, not science. At all. (Score 1) 710

Yes, it's purely coincidental that the overwhelming majority of people who profess creationism happen to belong to a particular religion that posits separate creation of species by a supreme being, whereas scientists, who overwhelmingly accept evolution, belong to a wide range of religions (including no religion at all).

Comment Immunity is not absolute (Score 1) 699

Immunity is not absolute, it's relative. It reduces the probability that you will catch the disease, but not all the way to zero. Much of the benefit of vaccination comes from herd immunity. If the average number of people who catch the disease for an infected person is reduced to less than one, then the disease cannot spread through the population and instead dies out. Of course, herd immunity depends upon enough of the population being vaccinated.

So yes, if you don't get vaccinated, you are endangering people other than yourself.

Also, there are some people who cannot be vaccinated, due to immune disorders, for example. The same people are more like to be severely harmed or killed by infections, and their only protection is herd immunity.

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 1) 699

I don't see any evidence, just handwaving.

It sounds like you don't understand how herd immunity works. The idea of herd immunity is to reduce the average number of people infected by one infected person to less than 1. If that is achieved, then the disease cannot propagate even if introduced, and peters out. As a result, the chances of anybody coming into contact with the disease become tiny. Note that vaccine protection doesn't have to be perfect for herd immunity to work. The probability of breakthrough infection can rise with time after vaccination, but so long as it remains lower than for an unvaccinated person, it contributes to herd immunity. Moreover, even if a vaccinated person manages to catch the disease, which means that they tend to have a less severe infection of shorter duration, so the likelihood that they will pass on the disease if infected.

So a decline in serious complications of the disease with time is exactly what I expect, and it's exactly what the statistics show. It's been about 18 years since the vaccine was introduced in the US. So where is that spike in adult hospitalizations and deaths?

Now where is your evidence? Or is uninformed hand-waving all you've got?

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 1) 699

Hospitalization for varicella complications in adults has decreased steadily since vaccination was introduced, and is well below pre-vaccination levels. You were claiming that there is evidence that vaccination increases complications by merely postponing the disease. When I point out that the actual evidence shows reduced complications, you retreat claiming that the increased complications that you claimed to have evidence of haven't happened yet?


OK, your turn. Show me your evidence that vaccination for chicken pox had led to increased infections and complications in adults.

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 1) 699

The fact is that there is no increase in varicella hospitalizations in adults. Indeed, varicella complications in adults have decreased since vaccination began. So much for the claim that the vaccination is merely pushing off infections to later in life.

It is hardly surprising that the risk of "breakthrough" infection rises with time since vaccination. But how much does it rise? The fact that there has been a decrease in varicella complications at all ages tells us that the risk remains low compared to being unvaccinated.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 699

You don't even need a vaccine to stop from being burned to death in the kitchen. (or worse yet, burning one of those innocent children to death) Just don't cook in your home.

And you can avoid catching chicken pox by avoiding all contact with other people, which is about equally practical.

Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine for one of these problems.

You are wrong that there is no evidence to support the notion that vaccination pushes infection off to adulthood. The vaccine was introduced in 1995, and by 2000/2001 we were already seeing serious failures.

So if vaccination were just pushing infection off to adulthood, we should be seeing a big spike in deaths and hospitalization from chicken pox in adults. Except we aren't

Comment Re:Is there any downside to vaccines? (Score 0) 699

Many things that we are required to do entail some small degree of risk. You are required to participate in jury duty. But you could be run down by a car on the way to the courthouse. You are being forced to undertake risk "for the good of the herd." Does that mean that Stalin has been resurrected and we've all become Commies?

Get a grip.

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 1) 699

Herd immunity doesn't make sense, the vaccine works or doesn't work.

Duh. What part of "if you aren't exposed to the disease, you can't catch it" do you find hard to understand.

Why are there some people who cannot have the vaccination? Because it can kill them? So it is true vaccines can kill?

Duh again. There are people with damaged immune systems and a few other severe disorders who cannot tolerate vaccines. If you are one of these, you already know about it, because you have been experiencing a host of health problems--which hopefully some jerk won't exacerbate by brining you into contact with his kid who is unvaccinated for no good reason.

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 1) 699

OK, to be fair, I only know of one vaccine that poses a real threat, and that is only because it is misused. That would be the chicken pox vaccine. It should not be used on children. The data supplied by virtually every source shows this, even when the sources conclusion recommends the vaccine.

Utter nonsense. Chicken pox hospitalizations and deaths have drastically declined since introduction of the vaccine. And despite huge numbers of people receiving the vaccine, adverse reactions have remained extraordinarily rare.

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