Sep 012013

I usually make some effort to avoid profanity in the post title, but screw it. I’m sick, light-headed, probably low blood oxy levels, and this particular news item pisses me off to no end.

Texas Megachurch At Center Of Measles Outbreak

In short: measles is a disease that is largely a thing of the past in the US. However, there is an effective way for this disease to make a comeback: for large numbers of people to *not* vaccinate their children. One can have all kinda of bad feelings towards collectivism , groupthink and government programs and still recognize the value of vaccination programs, not only for the individual but also for the larger society. But there are some groups  and individuals who have slipped into utter madness and have declared that vaccinations are bad/evil/Of-The-Devil/whatever. The result is that they tend to refuse vaccinations for themselves and for their children. And if that meant that they – and only they – would be smited by the occasional random plague, then this would be a self-correcting problem, and something largely laudable (dumbasses selecting themselves out of the gene pool? Who *wouldn’t* be all for it?). But the problem is that when the number of people refusing vaccinations gets large enough, the process of herd immunity begins to break down. This helps to speed the spread of the disease to the unvaccinated… but, worse, by providing a larger pool of the successfully infected, the disease in question now has a vastly increased capacity to mutate into a form that the current vaccines do not effectively cover.

And so, to the specific story: the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, is the epicenter of a measles outbreak. A churchgoer recently visited Indonesia where he contracted the disease, and then spread it at the church – a high-density facility with lots of people in close proximity, mingling freely, probably shouting and singing loudly within a contained environment, with a good chance of lots of physical contact and probably lots of gathering and chatting around food and water supplies… *exactly* the sort of setup you want if you want to spread a contagion.

As if the basic logistics of the church wasn’t bad enough to serve as the nexus of an outbreak, the pastor, Terri Copeland Pearsons, seems tailor made to make things much, much worse:

“The concerns we have had are primarily with very young children who have family history of autism and with bundling too many immunizations at one time”

And this nugget of wisdom:

“So I’m going to tell you what the facts are, and the facts are the facts, but then we know the truth. That always overcomes facts”


On the one hand: this sort of thing is really, really bad… and it makes Christians of good will and good intellect, who know better than to buy into the anti-vaxxer rubbish, look like idjits by association. Thus it would seem that non-crazy Christians and Christian organizations should be leading the fight against this nonsense, just as they should be leading the fight against the “Intelligent Design” movement.

On the other hand: it seems to me that a psyops campaign can/should be led in various overseas locations to spread the belief that vaccines are evil, horrible abominations. Let’s say… “a basic and universal component of vaccines is pig lard.” Or “vaccines are a conspiracy of western Crusaders and Zionists.” I believe most everyone would agree that using a cropduster to spread some horrific contagion over a civilian populace, even a city in an enemy land, would be horribly wrong and a war crime. But convincing people that preventing themselves from getting diseases? Hmmm.

 Posted by at 3:14 pm
  • Cthell

    You don’t need to instigate the psyops campaign; they appear to be doing it to themselves already. Unfortunately, this is proving to be the biggest obstacle to the second successful eradication of a disease (specifically, polio) in history; said erradication probably being a greater asset to mankind in general than any erradication of that particular bunch of idiots.

    • publiusr

      All this boils down to why the people behind “The Lancet” should do a little more peer review in their peer review journals. JAMA is as PC as hell, but they have been more responsible than THE LANCET of late.

      My favorite, of course, is the “Morbidity and Mortality Weeky Report,” which even made it into the Lance Henriksen series Millennium:

  • Anonymous

    Been done already. India, 1857, the Sepoy Mutiny. Word got around that the bullet lube in the musket cartridges (self-contained muzzle-loader round, bite off one end, pour contents down barrel, ram) contained pork (PO’d Muslims) & beef (PO’d Hindus) fat. Yes, it was an own-goal in the PSYOPS department.

    • Anonymous

      It’s my understanding that the blasphemous ammo issue has been blown out of proportion, that the Sepoy Mutiny was about a whole lot more than that. But it nevertheless did play a part, and, like the riots about cartoons and books getting flushed (and like those who freaked out about vaccines causing autism), showed that vast numbers of people – people sufficiently superstitious and ignorant – can be easily convinced to do stupid, stupid things that in the end make their lives worse.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, the Sepoy Mutiny had real and aggravating causes due to the usual British outlook towards non-whites of the day.

        That’s where I was going with this. Small and not necessarily extensible truths are caught hold of by forces with no more morality other than “we must win”. Add to that the (unfortunate) belief that whoever argues loudest is correct and we end up with kids getting polio 60 years after we thought it had been beaten.

        If only there would be a “Nuremburg” trial for Jenny McCarthy and her particular line of idiocy. Most idiocy takes years to kill and isn’t a direct line. Not vaccinating kids takes but a couple of years and is a very direct line.

        Hmm, how to estimate the inertial effect of her implants when calculating the drop.

        • Anonymous

          > If only there would be a “Nuremburg” trial for Jenny McCarthy and her particular line of idiocy.

          The problem there is that you’d be advocating for trials of those guilty of being idiots, when there are those who are actively *evil.* McCarthy is, AFAIK, just a poor chump who got suckered, and like many Hollywood dipshits, she decided that the best thing to do was evangelize her particular form of chumpery. But on the other hand, there were the likes of Andrew Wakefield, whose fraud started the whole damned thing. If you want criminal trials… *there’s* your target, unless you can prove that McCarthy knew she was spouting nonsense. And I doubt you can make that case, since, as an actress, she’s possibly unable to distinguish reality from fantasy anyway.

          • Anonymous

            I know that you’re right and that Wakefield will never pay the price he deserves. I just wish that abject stupidity didn’t come with the financial rewards granted to McCarthy and her ex, Jim Carrey.

          • Anonymous

            What you want would seem possible only in a world that didn’t celebrate celebrity. Good luck with that.

  • Herp McDerp

    On the other hand: it seems to me that a psyops campaign can/should be led in various overseas locations to spread the belief that vaccines are evil, horrible abominations.

    Not necessary. Read, and be appalled: Muslim Conspiracy Theories

    • jhertzli

      The obvious comment is that this is evolution in action.

      On the other hand… What if it is evolution in action? For the past fourteen centuries, the
      pilgrimage to Mecca has acted to spread diseases as fast as possible.
      Presumably, that would help breed disease resistance. In addition,
      Islamic law would help keep a society functioning during a plague.
      (Before sanitation, vaccines, and antibiotics, those were probably the
      best responses to a plague.) Maybe some Muslims are trying to continue
      the breeding program.

  • Brianna

    Don’t you remember when the Taliban killed people vaccinating Pakistani kids and claimed that these people were spies?