[extropy-chat] Are vaccinations useless? (meta)

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Wed Mar 15 21:34:07 UTC 2006

At 01:19 PM 3/14/2006 -0800, Samantha wrote:

>On Mar 14, 2006, at 12:54 PM, Hal Finney wrote:
> > The excerpt I posted from the "Economics of Health Care" textbook
> > yesterday was intended to confirm the point that the consensus in the
> > field is that medical practice played a small or even insignificant
> > role.
>Role in what precisely?

Lenghting average lilfe span.

>If it advocates some of what I've seen here it isn't worth my time.
> > The two excerpts I posted yesterday both offered reasons why
> > vaccination
> > and antibiotics are thought to have been of relatively little benefit.
>Okay.  I am done with this pointless discussion.

I would like to go Meta on Samantha here.  This is a reasonable discussion 
of a puzzle that is based on real numbers and the numbers lead to 
discounting a lot of what we thought was obvious--that medicine as 
practiced by doctors had a lot of influence on longer lives.

Samantha, I wish you could see an fMRI scan of your brain while reading 
Hal's post.  As a guess though, even *with* such evidence about being in 
"partisan mode" I don't know if you could invoke logical thinking.

This isn't a personal attack, just an observation of a psychological 
characteristic that must have had significant evolutionary pressure to 
evolve in the EEA.

Back to the topic, there is reasons (from bones) to believe hunter 
gatherers lived longer and healthier lives than early farmers.  (Other than 
killing each other off in wars.)  People who have looked into this think it 
was mostly due to dietary deficiencies in agricultural products.

Additionally a number of very serious disease (mostly from livestock) were 
able to propagate in the higher density populations that would burn out in 
smaller groups with sparse contacts.

What we might be seeing in the past few hundred years is not increase in 
life span, but a return from a depressed life span as transport and better 
understanding has been translated into a diet and disease exposure more 
like we had in the EEA.  I.e., our starting baseline was wrong.

Keith Henson

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