[extropy-chat] Are vaccinations useless?

Jeff Medina analyticphilosophy at gmail.com
Mon Mar 20 04:04:31 UTC 2006

On 3/19/06, Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 19, 2006 at 09:41:07PM -0500, Jeff Medina wrote:
> > expert and he is, such as health economics, I have no rational choice
> > but to give his claims about health economics more weight than my own.
> > Frankly, I'm amazed so many people with no claim to even moderate
> > competence in any health economics, public health, or related areas,
> > have been so dismissive of Robin here.
> Yes... OTOH, if one hears about various randomized controlled trials showing
> that treatments work for specific purposes, and then someone says "the
> statistics show all those treatments don't add up to real utility", are you
> going to doubt the trials or the statistician?

No, but Robin didn't make that claim.  In fact, he explicitly stated
that he's perfectly willing to grant that *some* treatments are
worthwhile.  You don't mean to suggest that all, or nearly all, of the
treatments suggested by doctors are backed up by RCTs, do you?  Or
that the gains from the minority of worthwhile treatments make up for
the majority of low, zero, and negative value ones?  It seems you'd
have to back one or the other of these for your question to apply

Jeff Medina

Community Director
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Relationships & Community Fellow
Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies

School of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

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