[extropy-chat] Fwd: Are vaccinations useless? was Re: Failure of low-fat diet

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Sat Mar 11 07:59:18 UTC 2006

On Mar 10, 2006, at 3:50 PM, Robin Hanson wrote:

>> This would
>> mean a reduction of an estimated lifetime prevalence from close to  
>> 90%
>> down to, say 1%, solely from the collateral effects of affluence.
>> If you indeed believe this, then you would need to explain how a 100%
>> reduction of the prevalence of smallpox occurred in all those
>> countries which did not achieve affluence, or even experienced
>> worsening of their economic circumstances, including Afganistan,  
>> China
>> of the Great Leap Forward period, and others.
> In response to my saying that the data suggests medicine only  
> contributed
> a small fraction to the reduction in mortality over the last few
> centuries, I was
> asked what did it.  I said I was very unsure.  When I was asked to  
> at least
> give an example of what might be plausible, I offered the
> stress-wealth theory.
> I was not intending to offer a grand theory making precise predictions
> about the rates of each disease in each nation at each time, and to  
> then
> challenge others to present data to prove me wrong.

I believe it is up to the proponent of a new hypothesis to show that  
their idea covers the relevant observations before the new hypothesis  
is worth much scrutiny from others.  It is not up to others to prove  
it incorrect.  This is reminiscent of asking atheists to prove their  
isn't a god.  You know better than this.

> I don't know the details of smallpox in poor counties - perhaps  
> that is an
> area where medicine had a larger than usual effect.

The simpler explanation is that the hypothesis is all wet.

- samantha

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