[extropy-chat] Are vaccinations useless?

Jeff Medina analyticphilosophy at gmail.com
Mon Mar 20 03:56:14 UTC 2006

On 3/19/06, Russell Wallace <russell.wallace at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 3/20/06, Jeff Medina <analyticphilosophy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > * Side note: Given that Robin is consistently sharp and rational in
> > areas in which I am fit to make a judgment, and considered so by so
> > many other seemingly intelligent folks, in areas in which I am not
> > 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.
> >
>  As one such, I will throw up another example: do you think Fred Hoyle knows
> more than you or me about astronomy? You surely should, he was at one time a
> renowned expert on the subject. Do you think interstellar dust clouds are
> made of bacteria and flu epidemics are caused by passing comets? No? You're
> being a bit dismissive of an expert then, aren't you? ;)

Nope, I'm trumping Hoyle's (minority) opinion with the opinions of
very many other experts who disagree with him.  The analogy does not
vindicate your position, as Robin's position is the consensus position
of experts on this matter (or so he has claimed, and no evidence
against this has been provided by anyone else, including you -- in
fact, unsolicited corroboration was provided, by Finney armed with a
mainstream health economics textbook).  Unless you can bring the two
cases into symmetry by demonstrating that Robin's claim *isn't* the
consensus view of health economics, public health experts, and the
others he mentioned, the Hoyle comment does nothin' for ya.

>  Seriously, even experts can say wildly stupid things now and then, even in
> their own areas.

Sure.  But you don't get to dismiss an expert's claim as "wildly
stupid" UNLESS you can debunk his or her claim(s).  And you haven't
done so... and you certainly aren't an authority on health economics,
so you shouldn't think you can do so without notable expenditure of
time and new research; *certainly* more than the "I've read a bunch of
history books, and the authors attribute many great things to
medicine" on offer thus far.

Jeff Medina

Community Director
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Relationships & Community Fellow
Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies

School of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list