Two years after COVID-19 swept the world, vaccine deniers continue to complicate efforts to control the pandemic. In the United States, which produces the most effective COVID vaccine, 19% of people over 5 years of age have not received the initial vaccine.
Although the never vaxxer crowd is not a politically heterogeneous group, its adherents are united in their refusal to consider the underlying facts. This has resulted in tremendous ridicule from many people (including me) who are confused by their deliberate ignorance.
Some of us are sitting comfortably on the scientific side with sapere aude However, the enlightened crowd also harbors a number of well-organized and completely bogus health beliefs. Like, a lot of them. And these aren’t weird superstitions like wearing a certain t-shirt to guarantee a World Series win, but some really stupid stuff you don’t take seriously.
For example, it is believed that eating lots of blueberries will prevent cancer.
In the ever-expanding universe of commercialized vanity, products that “look great, feel great, are great, last and stay great” are mostly unreliable, disparaging products. , often costly and sometimes dangerous. Allegiance to these beliefs is based on belief, not science — even among those motivated to “study for themselves.” Googling is not science.
Consider the unlikely story of antioxidants — led by admirable blueberries and pomegranates to come — that many believe can prevent aging, cancer, hardening of the arteries, dementia, etc.
First of all, as a general rule, any remedy that claims to prevent or cure every damn bad thing on the planet can either prevent or cure nothing at all. And second, the atomic world of antioxidants, free radicals, and moving electrons from here to there to repair DNA damage is a complex chemical process — fitting for a college thesis. than a brief explanation of why your skin looks so good.
There are numerous human clinical trials that demonstrate that, alas, there is no benefit from this approach to improved health. A large and influential trial demonstrated not only no effect against heart disease or cancer, but an increase in heart problems in people who took vitamin E instead of a placebo. Many additional trials have been conducted or are underway and are monitored by the federal government, including investigations into the effects of antioxidants on stroke, heart disease, aging, and prolapse. intellectual impairment.
And it’s not just antioxidants.
The well-liked and disproved “theories” about maintaining health cover more territory than restricting the quantity of industrial fresh fruit. For example, there is a persistent belief that taking vitamin C can prevent colds – although it has been refuted study after study (although vitamin C plays a role in reducing cold symptoms). cold when sniffling starts).
Then there’s the myth that acupuncture is said to treat chronic low back pain. Here, the evidence continues to show effectiveness for immediate pain relief, but not for chronic discomfort.
There are several repositories of this kind of scientific information examining common treatments. Entire federal agency, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health regularly publishes new work and also provides funding support to further pursue the role of different nonpartisan approaches. Big Pharma for the maintenance of health. In addition, the respected Cochrane Reviews compile and analyze all clinical trials that address a specific health issue to reach a general consensus. Many doctors turn to Cochrane when evidence from years of testing seems to point in opposite directions.
However, many still exist. It’s comforting to think that more carrots or glasses of water can prevent disease and, you know, harmless. So why not keep the faith! The truth is (often) damned!
“An individual’s refusal to be vaccinated against a contagious, deadly virus can lead to death – his or her own or someone else’s – while eating lots of blueberries is not harming anyone.
To be sure, the similarities between anti-vaxxers and antioxidant enthusiasts, while real, are not equal in importance or difference between the two groups. This is not a “both sides do it and therefore everyone is equally at fault” argument. There is a big difference – including both individual health and public health consequences – to this “my body, my choice” approach to decision making.
An individual’s refusal to be vaccinated against a contagious, deadly virus can lead to death – their own or someone else’s – while eating lots of blueberries does no harm to anyone. Who.
But more importantly, the pursuit of more antioxidants and better vitamins and superfoods doesn’t affect anyone in the immediate vicinity. By contrast, refusing to get vaccinated had a big impact on others in the community — not just family and friends, but also those who were friends with your roommate’s elderly grandmother. SARS-CoV-2 is an infectious disease that requires a community effort to control.
It is this cold and open anti-communism that has shocked so many people.
Experts in human behavior have named humanity’s constant refusal to accept truth: “persistent faith”. And, at least in the studies done to date regarding vaccine hesitancy, increasing education may be counterproductive and increase, rather than decrease, resistance.
This makes a difficult problem even more difficult. Right now, we have two basic but irreconcilable truths. First, vaccination is necessary to control the pandemic. Second, trying to convince people who don’t want to get vaccinated is ineffective. However, like those whose minds have been transformed by persevering, we continue to hope that maybe this time we will balance towards vaccine acceptance.
But, we won’t.
This leads us once again to the final solution: the scare tactic, also known as fear appeal. For those mired in a universe of alternate events, that’s the only way forward.
Although harsh and unsettling, the truth is clear that this approach works. Even, I would imagine, for blueberry enthusiasts.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-left-also-has-an-anti-science-problem?source=articles&via=rss The left also has an anti-scientific problem