Vaccination For Fun And Profit?

So this is a hot issue these days. And an interesting one. And it poses questions that are largely out of our field – immunology, epidemiology – so we’re careful about making grand or definitive pronouncements. Our traditional position has been something along the lines of “live and let live”. If you feel the need to vaccinate, why, go right ahead. If you object to vaccination, well, by all means refrain.

But our traditional position appears to be no longer feasible. We are being forced to take a position for ourselves and everyone else. So we have to think it through in our usual thorough, systematic way, emphasizing The Reason as governing The Science, because as we’ve noted we have a background in epistemology and that is the actual subject that is being implicated by these surprisingly prevalent meta-arguments, something we have pointed out before.

We start from the bedrock principle of “informed consent”. Any trespass against this principle requires compelling justification. This is not arguable. At least, it’s not arguable unless you’re willing to concede that the tribunals at Nuremberg got it wrong.*

We don’t concede that around here. We’re pretty surprised that anyone in modern times would be willing to concede that. Justice Holmes might have, back in his day. But then his willingness to do so was not his finest moment, was it?

But we digress.

We’ve been suffering collectively from a worldwide pandemic for more than a year, beginning around March of 2020. We’ve placed our faith in “public health authorities” to prescribe a collective solution to the dire and deadly threat posed by the responsible virus, known popularly as COVID-19.

Well, some of us have. Others of us object quite strongly, resenting the forced bureaucratic imposition of nationwide or statewide “lock-downs”, and historically peculiar – not to say bizarre – behaviors such as wearing masks and “social distancing”. The objection is that this is a largely manufactured crisis, that the seriousness of COVID-19 is greatly exaggerated, and that the whole episode is an irrational panic, like witch burning; or a power grab by power hungry swamp dwellers; or a money grab by money hungry pharmaceutical companies; or, finally, a worldwide conspiracy to set the stage for a “Great Reset” that will result in universal human enslavement under a new and sinister technological oligarchy (That last is a “baseless conspiracy theory”! The BBC says so!!).

There is significant disagreement about the very facts and circumstances that are cited as justification for disregarding that bedrock Nuremberg principle, in other words, and the motives, honesty and integrity of those attempting that justification.

Then, of course, there is the meta-argument: there is no significant or legitimate disagreement. The Science provides the only acceptable interpretation of the situation, and The Science prescribes mass – nay universal – worldwide vaccination as the only acceptable solution.

That is quite an extraordinary claim. And of course it is an epistemological claim, not a scientific one.

For our part we follow the newsletter of an osteopathic doctor named Mercola, who is “all in”, as they say, on the side of the objectors, occasionally teaming up with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. We also engage regularly in our Facebook activities with other doctors who have the opposite point of view.

The – for want of a better term – “established” medical authorities do not generally engage the objectors like Mercola or RFK Jr. on the merits of their claims; rather, they seek to discredit them, sometimes quite unfairly, and censor their contentions. On those rare occasions when they do engage on the merits, they lose the argument, at least to the extent that they do not succeed in “debunking” the objections in any meaningful way, although we hasten to point out that even though they might not be “debunked” it is quite possible to disagree on the merits, and we do not purport to resolve that disagreement here.

For their part, the mainstream media (“MSM”) shill for the established medical authorities, much as they shill for the police and other authorities. We won’t go down the rabbit hole of why that is, at least not this morning, but we note that it’s too obvious to really debate the point.

The media approach is a “tell” as they say – what we used to call a “contrary indicator”. One faction engaging in character assassination and censorship is another tell. And when that same faction, in their few forays into genuine engagement, lose the debate on the merits, at least in the sense that they do not succeed in “debunking” the position of their interlocutors – we come readily to the conclusion that they are the faction in the wrong. It is not difficult, intellectually, to reach this conclusion and it is the only fair and objective conclusion under the circumstances.

Want another tell? Efforts to make vaccination more compulsory have become a Thing in recent years, some of it pre-dating the current pandemic. This supports a conclusion – doesn’t mandate the conclusion, but certainly supports it beyond any rational debate – that the pandemic is a manufactured excuse – by whomever – to further push vaccination. Even if this is true, of course, it may be that those pushing vaccination further do not have evil motives. But let’s just say that it’s not a good sign.

That does not, by the way, mean that it is not legitimate to disagree on the narrower, more modest point. That is, it is perfectly reasonable, even if it is likely wrong under our analysis, to disregard all the tells, decide that “The Science” is settled, and get yourself vaccinated.**

But that is not the issue on the table. The issue is not whether people are free to get vaccinated or not but rather whether those who do not want to be vaccinated can be compelled to do so in violation of the Nuremberg principle.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not a close call. Remember we said at the beginning that a justification for overriding the Nuremberg principle would have to be compelling, and that this is likewise not a debatable point. But not only is the profferred justification not compelling, it is not a winning argument at all, objectively speaking.

And that’s that! We know that many of you find it much more difficult than we do to think things through systematically. So this is our little public service this morning.

You’re welcome!


*We understand that Nuremberg dealt most specifically with experimentation and not clinical treatment, but the standard has been a fixture in the time since for both.

**We ourselves, owing to our tour of duty as a key component of the national defense in the US Navy, are among the most heavily vaccinated persons you could ever encounter. We never felt the vaccines we received, by the dozens over a few days, did us any harm. But that is not the point here, obviously.


Filed under epistemology, Media incompetence/bias

24 responses to “Vaccination For Fun And Profit?

  1. Chris Halkides

    I reread one of Dr. Mercola’s articles today. One, he described the mRNA-based vaccines as gene therapy. His falsehood is consequential; he made the vaccines sound as if they altered our DNA. Two, he misunderstood the VAERS data collection system and purpose. If a person is given the vaccine and is then struck dead by lighting, his or her death can be reported. Three, if one questions big Pharma’s motives because they have a financial incentive, then he or she should also question Dr. Mercola’s motives on the same basis. MOO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What Mercola article are you referring to?


      • Chris_Halkides

        23 March 2021 “COVID-19 Vaccine Tested on Babies Even as Death Toll Mounts”


        • Okay, I know that this website is subject to objections for ideological reasons, but still.

          The article lists all the doctors signing on.

          I realize Mercola is hawking a book, and he makes money from offering alternative therapies and so on. That doesn’t differentiate him from the establishment preferred authorities, so that cancels out.

          I don’t think your point about Mercola misunderstanding the VAERS system is valid. It’s hard to believe that the system doesn’t greatly UNDERSTATE adverse reactions, so few people are even aware of the system.

          Last, it’s hard to believe that the “gene therapy” characterization is flat wrong. A traditional “vaccine” introduces a dead version of the disease to provoke an immune response. The mRNA vaccine does not accelerate this natural process but I’m not sure, frankly, how you would specifically and fairly describe the mechanism. So if you could explain to me why you believe the “gene therapy” characterization is flat wrong I’d appreciate it!!


          • He’s being deliberately shady about the mRNA therapy becauses of scientific illiteracy. His, I hope. If not, he is gaslighting us.

            Hijacking your cells to produce the “spike proteins”, and compromising healthy immune systems might ” sound as if they altered our DNA”. It might also “sound like” alien lizard people are running the country. Or Tinkerbell. It does not change the risk factor: the mRNA therapies are a big unknown, with very mixed results.

            Full disclosure: I have not read Mr. Marcola. I am merely applying the rules your (possibly just a Useful Idiot) interlocutor is using.

            If I wanted to play his game, I would claim that he is a shill for Corporate Pharma (Modified-Rna –> Moderna). After all, until the Covid-19 panic, they were in the same pickle that the fetal (as opposed to adult) stem cell research companies were in. All their products either failed or killed people. Without an infusion of sweet, sweet, gummint cash, they were toast. Who is paying Mr. Halkides?

            Do unto others, etc.


    • a person is given the vaccine and is then struck dead by lighting, his or her death can be reported.

      Under your standard, you have just told a lie. Therefore, your entire comment is worthless.

      CAN BE.

      But VAERs are purely voluntary, the Vaccine producers are granted immunity from financial and criminal liability, and, based on a cursory internet search, vastly- nder-reported.

      Big. Fat. Lie.

      So. You clearly cannot be trusted, and everything you write must be ignored. Are you quite sure you want to play that game?


    • Mercola’s article from this morning:

      Briefly, his two claims are: a) that the mRNA vaccines have not been proven to prevent infection or transmission, and weren’t even designed to do that; and b) that having an adverse reaction to the vaccine is not a Good Thing that means it’s working.

      I appreciate the claims of The Lancet article, but at this point, in all this frenzy, I am not inclined to give any presumptions to any “mainstream” sources, whether news sources or professional journals. We have professional journals in the legal profession also, and there are circumstances where I wouldn’t trust them either. I’m not saying the Lancet article is propaganda or even that it’s wrong, just not presuming anything.

      By way of contrast, quoting the Mayo clinic about something it has maintained independent of, and prior to, any reference to the pandemic would be a good source.

      And Chris, don’t you also find it suspicious that we just had a round of vaccination controversy in 2019 in New York and California where the legislature repealed the religious exemptions, the justification (or pretext, as the case may be) being a measles outbreak? It begins to look like we’re pushing vaccines for whatever reason we can think of, doesn’t it?


      • Chris Halkides

        Harris RJ et al., “Impact of vaccination on household transmission of SARS-COV-2 in England”. In the conclusions they wrote, “In addition to the direct effects of preventing cases and reducing severity, we have shown that both the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and BNT162b2 vaccines are associated with reduced likelihood of household transmission by 40-50% from individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 after vaccination, highlighting important wider benefits to close contacts.” This addresses your point about transmission.


  2. Chris_Halkides

    Gene therapy means that the DNA itself has to change. Messenger RNA, which is in two of the vaccines, can be translated into protein but cannot affect our DNA, according to the central dogma of biology.
    Everything that I have read about the VAERS system is that it is simply people reporting what happened. Yet a number of commentators make the post hoc ergo propter hoc error when looking at this database.


  3. Again, why is it unfair to call the mRNA vaccines “gene therapy”?


    • Chris_Halkides

      “Gene therapy replaces a faulty gene or adds a new gene in an attempt to cure disease or improve your body’s ability to fight disease.” From the Mayo Clinic.

      From the FDA: “Gene therapies can work by several mechanisms:

      Replacing a disease-causing gene with a healthy copy of the gene
      Inactivating a disease-causing gene that is not functioning properly
      Introducing a new or modified gene into the body to help treat a disease”

      These things all require changes in the DNA.


      • From that article I linked to. And I’m sorry if this is way basic:

        “DNA and RNA are both types of nucleic acids, which are large molecules found in all living cells and viruses.

        Nucleic acids are the information-carrying molecules of the cell. They store all the genetic material of an organism, which is passed on to offspring (inherited) when the organism reproduces.”

        This would imply, at least to me, that anything modifying RNA could be fairly described as gene therapy, without having to maintain that it modifies DNA also. So far as I can tell, Mercola doesn’t claim that the mRNA vaccines alter DNA, just that they are “gene therapy”.

        Couldn’t the mRNA vaccines fit into the third category, that is, “introducing a new or modified gene into the body to help treat a disease”?


  4. Chris_Halkides
    From the AP: “VAERS uses passive surveillance, meaning people self-report by submitting their personal information, when they received the vaccine, the brand of the vaccine and the date they began experiencing any negative reactions. Anyone can submit a report on any possible reaction after the vaccine and anyone can access it.

    Health care providers and manufacturers are required to submit adverse responses reported after vaccines, even if they don’t know whether the vaccine caused them.” The lightning example comes from Dr. Sean O’Leary at the University of Colorado. Therefore, one can dismiss statements on this subject from overgrown hobbit as ignorant, aggressive nonsense.

    I teach biochemistry for a living, as anyone capable of using Google can verify.


  5. Chris_Halkides

    Here are two paragraphs from an article in The Lancet about the effects of vaccination in Israel:
    “Added value of this study
    This analysis of nationwide surveillance data, done in a period when SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 was the dominant strain, provides precise real-world estimates of the high effectiveness of two doses of BNT162b2 against a range of SARS-CoV-2 outcomes, including symptomatic and asymptomatic infection and hospitalisation or death due to COVID-19. The median follow-up time of 7 weeks after the second dose for vaccinated individuals was longer than that in previous reports. Marked and sustained declines in the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections were observed in all age groups as the percentage of individuals vaccinated with two BNT162b2 doses began to rise, thereby showing, at a national level, the beneficial public health impact of a nationwide vaccination campaign.
    Implications of all the available evidence
    Vaccination with two doses of BNT162b2 has high efficacy and effectiveness against a range of SARS-CoV-2 outcomes, including among older adults (aged ≥85 years), offering hope that COVID-19 vaccination will eventually control the pandemic. These findings are of international importance as vaccination programmes ramp up across the rest of the world, suggesting that other countries can similarly achieve marked and sustained declines in SARS-CoV-2 incidence if they can achieve high vaccine uptake.”


  6. Chris_Halkides

    The central dogma is that DNA codes for RNA which codes for proteins. The process of making an RNA copy of the DNA is called transcription. The process of making a protein from the information in RNA is called translation. Information does not flow from RNA to DNA. Yes, retroviruses are an exception, but they are not relevant to mRNA-based vaccines. The mRNA simply is the set of instructions for making the spike protein.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Forgive me if this is impertinent, but the article I linked to states that both DNA and RNA are nucleic acids that contain genetic information. So it would still seem to me that it’s fair to call mRNA vaccines “gene therapy”, regardless of the significance of that. It may be completely insignificant, but what I was really trying to get to the bottom of is whether Mercola is deliberately misrepresenting something, or off base enough that you could say this was a sign that he’s a quack. I have my suspicions about him, but I follow his newsletters and so far as I can tell they are useful and reliable information for someone seeking what is called “alternative” therapies.

      To cite just one example, Mercola was on to the Vitamin D thing years ago, was called a quack about that, but now it seems much of the conventional medical establishment acknowledges – or at least tolerates as not off-the-wall – the idea that vitamin D has important functions in supporting the immune system, which is what Mercola had pushed and had taken a lot of flak for it.

      I’ll note that I don’t regard “alternative” medicine as magic. There are side effects and downsides to all those therapies, too. Including vitamin D.

      But having people like him out there with alternative recommendations are an important component of informed consent, in my opinion.


  7. Jerry Peters

    I haven’t seen anyone suggest mandating vaccines; that seems to be a bete noir to gin up partisan outrage. What IS happening is more and more public and private entities requiring vaccines for travel, events, and schools. The only legal grounds for objection to these requirements is in making reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities – however that may be defined.
    The demands of society vs. the sensibilities of the individual is an age-old dilemma and most of us frequently chafe at what we regard as unnecessary restrictions, whether from safety, decorum, moral, or cultural concerns.


    • Yes. I’ve likened this to air bags and child safety seat requirements in automobiles. There are trade-offs, and diminishing returns. Automobiles cannot be made absolutely safe. We cannot be perfectly safe from sickness and disease. Where to strike the balance is left to individuals to decide on their own, for the most part, absent compelling circumstances.

      In the present situation people question whether the pandemic is a compelling circumstance. That’s the basic problem, I think.


  8. Chris Halkides

    The CDC wrote, “Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.” The link where I found this was updated yesterday.


  9. Chris_Halkides

    A 2015 Science in the News entry at Harvard University discussed the difference between RNA- and DNA-based vaccines: “Another [advantage] is that they are also safer, as injection of RNA presents no risk of disrupting the cell’s natural DNA sequence.


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