August 20, 2021
Where does the antivax sentiment come from? Does it seem bizarre to you?
If the anti-vaxxers seem crazy, here is a question for you: how do you feel about the Monsanto herbicide glypohsate? Do you have the impression that it might be carcinogenic?
Now take a read of a literature review that tries to dissect why IARC judges glyphosate as carcinogenic while the EU does not. Take a look at the underlying studies. Think about which studies are causal, and which are retrospective only. Think about whether results have biological plausibility. A lot of different studies have been done. Not every study is well-reasoned, and some studies draw conclusions that are not well-supported by their own evidence. Do you feel you can read the research critically? And even after making a scientific judgement, would you still worry about spraying glyphosate all over your own weedy yard? Would you let your kids run around in it?
I happen to not worry about glyphosate - it is familiar to me, and the evidence seems to indicate it is much less dangerous than other common agents I use, like bleach. But many of my very scientific friends do worry about it. They wouldn't let their kids touch it, no matter how many studies have been done injecting the stuff and feeding it to animals.
I think it's important to acknowledge that we can be fearful even if is not rational. We all have it: there is a little bit of that anti-unknown, anti-chemical, anti-novelty fearful sentiment in us all.
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