Skepchick Quickies, 5.24


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. “WHO said that target would be difficult to meet unless countries put more money and effort into combating the disease.”

    Putting more money into fighting the disease is kinda redundant at this point since there is a great way to prevent infections: vaccines. Perhaps funding should be applied to fighting the idiocy of anti-vaccers?

  2. @Niatie: That’s the point of the article. More money is needed to ensure that children get the vaccinations they need, as well as to fund the campaign against anti-vax child murderers.

  3. How sad that Danny may lose his father to the same stupidity that nearly killed him. This family is a cluster fuck of parental fail.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the reason that kid refused treatment was because he was a Christian Scientist (or a similar religion?) If you are supposed to heal through the power of prayer/God alone, what’s the difference between “natural” remedies and modern medicine?

  5. @Stevie: The family had joined a bazaar psudo Native American cult that had some kind of healer who told them to avoid real medicine. I don’t think Jesus was anywhere in sight for this screw up.

  6. @James Fox: gotcha. I actually started googling this after my comment. I was confused because every commentary of Hauser mentions Christian Science as a similar group that bans modern medicine.

    The story, however asinine, makes more sense now.

  7. @James Fox: On the other hand, we now have an excellent test study on the efficacy of woo v. science. While parent/child isn’t ideal fort this kind of study (ah… genetic twins), it is two closely related people, with the same illness, having two radically different therapies.

    It’s unethical to experiment on people. However, when they choose to use themselves as control groups…

  8. @James Fox: Ah, but here we have a bonus: He doesn’t KNOW he’s the control group. Thus, we avoid negation of the placebo effect. In fact, we’ve got an interesting situation… the person in the efficacious treatment thought it WOULDN’T work, while the person rolling around in woo thinks it WILL work. He’s got Placebo Advantage.

    The facts are with science.

  9. Primarily @Mr Fox

    Orac over at Respectful Insolence has more details and analysis of Mr Hauser’s situation.

    The upshot is that although both Danny and his father were diagnosed with cancer they are quite different forms.

    Danny was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma for which a well-planned treatment is available. That treatment offered a 95% survival rate.

    Anthony, his father, has been diagnosed with ‘acute erythroleukemia’. Which is, according to Orac, fairly rare. It also has a five-year survival rate that is … well … shit – even with chemo. Basically Anthony has a 20% chance of living the next five years (if he takes the chemo). He has only a 50/50 chance of living the next 36 weeks.

    What I took away from Orac’s article was that the Hauser’s still do not understand the choices they are making and sometimes many times in life the choices we make are irreversible.

  10. When Danny Hauser was made to have treatment, opponents were crying that government would control our lives, even our medical treatment! I see this as a good refutation. No one is forcing the adult in this situation to do anything.

  11. @NoAstronomer: I followed the initial adventures of the Hauser family with great personal and professional interest. My comments were nothing more than snide jibes. I’ll read what Orac has to say but based on what I’ve read I’d take issue with any notion that this family is somehow operating in a naive bubble of ignorance. The court, doctors, CPS social workers, and no doubt some family and friends would all have taken pains to educate and inform the family concerning their dangerous and reckless choices with regard to their son. I think there is a sense that when we say ignorance is involved in making a decision there is some level of understanding or forgiveness for a bad choice. These parents understand full well that they are making choices that are contrary to rational and accepted medical treatment.

  12. Trivial Hauser story comment: “Danny Hauser turned 14 in March. He is doing well and continues to live a healthy lifestyle and work on his family’s farm , baling hay every day.”

    Huh? Isn’t it spring in MN? When I was on a farm, hay making was a mid-late summer task.

    Measles story: “Measles deaths among young children fell to 118,000 in 2008, compared with 1.1 million in 2000, according to WHO.” But nobody dies of measles – some nice vaccination education people told me that. :-) :-)

    @Sunioc: “anti-vax child murderers”. This isn’t helpful, and is factually incorrect. “anti-vax child manslaughterers” might be factually supportable, but still not useful. Try “tragically” (or even “fatally”) “misinformed anti-vax campaigners.” Undecided people are more likely to be driven to the opposite camp by your rhetoric.

    The anti-vax campaigners mostly want what we want – healthy children – and have the same passion that we do, because they think their efforts are promoting this goal. You can debate them much better if you recognize this.

    Dr Wakefield, however, seems to have been in it for the money. Feel free to heap scorn on him.

  13. @Mark Hall:
    Ah, but here we have a bonus: He doesn’t KNOW he’s the control group.

    So it’s an automatic double-blind.

    @Filias Cupio:
    Measles story: “Measles deaths among young children fell to 118,000 in 2008, compared with 1.1 million in 2000, according to WHO.” But nobody dies of measles – some nice vaccination education people told me that.

    Well, not in the US I suppose. But I don’t think the anti-vaxxers look very far beyond their own kids (selfish leeching bastards), otherwise they wouldn’t be against vaccines.

  14. @Filias Cupio: Is this based on actual success debating those folks? I find that people who advocate the “you just gotta try to understand where they’re coming from and be nice and accomodating” approach don’t actually have much experience debating the issue and are unpleasantly surprised when they jump into the fray and see the result.

  15. @Filias Cupio: The first cut of hay is of lesser quality and a mid late spring or early summer afair depending on weather. The late summer hay is the primo stuff and called second cut. My wife has a horse and I do not choose to know these things.

  16. I feel very sorry for the Hausers. Although some of their problems are self-inflicted, it must be absolutely wretched for them to have first had to deal with a child with cancer and now have the father have cancer. I have trouble wishing this sort of thing on anyone. We should feel sorry for this family. The fact that the father is rejecting his only options that might save him is a cause for pity, not a reason for further condemnation.

  17. @mikerattlesnake:

    No, not based on debate experience.

    But if you make statements which are obviously wrong (calling them murders) you’ll drive away the undecided.

    James Fox: We only ever did one cut of hay, late summer. Maybe due to different climate.

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