Fear

Analysis of herd immunity using the Sorites Paradox

When the subject of vaccination1 is discussed within a group (e.g. online forum), and there are some within that group who are pro-vaccination, almost invariably they will at some point raise the issue of herd immunity.

First let's clarify what is meant by "herd immunity"1
. From Wikipedia2 this:

"Herd immunity (also called herd effect, community immunity, population immunity, or social immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune".

There are, it seems to me, a number of aspects to this subject that need clarification:

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Implied hierarchies

I noticed on a forum yet again reference to 'implied hierarchies' ... how we need special training, rituals, meditation, special potions and so forth to advance to the next level of 'spiritual awareness'. And worst of all, how our egos are inhibiting us from getting 'there'.

All of which implies, or explicitly states that we poor humans are 'less than' some perceived higher authority, spirit, God etc.

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On the subject of vaccination

It is quite often the source of heated debate — whether or not to vaccinate children.

A couple of ideas might help those who are unsure, or who are pro-vaccination.

Firstly, what is that we want?

Do we want to live in fear, believing we are vulnerable to infections, or would we like to live knowing we can, and regularly do, fight off diseases as a natural process of life?

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The danger in "being offended"

There is, in my opinion, a troubling trend in our modern societies, when people respond with "I find that offensive".

In basic terms to take offence is to blame others for how one feels, which places the responsibility and choice of one's own emotional states with another. As Viktor Frankl so succinctly explained "the last of human freedoms (is) the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances".

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The subtext of 'being offended'

In recent times I've observed a growing trend for people (e.g. in online forums) to write "I find that offensive" in response to someone's ideas or opinions.

So I penned a few words and submitted them to an online forum.

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In my experience, online forums are relatively feckless forms of communication, in that they lack the immediacy of face-to-face interactions. Venues at which people get to meet and really dig deep (e.g. via Bohmian/OpenSpace/World-Cafe style groups) can be extraordinary experiences.

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Most superstitious era in history?

In view of my awkward question concerning the deeper nature of physical movement, in various forums I've received what appears to be unanimous negative responses. Some quite vitriolic and abusive.

It seems then that there is an argument to be made that we're living through one of, or perhaps THE most superstitious era in history.

Many scientists often lambaste the church for what they did to Galileo, and prior to him Giordano Bruno. Many argue the demonstrated 'closed-mindedness' of the church held back scientific advancement to a considerable degree.

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Unfettered scientific inquiry? Hardly.

I recently posted a genuine question on a scientific forum website and was told to ... well, piss off, basically. I believe it has validity, and would help scientists resolve the issue of the "missing dark matter" that is one of the key problems in cosmology, and astrophysics.

I suspect the account suspension was motivated by the fear the question invokes, in a similar but lesser degree to the highly-superstitious and incoherent responses to this question (see below).

Throughout the ages, asking questions has been shown to be the root tool by which human culture has advanced. Unfortunately, the shutting down of the ability to ask questions by a culture usually heralds that culture's demise.

Back to that scientific forum ... here's the rather interesting reply I got, and the question hat caused my account to be suspended:

Hello,
Your ____________ account has been suspended due to incorrect use. You posted the following question in Astronomy and Astrophysics:

"It seems I asked the following question on the wrong forum (particle physics). It was deleted. Perhaps before being deleted here, someone might suggest an appropriate forum?

According to David Deutsch of Oxford, "single-particle interference phenomena unequivocally rule out the possibility that the tangible universe around is all that exists."

According to some interpretations, the double-slit results occur due to the influence of what Deutsch calls "shadow particles". (Paraphrasing Deutsch, superpositions have to be 'made' of something that is, in some sense, tangibly real, or sufficiently real to cause real interference effects in said experiments).

Why doesn't that interpretation 'scale up' and account for "Dark Matter" (ie. shadow galaxies etc.), which in turn would account for how the distribution of galaxies would be, and has been found to be fractal ("studies we have done show that the distribution of matter is fractal, just like a tree or a cloud." [Francesco Sylos Labini]).

If it's a 'dumb question' perhaps someone would be so courteous to explain why, rather than simply delete it, as was done elsewhere."

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Comparitive failure

After reading a fairly neutral, but informative article on how social inequalities factor in poor health and early mortality, I was amazed to see the vitriol and anger in response in the comments section.

It seems many people are unhappy, cranky and highly intolerant of the deeper rhythms and processes of life. All of which is highly counterproductive -- fighting life, or the essential elements thereof.

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