The theory says that if you reduce the child (and overall) mortality rate in a society, that society produces less children. The reason behind it is that in undeveloped societies, parents expect to be looked after by their children in old age. When you have high mortality, those parents choose to have large numbers of children so they have a better chance of being looked after in old age, amongst other reasons. They assume many of their children will die.
So, if you can reduce the mortality rate and improve education and living standards, then the society changes and the birth rate decreases, which benefits (almost) everyone.
As Gates has made clear on many occasions: He promotes health, education and living standard programs in order to improve people's lives in 3rd world countries, and to reduce the growing pressure from the World's unsustainable population growth. There is nothing sinister in those motives.
Last edited by HazTechDad; 20-03-2012 at 21:04.
So should we as a community accept everything that science, research and governments tell us is "good for us"? Don't I, as a citizen of this country, have the right to question a course of injections that are being given to my child? To challenge the research? Bloody oath I do!! Not because of arrogance but because it's my right AS a citizen. In 1951, "scientists" synthisised a drug to help pregnant ladies with morning sickness, and as a sedative. Almost 5 years after, an Australian doctor made the link between a large number of serious birth defects and the drug Thalidomide. A number of years ago, I was taking a medication for back pain - completely safe, until people, years later, started having heart attacks. It's since been withdrawn. I'm sure there's many, many more. By no means am I telling people NOT to immunise their children - but I won't be told by anyone that I'm rude to investigate whether or not I should!
Why the quotes around scientists? You hint at something and then wander off in another direction.
Thalidomide is a very important lesson, but you seem to have missed the point of that lesson. It was (and is) a very effective drug. It performed well in the trials, and millions of women benefited from it. The problem was in lack of follow-up after it was approved. There was a rare but severe side effect that should have been caught much earlier.
McBride and Lenz proved the connection by actual science, not by reading crank websites. By all means, feel free to do the same. But you will have to be extremely well resourced to do better than all the professionals who have already studied this. And yes, you can in part thank the Thalidomide experience for how thoroughly treatments are tested today for safety as well as efficacy.
Unfortunately, when performing such investigation people may begin to believe hear-say, anacdotes etc over properly conducted research.
For example, look at Autism. There are a few anti-vaccinationists who still claim a link between autism and MMR (despite the only study ever finding a link being found to be fraudulent).
Even ignoring the fraud, the study was of just 12 hand-picked children and only hinted at a link. On the other side, there are numerous published studies, the largest of which included over 500,000 children.
Yet, despite the fraud and the incredible difference in the size and quality of the studies, there are numerous parents who insist that the fraudulent study of 12 kids holds as much (or more) weight than the proper study of 500,000 kids.
Why? Is it a lack of understanding? An inability to assign weight to the evidence? A general distrust of authority/expertise? All of the above?
I am all for the investigation and questioning of any procedure or medication. But it must be done on a rational basis or there's no point.
On the topic of thalidomide (which is still in use as a cancer treatment amongst other things -just not for pregnant women-). Let's not forget that while the outcome of prescribing it to pregnant women was tragic, it occurred over 50 years ago. Think about that for a moment. 50 years. In terms of scientific and medical advancement, it may as well have been the dark ages. Computers essentially didn't exist. We hadn't yet gone in to space. TV had just been invented. People still drove around with their kids on their laps, and most cars didn't even have seatbelts.
Thalidomide was tested for safety as a sedative, but was never tested in pregnant women. Despite this, it was prescribed to them. It was the thalidomide incident that caused huge changes in the approval procedure for drugs, including at least three rounds of clinical trials for every drug. It's also why drugs have specific ratings now for use during pregnancy.
Vioxx was voluntarily withdrawn after the slight heart attack risk increase became known. This increased risk became apparent during a long-term clinical trial, and once known caused the manufacturer to withdraw it. In other words, it was withdrawn because of scientific research, not in spite of it.
Last edited by HazTechDad; 28-05-2012 at 18:58. Reason: typo
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