The Fallacy of All-Natural

I was reading an article about the anti-vaccine movement, encouraging pro-vaccine supporters to be more vocal – something I support whole-heartedly.  In the article there was an awesome quote, that really needs to be driven home whenever any of the anti-vaxers spout the benefits of all-natural solutions to problems.  I typically point out that cobra venom is all-natural, but would not recommend ingesting it.  This quote, however, points out the all-natural effects of not vaccination in a particularly powerful way:

However, while there is nothing more “natural” than large numbers of children dying in a Malthusian cesspool of unchecked contagious disease, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we should avoid that. This shouldn’t be a controversial opinion. 

                                     – JJ Keith



About brianblais

I am a professor of Science and Technology at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, and a research professor in the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems, Brown University. My research is in computational neuroscience and statistics. I teach physics, meteorology, astonomy, theoretical neuroscience, systems dynamics, artificial intelligence and robotics. My book, "Theory of Cortical Plasticity" (World Scientific, 2004), details a theory of learning and memory in the cortex, and presents the consequences and predictions of the theory. I am an avid python enthusiast, and a Bayesian (a la E. T. Jaynes), and love music.
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