I am possibly one of the few who welcome those conservatively dressed door-to-door volunteers who wish to promote a particular religious perspective or denomination.
I look forward to an academic discussion about the Bible and am interested in how others view “the truth” so differently from what the Bible actually says.
Their efforts are characterized by an attempt to convince me of a specific view because “it is written so in the Bible.”
When they read specific Bible quotes, I am quick to take out my handy Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek Bible reference of the original text. We invariably discover that the translation they provide is inaccurate, conflicts with other Bible quotes, or out of context.
In addition, we discover that the meaning they were trying to draw out is unrelated to even their translation. In the end my door-to-door friends will inevitably propose that what is written is not what is meant.
Still, the volunteers never waiver in their faith, press on to the next house undaunted, and continue to quote the same passage to promote a wholly unrelated message.
The point is that the “buy-in,” the full acceptance of the interpretations of an authority, is more important than the truth.
While I could apply this blind buy-in to the Trump base, I want to examine this kind of mindset to help depict the “anti-vaccer” movement.
Anti-vaccers are those opposed to vaccinating their children from the mumps, measles, and rubella (German measles). They believe the MMR vaccine, in the face of scientific data that proves otherwise, causes autism.
This anti-vaccination movement has taken hold in parts of wealthy suburbia, some religious communities, and is clearly embedded right here in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Autism itself is not a death sentence. While many autistic children have a fascination with water and 90% of autistic children who die early die of drowning, the condition rarely directly causes death.
Pre-MMR inoculation, the world experience about 186,000 deaths per year due to the mumps and about 110,000 deaths a year from measles. It is thousands of times more likely not having the MMR vaccine will lead to death than will autism.
But the lie that the MMR shot creates autism has created a frenzy of fear.
Investigation teams recently evaluated the causes of autism at the University of Toronto, by Sabine Cordes of the Department of Molecular Genetics, and by Sinai Health System’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. These findings reveal that about one in three autism cases can be attributed by a scarcity of a single protein in the brain. This protein, nSR100, shows levels of only 50% when compared to a non-autistic person.
The Institute for Research in Biomedicin in Barcelona concluded another protein, called CPEB4, is vital in embryonic development and helps regulate certain genes during the critical period of fetal brain development. The study says that variances in genetic coding, i.e. DNA, determines how much protein is created, and that at birth this variance is already a marker of future autism.
While over 200 genes have been identified as being connected with autism, no single gene or protein has yet been identified. However, it is clear that DNA coding determines in what quantity certain proteins are produced and the coding of genes is the key factor that pre-determines if conditions for autism will be met.
Science concludes that genetic predisposition, the age of the parents, and environmental factors, particularly during pregnancy, are all significant in affecting the genes that regulate those key proteins.
Inoculations work by introducing a safe amount of a virus into a person so that the body easily fights off the virus and thus often becomes immune. It is also clear that fighting a virus does not significantly alter genetic coding and DNA.
Science therefore has concluded that the MMR vaccine cannot and does not cause autism.
Nevertheless, one mom with great passion and certainty told me “it is proven the MMR vaccine does cause autism.”
What I heard from this mom was that although science clearly says one thing, it means another.
That is why I suggest, although well meaning, that parents comply with our mandatory shot requirements that safeguard our children, the vulnerable, in the end us all.
There are valid medical exemptions of course.
Let us endorse legislation that comes after doctors who offer MMR exemptions without medical cause and defrock doctors who make money on perpetuating fear. And perhaps parents who believe in these lies should leave the state and educate their children elsewhere.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO of a private security firm, is the COO of an acting conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.