Wednesday, 29 October 2008

FUD, and maths

A post from Squib has had me laughing my arse off, for multiple reasons.

Looks like the BBC is spreading FUD again

For those of you not aware of the acronym, FUD stands for "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt". Precisely what the JABS crew, under the aegis of Dr Wakefield and his lackey, John Stone have been doing all these years. Let me put this in words of very few syllables. There is no evidence that the MMR jab causes autism. But JABS is there to make you think that there may be just the tiniest chance - and if they don't get you on MMR, they'll try with HPV vaccine - another vaccine for which there is no evidence of harm, but the JABbers keep whispering "but there might be, but there might be…".

Anyway, Squib then goes on to criticise the BBC report she's referring to, with the following line:

Their estimates for MMR at 1.4 per 100,000 are intriguing. This paper below for the US gives estimates of 14.4 cases 1,000,000 doses of MMR.
Perhaps the NHS should recommend parents sending the children over there for their jabs.
I wonder if someone needs to change the batteries in their slide rule?

Now, unless the fundamentals of mathematics have changed since I was at school, 1.4 per 100,000 is the same as 14.4 per million (give or take a decimal place). So yes, Squib, you halfwit, you need the batteries changing in your slide rule. And ideally, get some new ones fitted to your brain, you moron.

(The report is on the high rates of anaphylaxis among children who've had single vaccines: 18.9 / 100,000 for measles and 22.4 / 100,000 for rubella, as opposed to 1.4 / 100,000 for MMR - single vaccines are safer are they? I think not.)

Here's the BBC story


millipede said...

dumber than a sack full of hammers.

John The Geophysicist said...

Looks like we can add innumeracy to general ignorance.

FUD is a sales term used originally by IBM salesmen to describe the process by which you sow the FUD seeds in a prospect. (fear that it will all go wrong, doubt/uncertainty about alternatives etc). (I have worked in IT sales management since I realised all seismic research was in the shittiest places on earth).

Notwithstanding that Squib should prefix her alias with "damp".

The really worrying thing about this is that it relates to private clinics. I would not wish to disparage these clinics but are we sure the vaccines are not out of date, rebadged, grey imports etc.

I would be kicking down the doors of these clinics to try to establish why anaphylaxis is virtually unknown in the NHS but much higher in private clinics (which may also be underplaying the numbers).

Becky - you have failed to understand that cultural relativism is very important in the world of woo mathematics. A probability of 0.000014 in Land of The Free America is statistically less significant than a probability of 0.000014 in this MMR-Stalinised Brit-Gulag we apparently live in.

So shame on you for not respecting the damp ones relativistic rights.

On the upside your writing style does make me laugh.