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Monday, March 09, 2015

Review: On Immunity: An Innoculation

On Immunity is Eula Bliss' book about vaccination. It's not a science book. Rather, it's written in the style of Susan Sontag, meant to explore the issue of whether or not to vaccinate your kids from an English major, "I can't read the papers or understand the scientific background, but I'm full of empathy" perspective.

This drives me nuts. For instance, Bliss' father is a physician. She'll ask him why people would organize measles parties for their kids. His answer (which I love, being the kind of empathy-lacking person he is) is, "Because they're idiots." Bliss, on the other hand would prevaricate, and talk about all sorts of irrelevant issues without providing statistics, facts, or science.

So the target audience isn't you if you're a scientist or engineer. As far as I can tell, the target audience is someone who's not a scientist or engineer, who's incredibly neurotic about her kids (i.e., will panic over every little event --- those people shouldn't have boys, because boys will do things like break bones and play with fire, making such mothers into nervous wrecks), and is incapable of understanding statistics, but would love to debate morality.

Now, there are a few little titbits here and there that make this book not a complete waste of time, but by and large, they're buried in so much other verbose garbage that I got very impatient. I suppose there's a possibility that a book like this could persuade non-vaccinators who belong in her audience, but my experience with anti-vaccine folks is that they're not persuadable by any reasonable means anyway. The book describes how America used to deal with such people, which is via gunpoint.

Not recommended.

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