Who is not vaccinating, why, and who is suffering because of it

At the risk of sounding like broken record, I want to return to a topic that I feel very strongly about, and that is this issue of people not vaccinating their children. In the US at least, the opposition to vaccinations of children seems to be something affecting the affluent. These are the people who seem to have latched onto scary tales on the internet and the media that are warning about the dangers of the vaccines, though those claims have been thoroughly debunked.
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The many ways in which we can all die

There seems to be a subset of the population that easily succumbs to the idea that some major disaster is going to befall us at any time. The fear of an apocalyptic event that wipes out large chunks of humanity seems to act like oxygen for such people, and as a result we are regaled with the possibility of one imminent catastrophe after another, with diseases (Ebola, swine flu, bird flu), meteors or asteroids hitting the Earth, weather (a big snowfall in winter), and so on.
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Revisiting the topic of science and proof on the tenth anniversary of blogging

Yesterday marked the ten-year anniversary of my beginning blogging. For the first seven years I wrote on my university’s blogging platform and then three years ago I was invited to join the FreethoughtBlog network. Initially I just felt the need to try blogging but was not at all sure what form the blog would take and what I would write about. But I settled fairly quickly into a rhythm and though there have been some minor changes over time, basically it has ended up as me writing about whatever I felt worth writing about at the moment, mainly to clarify my own ideas about those issues with the help of the commenters. I have been impressed with the knowledge and insights that many readers have provided.
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The anti-vaxxers finally face a serious backlash

Those who have refused to vaccinate their children because of fears generated by a thoroughly debunked idea of a link between vaccines and autism have not really suffered much negative consequences for putting others, especially infants and elderly people, at risk. The anti-vaxxers are threatening the health of all of us while at the same time benefiting from the fact that the rest of us got vaccinated and thus will not pass it on to them. They are the real moochers. While scientists and the medical profession have expressed strong condemnation of the practice of not vaccinating, the public and the media have not been so outraged and celebrity spokespersons for the anti-vax movement still make the rounds of media.
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Baby steps for the US senate on climate change

The US senate voted by a margin of 98-1 that climate change is real and not a hoax

In a surprise, the Senate’s leading skeptic of climate science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), voted in favor of the amendment — but made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change.

The GOP “yes” votes also included three of the GOP’s leading contenders for the White House: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

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Orthodox Jews believe the Sun goes around the Earth?

When one thinks of religious people objecting to scientific views of the world, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims immediately come to mind. Jews are less often pictured because they seem to be less committed to fixed ideas about how the world works. But there is a sector of Jews who are as bad as other religions when it comes to rejecting accepted scientific views.
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How global warming denialists abuse statistics

Scientists at both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced that 2014 has been determined to be the warmest year since 1880, when instrumental records started being kept. In addition, they say that the “10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000″.
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Jimmy Carter on the attempts to cure major diseases

While I have my criticisms of some aspects of Jimmy Carter’s record while he was president, there is no question that he was one of the better ones in recent times and has been doing some good work since returning to private life. The former president spoke with Jon Stewart about the efforts, in which his own center has participated, that have led to the almost complete eradication of the awful disease caused by the guinea worm.
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The brutality of boxing and football

I have been writing about the dangers playing American football due to the increasing number of reported cases of brain injury due to the repeated concussions that American football players experience, and argued that there are strong grounds for schools and colleges not fielding teams since educational institutions should not be encouraging young people to run the risks of permanent damage by seeming to endorse a dangerous activity. If as adults they want to play, there is little we can do except not support them.
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