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Unsettled Science 

The case is not closed on vaccinations

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Forty years ago our first child was born at home. A progressive and intelligent friend was very upset that we had "endangered the life of our unborn child" by ignoring "the consensus of the scientific community" with this decision.

We pointed out to him that Holland, where 99 percent of births occur at home with midwives, had the lowest infant mortality in the world and the United States had the highest rates of medically questionable caesareans. We mostly pointed out that the "consensus of the scientific community" is always the most conservative position available. In the 19th century, any doctor who washed his hands between autopsies and childbirth could and would be driven out of the profession.

Ignaz Semmelweis, the father of antiseptic procedures, was hounded into an insane asylum for these views. In the mid-20th century, any doctor who suggested a link between diet and cancer was ipso facto a quack, according to the AMA, FDA and American Cancer Society, and should be stripped of his license and sent to jail.

Today, we are told that vaccination safety and efficacy is "settled science," and that every reputable doctor and scientist is leveling the finger of blame at parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. This scares me to death. There is no such thing as "settled science." It is against the nature of the scientific enterprise to suggest such a thing. It is akin to closing the patent office because everything has already been invented.

Levels of asthma and autoimmune diseases in children have increased exponentially over the past several decades. We don't have to worry about measles, mumps and rubella. We have to worry about celiac, Type 1 diabetes and a myriad of other autoimmune conditions. Is it possible that the old diseases of childhood played some role in stimulating the auto-immune system in ways that protected children in later life? I do not know. I do know that if I were a doctor, I would be very hesitant to raise the question. I would never get any research money and would likely be drummed out of the profession for making such an absurd suggestion. I might even end up in jail. Or an insane asylum.

Abraham Entin is the father of three grown children, all born at home and none vaccinated. He is also a longtime activist for positive social change.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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