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4 Pages

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

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NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/ JAMES ELWICK Monday, January 14, 2013 Vaccinations 1: Citizens & Science in the MMR/ Autism Controversy  Technical Matter - How do vaccines work?  Eject a weak inversion of a microorganism in your body allowing your body to have a ‘dress rehearsal’ - Its ability to reproduce rapidly has been eliminated th - Difference between a vaccine and an inoculant (done since 4 century AD in China, Turkey for smallpox) is that in vaccines, the germ is weakened in a standardized way (and we know why they work!) - Your body’s immune system then builds anti-bodies  Notice the metaphors here! (not just the obvious ones)- Immune system ‘cops’; acts as a barrier against ‘invasions’’ all external matter is pathological/harmful  What if the metaphor is slightly incorrect? For instance- 9/10ths of the cells in your body are not ‘yours’ (they’re from the environment) – 9/10 trillion cells in your body. They can’t all be pathogens (and indeed, many are required for healthy living)  Instead of thinking of immune system as a boundary/ barrier with cops, maybe it’s more like a garden? We have a ‘microbiome’- the antibodies are more like gardeners doing weeding  Even at level of contributory expertise, science is changing, debated are occurring - Since mid 1980’s seems to be a rapid rise in autism - Is this ‘real’ or is it ‘in our minds’  Realist- there’s something actually happening that’s causing autism levels to increase (Beck)  Social constructivist- no, the criteria of what’s called ‘autism’ have been changed so we’re calling more people ‘autistic’ than before o Someone formerly called ‘odd’ or ‘retarted’ now called ‘autistic’ o Or, we’re just better at diagnosing it than before (Douglas) - Not a ‘tension’ that’ll never go away ( you can have a right or wrong answer)  i.e. between democracy and expertise - 2002 a high level report for State of California by neuroscientist  This report said on the one hand, rise in autism cases can’t be entirely explain because diagnostic criteria have been loosened  Some of the increase represents a ‘true increase in cases of autism in California’ - Autism starts to become apparent around age 1 (right when the kid starts to develop communicative skills)  Right around the time the first MMR vaccine is administered - MMR  Vaccine against measles, Mumps & Rubella- administered at age 1, then a booster age 4-5 before school  The ‘intimacy’ of vaccines has worried people since Pasteur’s time - Autism  Formally – “autism Spectrum Disorder’ A cluster of disabilities problem with social/communication skills/ resistance to change; empathy not shown’ obsessive  Called ‘spectrum’ because can range from mild (Asperger’s) to severe howling, violent, throwing feces on walls, self-harm o Isn’t a mother (or parent) the closest thing to an ‘expert’ on her child’s behavior? (Matter of expertise) o 1 out of 88 children  No one knows what causes it; some hereditary predisposition, but no genetic ‘smoking gun’  Conceptual issues - Causation vs. correlation  Variant- temporal sequence and causation - Cognitive explanations for our mistaking correlation for causation  The human mind able to see patterns; how we evolved and the ability to see patterns meant survival in the wild  But sometimes we see patterns t
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