February 04, 2015 at 12:30PM
In the great vaccine debate I’ve noticed a funny irony.
Among “anti-vaxxers” there appears to be a higher incidence of religious people. Among the “pro-vaxxers” there is definitely a higher incidence of Scientism (not pejoratively). The pro-vaxxers will generally accuse the anti-vaxxers of being anti-science, perhaps with good reason.
This is similar to the incidence among those who accept Darwinian evolution and those who don’t. The anti-evolutionists are largely religious and creationists. Those that accept Darwinian evolution are largely pro-scientism. The evolutionists will generally accuse the creationists of being anti-science, perhaps with good reason.
But here’s the irony. Darwinian evolution’s natural selection process (Survival of the fittest) weeds out the weak so that the strongest and most adaptable can pass on their genes to the next generation, thus improving the overall fitness of the species. Vaccination circumvents this natural selection process by strengthen the those who may have naturally weaker or less adaptable immune systems and be more susceptible to disease. These weaker of the species get to survive and pass on their genes leading to a weaker overall species.
It would seem to me that the optimal evolutionary approach would be to let those weaker genes die off from the species before they can pass on their genes to the next generation (yes, this is basically eugenics – and I’m not endorsing it). By shunning vaccinations, the religious anti-vaxxers are actually promoting the optimal evolutionary outcome. Meanwhile the pro-vaxxers are working against evolution’s natural selection process. And it is likely that their reasoning is based at some level in some moral calculation of the intrinsic value of every person, a historically religious perspective.
So while their words, intentions and actions may be based on a pro or anti science stance or a pro or anti religious stance, the adherents to both sides of the debate are achieving the outcome that reflects the core tenets of the opposite side.