Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vaccines, Reducing the Population by Reducing the Mortality Rate, and Bill Gates

Vaccines are neither pure good nor pure evil.

Neither is money.

I was reading, maybe on Snopes or whatever that is, about comments on vaccines that Bill Gates made that were misinterpreted or something.

(It's recent news, January of this year or so. You can find it now with a simple web search on "bill gates vaccines", so I'll leave you to the vicissitudes of the Web if you want to read the sources.)

Bill Gates said something to the effect that he is trying to focus on indirect methods of reducing population, and that reducing the mortality rate by increasing the use of vaccines was part of his indirect efforts.

Some clown didn't read all of what Gates said, and claimed that Gates was admitting that vaccines kill people.

But Gates was really talking about the principle that has been found recently, that the birth rate in "advanced" societies falls far enough to well offset the lengthened lifespans.

(Japan, for instance, is looking at negative population growth without immigration, which is part of why it is becoming easier to immigrate now. Wish they'd let me keep dual citizenship so I could vote where I live without putting myself completely at the mercy of a USA immigrations "service" gone insane, should I ever go back.)

This is way oversimplifying what Gates said, but his argument goes something like this --
{paraphrase}... parents who are no longer worried about their children dying before they are old enough no longer get in a panic and have a dozen kids.{paraphrase.}
(Old enough for what? That doesn't seem to be clear.)

Okay. He's smart enough to see one of the less-obvious socio-statistical relationships, although his description misses what I think is the salient point:
{real-principle} Young kids who think that they can have sex with impunity quit worrying about babies and start trying to have sex with impunity. {real-principle.}
That's what drives the population down -- whether they use contraceptives and prophylactics, or whether the spread of STDs sterilizes almost everyone who doesn't die.

Having babies safely requires more planning ahead than using contraceptives.

The idea that having and raising children is no longer dangerous (which is not true), so they can always do the responsible thing after they've had their fun is just one part of the evil package.

And so one or more of his charities funds vaccines for poor people.

Are we going to set aside these facts about vaccines --
  1. that no vaccine is perfect, 
  2. that some vaccines are way too dangerous to be even offered generally, 
  3. and that parents should almost always be given the choice for their young children,
  4. because it's the parents who have to deal with the worst of the consequences if their child happens to be one of those for whom the vaccine goes wrong?
Vaccines for poor people probably does more good than bad, overall.

But the wannabees who look at Bill Gates as their example decide that
Bill Gates says vaccines are good.
and therefore
vaccines == absolute good!
and start trying to force, whether by legislation or by word-of-mouth flash propaganda campaigns on slashdot and reddit, everyone in the world to get all the latest-greatest vaccines.

Let me provide an example of something I personally have experience with.

My children's junior high school, about four years ago, strongly recommended that all the young women in the school get the cervical cancer vaccine (or whatever they called it).

But my daughter is not having random sex. Maybe she's doing things her parents don't know about, but she is not having sex with random partners on a daily or even weekly basis.

And the odds of negative side-effects for that vaccine are relatively high.

That means that, for her, the odds are better if she simply abstains from both pre-marital sex and the vaccine. Way better if she simply abstains from pre-marital sex.

She chose not to get the vaccine, after listening to both the school and her parents.

Now, some of her friends are already seeing the negative health effects of having taken the vaccine.

Vaccines are not a panacea.

So, Gates still is not necessarily helping the world (overall) with his vaccine campaigns.

If Bill Gates is really going to repent of getting his billions by scamming us, he is going to have to quit trying to "fix" the world's problems.

That is to say, if he wants to fix the evil he has done, he has to give up the idea that he knows how to fix other people's problems. He is not as smart as he thinks he is.

No one, when we start telling other people what they should do, is nearly as smart as we want to think we are.

(That's why, by the way, Mormon missionaries are instructed to stick to the basics of faith and repentance, and to encourage individuals get the specifics directly from God, through exercising their own consciences.

We can tell you that you need to repent, just because you aren't dead yet. Yeah, we aren't dead yet, either, so we need to repent, too.

Just what you need to do to repent is between you and God. Prayer is good, once you can tell the difference between the sneaky voice in your head telling you to take unfair advantage of your neighbor and the quiet voice in your heart telling you to help your neighbor without asking for gain.

All we want is to encourage everyone to get serious about trying to be better people today than we were yesterday.)

Gates can, in fact, do great things with his immorally gotten gains, on certain conditions.

He could, for instance, set up a no-strings-attached 20 million dollar permanent fund for Theo deRaadt and his friends to run the openbsd project from. And hope the sudden influx of money doesn't ruin the project.

Or he could go to crowdfunding places like kickstarter and fund random projects. And, again, hope that he doesn't end up funding projects that shouldn't be funded for some reason not visible in their proposals.

Hey, he could give me three million Japanese yen (roughly USD 30 thousand) to finish one of my novels. And a hundred million Japanese yen (roughly USD 1 million) to start re-inventing the computer/information industry from zero.

And, if he did, should he hope it's just enough money to keep me permanently spinning my wheels here in my own little world where I won't be bothering anyone?

Or should he hope that it will be just enough money to get my first novel published and selling, and just enough that I can set up a website from which to sell digital copies of the novel, with new free-and-open source software of my own creation, and to start building the next big thing in social media?

He's in a dilemma. He has more money than one person can safely burn off.
  • If he puts strings on the money he gives away, he changes the world for the worse by those strings. 
  • If he just gives the money away unconditionally, the mere excess of resources will allow many people to do things they shouldn't.
  • If he just hoards the money, society is dragged down by the lack of what he hoards.
If he really wants to save the world, he has to learn the difference between right and wrong, and he owns the USD 8×1010 wall that prevents him from seeing right and wrong well enough to safely get rid of that wall.

And the first thing he has to see is that it is impossible to make the other guy to the right thing.

And that is why I don't want Gates' billions, and why I would be hard pressed to accept it if he even offered me a few tens of thousands USD.

Now, if he, or you, would just read my novel -- current draft here and first draft here -- and tell me in the comments why you think I should or should not keep writing it, that would sure help me now. Yeah, I need a new job or something, but there are things I need more than just money.

There are things that we all need more than money. And if money gets in the way, we should put the questions of money behind us.

No comments:

Post a Comment