Vermont overturns law allowing philosophical exemptions to vaccination, but keeps the religious ones

48 of America’s 50 states have laws allowing children who attend public school to do so without being vaccinated—if they have religious reasons. In 20 of those states, you can also avoid vaccination if your exemption is based on philosophical reasons. Every other kid, save those with medical exemptions—compromised immune systems and the like—must be vaccinated, and for good reason. We know what happens when vaccinations aren’t required, and we’re starting to see those epidemics.

The two states that don’t allow either philosophical or religious exemptions from vaccination are, surprisingly, West Virginia and Mississippi. California is poised to join these two, as its state senate just approved a no-exemption bill by a huge margin (medical exemptions will of course still be allowed).

Vermont has just joined the Rationality Crowd, but they didn’t go whole hog. As reported in a New Yorker piece, “Vermont says No to the anti-vaccine movement”, by Michael Specter, Vermont has eliminated philosophical exemptions (but also recently mandated trigger warnings for GMO foods):

Just a year after Vermont became the first state to require labels for products made with genetically modified organisms, Governor Peter Shumlin on Thursday signed an equally controversial but very different kind of legislation: the state has now become the first to remove philosophical exemptions from its vaccination law.

The two issues are both emotional and highly contested. But Vermont’s decisions could hardly be less alike: the G.M.O. bill, which has enormous popular support, has been widely criticized by scientists—largely because no credible evidence exists suggesting that G.M.O.s are dangerous. The vaccine law, however, opposed by many people, is the strongest possible endorsement of the data that shows that vaccines are the world’s most effective public-health tool.

There was serious opposition to the bill by Vermont legislators, one of whom said this:

“There is something deep in the core of my being,’’ Representative Warren Kitzmiller, of Montpelier, said during the debate over the philosophical objection. “And it simply will not allow me to vote to remove a parent’s right to make this serious decision on what is in the best interest of their child.”

Parent’s “right”? What right is that? (I’m always dubious when talk of “rights” comes up, since bald assertion of a “right” is designed to quash debate.) Do you have a “right” to allow your child to become infected, and then go to school and infect others (vaccinations don’t always work), perhaps starting an epidemic? What “right” does a parent have to take away protection of not only their child’s well being, but that of other children? Do parents also have a “right” to refuse scientific medical care for their sick children because of their religious belief? (43 of our 50 states also confer some kind of civil and criminal immunity on parents who do that.)

The fact is that privileging unevidenced belief over medicine is not in the best interests of any child, and should be legislatively curtailed, whether that belief be based on religion or “philosophy”. (And really, what kind of “philosophy” mandates refusing immunizations for your child?)

Yet there’s another fly in the ointment. Vermont has eliminated philosophical exemptions, but not religious ones. That’s a general trend, for although 48 states allow religious exemptions from immunization, only 19 allow the same for philosophy.) In fact, here’s what Vermont governor Peter Shumlin said about the bill that he signed:

But the same argument—vaccines work and protect children and society at large—holds for for religion. Although the majority of Vermont exemptions were based on philosophy (Vermont is the least religious state in America), there is no substantive difference, at least relevant to exemptions from shots, between religion and philosophy. Both are deeply held personal beliefs, and both mandate a code of conduct. The only difference is that in America religion includes, along with a philosophy, belief in a god, and often is based more strongly on faith and dogma than on reason. But why should that make one set of beliefs more worthy of respect than the other? After all, philosophy is based on reason far more than is religion, which most people hold simply because they were indoctrinated into faith by their parents.

The reason religious exemptions remain is that Americans have a strong—and unwarranted—respect for faith and belief in gods—a respect that, for reasons I don’t understand, exceeds that for other deeply held philosophical beliefs. It’s time to stop seeing faith as some kind of virtue, and recognize it for what it really is: beliefs that are not based on evidence, and for that reason deserve no “respect.”

Sadly, the New Yorker, which has always been infected with the Respect For Faith virus, doesn’t say a word about religious exemptions. Referring to Warren Kitzmiller’s statement that philosophical exemptions remove parents’ “rights,” Specter sees that as “reasonable” and refuses to proffer his own opinion:

That [philosophical objection to vaccination] is a reasonable position, and many people hold it. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, only sixty-eight per cent of Americans believe that childhood vaccinations should be required. Among younger parents, the percentage who object is even higher.

Data and science are obviously not the only issues that matter in this debate. But it’s hard to see how all rights can be equal: if parents want their children to remain unprotected from vaccinations, perhaps they should have that right. But should those children then be allowed near other students, in public places like playgrounds, or anywhere else where they could infect people with weakened immune systems? By removing the philosophical objection, at least one state has begun to say no.

In fact, data and science are dispositive in this debate, as the legislature of Vermont has recognized.  I wonder if Specter thinks that parents should be allowed to refuse medical care (antibiotics, insulin, and so on) from children on religious grounds, as many religionists, like Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, do? After all, those children usually don’t pose a danger to anyone else. It’s telling that a magazine widely seen as the voice of liberalism is so afraid to criticize superstition, especially when it endangers children.

h/t: Heather Hastie

46 Comments

  1. Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Vermont has eliminated philosophical exemptions, but not religious ones.

    Isn’t that a clear privileging of religion, and thus a first-amendment violation?

    A non-religious person who had philosophical objections to vaccination could presumably sue on those grounds.

    • Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Good point!

    • darrelle
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      It certainly seems to be. An interesting progression. From evidenced based medicine, to philosophy, to theology. The one most distant from reality is the one that is most favored by law. Humans are silly creatures.

    • Posted June 1, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Is vaccinating or not vaccinating one’s child a form of speech? It seems to me speech is the thing that deserves protection. One can’t claim a conscientious objection to paying taxes, serving jail time or restrictions on public nudity, to name a few activities that randomly come to mind. I’m too young to have faced being drafted into the military, but doesn’t a CO have to serve in some capacity if s/he refuses to fight? I find it really disturbing that vaccination of all things is not taken more seriously by politicians and not recognized as being more akin to laws regarding health and safety. It may have something to do with the fact that children do not vote or donate to political campaigns but crackpots can and do.

    • Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      “Isn’t that a clear privileging of religion, and thus a first-amendment violation?”

      And a perfect illustration of my problem with treating religion as a protected class while not granting the same protection to philosophies, and ideologies.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        While you’re at it why not throw in whims and fantasies? 😎

        • Posted June 1, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          I’d eliminate the protection entirely for all classes that are a matter of “choice”, but that’s a hard sell even to atheists who believe they need the protection as well. Particularly given that we’re a disliked minority.

  2. eric
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’m ambivalent on this. On the one hand, progress is progress and a half-measure that reduces some of the risk of outbreak is a good thing. OTOH, my 1st amendment side says we really shouldn’t allow this sort of obvious (and IMO unconstitutional) favoritism go legally unchallenged.

    What to do? If the ACLU challenges it, I think the most likely outcome is the VT legislature reinstates the philosophical exemption. They are almost certainly going to lose on constitutional grounds, and they are almost certainly not going to choose to eliminate the religious one. So…defend the constitution and very likely increase the risk of childhood infection, at least in the state of VT? Or let a bad law stand, knowing it may be the best public health compromise VT can achieve at this time?

    • Paul S
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I’d rather these laws were repealed, but if they’re going to stand, we need to prosecute anyone whose child dies from or causes harm or death to another through the parent’s refusal to vaccinate. This is no different than possessing anything else that is potentially lethal, be it a gun, bat or car.

  3. Jeffery
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “We’ll give a pass to the religionists, but the philosophers? Heck, you KNOW that stuff’s just all made up!”

  4. Randy Schenck
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    One of the often overlooked items with these rights issues or even with the gun rights people. The rights always refer back to the constitution and how does this guy or that woman interpret this.

    In 1790 there were about 4 million people scattered over 13 states. The largest cities were maybe 25,000. Look at the numbers today and try to defend all these rights that simply make no sense today. I will not even mention the medical ignorance in 1790 vs. today.

  5. nightglare
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what a “philosophical” objection to vaccination would look like in this day and age. I could see that someone might make a philosophical argument against the idea that the state has a right to coerce parents into immunizing their children, but that would be an argument against coercion, rather than against vaccination.

    Perhaps what they really mean are pseudo-scientific objections, and call them “philosophical” either because they have no idea what they’re talking about, or they’re trying to be kind.

    • eric
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure what a “philosophical” objection to vaccination would look like in this day and age.

      I can think of a bunch of them (some more fantastical than others). 1) I don’t put impure things into my body, and I consider a vaccine to be an impure thing. 2) According to my form of utilitarianism, I get more happiness out of not vaccinating. 3) I recognize that vaccination is a prisoner’s dilemma type situation, but unless you compel me via force of law to cooperate, I’m going to choose to defect. If that’s a legal choice, I’m allowed to make it, right?

      But I think the bigger and more important point is, if you’re going to allow a philosophical objection, you have to treat it the same way you treat religious ones. That means the state ought not really bother asking about the details; if the person says they have one, the state takes it at face value that they do and aren’t lying.

      • Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        “I can think of a bunch of them”

        Yes. In fact, a “philosophical” exemption is really a carte blanche exemption. It makes no sense to me. Legislators have essentially said “vaccines are required, except for religious people, and except for everybody else, too”.

        • eric
          Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          I think you are substantively correct. But I think that’s probably the system they originally intended; an “opt-out” system where people feel some social pressure from the government to do it, but ultimately no legal penalty for not.

          IIRC studies have shown that making something opt-out (versus opt-in) does indeed get more people to do it. That means that opt-out could make legislative policy sense: its less draconian than a legal mandate, which is nice. As long as it achieves the aim of getting the state the vaccination rate needed to prevent outbreaks, I can see why a legislature would prefer it over a legal requirement. I believe historically, this was the case (because previous generations had dealt with these horrible diseases first-hand, vaccination rates were actually higher in the past) The problem we’re facing now is that the opting-out number has grown from insignificant to significant; now in places it isn’t achieving the outbreak-prevention purpose. At that point the state has to decide which takes precedence; the public health goal or the self-determination goal. Because while maybe they could achieve both with the opt-out policy before, they can’t achieve both with that policy now.

          • Posted June 1, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Yeah, but there are lots of laws that already that curtail our self-determination, and rightly so. I’d say vaccination should be among them. If I were a legislator, I’d reserve opt-out clauses for things that aren’t likely to have such grave consequences. There’s no opt-out clause for DUI. Heck, there isn’t even an opt-out clause for wearing a seatbelt.

            • eric
              Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

              Well again, back in the ’60s a legal mandate probably wasn’t needed because people were banging down the door to get polio and smallpox vaccines. It would’ve made no sense (in the US political system) to require it by law; you don’t fix what ain’t broke. But times change. My point is that the voluntary system probably made a lot of good sense back when it was started. Now…maybe not so much.

          • Gregory Kusnick
            Posted June 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            Self-determination is a red herring, because it’s not about people governing their own lives as they please. It’s about how we collectively govern the lives of those too young to govern themselves.

            Self-determination does not give parents the right to send their kids out into a snowstorm without an overcoat. Sending them out into a measles epidemic without immunization is no different.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “I’m not sure what a “philosophical” objection to vaccination would look like”

      I think therefore I can act like a blithering idiot.

  6. Posted June 1, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    No religion, no matter how pious and knee-bound it makes you, gives you the right to harm other people. By not repealing the religious exemption that is exactly what these fools are doing. They are allowing superstitious idiots harm and in some cases even kill others.
    If in some religious tome that you hold dear, it says that you have that right,the right to do bad things to other people, in the name of some god or other, than your tome and you are both insane.

  7. Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Please pardon the mess of my previous comment, there is no edit button. The misspellings, the mis-spaceings, the extra words, I would have edited out but for the lack of such.

  8. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    “And it simply will not allow me to vote to remove a parent’s right to make this serious decision on what is in the best interest of their child.”

    Whenever I see an argument like this, I want to know that person’s position on abortion. Rand Paul, alleged libertarian, went so far as to declare that parents own their children. The idea that children are the property of, or are subject to the controlling “rights” of parents runs clearly counter to the argument that children (or even fetuses) are “persons”, and therefore have rights of their own.

  9. drakodoc
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    If I were to refuse vaccination for my child on the basis of ‘religious’ grounds, is some bureaucrat going to ask me what my religion is? Ummmmm, I belong to an on-line temple called WEIT and communicate with the spiritual leader known as PCC…and in my religion (unlike most others) I really do get personal responses back!!! Despite the fact that PCC encourages His flock to get vaccinated, how the heck would the Vermont bureaucrat know that?

  10. Mark R.
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    This is a generalization, but I find it interesting that in the U.S.’s child-centrist society (not saying this is necessarily a bad feature) we don’t look adversely upon parents who don’t vaccinate their kids, but parents who allow their kids the freedom to walk home alone or take the subway alone are labeled irresponsible or worse.

    • drakodoc
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      What if those free roaming parents claimed that allowing children to walk alone one mile from school was part of their religion?

    • eric
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Huh? I look adversely upon parents who don’t vaccinate their kids (medical exemptions notwhithstanding).

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        That’s why the caveat “generalization”. Most parents vaccinate their kids, I’m trying to illustrate that for those who don’t, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of stigma in the media. I think this has been changing with the measles outbreak, but my biggest point is the media should do a better job chastising the anti-vaxers on religious/philosophical grounds, and I think it’s odd that I hear more about “bad parenting” on the part of parents allowing free-roaming kids than parents not vaccinating.

  11. allison
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious how Mississippi – usually dead last in everything rational – ended up being one of the responsible states with regard to vaccinations. My guess: things got so bad back in year 19xx that the legislature had to really clamp down on the rules about public schools and vaccinations.

    • eric
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Well here is a story on it.

      Interestingly, Mississippi seems to have mandated it fairly early, back in the ’70s (remember, many of the vaccines we’re talking about were only developed in the mid to late ’60s. Hard to imagine!). But it might have been a response to the success of the public school requirement, which occurred in the ’70s and cut the measles rate literally in half. So lets give credit where it’s due; it seems that they made a “hey, this works, let’s keep it” policy decision rather than a “wow, that didn’t work out as planned…we’d better require it” policy decision.

      • eric
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        I should also add that the time frame really shows how many humans are very short-term thinkers. In the 1960s and 1970s vaccines essentially wiped out all of the major killers of children. I’ve got several uncles with polio-related health effects. Its a mere 40 years ago, but yet our population seems to have forgotten what it was like to live with these sourges.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      According to an article in the Washington Monthly, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_02/mississippi_number_one_in_vacc054060.php, Mississippi’s original law had a religious exemption, but that exemption was thrown out by state court decisions. I’ve heard that elsewhere, perhaps in the “Science-Based Medicine” blog, which often has articles on vaccination.

  12. Derek Freyberg
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to see the religious exemption removed along with the “philosophical” one, because I don’t believe that anyone should get a pass on vaccinations and I see no reason to privilege a religious claim.
    However, no major religion disapproves of vaccination. So, if the requirement for the exemption is such that you need your minister/priest/whatever to sign off on the claim to say that it is a mandate of your particular religion not to vaccinate, as opposed to self-certification, claims for exemption should drop dramatically. And I think that such a requirement is constitutionally permissible, otherwise I could just say “the church of Derek (of which I am the sole member) mandates non-vaccination” and do an end-run around the lack of a philosophical exemption.

  13. W.Benson
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    You quote Specter: “[T]he G.M.O. bill, which has enormous popular support, has been widely criticized by scientists—largely because no credible evidence exists suggesting that G.M.O.s are dangerous.” Of course all children, no matter their age, should receive immunizations, and these should be provided free by the state. Public health is as important to a nation as highways and police. However people are [still] allowed to be irrational when it causes no great nuisance and puts no one in immediate danger. If I want to avoid eating G.M.O. foods (or pork products or meat), it is no one’s business but my own. If I get the votes for package labeling, and labeling places no onus on the seller, then package labeling it is. Boardroom and backroom decisions against the popular will are an anathema.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      It does cost the seller significantly to change their packaging, and can be difficult depending on how the product is packaged.

      It can also stop people buying a particular product because of prejudices created by the anti-GMO lobby, which reduces sales and therefore profits and income.

      It’s also possible for a seller to genuinely not know if a product contains GMO ingredients, then later face substantial legal costs, whether or not they are convicted, and the associated reputation damage too, again affecting income.

      There are other issues too, but those are the main ones.

      • Adam M.
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:36 am | Permalink

        As far as I know, claims that changing the label is expensive are false. Packaging design is digital these days so there’s only a relatively small, fixed cost per product to update the design file and send it along with the next batch for manufacturing.

        Companies say they’ll have to use different labels for different states, which complicates product distribution. But there’s an easy way around that: provide the GMO notice even where it’s not legally required. (Of course, they don’t want to do that.)

        Companies that don’t know whether their products contain GMOs and don’t care to find out can always use the catch-all phrase “May contain GMOs.” (Or, if they honestly tried to find out but their supplier lied to them, they shouldn’t bear legal liability.)

        Of course the primary fear, as you mention, is that people will stop buying their products. But it’s hard to have sympathy in general when a company says “If people knew the truth about our products, they wouldn’t buy them. So let’s make sure they don’t find out.” Even when the public concern is significantly due to ignorance, companies that actively fight against transparency by, for instance, bribing congressmen to ban labeling requirements nationwide in spite of the will of the people, further eroding our democracy, lose my support at least.

        Anyway, maximum profit isn’t a right, so I don’t see “it’ll reduce our profit” to be much of an argument against “the majority of the public wants to know”. I suspect food manufacturers would just switch to non-GMO ingredients in many cases, just as they switched (back) to non-hydrogenated oils after trans fat became a public concern and trans fat labeling became a requirement. Most first-world countries (e.g. in Europe and Australia) have GMO restrictions and/or labeling requirements, and it hasn’t been a disaster. Monsanto and Syngenta will be hurt, but they have other products besides GMOs, so I expect they’ll survive…

        • W.Benson
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          Thank you Adam.

  14. Adam M.
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    There are more considerations regarding GMO foods than the health of the people who eat them, so pointing out that GMO foods are safe to eat isn’t much of an argument against labeling.

    Some people don’t like how GMO crops are grown (usually with blanket application of pesticides that have been shown to harm the ecology), some are concerned for the health of farm workers (who may contract terrible diseases due to increased pesticide exposure), and some just don’t want to support Monsanto.

    These people should be given the information needed to decide what they want to buy, and isn’t the theory of capitalism and the free market based on the idea that all parties to a transaction have knowledge of all relevant factors that would affect their decision? Regardless of whether I agree with their reasons, I want people to have the information and I’m suspicious of any company that wants to keep its customers in the dark about its products.

    So I support labeling of GMO foods, although I’d also support an additional statement like the one that accompanies many feel-good product claims, “The FDA has not found any difference in the safety of GMO and non-GMO foods…”, if they wanted to add that.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      But why single out GMOs for such labeling? Or even foods in general? Does a new iPhone come with a complete list of all companies in the supply chain, with information on their overseas labor practices, environmental record, and carbon footprint? I’m guessing it does not. Yet people happily line up around the block for those without a second thought — often the same people whose right to make informed buying decisions about GMOs you’re now defending.

      And it’s not like there’s an information vacuum about GMOs. GMO-free foods are much like organic foods in the sense that if a market exists for them, then producers of such foods have an economic incentive to voluntarily label them as such (and in fact they do). I see no compelling need to shift the burden of labeling onto foods not targeted to that market segment.

      • Adam M.
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        You may well be right about the overlap between people who own iPhones and people who oppose GM foods. If you were wondering why the public is singling GMOs out, I can only speculate. They probably care less about the lives of faraway poor people and the ecologies of foreign countries, see Monsanto as evil, see food as more closely tied to health and are therefore conservative about it, etc.

        I wouldn’t single GMOs out personally. if there was widespread desire for information about production labor conditions to the point where the public was proposing and voting for labeling laws, I’d support those proposals too. Democracy and transparency and all.

        If the information was irrelevant to all rational considerations, I might feel differently, but my main point was that there are decent reasons to oppose GMOs besides fears about consumer safety, so labels aren’t just a concession to anti-scientific views or to mental weakness (thus “trigger warnings”).

      • Adam M.
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        Also, I think your wondering why the burden of changing the label should be on the companies that use GMOs rather than the ones that don’t is reasonable. Partly it’s because labeling proponents don’t like GMOs. But if you’re going to make a labeling law it’s completely normal that the companies taking the action of public concern get the labeling requirement.

        As for why the public is seeking a legal remedy, I’d venture it’s because few companies label their food one way or the other. (“GMO-free” is quite rare compared to “organic” as far as I’ve seen.) Many non-GM foods aren’t even labeled that way for some reason, so the absence of a “GMO-free” label doesn’t imply GMOs. So people not only feel like they’re in the dark, they don’t think companies will ever voluntarily give them the information they want.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          I guess my cynicism leans in the other direction from yours. If GMO-free labeling is less common than organic labeling, it’s probably because there’s less demand for it than anti-GMO activists would have us believe. And perhaps that also tells us something about why those activists seek legal remedies: having failed with the carrot, they now reach for the stick.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        No I won’t, I won’t touch any iCrap with a bargepole. For about the same monopoly-phobic reasons some people won’t touch Monsanto.

        I think the thing is, anyone can research Apple as much as they like, and they’re in no danger of buying an iPhone without knowing exactly where it came from. So I think your example reinforces the case for labelling GMO-sourced food.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 3:06 am | Permalink

          I don’t follow you logic that since supply-chain labeling isn’t needed for Apple products, therefore it is needed for GMO products.

          If people want to boycott Monsanto, fine, but I suggest that broad-brush GMO labeling is the wrong tool for that job. Good actors in the GMO space shouldn’t have to pay for Monsanto’s sins.

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Since Vermont is the least religious state, you would have thought this would have been an ideal opportunity for them to get that through at the same time. Perhaps they didn’t want to risk the change not going through at all? Maybe it’s about the phenomenon of sticking up for your fellow religious, even when you think their beliefs are stupid?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      The optimistic side of me hopes that they are just trying to be practical and get the most bang for their buck with the least resistance possible. I wonder if they got in a room and said, “right, we need to stop these lunatics who won’t vaccinate because they don’t believe in pharmaceuticals. That’s most of the anti-vaxers. We could through in the religious as well but then maybe this thing gets kiboshed and we can’t get as many vaccinations as we’d like”. So they went with the pareto principle and put their money on the 80%.

  16. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Does “philosophical” = woo, in practice? As in New Age, crystal healing, reiki, blah blah blah?


%d bloggers like this: