Wednesday, 12 January 2011

swine flu vaccine

It's heartbreaking to see the mother talking about her three year old daughter who died because of swine flu, and she was not vaccinated because (despite being a young child) she was healthy before. the vaccine is worth a few pounds, and to the mother what it means is that her child isn't worth the government a few pounds to save her.

it is such a dilemma that it really isn't a few pounds, it could be a few million pounds the government has to spend to save the child. if the policy is such that all under five's should be vaccinated regardless they have underlying health problems or not, most of the few-pounds would have been spent on children who wouldn't have got the flu, and those who would get the flu would survive just like any other flu anyway.

a government just has to do what it thinks is best for most people, but who is there to explain to the sad mother all these, who can tell her that her child just isn't worth the money? is this another argument that when things grow too big, it's not good?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The hardest words to say

Jack Straw (former home secretary of Britain) was very brave today to publically say that one of the factors that contribute to the recent cases of young Pakastani men hunting for young white girls as easy target for sex is a cultural one. apparently it angered a lot of the Pakastani comunities, and BBC interviewed one of leaders, one of the very first things he said was "it's got nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with culture." and the rest of what he said is just mumblings that it is not possible to remember.

No one said that it's got anything to do with Islam, but if you insist on drawing attention to Islam whenever an observation is made about anything you somehow feel obliged to reply to, you're going to make matter worse.

jack straw was brave because he said something that he knew is going to make the illogical react, someple say that he has his own political agenda which is why he said what he said, I have no comment on that and I am going to take what he said in its face value, it serves to illustrate a problem.

when any issue becomes sensitive - most of the time either because people just feel very strongly about it in the case of religion, or for historical reasons where huge number of victims are involved such as eugenics - it is impossible to have a sensible and logical debate about it. people hear the word eugenics, before their brain even registers what it is, they shut down, reject it, and incapable of saying why apart from pointing out that Hitler tried and millions were killed. when people are told that religions fundamentally cause conflicts, especially if you're the evangelical kind, they shut down, reject the accusation, this time avoiding any mention of the billions and trillions killed, and again fail to give reasons for why they believe in what they believe.

as a side note, I do think that if genes (the dna that define us physically) and memes (the same thing but mentally) can be talked of in the same way - both work on fittest survive - religions are just a form of eugenics, but they work on a memetic level rather than a genetic level. instead of getting rid of those do not have a certain physical characteristics in the case of eugenics, religions get rid of, those believes that don't have certain characteristics. seeing it this way makes it clear that religions are thousand times worse than eugenics in terms of number of people killed (if that's the way some people like to measure things).

be brave