Public health can involve complicated issues, and we want to get our facts from reliable sources. Are we listening to one sided views using unsubstantiated data in a grossly distorting way, including never presenting the other side in an objective manner?
Common Errors Of Natural Hygienists - 5|
by Paul A. Goldberg, M.P.H., D.C. D.A.C.B.N.
Error #5: Misusing Statistics to Support Our Beliefs: Using Facts to Fit Our Fancy
It is critical to make sure that we interpret and present information accuratly. It is always easy to manipulate the facts to fit our fancy and our beliefs. This is always wrong no matter how fervent and sincere our beliefs may be.
For 23 years while teaching at Life Chiropractic College I heard an endless tirade against vaccinations and I do mean endless. I heard so many gross exaggerations from the administration and faculty, so much made up propaganda, so many half truths, so many unsubstantiated claims as to make me nauseated. This was not an issue of whether vaccinations were "good" or "bad" this was simply a case of people (including teachers ) presenting one sided views using unsubstantiated data and then grossly distorting it... never presenting the other side in an objective manner. One Chiropractor there even went so far as to say, before a large audience of students, that he "had searched the entire medical field and that there was not one study that showed any evidence that any vaccine had ever worked". Well that is certainly a crock as any thinking person knows. (Both sides in the debate, by the way, throw around associations as if they were causal links)
Bottom line: We want to encourage people how to think rather than what to think. We do not want to present issues in a black and white way i.e. something is all good or all bad. The vaccination issue is a perfect example of where people arrive at the conclusions they want to believe and then look for and manipulate data to support their conclusions. THIS IS DONE BY BOTH "SIDES".
Let us be very careful about this for we want the figures to support the facts and the facts to support the figures. No spurious conclusions...no half baked truths...no presenting of associations as causal relationships. Even handedness. We don't want to be guilty of the very things we so often accuse medicine and establishment science of doing.
By the way, most of the issues about vaccines have been about poor quality vaccines, i.e. sub-standard materials formulated in sub-standard ways given in sub-standard fashion. There is plenty to support this. It should not, however, be confused with the concept of vaccines as an entity. The other major flaw is that public health advances in water and food purity accompanied the drop in many of the major diseases that vaccinations were given credit for. The extent to which these played a role in the dramatic drop of polio for example is still a question.
I got to the point where I refused to tell students what to do about taking vaccines. Rather I told them to study all sides of the issues carefully and come to their own conclusions and not allow anyone from any side to tell them what they had to do. It was a personal decision. It (like most issues) is also one that involves a number of components including where one lives, the public health in the area, ones state of resistance and which particular vaccine(s) we are talking about.
Health...Public Health particularly, involves some complex issues. As Hygienists we want to learn the facts from reliable sources (including of course our own observations) and base our opinions and actions upon them and not the other way around.
Click here for an example
Also, check out these: Websites on vaccinations
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Paul A. Goldberg, M.P.H., D.C., D.A.C.B.N. is a co-founder of the International Natural Hygiene Society, a Certified Hygienic Practitioner, Clinical Epidemiologist, and Director of The Goldberg Clinics in Atlanta, Georgia and West Palm Beach, Florida. His website can be found at www.goldbergclinic.com