Putting an end to the dreaded HPV...vaccine

Ronald Bailey provides yet another example of how Christians are ruining the world:

A wonderful medical breakthrough was announced last month. A new vaccine against the two types of human papilloma virus (HPV), which are responsible for thousands of cases of cervical cancer each year, has been shown to be 100 percent effective in blocking the virus. Each year more than 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 3,000 die of the disease. The advent of this new vaccine is a public health triumph and should be cause for celebration, right?


Not so fast, say some social and religious conservatives. For instance, Dr. Hal Wallis, head of the abstinence only sex education group the Physicians Consortium is worried that the vaccine might encourage people, especially unmarried teenagers, to be more promiscuous. "We're going to be sending a message to a lot of kids, I think, that you just take this shot and you can be as sexually promiscuous as you want and it's not going to be a problem, and that's just not true," said Dr. Wallis to the conservative religious group Focus on the Family.

There are plenty of totally normal Christians, but this evangelical deep-end branch seems to be cropping up more and more. First, it's Plan B. Now it's this. And of course the scare tactics in sex ed classes in between.

To paraphrase another Christian, the person who wrongs you for his own sake must eventually be satisfied. The person who wrongs you for your own sake will never stop.

Ronald Bailey's (and my) final thoughts:

If a medicine makes it safer to engage in an activity of which some people disapprove, so what? If anyone must be punished for putting his or her genitalia where other people think they shouldn’t, then leave that regulatory decision up to God—or whatever agency is in charge of morals enforcement in the hereafter.
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Have any regulators or

Have any regulators or Congressional officials claimed that this should be clamped down upon? I just see these empty front groups and wonder if it is overblown.

I appreciate the Lewis

I appreciate the Lewis reference, but are you certain you're not misrepresenting Wallis' position? I don't agree with it, yet this is essentially the same as the debate over whether it's good to give condoms to 12-year-olds, and there I wouldn't say Christians are taking us all to hell; sexual activity is a matter of great concern when conducted between people not yet mature enough to cope with and understand it.

Moreover, Willis does seem to appreciate the life-saving potential of this discovery, as evidenced by the quote directly after the passage you cite:

Wallis says the vaccine does hold wonderful promise for those who need it.

"I do think that we need to be selectively offering this to patients who are at high risk for HPV infections, but I'm not sure that we are at a point where we can justify universal applications."

How would you answer Wallis' most likely rejoinder to your argument, namely that for the age-groups involved we should act to discourage sexual intercourse and that universal availability of such a vaccine would work against that goal?

Also, how are all these kids

Also, how are all these kids having sex when I can't even get a date? I want a girl too (preferably with all her super-futuristic anti-STD vaccines of course)!

It's not just Christians who

It's not just Christians who are nanny staters (i.e. controlling people for their own sake), so picking on them when your underlying point is that nanny-statism is bad is, well, curious.

Sex isn't just something that only those damn crazy redneck Christians have trouble with in one or another context. Many parents do not want their children to have sex before the parents consider them ready. Moreover, some of their reasons for being worried are good reasons. Specifically: disease, pregnancy, and emotional repercussions.

Sex, like smoking, is indeed objectively a dangerous activity even though it is pleasurable. It is not merely a question of disapproval, and pretending that it is does not serve one's cause.

Reducing the risks associated with an activity does in fact decrease the incentive to avoid that activity. That is a point that should be considered and answered with countervailing considerations, not sneered at.

"Christians are ruining the world" is similar to "Jews are ruining the world". A phrase probably best avoided, and also a thought probably best thoroughly examined, treated, and discarded. It has become a vogue among intellectuals lately to beat up on Christians. Now we can witness in our own lives what it was like when it was a vogue to beat up (openly) on Jews (now done cryptically). Hopefully this will pass sooner rather than later.

Finally, the two issues (whether the vaccine is on net a force for good or ill, and whether it is right to coerce people for their own good) are separate issues. Even if the vaccine is on the whole a bad thing, it does not follow that freedom should be curtailed.

"If a medicine makes it

"If a medicine makes it safer to engage in an activity of which some people disapprove, so what? If anyone must be punished for putting his or her genitalia where other people think they shouldn’t, then leave that regulatory decision up to God—or whatever agency is in charge of morals enforcement in the hereafter."

Not to agree with them or anything, but I think the counterargument has always been that it corrupts the cultural milieu such that it makes it harder for them to raise children with their moral outlook, hence it does affect them.

The same arguments were used

The same arguments were used against drugs which fought syphilis and other STDs.

Constant,

Reducing the risks associated with an activity does in fact decrease the incentive to avoid that activity.

Do you honestly think that HPV is something on the minds of teenagers? Sorry, but I find such claims to be ludicrous and out of touch with the reality of what teenagers are thinking about.

It has become a vogue among intellectuals lately to beat up on Christians.

I see you are part of the other P.C. crowd. One just can't say negative things about Christians, the United States military, etc. according to that crowd.

Mandos,

...but I think the counterargument has always been that it corrupts the cultural milieu such that it makes it harder for them to raise children with their moral outlook, hence it does affect them.

Even if that is the case, the response should be "tough shit."

Constant, Now we can witness

Constant,

Now we can witness in our own lives what it was like when it was a vogue to beat up (openly) on Jews (now done cryptically).

Yes, I am sure the Christian version of Kristalnacht is right around the corner. That is right after Americans stop electing Christian Presidents, Senators, Representatives, etc. Oh, and right after all those televanglizing shows are taken off the air. Oh and right after I see Jesus oriented products banned from Wal-Mart and Auto Zone. The Christian desire to create a faux-victimology is very amusing. What bugs the crap out of Christians isn't that they are victims of some wicked persecution, its that they don't wholly dominate the culture anymore.

Stefan, "How would you

Stefan,

"How would you answer Wallis’ most likely rejoinder to your argument, namely that for the age-groups involved we should act to discourage sexual intercourse and that universal availability of such a vaccine would work against that goal?"

Why should we act to discourage sexual intercourse? I don't have statistics in front of me, but it seems like most people have sex before Wallis would consider them ready, and further that most of them seem to turn out ok.

If we say sex is dangerous to your physical health, and that's why you shouldn't do it, well that's what the vaccine is for. Now they're getting into the fuzzy realm of mental/emotional health and the realm (which I consider spurious) of spiritual health. As I said, the mental/emotional health aspect seems like an overblown concern, and this leaves regulatories bodies to regulate spiritual health. That could hardly be justified as their task.

Also, Castillon has a good point that there are probably a negligible amount of teenagers concerned about HPV, so the decrease in the incentive to abstain is also probably negligible.

Do you honestly think that

Do you honestly think that HPV is something on the minds of teenagers? Sorry, but I find such claims to be ludicrous and out of touch with the reality of what teenagers are thinking about.

Well you're distorting the issue a bit here. "Putting this on the minds of teenagers" is precisely what you do if you tell them "here's a vaccine for a certain kind of common STD". I suppose the parents could lie about it and say it's for measles or something, but then it would be fraud...

Hmmm...You could raise your

Hmmm...You could raise your daughter to dream big, to have great ambitions about where her life is going to go. You could give her the message that she can do anything she wants- music, sports, college, medical school, law school, the world is totally open to her. And then you could make sure she knows how quickly a teenage pregnancy could end all those dreams. You could teach her self respect and self reliance so she isn't a kid who will do anything and bow to any pressure to feel popular and part of the in crowd. You could give her love and approval, so she doesn't go looking all over for these things, and think she'll find them in sex with another teenager. You could be an open parent, the kind she can talk to about whatever's on her mind, including how she should handle her intimate relationships with boys. People don't think it's true, but you can teach a teenager to look toward the future. But why do all that when you can just give her the message "I think you'll just act like a skank no matter what I say, so I'm going to depend on the fear of incurable STDs to motivate you to keep your legs together!" Do people really think they should offer their daughters nothing but the fear of disease and punishment if they make bad choices? That seems to me like nothing but a sick, defeatist attitude. If that's the best parents can do nowadays, they should stop having kids.

You could raise your

You could raise your daughter to dream big, to have great ambitions about where her life is going to go. You could give her the message that she can do anything she wants- music, sports, college, medical school, law school, the world is totally open to her. And then you could make sure she knows how quickly a teenage pregnancy could end all those dreams.

Or if you're Patri Friedman you could raise your daughter to dream big, have great ambitions, and give her the message that she can have as much sex as she wants so as to maximize utility, which entails wearing condoms, taking the HPV vaccine, and perhaps having as many sex partners as possible. I guess that's looking toward the future too, sort of.

Stefan, I'm not distorting

Stefan,

I'm not distorting anything. If you think that a shot taken in youth is going to change the entire attitude a person then you are smoking better weed than me. Oh yes, the vacinations one has in youth are always on one's mind! Shit, most people don't remember to up their tetanus booster every ten years. Have you done so? When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

_________________________________

Christians (and other religious groups) have obsessed about the gentalia of women for time immemorial. Its not surprising that they would do so here. This is after all the smae religion that spawned such virulent mysogynists as St. Jerome.

Stefan, Given that I can

Stefan,

Given that I can fairly well predict what your values are, all I can say is this. I don't give a flying fuck what your values are, just keep your grubby, dirty paws off me.

Given that I can fairly well

Given that I can fairly well predict what your values are, all I can say is this. I don’t give a flying fuck what your values are, just keep your grubby, dirty paws off me.

Actually you'll notice that at the start I mentioned I didn't agree with Wallis' position. Ever heard of playing devil's advocate Castillon? Given that YOUR values include not reading other people's words very carefully, I think we can safely conclude the debate. :juggle:

Stefan, Actually you’ll

Stefan,

Actually you’ll notice that at the start I mentioned I didn’t agree with Wallis’ position.

Which of course is not a predictor of your values.

...I think we can safely conclude the debate.

Only if the only point of contention are your particular values. Nice see your effort to elide past my other comments though. :deal:

Stefan, I supposed he could

Stefan,
I supposed he could teach his daughter that, if he's so inclined. In my opinion, it's a sight better than figuring that if he just makes sure she's both afraid of STDs and unprotected from them, his job as a parent is finished.

Nice see your effort to

Nice see your effort to elide past my other comments though.

Could you be more specific? I find your confused invective difficult enough to follow as it is; perhaps you mean this one?

I’m not distorting anything. If you think that a shot taken in youth is going to change the entire attitude a person then you are smoking better weed than me. Oh yes, the vacinations one has in youth are always on one’s mind! Shit, most people don’t remember to up their tetanus booster every ten years. Have you done so? When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

Ah, well you certainly have a point if the vaccine is indeed taken "in youth" (maybe as a small child?). The same problems that arise with condom usage come up here however if young teenagers are the ones receiving it. I personally think it doesn't matter, since teenagers under a libertarian system should be able to declare themselves to be adults when they are mature enough to live on their own, and then they can choose to get the vaccine for themselves if their parents hadn't. However every now and then I get a desire to feed the trolls, especially the prejudiced ones, so I guess here we are. :stupid:

Yes, I am sure the Christian

Yes, I am sure the Christian version of Kristalnacht is right around the corner.

Well, in the United States we are very far from a Jewish version of the (German) Kristalnacht, but that doesn't make it any better to go on about how the Jews are ruining the world. It's not the physical danger to Jews that is the main problem with blaming trouble on the Jews - it's the mental deficiency of the speaker that it displays, that is the main problem. It's mainly embarrassing, and probably worth cutting out of your own discourse, if you have self-respect.

As for danger, in some parts of the world Christians do face real dangers, as do Jews.

Stefan, Could you be more

Stefan,

Could you be more specific?

Quit being wilfully obtuse.

Ah, well you certainly have a point if the vaccine is indeed taken “in youth” (maybe as a small child?).

Well, duh. When do you think most vaccines are given? :lol:

Constant,

Get used to it. Many Christians are indeed ruining the world.

BTW, I suspect if I wrote "Socialists are ruining the world" you'd have no problem with that statement. So why the distinction? Because there are certain collectivist, anti-individual groups you perfer over other collectivist, anti-individual groups.

As for danger, in some parts of the world Christians do face real dangers, as do Jews.

I'm more worried about my own atheist skin right here in the USA. Then again, I have to be; religionists have a penchant for burning atheists at the stake.

A short history of cervical

A short history of cervical cancer:
It used to be one of the No 1 causes of gynecological cancer deaths. What happened was that the cancer virus was contracted at an early age by sexual intercourse. About 70% 0f college girls have HPV. (Diagnosed by PAP smear in 1970’s studies) Most women by virtue of their immune system, exposure to benign, virotypes or pure dumb luck, revert to normal by middle age. A few unlucky women, usually promiscuous ones with early and often sexual exposure, go on to develop invasive cancer by age 35 to 55. The cancer eventually forms a rock hard mass in the pelvis which surrounds the ureters, cutting off urine flow and causing death by kidney failure.
A big part of gynecological practice is devoted to preventing cervical cancer deaths. That is why yearly PAP smears are recommended. It works almost 100% of the time when done in the recommended manner. This all leads to a fairly large number of medico/societal/ legal/governmental issues.
This new vaccine would do the same thing for cervical cancer as polio vaccine did for polio, if it really works. The difference is that it would 1.) Save the lives of sinful hussies instead of children, 2.) Not do anything that is not already possible with less advanced technology and 3.) The population which would benefit most would most likely be the same ones too ignorant, uncaring or poor to get the regular PAP smears, which are capable producing the same life saving results. Thus, if instituted the vaccine would probably not make any radical change in cervical cancer deaths.
Denying people vaccine for HPV in order to inhibit sex by making it scarier makes about as much sense as removing seatbelts from cars to keep people from speeding.

I’m more worried about my

I’m more worried about my own atheist skin right here in the USA. Then again, I have to be; religionists have a penchant for burning atheists at the stake.

Just how wild does your rhetoric get? :sweat: