Time to give up the PJs

If you’re an adult, I think it’s officially time to abandon the idea of wearing pajamas in public. It’s not too much effort to put on some goddamn pants. Show the world you care at least a little bit. Here’s a convenient hierarchy in case you’re confused:

Jeans/Slacks: Hello! I’m a productive member of society!

Yoga pants: Hello! I’m a girl who forgot to do laundry!

Sweat pants: Hello! I’m a man who forgot to do laundry!

Pajamas: Meh. Fuck it. I give up.

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Hunting culture

This is a subject that I’ve wanted to touch upon for awhile. First, I’d like to make something abundantly clear: I am not against eating meat and I am not against killing animals in order to eat them. That’s the way nature intended it. Animals wouldn’t hesitate to eat us. But I think that there’s a definite and distinct difference between hunting culture and hunting in its purest form.

Look, if you hunt to put food on the table, great. I wouldn’t blame you nowadays with all the crap that they pump into a lot of livestock raised for the purpose of consumption. And I especially wouldn’t blame you if you lived in northern Canada about 100 miles from the nearest grocery store, and hunting is your only way of surviving during the winter.

But if you’re a weekend suburban hunter who has a lifted truck and wears camouflage to restaurants and banks, I’ve got an issue. People who belong to this group are usually representative of what I call “hunting culture.” To them, hunting isn’t a way to provide a family with food. It’s a weekend excursion simply to kill things. It’s a competition to see who can kill the biggest and most, who has the most antlers on the walls. Assholes in this category usually have bumper stickers like this plastered all over their pickup:

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This kind of hypermasculine drivel is typical of this group of people. These are the kind of people who usually argue that hunting is a sport. It’s not a sport. There’s nothing competitive about it. Unless you’re giving the deer guns, I’d say there’s absolutely nothing noble or sporting about sitting up in a tree and shooting a creature that has no idea you’re there from 200 yards. The ultimate problem with this attitude is that it equates being a man with killing something.

I know that animals aren’t people and nature is nature, but you shouldn’t ever take joy or pride in killing something, even if it’s a bird or a deer. It’s a necessary action to kill to eat, but it feels a little perverse to derive joy or satisfaction from killing something else. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

I know that there are a lot of hunters who take great effort to make sure that the animals they kill aren’t wasted and only take the life of an animal to eat. There’s a respect for nature and gratitude behind it all. However, I also know that there are people who just like to get drunk and kill things, or for whom the murdering of another creature is some sort of rite of passage to manhood. Which is absolutely ridiculous.

The whole thing seems a little stalker-ish to me, and definitely more than a little off. It seems like all I’ve ever heard when it comes to animals and human psychology is that people who torture animals as children usually grow up to be sociopaths. Or maybe they just grow up to be voyeuristic sociopaths in duck blinds with shotguns, deriving some weird satisfaction from killing from far.

Refuting anti-vaccine arguments

Well folks, here we are again, talking about vaccines. You’d think that this wouldn’t have to be a conversation we still have in the 21st century, but…diseases that were hitherto on the rapid decline are now making a rapid comeback. Undoubtedly, most people have heard about the measles outbreak in Disneyland. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Certainly, it’s a large incident. But by and large things like this are becoming more frequent. Of course, there’s an easy way to fix this problem.

Vaccination.

In the last twenty or so years, somehow vaccination went from well established science and life-saving medicine to the pariah of medical advancement and technology. This is, of course, due in large part to the completely fabricated study produced by Andrew Wakefield about how the MMR vaccine causes autism. This isn’t the only reason people decide not to vaccinate their children, though, and since my job is vaccinating people, I figured I would take the time to actually read some anti-vaccine arguments. So I googled “reasons not to vaccinate children” and vactruth.com was one of the first sites to pop up, and they have an article giving 10 reasons why people should not vaccinate their children.

I thought I would take the time to go through each of the points that the website alleges, and talk about what we actually know. Get your hip waders ready, everyone…

1. Vaccines have never been proven safe or effective. Biggest line of BS? This quote: “Effectiveness cannot be determined unless one is then knowingly exposed to the disease entity following vaccination.”

Okay, I’ve been over this before. Absolutely zero medications are completely safe. There’s no point in just singling out vaccines. Every single drug available (including “natural” ones, btw) has the potential to cause a deadly allergic reaction in a certain statistical portion of a population. Okay? Get that? So what’s the argument, then? That nobody should ever receive any medication, ever, for any reason, because of potential adverse effects? Well that’s clearly bullshit. Just ask the myriad of people who died of curable infections before the advent of antibiotics.

Now, let’s address that stupid line about efficacy. First of all, I don’t know how the people who wrote this think that germs work, but they don’t just magically disappear. You’re exposed to them all the time. Hell, I’ve probably been exposed to whooping cough a bazillion times. I’ve never caught it, though, because–surprise!–I’m vaccinated against it! When a disease is prevalent in a population and you first introduce a vaccine, people are still going to be exposed to the disease (at least until a high enough number of people are vaccinated that the disease can no longer reproduce and spread).

But there’s another, way more obvious way to determine whether vaccines are effective or not: look at how many people got the disease before and after the vaccine. Duh. This is so stunningly basic, I have to question the sanity of the people who wrote this drivel. Take a look at this:

Science, aka fact
Science, aka fact

And if you still don’t believe that, there’s the small fact that goddamn polio doesn’t even exist anymore.

2. Vaccines do NOT work. Biggest lines of BS: “Vaccines, with all of their toxins and their unnatural way of introducing disease directly into one’s blood stream, decrease cellular immunity, which is more critical for one’s immune system.” and “When there are outbreaks of disease, unvaccinated children are often blamed. Whenever the outbreaks are examined more closely, the data show that the majority of those suffering have been vaccinated for the disease.”

A lot of the information I gave from the first point could be used to refute this one as well. So let’s just focus on the two quotes. “Unnatural way of introducing disease directly into the bloodstream.” Sigh. All disease ends up directly in the bloodstream. If you think that your body cares whether it got in through a cut or through your nose or through a needle, you’re wrong. What constitutes “natural” is purely subjective and in this case extremely misleading.

“Unvaccinated children are often blamed. Whenever outbreaks are examined more closely, the data show that the majority of those suffering have been vaccinated.” The principle of antibiotic mutation is a good example of what’s going on here. There’s a reason why medical providers tell you to take all your meds even if you start to feel better: because if you don’t, the surviving germs will multiply. Why is that a problem? Because they survived in the first place, meaning the drugs are less effective against them. So if those survive and mutate, you get superbugs that are resistant to drugs.

The key here is mutation. All organisms, including disease-causing microorganisms, are subject to the forces of evolution. They change. Furthermore, there are different strains of certain bugs. That’s why you need a flu shot every year: because there are a gazillion different strains and they all mutate VERY rapidly. That’s also why sometimes the flu shot is less effective: we can only take an educated guess at which particular strains are going to be problematic the following year, and sometimes the flu virus mutates faster than anticipated. But what does this have to do with vaccinated children and outbreaks?

Well, not so surprisingly, vaccines are subject to the same effect that antibiotics are. Unvaccinated or undervaccinated children are little incubators where the pathogen can grow–and mutate. In a vaccinated child, most of the time the pathogen will be killed before it can mutate. But in a child who isn’t immune, it gets a chance to mutate and change. And unfortunately, most kids aren’t raised in complete and sterile isolation during the course of any illness, which means that even if your child gets over it and develops immunity, he or she still spread those possibly mutated germs to other kids. The more that diseases are allowed to mutate and spread around, the more likely we are to see ones that are resistant to immunizations. So please, vaccinate your children.

3. The very first vaccine was a disaster. Biggest line of BS: “Vaccine safety and effectiveness is a created myth, strongly embedded in Americans’ psyche and reinforced by the health care system.”

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And here we go with the conspiracy theories. Didn’t take very long for the full crazy to come out. Here’s all you need to know about the “myth” of vaccine effectiveness:

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If these data are mythological, then please explain to me why I don’t know anyone who suffers from polio. Because that used to be pretty fucking common back in the day. Even one of our president’s had polio, for crying out loud. And yet, you can go anywhere in this country, and nobody has fucking polio. You know why? Because vaccines work. Oh, the very first vaccine didn’t work very well? Well thanks to something called “science” they work pretty damn well now. The first airplane only flew for, like, 104 feet barely off the ground. Now you watch a movie at 35,000 ft while flying at 600 mph. Science. It improves things. And it works.

4. Vaccines are highly profitable for pharmaceutical companies and the health care industry. Biggest line of BS: “Strong financial incentives exist to continue this practice, not effectiveness.”

You need only an elementary school education to see that this is clearly a steaming pile of bullshit. Vaccines are not a cash cow for anyone. Certainly not for the pharmaceutical companies. You’re vaccinated and then immune for life. How is lifelong immunity profitable? It’s not. The drug companies would make waaaaay more money if they didn’t vaccinate you and then just let you get sick over and over and over, and then sold you drugs that treated the symptoms but didn’t prevent the disease or its recurrence. By vaccinating you, pharmaceutical companies are basically ensuring that you’ll never need to buy that product again. 

And it sure as hell isn’t profitable for the healthcare system either, for much the same reasons. I work for a health department, and it’s illegal to turn away children who can’t pay for vaccines. Even if they came in and racked up a $500 bill and couldn’t even pay a single cent, we have to vaccinate them. That’s the opposite of highly profitable.

5. All vaccines contain a number of toxic poisons and chemicals that are linked to serious neurological damage including aluminum, thimerosal (methyl mercury), antibiotics, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and formaldehyde.

Ah, mercury. This is certainly an argument that you hear a lot when it comes to vaccines. There is more mercury in fish in their is an vaccines. And mind you, you only get vaccines once in your life. If you ate fish your entire life, you’d be exposed to tons of mercury. So are these people also willing to boycott fish? I doubt it. I mean, look at this:

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There are now certain breeds of fish that are so full of mercury that they’re toxic to pregnant women, and we tell people to NEVER eat them. That’s pretty bad. And formaldehyde? Did you know that our own bodies naturally produce small amounts of formaldehyde? dun Dun DUN!

6. Every study comparing unvaccinated to vaccinated children demonstrates that unvaccinated children enjoy far superior health.

What study? There are no studies linked or provided here. This is an unsubstantiated claim at best and an outright lie at worst.

7. Vaccines cause a host of “chronic, incurable, and life threatening diseases,” including autism, asthma, ADHD, auto-immune disorders, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, food allergies and brain damage. [1]

A citation!

…which takes you to another anti-vaccine website’s homepage, and not specific evidence for this claim. Gee, the people at this other anti-vaccine website just happen to have information that the original site agrees with. What a coincidence! Again, no proof of these things whatsoever. Like the MMR-autism link that was completely and totally fabricated and later retracted.

8. The only way to create true life-long immunity to a disease is through natural exposure to the disease in which the body creates true antibodies and immunity on many levels.

Just what the hell is a “true” antibody? We’ll never know, because there is no information provided. Of course, in real life, the body doesn’t make “fake” antibodies. And again, all the numbers showing the rapid decline of disease incidence after vaccines are introduced and the fact that multiple diseases like polio and small pox have been eradicated from the face of the earth would seem to prove otherwise.

9. Vaccines kill infants, children and adults. Biggest line of BS: “Strong evidence links vaccines to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). [2]”

Again, I wouldn’t say that this isn’t possible. Anyone who is receiving vaccines for the first time could have a deadly allergic reaction. But that’s an incredibly small number of people. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

Oh, and that second citation? http://vactruth.com/2012/11/08/brainwashed-police-ignore-vaccine-injuries/

Yeah, they cited themselves in this article. The paragon of science and knowledge here…

10. If you or a loved one suffers from a vaccine injury, pharmaceutical companies and physicians hold no medical liability.

This point mentions the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. They talk about it as if it’s some evil thing. Yes, it limits medical provider liability (which is another issue altogether and a large part of why the cost of healthcare is so high in this country). But it’s not evil, and it also protects consumers and patients.

For example, it legally mandates that all medical providers report adverse vaccine reactions. It also sets up a payout system for people who are injured by vaccines. Which, again, can happen with ANY medication. It also mandates that information on each vaccine–including risks and side effects–be given at each visit.

So far from being evil, you’re actually given MORE information as a consumer thanks to this law.


It seems like a lot of the arguments that we hear against vaccines stem from what’s “natural” and what isn’t. Look, I wouldn’t argue that natural immunity isn’t good and in some cases may even be better than avaccine. But as a parents, why gamble with your child’s life? We’re not talking about the common cold here. We’re talking about meningitis. And polio. And a whole host of other diseases that are either deadly or incurable.

Sure, your child might gain natural immunity against some of the diseases that we vaccinate against. But then again they may not–they may die or suffer permanent injury. So how would you know? You wouldn’t. Unless you can magically peer into your child’s body and evaluate their genetics and their immune system, there’s no way to know whether or not your child would survive being infected by a disease or whether they’d fight it off. Or whether the kid next door could fight it off.

And that more than anything upsets me the most about this argument. It’s not just about your kids. It’s about ALL the kids. Your reckless decisions could harm or kill other susceptible children. Children with weakened or compromised immune systems, children who couldn’t get vaccinated because of known allergies to vaccine ingredients (like yeast or gelatin). Aside from being a stupid decision, not vaccinating your children is also an inherently selfish one as well.

Does the bible prove that the universe is a simulation?

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The idea that the universe is essentially one big simulation is an interesting topic in science right now. Believe it or not, the idea has a lot of credibility as far as the scientific community is concerned. There is legitimate research being done right now that explores this idea.

The basic idea is that the universe and everything in it–including our very lives and “existence”–don’t amount to anything more than a very sophisticated (and possibly self aware) computer program. Whether that means your actions and knowledge are being actively programmed by some external force in real time or whether the program itself is sentient, our lives would basically be like The SIMS. Everything we know, do and feel is stored in a computer somewhere. Perhaps as an experiment of some kind for beings in the “real” world. Or perhaps, much like The SIMS, as a form of entertainment.

Either way, scientists now believe they know what they should look for in order to determine if our entire universe is a simulation or not. If the universe really were nothing more than a computer program, then it should have a basic unit. Much like a bit or byte in our own technology. There should be a fundamental beyond which nothing exists. Scientists also predict that as the program is updated or expanded, we would see fluctuations in values heretofore considered “absolute.” There are some interesting experiments going on to determine whether cosmic rays are uniform (the universe is real) or whether they’re irregular (the universe is a computer program). I’ll admit I don’t know much about these ideas as it stands because I haven’t had a chance to read up on a lot of it.

But I was discussing this idea with a friend, and I had several thoughts that pertained to a simulated universe and the Christian bible. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “Wow. Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if the bible ended up proving that the universe is a giant computer program?” The thought was something I found humorous yet compelling. But what could we take from the bible as potential proof that the universe is simply a computer program and us along with it?

You have to start at the beginning, in this case with Genesis. There is a particular passage in Genesis that has always bugged me and scholars alike.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

First, let’s talk about “us” and “our.” Why the plural? The rest of Genesis is written in the singular from God’s perspective expect for this one part. But it makes sense if you think about it as a team of programmers. The “in our own image” part also makes sense if you think about a team of programmers creating our universe. Think about the popular computer game The SIMS. They’re created in our own image to essentially act out daily life. Perhaps so it also is with the people who programmed our universe. In fact, the entire book of Genesis reads like a programming manual–it builds from the most basic to the most complex.

Okay, now let’s talk about something else about the bible that bugs non-believers. Again, this goes back to Genesis, specifically the parts that trace the lineage of Adam and Eve. You know, the parts that talk about how everyone lived for like 600, even 900 years. That’s ridiculous, people say. How could people have lived for so long back then? Even with the most advanced medical technology today, people are lucky to live to 100 if not 80. So how could people in the bible live 10, 11, 12 times longer?

Well, it actually makes sense with you think about the universe as a giant computer program. And it all has to do with processing power and memory. If the universe really is a sophisticated computer simulation, then whatever machine is running the simulation can only have so much memory and it can only have so much processing speed. In order to record everything and every experience for a single individual, as well as handle their actions, the system would need to dedicate a certain portion of its memory and processing power to that individual. The more individuals there are, the more memory and processing power is going to be used up. Eventually, in order to keep the system running, people would have to be “deleted” (dead) in order to free up more space and processing. Or their lifespans would have to be shortened to accommodate more individuals. So, to summarize: Adam and his early progeny lived so much longer because there were fewer of them and fewer experiences in the universe at that point, which meant there was ample memory and processing power to generate longer lifespans. As they grew and created and learned and reproduced, more memory and processing power was needed, so lifespans got shorter and shorter.

And voila. The bible just proved that the universe isn’t real, and neither is God (at least in the Christian sense).