Sunday, January 17, 2010

HPV Vaccine

I've been able to resist the temptation to comment on the HPV vaccine controversy before, but this provocative piece from Science Daily is really too much.
"individuals who have cultural values that favor authority and individualism perceive the vaccine as risky, in part because they believe it will lead girls to engage in unsafe sex. But individuals with cultural values that favor gender equality and pro-community/government involvement in basic health care are more likely to see the vaccine as low risk and high benefit."
There is so much in there, I don't know where to start!
  1. Aren't "favor authority" and "individualism" (rebels) opposites? Although, this does sum up Republicans pretty well
  2. As I've discussed previously "Gender equality" is actually demeaning to women, note the positive connotations for liberals and Democrats ("pro-government")
"When views about HPV vaccines came from sources respondents believed shared their values, individuals tended to be more willing to accept the information. But when it came from an expert whom they perceived held values different from theirs, the information was not accepted. In the first instance, respondents perceived the experts to have cultural credibility and trustworthiness, but when respondent values differed from the experts, the experts were perceived to lack cultural credibility."
This reflects the fallacy of an "appeal to authority" (ironically). An expert should be believed because they are an expert.

It ignores theology entirely.

That is, if someone shares my values, it is likely due to shared theology (truth). If someone rejects my values and adopts opposite ones, again, that is revealing their theology (which is against truth).

If someone who does not know truth says something I know to be false, I'm not going to be impressed. If someone who claims to know the truth disagrees with me, I can at least consider it.

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