Vaccines are natural

IMG_2821

Natural parenting advocates in general, and anti-vaxxers in particular, are certain about one thing: if it’s natural it must be nearly perfect.

Breastmilk is “best” because it is naturally made by the human breast.

There is one human organ that does not receive the same respect as all the others: the human brain.

Childbirth pain is good for women because it occurs naturally in labor.

Childbirth itself is inherently safe because women were naturally “designed” to give birth.

Natural immunity is all we need to protect ourselves from disease (despite the fact that reliance on natural immunity leads to countless preventable deaths) simply because it is natural.

If natural is better — and it is always “better” — then the product of the human breast, the workings of the human uterus, and the disease fighting attributes of the human immune system must be superior.

Curiously, there is one human organ that does not receive the same respect as all the others; instead of being lauded, its products are derogates. It’s the human brain.

Despite the fact that the human brain is entirely natural, it’s workings are routinely disparaged as unnatural. This disparagement is particularly ironic when you consider that the human brain is the ultimate human organ.

The brain, more than any other organ, has allowed human beings to survive and thrive in a world where its closest hominid relatives became extinct long ago. Tool making hominids vanquished and/or outlasted all other hominid species. The human brain has allowed us to do something that no other large animal species has ever done: survive and thrive in nearly every earth environment.

Curiously, we do appear to appreciate the workings of the brains of other animals. We marvel that chimps construct tools to dig bugs out of rotting logs; we thrill to video of dolphins that have learned to work together, rounding up fish and herding them toward shore to eventually beach them, making it impossible for the fish to escape and easier for the dolphins to eat them; and we ponder the complex underwater communication of whales. All these are products of the animals’ brains and we don’t accuse those animals of behaving unnaturally when they use their brains to solve problems instead of relying on instinct and other organs.

So why have we created a false dichotomy when it comes to the human body and brain? Why do we venerate breastmilk as the natural product of the human breast, but denigrate infant formula despite the fact that it is the natural product of the human brain? Why do we extoll women who passively accept the pain of labor because it is a natural result of the working of the human uterus, but deride women who use epidurals — a natural product of the human brain — as selfish wimps? Above all, why do the antivaxxers among us extoll the limited virtues of natural immunity, the natural product of the human immune system, and deny the unlimited virtues of vaccines, the product of the natural human brain?

The truth is that vaccines, the fruit of years of scientific inquiry conducted entirely by human brains, are perhaps the paradigmatic example of natural humans doing what they do best — recognizing a problem and then using tools to solve it.

Help me understand, antivaxxers: why you practically worship every organ in the human body for what it was “designed” to do, routinely insisting that the products of each organ system are virtually perfect, yet disparage the natural products of the human brain doing what it was designed to do? When you consider that the human brain is our most distinguishing natural feature, how could one of its most spectacular products, vaccines, be anything other than natural and therefore great?

  • mabelcruet

    A mum is having to cope with anti-vaxxers who are claiming her 7 month old baby died as a result of vaccination. In fact, he died because he got entangled in his blanket. Do anti-vaxxers have no shame at all about hounding parents who lose their baby? Shameful, disgusting bullies.

    https://www.romper.com/p/read-this-moms-response-to-anti-vaxxers-who-blamed-her-sons-death-on-vaccines-68232

  • StephanieJR

    We’re even smart enough to make diseases to destroy other living things, and then a vaccine to protect our pets from it.

    I often think that nature is just science in disguise; I’ve learned the Latin names for things from reading shampoo bottles.

  • Sue

    Not to mention this: the immune response to vaccine antigens that leads to immunity is the same (NATURAL) immune response that leads to immunity if a person survives an infection. Except, with the vaccine, one can develop natural antibodies without having to survive the infection.

    Isn’t science wonderful? Naturally.

  • LaMont

    It’s a key issue with religious thinking – no one can pin down where “leave it to God” ends and “our intervention *is* properly Godly” begins.

    OT: Saw a “only natural doctors can save you from Cipro and antibiotics like it, which has a 100% side effect rate and WILL destroy your body – all MDs want to just pump you with antibiotics that should be last-resorts” post on fb today. 100%? How can anyone believe a 100% stat?? And most of my friends believe this!!

    • mabelcruet

      Not sure if you’re a Daily Mail reader (hopefully not, it being the biggest pile of dross this side of the Atlantic), but the commentators there on any article about patients getting treated for cancer usually blast the medical profession for acting as though they are gods, how dare doctors decide which person gets which treatment and which patients get left to die? Invariably its a case where an individual has been told that further treatment is futile, or that certain treatments aren’t available for a particular condition (like someone with leukaemia isn’t offered radiotherapy). Currently its the Charlie Gard case that everyone is up in arms about-if he had been left to the natural course of his disease, he would have died at a couple months of age when he first required ventilation. But now the courts have ruled ventilation can be withdrawn, the doctors are accused of playing god. If there is a deity, then surely doctors are trying to ameliorate the effects of his creation? The problem is, most Daily Wail readers don’t ever seem to have been taught anything like critical thinking, reasoning or any sort of objective evaluation.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    i don’t really have a problem with the word “natural” to mean anything not man-made. I do have a problem with the assumption that just because it’s man-made it’s automatically bad for you and that stuff we didn’t make is automatically good for us. Sometimes we can even help the natural world with our human interventions, like when we put out bales of hay or troughs of water out for the wild life when the weather’s severe.

  • Roadstergal

    *ovation*

    Humans are masters of using our natural brains to manipulate the natural world to support us. We take entirely natural pathogens and manipulate them slightly to evoke an entirely natural immune response – just without the disease part.

    • J.B.

      I read a book by VS Ramachandran where he starts from current research and speculates as to what led to the leaps from apes to human. And in it, he says that language allowed our species to evolve much more quickly. That we have the benefit of learning from those who have already made discoveries and adapting to the world.