Friday, January 23, 2015

Truth...or Consequences

In the early days of television, there was a popular show called Truth or Consequences.  It was so popular that a town in New Mexico, originally called Hot Springs, changed its name to Truth or Consequences in response to the television show host's offer to air the program from the first town that renamed itself.  

Maybe that fast change of reality was a harbinger of ways in which truth...or consequences (for lack of truth)...would be adjusted in the times ahead.

Recently, the so-called Doomsday clock was readjusted to move the number of minutes to midnight at 3 minutes to midnight.  This "clock" was the product of the scientists on the Manhattan Project as a graphic way to demonstrate how close the earth is to self-destruction.  During its existence, the Doomsday clock has been readjusted 18 times.  Mostly, the clock has been used to indicate the possibility of earth's destruction due to nuclear proliferation.

No doubt the immense over-supply of nuclear weapons still threatens our existence, but this most readjustment included another threat to our planet--"unchecked climate change."

Truth...or consequences...BIG TIME.

Stephen Colbert introduced us to the concept of "truthiness"--which is in HUGE supply today.  In Colbert's brilliance, he staked out ground that it is his right to say what is true because "I don't trust books; they're all fact and no heart."  **

With the recent national election in the U.S., the Senate is now in control with the Republican majority.  That means committee chairs have changed--and the new chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is Senator James Inhofe.  As recently as 2012, Inhofe argued, citing Genesis 8:22, that “God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

I don't even know where to begin with that kind of reasoning.  It is indeed frightening that an elected official who has a major say in what the U.S. policy is in relation to controlling the negative effects of climate change can decide that we don't need to change because whatever is happening with the climate is God's doing.  

In other news, we are experiencing another example of "Truth or Consequences." After years of decline due to near universal immunization against measles, the U.S. is experiencing a startling resurgence of this disease.  The initial outbreak has been pinned to Disneyland where many people intermingle, and measles--a HIGHLY contagious disease--has spread through workers and visitors there. In turn, these people have infected other people, so that now an epidemic of measles is emerging.

Who are the people GETTING measles?--those who are under-immunized or NOT immunized. The main contributor to this outbreak are parents who refuse to have their children immunized. They have decided, using "truthiness", that--even though the facts are that immunizations save lives and immunizations do NOT cause autism--it is their right as parents to deny their children the protection of immunization.  They base their decision, in part, on a doctor from England who in 1998 published a paper that claimed to link the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine with autism.  Since that paper was published, we have learned that the doctor MADE UP his data, and he was a complete fraud.

(Source of Graphic:

So now children suffer, and could die, because someone made up his own facts and asserted a relationship where none existed.

The saddest part of this tendency in humans--to make up their own facts or to deny facts that they wish not to acknowledge--is that SOMEONE suffers.  Children who get measles suffer, people living in areas threatened by rising sea levels suffer, animals faced with loss of habitat and extinction suffer.

It is time to face TRUTH...or suffer the CONSEQUENCES.
** I was tempted to comment on how Fox News has changed people's perception of know, make the charge and find the facts (if they exist) later...but that's for another time in this blog.


Anvilcloud said...

It infuriates me, both the climate change part and the vaccination part. People make up their minds based on what just kinda, y'know, sorta like just feels right or fits with their prejudices. Argh! You got me going. Curses.

Ginnie said...

Once again you have written so well about a subject that leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.
Thank you !!

Ruth said...

I love the word "truthism". There is so much of it that truth is hard to discern especially in the internet age. Truthisms are used on both sides of the climate change debate and while I agree that humans are contributing to climate change, the degree of change is uncertain.
I agree with vaccination against some diseases and our children were vaccinated, but don't ask me to take a flu shot. And the chickenpox vaccine is likely causing a rise in the number of adult shingles cases (those are discussions for another time!)

KGMom said...

AC--Sorry to get you going. I know you have written about this on Facebook expressing your puzzlement (putting it mildly).

Ginnie--thanks for your kind words.
I too shake my head in disbelief.

Ruth--I checked the U.S. CDC website. They acknowledge that the chickenpox vaccine could activate shingles: but they go on to say--"However, the risk of getting shingles from vaccine-strain VZV after chickenpox vaccination is much lower than getting shingles after natural infection with wild-type VZV."
I have had the shingles I trust I am protected.

Ruth said...

That wasn't my angle at all but it is complex to explain here. Since children are not getting chickenpox, adults are not getting a "booster" naturally and shingles cases in adults are increasing. Here is an interesting look at the effectiveness of the shingles vaccine.
Unfortunately there seldom full disclosure of effectiveness and side effects of drugs and some vaccines, especially in the elderly (I am not discouraging MMR and polio vaccines for children)

NCmountainwoman said...

I am so with you on all this. And it makes me depressed. As the old song goes, "when will they ever learn?"