Consider two people circumnavigating the globe at the equator from the same starting point but moving in opposite directions; the two points furthest apart converge at the end where the journey began; so too here with anti-science zealotry on left and right: They merge together in a bond of extremism. Nowhere can this circle of delusion be seen better than with the emergence of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that can cause devastating brain damage in newborns.
How can we explain this disconnect between life on the screen and on the street? This is not a trivial question. The techniques of science have been instrumental in raising the standard of living of billions, yet disdain for science and scientists, especially when incorporated into political movements, threatens scientific funding, progress and a rational approach to decision making on critical issues.
So, how do we know the new shot will protect against the year's new strains? Every year, a panel of experts uses surveillance information to predict the dominant strains in the upcoming flu season. This process has been very successful, with the flu shot matching the dominant strain almost every season since 1995 (
In the Republican debate last Wednesday, the two doctors on the stage dangerously hedged on vaccinations. Ben Carson and Rand Paul could have just said, "Get your kid vaccinated, it's important," and left it at that. Instead they pandered to the crowd. In doing so they violated their moral commitment.