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« Dr. Paul Offit's Vaccine Info Webinar "Communicating Good Science Under a Cloud of Doubt" | Main | La Junta Médica »

Paul Offit’s 10,000 Vaccines and the Milgram Experiment

Obedience By John Stone
 
Question: "How many vaccines is it safe for a pediatrician to give a two month old infant?" 
Answer: "It depends how much they are getting paid."
 An old joke

The Milgram experiment has long passed into modern folklore. In 1961 a 28 year-old psychologist at Yale, Stanley Milgram, devised an experiment to test the preparedness of ordinary citizens to co-operate in performing inhuman acts.
In the experiment volunteers were induced (as they believed at the time) into subjecting another party to ever larger doses of electricity:

“The subjects believed they were part of an experiment supposedly dealing with the relationship between punishment and learning. An experimenter—who used no coercive powers beyond a stern aura of mechanical and vacant-eyed efficiency—instructed participants to shock a learner by pressing a lever on a machine each time the learner made a mistake on a word-matching task. Each subsequent error led to an increase in the intensity of the shock in 15-volt increments, from 15 to 450 volts.

“In actuality, the shock box was a well-crafted prop and the learner an actor who did not actually get shocked. The result: A majority of the subjects continued to obey to the end—believing they were delivering 450 volt shocks—simply because the experimenter commanded them to. Although subjects were told about the deception afterward, the experience was a very real and powerful one for them during the laboratory hour itself
.” (See Psychology Today HERE)

65% of participants complied with the experiment to the bitter end. Milgram subsequently explained the experiment:

“The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”
(HERE)

Without commenting directly on vaccine science I believe it is possible to recognize the elements of social control here. The authoritarian construction is far more certain than the safety of the products. Offit gives us to understand that even if our children were to receive 10,000 vaccines in one go it would still be safe: therefore there can be no issue over 5 or 10 in one go, or dozens over the course of a childhood. In fact, in most cases the practitioners will know only slightly more about the products than the assenting parents. Moreover, everyone has to be persuaded that are no real long-term adverse consequences, and even where they are apparent they are coincidental.

But it is interesting to note that Offit provides a theoretical proposition which does not even depend upon the product: never mind how many there are (and how different they are) they are all safe and perfectly manufactured – it is as if they do not even have to be tested. Indeed, however dramatic the adverse effect they know in advance it wasn’t the vaccine.

Arguing with authority in the middle of the past decade in the UK it was alarming how frequently the fall-back position was Offit’s vacuous claim (See BMJ letters HERE). Even the UK’s vaccine supremo Prof David Salisbury could appear on television declaring it was safe to give an infant  1000 vaccines. Meanwhile, he admitted to me:

"Turning to my comments on Newsnight - I suggest you read Paul Offit's paper - as I have done. On page 126, he states: "Current data suggest that the theoretical capacity determined by diversity of antibody variable gene regions would allow for as many as 109 (1,000,000,000) to 1011(100,000,000,000) different antibody specificities". And "... then each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time" - not antigens. I was speaking very specifically about the infant immune system's ability to respond, in the context of the ridiculous suggestion that the new vaccine combination, containing far fewer antigens than the one it will replace, would overload the immune system. My words were "The immune system of a baby has got huge spare capacity to deal with challenge. If we didn't, the human race wouldn't survive. But let's look specifically at vaccine. This has been studied carefully. A baby's immune system could actually tolerate perfectly well 1,000 vaccines". At no point did I suggest that 1,000 vaccines would not increase the probability of adverse reactions - a quite different matter." (Email August 26, 2004 10.03 am)

We are, of course, not talking about theoretical vaccines or theoretical infants, nor is there any experimental base that he can cite. We, unfortunately, have the experimental base which is our own children and we are not being listened to - like the imaginary victim in Stanley Milgram’s experiment except that we are not imaginary and neither are our children. Nor, as the present Rotateq vaccine scandal demonstrates do we have remotest idea what is really in the vaccines.  
 
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism
 

 

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I just noticed that the link to my column "What is wrong with this picture?" was not properly posted. Here it is again:
http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/Feb_1_02/Scandals2_1_02.htm

How ironic that the Milgram experiment took place at Yale, ground zero for vaccine/autism denial.

Another correlation between the Milgram experiment and today's adherence to a reckless vaccine program is that even though some of Milgram's test subjects began to question the experiment as the voltage increased, most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. The modern day parallel is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act which indemnifies doctors against liability when a patient is harmed by a vaccine.

Milgram wrote that if at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, which sound eerily like what we hear from today's mouthpieces for the AAP and the CDC:

1.Please continue.
2.The experiment requires that you continue.
3.It is absolutely essential that you continue.
4.You have no other choice, you must go on.

But what happens when today's doctors are repeatedly challenged with ongoing evidence of vaccine harm, over months and years, including VAERS data, Poling and Banks rulings, vaccine research, observations in their own practices and feedback from parents? Various defense mechanisms must enable them to continue, including denial, rationalization, deflection, intellectualization and affiliation.

Arrrr but it only takes one does,nt it it is so easy to be pursuaded and i am so sad that i was pursuaded what makes that drug company right to prescribe to gps vaccines what makes a phyciatrist right to give psychotic drugs WHAT MAKES ME RIGHT I AM RIGHT I AM MY SON,S MOTHER ALL THE REST NO NO BETTER THEY JUST DO THEIR JOB AND MAKE THEIR MONEY and that my friends is what all this is about

Was looking for Dr. Offit and Dr. Nancy to be on NBC this morning to calm the "pig-virus-in-the-Offit-vaccine" fears...

Looks like more fear until at least tomorrow...

Prof Salisbury:

"This has been studied carefully. A baby's immune system could actually tolerate perfectly well 1,000 vaccines". At no point did I suggest that 1,000 vaccines would not increase the probability of adverse reactions - a quite different matter."

This is "sophistry" masquerading as "science".

Webster's dictionary describes sophistry:
Misleadng but clever reasoning.

There is no more "authority figure" that people blindly trust .. than the guy in the white coat, stethescope around his neck .. which is why THAT guy probably outsold the Marlboro man.

What an interesting and illuminating article John – though terrifying to learn how conditioned we are into obedience, into the need to go with the herd and the fear of challenging authority. It illustrates how easy it can be to manipulate public opinion and achieve a desired result. How relevant it is in the vaccine situation.


This experiment was recently recreated on NBC with Chris Hansen http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36780659.

We do such stupid things because someone in authority tells us so.

Trust and obedience can have a terrible price.

If humans are hardwired for trust and obedience, then we need new software to deal with those who plan, scheme, and connive to take advantage of that part of our humanity.

Hi Jake, My personal opinion is that the Kitty Genovese situation is different than the Milgram experiment, albeit still of great concern. First, one interpretation of the Genovese situation is that everyone thought someone else was reporting it. (I believe they may have queried people afterward and found this to at least allegedly be the case.) Second, in the Milgram experiment people actively harmed others. In the Genovese situation they "merely" ignored harm. Not that ignoring harm is insignificant, of course.

Thanks, as always, John!

Like Alice in Wonderland, those who blindly promote vaccines have sometimes "believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast".

I often wonder why, if infants are so strong in the first place, they even need vaccines. Of course they are not that strong. They need maternal antibodies, colostrom, breast milk. Things nature has so generously provided for them.

In fact, some who zealously support vaccines literally snub their noses at nature's "gifts". Some years ago they tried to suppress maternal antibodies by administering high titer measles vaccines. The result was a disaster. (For more on this go to "What Is Wrong With This Picture? - http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/Feb_1_02/Scandals2_1_02.htm.) More recently there has been a call to fiddle with breastfeeding scheduling in order to "successfully" administer a vaccine.

Surprise! The vaccine that needs breastfeeding suppression is for rotavirus. (Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Infectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines.) Who woulda thunk?

I am also reminded of Skinner's rats-in-a-maze, Pavlov's salivating dogs and even Mendel's bl***dy hot house sweet peas; (everything is genetic!!) When oh when will we all see through this 'psychological conditioning' and notice the TRUTH staring us all in the face!!

Thank you John, this is such an interesting point as it puts into question our instinct for obedience to authority, necessary for social cohesion, and how it can be used by an amoral authority. With regards to the - "just following orders " - administration of vaccines, the slight difference I would see with Milgram's experiment, is that in the latter the subjects can actually see that they are causing harm, but with the vaccines, the subjects have been conditioned into believing they are doing good,- and as CS Lewis puts it

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

The Milgram's experiment was recently reproduced in France as a TV gameshow/documentary, to much uproar!
http://bbn.frn.com/fis/storydisplay.asp?site=&storyID=11639

You've hit the nail on the head again John.
I recently phoned my doctor's receptionist to make an appointment and was asked if I was Jon's mum because she'd seen my film, "Jon's Button's" on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTMMAq_kFtg She said I was, "inspirational". It took my breath away - considering she's part of the machine, stated publicly many times in the press by me, that I hold responsible for his autism in the first place. Jon changed after his MMR vaccine. Astonishing! She probably put the phone down from me and carried on taking bookings for the baby jabs clinic. Is it simply ignorance of a subject if you don't live with the consequences yourself every day? I wonder...

Gatogorra

I believe Milgram performed a number of variations on the experiment but of course the point was that you could get ordinary people to do monstrous things, not just those with personality disorders.

The bottom line here is the point where you ring up the doctor to say your child has a raging fever following vaccination and is screaming their head off and you get an irritated instruction to give them some Tylenol. Adverse reactions are treated with disdain. I have often cited the UK National Health Service's on-line advice about you child getting a severe reaction to MMR - which is to ignore it and bring them back for a second dose. In this dialogue the putative member of the public is indeed not concerned about the adverse reaction as such, only whether having had such a marked response their child needs another dose.

"Q:My son had a sever(e) reaction to the first MMR jab. Does this mean that he is well protected from these diseases, or is a second dose still necessary?

"A: If a child has responded to all the components of the vaccine the first time, he will not have a problem being exposed to the viruses again. It’s like any one of us who is already immune meeting someone with the disease – the infection can’t get established. If he hasn’t made protection to all three diseases after the first time, then he would still be susceptible to those natural infections, and still needs the 2nd dose. Reactions after the 2nd dose are essentially the same as after the 1st dose, but if they do occur they are even rarer. There are no new side effects after the 2nd dose that do not occur after the 1st dose. The advice is therefore that it is safe for your child to have the 2nd dose in order that he is properly protected."

http://tiny.cc/7vA7g

First and last is dumb compliance. The victim may be shrieking and banging on the wall but don't whatever happens be put off.

If anyone thinks this could not take place today, no one need look any further than the Judge Rotenberg Center.

Not only does it happen, it happens continuously, and no one inside or outside the facility is willing to stop it.

So much for ethics.

I've heard of this experiment! Perfect applicability to this situation, John! Another parallel to this situation is the stabbing of Kitty Genovese in Queens, in which there were 38 witnesses to her murder but did not call the police. In fact, the more people who are witness to a crime, the less likely anyone is to lift a finger in order to stop it - Definitely a good response for whenever somebody tosses out the old straw man fallacy of how the only way vaccines could cause autism is for a whole bunch of alphabet soup agencies along with all the physicians in the world to be in on some kind of conspiracy.

Thank you, John. Milgram's experiment is even more likely to apply to pediatricians in the sense that they don't often witness the direct result of the vaccines they administer. And even when some do, they refuse to regard at as such.

I think Offit described his pediatrician wife's experience in witnessing a seizure in a four month old patient just before the infant was to receive shots. From what we know of statistics, it could easily have been that, approximately 59 days after this child had received their 2 month shots by Offit's wife, they showed the first major sign of vaccine injury.

And Offit is so sure that that there's no correlation that he literally waves around the smoking gun with his wife's fingerprints on it and designates this "proof" that pediatrians' trigger-happy MO can't cause catestrophic brain injury.

Did Milgram ever repeat this experiment using a few sociopaths as test subjects?

I think most people now know the Murdoch/GSK/Freud connection.... It is so interesting how these people interbreed. Freud Communications, run by Matthew Freud (a relation to Sigmund, the husband of Elizabeth Murdoch, who is daughter to Rupert and sister to James Murdoch) is an example of a public relations company that businesses and goverments hire often to manipulate the public using the studies of psychiatry. Neet eh????

Yeah, you could never repeat Milgram's experiment today. It would be unethical to cause this kind of distress to people who were just trying to follow the rules. Unethical to get them to hurt others in the name of science and the common good.

No, we could never do anything like this today.

Wow John this is deep in it's implications, comparisions, and consequences. By golly, I think you are onto something here.

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