We excerpted this post by James Lyons Weiler.
By James Lyons Weiler, PhD
IN THE TELEVISION PRE-HISTORY FICTIONAL MINISERIES ‘GAME OF THRONES’, a female character named Ygritte is fond of telling her lover, a Night Watchman, who lives caught between two warring cultures, the expression “You know nothing, Jon Snow”. She tells him this to remind him that he has no idea why the Wildings, a tribe of undead people, are attacking their peoples, and, as hint to the fact that in spite of their different origins as people, she loves him.
There is another Snow of merit who lived between cultures – a culture of science and a culture of stoic and unforgiving ignorance. This John Snow has an important lesson for our time.
In 1854’s, London Physician John Snow was confronted with a severe outbreak of cholera. The prevailing view of the cause of the cholera at the time was the ‘miasma’ theory, in which ‘bad air’, or something called ‘vibrones’ which the medical community postulated caused the spread of the illness.
London’s Soho District at the time was typical of London neighborhoods in the 1850’s. Most homes had cess pits under their homes for human waste, and if the waste production exceeded the soil’s capacity, it would he hauled away, for a fee, and dumped into the river Thames.
The good Dr. Snow, pictured to the right, was not satisfied by the miasma theory. As the cholera outbreak worsened, he began mapping cases and eventually recognized that most John_Snowcases were clustered near a water pump on Broad Street. His careful observations led him to conclude that whatever ‘cholera poison’, as he referred to it, was behind the outbreak, it was somehow connected to the water pump. This was before germ theory was established and pathogens such as bacteria and viruses were unknown to medicine.
A religious colleague, The Reverend Henry Whitehead, from St. Luke’s Church, was a believer of the miasma theory. As any good man of the church would so, he attempted to disprove theories, and when he turned his attention to Dr. Snow’s theory of that cholera was a water-born illness, somehow connected to human waste, he was turned away from the nondescript miasma theory by the evidence accumulated by Snow in his maps. He even accompanied Dr. Snow on a hunt for the connection between human waste and the water pump, and together they discovered a home that had a cess pit that drained to a old cess pit only a few feet away from the well at the Broad Street Pump. The homeowners routinely dumped diapers (nappies) into the cess pit under their home.
Together, Snow and Whitehead convinced the town’s government to break the handle off the pump. Thereafter, the cholera epidemic ceased; however, the government (The London Board of Health) refused to acknowledge the links between human waste, water and cholera, instead sticking by the ill-defined miasma theory. (Beer drinkers, rejoice – the villagers turned to beer for their liquid intake – which of course was free from cholera due to the fermentation process).
CDC’s Miasma Theory of Autism
In their fervor to convince the public that no link exists between vaccines and autism, the CDC has neglected to propound (offer) any viable theory for the increase in autism. Others have tried to blame changes in diagnosis, or genetics for the rise in autism, but neither of these two factors can explain the incredibly rapid rise from 1 in 3000 in the 1970’s to 1 in 68. In fact, the CDC has shown a remarkable lack of curiosity about what DOES cause autism. The CDC’s amorphous theory of autism is, empirically, identical to the miasma theory for cholera – because neither vibrones, nor CDCs’ theory of autism exist. Read the full post here.