a few weeks' time, school will resume in many countries, and quite a few
parents now worry about the dangers of vaccination. Are they real or
false? What are the facts?
First, a word on what we can believe to be real. Some
might remember Ripley's Believe It or Not? We are all fascinated by
the odd, the unusual, even more so when science with its mundane explanations takes
away the mysteries of life. So it is that reasonable people begin to
believe in the incredible. We want to.
the case of chemtrails -- a theory that trails left by jet airplanes
high in the sky are chemical sprays. Why would anyone do that? The reasons vary. They want to
change the climate, control our minds, lower life expectancy,
reduce fertility or cause sterilization for population control, spread
aluminum that causes Alzheimer's but Monsanto profits from a GMO seed
designed to grow with it, and so on.
The physics experts tell us it is relatively simple: Jet engines exhaust water vapo r, which condenses in the cold of higher altitudes. Called contrails (a contraction of condensation and trail), an acute observer will note they correspond to the number of engines on the airplane. Numerous scientists, scientific bodies, the Environmental Protection Agency and independent journalists have investigated and debunked chemtrails without eradicating the idea.
The results of a nationally representative 1000-person poll published last October finds that only 32 percent believe chemtrails are 'false'. A good 25% percent are 'unsure' and 15 percent, think they are 'somewhat false'. The rest consider them 'somewhat true' (19 percent) or 'true' (9 percent). Note that just a one-third minority categorically rejects a complete hoax despite the efforts of scientists and government agencies. Perhaps a natural skepticism of officialdom doesn't help. Of course, the blame rests squarely on some internet sites and social media (with its echo chambers) where chemtrail discussion, instead of debunking the idea, favors it and propagates conspiracy theory.
But there is another belief worse than chemtrails germinated by fake science. It has led to
actual harm. For one reason or another, people known
(Trump among them) are refusing vaccinations for their children; thus
an alarming global increase in measles -- an illness that can cause
hearing loss and, in rare cases, even death.
Developing countries have their own unique problems with vaccination. Pakistan trying to eliminate polio
has experienced deadly violence against vaccinators because Taliban leaders have proclaimed it a means of sterilizing Muslims.
But there are problems in developed countries also: A survey in Australia showed one in three parents having concerns with vaccination. In response, some health facilities are refusing to treat unvaccinated children. Australia is not alone; the U.S. too has a vaccine dilemma and Europe is not exempt.