Thursday, 19 September 2013

Real Creationists Shouldn't Have Flu Jabs

If you're a genuine Bible-literalist creationist and don't believe in Darwinian Evolution you shouldn't get a flu jab. New flu jabs are brought out each year because scientists who believe the influenza virus evolves to produce new strains, produce new vaccines against these new strains. Obviously, if they are wrong and creationists are right, influenza viruses don't evolve to produce new strains so the new vaccines are a waste of time.

Of course, that flies in the face of evidence but that should never be a problem for a genuine Bible literalist creationist who regards the Bible as the ultimate source of all knowledge, not mere things like facts.

Or maybe you're just a creationist in theory. In practice, you believe in Darwinian Evolution just like normal people do and especially where your health and well-being are at stake. Like a lot of other theory-only Bible literalists you don't make any connections between what you claim to believe and what you do. The Bible is just something you think everyone else should live by.

'Whatever the Bible says is so; whatever man says may or may not be so,' is the only [position] a Christian can take... If [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them. Christians must disregard [scientific hypotheses or theories] that contradict the Bible.

So let's take a look at the evidence which genuine, practicing Bible literalist creationists should ignore.

Influenza viruses are RNA viruses which infect mammals and birds and use the replicating mechanisms and resources of their cells to produce more influenza viruses. The cell is destroyed in the process. Dead cells and the resulting inflammation makes the infected organs ideal for opportunistic bacterial infection.

Influenza viruses have seven or eight strands of RNA which together contain eleven genes which code for specific enzymes and proteins. The other enzymes and proteins needed for RNA replication are 'borrowed' from the host's cells. Two of the proteins they code for form a protective coat around the RNA. These have antigens on their surface which our bodies recognise and which our antibodies can bind to to destroy the virus, once we have been infected, or vaccinated to produce antibodies in the first place.

New influenza viruses are constantly evolving by mutation or by reassortment. Mutations can cause small changes in the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase antigens on the surface of the virus. This is called antigenic drift, which slowly creates an increasing variety of strains until one evolves that can infect people who are immune to the pre-existing strains. This new variant then replaces the older strains as it rapidly sweeps through the human population, often causing an epidemic. However, since the strains produced by drift will still be reasonably similar to the older strains, some people will still be immune to them. In contrast, when influenza viruses reassort, they acquire completely new antigens—for example by reassortment between avian strains and human strains; this is called antigenic shift. If a human influenza virus is produced that has entirely new antigens, everybody will be susceptible, and the novel influenza will spread uncontrollably, causing a pandemic. In contrast to this model of pandemics based on antigenic drift and shift, an alternative approach has been proposed where the periodic pandemics are produced by interactions of a fixed set of viral strains with a human population with a constantly changing set of immunities to different viral strains.

They evolve in two main ways:
  1. By genetic drift, ie the random imperfections in replication that lead to new genes.
  2. By hybridizing with other related viruses and acquiring new genes

It helps to think in terms of a pig-duck-human complex, though other birds and mammals can be involved. Especially where these are in close proximity, like in many agrarian human societies, different strains of related virus can occasionally infect the same cell at the same time producing a new strain of virus. For example, a virulent strain of bird flu can hybridise with a human flu in one or other host to produce a new, virulent human flu.

This is where flu jabs come in. Scientists who accept that viruses evolve produce a new vaccination for the new strains so we can acquire immunity artificially and safely and without running the risks associated with acquiring it naturally.

Of course a Bible literalist creationist doesn't believe these new viruses exist, or if the do, they must have been created specially by their invisible, omnibenevolent magic friend, presumably to punish people because it loves them.

Or maybe they just compartmentalise their beliefs and behave like normal people and either get a flu jab or risk getting the flu. One thing we can be fairly sure of is that being a Christian or a Muslim, or whatever faith or sect is the one true one, doesn't convey any special immunity to influenza or we would have heard about it by now.

It's just as though there isn't a benevolent creator god punishing non-believers and sparing true believers, and viruses evolve by mindless, uncaring and non-directed neo-Darwinian genetic Evolution.

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  1. I have a question here: Isn't every kind of vaccination to prevent diseases a most abominable act in God's eyes and brain?

    If we humans try to use artificial ways - like having/taking vaccinations - to avoid deadly (or just unpleasant)diseases, then that must mean we are trying to oppose God's creation plan and thereby we force God to make some changes in it ALTHOUGH He is having His day of rest at the moment.

    In short: Isn't vaccination a way to challenge God and His creation plan?

    Or am I wrong here?

    See . In that article you can read the following:

    Religious arguments against inoculation were advanced even before the work of Edward Jenner; for example, in a 1722 sermon entitled "The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation" the English theologian Rev. Edmund Massey argued that diseases are sent by God to punish sin and that any attempt to prevent smallpox via inoculation is a "diabolical operation". Some anti-vaccinationists still base their stance against vaccination with reference to their religious beliefs.

    SO MY OWN CONCLUSION is that vaccinations and other such "diabolic operations" should be used only by atheists who don't believe in God and don't care a fig for His creation plan.

    Once again: Am I wrong in my view here?

    1. Yes. You could say the same for antibiotics and indeed all medical procedures. :-)


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