Friday, March 19, 2021

Life of a Philosopher

Here we have my favorite anti-vax theory (government experimentation) coming to light once again. This is bunk. It was always bunk. It will never not be bunk.

In 1999, my then-husband started railing about vaccinations as covert military-industrial experiments, sounding like some new X-Files episode. He was deadly serious, and I discovered that there were a whole meaningful sector of americans who believe this and that, similar to the flat-earthers, they don't lack education but they lack trust and are therefore impossible to sway; presenting data as evidence of truth only manages to convince them that you have been brainwashed. (Obviously, this marriage was doomed from that moment on, but that's not the point just now.)

During my undergraduate research, I read "The Columbian Exchange" and "Plagues and People's," both excellent works, and they were influential for me personally. By the time "Guns, Germs, and Steel" came out post graduation, I was already convinced of much of what Jared Diamond wrote, but I read it anyway and was glad it was getting press.

The Jenny McCarthy-Jim Carey promotion of Wakefield's dubious autism link in The Lancet pushed me back into ethics in my grad studies. The 2014 measles outbreak saw me have enough to say that I wrote my Masters Thesis, much to the delight of the board of trustees, finally sacrificing my cherished status an active student. (More on why this was a huge loss for me in another post.) I completed my Masters in two terms, and my thesis passed with distinction in May 2016.

As the 2016 election wore on, republican candidates raged against vaccinations, and I scouted for the right PhD program for my particular line of inquiry, finding a home at UK-EPE's Philosophy and Cultural Inquiry program. Just as my first doctoral term approached, coronavirus emerged; I knew enough to be dismayed by public behavior, and in May of 2020 I took a leave of absence for a year with an option to make it only one semester if better solutions presented themselves by January 2021.

Online and hybrid classes allowed me to return to studies in the Spring of 2021, and now I'm working on my dissertation, which might be no more than a long subtweet of RFKjr. I expect to be writing about this all summer, in between the terms of the core coursework.