Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine
Vol. 10, No. 5 (59)
- Can Vaccines Actually Cause More Harm than Good?
or To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: That is the Question
- Terrell’s Treatises
- The Travails of Modern Medicine
- Sex is Best in the Marital Bed
- Three Waves of Biopsychiatry
- AIDS: Issues and Answers
- Brief Report with Commentary
Can Vaccines Actually Cause More Harm Than Good?
To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: That Is the Question
For a half-century, “officials”* have promoted the mass vaccination of the world’s population, primarily children. In the United States, recommendations by non-legislative bodies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have been mandated into state laws by willing legislators who are always ready to promote any action that is for the “good of the children.” (Wouldn’t you like some laws for the “good of the parents”? Better yet, reversal of such legislation that meddles with the rights of parents!)
*(For those readers unfamiliar with my style, I often place “officials” in quotes because they are either grossly ignorant or they have hidden agendas — power, money, self-aggrandizement, etc. All these cancel any moral authority that they have. Unfortunately, many have police power to enforce their tainted opinion.)
As with any medication, vaccines have side effects, allergies, and unintended effects. These range from slight redness at the site of injection to low-grade fevers, paralysis, and death. The milder reactions are more common, and the more severe reactions are rare. Indeed, the latter are so rare that statistically they cannot be distinguished from rare diseases in children that caused the same effects. And, complicating the situation is the fact that there is usually no definitive test to determine the cause. For the most part, the American people have gladly accepted these vaccinations. After all, as parents, they remembered the epidemics of smallpox, diphtheria, polio, and other diseases that crippled and killed by the thousands. They worried a little that their little Johnny or Susie might have one of the rare and severe complications, but that risk was far better than the risk of some epidemic disease.
A few Americans were more concerned. First, all the hoopla about the success of vaccines had to do more with timing than anything else. “Whooping cough, measles, and diphtheria were mostly under control by the end of World War II, when vaccines began to appear” (Leonard A. Sagan,Health of Nations: True Causes of Sickness and Well-being [New York, Basic Books, 1987], p. 68). Thus, most of the success attributed to vaccines was their implementation at the time those diseases had already declined dramatically. This decline, however, has been conveniently forgotten (or covered up) to bolster the notion that vaccines dramatically reduce and prevent disease.
Second, evidence began to accumulate that some vaccines might have greater risks than those of the disease against which the vaccine was supposed to protect. Indeed, for one vaccine the evidence was clear in this regard. For the last two decades, the live polio vaccine has been the only cause of polio in children in the United States!
Supporting this belief was that the duration of immunity for vaccines was unknown. Would the person be protected for a few years only to contract a more severe form of the disease later? Because vaccines were introduced shortly after they were researched, all vaccines were mandated without long-term evidence of their efficacy or continued immunity.
Third, statistics are based upon populations of people (children). What about an individual? If he is paralyzed or dies from an immunization, that is 100 percent for that individual. The individual must be considered, as well as populations.
In spite of these concerns, the role of vaccinations in American society became a juggernaut. Any critical voice just did not have a chance of being heard in this maelstrom of support. But, cracks began to appear.
In the late 1970s, the swine flu immunization debacle occurred. The swine flu was predicted to sweep around the world, killing and maiming like the black plagues of the Middle Ages. A unprecedented massive and immediate inoculation of Americans was carried out. The swine flu never appeared, but hundreds had crippling diseases from the immunization itself. The question arose, perhaps for the first time, “Is it possible that the good of immunization could be outweighed by its unintended effects?”
But, while some thought immunizations ought to be examined more closely, “officials'” stance on immunizations was unfazed. They had even more immunizations for “the good of the children”: mumps, haemophilus, and hepatitis B. And, so the little darlings did not have to be punctured too often, more and more combinations of vaccines at once were devised. One count has some 33 vaccinations by the time children enter the first grade.
Parents and a few researchers were becoming more concerned. Some childhood diseases (allergies and asthma, for example) were becoming more common in children. Was there a link between these immunizations and the increase of these diseases? A principle of medicine learned early by medical students is that a lot of a good thing (some treatment or drug) often causes more harm than good. Perhaps, immunizations was becoming too much of a good thing.
“Not to worry” said the “official” establishment. The effects of every disease were more to be feared than the unintended effects of the vaccines. We are promoting what is best for the health of your child.
But society was evolving, and these changes could not help but find their way into medical practice and preventive medicine. Abortion, the kill-ing of unborn children, became national law and common practice. Every state in the union allowed by law the treatment of minor children for abortion, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases without parental notification or permission. AIDS became the first politically protected disease because time-proven principles of epidemic control for sexually transmitted diseases were not employed.
Relative to immunizations, at least two recommendations came from this cultural milieu. Hepatitis B was epidemic. Something had to be done. Prevention by vaccine was considered the best answer. So, several plans were implemented to vaccinate adults and teenagers. But, the result was that only a small percentage was immunized. Most were getting around the nets designed to catch them. (More likely, they did not care.)
So, where are people, specifically children, almost always predictably present? In the hospital when they are delivered! And, there was a precedent: dousing the eyes with silver nitrate, and later, erythromycin ointment to prevent gonococcal conjunctivitis. Thus, laws were enacted to inoculate newborn babies in the delivery room itself! The few babies who are delivered at home can easily be tracked and immunized also.
(I know an instance in which a lawyer whose expertise was constitutional law who was unable to prevent his own child from being vaccinated in the delivery room!)
But, there is a powerful cultural agenda in the hepatitis vaccine that has not been present in any previous vaccine: not random exposure to epidemic disease, but the assumption that every child will become sexually promiscuous, an IV-drug user, or a health-care worker!
The second recommendation was Hib, vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae B. HiB is a common bacteria of upper respiratory infections in children. Sometimes, it spreads and becomes a more serious life-threatening infection, as epiglotitis, mastoiditis, or meningitis. Usually, a simple course of antibiotics will cure the infections. However, in these more severe infections, hospitalization and intensive care is needed. Thus, the reason for the vaccine.
However, these severe infections are rare except in those children who attend day care centers. So, vaccination is mostly an attempt to prevent a complication of children being placed where they ought not to be. Admittedly, making a cultural case against HiB is more tentative than with hepatitis B, but it has plausibility.
Complications with three vaccines have caused them to be suspended. 1) Hepatitis B has been found to have a mercury content that is considered unsafe for infants. (See “Terrell’s Treatises” herein.) 2) Live polio vaccine has been stopped because it has become the sole cause of polio, rather than the natural disease itself. 3) Rotavirus vaccine has been linked to intestinal obstruction in infants. This effect is likely from an incomplete testing of the vaccine. This vaccine provides protection against a cause of diarrhea in children.
Also, in 1998, the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) received 11,000 reports of severe complications. This system was implemented some years ago, as evidence mounted that vaccines did have major complications, including death, and to relieve manufacturers of liability from these effects.
So, immunizations are under scrutiny as they have never been before. This close examination is good and past due. Many questions need to be answered, and better research on vaccines needs to be carried out.
Christians should remember that the state does have a Biblical role in public health (Leviticus 13-15). However, that authority can be corrupted, as can the state’s other forms of authority.
The best that can be hoped for is more freedom for parents to decide what immunizations their children receive. While I doubt that “officials” will ever go that far (they know better what your child needs than you do), the opportunity to break down the juggernaut of automatic acceptance and implementation of vaccines is present like it has never been before. When the establishment admits its own errors, their citadel is ripe for storming. Let us hope and work toward greater freedom for parents to choose.
Hilton P. Terrell, Ph.D., M.D.
Some of those agencies which fancy themselves as legitimate controllers of medical care have shot themselves in the foot. Vaccination authorities decided some time ago that the hepatitis B immunization series should begin in the newborn period, despite very low risk of hepatitis B during the pediatric years and uncertainty as to the residual protection when those infants enter the years of increased risk from medical occupations, IV drug abuse, and promiscuous sexual practices.
State educational agencies quickly added hepatitis B to their long list of immunizations required for entry into day care or school, coercing parents out of one more of their ever-shorter list of decisional prerogatives. Other government agencies have long fulminated against mercury in the environment, making the absurd assumption that there is no threshold exposure beneath which the element is safe.
Recently, an alert somebody noted that the preservative in the vaccine for hepatitis B contains thimerosal, a mercury compound (F.P. Reporter, August 1999, p. 1). Calculating the mercury exposure per unit of body weight of newborns, the absurdly low acceptable amounts were transgressed. The vaccine might cause mercury toxicity! We are now told to wait until the infant is two months old before beginning the three-shot series. They are working on a mercury-free vaccine.
Now, this collision between two elements of central control is only a fender-bender. We are assured, “…no known harm has occurred…,” and that is due to theoretical concerns. It is interesting to stand by and listen to the investigators at the scene of the collision. The U.S. Surgeon General says, “The risk of devastating childhood diseases from failure to vaccinate far outweighs the minimal, if any, risk of exposure to cumulative levels of mercury in vaccines.”
One is tempted to step out into the broken glass in the street and ask these investigating officers, “Why cannot the same reasoning be applied to other minimal risks? What can’t I legally omit putting erythromycin ointment on the eyelids of a newborn baby whose chaste mother was screened during pregnancy for sexually transmitted diseases? Why can’t the industry down the road legally discharge 3 milligrams of mercury into the sewage system each day? Why can’t I legally drop an aluminum pull tab from a soft drink can into the Atlantic 9 miles offshore?”
Clearly, the keepers want to play by different rules than they impose on the kept. (It is all about power and control, not science or pseudoscience — Ed.)
Boundless greed combines with mass approval of the seizure of the property of others to propel our dying republic further toward outright tyranny. The recurrent, bad ideas of government payment for prescription drugs is again rolling like a juggernaut through the crowds of citizens who worship the all-powerful state.
One newspaper columnist, Howard Kleinberg, extrapolates his own experience and that of his parents to the whole population, not wanting to be hindered by a more representative group, which produces very different figures (The [Columbia, SC] State, August 2, 1999, p. A9). Since his parents had to cut their pills in half due to costs, and since his private insurance is picking up a $5752-per-year pharmacy cost, therefore, the government should impale everyone’s wallet to relieve his!
Let us step aside from the mob of government-worshipers and examine just a few simple things which bear adversely on his point.First, the effectiveness of his expensive prescriptions needs to be challenged. He is taking a cholesterol-lowering drug at over $3.00 a day. For a man in his mid-sixties, the ability of the popular class of these drugs to add life is measured in a few days, not even weeks. His diabetes pill costs close to $5.00 per day. The best study on the effectiveness of treatment for type 2 diabetes (the type treated by pills more often than insulin), indicates an almost incalculably low effectiveness for the dread complications of the disease, an effect which diminishes even further as one approaches the end of the life span.
He says that his doctor reminds him that his prescriptions are paid for by insurance. In other words, the doctor admits that he is not constrained in his recommendations by cost. Neither, apparently has the patient been economically motivated to investigate the (lack of) value for the cost. Nevertheless, we should expand this unrestrained system to cover a huge group of people?
Next, the columnist argues that the drug prices are “outrageous.” Yes. Consider why they are so high. One reason Mr. Kleinberg gives is that the companies spend money on “ballyhoo.” That is, I presume, advertising. That they do. Perhaps, it was ballyhoo that misled his physician into thinking that a very expensive diabetic pill is much better than a cheap one and that treating elevated cholesterol in a man in his mid-60’s has sufficient net benefits to warrant $1000 per year in drug costs.
Some of the advertising is directed now at the consumer. Perhaps, the columnist himself was persuaded to buy the expensive antihistamine rather than a cheaper one through the advertising. When the drugs are paid for by someone else, there is no one in the loop motivated to examine value received for value given. Mr. Kleinberg does not do it, his physician does not do it, and his drug company does not do it. That leaves apparently only great god government to rescue us all from ourselves.
Another reason for high prices, he says, is “rewards they give doctors for prescribing them.” He is right on the mark here. Physicians foolishly believe that we are not unduly influenced by the blandishments of drug companies. We are the purchasing agents for our patients — making decisions about what to purchase and from whom, but not spending our own money. Physicians who accept drug company freebies are behaving unethically.
Mr. Kleinberg believes that drug companies should spend more of their advertising money for research. Actually, it is probably the other way around. If they could not pull in billions by advertising their wares, they would not have the money for research. The real problem is why the research costs so much. Great god government requires that the research be done just so. The drug companies have an interest in keeping it so, since the vast expense limits entry into the oligarchy of pharmaceutical manufacture. The pharmaceutical industry thus accepts government rules, and in return the government keeps the competition less numerous.
The largest single economic reason for our high drug price is that the government has effectively granted a near monopoly on the production of drugs. From monopolies eventually issue high prices, poor quality, or shortages. We are in the “high-price” phase. If Mr. Kleinberg’s view prevails, we will enter a “shortage” phase. The government, as major purchaser, will be in a powerful position to reduce prices. From a monopoly, we will be on our way to adding a monopsony.
If Mr. Kleinberg thinks that things are bad now, he should wait until a monopoly has been joined by a single buyer. The consumer/patient will be reduced to mendicant — mere grass which the elephants trample. On the other hand, he can find out now just by visiting any nation that is burdened with a centrally controlled economy. Cuba would be a good start.
Mr. Kleinberg’s pitiful tale actually contains one substantial answer to the problem of expensive drugs, which he passes by all too quickly. When he discovered his parents rationing their medicine doses, he paid for them himself. A son looks after the needs of his parents. Is that not better than a government looking after the demands of its peasants? Does not God’s constitution of the family require such behavior of sons and omit it in His constitution on nations?
Does not our own Constitution forbid in its Tenth Amendment what Mr. Kleinberg wants? Ultimately, such matters ought not to be decided on pragmatic economic or medical grounds as mentioned above, though these grounds usually are agreeable to right principle. These matters are rather matters of principle which call for revelation and reasoning from that revelation. We need to think Biblically!
The following are a small sampling of the travails of modern American medicine. Comment will follow. Some of these articles and others can be found at <www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/amn_99/index.htm>.
“One in ten California HMO practices are predicted to fail in 1999. The California Medical Association calls the failures an ‘epidemic’ and hosts a conference to discuss solutions.” (American Medical News, September 20, 1999, pp. 1, 27)
“HMO liability could raise insurance costs for physicians. Physician insurers warn of a 4% to 8% premium jump if patients can sue plans. But the AMA says that prediction is off the mark.” (Ibid., pp. 5-6)
“Talk, little action on Medicare drug benefit. Despite the clamor from several fronts, Congress may put off the debate on prescription coverage.” (Ibid.) See Terrell’s Treatises for discussion on this subject.
“Aetna wants to be glad it met ya. Aetna U.S. Health care CEO Richard Huber and key medical directors met with the media in an attempt to polish the company’s tarnished image with physicians.” (American Medical News, September 13, 1999, pp. 1, 30)
“Columbia/HCA Healthcare cuts physician practices. The for-profit chain’s decision to divest itself of 900 doctors is indicative of the potential financial pitfalls of integrated delivery systems.” (Ibid., pp. 11, 13)
Doctors not often practicing what clinical guidelines preach. Unexplained variations in patient care persist, a new study confirms. Some experts say a national commitment to improve compliance with practice guidelines is lacking. (Ibid., pp. 8, 10)
“Work on privacy bill continues. Proponents of federal legislation to protect the privacy of medical records still hold out hope for passage this year, even though Congress’s deadline passed.” (Ibid., pp. 5, 7)
“Still a few bugs in Medicare fraud detector. Problems with Health Care Financing Administration’s physician enrollment process should be addressed before its (sic) used as a fraud prevention tool, AMA leaders say.” (Ibid., pp. 5, 7)
“Fee reduction suit still passes hurdle. A Federal court last month upheld a lower court ruling allowing 10,000 California physicians to file a class action lawsuit against Blue Cross of California for reducing fees without notification between 1993 and 1995.” (Ibid, pp. 5)
“Florida doctors sue over late pay. The Florida Physicians Assn. and one of its members have sued HIP Health Plan of Florida Inc., alleging that the company was breaking state law by forcing physicians to resubmit claims and wait months for reimbursement.” (Ibid.)
“Insurer alleges physician fraud. Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance Co. has accused a New Jersey neurologist of submitting bills totaling $780,000 for fraudulent or improper diagnostic testing and treatment of automobile crash victims.” (Ibid.)
“More HMOs pull out of Medicare; who’s at fault? Health plans cite budget act’s payment cuts, risk adjustment plan. But federal officials and others blame plan’s focus on profits.” (American Medical News, July 19, 1999, pp. 1, 30)
“Loud message in physician organizing vote. The decision by AMA delegates last month to create a national labor organization for physicians’ was–excuse the expression–a striking but not particularly surprising turn of events. It is a logical result of what has happened over the past quarter century to American medicine. (Ibid., p. 16)
“States scramble for ways to fund med ed. As Medicare ratchets down graduate medical education payments, states look for new aproaches (sic) to financially support residency programs and medical schools.” (American Medical News, April 26, 1999, pp. 1, 34)
Readers should note that most of these citations came from only two issues of American Medical News. Yet, look at the complexity. HMOs are failing and are being sued, increasing their costs to patients. Medicare becomes even more entangled in a legislative and bureaucratic morass. HMOs and physicians are at odds with each other. Patients want privacy; governments want to know everything about everyone.
Many, if not most of these issues, are involved in court battles at both the state and national level. More legislation is proposed at the local, state, and national levels to correct past legislation. Patients, physicians, legislators, and HMOs are demanding their “rights,” both publicly and judicially.
Who is winning? Only lawyers, administrators, and bureaucrats. Conflict creates and maintains their high salaries.
One estimate that is quite old is that only 28 cents of each dollar allocated at the federal level actually gets to the patient. Considering government and private wrangling and lawsuits, that figure has to be far less at present.
Readers, take a step back. No, step a long way from the fray. What do you see? Sinful human nature locked in a great power struggle for what? Not the individual nor the universal generic patient. No, the struggle is simply for personal greed and power. And, who is hurt? The patient.
Not that the patient is without fault. He wants womb to tomb health care that covers everything at little cost.
And, churches and Christians in ethics generally have no more answers than the secularists.
Let me propose a simple solution. Over a five year period, outlaw all HMOs and cancel all legislation relative to health (medical) care (including the licensing of physicians). Five years is enough to allow everyone to adjust, including administrators, lawyers, and bureaucrats to find productive jobs. I started to say one year, but that may be a little quick. I give this guarantee. (I am loaded with billions to back it up–not!) Overall health (medical) care to patients will not suffer. Medical costs will drop like a rock.
Most importantly, physicians and patients will again contract only with each other for medical care (and perhaps unregulated insurance that offer truly catastrophic medical insurance).
Well, my plan is just pie in the sky. But, you see the picture from these few examples of medical conflict at many levels. Under this system, health care can only get worse for everyone (with the exceptions noted above). The system may yet bring national health care, the worst possible scenario. No answers are in sight, except a collapse of national and international banking or the Y2K crisis. Those events are not very appealing, either.
I have reported in the past on several research articles over the past 30 years that have shown that married couples report a better sexual experience than those who are unmarried. For the most part, if not entirely, this evidence has appeared in sources that are generally hostile to “traditional” marriage. Now, another prominent report demonstrates the same evidence.
In the February 10, 1999, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, there appeared the article, “Sexual Dysfunction in the United States” (pp. 537-544). This research was designed to provide epidemiological data on the “increasing demand for clinical services (for sexual dysfunction) and the potential impact of these disorders on interpersonal relationships and quality of life” (p. 537). “This report provides the first population-based assessment of sexual dysfunction in the half-century since Kinsey et al” (p. 544).Buried in this lengthy report and complex tables is this statement. “Thus, married women and men are clearly at lower risk of experiencing sexual symptoms than their non-married counterparts.” Other than the statistics in the tables to back up this conclusion, there is no other mention of marriage as a solution to “sexual dysfunction.” The focus of the discussion on other “risk factors,” such as, emotional or stress related problems and lower socioeconomic conditions.
This report is another glaring example of bias that appears in good research. The statistics to support marriage as sexually satisfying is there, but the researchers focus elsewhere for solutions for this problem of “sexual dysfunction.”
There is something else here that is of interest to Christians and conservatives. Remember the not-so-subtle attempt of the American Psychological Association to condone adult-child sex? This article appeared before that report and strongly condemns (by statistics and conclusion, not by direct statement) the APA’s pitiful attempt.
“For women, adult-child contact or forced sex, both generally perpetrated by men, results in increased risk of experiencing arousal disorders. These results support the view that sexual traumas induce lasting psychosocial disturbances, which ultimately affect sexual functioning. Similarly, men who were touched sexually before puberty also are more likely to experience all categories of sexual dysfunction” P. 544).
Again, good science is congruent with Biblical truth. It is just that strong reporting biases obscure that congruence.
Biopsychiatry is the attempt by physicians to modify abnormal or unwanted thinking and behavior by physical means, primarily drugs. David Powlison, writing in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, describes three waves of this attempt over the past 130 years.
“The first wave lasted from after the Civil War until about 1910. New neurological knowledge–e.g., localizing certain brain functions because of the effects of head wounds received in the war–was generalized into attempts to define problems in living medically and so to treat life by medical means. ‘Neurasthenia’ or ‘weak nerves’ became the catch-all explanation for commonplace anxiety, depression, aimless living, irritability, and addiction to the vices. Various modes of strengthening nerves were employed: rest, diet, walks in fresh country air, working on a farm, avoiding stress, and drugs.
“From a somewhat different angle, Ivan Pavlov’s physiological psychology in the 1890s was a primitive attempt to reduce human existence to a mosaic of neuro-electrical activity in the cortex. His experiments also offered a crude demonstration that behavior and glandular function could sometimes be manipulated. Pavlov’s mentor, Sechenov, had defined his materialist philosophy with the following programmatic statement that the student took to heart: ‘The brain secretes thought.’
“That is an astonishing metaphor and demonstrates the force and logic of the biologizing worldview. This first biopsychological fad faded as its significant efficacies proved to be limited or little more than common sense. Its failure to cure the human condition became all too obvious and something more attractive came along. Freudian psychology swept in, bringing the first ‘talking cure’ or psychotherapy, with behaviorism and behavioral therapy following shortly thereafter.
“This first was has not completely disappeared, however. One still occasionally meets an elderly person who mentions that so-and-so suffers from ‘weak nerves,’ an echo of that 1880s euphemism for the sins of anxiety and grumbling.
“The second biological wave, during the 1940s and 1950s, was constructed on the efficacy of three newly discovered medical treatments for disturbed people: electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and lobotomy in the 1940s and the phenothiazine family of drugs in the 1950s. By using shock (ECT) therapy, destroying brain cells, or administering thought-stabilizing medication, doctors could tinker with the body’s electrical system, localized brain functions, and chemistry.
“Mood, behavior, and thought processes were all affected. But this biopsychiatric wave receded as vast hopes were dashed by intractable realities. Some symptoms were alleviated, but people were not really changed, and the side effects were dreadful. With a rush of new psychotherapies and new psychotherapy profession in the 1960s–family systems, reality therapy, group therapy, etc.–biopsychiatry was buried from public view. “ECT and the phenothiazines linger on, but no one attaches vast hopes to them anymore. They are in the dreary, use-when-nothing-else-works part of the psychiatric armamentarium.
“The third wave is now upon us. It glitters with the same bright hopes as it predecessors, though of course it appears much more sophisticated. (Similarly, phenothiazines seemed very sophisticated in comparison with ‘rest cure’ and lobotomy.) Again, the new knowledge is generated by striking new abilities to localize brain functions: now MRIs teach us, not the sequelae of bullet wounds. The new drugs don’t have the disturbing and visible side effects that used to leave patients dry-mouthed, rigid, and dopey.
“No one pushes an ice pick in through the eye socket anymore and twists it around in the cerebral cortex (the way lobotomies were done). The brain may not be a gland secreting thought, but it is an electrochemical organ that produces thought, emotion, and behavior. We now hear of genetic structures, brain chemistry, and drugs designed to influence very specific neurotransmitter sites and functions.
“Again, there is some real and fascinating knowledge here. But it is the same kind of knowledge as the previous fads, shaped and blown out of proportion by similar myths. The perennial hope is that we will understand and cure what ails us by localizing brain function, greasing the neuroelectrical system, and buoying up our chemistry.
“Biopsychiatry will cure a few things, for which we should praise the God of common grace. But in the long run, unwanted and unforeseen side effects will combine with vast disillusionment. The gains will never live up to the promises. And, the lives of countless people, whose normal life problems are now being medicated, will not be qualitatively changed and redirected. Onlyintelligent repentance, living faith, and tangible obedience turn the world upside down.
“In 1990s euphemisms, we say so-and-so ‘has’ ADD (attention deficit disorder), or ‘suffers from’ clinical depression, or ‘is bipolar.’ Without in any way minimizing the realities of troubling behaviors, emotions, and thought processes to which such labels are attached, we must say that such supposed diagnostic entities have the same substantiality as ‘weak nerves’….
“The (third) fad is currently in full force. The Human Genome Project (which has a confessing Christian as its highest officer) has some wonderfully savvy publicists on staff who feed us all a stream of tantalizing knowledge bits charged with fantastic implications…. accompanied by the appropriate hand-wringing about ethical implications.
“I cannot argue with the bits of science cited, but here is what history reminds us. When the gene mapping is complete, when the folks on Prozac still cannot get along with their spouses, when the fountain of youth still does not arrive in a bottle, when money and achievement fail to satisfy, and when your clone grows up to hate you, sinners will yet find Christ to be the one that they need.”
Mr. Powlison would likely agree that these waves are not precise, but they are helpful to understand the modern development of biological psychiatry. It is perhaps the most complete application of philosophical materialism today. It is also a graphic example of the degrees to which mankind seeks answers to sin apart from God, and the world’s intelligentsia strives for meaning in a universe limited only to atoms and molecules.
Excerpted from “Biological Psychiatry,” by David Powlison, in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, available from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, 1803 East Willow Grove Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. E-mail is <firstname.lastname@example.org> or website <www.ccef.org>. Used with permission of the author and editor.
Vol. 13, No. 5 (84) September 1999
A summary report from a recent conference on HIV/AIDS demonstrates some good news, medical hubris, and continuing deceit about the transmission of HIV.
Readers have likely seen or heard several advertisements intended to counsel the public about the risk of AIDS. A central, if not foundational tenet, of this education has been that “everyone is at risk of AIDS.” Consistent with this tenet, these ads feature multi-racial individuals of varying ages from teens to older adults. Also, this tenet prompted the largest propaganda campaign ever attempted by the federal government: an educational pamphlet intended to educate and prevent AIDS.
Guess what? Everyone is not at risk for AIDS. Some are considerably more at risk than others.
“Seventy percent of new infections are occurring among men… 60% (of these) are due to male-to-male sexual contact, 25% are due to injection drug use, and 15% are due to heterosexual contact….
“Despite a national record low in cases of syphilis and gonorrhea, the incidence of the two diseases is rising among men who have sex with men in some areas of the country….
“Optimism about antiretroviral therapies (see below) is fueling a resurgence in sexually risky behaviors.
“Death and disease rates are highest among African-Americans with rates almost 10 times higher than that of whites and three times higher than that of Hispanics… African-Americans now account for half of all new HIV infections, despite constituting only 13% of the population.
“Over half of all new infections are occurring among people under 25… half of these new cases are among women… the vast majority is occurring sexually.” (American Medical News, September 20, 1999, pp. 24, 26)
Some “experts” lament their educational efforts. “If we put the same sort of commitment and investment in prevention that we’ve put in treatment, we’ll get the same dramatic results,” said Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. Excuse me, may I ask a question? “If gays account for 42% of new infections, African-Americans have 10x higher rates than whites, and half of new infections are under age 25, why are not these populations targeted for your “education,” rather than promoting that “everyone is at risk? Why not ads that focus on young, African-American males who are gay?”
Of course, readers know the answer. Gays are to be protected from their central role in this epidemic and devastating disease. Early in the epidemic, AIDS was exclusive to homosexuals who spread it to the IV-drug abusing community, since there was a great deal of commonality to the two groups. From these two groups came the “heterosexual” risk, which is really anyone who consorts with those in these two groups.
AIDS “education” has actually been homosexual, lesbian, and heterosexual propaganda. Only in rare instances has limiting sexual activity to marriage been promoted.
So, the laments are lame, if not pathetic. You cannot fight fire by fanning the flames. The political correctness of HIV/AIDS continues, and by that stance, actually fans the flames of the epidemic. The “empress” has no clothes when she claims that education has failed. It has not been properly tried.
“In the mid-1990s, the number of people who developed and died from AIDS dropped dramatically, a development attributed to new combination antiretroviral therapies. But, that drop-off slowed considerably in 1998….
“The slowing declines in new cases and deaths are likely the result of a number of factors, including treatment failures caused by viral resistance, nonadherence to therapeutic regimens, and ‘having already reached most individuals who know their (HIV) status and are susceptible to treatment,’ Dr. Gayle said.” (Ibid.)
Commentary: I have reported on these effective therapies, as well as predictions (by others, not myself) about their limited efficacy (due to factors named above). This report validates the actual occurrence of those predictions and that all is not well (pun not intended) on the AIDS treatment front.
“The bit of bright news amid the bleakness of conference data had to do with progress made in reducing pediatric AIDS. Due to widespread use of zidovudine (AZT) to prevent perinatal transmission, perinatal cases declined from 912 cases in 1992 to 242 cases in 1998, a 74% drop.
“‘We now believe that the actual elimination of pediatric HIV might be within our grasp in the United States,’ Dr. Gayle said.” (Ibid.)
Commentary: The ebb and flow of emotions relative to HIV/AIDS has been interesting. In the late 1980s, there was considerable hope placed on “education.” That failed. Then, there was excitement about the efficacy of the antiretroviral drugs. That enthusiasm is waning. This efficacy of AZT in HIV-infected, pregnant women seems to be real.
Yet, underneath this ebb and flow has been one constancy that never gets its proper exposure and emphasis: the role of homosexuals in this disease. Until homosexuals are rightly (dare I say it?) blamed for this epidemic, then all other efforts will only be piecemeal and, in some instances, actually increase the number of infections.
“Anger is the affective state most commonly associated with myocardial ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart muscle) and life-threatening arrhythmias (irregular heart beats). The scope of the problem is sizable–at least 36,000 (2.4% of 1.5 million) heart attacks are precipitated annually in the United States by anger…. (Cardiology Clinics, May 1996, pp. 289-307)
Commentary: While this article is dated three years ago, it was prompted by a reference elsewhere. Also, I wanted to link this association with the review that I had of Dr. John Sarno (Reflections, March 1999) who believes that anger has a strong association with back pain.
Anger destroys. Acted upon, it damages or destroys property and people. That result may also occur in the person angered with a heart attack. Jesus linked anger with murder (Matthew 5:21-26).
All anger, however, is not bad and can be constructive. Jesus directed that your anger cause you to work out the problem with your brother (vs. 23-24). The Apostle Paul directed that we not let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26-27). That is, do not let anger go undissipated by carrying it over from day to day.
Anger is a huge health problem. It is a huge societal problem. It can and should be a force for the good of all.