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Messages - James S. Rustad

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1
Your Turn / Re: Lutherans and Socialism
« on: Yesterday at 05:16:14 PM »
I'll look forward to reading King's article. I suppose there may be forms of socialism where the members of the society agree to centralize decisions about property and income. In that case, such agreement would not violate the commandment. I suppose that as often as Americans vote to socialize aspects of our property and income, we move towards such a socialist society.

As soon as one person disagrees with centralization, then it's back to violating the commandment again?

2
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 11, 2021, 02:28:34 PM »
Updated Sept. 8, 2021: A study in Science Transitional Medicine finds natural infection may provide more powerful protection than double dose Covid-19 vaccination.

In other words, you may be better off not being vaccinated unless you are high-risk.  And if the natural resistance is as strong as some data indicates, not vaccinating everyone may eventually better protect those who are high-risk than if we vaccinate everyone.  Think about this - if 100% of the population is vaccinated but can still be infected, the virus can still spread.  If 90% have the stronger natural resistance that better prevents the virus from spreading, that improves the protection for the remaining 10%.  Perhaps we should stop criticizing the vaccine-hesitant and start thanking them for running the risks involved in becoming naturally resistant to COVID-19.

As for me, I am high risk and have had two doses of Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine and plan on getting a booster on schedule.

3
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 08:12:13 PM »
I posted this a week ago.  I was hoping that someone would comment on it.  I've added a few comments in bold italic text.
Largest study of its kind finds face masks reduce COVID-19
Wearing face masks, particularly surgical masks, is truly effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in community settings, finds a new study led by researchers from Yale University, Stanford Medical School, the University of California, Berkeley, and the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA).

Figure 1 on page 23 of the study shows interesting data for the control, cloth mask intervention, and surgical mask intervention villages.
  • Cloth mask villages show a 5% relative reduction (p = .540).A p-value of .540 means this is not statistically significant.
  • Surgical mask villages show an 11.2% relative reduction (p = .043).This one IS statistically significant.
More information from the study is quoted below:
WHO COVID-19 Symptoms In Figure 2 and Tables A9 and A8, we report results from the
same specifications with WHO-defined COVID-19 symptomatic status as the outcome.
We find clear evidence that the intervention reduced symptoms: we estimate a reduction of
11.9% (adjusted prevalence ratio 0.88 [0.83,0.93]; control group prevalence = 8.59%; treatment
group prevalence = 7.60%). Additionally, when we look separately by cloth and surgical masks,
we find that the intervention led to a reduction in COVID-like symptoms under either mask type
(p = 0.000 for surgical, p = 0.048 for cloth), but the effect size in surgical mask villages was
30-80% larger depending on the specification. In Table A10, we run the same specifications using
the smaller sample used in our symptomatic seroprevalence regression (i.e. those who consented
to give blood). In this sample we continue to find an effect overall and an effect for surgical masks,
but see no effect for cloth masks.Symptoms are reduced in villages with cloth or surgical masks but blood tests show no effect for cloth masks.  People could be convinced that they are protected by cloth masks and thereby report fewer symptoms.  Blood tests are not much affected by beliefs, so they're more likely to be real.

4
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 08:03:33 PM »
Someone upstream accused me of the reference to “God culling the herd.” I don’t think I use that here, and I am not the origin of that reference, I’m inclined to think that those who refuse to be vaccinated are “culling” themselves. They are the ones getting seriously sick. They are the ones more likely to die.

From another thread, this seems to be the closest:
On the other hand, nature may "cull the herd" with disease, a type of "population control" and who knows what wars, both local and regional, might do to populations in some areas of the world.

5
Your Turn / Re: Once again, in loco parentis
« on: September 08, 2021, 01:10:08 PM »
I'm reminded of the question "What kind of people live here?"

A man entered a village and went to the monastery on the edge of town, where he was welcomed by an old monk, the wise man of the village. The visitor said, “I am deciding whether I should move here or not. I’m wondering what kind of neighborhood this is. Can you tell me about the people here?”

The old monk said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were highway robbers, cheats and liars.” The monk said, “You know, those are exactly the same kinds of people who live here.” The visitor left the village and never came back.

Half an hour later, another man entered the village. He sought out the wise old man and said, “I’m thinking of moving here. Can you tell me what kind of people live here?” Again the monk said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate, most loving people. I shall miss them terribly. The old monk said, “Those are exactly the kinds of people who live here, too.”


6
Your Turn / Re: Once again, in loco parentis
« on: September 07, 2021, 08:20:23 PM »
Even if you sue the school and win, they still won't tell you.

“If a parent asks a teacher a question about their child as to these matters, including information about the name and pronouns being used to address their child at school, the teacher CAN choose not to answer the question.  The District does NOT have a policy that a teacher must choose not to answer that question if a parent asks about their own child.  It is within the teacher’s discretion whether to answer the question or not,” according to guidance from the district’s general counsel.

7
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 03, 2021, 09:28:11 PM »
Largest study of its kind finds face masks reduce COVID-19
Wearing face masks, particularly surgical masks, is truly effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in community settings, finds a new study led by researchers from Yale University, Stanford Medical School, the University of California, Berkeley, and the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA).

Figure 1 on page 23 of the study shows interesting data for the control, cloth mask intervention, and surgical mask intervention villages.
  • Cloth mask villages show a 5% relative reduction (p = .540).
  • Surgical mask villages show an 11.2% relative reduction (p = .043).
More information from the study is quoted below:
WHO COVID-19 Symptoms In Figure 2 and Tables A9 and A8, we report results from the
same specifications with WHO-defined COVID-19 symptomatic status as the outcome.
We find clear evidence that the intervention reduced symptoms: we estimate a reduction of
11.9% (adjusted prevalence ratio 0.88 [0.83,0.93]; control group prevalence = 8.59%; treatment
group prevalence = 7.60%). Additionally, when we look separately by cloth and surgical masks,
we find that the intervention led to a reduction in COVID-like symptoms under either mask type
(p = 0.000 for surgical, p = 0.048 for cloth), but the effect size in surgical mask villages was
30-80% larger depending on the specification. In Table A10, we run the same specifications using
the smaller sample used in our symptomatic seroprevalence regression (i.e. those who consented
to give blood). In this sample we continue to find an effect overall and an effect for surgical masks,
but see no effect for cloth masks.

8
Your Turn / Re: Atheist Chaplains
« on: September 01, 2021, 02:50:20 PM »

Dictionaries (or is it Lexicons) dictate how people should use words (except for puns, when people purposely misuse words :) ).

That's not really correct. Dictionaries report how people actually use words. They are descriptive, not prescriptive.

Well, it depends on which English major you talk to.  There's always been tension between the prescriptivist and the descriptivist factions.

9
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 23, 2021, 02:08:29 PM »
Our RC Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has sent priests a letter regarding requests we may receive for a letter in support of a religious exemption from a COVID vaccine requirement. He is leery of such requests--is a letter really required? Also Catholic Church teaching identifies good reasons for being vaccinated.
Quote
It is an individual and personal decision whether to receive a COVID vaccine, and although the Church does support the right of a person to seek an exemption from vaccine requirements on the basis of their conscience, that is an individual decision that should not be dependent upon an attestation by a member of the clergy. If you have a concrete request from a person where such a letter is actually required in order for an exemption to be honored, I would ask that you please refer the matter to
his vicar.

Are such directions circulating in your churches?

Peace,
Michael

Neither the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine utilized fetal cells in their development.  That’s the only reason I can think of why someone would seek a religious exemption.  Am I missing something?

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna do not require the use of any fetal cell cultures in order to manufacture (produce) the vaccine.  Early in the development of mRNA vaccine technology, fetal cells were used for “proof of concept” (to demonstrate how a cell could take up mRNA and produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein) or to characterize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

A good article about this:
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/46701/what-connection-does-modernas-vaccine-have-to-aborted-fetal-tissue%C2%A0

10
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 20, 2021, 03:14:59 PM »
https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/08/19/it-turns-out-all-those-plastic-covid-barriers-might-have-made-things-worse-n2594441?utm_campaign=rightrailsticky2

My kids spent all last year in high school behind plastic shields at each desk. They had to carry them with them everywhere, even lunch. There was no science to back it up, it just seemed to make sense (though anyone opposed was called anti-science) and assured everyone that the school was taking every precaution. Now that actual experiments and data show that such screens probably do more harm than good, perhaps we can agree that people jave reason to be sceptical of mandates made in a panic before genuine science has a chance to find things out.

For those who don't trust Town Hall reporting:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/19/well/live/coronavirus-restaurants-classrooms-salons.html

11
Your Turn / Re: Afghanistan
« on: August 18, 2021, 08:29:26 PM »
I remember talking with some of my in-laws about Afghanistan a few months after it started.  I predicted then that the US would be there way longer than they thought and that it was most likely going to end in disaster.  At the same time I was hoping I would be wrong.  I would have greatly preferred if the the US had knocked down the Taliban and gotten right back out.

12
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 16, 2021, 03:15:17 PM »
By that logic, everyone should be masked up throughout their lives. Kids should be required to wear life jackets swimming in the pool (“If it saves even one life, it will have been worth it”), people should only drive on urgent business and never just to take drive. That’s putting indent and others in real danger for purely selfish reason.

Certainly people who are afraid of getting Covid should wear a mask if it makes them feel safer. My problem is with them forcing everyone else to wear a mask because it makes them feel safer.


People should wear a mask because they want the people around them to feel safer. When people refuse to wear masks and catch COVID-19 and are hospitalized and have lasting effects (including death), they are reaping the fruit of their actions; but if their refusal to wear masks means they bring the virus to friends and neighbors who are hospitalized and face lasting effects, their actions are not just affecting themselves.

It's one thing to say people should wear masks because it helps prevent spreading the virus.

It's another thing to say people should wear masks because it makes others feel safer.  (It's even worse to force people to wear masks to make others feel safer.)

You seem to be conflating the three.

13
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 15, 2021, 12:18:05 PM »
Peter:
The idea that there is real danger from a deadly virus but a disposable paper mask will protect you is absurd on the face on it, like a seat belt made of kite string.
Me:
Done many ICU visits? Do you disbelieve every epidemiologist, every hospital, the CDC, every study, every regional statistic which says otherwise?

Every study?

The researchers had hoped that masks would cut the infection rate by half among wearers. Instead, 42 people in the mask group, or 1.8 percent, got infected, compared with 53 in the unmasked group, or 2.1 percent. The difference was not statistically significant.

Results Case growth was not significantly different between mandate and non-mandate states at low or high transmission rates, and surges were equivocal. Mask use predicted lower case growth at low, but not high transmission rates. Growth rates were comparable between states in the first and last mask use quintiles adjusted for normalized total cases early in the pandemic and unadjusted after peak Fall-Winter infections. Mask use did not predict Summer 2020 case growth for non-Northeast states or Fall-Winter 2020 growth for all continental states.

Conclusions Mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level COVID-19 spread during COVID-19 growth surges. Containment requires future research and implementation of existing efficacious strategies.

14
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 14, 2021, 10:28:45 PM »
Vaccine hesitancy is high among the least educated.  However, it is even higher among the most educated.  There is an interesting U-shape to the curve.

People with a PhD are the most hesitant when it comes to getting the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a paper by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

15
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 13, 2021, 05:21:33 PM »
Another embarrassing CDC story:

So why did the CDC say the delta variant was "just as transmissible as" the chickenpox?

For one, the leaked document underestimated the R0 for chickenpox and overestimated the R0 for the delta variant. "The R0 values for delta were preliminary and calculated from data taken from a rather small sample size," a federal official told NPR. The value for the chickenpox (and other R0s in the slideshow) came from a graphic from The New York Times, which wasn't completely accurate.

Delta is bad and has a high R0.  Just quite a bit lower than chicken pox.  And don't get your medical statistics from the grey lady (why didn't CDC have the right number in its own data?).

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