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Joseph Wyatt: Scientific knowledge always wins out (Opinion)

The anti-vaccine folks are providing us with so many cases of measles that I am seeing spots before my eyes. In recognition of their Olympian denial of both research and common experience, I offer the anti-vaxxers additional morsels of medical advice that they may find tasty.

The following approaches to health were found in a vault labeled “Vaccinations cause autism.” They also may be found in Elizabeth C. Archibald’s book, “Ask the Past.” For example, from the 15th century came advice for avoidance of back pain -- simply never wipe your fanny with grass or any other foliage. As a bonus, anti-vaxxers may put aside their fear of an especially embarrassing case of poison ivy.

Going bald? Frequently rub your head with ground onions. Look great as you ignore murmurs of, ”Here comes old onion noggin.” Think you might be pregnant? Pee in a copper pot and then drop in a piece of shiny iron. If this stew shows red spots, start stocking up on diapers.

The information-impaired may take comfort in the fact that they have millions of brothers and sisters -- all dead because they lived in a time when a cool means of avoiding the plague, devised by the leading thinkers of the era, was to grind up two walnuts, two figs, a grain of salt and twenty leaves of rew (whatever that is). Eat up. You will be free of the deadly smallpox, but only for a day. See you at the rew tree tomorrow.

Headache? Put a dish of water on your head and drop an ounce or two of molten lead into it. If you should accidentally scald the hair off your pate, relax. Just lug home a 50 pound sack of onions. Is your memory declining? Tape a badger tooth to your right arm while rubbing the gall bladder of a partridge on your temples. A month later your memory will be sharp as that badger’s tooth. And should this fail to improve your memory, at least no one else will ever forget you.

Got that scratchy, sore throat feeling? Tie the guts of a sheep around your neck. Leave it there as long as you like. As a bonus, there is no chance that you will get close enough to infect anyone else.

Aside from the anti-vaxers, we now have cadres of state legislators attacking a woman’s right to control her own body. But why should those lawmakers stop their backward trek in 1953? Regressing a few hundred additional centuries, they might advise women to avoid pregnancy completely by carrying against their bellies the womb of a goat. As an alternative, a woman may carry around a set of weasel bits in her bra. Las Vegas oddsmakers say that no woman will become pregnant under either circumstance.

Sadly, the war on science is not limited to those who, for no good reason, will aid their children in contracting measles. But, in the end, science will win out. It always has because it enriches our lives. Science and technology give us health rather than disease, education rather than ignorance, heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. They permit us to chat with someone anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice and keep us apprised of events happening across the globe almost as they occur. Anti-vaccination folks, you aren’t going to beat science. Why endanger your kids in a fight against windmills?

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist and emeritus professor at Marshall University.

Funerals for Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Berdine, Robert - 2 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Arnoldsburg.

Bonsall, Buddy - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Holstein, Gary - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Keener, John - 8 p.m., Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Miller, Edward - 1 p.m., Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, Spencer.

Wright, Virginia - 11 a.m., Nitro Church of God, Nitro.