From http://www.co.carver.mn.us

Our public schools no longer teach math and science very well, apparently for fear of angering religiously militant parents, and the religiously oriented private schools have in many cases been forbidden from doing so. We may have a lot of verbally adept and linguistically clever students, but not many who understand even the core principles of mathematics, much less the sciences. We see it in our journalism, especially those sectors covering finance and science, and we see it in the rise in the use of new-agey nostrums even in modern hospitals whose administrators know better but still cynically seek the dollars fake medicine can bring.

My remarks are occasioned by this bit of news:

In testimony that was often personal and sometimes passionate, dozens of parents turned out Thursday for a hearing on a state proposal to expand the number of required vaccinations for Minnesota children.

[...]

The proposal, issued by the Health Department in April, triggered the latest round in a running debate between public health officials, who say widespread vaccination is one of the most effective tools to keep the population healthy, and a well-organized community of skeptics, who say vaccines need more testing and can cause dangerous side effects.

The Health Department proposal triggered a petition drive by vaccine opponents, which led to Thursday’s hearing before an administrative law judge.

Ah, yes, vaccine opponents — the reason why measles and other preventable diseases are on the upswing in the US and the UK. As one parent who posted in the comments section said:

I’m sorry but who will foot the medical bills for the kids who end up in the hospital from secondary bacterial infections after getting these very preventable diseases; how many kids have to endure the pain of chicken pox and then have the VZV virus in their systems so later on they can develop shingles? How many kids have to endure mumps and measles? How many of these anti-vaccine parents WERE vaccinated as children and don’t know themselves what it was like to have these preventable diseases? Any risk associated with any vaccine is far outweighed by benefits and when it’s time, we all roll up our sleeves in our house. An ounce of prevention. . .

Another parent weighs in:

My son was one of the first in the state to get pertussis. [PW: Meaning "the first since the antivax movement started gearing up a few decades ago"; for a blessed period of fifty years, pertussis was kept in check in Minnesota thanks to the whooping cough vaccine, which was administered to the vast majority of Minnesota schoolkids during that time.] It was about 15 years ago I think. It was confirmed with a culture. His pediatrician was shocked. I was very scared because he was wracked with coughing spasms. I looked up online how to do a tracheotomy because he lost the ability to breathe several times. Then I got it too, and it was the worst thing I have ever had. Luckily, I was treated fast since the doctor know my son had it. Trust me all you “skeptics”. You do not want this.

I sure wouldn’t.