Until 1955, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem of the post-war United States. Annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was polio." As a result, scientists were in a frantic race to find a way to prevent or cure the disease. U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt was the world's most recognized victim of the disease and founded the organization, the March of Dimes Foundation, that would fund the development of a vaccine.
I have read many vaccine debate articles on the specifics of how otherwise intelligent people remain rooted in ignorant hysteria (those high-brow articles are usually tempered by other articles explaining just how stupid most people really are in their inability to employ logic over emotion in decision-making) and I am not going to argue with them. Their arguments run the entire spectrum of logical fallacies and they are so hell-bent in being right, they will spite their nose to save face. In Game Theory that's understood to be a loss. You lose, you lose. You win? You lose. Outstanding.
I would like to say however, I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy was brilliantly written. Just the right amount of incredulity. Better still, perhaps, the 1000+ comment "debate" which unfolded over about a 12-hour period. We, as a species, believe a lot of complete nonsense. Probably because its easier than comprehending science, or challenging our flawless worldview. Learning stuff is hard; believing something dumb is easy. The comments alone are a fascinating sampling of knowledge being power. Or, like whatever the exact opposite of that would be.