Nothing More American Than Civil Disobedience

In many other countries around the world, Colin Kaepernick would be in prison, or exiled to another country, or dead. His very public demonstrations against the authorities would have earned him at least jail in the Russian Federation. In the United States, the worst thing that has happened to him is that he is out […]

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The Parent Ren, Part IV: The Big Bad World Out There

There was a tremendous earthquake in Mexico City today, 32 years to the day of the big one in 1985. (Seriously, what are the odds?) There is also a category 5 hurricane heading to Puerto Rico. In Myanmar, the army is systematically killing Muslims as the survivors of the “cleansing” are making their way to […]

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The Parent Ren, Part III: Sleep? What Sleep?

Everybody who knows anything about raising a child from birth warned me about the lack of sleep. They were not joking when they said that sleep would become a big commodity in our lives. In fact, my wife and I kind of dreaded what was to come from the very first night we spent with […]

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Trying Not to Be a One-Issue Voter

When I first moved to Pennsylvania from Texas, a lot of the people I met up here were surprised to find out that I was a Republican. Several of them told me that they were surprised because I was Hispanic and, in their experience, people of color were not Republicans. Although I tried to tell […]

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The Parent Ren, Part II: Patience

A friend of mine pointed out to me that I had written a blog post referencing “The Child” back in 2012. In fact, my wife and I talked about The Child as far back as I can remember being with her. (That’s something I didn’t do with other girlfriends, by the way.) We started off […]

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The Parent Ren, Part I: Clean As You Go

When I was a teenager, there was a lot of pressure for me to finish high school and get a job. The pressure didn’t come from either of my parents, actually. It came from my uncles and cousins. In our culture, education was one of those things that you did because you had to and […]

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The Blood in My Veins

When I was seven years old, my younger brother arrived in the world. I remember the day clearly because we had been waiting for him for a while. I was out playing with my cousins when my mom walked out to find me. “Is he here?” I asked her full of glee. She nodded, and […]

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Don’t Be Friends With Jerks

We went out to dinner the other evening in celebration/anticipation of the impending arrival of Baby Ren. We sat around the table, talking and eating and having a great time. By the end of the evening, we all parted ways and my wife and I went to a nearby hotel. It was the same hotel […]

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Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.

See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).

However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.

In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.

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Good Night, Good Dog

Callisto, the wonderful dog we adopted seven years ago, passed away peacefully after a short battle with disease. She leaves a dog-shaped hole in our hearts as she was very much our daughter. My wife and I wished she could have stuck around to meet the baby, but the universe has a funny way of […]

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