I pit willfull ignorance and the people who attempt to spread it

This weekend I was on a family camping trip. These trips typically involve much sitting around the fire drinking adult beverages and having adult conversations.
I was well into my second glass of wine when I was broadsided by blatant stupidity.

My teenaged cousin asked me, “Do you think it’s true what some people say that pharmaceutical companies have a cure for cancer but they won’t sell it to people?”

My cousin is a nice girl and appeared to be looking for a genuine answer/conversation. Unfortunately her harpy of a mother was sitting beside her, so that was the last opportunity the girl had to speak. If I didn’t know the girl better I’d think she was deliberately baiting me, because the topic is apparently a pet subject of her mother’s.

I told her that I did not believe such a thing was likely. Even without knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, one can see that it does not make sound financial sense to withhold something so valuable. That’s when her mother pounced.

“I have two friends who are amunologists [sic] who tell me that this is true. The pharmaceutical companies make more money selling their other drugs and selling the cure for cancer would mean less money for them.”

I pointed out (again) that they could name any price for such a cure as patients would pay any amount of money for it, so the monetary loss wouldn’t matter.

She insisted that her inside information must be true because her amunologist friends are 50yrs old and know a lot about the industry. I asked her if she was implying that my mere six years of industry experience meant that I was therefore stupid. She claimed that they knew specifically of the cancer cure that was being kept secret.

I told her her brilliant amunologist friends should defect from the industry and sell the cure themselves then. She backpedaled and said that they didn’t have the cure, but they knew for certain that it exists, and went back to her original argument that the companies make more money selling other drugs.

I tried a different tactic and told her that cancer isn’t a disease that maintenance medications are sold for - either you’re trying to eliminate the cancer or you’re dying from it. The medications the companies sell that people take for years are typically for things like high blood pressure and cholesterol. I could possibly believe the argument if she was talking about a cure for HIV (but not likely) but cancer simply doesn’t work that way.

She got huffy at my implication that she doesn’t know the difference between cancer and HIV . Then went back to her (now tired) assertion that the pharma companies make more money NOT selling the cure for cancer.

I told her that her argument was completely lacking in logic and went off in search of another glass of wine.

I hate to end arguments that way, but I realized that I was trying to teach a pig to sing. For that, I pit myself.

Well, at least you fought a little ignorance, in that the kid was able to hear an opposing viewpoint to her mother’s standard-issue “things they won’t tell you” paranoia. So that’s not a bad thing.

I would have asked her what an ‘amunologist’ was.

A friend of mine works in a beauty salon. She gets a lot of “common knowledge” there–based upon urban legends or from someone’s take on an article from Cosmo or People.

Her latest warning to me: drinking water from a bike bottle could be fatal.

A coworker from another department has been telling her subordinates that drinking bottled water in the summer will give them breast cancer. Johns Hopkins and Snopes helped me out with an article I printed (refuting her claims) and left at all her centers—it was going to be 108 that week and I didn’t want people dying on my shift. She read it and said she still believed bottled water was toxic because she read it on the internet. I pointed out I got this article from a website. She said Johns Hopkins doesn’t know everything.
Is she evil or stupid?

Stupid. Unbelievably stupid.

Of course they’re holding back Cancer cures!!! :rolleyes: It’s not like the pharmaceutical companies have recently released any new drugs [Cough… Gardasil… Cough] which might, say, ooohhhh I don’t know prevent somewhere around 80%* of cervical cancer cases from ever occuring.

  • I think this is the stat quoted for Gardasil, but don’t quote me on it.

The sole cause of cancer has been doctors all along. They do it for profit. You didn’t know?!

So are pharma employees, doctors and researchers, their loved ones and all their loved ones’ families, (not to mention their loved ones’ families’ employees, friends and cats) just magically immune from cancer then, that they wouldn’t ever need to have a cure? I better to get making some friends!

I ran into this same sort of thing at Bunco a few months ago. One of the other Buco-playing ladies owns a grocery store. She claimed that the “Pepsi rep” warned her of the new Pepsi cans coming out. I told her that I was pretty sure that it was an Urban Legend. “Oh no!! He told me himself !!”

One would hope that two grown adults (herself and the Pepsi man) would have enough sense to check out the story before spreading more mis-information. Sigh.

I suppose I should ask her if the offending cans of product ever showed up.

On second hand, nah.

I did send her an email with the Snopes link. She never acknowledged it.

Don’t ever argue with someone who knows an amunologist. Sheesh! - you should have known this.

Origionally posted by Cyn

To be fair, I have given myself a swift and cleansing diet by drinking from a bike bottle that I hadn’t cleaned properly, but breast cancer? Obviously my intrawebs is as ill informed as yours, what intrawebs is the *real *medicine on?

I could tell you, but then I’d have to deny you lifesaving treatment.

Or give you lifesaving treatment - I forget. This is all so confusing.

Not willful factual ignorance but still… this weekend I had to endure my wife’s elderly Irish relatives complaining incessantly about the number of economic migrants coming into the UK.

Irish relatives who came to England looking for work, thus making them, y’know, economic migrants too. :rolleyes:

Strangely they didn’t see the similarity.

It’s like the snobby British couple I met in Cyprus who’d left the UK “because of all the immigrants”… I asked them how long they’d been immigrants in Cyprus, to which the reply was “oh gosh no, we’re not immigrants, we’re ex-pats”. :dubious:

Doesn’t she know that cancer is God’s way of telling us when we’ve been really, really bad?

It’s true! Want proof? Look at countries that don’t have doctors and hospitals everywhere, how many people die from cancer there, huh?

OH! Immunologists! :smack:

I have fun listening to my brother rail on about how the state run lotteries are ‘rigged’. Rigged for whom, we don’t know, but they’re rigged. Rigged for what purpose, we don’t know, but they’re rigged. You can tell from the patterns of the numbers that keep coming out.

I love buying him lottery tickets on gift-giving occasions.

I get my RDA of willful stupidity every time I run into a certain neocon worshipping gamer I know. He thinks Faux News, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and anything coming out of the White House is gospel truth. He also thinks that pretty much anything he reads on right-wing blogs is automatically true too. I can’t even begin to talk about the mind-numbingly stupid things I’ve had to endure when near him.

Hell, you can get that here. Go read anything posted by lekatt.

One branch of my family believes this. We just buried my 53-year-old cousin because she wouldn’t trust the doctors to treat her cancer. :frowning: