Was smallpox eradicated by vaccines or by hygiene?
Raw data question : anybody got the stats on the actual number of babies injected with smallpox vaccines, year on year, over the years it peaked and then died out? Can it be verified or not that at places like Leicester the incidence of smallpox did not reduce upon stopping of vaccinations? In the absence of reliable data, would the testimonies of people whose priors actually lived there count as inferior to blackboard reasoning?
When I step out of my rabid intolerant capitalist finance driven science worshipper mode for a minute,
Then I see this as a real question, and a realistic comparison. Just like washing hands and taking bath regularly is better at keeping infections away and much healthier than swallowing Crocin etc daily,
Hygiene and proper quarantining IS more effective, and infinitely less unnatural, than injecting everyone's bloodstream with animal puss curating genetically modified organisms floating in mercury or aluminium laden solutions. If you took something like that and removed the "vaccine" label and injected it into someone, you'd get imprisoned for attempting to cause grievious harm possibly leading to death. Given that our best technologies give some credit to biomimicry, I don't think there's any natural world counterpart of something being externally injected into an organism's bloodstream helping in making it healthy. The closest we can get is leeches, and those guys suck blood out, not put things in. For everything else we have a time-tested rule of making any external cure pass the scrutiny of the body's digestive system or the filters of the respiratory system first, and we resort to injections only in emergencies; never as years-prior prevention.
From a long term perspective, I can picture hygiene and quarantine as an effective strategy usable for the next 10,000 years (Ebola outbreak in an African country? Stop all flights, dumass!), but I cannot imagine how it can ever be possible to inject babies with 1000+ shots in their first hours of life a 100 years down the line, going by the trends we have today, comparing the number of vaccines your parents got with what you got with the number your baby got. And we've managed to mix 3 or so with much protest but I cannot see how we can possibly mix 1000+ different chemicals and bacterial or virulent organisms together into one little vial and expect it to be no different than the sum of its parts, knowing that both chemistry and biology fundamentally don't play that way.
Also, I can't help but wonder, going back to first principles, doesn't the theory of vaccination fundamentally oppose the theory of evolution? We've consigned one species on this planet to eternity-long artificial interventions at birth to help it cope with its changing environment while expecting every other species to naturally evolve to adapt (except pets who are also now getting as sick as we are when they never did this way earlier). We'd only do that if we were sure that species had no more evolving left to do.
Anyways, back to rabid intolerant capitalist finance driven science worshipper mode : let's bring out the pitchforks and torches and burn all these damned creationists and xenophobes and sexists and whatevers at the stake, get offended because we're tolerant people, burn their books, delete their videos, mandate government censorship, compulsory vaccination, imprisoning and de-custodifcation of parents who dare disobey because we're always right and Science has an invisible hand like the one in economics that will auto-magically make everyone arrive at the objective truth without needing any kind of real dialogue or effort on our part.
We can chalk everything up to peer review processes while conveniently ignoring the fact that the peer-review process is inherently designed to let new discoveries see daylight only and only if a very large number of socially awkward people have extraordinary guts to oppose the reigning status quo and put their highly competitive and difficult to attain careers on the line over it knowing that they're too specialized to be employable anywhere else. (Try calculating the probability of that happening!) We can forget that the default function of peer-review process is to prevent new ideas from getting a foothold and to enforce conformity.
We can safely dismiss the spirit of discovery and expect the dissenter to go convince everyone else first and then only come to us for our royal approval, without ever bothering to consider that others might have the same expectation as we do, and that if we keep on shunning and de-funding and censoring and prosecuting new perspectives like we presently are, then that invisible hand of Science we've put all our faith in as the economists put in theirs, might just not exist.