The most recent case comes in the form of the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa where the smaller villages and tribes insist that the threat comes from the doctors and assisting personnel, leading the individuals within these secluded corners of the continent to react rather violently to those sent out to lend a hand. The reason why they believe their religious leaders over a group of highly trained and protected staff is fairly obvious; the tribal doctors refuse to have their authority brought into question and the strangers could threaten their position if any of the locals manage to be successful cured. Therefore, it is a simple matter of creating a threat out of salvation and cement their position of leadership through fear and manipulation. This is not, however, where I am going to begin the study.
I'd like to go further than that. I'd like to show the dangers of putting faith in government and religion over logic and scientific process.
Having said that, I'd also like to note that this is not a statement against religion nor is it a personal attack against any form of government that has existed in the past or present. It is merely a collaboration of historical events that have been studied and dissected in order to sway those that have bought into the anti-vaccination and anti-climate change movements of the last few years. The act of manipulating the public through the use of science fiction in its purest form is no way an innovation accredited to the modern age, it's been a staple in the lives of the common man since the dawn of civilization itself and perhaps it's time to change that.
One of the earliest instances of medical propaganda can be found in the ancient Assyria, where the common treatment for infection and disease happened to be fairly similar to what we use today.
What we have managed to determine through clay tablets that date as early as 5300 BC, the Assyrian culture was the earliest known civilization to have a grasp of agricultural as well as the medicinal value of the foliage that it managed to produce. The fact that the people would be so ready to dismiss literal millennia of proven treatment in favour of mysticism that did little more than create a pleasant smelling atmosphere says much of how powerful the testimonial of a figurehead comes to be. Not more than 200 years after the change, the Assyrian Empire had begun to see a relative decline as the lower classes had begun to feel the effects of infectious disease and the general health of the lands fell into disarray. There is no single text to describe this theory, however if one were to combine the maps produced from 1400 BC along with written depictions of the social concern from Eriba-Adad show that along with the constant rate of expansion combined with Mitanni rule the general standard of living of the Assyrian people became considerably lower than it had been in centuries. A large part of that may have come from the manner in which they treated their disorders since the Mitanni weren't known for their generosity and their leaders believed in a 'trickle-down' theory of their own, hoarding the majority of luxury items for themselves in order to dictate the market value. Thus, they had created the need to manipulate the security of the population by presenting a simple solution to a complicated problem.
Honey, due to the concentrated levels of antioxidants and the ability to accelerate the coagulation process through its stimulation of prothrombin, had been used on sores as well as internally to ward off illness along with wine which, as we already know, can be used as a disinfectant and blood thinner; additionally there have been certain studies that prove they had used hemp in the recovery process and sparingly for recreation. The three were used in conjunction for nearly nearly 2700 years, spanning across 4 significant social climes and separate era, until the production of honey had become scarce. It was at this time that the religious leaders of the Assyrian Empire, who were also in league with the upper caste, had seen fit to put forth the proposition that most illnesses were borne of spiritual means and it was far better to treat disease and infection through the use of burnt sage.