Antivax people are antivax

By Phil Plait | August 30, 2009 10:31 am

[Note: Many times, when I write about antivax stuff, I get comments that try to sidetrack the issue at hand. For the record, I am a parent myself, my heart goes out to parents of autistic kids, and I went through those very same fears and worries that every parent does. I also understand that a lot of parents listen to antivaxxers and believe in their falsehoods, but my writing is generally not aimed at the parents. It’s aimed at the loudest proponents of the antivax movement, the ones instigating those falsehoods, not the ones simply repeating them. In the end this is about the fact that vaccines don’t cause autism, and the big mouthpieces of the antivax movement are almost entirely fact-free in their claims. So let’s stick with that, Mmmmkay?]

I talk about the antivaccination movement quite a bit here, because I happen to have a strong desire to keep babies alive. If we stop vaccinating kids, we’ll see a lot of them succumbing to preventable diseases. Preventable, that is, through vaccination.

Orac has an interesting take on all this: he points out that at its core, the antivax movement just simply hates vaccinations.

Syringe, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/8499561@N02/2756332192/

Now, that might seem like a tautology. But it’s not, not really. It’s actually relevant because the antivax movement must change its story (what we skeptics call "moving the goalposts") every time they are conclusively proven wrong. That happens a lot. When it’s pointed out that mercury doesn’t cause autism (removing it from vaccines did not lower the autism diagnosis incidence rate), they say vaccines contain squalene, or fetal tissue, or ghosts, or the Loch Ness monster.

Of course, when it’s shown that autism rates have nothing to do with vaccination, they ignore it, or spin it, or lie about it.

In a sense, the loudest proponents stick to their movement the way a racist sticks with their prejudices. You can tear down their specific claims about a particular group of people point by point, but in the end the racist simply hates people in that group. It’s not rational, or logical, or reasonable. It just is.

And so what Orac is saying is that no matter what, at its core, the antivax movement really hates vaccination. No matter what proof you show them, and no matter how much they squeal that they are "pro-choice", really it’s their loathing of vaccinations that drives them.

It’s an interesting idea, and he may very well be right. We’ve seen exactly this kind of behavior from many in the antivax crowd, moving from debunked claim to debunked claim, trying to pin anything and everything they can on vaccines, long after the logic trail has petered out. In the end, all they have are empty claims and their own misguided methods.

No matter what, they are antivax.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Skepticism

Comments (73)

  1. FenrirKar

    I have it on very good authority (i read it on the interwebs) that the swine flu vaccine contains the ghost OF the Loch Ness monster. The government/Big Pharma/aliens are trying to kill us, man!

  2. kingnor

    I believe it, I know more than one person who refuse to get vaccines simply because they don’t like needles, then defend their stance after the fact by parroting all this garbage about how dangerous they are.

    I still have friends who will not touch a vaccine, no matter what I show them or how I explain herd immunity or that you can ‘carry’ a disease with out showing symptoms etc etc..

    They just don’t want it.

  3. juryjone

    Yet if it were possible to prove a negative, and we were able to plug all the holes so that there was no possible way for them to blame vaccines, then they would find something else to blame, because underneath it all they can’t let themselves think that sometimes things just happen. They believe that if something goes wrong in their lives, it’s not coincidence, someone is responsible, and they should be compensated. Vaccines are an easy target because people don’t understand science and are scared of needles; but they’d find another target soon enough if they felt they had to.

  4. Zombie

    How could anybody not like the VAX-11? It was such a classic. Even if you’re a RISC proponent you gotta respect it.

  5. Pieter Kok

    Saying that anti-vaxxers “hate vaccinations” oversimplifies the problem.

    First, I suspect that the anti-vaccination nonsense is an outcrop of a much wider anti-scientific movement in the English speaking world. Hence the appeal of all those conspiracy theories that have been thoroughly debunked (moon hoax, face on Mars, 2012, etc.), or belief in extra-terrestial visitations, supernatural powers (creationism), global-warming deniers, etc. All these have in common that they reject or ignore available evidence and mathematical inference. I say English-speaking world, mainly because I perceive it is most problematic here. It also exists elsewhere.

    Second, democracy is in some sense to blame: It is not expected of the general public that they delve into the primary literature, and they (we) are therefore susceptible to the “studies show” argument. We (the general public) do not have the time to look at the studies ourselves, and we have to rely on experts. However, when it comes to children, parents think that they are experts, and confuse the love for their child with knowing what is best for them. Moreover, in our democratic tradition (and especially in the context of 24-hour news opinion networks) it has become fashionable to believe that one opinion is as valuable as any other.

    In short, just to say that antivax people hate vaccinations does not actually tell us much, even if it is not a tautology.

  6. You know, I was having an arguent just like this this week with a friend, except the subject was different. We were talking about the Moon hoax and other conspiracies theories. My point was that HBs are that, HBs. No matter what logical argument or science fact you present them, they will continue to be HBs. The argument ceases to be about logic or science and instead, it’s about opinion and belief. I guess that might be true for most people who believe in conspiracy theories.

    How can someone be against vaccination, I cannot understand.

  7. aarrgghh

    Reminds me a lot of the people who believed (or had, I can’t remember) a disease caused by their technology that were looking for the planet ‘eden’ in the original Star Trek for some reason.

    Is the fallout against science simply a projection of the body of knowledge becoming so big that no one person can understand it, and the resentment that that makes forcing people to use technology every day for their survival that they can’t hope to understand all of it? James Burke was talking very similarly in the first episode of Connections in the elevator and trying to get across just how defendant we are on our technology.

  8. Well, let’s keep in mind that some anti-vaxers have profit in mind and it pays them to be as anti-vax as possible. Homeopaths are using the manufactroversy to tout the benefits of their wares and say that all these scary vaccines with evil chemicals show that conventional medicine is a dangerous menace:

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/08/29/sickkids-falls-for-medical-luddism/

    As for other anti-vaxers, I attribute their stance to an almost Luddite fear of modern medical technology and a DIY attitude that comes from reading too many WebMD articles and fancying yourself a doctor, while forgetting that the people who wrote those articles are simplifying them for public consumption and spend anywhere between 15 and 30 years working on these topics in colleges, labs and hospitals.

  9. DemetriusOfPharos

    @Zombie:

    How could anybody not like the VAX-11? It was such a classic. Even if you’re a RISC proponent you gotta respect it.

    You, my friend, win the internet for that one. Classic.

  10. Jeremy

    They’re not so much anti-vaccine as anti-“Big Pharma.” It’s a more understandable position, if no less wrong. The pharmaceutical industry has done a lot to lose the confidence of the public, and sadly this anti-vaccination nonsense is one manifestation of that.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    No, the reason why anti-vaxxers must change their story isn’t because they hate vaccinations. It’s because they use a crackpot theory to support their hate.

    Crackpot theories are used for love and hate equally. Creationists use ID and “anthropic arguments” because they hate evolution and more generally science, while Neal Adams use his “growing earth” theory because of an unanswered love for science and mysticism alike.

    Instead the hate hypothesis behind the use of crackpot theories IMHO predicts why these people group together. Hate against an established interest easily makes people unite, while love for a new idea has a harder time to become known and supported.

    Consequently hate of relativity and the learning threshold of modern physics explains why we have several EU believers, while Adams is quite alone in his love for his crackpot theory.

  12. Icewings27

    The hype surrounding the H1N1 vaccine has gotten me reading about immunization, toxicology, and epidemiology but I am woefully ignorant on all of these topics. I do get a sense that the antivaxxers are just inherently suspicious of the goverment, pharmaceutical companies, doctors (so true that the Internet makes us feel like we know more than our doc just cuz we read it on WebMD!).

    Not to hijack this conversation but can any of you smart people tell me what the potential risks of the new H1N1 vaccine would be? As near as I can tell it is a flu vaccine, designed and based on the same principles as other flu vaccines. Other than a red sore area around the injection site I’m not seeing what risks there could be in gtetting it. I suppose the virus could mutate and the vaccine would be ineffective but that’s not a reason to not get vaccinated.

    I’m planning to get it as soon as I can because I’m pregnant but I really want to know…Is my head going to explode? Are aliens going to burst out of my stomach? Am I going to become mentally incapacitated? What are the risks?! Am I naive to think that there really aren’t any?

  13. tacitus

    I agree with the idea that the hatred of vaccines is actually a distillation of a number of ill-thought out fears and prejudices.

    Top of the list has got to be the fear that taking an overt action results in you being hurt or hurting your child—injection one day, injury the next. When weighed against the completely invisible boost to the immune system the vaccine provides and the fact that you never know for sure that it’s doing its job, it’s easy to see why many people can be persuaded to avoid vaccinations.

    I’m willing to bet that in a time of real crisis (like a deadly flu epidemic), the vast majority of anti-vaxxers will opt to take the flu vaccine because the dangers of not taking it are suddenly exceedingly clear and the scales are tipped heavily in the other direction.

    Next, particularly in America, there is a deep mistrust of anything the government tells you you should do, and there are many more who believe that anything “big pharma” puts out cannot be trusted either. Given how many life-extending cures and treatments are coming out every year, this deep seated fear is utterly bizarre.

    I went to see Dr. Dean Edell (the radio doctor) live at the Austin Convention Center a few years ago, where people could line up to ask him questions about anything they wanted to, and several people asked him about why the drug companies are more interested in finding “maintaining treatments” than “real cures.” He actually got quite exasperated after a while and give a mini-lecture about how nonsensical this belief was — not that it did any good.

    Finally, you have those who believe that anything that’s not natural and has been created in a lab must be bad for you, even as they chomp their way through snacks and meals positively bursting with synthetic chemicals all conveniently listed for you on the side of the packaging.

    Add them all together and you have a toxic brew of irrational fears and prejudices—fertile ground for the professional anti-vaxxers to ply their trade—and vaccines are caught directly in their cross-hairs.

  14. tacitus

    Not to hijack this conversation but can any of you smart people tell me what the potential risks of the new H1N1 vaccine would be?

    I believe their still testing it, so I’m not sure how accurate any information would be at this time. When it’s ready there will be plenty of information available for you to read and digest, probably available directly from the CDC web site.

  15. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Nitpicks on the sudden amount of severe (mis)use of philosophy in matters of science:

    Now, that might seem like a tautology.

    And how is that bad?

    Theories builds on its facts and then predicts them. So it properly contains its facts. In any case, if it wasn’t a tautology on its facts, a theory (or theory and facts, if you prefer that) would be inconsistent and so useless.

    if it were possible to prove a negative,

    Like that no even number is odd? (Or less trivially, no even number above 2 is prime.)

    There are AFAIU many ways to prove different types of negative claims. In fact, I suspect that there is no negative that you can’t prove. :-D

    they reject or ignore available evidence and mathematical inference.

    Crackpot theorists may or may not reject and ignore mathematical inference. (In fact I think they tend to love it.) But in any case physicists do it on a massive scale.

    It is well that they do this, because the major amount of theories aren’t formal axiomatic. For example I believe 2nd quantization in quantum field theory resists being put on a formal math basis.

    These algorithmic, physical, theories are never complete (because they are all effective by way of their Lagrangian) and, worse, likely never fully decidable in the Gödel sense. Just like AFAIU Peano arithmetic, group theory, theory of fields and a host other pure math theories are incomplete, and Peano arithmetic also undecidable, btw.

    If a statement is undecidable yet contained in a theory, inference won’t help. This can be removed by adding axioms like adding the parallel axiom to get to plane geometry among the several choices, I believe. Or rather adding theories in physics, AFAIU.

    But perhaps not always if I understand correctly. “Gödel discovered a type of undecidability which could never be remedied by the addition of extra axioms.” [Gordon McCabe, “The non-unique Universe” arxiv 0907.0216.]

    Luckily then we have testing to make up for the weakness of formal math.

  16. dweezil

    But isn’t that how the scientific process works too? We believe on thing to be correct, until it is proved wrong. Once something is proved wrong, we work that into our new model and believe the new model, until it is proved wrong. Are the anti-vaxers unknowingly using the scientific method?

    I mean, its hard to prove that the ghost of the Loch Ness monster isn’t in them, but it is possible to prove mercury has no link to autism.

    I guess scientists move the goalposts all the time too, and I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that.

  17. Maybe its time to link this again.

    “Researchers long ago rejected the theory that vaccines cause autism, yet many parents don’t believe them. Can scientists bridge the gap between evidence and doubt?”

    http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000114

  18. Will. M.

    It is a belief system which makes these folks so intransigent. They have made up their minds that what they believe is true, and NOTHING will alter that belief. It is the poor teaching of science in general and how to think in particular in our public schools which also contributes to this fanaticism. And these deniers of the antivax variety seem to have a poor grasp of how things work, whether medicines, molecules or machinery – the physical world is mostly a mystery to them. Also, they have the unalterable sense that whatever they believe is guaranteed by the Constitution, especially the First Amendment – which includes their opinions, and therefore which isn’t subject to criticism because that belief is their inalienable right. This, too, is a failure of the public schools to differentiate between an abstraction and a reality: what the Constitution can define in theory and what is practical within a shared community. (We are seeing the logical result of that failure when the assault-carrying Second Amendment adherents attend public gatherings with their armaments.) And for some, the very thought of having their dearly held belief proved faulty is simply too much to accept.

    In short, there is NO reasoning with folks like this, no matter what their particular cause is, because reason simply doesn’t work to dissuade such a deeply held belief.

  19. @Icewings27

    You’re correct that the H1N1 vaccine is using existing flu vaccine technology, but with a new strain. Clinical trials are still in their relatively early stages, but thus far, the only reported adverse reactions have been pain and swelling at the injection site. As tacitus said, once the trials are one and the vaccines are available, much more information will be available from either CDC or FDA.

    @Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    In fact, I suspect that there is no negative that you can’t prove.

    “Prove that vaccines do not cause autism.” That is a question that the antivaxers ask, but which cannot be answered. The best that we can do is say that the abundance of evidence suggests that vaccines do not cause autism. Absolute proof, at least as far as this question is concerned, cannot be reached. :)

  20. Aline

    First, science does not provide all the answers. If science could explain why autism occurs, instead of just “well, we can prove it’s not vaccines” there would be a lot fewer antivaxers. How can you expect people to believe in science when it cannot give them what they need?

    Second, the public has been given junk by science and the pharma industry that was supposed to be good for them in the past and turned into tragedy. (Excuse my spelling here) Thelidomide, and most recently the drug that was recently taken off the market that caused heart failure whose name escapes me. (damn) Anyway, there is history here. Science isn’t always right.

    Third, not everything the anti-vaxers do is bad. For one I am glad that mercury was removed from vaccines. They, at least continue to pressure the scientific and pharma community to make the safest vaccines possible with the least harmful side effects as possible so that the community can point to the vaccines and argue how safe they are.

    Fourth, parents do know their children better than anyone else, even doctors. They are with their children more than anyone else in the world. Doctors need to listen to parents. If a doctor does not listen to a parent about a child there is absolutely no reason why that parent should trust that doctor. That trust has to be earned.

    Finally, there is no getting around the temporal link between some vaccines and the onset or seeming onset of autism in some cases. This is the circumstantial evidence that some anti-vaxers cling to, and it is as strong as it needs to be. Innocent people are convicted all the time based on circumstantial evidence.

  21. Nomen Publicus

    i wonder how many antivaxers have bathrooms and kitchens full of antibacterial soaps and sprays? I wonder how many antivaxers would be horrified to let their little angels play in the dirt? I wonder how many antivaxers are also godbotherers? I wonder how many antivaxers have only one child born late in the life of the mother? I wonder how many antivaxers would not visit a hospital after breaking a limb? I wonder how many antivaxers read their horoscope each morning?

    It seems to me that there must be an underlying reason for their apparently unreasonable public behaviour about vaccines. I suspect a dramatic failure in the education system has left them confused about science and they treat it as magic, good or bad.

  22. @Aline

    You do make some valid arguments there as to why there is mistrust. But nothing is perfect ever. No one is denying mistakes have been made in science and medicine yet people still want to portray it that way.

    As to point #4 yes as parents we do know our children pretty damn good. However, we are also not always the most rational of creatures especially when our children are sick and injured. I know very few parents who are able to keep level headed when faced with even the smallest crisis concerning their children. And that is why it is so important that we trust a 3rd party who specializes in these things and researches who’s job is to spend thousands of hours researching even the smallest details. The doctors listen but thankfully they do not have emotional attachments to the child which can cloud the judgment of what may normally be a very rational thinker.

  23. Cory

    @16

    Ideally, science is not about “moving the goalpost”. As new information comes forward, scientists accept that old conclusions were wrong and move forward towards a new theory regardless of the consequences of the new information upon their old beliefs. Unless the information is absolutely devastating to the old conclusion, the new conclusion will have much in common with the old, but, importantly, there is an appreciable difference based upon the severity of the new findings.

    Anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy nuts “move the goalpost” by demanding more and more evidence to disprove a theory that already has had dozens of holes poked in it. They refuse to change their conclusions regardless of what evidence comes their way, which is the key difference between their approach and the ideal approach of the scientific method.

  24. Ross

    “Finally, there is no getting around the temporal link between some vaccines and the onset or seeming onset of autism in some cases. This is the circumstantial evidence that some anti-vaxers cling to, and it is as strong as it needs to be. Innocent people are convicted all the time based on circumstantial evidence”

    The law isn’t science.

  25. “If science could explain why autism occurs, instead of just “well, we can prove it’s not vaccines” there would be a lot fewer antivaxers.”

    Maybe, maybe not. That depends how many anti-vaxers are galvanized solely by their frustrations about autism. And actually doctors do have good ideas about why autism occurs, they just need more study to confirm their suspicions. That’s the big difference between them and quacks who tout things like chelation therapy. Doctors want to learn what the problem is rather than make up their minds and go full steam ahead with something that might end up doing a lot more harm than good.

    The current idea in the medical community is that autism has strong genetic factors behind it and may be worsened or comorbid with a number of other mental and physical problems. How strongly remains to be seen and what mutations trigger autism spectrum disorders still requires further study.

    “How can you expect people to believe in science when it cannot give them what they need?”

    Science can’t satisfy everybody’s personal wishes. But then again, it’s a methodology for collecting and updating knowledge, not a vehicle for fulfilling people’s personal desires. You don’t believe in science, you learn the facts it has available. Because those facts don’t meet your fancy, they don’t suddenly become irrelevant.

    “Second, the public has been given junk by science and the pharma industry that was supposed to be good for them in the past and turned into tragedy.”

    Medical treatments are a balance between anticipated side-effects and anticipated gain. Not knowing what adverse effect a drug can have ten or twenty years down the road due to the need to release the product on the market before the patents expire is bad business, but not necessarily bad science. More like good science corrupted by overly aggressive business practices. Scientists are not omniscient. They can only learn so much in a fixed period of time.

    “Science isn’t always right.”

    If science was always right, it would be a religion rather than a methodology. Science is generally much more right than random guessing, which is why it works.

    “Third, not everything the anti-vaxers do is bad.”

    Not everything. Just most things. A less toxic from of mercury in the thimerosal preservative was removed and the vaccines still work fine. And that’s great. One less risk we need to take with vaccinations. However, the anti-vaxers don’t stop at that. They keep finding all these imaginary problems with vaccines to justify their fears and quack businesses.

    “Fourth, parents do know their children better than anyone else, even doctors.”

    Parents are not doctors. They do not have the training or knowledge that a licensed medical professional needs to have to practice. Just because they see their children every day and love them to death doesn’t make them experts in pediatric care.

    “Doctors need to listen to parents.”

    Not when the parents quote quacks or clearly don’t know what they’re talking about. An expert has no obligation to heed unreasonable demands.

    “Finally, there is no getting around the temporal link between some vaccines and the onset or seeming onset of autism in some cases.”

    But not hundreds of others. Vaccinated and unvaccinated children develop autism at the same rate and at the same time. Repeat with me: correlation does not equal causation, correlation does not equal causation.

    “Innocent people are convicted all the time based on circumstantial evidence.”

    Courts and science labs work by different standards. What may pass muster in court may not have a ghost of a chance in a science lab. Courts also exonerate or severely lessen appropriate punishments for people who commit terrible crimes by spacious reasoning like “temporary insanity” or “religious beliefs.”

    Science is not a perfect system but it does have far more rigorous standards than courts and things like correlations and eyewitness testimony lack the factual backing to make a case for anything in the eyes of scientists.

  26. Nigel

    @Aline:

    Responding to your fifth point: Um, yes there is getting around that so-called “temporal link”. The majority of these “autism-causing” vaccines are delivered around the time that the first symptoms of autism appear. BUT, kids who DON’T receive these “autism-causing” vaccines are diagnosed with autism, as well. Hrrrm? But the vaccines cause autism, so someone must be slipping them an MMR-mickey when mom and dad aren’t looking.

    The fact is that they cannot diagnose autism SOONER than around the time as those vaccinations, most likely because autism is a mental handicap and mental faculties are increasing from birth and it’s not until then that they can really test and see if kids are deviating from the norm and have autism.

    No one’s arguing that parents know their children better than anyone else. They’re simply stating that parents don’t always know what’s BEST for their children. Why? Because they’re not all scientists, sociologists, psychologists, biologists, human development specialists, etc. There’s a HUGE difference between knowing your kids and knowing what’s best for them.

    The bad that anti-vaxxers do FAR outweighs any possible good they may have ever done. The “mercury” that vaccines contained was not actual mercury. It was a compound and in such tiny amounts in each small amount of vaccine delivered that even were it NOT metabolised (as it was), it wouldn’t be dangerous. There’s more actual mercury in your fish that you’re supposed to eat no more than three times a week.

    So a few mistakes by science and the pharma industry means that nothing they do is good? What a logical fallacy. We’ll take away your optometry, pediatricians, primary care physicians, surgeons, specialists, oh, and those vitamins, and acetaminophen (tylenol), ibuprofen (advil), aleve, and sunblock because clearly everything science and the pharma companies have ever done is bad for you. Tylenol, Advil and other NSAIDs don’t cure headaches, no, and sunblock doesn’t help prevent skin cancer, it merely helps soak in the cancer-particles the sun gives off. Mistakes are made in the name of progress. It happens. If we didn’t make mistakes, progress wouldn’t be made, and there wouldn’t be things like concrete, SSRS systems in cars let alone cars, or the internet or central air or cell phones or frozen meals or nylon or any modern conveniences.

    All losses of life, or lives not fully lived are tragic, but it happens, and it does not mean that we should stop advancing. If we had stopped the Apollo program because of the loss of three astronauts in Apollo 1, we would have never gotten to Apollo 11 and gone to the moon.

    The fact is that more lives can be saved from the mistakes that are made than those cut short by those mistakes.

    And finally, your first and most egregious fallacy: Science cannot explain why autism occurs yet because our level of knowledge and understanding and amount of research haven’t yet discovered it. Science may not have the answers NOW, but unless we continue to do research, it never WILL. Sciences provides people EVERYTHING that they need. Concrete, steel, bricks, 2x4s to build homes; alloys, glasses, and plastics to make cars and TVs and cell phones; and yes, even the medicines and medical equipment that allow our seniors to live to older ages (and healthier, more independent lives) now than they ever have in the history of humankind.

    Science is not a belief and does not require believing IN it. It is the study of nature and understanding its principles. In short, science provides us with facts on how our bodies, our world, and our universe operates. Without that understanding, the average life span would be 25-30 years of age, and we’d be living in mud huts, dying from simple infections caused by simple lacerations (cuts) that are easily prevented today with rubbing alcohol, neosporin and band-aids because, yes, science discovered those, too, once we learned what bacteria are, how they live, how we can kill them, and–amazingly–how that knowledge can save lives.

  27. I'd rather be fishin'

    “Second, the public has been given junk by science and the pharma industry that was supposed to be good for them in the past and turned into tragedy.” “Science isn’t always right.”
    No, it isn’t and doesn’t claim to be. This is why research is still being done in every field from the very big to the very small scale. Conclusions based on science are more right more often than non-science based conclusions or claims.

    “Third, not everything the anti-vaxers do is bad.”
    Yes, but when they do get something right, many of them don’t know why it is right, misunderstand the science behind why it is right, or attribute the effect to the wrong cause. At least the ones that I have met do anyway. Very frustrating.

    “Innocent people are convicted all the time based on circumstantial evidence.”
    Different set of rules and procedures. But then again, some guilty people get off scot-free because of non-science. Can anyone say ‘Twinkie Defense’?

  28. Leander

    Completely agree with your opinion on antivaxxers, BUT…

    “(what we skeptics call “moving the goalposts”)”

    …this made me laugh. Why ? Because with your recent post “Slamming the astronomers-should-see-UFOs myth” you gave the best example of “changing the goalposts” – you previously have, on camera, and as far as I remember in a book of yours, stated explicitly that astronomers don’t see UFOs. In response to that, some bloggers unearthed a whole bunch of reports of UFOs by astronomers. And then, a while later, you warm up your argument, only to change the goalposts by now phrasing it “why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?”…

    That’s indeed what “we skeptics” call changing the goalposts, and furthermore interpret as a sign of bias instead of a calm and balanced look at reality. You know, I have a lot of sympathy for you, what bothers me though is that you expose way too frequently the same behaviour that you criticize in other people…like in this case, “moving the goalposts”. And in general, clinging way too hard to what you, as a tiny, tiny organism on a speck of dust in a vast universe define as reality, instead of promoting some healthy agnosticism when it comes to something as elusive as “reality”…

  29. Caleb Jones

    “If science was always right, it would be a religion rather than a methodology.”

    If science was always right, it would be a religion __that considered itself infallible__ rather than a methodology.

    There fixed that for you. ;-)

    Remember, not all religions consider themselves infallible or as having a monopoly on truth.

  30. Leander (28) Bzzzt! Actually, I used to say that astronomers don’t see UFOs, but I now say that it’s extremely rare for astronomers to have reported them. The reason you’re wrong here is that it doesn’t change my argument, which is that if UFOs were spaceships, then astronomers should be reporting them in vast numbers, far higher than the general public. That’s because we watch the skies a lot more.

    So it’s not moving the goalposts, it’s refining a position. There’s a huge difference.

  31. MadScientist

    The antivaxxers are delusional and believe in a government/global/megacorporation conspiracy. Unfortunately unlike most conpiracies which are merely laughed at by the general public (or in the case of the “truthers” infuriate people), antivaxxers have a story to scare people and convert them. It’s a little like christianity with its promise of hell for those who don’t join the club – and of course those who join will be saved – just like the antivaxxers. The foundation of the stories of course is nothing more than good ol’ ignorance.

  32. Pat

    On the original topic:
    I hate taking vaccinations–needle phobia. However, I have faithfully taken my shots over the decades (including the original swine flu), on the theory that giving into my phobia is far more likely to make me ill than taking the shots that I hate.

    Shifting to UFOs:
    I’ve seen a UFO, about 15 years ago in southeastern New Mexico, while camping with friends, most of which have technical backgrounds. Several of them saw the object.

    I personally came to the conclusion that the UFO was just that–a flying object I couldn’t identify because I didn’t have enough information about what I saw. That area is within 150 miles of several airbases that do tests of classified aircraft, and that’s probably what we saw.

  33. Nija

    I’m not trying to side track (and yet, here I go) – but I have a related vax question – I don’t get flu shots – Mostly I am lazy, and I rarely get sick even though coming into extreme contact with those that are sick themselves. (drinking from the same cup, kissing, having my sick kid sneeze/cough right as I’m yawning…)

    Is it as big of a deal to not get the flu shot? Obviously it’s not AS big of a health issue (for most), but in general; what are your views on not getting the flu shot.

    I know being vaccinated is important (I couldn’t have gone to college if I wasn’t, they woulda denied me, or made me stay home for 2 weeks if there was a single case of something I wasn’t immunized to) – I’m just curious about the views on the yearly flu shot and not getting it.

  34. Leander

    @Phil Plait

    First of all, pardon me for somewhat hijacking a post that’s about something completely different. But since you replied…

    The way you put it in your reply, I’ll agree – it doesn’t constitute changing the goalposts. There’s still quite some serious problems with it. In reply to that post of yours I referred to, someone noticed (here)
    that the “general public” watches the skies a lot more than (amateur) astronomers. And that’s just time-wise – consider the fact that astronomers often, if not most of the time, only watch a tiny part of the sky through their telescopes/binoculars. That dwarfs the time and space observed by astronomers compared to that observed by the general public. I don’t see how you as a scientist could get around acknowledging that.

    That’s what makes your argument seem completely fallacious. Statistically, the general public watches a lot more of the sky than astronomers, and on top of that, astronomers are much more apt at sorting out satellites, planes, meteors etc. – of course the number of actually unidentified objects reported by astronomers is gonna be smaller.

    I’d bet that if you compared the time and space of sky viewed by astronomers, and the sightings occurring in that after they sorted out mundane explanations, to the time and space viewed by the general public, and their sightings after sorting out by professionals the sightings explicable by mundane explanations – that you get a very similar percentage of unexplained sightings per capita.

    Does that mean that ETs are visiting us ? Hell no. But it means there’s something unexplained going on, and what we’ve been doing for the last centuries is to take anything unexplained on and demystify it by investigation – as opposed to ignoring unexplained things, because some “loonies” monopolize these things and certain explanations for them in a way we don’t like. The answer is to not ignore the unexplained, and thus give power to the “loonies”, but actually explain it. And you, Sir, would have to stray very, very far from “reality” to claim that there’s not a small but persisitent percentage of truly unexplained cases.

    I really don’t see how you would loose any respect or credibility by simply acknowledging the fact that there is some unexplained phenomenon occuring, and urging people to investigate it.

  35. wtfjebus

    I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis a few years ago, less than two months after receiving a series of vaccinations prior to a trip overseas. I have since come across a few reports noting a correlation between acute myelitis and vaccines. I still cannot be sure what part, if any, vaccines may have played in my case, though.

    I also have two young children and make sure that they are up to date on all their vaccines, without exception. My youngest had some developmental delays and it was suggested on more than one occasion that she may be autistic (turns out she isn’t). At no point did we consider that any of her issues could have been due to vaccines. Perhaps that is because we did the research and used common sense, allowing facts, not emotions, guide our decisions.

  36. Elliott

    Five minutes in and I already had to stop watching the Dateline special. Every time they said something, I could feel my blood pressure rising. The intro was full of “balance” (in the Dana O’Briain sense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo ). I don’t know if that continued throughout, but for my health, I couldn’t wait around to see.

  37. @Nigel

    But the vaccines cause autism, so someone must be slipping them an MMR-mickey when mom and dad aren’t looking.

    This sounds so much like something Dr. House would say. Made me smile.

    @Nija

    I’ve been remiss about getting flu shots, too, admittedly. Like you, mostly out of lazines, but also with a bit of “well, I don’t ever get the flu.” Of course, I’ve gotten what I think are colds, before, but those could just have easily been mild cases of flu. What’s changed my mind, though, and led to me decide that I’ll start getting the vaccine, is understanding the broader picture. I’m not overly concerned about how getting the flu would affect me. Instead, if I get the flu, how will it affect those around me? My family and friends. Those on the bus/subway. If I’m vaccinated, I am less likely to pass on the infection to someone who might have a much worse time of it than myself. Like my friend who is an organ transplant recipient. He’s on immunosuppressants so that his body won’t reject the organs. The downside is that he’s more susceptible to complications from normally harmless diseases. But that’s something that you can’t tell just by looking at him. How many others like him do I pass or interact with each day?

    So, even if you don’t normally get the flu (or feel like you don’t), it’s still a good idea. There’s always the chance that the next time you’re exposed, things will take a turn for the worse. And there’s always the chance that you might infect someone else. Vaccination, while not 100% effective, has a pretty strong potential to cut those chances to zero.

  38. Gary

    There are two types of people: those who act mostly on emotion and those who act mostly on reason. Actually, it’s a spectrum but with little middle ground, by my observation. I’ve not seen many people shift from one to the other. It seems to be an inborn characteristic, like handedness. Politicians and salesmen exploit the emotional; the rational they have a harder time conning. I’ve wondered why the rational ones keep railing against the irrationality of the emotional ones rather than figuring out a way to change their minds… maybe it’s an emotional response of frustration? ;-)

  39. Deb

    Having talked to a lot of anti-vaxxers on the Mummy boards, it’s definitely part of an anti-science, anti-human package. Science is evil because it has caused all the ills of our age, especially climate change, food additives and pollution, and if we could just get rid of those nasty humans we could get back to paradise where taking water would cure everything.
    But the sad thing is that for all practical purposes they are anti-autistic people. On an individual level there are the weird and dangerous things they subject children to, as well as the psychological harm of labelling them as ‘damaged’ or ‘soulless.’ And on a larger level how many millions of dollars have been wasted investigating their delusions?

  40. james

    @elliott
    I just caught the very end of the program, and they ended with “vaccines do not cause autism”. I didn’t catch the rest of the program and wish I had to see what all they put in there.

  41. @Nija

    As Todd W pointed out, getting the flu shot not only protects you but those around you who can get very ill from something that people see as basic as the flu: little children and babies, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems/auto-immune disorders and those who are unable to be vaccinated due to things such as allergies.

    I realize my post is a little redundant but in my opinion, this point cannot be stressed enough.

  42. shawmutt

    Jeez folks, just wash your hands more and host sick parties. We don’t need no stinkin’ vaccinations!

    (that was sarcasm folks)

  43. A Nonny Moose

    In watching political and health debates, including the Anti-vax issue, I’m beginning to wonder if the fear/rejection of vaccinations (or some sort of science/health offered) is a learned “lizard” response – wrapped up in a religious/fundamentalist fear of science, or rejection of anything that isn’t “from god”. People may not be church goers now, but if you’re from a family with a history of religosity, those sort of learned responses can carry on regardless.

    There’s a lot shouted in today’s society about bodily autonomy, the human being as an individual, everyone’s opinion is worthwhile. But what I see from many fundamentalist positioned debaters is that they’re using a learned response – racism, sexism, fear of science.

    So, as much as they may be arguing “this is what I personally believe”, they might or might not be aware is it’s a learned response from either their parents and/or the community they live in.

    For example: My mother has a fear of needles, passed down from her mother. For many years my mother would breathlessly tell me about her experiences with blood tests/vaccinations. So what happened when I went for tests and vaccinations when I was a kid? You guessed it, I hyperventilated or fainted. Strangely enough I recognized if for what it was and I have been working to move past it.

    I read so many anti-vax debates where people say “I hate vaccinations. I had X bad health experience, then when I took my child to be vaccinated they got upset/sick from it!” Some people have no clue about how neuroses can be passed through a family and society.

  44. Mena

    Apparently Mayim Bialik is one of the latest “celebrity” anti-vaxers. She also seems to be, er, kind of odd in her parenting so maybe that’s just par for the course.
    http://blog.amuchbetterway.com/celebrity-attachment-parentin/
    The same blogger has an article with an interesting reply:
    http://blog.amuchbetterway.com/merck-says-all-or-nothing-for-mmr-vaccine/
    “There are also no scientific facts to prove that vaccinations do NOT cause autism. I am MUCH more afraid of the vaccines themselves than the diseases they allegedly prevent.”
    There’s no scientific facts to prove that Coca Cola, breast milk, or apples don’t cause autism either. Bizarre mental processes.

  45. @Leander
    UFOs are OT but how do you suggest further investigating something that is by definition unidentified when it is transitory, unverifiable and leaves no evidence?

    Does that mean that ETs are visiting us ? Hell no. But it means there’s something unexplained going on
    Using language like this implies that you think something weird is going on. You sound like you don’t think there is a mundane explanation for the unexplained sightings.

    Back on-topic.
    The antivax movement is a religion. Blind adherence to the faith in spite of evidence. The martyrdom of Saint Wakefield. The demonisation of science and those that do not hold the same beliefs. They proselytize at every opportunity.

  46. Cindy

    Leander,

    Go back and read some of the posts related to Phil’s blog about UFO’s. Contrary to popular belief, astronomers don’t just stare at their binoculars or telescopes, but also look at the general sky. Even when I was using a professional telescope for my Ph.D. thesis, I would go out several times during the night to just look at the sky. Even now I have the habit of looking up at the sky when I go out at night (though with two little kids, I do less of that now).

  47. JoeSmithCA

    [Note: Spelling n grammer not bothered to bechecked]

    Case and point that vaccines are harmful to the human body:

    If your BODY DIDN’T CONSIDER what entered your body was a THREAT it WOULD NOT DEVELOP AN IMMUNE REACTION!!!!! to vaccine. I’ve got even more proof! Injection by needle actually makes a hole in your skin–MORE HARM!! Theoretically, if you take your little bandage off and immediatly rub sewer water on the tiny cut you could develop a nasty virual or bacterial infection–INCREDIBLE HARM!!!!!! Next, if you steal a box of a hundred doses of vaccines and inject yourself with all of them right in a row you at risk of extremtly bad side effects–HORRIBLE HARM AND STUPIDITY!!!! FINALLY THE WORST!!!! If someone accidently dropped a box of vaccines into the core of a nuclear reactor (provided it didn’t melt), fished it out and injected you with it, you could be at risk for radition poisoning!!!! BIG PHARMA IS OUT TO GET US!!! ALL FOR PROFIT, GREED AND NUCEALR ENERGY!!!!!

    UFOS EXIST, THE MOON LANDINGS WERE FAXED BY BEAF LOVING LOCH NESS SASQUATCH ALIEN MIND CONTROLLED ASTRONOMERS FROM THE UNDERSIDE OF THE FLAT EARTH!!!!!

    Hmmm that reminds me, why hasn’t PETA formed an anti-alien task force. After all, aliens are out there mutilating cattle. MAYBE THEY’RE ALIENS TOO! PETA MEMBERS ARE THE ALIENS!!!!!

  48. @Elliott,

    I’m watching the Dateline special right now (DVR-ed). I’m about halfway in. First, they introduced Dr. Wakefield and his study, told of some movies which made him out to be this hero revealing the “real reason” behind autism.

    Then, they went into the investigative report which exposed some of Dr. Wakefield’s motivations. He filed a patent 8 months before his study for a “safe MMR replacement” vaccine. He was paid $750,000 to be an expert witness for a class action lawsuit against the MMR – 2 years before his study was released. The original 12 patients in his study were referred to him by the class action lawsuit’s lawyers.

    Now they seem to be moving towards the anti-vax movement embracing him as a hero/savior/messiah/whatever.

    Really interesting thing is that he apparently never said “don’t take vaccines” but “don’t take the combined MMR – take the separate vaccines instead.” At least parents heeding that advice would have their kids protected (albeit with two additional needle pokes). Yet, he seems to have no problem (judging from the promos) going to anti-vax rallies where they denounce vaccines as evils worse than a million whooping cough infections.

  49. SquirrelElite

    An interesting discussion.

    First point, which seems to have fallen through the cracks, is that it is important to keep pointing out that antivax people really are antivax because they keep denying it.

    Instead, they say they say they just want “safe” vaccines, by which they mean absolutely, completely and totally proven to be 100% safe for everyone, which is an unachievable goal.

    At the same time, they go on national tv and say it may take letting kids die from the diseases that vaccines prevent against to get us to achieve their “goal”. Meanwhile, their spokesperson gets one of the nastiest poisons in nature injected into her own face.

    We probably will never get them to change their opposition to vaccination because their opposition is not fundamentally about logic and evidence. However, we can continue pointing out the fallacies and sheer stupidity in so many of the claims that they continue to make.

    Second, on the astronomer-UFO question, (28-Leander, 30-Plait, etc.) comparing a large population of people, most of whom know relatively little about what they are looking at and do so for short periods under far less than ideal conditions with a relative handful of educated amateurs and trained professionals who look at relatively tiny portions of that same sky using the best equipment available to achieve well documented results under near-ideal conditions introduces so many confounders that a meaningful statistical comparison is virtually impossible.

    At the end, when someone merely states that they saw a light in the sky, it seemed to be moving and they didn’t know what it was, that is all that an Unidentified Flying Object really is.

    When they jump to the conclusion that it was aliens in some sort of starship from another star system, that is an extraordinary claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That is what the whole UFO movement lacks and what the antivaccine people also lack.

  50. amphiox

    #47: “why hasn’t PETA formed an anti-alien task force”

    In the same way the anti-vaxxers are more accurately described as pro-disease, PETA is more accurately anti-human rather than pro-animal. You’ll notice they never protest when coyotes mutilate cattle, or when dolphins torture porpoises. Nor do ever cry out for intervention against parasitic wasps.

    Aliens, being non-human, are put on the animal side of the good/evil dichotomy in their minds.

  51. Greg in Austin

    @Leander, #34,

    Nice attempt to hijack the thread of the conversation. All of your points were covered (and mostly rejected) in the rest of comments in that post. Please go back and read the rest of them. Astronomers are part of the general public, they actually spend more time looking at the whole sky than looking thru the eyepiece, and there is nothing, “unexplained.” Everything so far has either a completely mundane explanation, or simply not enough evidence to come to a conclusion.

    @Cindy,

    When your kids are old enough, take them out and show them the stars while they are still young. I would have dearly loved for a parent or adult who knew anything about astronomy to show me the universe when I was a child, and I’m sure your children will appreciate it too.

    On topic, the major difference between real science changing its understanding and people, “moving the goalposts,” is that science does not look for explanations for pre-conceived notions. For example, those that “believe” vaccines cause autism are already convinced that vaccines cause autism, and will continue to demand that we look at vaccines until we find the cause. The science has already looked, and it says there is no link between vaccines and autism. We should be looking elsewhere for the real cause, and quit scaring people into making the wrong (and more deadly) decisions.

    8)

  52. Jon B

    Sigh. Dateline is covering Dr. Wakefield, and at the moment are giving a description of his antivax BS from his side. I have a feeling that they are going to blow him apart in the second half, but for the moment it’s bad science on parade.

  53. Jon B

    Update: Dateline left it fudgy, as if Wakefield had any legitimacy at all. To complain, email Dateline@NBCUNI.com.

  54. John

    Not seen the dateline story, but from what you have said it suppoerts my feelings that the main culprits behind the vaccine scare is the media. Science reporting is pretty much abysmal with editors looking for the sensational and pretending that they act in the public interest.

    Their idea of balance is to give Jenny McCarthy 25 minutes to argue that 2 + 2 = 3 and then give the mathematician 2 minutes to explain that actually 2 +2 = 4.

  55. @ Leander

    SHIFTING the goalposts. Or MOVING the goal posts. NOT Changing the goalposts.

  56. MoMan

    Very, very, very disappointed that this otherwise wonderful blog didn’t promote the special last night with Matt Lauer. And no mention of it until the or 48th post. It was fabulous. It brought down the mighty Wakefield about as well as anyone or anything could. And it did more than we have been able to do with our comments, I think and hope, since it reached a zillion more people. Sure hope there is a way to link to that special.

  57. Steve H

    I have no problem with people not vaccinating their children…as long as they are fine with the schools keeping a list of these unvaxed children and when an illness pops up in the community that they aren’t protected against the unvaxed must stay home school with unexcused absences.

  58. Aline

    “The law isn’t science.” No, but it’s how people make judgments. People consider evidence and make inferences where there is no direct evidence. That’s circumstantial evidence and it carries weight. Denying that it carries weight does not help the argument.

    And the scientific and pharma community needs to work on rebuilding and keeping their credibility. People will point to mistakes of the past and they do exist. These mistakes make it more difficult for people to believe science.

    Law isn’t science, but the decisions people make about science do not necessarily involve scientific analysis, either. I’m just saying the anti-vaxers are convinced with evidence that has not been refuted even though it is circumstantial, and that’s good enough for them. Denying that does not help the argument and saying that it is not evidence because it is circumstantial does not help either.

  59. I think (though I might of course be wrong) that antivax beliefs are yet another example of failing to accept the existance of an objective reality. Even words like “believe” have different definitions under those conditions: A scientist will hold a belief until such time as there’s countervailing evidence. A belief is a transitory thing, maintained only on the merits of the evidence supporting it. Proof first, belief second if you will. Antivaxxers and such don’t think of reality as “something that is, which we can understand through observation and testing conjecture”. Their whole idea of reality is fluffy, woolly and mutable by the Power of Dreams/Dance/Prayer or best of all Lobbyists. These are the types of people who consider “science” to be a capital-b Belief, and say “scientist” like a 1950s catholic boarding-school nun would say “protestant”.

    As well as utterly missing the point – bearing in mind, this is just my own armchair evaluation and lacking any kind of proof – this seems to me that the war of knowledge against antivaxxers is an assymetrical one. What “people who don’t believe in science” do is not thinking. It’s rationalising. It’s a creative art rather than a logical process, and worst of all they don’t see anything wrong with that. In a very real sense, as there are two definitions of “believe” there are two definitions of “thinking” and two of “proving”.

    It would be lovely if we lived in a world where wooly thinking and “wishing makes it so” behaviour was merely a personality quirk that could be written off along with listening to Journey or thinking Dan Brown writes a humdinger of a novel. In the case of antivaxxers, though, insisting on a non-rational (dare I say “delusional”) picture of reality leads to dead kids – and that’s not tolerable. I just wish I had a really good solution.

  60. @SquirrelElite,

    Good point about McCarthy and Botox. I looked up side effects to Botox and found this:

    “While most people have no problems when taking Botox, side effects are possible. In clinical studies, commonly reported side effects included droopy eyelids, muscle weakness, and difficulty swallowing. These side effects were generally mild and easily treated. However, if you develop serious side effects of Botox, such as chest pain, speech problems, or double vision, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.”

    So she has no problem injecting herself with something that can cause chest pain, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, etc and doesn’t call for people to stop using it until they come up with “100% safe Botox.” However, inject kids with a vaccine that will save thousands of lives and might have a small reaction on a kid or two and we’ve got to set all vaccines aside until they’re 100% safe, sacrificing those thousands of kids to save the one or two.

  61. Luke

    Just ran across this site, has a section on vaccinations as well as a host of other topics.

    http://whatstheharm.net/index.html

    Really helps to put faces behind the supposed “harmless” beliefs.

  62. Damon

    Thank you for this informative Astronomy article Phil, I no longer regret typing http://www.badastronomy.com into my web browser because I learned something new about the sky today.

  63. Haha, Damon (#62)! Haha! Thank you for that comment. Haha! I am still chortling. You certainly showed me! Haha!

  64. 30. Phil Plait Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Leander (28) Bzzzt! Actually, I used to say that astronomers don’t see UFOs, but I now say that it’s extremely rare for astronomers to have reported them. The reason you’re wrong here is that it doesn’t change my argument, which is that if UFOs were spaceships, then astronomers should be reporting them in vast numbers, far higher than the general public. That’s because we watch the skies a lot more.
    ________________

    I’d have to disagree with this on general arithmetic principles.

    Astronomers do not watch the skies a lot more than the general public, just more closely. Sure, they watch the celestial bodies a lot more, but they’re a relatively small number of people looking at small portions of sky over specific, non-light-polluted areas of the world. Whereas the general public is spread out everywhere and at any given nighttime moment in a given region there could be tens or even hundreds of thousands of people looking or glancing at the sky, in all directions and in all weather conditions.

    It seems to me that the hundreds of thousands of people looking randomly at the sky are much more likely to see a weather balloon or experimental airplane or funkadelic mothership than an astronomer who’s specifically looking at the little cylinder of sky between the telescope and Ganymede.

  65. Greg in Austin

    @toasterhead,

    This will probably be a long-time debate. I think you are forgetting the hundreds of thousands of Amateur Astronomers who, just like most people, have regular day jobs, regular lives, who see random parts of the sky every single day and night, just like everybody else.

    So, in addition to seeing just as much of the sky as you do, these are the folks that can point out most (if not all) of the Constellations, who actually know what planets are going to be visible on any night of the week, and have seen more satellites and shooting stars than they can remember.

    No offense, but obviously, you have never even used a backyard telescope if you think astronomers spend more of their time looking thru the eyepiece than they spend looking at the entire sky. How do you think astronomers point their scopes to Jupiter? Blindfolded?

    8)

  66. @toasterhead

    than an astronomer who’s specifically looking at the little cylinder of sky between the telescope and Ganymede.

    Because astronomers only look at the sky through their telescopes and don’t look up with their own unaided eyes, ever.

    at small portions of sky over specific, non-light-polluted areas of the world

    But don’t a lot of the UFO abduction stories come from folks in non-light-polluted areas of the world?

  67. Mark

    We have an anti-vaxxer that posted an article on his site about how H1N1 vaccines should be avoided. It was actually quite compelling until I hit a link on his site that said vaccines, in general, cause Autism and other brain disorders.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/01/Swine-Flu-Shot-Linked-to-Killer-Nerve-Disease.aspx

    I got the link off of Alexa’s “hot Urls”

    http://www.alexa.com/hoturls

  68. Greg in Austin

    @Mark,

    I like how the commenters on that article jump right into conspiracy theories and “chemtrails.” I thought some of the folks on Phil’s blog were nutters!

    8)

  69. @Mark

    Ahh…Dr. Mercola. Why am I not surprised he went off into nutsville. You might be interested in this article by Dr. Joe Albietz: http://tinyurl.com/no28qw

  70. Fairly Unbalanced

    It´s all about evolution.
    If god created the antivaxers he did that with a purpose.
    He wants them to die out.

  71. VHWR

    Remember the saying out of sight, out of mind.

    If one bother to read history about disease that used to kill infants and children regularly, which at that time vaccines were not invented and parents of those children witnessed this regularly around them, for those that are supporters of antivax, if they were to be shifted back into a time line that regularly witnesses infants and children dying, would they still continue in the tune of antivax?

    If they answer yes, that we know where they stand. If they answer no, then that would not be agreeable to their cause. If they dodge and unwilling to give a straight answer, then we know their deep down ulterior motive is something else behind the mask, and peeling the layers of this onion to find out the core of what is motivating and driving the antivax movement. Could it be about their deep down need to want to be in control of someone, or have power over someone?

    The interesting thing to point out in human behaviour and human nature is, for whatever reason perhaps it is in the human psychic, there will be a group of humans that are very negative in their approach in life like anti this, anti that, basically starts with anti-ing something, following very extreme fundamentalist believes and once these people started, their behaviour approach is like a washing machine spinning cycle, that if one attempts to debate and reason in a holistic approach, one will either be blasted or given the respond as the one anti-ing obstructing their cause, movement, organization, teachings and believes.

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