Anti-vacs Are Really Wacks
Browsing through the Scientific American I came across a disquieting bit of information which surely would cheer up the anti-vacs. These are the people who are adamantly opposed to having their children vaccinated because they know the Truth. The Truth, according to them is that vaccinations produce a variety of illnesses in their helpless children and they, good parents will protect them from them.
A favorite is autism; they will provide endless anecdotes about how this or that child was vaccinated and later became autistic and, if that isn't proof what the hell is it? Easy. It's a logical fallacy well known to the ancient Romans: Post hoc ergo proptor hoc, or if after the fact, therefore because of the fact. For example, it is claimed that marijuana use is a “gateway” to harder stuff, therefore it causes such use. There may be a sequence in that, but there is no evidence and other explanations are more plausible.
Generally, many, perhaps most parents are edgy when it comes to vaccination time. The kids usually cry, sometimes scream and sometimes they have a bit of pain at the injection site and sometimes a bit of fever. Most of us put up with it all because the benefits outweigh the discomfort. But, the anti-vacs got a boost when a British doc published an article which claimed that the mercury in vaccinations produced autism. That created a firestorm of protest. Scientists studied the claim, researched it and concluded the idea had no merit, but the anti-vacs, knowing the Truth claimed that big government and big pharma lied for their own nefarious purposes.
Well, their complaints were so powerful and so many refused to subject their children to the perceived danger that big pharma revised the formula sans mercury. If that British doc had been correct, the incidence of autism should dramatically decrease. Did it? It did not. Science be damned, if it wasn't the mercury then it must be something else. And, they refuse to believe that the refutation of that doc's idea left him disgraced; hell, we all know that government and big pharma lie.
The anti-vacs had their triumph causing huge amounts of money to be wasted in eliminating mercury but since then have not had much to crow about. But now, they can smell the whiff of coming success. States around the country are reducing their line items for their Departments of Health. Those are the guys who actually get the vaccinations done and with less money they have cut back on their vaccination programs.
Contagious illnesses like the flu are herd phenomena. The more individuals who become ill, the greater danger to everyone else. Vaccinations don't guarantee immunity, but they reduce the odds so that everyone is safer but, the more non-vaccinated, the greater the danger to everyone. A non-vaccinated child poses a risk for the herd; there was at least one law-suit claiming a non-vaccinated child caused illness. Cutting back on vaccinations makes it more likely there will be epidemics and, alas, more deaths. But, they know the Truth.
This issue is part of a broader problem. In spite of its extraordinary successes, there is a strong tendency to denigrate findings if they don't support whatever ideology and fantasies people might have. There is no such thing as global warming and if there it has nothing to do with human created carbon emissions. Evolution is only a theory as if it is merely a point of view. There is another earth behind the sun; it is there but we cannot see it. The earth was created 6,000 years ago. There is a person at the moment of conception. Noah's ark is atop Mt. Ararat and the list goes on.
The attitude is: “Whatever I believe is true and to hell with the evidence.” No wonder we are no longer the premiere scientific nation in the world. No wonder the anti-vacs cheer.
If you are seeking a collection of wacks
Just spend time with mindless anti-vacs
They place no reliance
On the virtues of science
But rely on intellectual hacks