left biblioblography: Just The Vax, Ma’am–Delusional Denialism Has Many Faces…

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just The Vax, Ma’am–Delusional Denialism Has Many Faces…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

denialism1finalVaccine Gestapo
They have swastikas on their shoulders
They’re such patriotic soldiers
They’re like a militia in Montana
They’re a government agency in Atlanta

Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!
Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!

They’re a medical military priesthood
Just like Adolf they preach the greater good
Conscientious objectors are just little snots
Why don’t you quit complaining and go get your shots

Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!
Vaccine gestapo! Vaccine gestapo!

(An actual Anti-vaccination rally song!)

I’m a raging curmudgeon. I admit it freely. To paraphrase Hamlet, I take arms against a sea of stupidities, and thus my voice is sometimes drown’d by them.

So just recently, I was once more into the breach, dear friends, here:

A fellow local in the Mountain View area published this rather vacuous article titled To Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate. I have nothing against this fellow personally: his opinion, however, is another matter entirely. This specious opening paragraph is too much:

For some time now, there has been debate about the effectiveness and adverse reactions of vaccines.

In factuality, people have been ranting and raving about vaccinations since the 17th century. And here we are, 4 centuries later, and we still have crazy conspiracy theories that are built up around innocuous items like needles. I dislike them as much as the next person, but hey, it’s either blood or poop. I’ll take the needle, thanks, since I only allow a select form of paper near that orifice, if there’s any choice at all.

But then this paragraph:

Groups such as Doctors Against Vaccines have researched and put together an amazing amount of information and made it available to all of us internet users. I reiterate, us internet users, because although some alternative sources of radio and television exist where these facts are told to the people, mainstream media focuses on the other version, where vaccines are seen as safe, reliable and necessary.

Well, sorry, it reeks of accommodationism. What’s one of my favorite sayings, folks? Oh yeah: “The internet is like the bible: it’s 99% full of shit.” Funnier still, this egregious nonsense started (in this century, anyhow) with the now-debunked Andy Wakefield and his Flimsy Fraudulent Findings. Not to mention non-degreed Jenna McCarthy, whose idiotic stance on the entire ‘debate’ is only taken seriously because she’s good-looking and telegenic. And far, far too many people take Oprah seriously. (This same guy tries to use Youtube videos to back his claim: I re-iterate – Youtube is the National Enquirer of the Interwebs, and I don’t accept it as a viable or informed source.)

I hate doing this shit, because it smacks of an ad hominem, but when I actually go to the website Doctors Against Vaccines, it’s run by a bunch of…homeopaths. Yes, that’s right. They’re not real doctors, any more than chiropractors, aromeopaths, or any of those other New Age quacksters. A simple, objective evaluation of all their wiki pages bears this out. Five minutes on the internet, and the house of cards collapses.

The fact of the matter is, folks, that this is a non-debate on multiple levels. I kept running into these wackjobs on the web who were declaring a world-wide alert that the medical community (and big pharma) are poisoning our kids.

Do these people even listen to themselves? Since when has putting children at risk ever been a good business model? As I noted in the comments, big pharma doesn’t need to keep people sick or make them sick – human beings are a constant litany of ills and woes, and being a doctor is very nearly recession-proof because of that. It’s like saying restaurants are starving people, or dentists are handing out candy to the neighborhood to promote tooth decay. Are there some folks in the medical field who are in it for the money? Of course. But this ‘us vs. them’ mentality is mostly ignorant fear.

It’s a huge problem: first, it’s television, folks. Talk shows are just that: all talk. Secondly, I’ve developed a pretty keen skeptic’s edge (I’d like to think). I don’t run off to someone else’s website to vindicate myself. Anyone anywhere can go on the web these days, and find some nutcase who validates whatever crazy-ass idea the researcher had in the first place. I go straight to a Wiki/Answers.com page, do some preliminary evaluations. If someone purposely goes looking for villainous undercurrents, confirmation bias will validate their paranoia about invidious evil forces out to destroy them/their life/their freedom/[insert paranoid fear here]. In short: detachment is essential in evaluation.

Thirdly, something even more dangerous, is this ‘everyone’s opinion is valid’ crapola. No, it isn’t. Opinion doesn’t trump fact, nor does perception alter reality. Evolution? Reality. Vaccinations? Established science. Anything that’s unprovable, no matter how pretty or poetic (or fear-mongering), is rubbish. I blame political correctness (read: polite fascism) for this. That someone has a dissenting opinion is fine. Free speech and all that. America was built on dissent anyways. But having an opinion is distinct from being able to prove it. Most folks think their opinion is indistinguishable from their character, especially when they have some vested interest or feel passionately about it.

My big issues are these:

A. This is what I categorize as a NON-DEBATE – track records speak louder than dissent in this case. Is it seamless? No. Nothing is. (i.e., One of my pet peeves, is when I talk about GPS, some brainfart blats out that “GPS isn’t 100%”.  Name me ten things that are 100%, please. I’ve gotten horribly lost relying on the directions from strangers more often than from my GPS. Sorry. Onwards.) Some people have adverse reactions to flu shots? Of course they do. Just like some people don’t survive life-saving surgery. A little sense, please.

B. Some non-debates like these cost money. In this case, they cost lives. Children’s lives, no less. So yes, it’s a pisser.

About the only sense I can make of this idiocy, is that the Powers That Be (all human, I might qualify) are creating all sorts of diversionary nonsense to take the heat off of their incompetency.

Till the next post, then.

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