Sunday, April 7, 2013

Autism-Vaccine War Reaches New Height of Stupidity

Can the vaccine-autism wars on the Internet get any more absurd?

Dan Olmsted - "Non-believers are Nazi sympathizers" -
The report goes on to quote the DeStefano/CDC study about how the antigens in vaccines don't correlate with a risk for autism. Even in the self-protective annals of the CDC, this study is a stinker. 
But putting that aside, the fact that Jalen fell off a developmental cliff TWO OR THREE DAYS after vaccination ought to make somebody in the editing room at that TV station, or some mainstream outlet somewhere, sit up and take notice. 
This happens all the damn time, people! These kinds of parental accounts, combined with the $2 billion plus awarded in vaccine court, including to Hannah Poling; the known properties of vaccination, and the concommitant rise of mercury and vaccines with the autism epidemic, are far more than enough to start asking tough questions. 
It's not going to be very PC to say this, but one of the most vivid images from the end of World War II is the Allies making local villagers walk through a newly liberated concentration camp. The message was -- how can you say you did not know?
Orac, aka David Gorksi - "You hate your children" -
It’s very clear that many antivaccinationists hate autistic children. The language they use to describe them makes that very clear. Such children are “damaged” (by vaccines, of course); the parents’ real children were “stolen” from them (by vaccines); they are “toxic” (from vaccines); the “light left their eyes” (due to vaccines). Autism is an “epidemic,” a “tsunami,” even a “holocaust,” with “denial” of that “holocaust” being equivalent to Holocaust denial. All of this likens autism to a horror on par with these calamities, and paints vaccines as the instrument of annihilation of antivaccinationists” “real” children.
Both arguments are full of it.

Any possible connection between vaccines and autism is not straightforward and obvious.  Yes, there have been some high profile cases of vaccines being implicated in autism but no one has been able to document a larger or more widespread relationship.  Just because the average doctor, parent, or journalist follows the lead of the experts in the field - experts who have served them well - does not mean that they are akin to Nazi sympathizers.

And on the flip side, the idea that talking about perceived damage to your children means that you hate them?  I don't think I quite have the words to describe how utterly stupid that argument is.  I'm not quite sure what sort of person hears a parent say that they think their child was injured and turns around and tells them that they must not love their child.

I think this comic from SMBC sums up the current state of the autism-vaccine wars quite well and, if the above exchange is any guide, we might be close to the optimal solution in the final frame-


  1. Nothing really new here, MJ. Inflammatory rhetoric of this nature is de riguer (sp?) on the internet. The neurodiversity movement (many of whom are ardent supporters and readers of Gorski's blog engage in these ad hominem attacks all the time.

    I concede I'm not completely blameless myself. I may have gone too far on one occasion where I said having neurodiversity board members on autism speaks was like KKK serving on NAACP. Or comparing Noah Britton's appointment to the IACC to a member of the mafia serving on their local town's police commission.

    Sometimes I look back, wishing I could have tempered my rhetoric to make the point better, but sometimes in the heat of passion (which the internet affords) that's not easy to do.

    So, actually, though I enjoy reading your blog this is sort of a "Dog Bites Man" story.

  2. We know that the Internet is an invective magnifying and propagating engine. We know that people who have been grievously hurt will tend to lash out and blame culprits. We know that there are people who will take advantage of tragic situations for their own gain. Knowing all this, can we find ways to choke off the oxygen feeding the flaming flames? Personally I will do my bit by making this my last comment on the subject.

  3. Am I missing something here? It looks to me that, even if EVERT case of autism ever recorded was the direct result of vaccination and vaccination only, the smarter parent would STILL vaccinate their child.
    If EVERY case of AIDS ever recorded was the result of a blood transfusion, it still makes statistical sense to give a guy a blood transfusion when he severs an artery. 1% risk of AIDS, or even 99% risk of AIDS will still beat 100% risk of death.
    Not to belittle the parents of kids with autism, but for every parent blaming their kids autism on vaccines, how many parents could you find who lost children to the diseases commonly vaccinated against?

    1. The only thing you are missing is accurate information about autism and vaccines. Vaccines are mostly a good thing but if they were causing even a small number of children to develop autism then the risk of giving the vaccine would far outweigh the benefits.

  4. I was oddly entertained by the comics. Thanks for sharing this, anyway. You've chosen an entertaining yet very interesting topic to discuss. Great read!