Facts, not Fantasy

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Quick Post from Dr. Plait

I have been swamped with numerous other duties, and my team of collaborators have not had a chance to take up the slack. Thus, i just wanted to copy/paste a couple of real quick posts from Dr. Plait that may be of interest to you:

More truth-based weapons against the antivaxxers

A few antivax links for your amusement:

1) When challenged about their bizarre and provably false beliefs, a lot of antivaxxers claim that they have personal experience with their kid. That’s anecdotal and uses a small sample size, and so is prone to all sorts of logical failings. But what if the sample size is much larger and uses scientific reasoning? Then you get something like this good spanking of antivax nonsense by an actual pediatrician.

Tip o’ the syringe to David Whalley.

2) The Australian Vaccination Network is one of the most pernicious and awful of the antivax groups, as regular readers know. They may be on their way out — science, apparently, can inoculate us against such infections — but it’s still worth keeping up with the sort of offal they spew, since other groups do it as well. This article by The Australian Skeptics is an excellent exposé of AVN mendacity.

3) Healthday has an alarming article about the San Diego 2008 measles outbreak which exposed over 800 people because one family decided not to vaccinate their kid. Yes, one family started an minor epidemic that cost over $170,000 to contain and nearly killed one infant. I hope antivaxxers are proud of that one.

4) Orac once again leaps into the fray with a magnificent exposure of some bold antivax lies. It’s amazing to me just how low some antivaxxers are wiling to go — cheating, twisting, distorting, and out-and-out lying — to promote their agenda of bringing back preventable diseases.

They say they care about kids. Maybe they do. But making sure children get measles, rubella, pertussis, and other life-and-limb-threatening diseases is sure a funny way of showing it.

Taking the Plunge

Dylan Otto Krider wrote a nice piece about antivaxxers in the Denver magazine recently. He interviewed me for it, and I’m pleased with how it came out. Otto is one of the good guys, and one of the few in the MSM willing to take this topic on without pandering to nonsense to provide false "balance":

One of [Plait's] latest causes has been debunking the antivax movement that he sees as dangerous. “They don’t have anything to stand on except emotions,” he says. “They play on the heartstrings, and unfortunately, people tend to listen to their emotions.”

He says the antivax movement is having an effect. “You can see it,” he says. “The number of people getting vaccines is going down.” What he finds particularly annoying is that when things change — for example, thimerosal has been largely, although not entirely, eliminated as a preservative in vaccines — antivax groups just “move the goalposts” and claim vaccines do something else.

I’m glad to see this getting more press, and I’m very glad to see the antivaxxers getting hit harder and harder. Every time their garbage is aired out, a few more kids get a chance to live a life with a lower risk for preventable diseases.

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