Facts, not Fantasy

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Anti-Vax Nutters Show the Weakness of their Position

The anti-vax crowd likes to get together and mentally masturbate over their position.  One such venue is the Autism One convention.  By now, I'm sure you've heard about Jamie Bernstein, and her treatment at that convention.  Especially considering that she registered for it, and was adhering to all the rules.  I think it highlights the weakness of the anti-vax crowd when they go to such lengths to silence any dissent to their position.  And in such an over the top way!

The Bad Astronomer has a good take on the article, with plenty of links to follow up with on the whole story.  I will add in my own musing on this whole issue.  What I find particularly ironic about these alt-med woo peddlers is that they are up in arms about some faceless “Big Pharma” selling medicine (THAT ACTUALLY WORKS), but when some unqualified quack tries to sell them twigs and berries that do nothing, they gladly fork over their money…

There’s a grand irony about skepticism and alt-med groups that I suspect most people don’t know. Skeptics are commonly seen as curmudgeonly cynics, poopooing new ideas and excluding anyone not in their club. Alt-med people are seen as warm, open, willing to try new things, and welcoming anyone to their group.

But that’s not the way it really works. In fact, skeptical groups welcome people who believe in various things we don’t (we’ve had them come to various TAMs; the effort we make in outreach could be improved, of course, but we certainly don’t turn them away — an important point, as you’ll see in a moment), and alt-med groups… well, they talk a good game, but when it comes down to a skeptic actually showing up at their meetings, their actions speak much louder than words.


But don’t take my word for it. You can read all about what happened to my pal and active supporter of real medicine Jamie Bernstein when she attended the antivax Autism One convention. She wrote up her experience in two parts: the first on Skepchick, and the second on Friendly Atheist.

The upshot? Despite behaving herself, obeying the rules, and being very polite, she was escorted out of the meeting by three security guards and four armed police officers, ejected on clearly trumped-up charges.

As Orac points out, does this sound like an open and honest movement? Or does it sound like people who are terrified of different opinions and quash dissent, even before it happens?
Yep, she looks downright criminally dangerous, doesn't she!

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