Facts, not Fantasy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vaccine Times: Argumentum ad TVum

On Saturday's post, I may have made some statements about the anti-vax pro-disease crowd that may have seemed mean, and been an insult at their integrity.  Well, I stand by them!  And just to go into how incredibly out there their arguments can be, I present a new logical fallacy coined by the Vaccine Times:  Argumentum ad TVum...  Yes, it really is what it sounds like!  If they saw it on a TV show (a sitcom no less), it must apply to real life!  Just imagine the hilarity that will ensue.

Argumentum ad TVum

One of the stranger arguments made by vaccine critics over the years references an episode of the television sitcom The Brady Bunch where the kids came down with measles. The argument goes that because measles was treated as just a minor inconvenience for the family and not a life and death struggle on the show, it demonstrates medical authorities warning the public of serious risks from measles are nothing but alarmists using fear-mongering to increase vaccine sales for Big Pharma.

This Brady Bunch argument seems to originate with a tweet from leading vaccine critic Jay Gordon and has been repeated everywhere from random internet forums to Age of Autism, sometimes citing variations including different television shows and different vaccine-preventable diseases.

The most recent version, posted on Age of Autism, refers to a clip from a children’s cartoon called Arthur in which parents reassure their child that chickenpox is not serious. Nobody seemed to panic on the TV show and health authorities weren’t quick to condemn the show’s irresponsibility, so that must mean these diseases aren’t serious…right?

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