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mygif

OK. Deep breath.

I believe vaccinations are harmless. And beneficial. And necessary. There are clearly paranoid fucktards who rant about vaccinations along with microchips in their teeth, who can be discounted. Ditto people who believe that vaccinations are bad because they go against God’s will, or because science is all a big lie meant to indocrinate us into Marxist/humanist/satanism, or whatever. All undeniably wrong and stupid.

But.

Every single time someone addresses this issue from the pro-vaccination side–which, I will emphasize one last time before diving in, I am on–the arguments made are not only incredibly condescending, they seem to miss the point entirely, and this article is one of these.

I only became aware of the vaccination controversy in the last year or so, thanks to this webcomic: http://www.drunkduck.com/The_Chelation_Kid/ . Yeah, a webcomic. But it’s an honest and heartfelt autobiography about coping with his son’s autism. And he’s convinced that vaccination exacerbated his son’s condition, and that chelation therapy helped him.

This is not a crazy conspiracy nut, or a guy who thinks science is a big lie. This is a guy whose life was directly impacted by autism. He’s done the research, and his complaints are directed very specifically at the additive thimerosal, not the concept of vaccination in general. And he argues, convincingly, that the proof that it’s harmless is much shakier than is usually acknowledged. For one thing, it relies on arguments like “we have better diagnostic methods for autism now” and “autism develops around the time vaccinations are received”, which are fair enough, but they’re not really scientific, are they?

Tinnell argues that there’s only really one study that exonerates thimerosal, and he doubts its veracity. Now, the strip stopped updating a while back, so it’s possible that new information has come to light since; or maybe Tinnell’s entirely mistaken. I don’t know.

But I do know that his arguments are a rather far cry from the moronic fearmongers and anti-science idiots that anti-vaccination types are usually dismissed as. It disturbs me that people I stand side-by-side with on issues like Evolution and man-made global warming are guilty of such intellectual shoddiness when it comes to dealing with these people. I have literally never seen anyone address the specific complaints Tinnell brings up; I’ve only seen lots of snide mockery. And I’ve been given to understand that thimerosal has since been removed from vaccination shots.

In essence, it boils down to a belief that large corporations might not be working in the public’s best interest. It’s kind of weird to me that such an attitude can be sneered at by the same people who will then unhesitatingly turn around and attribute all kinds of deviousness to large corporations when it comes to global warming and environmental devastation.

I’m not, ultimately, defending the beliefs of people like Tinnell, but they’re not doing this on a whim. They’re dealing with this on a personal level. And they deserve better than “SHUT UP YOU STUPID LUDDITE”.

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mygif

You’re right – they’re desperate people searching for answers.

They are, however, completely wrong. Thimerosal was removed from all but a handful of adult vaccines in 1999. Not only does it decay to ethylmercury (which is quickly eliminated), not methylmercury (which sticks around), the exposure in childhood vaccines is less than the amount of mercury ingested when eating seafood.

Essentially – his arguments are based on using a tiny subset of the data and semi-plausible science to create an argument with no actual basis in reality.

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mygif

Go check out http://antiantivax.flurf.net, which collects together all the evidence you could ever need that vaccines are beneficial and antivaxxers are among the most evil people on earth.

People who conflate vaccination with autism are all, without exception, wrong and stupid. It’s sad that their kids are not neurotypical and therefore they have to suffer (because, y’know, we all know that abnormal is the same as bad!) but lying about an unrelated process like vaccination? That’s just nasty.

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mygif

Fair enough (Well, “there’s more mercury in seafood” is less than comforting, since some seafood may contain rather dangerous levels of mercury, but I get what you mean).

My issue is that when you start out utterly dismissive and then retreat to admitting that “yes, OK, kids are being injected with a chemical that breaks down into a form of mercury, but–“, the facts that follow aren’t going to be taken very seriously, and it makes it sound like we have a resistance to even discussing it. That’s not healthy.

It’s by no means unreasonable for laypeople to start out from a position of skepticism (hopefully on both sides). They’re not going to know this stuff immediately; it has to be patiently explained to them. When the first reaction is hostility and resistance, plus a mischaracterization of the opposing argument, it’s not hard to see why people swing in the other direction. This isn’t like man-made global warming, where the data are heavily weighted to one side, and there’s an obvious agenda skewing the debate; the circumstantial evidence does seem to support the idea that thimerosal might be linked to autism, and the counterargument is fairly complex. Treating it like it’s self-evident and anyone who doesn’t accept it is an idiot does more hamr than good.

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mygif

And Eric sort of proves my point. Really? Every single person who’s antivaccination is stupid? Evil? For believing in circumstantial evidence vs. complex counterarguments that rely on specialized knowledge, and which defenders of vaccination seem weirdly reluctant to put out there? I can understand the antivaxxers being emotional about this stuff, but why are people on the other side so quick to condemn? Shouldn’t we be the patient explainers?

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mygif

Excuse me if scientists and doctors get sick of shooting down the same mistaken claims again. And again. And again.

Just because something is bad for you in certain doses doesn’t mean it’s bad for you in other doses. There is no link between vaccines and autism, and there is no link between mercury poisoning and autism.

It’s one thing to be patient – but by the 50th time it’s just frustrating.

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mygif

The thing is, scientists keep putting data out there proving that the antivax stuff is bunk, but the only response they get is “You’re tools of Big Pharma!”

It’s now known that the original ‘study’ linking vaccines with autism was crap, essentially fabricated by a guy with an agenda. This is ignored. I feel badly for frustrated parents, but as an autistic myself I get seriously pissed at the way they make it seem like a fate worse than death. And people do die when they don’t vaccinate their kids.

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mygif

Look, I want parents to vaccinate their kids too. But you’re not going to convince them by insulting them. And aside from that, Matthew’s post here doesn’t come anywhere near the reason people believe this stuff, which is, as you say, that they’re desperate and frustrated.

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mygif

What makes you think that science and reason can ever be used to convince people who have abandoned science and reason?

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mygif

Some of them haven’t. That’s my point. They’ve just been misinformed. And people are more likely to glom onto their paranoid fantasies when the people who could snap them out of it seem to be putting up barriers instead.

This isn’t like global warming, where there are clearly people who benefit from muddying the waters. Who benefits from encouraging people not to get vaccinations? It’s desperation and frustration that are doing this. Those can be fought with patience and reason, at least to some degree. The only alternative seems to be to shut down all discussion, and I don’t see how that helps.

But I don’t know, I don’t deal with these people on a regular basis. Maybe they are all, to a man, stupid and evil. Who knows.

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mygif

Who benefits from encouraging people not to get vaccinations?

Probably the alterna-health people, who peddle a lot of crap (some of it harmless, some of it not) to these parents. It’s pretty much an industry now.

However, I agree that the pro-science side should try not to be rude and condescending when they debunk vaccination myths. I can see why they get so frustrated at the balking and even character assassination from the antivax crowd, though.

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mygif

“Who benefits from encouraging people not to get vaccinations?”

Chiropractors. I knew I guy that hadn’t had a drop of medicine in his life because his dad was a chiropractor. To them, ANY malady could be cured with a spine adjustment. Headache? Spine adjustment. Cold? Spine adjustment. Cancer? Spine adjustment.

But I think we’re overlooking a bigger issue here. I contend that “V’s” would be an appropriate use of an apostrophe if it was used to indicate the omitted characters in the contracted form of the word “Visitors” which is already a plural.

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mygif

In cases of single letter words, utilizing an apostrophe is entirely appropriate.

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Isaac Purton said on November 27th, 2009 at 2:13 am

I have yet to hear a single argument capable of convincing me that flu vaccinations are worthwhile. Tetanus? Sure. Polio? By all fucking means. But the fucking flu? Unless you’re in your late 60s it seems completely pointless.

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mygif

The flu vaccine isn’t for you. You’re going to be fine. It’s for the 60-year-olds and infants coming into contact with your “mild flu”-ridden self. The fewer people who contract it, the fewer who can spread it; how is that not a convincing argument for widespread vaccination against it?

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Mary Warner said on November 27th, 2009 at 3:32 am

I’m only 43 and I’ve come somewhat close to dying because of flu a few times. Of course, I do have a hormonal disorder which causes me to dehydrate rapidly, but the fact is a lot of people who are reasonably healthy have died from flu. It’s not extremely common, but it happens enough.

This is completely off the subject, but does anyone else have problems getting onto this page? Usually, when I try to look at the comments, everything disappears and I get a message ‘This link appears to be broken’. If I try again several minutes later, it usually works, but sometimes I have to try several times. And occasionally, I can’t even get onto the Mightygodking site at all.
This started happening to me a few weeks ago.

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mygif

I’ve had weird issues with the site where it sends me to the Google cache for the main page or any of the seperate posts…

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mygif

This is completely off the subject, but does anyone else have problems getting onto this page?

It’s not just you: MGK made a post about the issue.

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mygif

But the fucking flu? Unless you’re in your late 60s it seems completely pointless.

When you’re in an at-risk group you get the vaccine because you’re at-risk. This means that if you’re a young child, a pregnant woman, a person over the age of 60, or a person who has severe health issues that could be exacerbated by flu, you get the shot for yourself.

Everyone else gets the shot to slow the spread of the virus down and prevent OTHER PEOPLE who are at risk from getting it. It should be a goddamn civic duty to get your goddamn flu shot so that you aren’t the one who carries the virus into grandma’s house and sends her to the hospital with pneumonia.

And for those folks who just can’t stomach the idea of doing something for the good of the community as a whole, you also get the benefit of not getting the flu for yourself this year. So you can use your extra sick days to pretend to be sick and go to the mall and buy yourself something instead. It’s a fucking win-win scenario here – people who like to do things for others get to feel good about themselves. People who are greedy shits who couldn’t give a damn about other people don’t get sick and can go do something nice for themselves. Win-win. Get your goddamn flu shot.

As for the vaccine-deniers – you’re not going to find a single reason for all of them because they aren’t basing their anti-vaccine stance on reason. They’re basing it on faith. They “know” that vaccines are bad because of something personal that happened to them that they’ve linked to vaccinations – either they’ve linked it themselves or they’ve been swayed by other delusional victims like Jenny McCarthy into making the linkage. I feel bad for them – something tragic has happened in their lives and they need someone to blame for it. It can’t just be a random accident or a chance genetic fluke – it has to be someone’s fault. Otherwise life is just random and “shit happens”. Since I fall into the “life is just random and sometimes ‘shit happens'” category in my outlook on life it’s sometimes frustrating to deal with people who actually think that everything in life MUST have some underlying agent who is causing it, but I try to empathize.

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mygif

“When you’re in an at-risk group you get the vaccine because you’re at-risk. This means that if you’re a young child, a pregnant woman, a person over the age of 60, or a person who has severe health issues that could be exacerbated by flu, you get the shot for yourself.

Everyone else gets the shot to slow the spread of the virus down and prevent OTHER PEOPLE who are at risk from getting it. It should be a goddamn civic duty to get your goddamn flu shot so that you aren’t the one who carries the virus into grandma’s house and sends her to the hospital with pneumonia.”

This right here? This is why it’s immoral to charge money for vaccines.

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mygif

this has been trod over rather completely already – and honestly, this has been the MOST CIVIL vaccination discussion I’ve ever seen on the web. But my frustration is two-fold: 1. as said above, when you have to keep explaining the same basic science over and over and over again, it’s easy to begin sounding condescending. and 2. in my experience, the same people who dismiss vaccination are also the same ones who will gladly jump on whatever new “natural” miracle medicine is being promoted that month – in total disregard for the science that shows little to no benefit from these “treatments.” I don’t reject vitamins and minerals and enzyme treatment out of hand – there’s benefit to taking Vitamin E or C or melatonin at times, but don’t try to make them into an alternative to actual drug treatment in total disregard to scientific trials. This behavior is what confirms what was said before – this is faith behavior – they choose what to believe and then completely disregard the facts.

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mygif

Only caught a few minutes here and there of the remake of V, so I guess I have not missed anything then. But I did like the hot female blond V, more of her and I may just youtube it :)

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Doublefine said on November 27th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I dunno, considering they’re lizard people FROM SPACE, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt until we get more details about the alleged plot. Granted the effects of the contaminant are fairly extreme, but the villains are all wearing living human suits, have magical technology that allows them to analyze the human body on a molecular level, and have somehow been infiltrating our society for years–on a global scale–when any serious injury or attention from the medical establishment will pierce the masquerade.

The better questions, from my perspective, are what they can possibly do with Tyler that they can’t do with anyone else, why they decided to just torture the medical assistant when they have all sorts of psychic interrogation tools, and what the hell is up with Anna and “Bliss”.

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ps238principal said on November 27th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I need to catch up on the last two eps, but are they still doing the idiotic plot point from the original about the Vs stealing the Earth’s water?

Because, you know, all that ice in the solar system that isn’t in a gravity well would require less energy to harvest, and therefore… it shouldn’t be done.

I guess they have their own environmental laws when it comes to planetary rings and comets.

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Doublefine said on November 27th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

“I need to catch up on the last two eps, but are they still doing the idiotic plot point from the original about the Vs stealing the Earth’s water?”

They require water and “a mineral abundant on Earth” this time. There haven’t been any plots that seem geared toward stealing all the Earth’s water so far, but they might work it in later.

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mygif

Here’s the thing about V: it knows it’s not very good, which is why it went into hiatus. The people writing it right now want to be making another Battlestar Galactica reboot, but what they failed to realize is that there’s no character, no mystery, and no mythology to play with. Plus there’s nothing really epic going on. I can’t watch this show without getting nostalgic for Earth: Final Conflict, and then remembering how boring -that- show got. You’d think a show on ABC could shoot a little higher.

There’s a decent cast involved, but that’s about all the show currently has going for it. I’m hoping after the hiatus it’ll come back with a clearer purpose that engages the audience.

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Steve McNeil said on November 28th, 2009 at 1:53 am

“Who benefits from encouraging people not to get vaccinations?”

Chiropractors. Homeopaths. Naturopaths. Acupuncturists. Chelation therapists. Purveyors of so-called “natural health products”. Pretty much anybody who makes a living by fostering mistrust in proven and effective medical practice, and claiming to offer a viable alternative.

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Mary Warner said on November 28th, 2009 at 3:05 am

When asking who benefits from encouraging people not to be vaccinated (or who benefits from many other causes as well), it needs to be remembered that money is not the only motivation. The anti-vaccine activists also get publicity, and any look at reality TV will show how extreme a motivator fame can be. And then there is also the motivation of being the person responsible for any change in society. Basically, making an impact on the rest of society is a form of power, and my readings of history have led me to the opinion that power (in various forms) is an incredibly strong motivating force, which is probably responsible for more evil actions than anything else.

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fred davis said on November 28th, 2009 at 7:39 am

Homeopaths especially need the money to keep them fully stocked up with their specially watered down beer, which doesn’t come cheap.

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mygif

…..huh, I just found out that Japan hasn’t done the MMR since 1992. Any guesses what happened to the autism figures?

http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/Vaccines/noMMR.html

If you guessed “went up”, give yourself a prize!

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mygif

Getting away from the subject of real vaccines for the moment, there’s a fairly obvious motivation for the Vs to contaminate human-made shots while they’re offering a syringe full of pixie milk and unicorn farts: get humans to distrust human medicine, and become dependent on the Vs.

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Candlejack said on November 28th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

It’s also possible that all the dead bodies were from failed trials, and the actual end result they were shooting for wasn’t ugly death but something else entirely. Guess we’ll never know since the Vs didn’t keep off-site records or anything that would allow them to rebuild the whole project…right?

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mygif

Say what you want about vaccines, but I gotta agree with Brandawg: For single letters, using an apostrophe for a plural is correct. It’s right here on page 478 of Words into Type.

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mygif

“And he argues, convincingly, that the proof that it’s harmless is much shakier than is usually acknowledged.”

But he thinks *chelation* is safe?

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mygif

Hey, remember when Scully found out that all the vaccines were just tags, man, tags used by the Man (Cigarette Smoking, of course) to, uh, well, that part wasn’t exactly clear but it had something to do with all the clones of Mulder’s sister and the evil bees and identifying bodies, maybe?

I also feel like a big part of what makes the vaccine! plot fun in conspiracy TV – in addition to what you pointed out in the post – is that it’s universal in a way few other things are. No checking to make sure all the gym teachers are organized and evil across public, private, and parochial schools, for example, just a presumably tiny little group ripe for conspiracies handing out things others don’t understand.

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mygif

but yeah the v remake’s been pretty lame so far, huh

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mygif

For what it’s worth you’re actually very close… I heard a talk by a very big medical person last year where he mentioned that the big things in terms of public health are (in order) Nutrition, Hygiene, Vaccines, and Antibiotics. Like, ten-to-one for each step down in terms of effectiveness. So modern health is still an order of magnitude or so more dependant on vaccines than any of those drugs people are waiting for.

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[…] Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re not also an idiot – On vaccine paranoia and the latest development on the television show V. […]

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on November 30th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Vaccines are hated by radical leftists and radical rightists for one reason: they prevent people from dying. If there’s one binding attribute embraced by every single person who I’ve met who refers to him or herself as a rabid left-winger or right-winger, it’s that the consider themselves to be “special”. And not special in the “Every is special in their own way and anyone can eventually do *anything*!”, way, but in the, “Everyone who walks in lockstep with me is the true master of the Earth and all of the middle-grounders must die”, type of special.

And when you’re that special, you *never* get sick. Right-wingers have “superhuman constitutions” (at least the ones where I live are known to claim that), and left-wingers brag about their “all natural, perfectly balanced diets/exercise programs that keep me in top physical condition!”

To them, vaccines “aren’t cricket”, because they allow the hoi polloi to live lives devoid of the diseases that they “deserve” for not subscribing to the formers’ way of life.

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