Scientists discover biologic defect at the root of anti-vaccine advocacy: conspira-scopic vision

Binoculars Reflecting the Sky

We’ve long known that vision is more than the light that hits the retina at the back of the eye. The nerve signals generated by the light get transmitted to the visual cortex, located in the occipital lobe of the brain. It is there that the information is processed to create what we see.

Scientists have recently discovered a fundamental biologic defect that goes a long way to explaining otherwise irrational phenomena like anti-vaccine advocacy. Vaccines have been one the greatest public health advances of all time, yet some people don’t see it that way and now we know why.

According to lead investigator Professor Cy N. Tist, anti-vax advocates suffer a specific, previously unrecognized visual processing error. Tist and colleagues have named the distortion conspira-scopic vision.

Prof. Tist explains:

As far as we can determine, conspira-scopic vision results from a processing error that rotates visual signals 45 degrees, leading inevitably to a slippery slope. Whereas the average person sees a preventive health measure, those suffering from conspira-scopic vision mistakenly see an assault.

Look at the following historical image:

vaccinated 1954

Most of us see happy children proudly showing off the fact that they have been vaccinated.

Unfortunately, those with conspira-scopic vision, like “holistic” psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, as well as the folks at who created the image, see the following profoundly distorted image:

vaccine checkpoint

Hard to believe that we are looking at the same picture, but we are.

Here’s another example:

syringe injection

Most of us see a woman happily receiving a vaccination.

The folks at the Australian Vaccination Network, all of whom suffer from conspira-scopic vision, see a rape:

vaccine rape

Is it any wonder then that anti-vaccine activists have an irrational fear of vaccines that is resistant to any and all scientific evidence?

According to Prof. Tist, anti-vaccine advocates are not the only people who suffer from conspira-scopic vision. He believes that food activists like Vani Hari (The Food Babe), anti-GMO activists, and even homebirth advocates suffer from conspira-scopic vision. Their vision is mistakenly skewed, causing them to see conspiracies everywhere.

There’s only one known cure for conspira-scopic vision, and that is a thorough education in science and statistics. Unfortunately, conspira-scopic vision has recently been developing resistance to both facts and education, which dramatically complicates efforts to treat it.

What you see depends on how you process visual information. Those who have processing defects like conspira-scopic vision deserve our sympathy and support. Obviously we cannot agree with them since they have no idea what they are talking about, but we can acknowledge that it is a processing error that leads to their ignorant and outrageous conclusions, not mere stupidity.


This piece is satire.

55 Responses to “Scientists discover biologic defect at the root of anti-vaccine advocacy: conspira-scopic vision”

  1. Donna
    May 4, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    I remember when my mother’s rights were violated. I was forced to get the MMR injection of death. I ended up not getting natural immunity to measles. I kinda regret not being able to have measles, I really wanted to experience the fever, rash, pneumonia, blindness and encephalitis. Bummer…

  2. SporkParade
    April 29, 2015 at 7:18 am #

    My baby got the oral polio vaccine today. Because we live next door to a country with a dictator who withholds childhood vaccines as a form of biological warfare, and now we had to go back to the more effective but also more dangerous vaccine. People who oppose vaccination can go screw.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      April 29, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      I had a patient that suffered polio decades ago on the clinic one of those days. Go and ask him what does he think about the polio vaccine. He still has problems today and they are getting worse.

  3. yugaya
    April 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    One for the lolz:

  4. namaste863
    April 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    If anyone wants a guilty thrill, Jenny McCarthy has a brief role in Scream 3. She of course bites the dust. I will freely admit to watching that clip over and over.

  5. Liz Leyden
    April 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    OT question for the medical professionals: is there any risk to receiving the rotavirus vaccine late? I followed the cardiologist’s advice to delay the rotavirus vaccine for both of my kids, and 6-month shots for my daughter, because of my daughter’s surgical schedule. She is 13 months old now, and caught up on her vaccines. I had assumed rotavirus would be included in their 12-month shots, but I found out a few weeks ago that my kids never got the rotavirus vaccine. The pediatrician said it’s too late to start the series (I believe it’s 2 shots). Could she be wrong?

    • Katia
      April 27, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      There are two separate brands of rotavirus vaccine, a two dose series and a three dose series. Neither are shots, they are oral vaccines. I’m only familiar with the three dose; all three doses have to be given by 8 months of age. It’s absolutely too late to start.

      Edit: It looks like the two dose series has to be completed by 24 weeks of age.

      Here is some info for the three dose series as well:

    • Cobalt
      April 28, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      Rotavirus vaccines are just for very young babies, it should be complete by 8 months. It hasn’t been tested enough in older babies, and rotavirus infection in older kids and adults is less dangerous. Still really awful to have, but not as bad as in little ones.

  6. MaineJen
    April 27, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    There is absolutely no excuse for whoever created that last image. Just…horrible.

    • Sue
      April 29, 2015 at 3:05 am #

      There has been a huge backlash in Aus, when they posted it (having previously claimed the “rape with penetration” thing a couple of years ago). They took it down and tried backpedalling, but the own-goal was scored. Thye are getting closer and closer to scoring a self-defeat!

  7. staceyjw
    April 27, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    That last pic is so offensive, I wish I could talk to whomever made it so they could get a clue. Because vaccines are just like rape…except that they are nothing alike.
    Ugh. No one forces you, except the military but thats a choice you make. AT BEST they keep you out of school, but that is not force (and is rare).

    • namaste863
      April 27, 2015 at 9:49 am #

      I would love to get the response of rape victims to that image. My guess is that they’d laugh their heads off at first at the absurdity of it, and then get monumentally pissed off.

      • Cobalt
        April 27, 2015 at 10:07 am #

        First “birthrape”, now “vaxrape”.

        There is just so much wrong going on here I don’t know where to start.
        Fucking disgusting.

      • LovleAnjel
        April 27, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

        Or they would get triggered by it.

    • JJ
      April 27, 2015 at 11:23 am #

      Yes people are not being held down and forced to vaccinate. If they want certain benefits that society offers (school ect) then they will need to vaccinate to receive them. Still not rape and that meme is disgusting.

  8. CrownedMedwife
    April 27, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    It’s eery how apropos SOB posts can be at times. In the past I have mentioned the extent to which I provide vaccine education to my patients. Despite my damnedest efforts, there are times my efforts will remain in vain. While I do respect maternal autonomy, there will be times I am thoroughly disgusted by the threat to health assumed by failure to accept vaccination. As such, in recent days have diagnosed two separate mothers with two separate VPIs that serve to threaten the health of themselves, their fetuses and their children…not to mention their non-vax circle of mothers and children that are now experiencing an epidemic of VPI among themselves. While I attend to their immediate needs with care and compassion, my psyche is reeling with frustration.

    OT: Spent the weekend catching up on SOB posts after attending enough births last week to constitute an entire kindergarten class in the future. There were primips and grandmultips, teens and AMAs, GDMs and preeclamptics, preterm and postdates, IUGR and macrosomia, precipitous labors and mild shoulder dystocia. Know what there wasn’t? Crowd sourcing, echo chambers or ignorance of practice guidelines. So many healthy mothers and babies, cannot help but smile for their futures. It was disgusting to catch up on last week’s posts of homebirth deaths and risk-taking behaviors. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to be in Dr. Amy’s position to open her emails and to receive report after report of preventable deaths or Russian roulette all for the sake of an ideology. My guess is she didn’t set out to be ‘that person’, but I’m grateful she is that person and brings to light the darkness, silence and grief. I imagine it takes a toll, but for each tale of loss someone will see that post and perhaps reconsider. So to Dr. Amy, thank you.

  9. demodocus' spouse
    April 26, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    Hey! How come none of my immunizations have been robin’s egg blue! Such a pretty color and an excellent source of chlorophyll!

  10. Dr Kitty
    April 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    There is a patient in a local hospital currently awaiting results after being tested for rabies. Which is just horrendous.

    Anti- vaccinationists, how do you feel about rabies vaccination?
    Bet there aren’t many who’d decline a vaccination if they were bitten by a rabid animal.

    • Amy
      April 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      I keep getting all these MDC flashbacks. There actually are pet owners who don’t want their pets getting vaccinated, either.

      • yentavegan
        April 26, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

        I met one of these anti-vax extremists. She let her pets wander free range all over the neighborhood and she did not vaccinate against rabies. When I learned of this at the mom to mom meeting she was hosting, I collected my kids and high tailed it out of there.

        • Mac Sherbert
          April 26, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

          And hopefully called animal control once you got home.

          • yentavegan
            April 26, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

            wish I thought of that 25 years ago…

    • Who?
      April 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

      Well there are those who won’t be vaccinated for tetanus, so who knows?

      • Cobalt
        April 26, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

        There’s something about the 100% fatality rate that changes a lot of minds after an exposure.

        • Who?
          April 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

          Like those women who having allowed their baby to die during labour suddenly come over all pro-intervention when their own lives are slipping away.

          Not many things make me rage, but this stuff really does.

          • Cobalt
            April 26, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

            Exactly this.

          • Amazed
            April 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

            Well, in truth I imagine it takes their very own baby dying for them to grasp that THEIR danger is/was real, that it’s happening to THEM and not those other non-positive losers. Hence, self-preservation finally kicks in.

          • Who?
            April 26, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

            Grrr. I’m glad I can’t grasp how their minds work.

            How on earth can you be thinking about self preservation when you have just allowed a person who you conjured up (with a little help from your friend) to die due to your ignorance and hubris? Other kids at home is about the only thing that gives them a get out of jail free card from me, and even then…

        • yugaya
          April 27, 2015 at 4:05 am #

          I think that there is like one documented case where a person survived rabies. And yes, I had an antivaxxer pull it as proof that rabies is not as deadly as the government lies it is.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 27, 2015 at 4:33 am #

            35,000 deaths annually worldwide from rabies… and fewer than 5 total recorded cases of anyone surviving confirmed rabies after becoming symptomatic.
            Not great odds.

            The only documented cases of human to human transmission are from a series of corneal transplants from infected donors (where the cause of death was not found out until after transplantation had occurred)
            Several people died, the only recipient who survived was the one who got Rabies IG and vaccinations before becoming symptomatic.

            Why, yes, I have been reading up a bit about rabies over the last few days.

          • April 27, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

            Wasn’t there some pretty severe damage from the rabies, though? Survived, yes, but definitely not unscathed. And while not-dying is a whole lot better than dying, I’d rather not have permanent mental and physical damage from the disease also … which the vaccine does wonders to prevent.

      • namaste863
        April 27, 2015 at 9:58 am #

        Not that I wouldn’t be demanding the vaccine, but even with it, aren’t you pretty much screwed once you’ve been exposed to rabies?

        • MaineJen
          April 27, 2015 at 10:15 am #

          If you don’t have symptoms yet, you can still get the vaccine and be okay. Thank goodness.

        • Cobalt
          April 27, 2015 at 10:16 am #

          Treatment is an option, and a good one, as long as symptoms haven’t started. It takes a while for the virus to get to the brain, so giving immunoglobulin is typically very effective if done early (assuming first exposure- first timers get vaccinated and immunoglobulin, repeat offenders just get boosters).

          Once symptoms start (weeks to months), the brain is infected and there’s basically no chance of survival.

    • Bugsy
      April 27, 2015 at 10:00 am #

      Well, they probably wouldn’t be alive long to argue the virtues of avoiding the rabies vaccination…

      • Cobalt
        April 27, 2015 at 10:04 am #

        Yes and no. You can go months with a rabies infection before becoming symptomatic, it takes a while for the virus to get into the brain. Plenty of time to spout off like a fool.

        But once symptoms start, you’re doomed.

        • Bugsy
          April 27, 2015 at 10:10 am #

          Good point….I didn’t realize it can take months. I’m sure that as the disease progresses, the anti-vax posts would get even more ludicrous.

      • Inmara
        April 27, 2015 at 10:49 am #

        At least in my country, if you are bitten by dog who doesn’t have proven vaccination record, or by wild animal, you get immunoglobulin by default and as soon as possible. Fortunately, it’s not 40 shots in your navel area anymore as it was in recent past, now it’s few shots in the shoulder and you’re safe.
        Haven’t heard of anti-vaxx calls against this one, also vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis is very popular here. Somehow people take these illnesses more serious, and also vaccines are administered to adults and older children, so there is no irrational fear of “stabbing a needle in innocent infant” which, imho, is driving force behind many of anti-vaxx statements.

        ETA: Wrote “rabies vaccine” in first paragraph, then realized that it’s immunoglobulin treatment, not actual vaccine – these are not popular because risk of exposure is very small and only people working with wild animals on a regular basis receive vaccines.

        • Amazed
          April 27, 2015 at 10:57 am #

          Years ago, I was bitten by a stray dog. My only concern? Will I miss the train? I fidgeted all the time I spent in the doctor’s waiting room to get my vaccine. How lucky we are that we can now worry about things like missing the train and not dying. (I missed it, by the way.)

          Why on earth would someone gamble with rabies?

  11. Mel
    April 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Surprisingly on topic: We just had proof that vaccines work on the farm!
    Cattle can get pinkeye. It can do a horrific amount of damage to the eyes of a cow in a short period of time. It’s treatable with antibiotics, but we also vaccinate all of our calves (don’t know if or when they need a booster – but if they do, we give it.)

    Last weekend, my mom and I were walking by the calf barn. She noticed that two 6-month old calves had a lot of discharge from their eyes. (Cows often have some dampness in the inner corner of the eye, but these two girls had damp markings running all the way down the jaw line – which is not usual.) I enticed the heifers closer with some bread and I could see that their eyes were really inflamed. I called my husband and he got them on antibiotics right away and deloused everyone since cattle lice can transmit the bacteria.

    They are both fine, but more importantly, only two heifers got sick with a total of three infected eyes between the two of them. The vaccine greatly reduced the amount of antibiotics we used and prevented a lot of pain and suffering. We’d had several old cows who had gotten pinkeye as calves and were darn near blind. (They could see you if you were about 18 inches in front of their muzzle. Beyond that, they’d smell you if you were upwind or listen for you. They got around by following one of their cow buddies to and from the milking parlor and memorizing where the water and food was.)

    I’m very glad we can stop that from hurting the cows now. Just like I’m glad that I’ve never had measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, tetanus, influenza or smallpox. I’m glad that most of my students have never had any of those AND missed out on chickenpox. We live in good times.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      April 27, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      It’s really sad that those cows needed to develop methods to survive while mostly blind, but I have to say, the fact that they did figure out things like following a friend to the milking parlor and memorizing where the cow kibbles were is just too cool for words. 😀

    • Mad Hatter
      April 28, 2015 at 12:35 am #

      OT I have known a few cows with pink eye or who were pink eye survivors. Two needed to have an eye completely removed and the rest were only blind in one eye. I Its something my goats got a few times as well, but was easily treated with antibiotics. We vaccinated a couple years, but only the Herefords or hereford cross cows seemed to get it. Once we got an all Angus herd, we stopped vaccinating for pink eye and it never came back. Apparently, Herefords are more susceptible than Angus. But, I wouldn’t hesitate to vaccinate again, if I ever get back to raising cattle.

  12. paul
    April 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    So conspira-scopic vision is developing resistance to both facts and education which are our only treatments? Well then history teaches us there is one last option.

    Quarantine, take all those infected with the meme and ensure they cannot infect the rest of society.

    Who knows maybe they will then cure themselves and be able to reintegrate into a decent rational society. We can only hope for their sakes, or more accurately for the children who desperately need vaccines to avoid illness. iron lungs, blindness, paralysis and… oh yes death.

    • demodocus' spouse
      April 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

      German measles is such a mild disease, until it makes your fetus blind, deaf, and mentally retarded, if you don’t loose him/her. It was a motive in a Miss Marple novel.

      • Mel
        April 26, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

        Don’t forget cerebral palsy. With a deaf twin sister, we got to know most of the Deaf community in our area. One of her closest friends survived prenatal rubella exposure and has been counted lucky in that she just was profoundly deaf with moderate CP.

        In the US, there’s a group of deaf adults known as the “Rubella Bulge” due to an outbreak in the late 1960’s that caused a whole bunch of deaf babies.

        • April 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

          I do find it fascinating, though, that that bulge’s early adulthood coincides with the “Deaf President Now” protests and the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

        • JJ
          April 27, 2015 at 11:34 am #

          A few days ago I read about the 1960s rubella outbreak in the USA on the CDCs “What would happen if we stopped vaccinating?” section. It was so terrifying as a pregnant woman to imagine facing that threat that I posted it on facebook. An antivaxxer told me to read vaxtruth website and not be scared by the CDCs “propaganda”.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        April 27, 2015 at 9:38 am #

        Which was itself based on a true story about a Hollywood actress whose unborn baby was exposed to German measles, with similar horrible results. /random Agatha Christie nerdiness, being quiet now 😉

        • Box of Salt
          April 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

          The Agatha Christie novel is The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (American title shortened) and the actress is Gene Tierney.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

            “My doom is on me, she cried…”

  13. guest
    April 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    “Obviously we cannot agree with them since we have no idea what they are talking about…”

    This is pure awesome.

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